Not Laid Off? How To Help Your Unemployed Friends.

One of the signature emotions of this particular recession, besides the populist rage that boiled over this week, is a bit of survivor’s guilt. After all, if you still have the same job or salary that you had a year ago, you’re among the lucky ones. With a different career move or two, you might have wound up among those whose household income has suffered a huge hit. You probably have friends and former colleagues in this unfortunate spot. So what can you do to help them? Plenty, it turns out.

Should CEOs Facebook And Twitter? Yes.

By Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta at Forbes

Web 2.0 is no longer just for teenagers.

Social networking has clearly reached a tipping point. Sites like MySpace and Facebook boast hundreds of millions of members. Barack Obama’s presidential victory demonstrated that platforms like YouTube and Twitter could transform electoral politics. Yet in corporations where such tools have been expected to bring profound transformations, there has been strong resistance to change.

Many corporate executives either dismiss social networking as a time-wasting distraction or regard it as a risk management problem. Much of their fear has focused on potential risks like security breaches and data privacy.

Web 2.0 evangelists, on the other hand, argue that social software can be used to boost productivity. They say it can facilitate an open-ended corporate culture that values transparency, collaboration and innovation. Most important, it can be an effective way to build a customer-centric organization that not only communicates authentically but also listens to customers and learns from that interaction.

In the current stormy economy, as companies look for new ways to market their products and engage their customers, chief executive officers are finally looking more and more at how social networking tools can extend their brands, create corporate cultures based on listening and learning, and establish their own leadership profiles.

Nonetheless, big brands, generally speaking, haven’t successfully tapped the potential of social media; they tend to regard Web 2.0 platforms as just another way to push out short-term marketing campaigns. They fail to grasp that the new media require new ways of doing business. Old ways need to be tossed out.

One highly successful example of Web 2.0 branding is Blendtec’s YouTube video campaign “Will It Blend?” The video series features Blendtec’s CEO, Tom Dickson, comically attempting to blend all manner of objects in one of his company’s appliances. Thanks to the series’ viral effects, the company’s blender sales have quintupled.

The Blendtec videos cost virtually nothing to produce and distribute, but it is doubtful that TV commercials costing many times more would have produced the same results. That may explain why publicity-conscious CEOs are finally breaking away from the old mass-media approach of a Donald Trump or a Richard Branson to increasingly use videos and podcasts to extend their personal brands.