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Social-media survey asks for 'shotgun marriage'

Respondents were asked to pair up a flagging print media brand with a social network in the ultimate mashup-matchup.

During New York's inaugural "Social Media Week" festivities earlier this month, media-industry research firm Abrams Research (that's "Abrams" as in MSNBC's Dan Abrams, for the news junkies out there) conducted a survey about the perception of various social-media services within the industry. The results weren't too surprising: 30 percent of respondents would pay for Facebook (keep in mind that these respondents are people already active in the social-media world). They encourage businesses to think seriously about Twitter for marketing. Etc.

That's all good and fine. But what we really found hilarious was the extra-credit question, which asked respondents to pair up one suffering print-media brand with a social-networking service for the ultimate media mashup. (Or, as the survey called it, a "shotgun wedding.") The best suggestion would receive a $500 charity donation in the winner's name.

The winner, according to the research firm's release, was MIT business school student Amanda Peyton, who put up a relatively straightforward pairing of Reader's Digest and social-news site Digg.

"Take Reader's Digest, add Digg, get AARP to sponsor," Peyton's suggestion read. "Create Digg-type ranking system within RD website. Call it 'Seniors Speak: Content Ranked By Seniors, For Seniors.' Baby Boomers are getting older and 50+ community is tech-savvy and loves targeted products. Digg gets an entirely new demographic. Site can start with only RD content and then expand."

One of the runners-up, Samantha Duenas, devised a way to bring fashion tome Vogue into the digital age while bringing a whiff of exclusivity to the News Corp.-owned MySpace. "(Old Media) is going broke, MySpace is falling off a steep cliff into uncool. Vogue should make all of their world issues digitally accessible through MySpace for an annual subscription fee," Duenas wrote. "Models, photographers, stylists would have MySpace profiles with exclusive photos and media only accessible to subscribers. Usage of photos/media on blogs would tag back to MySpace."

That's interesting. Some of the non-winners, however, were just plain funny.

"High Times magazine and Twitter," one respondent said. "It will give a whole new dimension to the term 'tweetup.'"

"AARP magazine with Facebook," another suggested, "since all of our moms are on Facebook now anyway."

There were also some blatantly obvious ones: "Hustler and AdultFriendFinder. Talk about a match made in heaven." Along similar lines, "Playboy and Facebook. Just because I'd love to see a 'Poke a Playmate!' promotion." Abrams Research said it also received a suggested match of the New York Times and naughty video hub YouPorn, but that no explanation was provided. Figures.

Another one of the entries was an elaborate epic poem about magazine giant Conde Nast, penned by blogger Katie Baker. It didn't win, but her valiant rhyming efforts were recognized.