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31 August 2010

The REport

New Orleans came together this past weekend to celebrate the city’s resurgence since the devastation of hurricane Katrina five years ago. It is truly uplifting to see the region making such great strides since being shaken to its core. What an inspiration for communities!

Another thing bringing communities together – young and old – is social media.  As I have said before, Facebook and Twitter are not just for the younger generation. In the past year, the number of people over the age of 50 who use social-networking sites has nearly doubledSurvey respondents aged 65 and older in Pew Internet’s recent study reported a 100 percent increase in their usage. Wow!

The age demographic of the “traditional” social networks are a far cry from that on location-based counterparts as 70 percent of people who “check-in” on sites like Foursquare are between the ages of 19 and 35, according to Forrester Research.  Location-based sharing is not mainstream – with some arguing it will never catch on without clear rewards. I wonder if services like Shopkick, which offers coupons to people when they walk into stores, will help change that. Stay tuned…

Our industry is about matching a person’s needs, interests and tastes with a home and its surrounding community. A scaled-down version of this concept, Hunch is a new app that delivers personalized recommendations.  The alpha version of its new Local Search feature provides users with suggestions on everything from restaurants and grocery stores to spas and museums in their area. Speaking of local, Google Realtime Search now has geographic refinements to find updates and news near you.

Do you Digg? The site re-launched last week with added social networking features like knowing what articles friends like through a “My News” page. This is just one more way to connect to your consumers and peers!

Interested in what lies beneath (the sea, that is)? Check out Google Earth for Android which has features that allow users to delve into the mysterious depths of the ocean. Is Google Moon next?

Speaking of Google, the company introduced Google Voice integration with Gmail last week allowing users to make and receive phone calls for free. Within 24 hours, one million calls had been placed! Now that is what I call a successful launch. Let me know if you see one of the retro red phone booths the company is putting around the country to raise awareness.  Skype may have some competition!

Did you catch Jimmy Fallon’s opening at the Emmy’s? If you missed it, check it out! Spoiler alert: if you like Bruce Springsteen or Glee, you won’t be disappointed.

Lastly, if you are joining the approximate 34.4 million travelers expected this Labor Day, get on the road early (or take an extra day of vacation)!

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