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The week in social: Vine, foodstagramming and mot-diese

by Mike Davison on 27 January 2013

Twitter valued at $9 billion

Twitter has officially been valued at more than $9 billion. This follows an offer to staff by asset management firm BlackRock, arranged by Twitter itself. On Friday BlackRock launched an $80 million tender offer to a small number of Twitter’s earliest employees.

The BlackRock fund will invest up to $80 million to buy stock from early Twitter employees. These staff have not had any opportunity to exercise their share options since Twitter’s $800 million fundraising round in 2011. If those eligible all take up the offer it will leave the fund with a near 1% stake in Twitter.

Read more on The Wall blog.

Facewash lets users clean up their Facebook profile

A gaggle of Kent State University undergraduates have developed a Facewash app that will search users’ Facebook activity and content for items they may want to hide or delete. Ideal for errant students looking for that first job and those who just want to appear a bit more professional. The app analyses status updates, photo captions, and comments users left or received as well as pages and links that were liked.

Daniel Gur created the app over the weekend with two friends and fellow computer science majors in less than two days at a hackathon at the University of Pennsylvania.

Search for a term and the app starts looking through all of the user’s profile content. If Facewash finds a match, it’ll show it to the user and link the posts so the user can easily delete a status or remove a picture.

Commenting on the choice of name, he said “This is your face on the Internet, and you might need to wash it.”

GoPollGo releases Promoted Polls

Last week, SurveyMonkey was valued at over $1.3 billion. Clearly a fertile marketplace with big opportunities. So hope GoPollGo, which launched late in 2011 with its embedded, socially integrated polling platform.

This week, GoPollGo has launched of GoPollGo Promoted Polls. Essentially, the startup’s Promoted Polls now allow anyone to leverage the GoPollGo community to get responses to their questions quickly.

“Think of it as simple, speedy market research,” says founder Ben Schaecther. When someone creates a poll, they’ll have the ability to promote that poll to get responses for a fee of $0.50 per response. Similar to what Twitter now does with Promoted Tweets, this means that GoPollGo will layer in Promoted Polls within the stream of questions that users are served up on a daily basis.

Going forward, as the GoPollGo community continues to grow, the service plans to introduce new filters (like gender, age and location) that will be offered to businesses for a higher price.

The user base has increased 20 percent in the last 2.5 weeks, while the app has accumulated “thousands of downloads” and power users are taking as many as 50 to 60 polls per session, Schaechter says.

Read more on TechCrunch.

After a like, Facebook recommends other related pages

Facebook has introduced a new feature that encourages users to like similar pages to the one they’ve just liked. Examples include liking pages of other local businesses after a user has liked a local coffee shop or liking pages that cater for related interests (ie music or entertainment).

When a user mouses over a suggestion, the like button appears there and then. By clicking See All to the right, users see a full page of pages they might like, broken down by categories and local check-ins.

Read more on AllFacebook.

Twitter launches Vine

Following its recent acquisition of the video start-up, Twitter has speedily deployed the technology launched Vine to the world. Vine is a mobile service that lets you capture and share short looping videos of 6 seconds or less.

In fact, this weekend saw Vine break its first news story. Vine was used by NBC News to capture footage of a dolphin trapped in a NYC canal.

Facebook amends reciprocity policies

Facebook has amended its platform terms & conditions to clarify its position on how it will allow 3rd party apps and services to use its data and when. The company clarified two key points: developers may not use its platform if 1/ they replicate core functionality of Facebook or 2/ if they offer social experiences but do not enable people to share their activity back with people on Facebook.

The update comes in response to a number of issues in the past week where Facebook restricted developer and platform access to certain data. We covered the issues voice messaging app Voxer was experiencing in last week’s WIS post as it was cut off from using Facebook’s friend finder feature.

In regard to the issue of reciprocity, Facebook has now put this in writing in section I.10:

“Reciprocity and Replicating core functionality: (a) Reciprocity: Facebook Platform enables developers to build personalized, social experiences via the Graph API and related APIs. If you use any Facebook APIs to build personalized or social experiences, you must also enable people to easily share their experiences back with people on Facebook. (b) Replicating core functionality: You may not use Facebook Platform to promote, or to export user data to, a product or service that replicates a core Facebook product or service without our permission.”

Within hours of Twitter launching its Vine video-sharing application on Thursday, Facebook cut off access to Vine’s find people feature, which let Vine users find their Facebook friends using the Vine application.

Twitter recently cut off access to Instagram’s find your friends feature. It feels like a war brewing between the big social platforms. Not very helpful for end users.

Tumblr updates dashboard

Tumblr has updated its dashboard layout to make adding content easier. Users no longer have to skip in and out of the dashboard and admininstration of multiple blogs is now far easier via a new switch function atop the page.

Next to the create post button, a dropdown menu allows users to choose between publishing immediately, previewing content, adding to queue or saving as draft.

Users uploading video will notice they can now see and play the clip in the dashboard before hitting the preview button meaning they can edit the post and see how the video looks before previewing it in their blog.

The new design began rolling out to users from Thursday.

Bieber takes Twitter crown from Gaga

Bieber’s is now the No. 1 followed account on Twitter with over 33 million followers. Lady Gaga was the most-followed since 2010 and was the first person to pass 10 million, 20 million and then 30 million followers. She tweeted at Bieber last week, saying, “So proud of @justinbieber and all the Beliebers! I’m only happy to see your fans growing in size, you all deserve it! Monsters support you!”

New York restaurants ban Foodstagramming

Instagramming a picture of your meal: people love doing it, and on any given Sunday many Facebook feeds become clogged with friends’ brunch pictures. It is also starting to irk chefs and restaurateurs who claim it disrupts the ambience. Now restaurants across NYC, including the high profile Per Se and Chef’s Table have introduced blanket bans on food photography.

“It’s reached epic proportions,” says Steven Hall, the spokesman for Bouley and many other restaurants, who has worked in the business for 16 years. “Everybody wants to get their shot. They don’t care how it affects people around them.”

Read more on the NY Times site.

Kleek lets Facebook users make their own content filters

In response to Facebook’s ever-changing Edgerank algorithms and content filters, a German development team have built a new app to put the power back into the hands of users.

Kleek is a new app for iOS and allows users to create their own algorithms, filtering their news feed to see the friends and pages they want to see and giving users control over who sees each post.

Through Kleek, users can filter their news feed seven ways: all content, text-only, pictures, media, links, check-ins, and events from closest friends. With one tap, users can also block posts from third-party apps if they don’t care about what games their friends are playing or what music they’re listening to.

Tumblr blog documents some eybrow-raising Graph Searches

Actual Facebook Graph Searches is a Tumblr set up by Tom Scott which includes screenshots of real results (masked to protect the innocent) of searches like Mothers of Jews who like bacon and Married people who like prostitutes. The blog had 250,000 visits in the first 24 hours after launch having gone viral. Tom comments on the reason he set the blog up:

“Graph Search jokes are a good way of startling people into checking their privacy settings — but most people will never actually be affected by accidentally making data ‘public’. (Of course, for the unlucky ones, it won’t be a gamble worth taking.)

Most of the danger online comes not from strangers making half-assed joke searches: it comes from people who know you. A lot of the public data fails what I call the ‘bitter ex test’: can someone who hates you ruin your life with that information?”

French government ban the hashtag

France wants French Twitter users to stop referring to hashtags in favor of a new French definition: mot-dièse (sharp word).

The decision was made by a government office, the Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologie, which is tasked with inventing French-language equivalents to foreign-language terms (mostly anglicisms) found popping up in France.

While Twitter users in France won’t be penalized for referring to hashtags, all official French government legislation and correspondence will be required to refer to mot-dièses instead of hashtags.

Te’oing gains pace

Spreading the Manti Te’o saga still further and faster, Te’oing is the latest photo trend, similar Tebowing or Eastwooding, where users upload photos of themselves with a non-existent girlfriend using the hashtag #teoing. More than 25,000 tweets have been sent in the last week using the #teoing hashtag.

There’s also now a Tumblr dedicated to the meme.

Social referral platform Extole adds $7.6 million in funding

San Francisco-based Extole, a consumer-to-consumer social referral platform, announced that it has closed $7.6 million funding from existing investors including Shasta Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners.

The company’s platform allows brands to build custom social referral campaigns in which they first select a reward an referrer will earn for each successful referral, and specify the discount the referee will receive on their first purchase. Brands then create a link to the campaign on any one of their consumer-facing channels including their website, email marketing campaigns, or Facebook.

Facebook launches new conversion metric

In an effort to help marketers better track sales, Facebook has launched a new conversion measurement system. The new metrics have been developed to allow advertisers to measure the ROI of their Facebook ads by tracking user actions such as registrations and shopping cart checkouts motivated by people seeing the ads.

Facebook says it will allow marketers to better track when someone sees an ad on one platform and switches to another to make the purchase and described the benefits of the new conversion metric on its Studio blog:

“Marketers that are interested in using Facebook ads and sponsored stories to drive specific actions on their websites can now use conversion measurement both to understand the ROI of their ad spend and to improve that ROI on future campaigns. This should be extremely valuable for marketers in ecommerce, retail, travel, financial services, and other direct-response industries that value actions taken on their websites.”

Which social platforms influence TV viewing most?

A Nielsen survey from September and posted this week by eMarketer reveals that Facebook’s influence in getting someone to watch a certain TV show outpaces Twitter by more than a 3:1 margin. Platforms like GetGlue, Viggle and IntoNow barely registered on the survey, although this is more likely a result of Facebook’s superior scale than each individual platforms strength of influence – which the survey did not cover.

The survey also emphasised the primary importance of offline word of mouth and, more specifically, in-room conversations.

Read more on eMarketer.

Facebook experiments with new Timeline format

Facebook is experimenting with a new Timeline format that puts all of a user’s posts in a single column to the right and apps and other modules on the left.

The layout addresses a common user complaint of having to look back and forth on the page while scrolled through the stream. With this design, the line down the center has been removed. However, the navigation timeline of dates still exists in the top right of the page.

Another difference appears to be the increase in control that users have over modules. Each box has a pencil icon which users can click to then rearrange or hide the module. In the current Timeline design, users aren’t able to move these boxes and they can only hide the ones from third-party apps and Facebook-created modules are not editable.

Read more on Inside Facebook.

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