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YouTube to launch 60 new channels

This week on the YouTube blog, Global Head of Content Robert Kyncl announced that YouTube is preparing to go global with their channel strategy by launching 60 new channels in France, Germany, the UK and the US.

Last year, YouTube launched over a 100 new channels and Kyncl outlined the stats so far. The top 25 original channels average more than 1 million views per week. 800 million viewers are watching 4 billion hours of content each month, up from 3 billion hours earlier this year. The number of people subscribing to YouTube channels has doubled. Partners are reaching 100k subscribers five times faster than they were two years ago.

The new channels span a variety of topics, from food to health and wellness, sports, comedy, music, news, animation. Kyncl commented that they “are backed by some of the biggest producers, well-known celebrities and emerging media companies from Europe and the U.S.” 53 of the new channels will launch immediately with the remaining seven being rolled out in the coming months.

And to provide a little more visual flavour, OpenSlate have produced this handy infographic looking at YouTube’s hottest 1000 channels.

Charlie Bit My Finger to become serialised

Made famous back in 2007, Harry and Charlie Davies-Carr will star in their own web series based on the 56-second video. Viral Spiral and Rightster have teamed up to produce and market the series, which will follow the boys, now six and eight, on their daily antics.

Charlie Bit My Finger has been viewed almost half a billion times, making it the sixth most viewed video on YouTube and making the family roughly $500,000 through ads since the video was first posted in 2007.

David Cameron joins Twitter

David Cameron finally joined Twitter on the 6th October with the tweet “I’m starting Conference with this new Twitter feed about my role as Conservative Leader. I promise there won’t be ‘too many tweets…'”. Cameron once said that he would not join Twitter, uttering the now infamous phrase, “too many tweets make a twat”.

Cameron beat the bookies by racking up more than 100,000 followers on Twitter in a matter of days this week. Some firms offered 25-1 odds of the prime minister reaching the target by the end of the Conservative party conference – which he achieved with ease. Ladbrokes has now cut the odds on him notching up 1 million followers this year to 2-1 from 66-1.

He’s the 370th MP to start an account. He outlined as his reasons to Sky News:

“In this modern world you have got to use every means to try and communicate your message and explain to people why you are doing it. You’ve got to get with the programme, I suppose.”

MIT students develop wearable social media extension

MIT students have developed a wearable extension to your social media activity that translates every Facebook like into an actual hug. The Like-A-Hug project is a wearable social media vest, developed by Melissa Kit Chow in collaboration with Andy Payne and Phil Seaton, as part of the MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group.

The vest is designed to inflate like a lifejacket when friends like a photo, video, or status update on the wearer’s Facebook wall. Love it.

Read more on The Guardian.

Facebook tests Want and Collect button with seven US retailers

Facebook’s new Collections feature helps retailers promote their products. As well as liking the collections, users can also now collect or want products which will aggregate in their timelines and appear in their friends’ newsfeeds.

Facebook is testing the tool with seven US retailers, including lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, home retail store Pottery Barn and designer Michael Kors.

Facebook claims (covering ass if it doesn’t work well presumably) that the new move is to help test product awareness rather than driving transactions on the social network. It currently is not taking a cut from the retailer when a user buys one of its products.

Twitter launches profiles directory

Twitter launched an online profile directory this week with profiles listed by first name, rather than Twitter handle. Mashable has suggested the new feture is likely to be related to Twitter’s previous disputes with Google over search results and will help Google better index Twitter’s content. Search Engine Land‘s Danny Sullivan points out, a search for the Twitter directory on Google already yields about 700,000 results.

Read more on Search Engine Land.

Gwitr brings virtual gifting to Twitter

Similar to Facebook’s gift shop, Gwitr is a Twitter app that lets you send free virtual gifts to friends. You can chose a variety of images, wrap them, and then send them with a message. Many of the gifts are related to special occasions and come in the form of birthday cakes or a Valentine’s Day heart.

Twitter acquires Vine

Twitter is gearing up for its video-hosting service with the acquisition of a New York-based video-sharing site called Vine – despite it not having launched properly yet. Speculation is that the acquisition is more about the talent in the business than an investment in the product itself.

Founder Dominik Hofmann posted a video shot with Vine on his Twitter feed. The link leads to a brief clip with no controls that replays on a loop, a bit like an animated GIF.

Zappos launches PinPointing app

This week, Zappos launched a new Pinterest app that generates shopping recommendations based on photos posted by Pinterest users of your choice. Clicking on the original pinned image returns the user to Pinterest to repin or like the photo and clicking on a recommended item takes them to the Zappos ecommerce page.

Read a full review of the app on the New York Times.

Foursquare redesigns desktop explore tab

This week, Foursquare launched redesign of its explore tab in an ongoing effort to widen use of Foursquare as a social ratings and localised search platform. The redesign has also brought the desktop experience more into line with that of Foursquare’s latest iOS app.

The redesign introduced a larger search box along with filters that allow the user to sort by whether they’ve been somewhere and whether or not his or her friends have. The results also come with venue rankings based on what percent of users who have checked in or liked the place.

Introspective pug goes viral

Being appreciators of the pug at 1000heads, this needed a place on our list of this week’s stories from social. According to Knowyourmeme, Redditor damuss submitted a post titled “Sometimes I feel like my friend’s dog has gone pretty deep” on October 4th, 2012, which featured a photograph of a pug staring wistfully out a rain-splattered window in the back seat of a car. Within five days, the post received over 13,187 up votes and 175 comments. The same day, Redditor PrinceWilliam13 submitted a post titled “Introspective Pug” to the /r/AdviceAnimals[1]subreddit, which featured the same photograph with the caption “I don’t know man, I just- / What if he really did throw the tennis ball, you know?”. Within four days, the post received over 21,500 up votes and 200 comments.

YouTube changes search algorithm to focus on engagement rather over clicks

YouTube just announced that it is changing its search ranking algorithm to highlight videos that keep viewers engaged. The idea here, says YouTube, is to “reward engaging videos that keep viewers watching.” Earlier this year, YouTube made it clear that its focus was going to be increasingly on watch time. When it updated its suggested videos algorithm, YouTube noted that it did so to “better surface the videos that viewers actually watch, over those that they click on and then abandon.”

YouTube also announced this week that it would add data like time watched to YouTube Analytics.

Read more on the YouTube creator blog.

Facebook EdgeRank debate continues

Over the previous few months, there’s been a lot written on mysterious changes to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. The EdgeRank algo, among other things, arbitrates the amount of brand posts that get pushed to fans’ feeds. Many brand posts are currently seeing up to 50% of their reach cut.

Facebook joined the conversation this week suggesting that these changes are in line with their continuing attempts to improve engagement and user value – by cherry picking the most relevant content and limiting the flood of less interesting or relevant brand posts. A spokesperson from Facebook said: “We’re continuing to optimize News Feed to show the posts that people are most likely to engage with, ensuring they see the most interesting stories. This aligns with our vision that all content should be as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family.”

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