The Price of Free: What’s the Freemium Economy About?

There are tons of great things out in the tech world right now that are free: social networking sites, productivity apps, games, and music sites are all jumping on the bandwagon. What exactly is freemium, and how does a business plan like this ever expect to make money? Freemium is a portmanteau of “free” and “premium,” and is a marketing model based on the idea of charging absolutely nothing for a basic product or service — and the Android and iPhone app stores are filled with them.

The Many Faces of the Internet User

The Internet has graduated from its days of being the wild wild west, into a budding modern menagerie of personalities, personas, and psychos. You are likely to encounter several of these types of personalities as you browse through your feeds at Tumblr, Facebook, Mashable, Reddit, 4chan, Gawker, and your favorite design/art/music blogs. The Internet can be a confusing thing to navigate, and a journey into the dark heart of its users can help educate you about their different personalities.

Why is Pinterest So Addictive?

Over the last six months, Pinterest has seen itself explode all over the Internet, quickly becoming the rising star of the social media scene in a big way. From September 2011 to February 2012, the monthly unique visits to the Pinterest site grew over 866 percent. Pinterest is also beginning to give its rivals – Tumblr and Facebook – a run for their money when it comes to time spent on the respective sites. There are a few reasons why Pinterest has been performing so well: the design of the site, its massive appeal to a broad audience, a place of refuge from Twitter/Facebook, and its accessibility.

Where Are the Movie Hits of 2011 Streaming?

If you’re looking to stream the latest Harry Potter or Transformers movie tonight, Netflix is not the way to go. Tristan Louis was recently wondering where the latest hit movies where available to watch instantly… and his resulting research shows that Netflix is seriously lagging behind it’s competition – Amazon, iTunes and Vudu. In fact, as you can tell in the chart below by Flowing Data, Netflix only offers a sad 5 hit titles from 2011 out of the top 100… compare that to Amazon’s 45 titles, and the others just behind at 44.

Starwars Uncut: The Full Film Now Online!

Three years ago on a computer not so far away… a plan was hatched to create a completely open source version of Star Wars: A New Hope, using the members of the internet. Envisioned by Casey Pugh, that vision became Star Wars Uncut, a crowdsourced version of the cult-classic film created by fans around the internet. Casey invited them (and you) to create 15 seconds of the original movie, to be combined with other 15 second tributes into a full length internet extravaganza. The resulting film – Star Wars Uncut: Directors Cut.

Read This! How You Can Fight For A Free Internet!

What an exciting time we are living in! It’s one where the people of the planet, internet users everywhere, can rise up, make their voices heard and change the world! The legislative precipice we’ve been perched on lately, one that could make our free internet drastically more controlled, is quickly losing support. Fight for the Future, creators of the massively popular video below about SOPA and PIPA summed up yesterday’s internet blackout the best

Defend Our Freedom to Share (why SOPA is a bad idea)

If you are a regular reader of Visual News, you may have noticed that today we participated in what is turning out to be the largest ever internet blackout in history… a protest symbolically showing what the internet could look like if the proposed PIPA or SOPA bills pass in the US Congress. The massive voluntary shutdown garnered attention just about everywhere and was participated in by behemoth sites the likes of Craigslist, Reddit and Wikipedia. So what does PIPA and SOPA mean for our shareable internet world, and why should you sign this online letter to congress? Below, Clay Shirky delivers a brilliant talk at the TED offices, challenging us to defend our freedom to create, discuss, link and share in the digital world.

Anybeat: A Linkedin Where Artists Can Be Themselves

Anybeat is an online community, a public gathering place where you can interact with people from around your neighborhood or across the world. We don’t expect Anybeat to replace Facebook, Twitter, or any other service that you currently use. Instead, they hope that you will find it to be a casual place to gather and communicate with interesting people… a place where you can be yourself and don’t have to share your real identity. Check out the video below, then head here to check out this awesome community.

Graphic: China’s Answer to Social Networking

With almost 500 million of its citizens now online, China is in the process of a massive social media revolution: in fact, a full quarter of all social network users in the world are now Chinese. How is this quick change shaping up for the many new computer users in the country and what are they able to see with the governments now famous “Great Firewall of China” in place? This graphic from G+, a community for professionals, academics and entrepreneurs to connect, explores the firewall, platforms Chinese are using to connect, what’s driving the quick adoption of social media, why it’s important to the republic and how the country’s digital consumption stacks up compared to the rest of us. It’s an exciting and quickly changing time in the social media world.

Just A Few Years Before Facebook

“What the heck it electronic mail!?” Before the computer world was connecting every few seconds, the idea of email and online shopping was a concept that had to be communicated to customers. This roundup of vintage computer ads, explores some of the stranger ways companies like Apple and IBM brought us into the information age… be sure to see the last ad in this article, it’s a sight of things to come