MediaFile

Fortune 500 executives behind on social networking

With more than half of the U.S. public on Facebook and more than 200 million tweets sent each day (about 30 percent from the U.S.), American life is continuing to enmesh itself with social networks. But for the CEOs of the top 500 U.S. companies, social networking is a small — if existent — piece of successful living.

In a report released Thursday by Domo and CEO.com, the online presence of Fortune 500 companies’ top executives was compared to that of the general public, revealing that less than 30 percent have at least one profile on social networks. The vast majority have none.

Some of these accounts sit inactive — five of the 19 CEOs on Twitter have never tweeted — while others seem underutilized — 25 of the 38 CEOs on Facebook have less than 100 friends. The only social network that these executives outdo the U.S. public on is LinkedIn, the “world’s largest professional network.”

Perhaps the loneliest social networks for these top executives are Google+ and Pinterest. The former has only four of the CEOs — including Google’s own Larry Page — and the latter has none, despite Pinterest’s growing base of approximately 12 million American users.

Although the percentage of the top executives on social networks sits at less than 30 percent, Wikipedia has profiles for more than 36 percent of them. Only one of the CEOs has and maintains his own blog: John Mackey of Whole Foods.

Copious revamps social commerce service with a new twist

Pinterest has yet to provide many details about how it intends to make money from its fast-growing image-sharing social service.

But that’s not stopping others from trying to capitalize on the online service’s rich catalog of product images.

Copious, a social commerce start-up, launched a new version of its website on Monday that lets consumers buy many of the bags, shoes and other fashion accessories that get shared by Pinterest’s millions of users every day.

Facebook’s new class of apps expand the social vocabulary

Time was when “liking” something on Facebook was the standard way to recommend something on the social network.

Now Facebook users will have a whole new vocabulary at their disposal so they can tell friends they “want” tickets to an upcoming rock concert, they are “cooking”  a certain dish or that they “ran” five miles in the park after work.

On Wednesday evening, Facebook announced the availability of more than 60 third-party appsthat can be integrated directly into Facebook, including apps from Ticketmaster, Airbnb, Foodspotting and Pinterest. Facebook also said that any software developer can now create their own such specialized apps for Facebook integration and submit the app to Facebook for approval.

Why are cheap startups so expensive?

Starting up a Web company is never easy, but at least it’s not as expensive as it used to be. Instead of buying and maintaining an IT infrastructure, as they had to do in the dotcom boom, startups now turn to cloud server services like Amazon’s. Instead of costly proprietary software, OpenOffice and Google offer cheaper (or free) options. Instead of paying office rent, employees can work from home. And the viral power of social media can bring new customers with little marketing. Open-source projects and the durability of Moore’s Law promise to lower costs even further.

But if it’s cheaper than ever to fund a startup’s growth, why are some Web companies receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in financing? And why are valuations rising quarter after quarter, to the point where some venture capitalists are complaining that certain startups have simply gotten too expensive to invest in? How is it that Web companies are becoming both cheaper and more expensive? Are VCs valuing companies on fundamentals, or following the market’s momentum?

Such questions might seem academic, except that the gap between startup costs and valuations keeps widening. The last six months alone have seen a surprising number of nine-digit venture rounds. In July, Airbnb, a home-sharing startup that had 130 employees, raised $112 million in a round that valued the company at $1.3 billion. A week later, Twitter, which had 600 employees, raised $800 million (half going to cash out early investors), valuing it at $8.4 billion. In October, online-storage company Dropbox, another small company of 70 employees, said it raised $250 million in a round valuing the company at $4 billion. And just last month, group-buying company LivingSocial closed a $176 million round, vowing to raise an even larger amount in the coming months.