Boxers: The Conspicuous Consumption Edition

In the holiday spirit, our boxers this month have a consumerist tinge to them. Either that, or we just washed our reds with our whites again. It happens more than we care to admit. At least we got most of the eggnog stains out. But if American capitalism can finally produce this, perhaps there is hope for us all.

Entering Year Two of Domination by Angry Bird Overlords

Everybody’s favorite timewaster, Angry Birds, turned two this month. Why, I remember when those birds were just mildly grumpy. “Birds” maker Rovio celebrated by releasing new levels, a new orange bird, and partnering with Toys R Us for a bunch of discounts. But to us, the real story is the serious bank the franchise is generating: 500 million downloads and counting with about a quarter of that being paid at 99 cents a pop. (To say nothing of the toys and plush animals and board games that are dotting the malls of America.)

The next time you’re tempted to laugh off an idea that someone passes across your desk, think of the chuckles Rovio must have heard when they were first pitching a game with birds and pigs.

Foursquare Triples

Mashable reports that Foursquare has crossed the 15 million user mark, which is roughly triple where the service was in December 2010. But the site also notes that even with Gowalla getting snapped up by Facebook, the geosocial market has lots of room for growth. As many as 78 percent of smartphone users aren’t using a geosocial app yet. Mashable says “Whether or not Foursquare can continue to build scale and whether Loopt, Scvngr, and MyTown can gobble up enough adopters to survive will be among 2012′s more intriguing storylines.” We agree.

Facebooking for Dollars at Dayton

The University of Dayton is opening its checkbook to get high-schoolers to engage with it on Facebook. The school is giving away $50,000 in scholarships in a contest where it asking students to upload videos to Facebook, the Associated Press says. The video must be essays on a theme. First place gets $40,000 in scholarships, second place $6,000 and third $4,000.
It’s not the first time schools have given away scholarships via social media. The Universtiy of Iowa made noise with a Twitter scholarship earlier this year. But in a twist, Dayton applicants can also use their Facebook video in their official application to the school. “We are hearing from students that they want opportunities to stand out, and we are trying to give them a way to do that,” a school spokesman says. We’re guessing the free money will help make this contest stand out pretty well too.