Neil Vidyarthi

Managing Editor I've been interested in the cultural and business implications of social graphs since Facebook launched their app store. I've had the pleasure of working with Electronic Arts, Research in Motion, Epson Japan and Level Social, and from those experiences found my true passion: writing. I enjoy covering this emerging space and helping our writers find their own voices and interests as well. Follow me on Twitter @neilvidyarthi or email me at neil "at" socialtimes.com

VKontakte Forced to Reverse Position on Same Sex Status

vkontakte-logo

Vkontatke, the incumbent champion social network of Russia, found itself in a bit of controversy this week as a gay user found that he couldn’t properly express his same-sex orientation on the network. When he tried to contact the company to get the problem solved, he ran into a technician to asked him to change his gender to female in order to be able to show his relationship.

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The 5 W’s of Social Game Purchases [Infographic]

The 5 Ws of Social Game Purchases

The first wave of the social gaming bubble may have popped. I’m not the first one to say it, and I won’t be the last. Zynga is at an all time record low, and traffic is declining. Playdom and Playfish, two giants of yesteryear, have seen their player numbers fade out.

That said, I know a lot of people in the industry, and the smart ones always knew they couldn’t keep every player forever and so began to focus on the more serious players. By offering them bonus packages and improved experiences, they incited those users to buy more.

So what exactly is involved in the art of social game purchases? A new infographic takes a look.

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Fitocracy Redesign Ensures Your Friends Will Know if You’re Working Out or Not

exercise

When it comes to getting fit, it’s remarkable what sort of inner dialogue creeps into my mind. “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “one day doesn’t make a difference,” or “I’m fine just as I am.” That last one is particularly insidious and hints at a sedentary life – yet it is surprisingly liberating. Still, any philosophical epiphany aside, none of these thoughts help me turn off the Apple TV and get up off the couch.

I’ve found something that does get me off the couch, though. Fitocracy, and it’s game-like process to getting fit.

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5 Ways to Introduce Google+ to Curious Friends

conversation patio

It’s a Wednesday, and we’ve just met a few friends for beers on a rooftop patio in Manhattan. I’m only in town for a day, and the rain is pattering on the covered terrace – apparently I got into town for the rainiest week this summer. “You bring it with you?” asks a new friends, before wondering “so just what are you doing in the big city, anyway?”

I tell him I work on a social media blog covering emerging social networks, like Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+.

“Google+, oh man, I don’t get that one. What’s the point?”

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Have $50 to Blow? Prove it at this new Parody Social Network

community

Would you want to spend $50 to join a social network where people strive to “tell people that they have $50″? That’s the circular logic over at ihave50dollars.com, a satirical social network created over the last few days to parody the successful emergence of App.net.

The site’s irreverent product speak is worth a look, especially the “words about ihave50dollars.com” section, which sources a few web celebrities who flex their ironic chops.

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Hot Summer Event Deals

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Hot Summer Event Deals
Media professionals, marketers, developers, and social media mavens: Want to expand your industry knowledge without breaking the bank? Join industry peers and top-tier experts at our upcoming events in New York City and Los Angeles to connect, learn, and share insight. We have amazing summer deals to boot so get them while they’re hot!

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Yelp Redesign Puts You Closer to Your Friends

yelp

Yelp, one of the two top travel review sites on the web, has recently unveiled a subtle redesign that puts more emphasis on social. The site has slowly evolved over the years from a simple review aggregator to a community-oriented portal.

The redesign emphasizes this direction, by making a home page that highlights your location, your friends, your profile, your friend requests, popular reviews and more.

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Google Buys Frommers for $25m; Will They Shoehorn it Into Google+ Local?

travel

TripAdvisor and Yelp are the two largest (and dare I say, best) resources for travelers. With millions of ratings and directories that expand every day, the services promise an answer to the difficult questions that travellers face. Where should I eat? What is this city’s best attraction? Where’s the beer?

For a while, I tried to use “Google Places”, now known as Google+ Local, to find nearby eateries or attractions. I felt the app user experience was faster than the competitors and it’s integration of Google Maps was more sophisticated. But a travel app is only as good as its content, and there were no reviews.

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