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Archive for the ‘The week in social’ Category

The week in social: Bolt, Facebook Save, and Wyldfire

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Facebook increases share of social logins

The social media giant Facebook has made another stride to ensure its users won’t be deserting the site any time soon. With the implementation of new login updates, the company now has a substantial 55% hold amongst all social logins (up from 52% in 2012). The “login with Facebook” option has become increasingly commonplace as it makes it extremely convenient for users to get to their favorite apps. On mobile devices, Facebook accounted for 64% of all social logins, with Google+ far behind at 25%, and Yahoo at 3%. Newly implemented standards for third party apps have widened the reach of the social platform while also ensuring the privacy of their users.


More information on Mashable.


Facebook launches new Save feature for content

Facebook’s brand new “Save for Later” feature, announced earlier this week, has made it possible for users to flag posts that they may not have time to view throughout the day. These items will not appear as “actions” and therefore are entirely personal and can serve as reminders to check out links, music, articles, etc. A simple click on the drop down menu takes users to the “Save” option; mobile users simply choose “More” to access this feature. This is an important step for Facebook, which had never before implemented a news feature that bookmarked or “favorited” items, as offered by Twitter.


Read more on TechCrunch.


Wyldfire puts a new spin on Tinder and online dating

Wyldfire is a new online dating platform that has its 6,000+ users hopeful for more success with meaningful romantic connections. The company, created by Brian Freeman and Andrew White, is a response to the burgeoning site Tinder. The founders based their philosophy on experiences they had on Tinder; they’ve made changes to the standard online dating format such as letting women “vouch” for the credibility or “non-creepiness” of the men and limiting messages to 20 per conversation. Freeman and White admit that Wyldfire is extremely similar to Tinder on the whole, which is a testament to the staying power of the latter dating platform. The new app is backed by a $150k angel investment, and it remains to be seen how the online dating community will respond to another app in a now crowded marketplace.

More information on Forbes.


Yahoo to buy mobile-analytics company Flurry

Yahoo has recently confirmed the acquisition of Flurry, a mobile analytics and advertising startup. The $200 million+ purchase goes along with Yahoo’s repeatedly steadfast mantra of being a “mobile first company”. Flurry was created in 2005 and has become one of the major contenders in app analytics. In its own words, Flurry has been instrumental in helping to grow the “app” into a $100+ billion industry by working with over 170,000 developers and gathering data from over 150 billion app sessions, according to information from TechCrunch. It is notable that since Marisa Mayer took over as CEO of Yahoo, there has been 30 acquisitions aimed at bolstering Yahoo’s mobile reach, and Flurry is the latest addition to that.

Read more on TechCrunch.


Cloud Atlas author tweets a new short story

Social media continues to integrate with the real world and now the literary world, this time spearheaded by a popular author. David Mitchell, the award-winning author of Cloud Atlas has developed a method of Internet publishing that is sure to engage readers of all kinds. His next work is a Twitter novella in parts, that are the standard 140 characters and mimic the fragmented nature of the subject in the story. Although not the first and certainly not the last, Mitchell’s efforts have been recognized as a new beacon for social media publishing, even if users have to spend a bit more time and energy putting together the parts of the story, adding a level of fun to a sometimes dull experience of reading.


More information on Washington Post.


Social usage trending downwards in China

Considering its population, it is not surprising that China leads the world with the largest amount of internet users in the world. Total internet users grew by 2.3 percent to 623 million users in the past six months, which is the slowest increase in eight years. In addition, social media usage in the country has dropped heavily due to crackdowns on “rumor mongering” by the government, dropping 20.4 million, to an overall total of 257 million. Mobile device use however, has increased 5.4 percent to 527 million, bolstered by the increased use of the “mobile login”. Whether social media use on mobile will rise with the overall increase in mobile usage remains to be seen.

More information on Business Week.


Facebook leaning on mobile for stock price growth

Facebook’s financial outlook is looking bright these days, as the company reported an overnight stock spike of 6% earlier this week; this after a solid second quarter earnings report as well. Mobile use and logins have been a big boon for the company, allowing users better access to their various interests. At $76 a share at the time of this report, Facebook’s stock is showing all signs of substantial gains in the future. Analysts are optimistic about new features, such as incorporated Instagram feeds, which will potentially boost activity, along with views of content and advertising, generating revenue for the largest social network.

Read more on Time.


Facebook continues to cause concern for users and lawmakers

Recent reports of Facebook’s experiments on a sample of over 800,000 people have caused some concern for users and lawmakers. The manipulation of users’ feeds to create a happy or sad mood is at the center of the debate about whether or not public free-ware companies are allowed to control their users in such a way. Through the use of advertising space, companies such as Yahoo, Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook have signed themselves into the ownership of an individual’s private information. Alternatively, companies such as Path (created by former Facebook employee Dave Morin) offer a paid service that engages users into supporting an ad-free platform. More questions continue to arise as Facebook has issued its second quarter earnings report earlier this week.


More information on CNet.


Bolt messaging app leaked on Instagram

Some Instagram mobile app users on Android have seen a notification for a “one tap photo messaging” app download as an alert on top of their feeds. Most users for now assume that this is a leak of an app that is not officially ready for launch yet, as when clicked, users are brought to a dead link in the Google Play store. There are no official statements on how the app will actually function, and whether it is meant to be a competitor to messaging apps like Snapchat, or something else. Facebook’s other mobile messaging app, Slingshot, has failed to garner to user numbers the company was hoping for, and wrapping a new app around the Instagram interface may be the next attempt to dethrone more popular options.


More information on Social Times.


Pinterest provides demographic numbers on its employees

The pin sharing social network has released a report detailing the demographic makeup of its employees earlier this week. Two key stats show that Pinterest’s work force is comprised of 40% females, and 50% caucasians, overall, a larger ratio of women than many other tech and social media companies. In terms of the company’s strictly tech segment, only 21% of those employees are females, compared with 10% on Twitter, and 15% on Facebook. Tracey Chou, an engineer for Pinterest shared the report, simultaneously calling out the need for greater transparency in the tech sector with regards to employee diversity.


More information on The Next Web.


Foursquare continues its rebranding efforts

As part of a large shift in its overall strategy, Foursquare has been in the process of switching checkins to a separate app, called Swarm. All the while it has been using user reviews, information, and other details about locations to build the core Foursquare app into a competitor for services such as Yelp. Foursquare has also visually rebranded itself, and through a blog post it provided users a preview of what they can expect to see in the coming months with the totally redone app. Users will have the opportunity the set tastes, follow experts, and more. There is no official release date for the rebranded Foursquare, but the company noted that once it launches, it will work seamlessly with Swarm.

Read more on The Foursquare Blog.


John Stewart starts kickstarter to buy CNN

Based on the news that media mogul Rupert Murdoch wanted to buy Time Warner for a purported $80 billion, John Stewart of The Daily Show fame had a segment on his show where he discussed the news and “started” a Kickstarter to buy CNN, one of its networks, himself. Although it is not a real campaign, it’s meant to put a lighthearted spin on the power of social crowdfunding, amid stories such as the Kickstarter that was funded for an individual to make potato salad. As is popular with Kickstarter, Stewart discusses different reward levels for people who back with different amounts.

More information on LA Times.

The week in social: Hashflags, Soundwave, and Facebook happiness index

Monday, July 21st, 2014

LinkedIn professionals are a premium audience for content marketing

The 2014 Trends and Benchmarks Report, conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, has shown that 90% of B2C marketers use content marketing, and out of that, 70% use LinkedIn to distribute this content, a popular choice as the network boasts 300 million members. A survey by LinkedIn of its user-base also revealed that they trust their peers and have more buying power than the average user of other social networks. The report goes on to detail that 90% of LinkedIn members make household decisions, are brand loyal, and are willing to purchase more expensive items if they feel they have higher quality. In addition, 25% of users surveyed have said they seek out information on purchases from LinkedIn, further proving the relevance of content and general marketing on the service.


More information on Social Times.


Google removes real name requirement for Google+

At the time Google launched its social network Google+, it required all users to provide their full real names when opening an account. Over time, these restrictions were removed from other Google services such as Pages and YouTube. Now users can have a alternate name, nickname or pseudonym for their Google+ account instead of their real name. This feature is likely a move to ease one of the complaints on a social network that has seen declines in recent months. The chief of Google+, Vic Gundotra, left Google in April, and there has been speculation that Google may kill the social network, although Larry Page, Google co-founder, has stated on his blog that the company is putting increased effort into developing Google+.

Read more on The Next Web.


Facebook helps provide school with free WiFi

In North Carolina, the Rutherford County School District will be part of a pilot program that will see Facebook, PANGEA internet, the school district, and its town, Forest City, bring the school district free WiFi. The initiative will start with 75 to 100 local homes, and will also provide laptops for middle school and high school students. In the future, the efforts will extend to include better network speeds, and more individual access. The town of Forest City will be providing the power and space for the end points for the WiFi, Facebook will be providing the end points themselves, and the WiFi signal will come from PANGEA, a non-profit organization.

More information on AllFacebook.


Heineken reveals trending nightlife spots on Twitter

Heineken has launched a new campaign that is aimed at reaching “contemporary men in 100 countries worldwide”, and it plans to do so through its new Twitter handle, @wherenext. Users can tweet at the handle with their location, and it will feed back to them with popular destinations nearby, based on their social activity relative to Twitter, Instagram, and Foursquare. An accompanying mobile site will show pictures of tagged venues from Instagram. Paul Smailes, Heineken’s head of global digital says he wants the app to be useful to nightlife patrons, and not just a branded app that will show users locations of bars that serve Heineken. The beer brand will be running a four month campaign to drive awareness of this new service.


Read more on Media Bistro.


Soundwave focuses on group messaging for music fans

Soundwave, an application focused on allowing users to share music they enjoy, has received a large update that includes a brand new messaging service. Called Music Messenger, the new feature allows users to create and participate in group messaging threads that share songs, artists, and playlists. In addition, the app has received a visual update and a new discovery interface to make it easier to find new music. These new features come as the app’s creator encourages use and interaction with the app, hoping that it will become a message service of choice, as opposed to its previous function of just sharing music into it.


More information on The Next Web.


Facebook makes Ads Manager available on mobile

Announced through a post on the Facebook for Business page, the Ads Manager has become available on iOS and Android versions of the official Facebook app. This will allow marketers and advertisers to manage their ad spends and campaigns on the go, where as previously the fully featured site was only available on desktop. Features that users will be able to take advantage of include pausing and resuming campaigns, editing budgets, viewing insights, and accessing alerts. The new feature for the mobile apps will roll out in the coming days on a global scale, with all advertisers to have complete access by the end of the summer.


Read more on AllFacebook.


Facebook testing new call to action button for buying

Facebook announced earlier this past week that it is testing a “buy” call to action button in order to help businesses push for direct sales through the news feed and their individual business pages. Facebook said in a statement, “With this feature, people on desktop or mobile can click the ‘Buy’ call-to-action button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook,”. Other social networks, including Twitter, have been experimenting with call to action buttons in order to drive direct conversions instead of just social actions with the content that is created on their sites.


Read more on Mashable.


Google Analytics receives application on iPhone

Google has launched an official web analytics app for iPhone, that allows users to access much of the same information on the web-based platform. Information that can be reported and viewed includes visits, sources of traffic, page views, and more. An additional feature is Real Time Reports, which allows a user to see web activity as it is happening right on the site. The feature will help marketers because they will be able to get a snapshot of their site at anytime from their mobile phone. The same app has been available on Android since June.

More information on TechCrunch.


Driver of train in Mexico caught playing Farmville

The temptations of mobile gaming reach everyone, even those who are supposed to be paying attention to work, or other important tasks. A train driver of Mexico City’s STC train system was caught playing Farmville on his iPad by a passenger with a smartphone video camera. It is alleged that the train driver would repeatedly open and close the doors of the train to buy himself more time to play the game. According to the STC, those actions are out of the norm, and the driver has been removed from current duties. The statement by the STC also criticized the driver for his actions, but this is not the first time a similar situation has occurred, as a train driver for the MTR in Hong Kong was caught using his iPad as well instead of paying full attention to his job.

Read more on CNet.


MTV launches social campaign to fight bias

The #GoodLook campaign, spearheaded by MTV, has been launched this past week to initiate social change as part of a multi-year push. As part of the campaign, individuals will asked to contribute real-life scenarios that either challenge or promote bias. The music programming brand will have two hashtags in use, #GoodLook for scenarios that challenge bias, and #NotAGoodLook for those that promote it. The best messages on social will be featured by MTV in late July on-air, and also on a “Look Different” website.


Read more on Lost Remote.


Twitter removes hashflag feature after World Cup

Twitter’s very popular, but short-lived ‘hashflag’ feature, introduced during the World Cup has disappeared completely, no longer working with tweets. During the competition, Twitter pages were full of colorful emoticons of flags from participating countries in the tournament, which were automatically displayed with the hashtag of the country’s abbreviation. The ‘hashflags’ are no longer displayed on new tweets now that the World Cup has ended. This also applies to tweets that previously used the tags. Nevertheless, the admired feature will likely return during the next World Cup, and potentially for other sporting events depending on user demand and request.

More information on Mashable.


Facebook happiness index linked to stock market performance

Applying an automated sentiment analysis, the Facebook happiness index determines the overall mood of Facebook users through millions of public status updates. Researchers at Erasmus University in the Netherlands and Scotland’s University of Glasgow have determined there is a casual relationship between this overall analysis and the performance of the stock market, through a study taking place in 20 countries. The purpose of the study was to highlight the importance of emotional decision making in financial markets, and reasons that the better the overall sentiment was on Facebook, the better the stock markets performed. Happiness on a given day would result in higher stocks the next. The study went on to say that negative sentiment resulted in larger amount of trading and bigger shifts in pricing of stocks.

Read more on Social Times.

The week in social: online dating, MindRDR, and potato salad on Kickstarter

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Facebook introduces video carousel on mobile

Facebook wants users to watch more videos, specifically on mobile. Facebook has taken notes from YouTube by updating their video player with a new ‘video suggestion’ feature. As a user finishes watching a video, the new feature then spotlights related videos. This is designed to engage the user with a continuous loop of clip viewing. The feature targets users who are already avid video viewers in order to maximize viewership, and is seen as a play not only to consumers of content but also for advertisers in the future. As video viewing becomes a more prolific activity on Facebook, it is likely that ad dollars will follow, although the carousel feature is currently only for organic content, and provided the metrics reflect high return on investment. This update comes on the heels of Facebook updating its video analytics in recent weeks.


More information on TechCrunch.


Flappy Bird clone debuts on Android smartwatches

Android users are very excited about the first batch of apps that Google has designed for Android Wear smart-watches. Flopsy Droid, the first game in the cluster, has sparked a lot of buzz, since it replicates the very popular but short-lived “infamous mobile gaming sensation,” Flappy Bird. Though there have been many second rate spinoffs, Flopsy Droid is the first clone made for the wearable hardware. The original Flappy Bird was considered to be so addictive that the Vietnamese developer, Dong Nguyen felt obligated to take it off the market. It remains to be seen if this clone will spark as much social conversation as Flappy Bird due to it being one of the first gaming experiences designed specifically for the wrist.


More information on CNet.


Twitter stock drops amid executive changes

After being priced as high as $70 per share last week, Twitter’s stock plummeted over 7% earlier this week. It now stands priced at less than $40 per share at the time of this story. The company recently made major management shifts, a move that has made investors understandably wary of the sudden change in pace. Price of stock in the technology sector overall has dropped, as Netflix and Tesla also saw decreases in their per-share price earlier this week. Twitter has experienced difficulties in gaining investor confidence as it constantly changes and adds new features to its service.

Read more on TechCrunch.


Data points to Pinterest’s increasing popularity over Twitter

According to the Pinterest marketing firm Ahalogy’s data, Pinterest has surpassed Twitter in popularity throughout the US with 53 million active monthly users. Pinterest is looking to increase their lead over Twitter in hopes of joining the ranks of Facebook and LinkedIn as part of the ‘Big Three’, currently measured by market capitalization. The key to their favorable momentum is the growing number of male users, making the currently female-centered usership twice as powerful. With 22% of users above the age of fifteen using Pinterest on a monthly basis, Ahalogy estimates that it is slightly ahead of Twitter, at 19%. Pinterest has been aggressively challenging Twitter for the #3 position in the social media industry for many years; however, the company is not likely to hold the spot for long if it fails to attract both a more consistent active user base and more male users.

More information on Forbes.


Google maps introduces feature to measure distances

Google has released a very handy, desktop-designated update. By selecting “Measure Distance”, the site now allows a user to plot out a path by selecting and adding points on the map. Google outlines the distance for each point selected, whether on the highway, the ski slopes or enjoying backwoods hiking. This new feature will undoubtedly be a huge advantage for users looking to navigate their way around major cities. The feature was previously part of the Google Labs options, but is now a core feature. A potential next step for this feature includes sharing routes among Google contacts, as sharing a location pin is already an often-used feature, especially within the mobile offering.


More information on The Next Web.


Kickstarter for potato salad raises over $70 thousand

A week ago, Zach Brown was just a regular guy from Columbus, Ohio who wanted to make potato salad, and wanted $10 from the Kickstarter community to help. Exactly a week later, he’s an internet celebrity with nearly $50,000 raised for his culinary efforts to make a seemingly innocuous food dish, through Kickstarter. The popular fundraising website carries thousands of prospective campaigns raising money for art projects, musical endeavors, film production, literary research, amongst a myriad of others deemed worthy of public donations. Launched on July 3rd, the campaign for Brown’s potato salad (to the understandable shock of Brown and his investors & detractors) has now become one of the most highly debated entities on the site. Most funders simply said that they gave pledges merely because they “love the silliness” of pledging for a potato salad. Brown has stated he plans to donate a great portion of the money raised to charity.

Read more on The New Yorker.


Brazil features the most popular football players of the World Cup

The Brazilian soccer team has suffered a understandably disappointing exit from World Cup contention, especially considering their status as hosts of their tournament. However, their involvement in the World Cup was not without many positive consequences, especially with respect to social media. The squad has been able to capitalize on their publicity via their use of social media. Neymar, who had 3.3 million followers throughout the competition was able to produce three of the most popular photos of the entire tournament. The players from Brazil overall garnered over 60 million likes and comments on Instagram, and according to the service, 7 of the ten most followed football players come from Brazil’s team.


More information on Mashable.


21 percent of Americans have used online dating

In a study conducted recently from YouGov, one half of respondents believed that it would be easier to find a relationship online, but that only one third felt a relationship that started online would last. 15% of respondents have admitted to using online dating in the past, and 6% admitted to currently using one. Although online dating has become a popular activity and the number of apps that put a spin on this experience is on the rise, there is still some hesitancy over its use and a negative stigma attached to it, especially among older age groups. An additional insight from the study shows that half of respondents feel users misrepresent themselves on online dating sites, a possible cause of hesitancy for mass adoption among the average user.

Read more on Social Times.


Facebook encourages advertisers to use conversion pixels

In an effort to help advertisers and marketers measure the true impact of their ad spend, Facebook is encouraging the use of conversion pixels on ads. Essentially, a conversion or tracking pixel is placed on a website at the point of conversion, and when a user clicks a Facebook advertisement and is brought to a landing page or the hub of a marketing campaign, the pixel can be “fired” off when a user makes a purchase, enters an email, or takes some other action that closes the marketing funnel. As marketers want to be able to trace a more complete path of online advertising, pixels and other conversion tracking will become more prolific and common-place.


More information on AllFacebook.


LinkedIn gets two new members every second

As the most popular professional social network continues to grow and expand, new statistics have been revealed about its growth and trajectory. LinkedIn now experiences user growth of two users every second, all day long, everyday. In addition, due to a renewed focus on mobile, usage of the mobile applications has grown to include 43% of total traffic this year to date. The company also now has over 5,000 employees globally, and features 6 dedicated apps as part of its “multi-app” strategy. The stats were revealed earlier this week at the MobileBeat conference in San Francisco.

Read more on VentureBeat.


Application on Google Glass can read minds

A new application for Google Glass from the London-based startup The Place allows users to take a photo, and then share on social, simply by concentrating on a object. Using a special NueroSky headset, users can focus their mental energy on a specific object, and the application can read the user’s level of concentration, and take a photo if the period of time is long enough. If the user focuses on the object a second time, the photo can then be shared on social media. The application, called MindRDR, has not been reviewed or approved by Google, so it is not available on the Google Glass store, and in order to use the app, users must purchase the related headset at a cost of $120 USD.

More information on Social Times.


New social network erases all content after 24 hours

Although it is a popular trend for messaging services to delete content after a set period of time, it is more rare for a fully-featured social network to do the same thing. The genesis of the idea for Sobrr, the network that deletes all content after 24 hours, came from when founder Bruce Yang had a “The Hangover” moment in Las Vegas. The reason Yang created the network is because he wanted users to stay engaged with the present moment, saying, “The fact that everything will disappear soon keeps the user engaged with things in the present.”. It remains to be seen how popular the network will become, especially as the growth of social networks is fueled by younger generations, who have less concern with privacy, especially online.

Read more on VentureBeat.

The week in social: Tap Commerce, Orkut, and Messenger for iPad

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Brazil vs. Chile becomes most tweeted sporting event in history

World Cup fever has picked up all over the world and across social networks, but no single sporting event has ever reached the pure mass of tweets that the Brazil vs. Chile game did late last week. Twitter itself revealed through a post on its Twitter Data account that during the penalty kick portion of the game, tweets were being sent at a rate of 389,000 per minute, beating the previous sporting event record, the Super Bowl, which had 382,000. This is good news for Twitter as it seeks to attract advertising dollars by positioning itself as a key location for discussion about sports and other televised events and shows.

More information on The Next Web.


Twitter acquires Tap Commerce for $100 million

In an effort to improve its mobile advertising platform and offerings, Twitter has purchased Tap Commerce, a company that focuses on advertising retargeting and re-engagement, a method of showing advertising to users who have visited a company website or have shown some other form of interest in a product or service. The move comes as Twitter has put a priority on meeting the needs of mobile app marketers, and the partnership will provide these marketers with additional tools and methods of measurement. Tap Commerce currently has an advertising network spanning over 50,000 apps, and Twitter plans to add this capability to the network it has already built through partnerships with companies such as MoPub.


Read more on Twitter Blog.


World Cup garners 1 billion engagements on Facebook

Further touching on the World Cup fever, Facebook in the last week announced that there has been over 1 billion engagements related to the 2014 World Cup to date. With still about a week to go in the global tournament, this is a record-breaking announcement for Facebook. A single post from Neymar, one of the more popular players representing Brazil in the tournament, garnered nearly 2.5 million likes. The analysis came from the Facebook Data Science team, and it remains to be seen how many more interactions will take place coming into the final, especially if the host country, Brazil, makes it in.

More information on AllFacebook.


Google shutting down Orkut social network

At the end of September, Google will be shutting down Orkut, a social network popular in other countries such as Brazil and India. Launching in 2004, its focus was on social interactions and photo sharing. The search and online services company cited the growth of other channels, such as Google+, YouTube, and Blogger as the reason for shutting down Orkut, but did not respond when questioned about user numbers. New users are no longer able to set up new accounts, but existing ones can export all of their content using Google Takeout. Other social services that Google has shuttered over the years include Google Buzz and Google Wave.

Read more on CNet.


Facebook testing Missed Call ad in other countries

As Facebook continues to develop its strategy for gaining users in emerging markets, it is testing a new ad format with a call to action that says “Missed Call” in India. This ad format aims to play off of the missed call behavior in India and other developing countries, whereby individuals will make a phone call, but hang up before the recipient answers, indicating that they want a call back, as they are outside the country or are otherwise trying to avoid high voice call costs. With the new ad on Facebook, users can click and place a missed call, and in the return call, users will receive content such as music or sports scores, without having to expend call time or mobile data. Facebook is planning to expand this feature to a larger set of advertisers, in addition to the expansion of targeting options for ads across emerging markets in general.


Read more on The Next Web.


Twitter hires third CFO of the last two years

Twitter has changed directions financially several times in the past two years, and especially since it has gone public, as evidenced by the hiring and ousting of its CFOs. The current CFO, Mike Gupta, will be leaving the role, but not Twitter, and will be moving to a role where he will lead strategic investments. Anthony Noto, a former Goldman Sachs employee, will be the new CFO. Noto was the head banker on Twitter’s IPO, and will be receiving a package from the microblogging giant that includes $80 million worth of stock and options. It is speculated that Noto was brought in due to his acquisition experience and it remains to be seen what new companies Twitter may purchase in the near future.

More information on Quartz.


Partnership expands between Twitter and Bing

As Bing aims to extend its search functionality, it has integrated further with Twitter, to allow users to search for public mentions of hashtags, and usernames. When a user starts a search with a “#” symbol, the search will be auto-filled with popular hashtags that match the first few letters the user enters. The functionality is largely the same for usernames, and verified users will be denoted with “verified” under the search result. Additionally, the integration will show users tweets about celebrities even if they search the name without an ‘@’ symbol.


Read more on Media Bistro.


Morgan Stanley employees gain more freedom to tweet

Financial services companies have long been strict about what their employees would be allowed to say on social media. Up until recently, financial advisors and brokers for Morgan Stanley had to choose from a pre-approved set of tweets if they wanted to post on Twitter. Now, 1,300 of these same employees have been approved by the financial services company to tweet at will. In order to do so however, the approved individuals have to go through a guidelines course, and each tweet has to be pre-approved before it goes out, which can take up to 7 hours, according to a story on the Wall Street Journal.

Read more on CNet.


Ukrainian bar offer booze for buzz

A nightclub in Kiev, Ukraine, is trying a new approach to generating buzz for its business. The Boom-Boom Room, comprised of four different bars, has “The Check-in” bar, that lets visitors “buy” different drinks for a variety of social media activities. One drink will call for an Instagram selfie (with the name of the bar tagged in it), or another drink can be “purchased” for a having the Foursquare mayorship. Visitors are limited to redeeming social media earned drinks once per night, and there are three other bars in the club that offer standard pay-by-cash drinks. When the bar in the club opened, revenue jumped 20% compared to a similar night.


Read more on The Wall Street Journal.


Vine lets users see popularity of each post

Vine is adding a new feature to its service that will allow users to see how popular an individual post is. The “loop” feature, available on iOS and Android versions of the app, shows how many times people have looped a video, inclusive of where a Vine has been embedded on another site. This will likely help not only the common user, but the marketer who uses Vine to determine how effective each piece of their content is, although it remains to be seen if number of loops is correlated to how many unique individuals views a post.


More information on Lost Remote.


Facebook Messenger arrives on iPad

The first standalone application outside of its standard app, Facebook has updated its Messenger app to provide full native support to iPad – previously only available for iPhone. Users were able to use the app on iPad, but it was just an enlarged version of the iPhone app. New features for the application based on the update earlier this past week include bug fixes and the ability to save a video taken in the app directly to the mobile device’s photo roll. It remains to be seen how Messenger will continue to evolve with Facebook’s recent acquisition of What’s App for $16 billion earlier in the year.


More information on Mashable.


Tumblr VP of Product and Engineering leaves company

Derek Gottfrid, a key employee of Tumblr since 2010, coming from the New York Times, is leaving the company, following an internal memo from David Karp, founder of the company. Reports indicate that Gottfrid functioned as a “shadow” CEO, organizing the company, pushing it into the advertising business, and helping orchestrate the deal for Yahoo to acquire it for $1.1 billion. Sources close to the matter have stated that recently, Gottfrid had made the company “less fun” to work for, but there is still open speculation as to the whole cause of the ousting.

Read more on Business Insider.

The week in social: YouTube tip jar, Mars selfie, and BBC on Reddit

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Lenovo patents its version of Google Glass

Google Glass has some new competition. Lenovo has designed and patented a brand new version of high-tech glasses. However, Lenovo was very careful to focus on the recording aspect of these specs and not dub it a “wearable”, especially in the patent, as to not rouse into any copyright issues with competitors. With that being said, these sound-capturing glasses contain an audio and video recorder, light, as well as wireless communication capabilities. With Lenovo kicking off the competition, the future’s race to make more stylish and technologically advanced glasses will continue to thrive. It remains to be seen the social impact of Lenovo’s effort, as Google has a leg up in available applications for wearable technology.


More information on TechCrunch.


Curiosity Rover takes a selfie on Mars

NASA Mars Curiosity Rover has officially completed its first solar orbit, having spent 687 Earth days on the red planet. In honor of its first new year, the lonely robot took a “selfie” with nothing but sand dunes and craters in the background. Though the mechanism is completely alone and self-sufficient, the modern technologically advanced robot still stays up-to-date with the times, as taking a “selfie” is one of the most popular types of posts to share on social media. NASA has stated that the Rover has accomplished its original intent, determining if Mars once had conditions required to sustain life. Users can follow the path of the Mars Rover through its Facebook and Twitter pages.


More information on Mashable.


World Cup to be one of the most talked-about events on social media

The World Cup is proving to be the most talked about social media event ever. For example, when the United States recently played against Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo, who is on Portugal’s national team and is considered by many to be the best player in the world, was mentioned on Twitter 1.5 million times during the match. This was only one instance, and the opening match of the World Cup itself between Brazil and Croatia spurred over 12 million Tweets. With more public social media mentions than the Super Bowl, the World Cup has boosted its international popularity and augmented its appeal in the US through social media, becoming one of the most talked about events online.

More information on CNN.


Facebook updates video ranking methods

Facebook has announced an updated method of ranking videos, both from individual users and from Pages. The new rankings use factors such as how many people have viewed a video, and for how long, to determine their prevalence in the news feed, similar to how other content is ranked. Facebook stated that they are constantly evaluating which content is most valuable to users, and trying to show content in their feeds to match. Additional factors in news feed appearance include engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares. Users who watch more videos in news feed in general will also see more videos appear at the top of their feeds moving forward. Facebook has encouraged Page admins to review the video metrics portion of their pages to see how their videos stack up.

Read more on AllFacebook.


Yo app considering a business-focused version

Based on the new popular application’s growth of 950,000 users in only four days, the creator of the Yo app, Life Before Us LLC, is considering a business-focused follow up. An analyst from Reticle Research, Ross Rubin, compared Yo to Twitter, stating the company is making a statement about the verbose nature of social communications. Although specific details of the new version were not spelled out, it appears as if the business version would be a way for consumer businesses to interact with individual users, or as a tool to aid corporate communications, using still only the word “Yo”.

More information on VentureBeat.


BBC launches video news on Reddit

After a successful experimentation with Instafax, delivering bits of important news via Instagram, BBC is expanding its social footprint to the popular news-sharing site, Reddit. Users can access a Subreddit thread that features video clips from BBC, and this is seen as an obvious move due to the high volume of traffic Reddit receives, around 113 million hits in the last month. The service actually launched over a month ago, but was just officially announced on social through BBC’s Twitter account. It remains to be seen if the dedicated Subreddit creates popularity among Reddit’s userbase.


More information on The Next Web.


Social media clauses becoming part of prenuptial agreements

As a new trend in legal agreements made before marriage, couples are having social media clauses added to prenuptials that stipulate when and how much information can be shared online by an individual on social media. Popularly, the clauses, if breached, can cause different penalties from fines all the way to having to carry out domestic duties. The trend in these agreements does not only span the wealthy or celebrities anymore, as an increasing amount of couples are filing these agreements in general, either with or without the social media clause. To put a statistic to this new phenomenon, over 80 percent of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers have stated that the involvement of social media in some way in divorce proceedings has increased.

Read more on Social Times.


Twitter experimenting with Retweets featuring comments

A new feature quietly being tested by Twitter, Retweet with a comment aims to let users add context to a Retweet in a less messy way than the quote Tweet option works. As shown by the screenshot below, users will be able to add a comment to the tweet, and the tweet itself becomes a Twitter Card, a clickable embedded link within a tweet that a user can click in their stream to expand or view on a next screen. Previously, when someone would use the quote Tweet feature, they would often have to cut a portion of the original tweet in order to be able to add their own commentary. It remains to be seen if this feature will hit all users, as Twitter has a tendency to quietly test many features, but only implement a fraction of these across its whole user base.


More information on TechCrunch.


Forrester study shows that teens still use Facebook in large numbers

In a report released earlier this week from market research company Forrester Research, the majority of teens (2/3 of a 4,500 sample size) have stated they use Facebook at least once per months, with a third of the sample size saying they use it “all the time”. Even compared against combined usage of WhatsApp and Instagram, Facebook still comes out as the most used social/communications network. As for Instagram, half of the teens surveyed said they use Instagram at least once per month.

Read more on VentureBeat.


Twitter introduces Ramadan Hashflags

For those who are celebrating the holy fasting month of Ramadan, Twitter has introduced a second set of “hashflags”, after those introduced for specific countries during the World Cup. Twitter stated that last year there were over 74 million mentions of Ramadan on the micro-blogging service. Any user who tweets #Ramadan or #Eid, in Arabic or in English will now see special icons in the form of a crescent or calligraphy next to the hashtagged term. In addition, users can tweet #iftar and their location to the news channel @alarabiya to find out when they can break their fast for the day.

More information on The Guardian.


YouTube debuts new features at VidCon

Susan Wojcicki, the new CEO of video-sharing social network YouTube, announced several key new features at VidCon this past week. The first of these features is a crowd-sourced translation option, where users who can speak multiple languages will be offered a prompt to add subtitles to videos, to give them more global appeal. The feature will be available on an opt-in basis. In addition, users will soon be able to “tip” video creators, offering them any amount of compensation as a thank you, from $1 to $500. For creators of videos, new features will include the option to upload a video in 60 frames per second, as well as new access to a music and sound effects library and an analytics and channel management app for mobile. According to Wojcicki, these new features as well as others will be available in the coming months.


More information on Mashable.


Facebook augments Custom Audience targeting for ads

Facebook has improved its Custom Audiences advertising targeting product, now allowing advertisers to show three different products or services within an ad, and improving its custom audiences for websites feature. The multi-product advertisements will be available on both desktop and mobile, with each product having its own image, description, and clickable section. As far as custom audiences for websites, advertisers can now target users who have had specific interaction with their website, including being frequent visitors, or those who have not visited their website recently. Targeting can also be as granular as towards those who have visited specific pages of the advertiser’s website.


More information on AllFacebook.

The week in social: Fire Phone, Facebook outages and “Yo”

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Twitter now supports Gifs

Twitter came out with a feature that makes it easy to upload and display GIFs on your timeline.  “Starting today, you can share and view animated GIFs,” Twitter tweeted on Wednesday.  This new platform makes it possible to add GIFs through all your devices.  Will Facebook ever get aboard the “GIF train” or do they still think it will be sloppy in the news feed?  This long-awaited introduction is a big boost for Twitter in the world of social media.  What will they do next?

Read more on Mashable.


Say “Yo” to your contacts

Remember “poking” on Facebook?  “Yo” is a new app with a very similar concept, except for the romantic connotation. This new app features one button that when you press it, your contact is notified that you need them for some reason. Yo may be minimal, but in reality it is a whole new quick and easy way to get notifications from family and friends.  Simple as that. Just say, “Yo.”

Read more on CNet.


The most liked photo on Instagram is…

The couple put more effort than you would think, spending four days editing the photo to make it perfect.  The photo received two million likes in twenty-four hours, trumping Justin Bieber and crowning the newly weds as having the most-liked Instagram photo of all time.  It took four days to edit and detail, because the flowers were off-color and certain other features needed alterations.  It gives it more of an organic flair to know that the couple had a major part in making the popular photo to what it has now become.

More information on TechCrunch.


Amazon unveils Fire Phone

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed a brand new smartphone this week called the Fire Phone. An extension of Amazon’s Kindle Fire line of tablets, the smartphone will be released for the public on July 25 exclusively for AT&T in the U.S. The phone will cost $199.99 for a 32 GB version, while a 64 GB version will be an additional $100. An exciting part of the Fire Phone is that it will run Amazon’s custom version of Android, called Fire OS and is capable of displaying 3D images. Every camera is equipped with an infrared light so the Fire Phone’s 3D effect should work even in low-light conditions. An additional feature that users will be thrilled about is that the phone will offer free, unlimited photo storage on the Amazon Cloud for pictures captured by the 13-megapizel camera.

More information on ZDnet.


LinkedIn releases new job search app

According to LinkedIn, applicants who apply to job opportunities on the first day they’re posted are 10% more likely to land the job. This means that if you are actively searching for a new job, the search shouldn’t stop when you step away from your desk. This week, LinkedIn launched the new “LinkedIn Job Search App for iPhone,” which provides a one-stop shop for all your job seeking needs. LinkedIn hopes that the new app will be a more streamlined search, one that is customizable with recommended jobs tailored for you. Currently, more than 40% of LinkedIn users are using the professional social site to search for jobs.

Learn more on LinkedIn.


Facebook makes big changes to iPad App

Facebook’s latest iPad app update is primarily focused at keeping users engaged for a longer period of time by placing plenty of trending and entertaining content in the sidebar. The first and second corners will continue to show upcoming birthdays and trending topics, but below that users will see “My Games” which will include easily accessible links to games that they’ve previously played. More than 70% of people who use Facebook for iPad have played a Facebook-connected game in the past 90 days. To target these users, Facebook has dedicated a section of the app to display those games and in the future, will also showcase ads that game developers can use to engage players. There will also be a section for “Trending Videos” which will show “a personalized selection of the most-shared videos among your demographic on Facebook right now.”

More information on Marketing Pilgram.


Major Facebook outage affects users worldwide

Earlier this week, Facebook suffered a major outage that affected both its website, smartphone and tablet apps around the world. This outage prevented users from accessing the site and was the first time Facebook has suffered a widespread outage that has lasted more than a few minutes. The outage caused users to head to other social sites such as Google+, Twitter and Instagram to complain. Facebook’s last major outage was in 2010, when the site was unreachable for 2 ½ hours due to a server error.  Facebook has not made an official announcement as to what caused the recent outage, but it was likely to be something major to have affected the site and apps globally.

Find more information on The Guardian.

Facebook redesigns Android app to be quicker, more efficient

Facebook’s Android app is now much easier to use, thanks to a massive engineering overhaul that took place in the last year. Now, the app starts up 50% faster than just six months ago, it uses 50% less data than a year ago and the download is 65% smaller than it was at the beginning of 2014. It was made when Facebook realized that phones have low storage, especially in developing nations like those in Africa and decided that it was time to make a change. The company experimented with a number of different image compression technologies and decided to switch to WebP, a format whose quality looks the same but requires approximately 25% less data than a jpg.

Read more on TechCrunch.


Snapchat introduces collaborative timeline

This week, Snapchat introduced “Our Story” to the public. The idea behind the new update is whenever users are at a big event, an option to add to that event’s Story will appear. That means an entire group of attendees can post to a single stream of event content, regardless of being friends on the app or not. Snapchat hasn’t specified which stories will have the “Our Story” functionality but that is likely to be seen in the coming future.

More information on TechCrunch.


Path is back with new changes

Path is back! For over a year, Path CEO didn’t mention anything in regards to updates or changes to the app. However, this week the company unveiled the latest updates that have been kept quiet: a messaging app, an acquisition and a social network where users can add as many friends as they want. Path Talk, the name of the new messaging app is now a standalone feature. Users will no longer be able to chat inside Path anymore. A few key changes that sets apart Path Talk from when it used to be inside the app is that messages disappear after 24 hours. Next, Talk incorporates the location of friends nearby by showing details of what you’re doing automatically. The company also acquired TalkTo, which allows users to text businesses and get responses in under five minutes. This new acquisition will be integrated into Path Talk by the end of the summer.

Find out more on The Verge.


The week in social: Slingshot, Feedly hacked and Vine in space

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Vine heads to space

The first Vine video has been posted from the International Space Station! NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted the six second looping video, showing a single Earth orbit, which typically takes about 92 minutes on the ISS. According to Wiseman’s caption, the sun never sets in the footage because the space station is traveling parallel to the Earth’s “terminator line,” which is the line that separates the day and night surfaces of the Earth.

Read more on Mashable.


Instagram ads go international

Popular photo-sharing platform Instagram announced that they will begin delivering ads to users outside the United States. The first countries up for receiving the ads are Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, however, more countries will be added in the near future. The exact numbers for how many of Instagram’s 200 million+ users are outside of the United States is unknown since Instagram doesn’t break down its user demographics public, but a spokesperson did mention that the ads will be tailored and targeted to the individual reasons.

Read more on Adweek.


Introducing Facebook ad preferences

The option to customize the ads users see on Facebook is on its way as the social platform makes ads more accessible and easier to control. Facebook ads are served based on interests and demographics data. However, the social network is making strides to give the users more control over which ads they are served. Users will now be able to see exactly why they are being served a particular ad and also choose to remove certain ads based on particular interests. In the US, ad preferences will be available in the next few weeks, but wont be accessible on a global scale until the next few months.

More information on CNet.


Facebook accidentally releases Slingshot

The highly anticipated Snapchat competitor that Facebook has been promising for some time was temporarily released Monday, June 9th until a Facebook spokesperson announced that they “accidentally released a version of Slingshot.” Slingshot, Facebook’s own version of Snapchat, allows friends to share photos and videos of what they’re currently up to, by “slinging” that content to others on the serice. Unlike Snapchat however, friends can’t see your shot until they sling something back at you. It is unsure if there was an error with the app or if it was simply “accidentally” released as Facebook has not made any other comments.

More information on The Next Web.


Feedly and Evernote hacked and held to ransom

Earlier this week, popular sites Evernote and Feedly suffered a DDoS attack, also known as distributed denial of service attack. Due to this attack, users were not able to access the website or load any of their feeds on the Feedly app. According to Feedly, the perpetrator is holding the site ransom and asking for money to stop the attack. Feedly has refused to cooperate. Evernote, which is integrated with Feedly, suffered a similar attack, but service was restored quickly.

Learn more on Forbes.


Expedia accepts Bitcoin for hotel reservations

Becoming the very first travel agency to do so, Expedia announced that they would begin accepting Bitcoin for hotel reservations in the coming months. All of Expedia’s transactions will go through Coinbase, an international digital wallet that allows users to securely buy, use, and accept Bitcoin currency. While this is a huge step for Expedia, there are still certain limitations with the new capability. For example, users are not able to book hotels with Bitcoin using Expedia’s mobile app, nor are they able to book flights, cars or cruises. If all goes well with the hotel bookings, this could be possible in the near future.

More information on PC World.


Starbucks gets charged up

Are you tired of your phone dying when you’re out and without your phone charger?  That won’t happen anymore, because Starbucks has plans to set up wireless phone-charging stations at their locations, most of which are on almost every block in major cities, so you’ll never be too far away.

Beginning with San Francisco this year, Starbucks will be using Powermat’s wireless charging station in its Starbucks and Teavana shops, before they expand to other cities in 2015.

Starbucks is the most popular coffee shop in the world, and it is the quintessential spot to bust out your laptop or mobile device because of their free WiFi.  These charging stations will be very beneficial to customers and Starbucks itself, and the expansion of the device may even spread to other metropolitan areas before 2015.

Find more information on CNet.


Google acquires Skybox

Google is acquiring Skybox imaging, who specializes in taking satellite photos, for $300 Million.  The Skybox claim to fame is that they designed and launched the world’s smallest high-resolution imaging satellite, which provides data analytics and imaging of Earth.  This will help to improve Google Maps with top-of-the-line, real time images.  Also, Google intends to design and launch their own fleet of satellites that will in turn, help companies to expand their reach and bring Internet connection all around the world.  The goal is to make information more accessible for everyone.

Read more on The Verge.


Pinterest adds Guided Search to the Web

Just a few short months ago, Pinterest revealed plans for a new Guided Search feature on its mobile app. Now, that same feature will be available on the website as well. Users will see a new search bar when visiting Pinterest.com with the search features recommending keywords that are intended to help generate more specific searches and search results. The site is home to more than 30 billion pins and 750 million boards, so the new Guided Search will be a great resource for users. The new search tool will be available to users in the United States in the next couple weeks, while international users will get Guided Search on the web at a later point.

More information on Pinterest.


Twitter tests new mobile ad feature

Twitter is testing out a new mobile ad feature with two World Cup advertisers, Visa and Adidas. The new feature allows users to share a video ad easily when users use a hashtag. This will allow consumers who are using campaign-affiliated hashtags to further spread their messaging with promotional videos. Twitter initially tested out the feature with the film A Million Ways to Die in the West, however results on that are currently unknown.

Find out more on Mashable.

The week in social: HealthKit, Myspace and Skype Translator

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Apple Introduces HealthKit

Apple’s brand new HealthKit app works directly with Bluetooth-supported wearables.  These wearables, such as fitness bracelets, will sync all of your fitness and health tracking devices directly to the HealthKit app, including heart rate and sleep activity. Apple has  partnered with the Mayo Clinic and other heath care providers to convert your smartphone into a personal doctor, even notifying your physician if your health stats are not in good condition to schedule an appointment.

Connected health has taken fitness tracking to the next level, and it is not looking good for previous health apps.  Once again, Apple has broken ground in the digital marketplace.

Read more on Gigaom.


Pinterest rolls out new “Business Insights”

Pinterest has launched a new service allowing small-to-medium sized businesses to place Promoted Pins into the search and category feeds on the popular social platform. This paid placement endeavor is very much like Google AdWords, with an auction-based component, where companies bid for keywords and pins, to ultimately optimize the experience for users and create a stronger brand awareness and recognition of products.  The paid placement platform will be available very soon.

Read more on Forbes.


Facebook Makes Changes…Again

Facebook has decided to remodel, replacing the two-column, newspaper-style layout with a more simple single-column interface for timelines.  The recently released, easy-to-use new design allows users to move around sections and personalize their own page.

The same Facebook that vowed to offer uncluttered, uniform pages to everyone, seems to be taking a page from MySpace’s playbook as they instead emphasise customization.  The plan is that the individual pages will resonate with the common Facebook user and keep people more engaged.

More information on The Next Web.


Skype Translator Has Arrived

Skype Translator, developed by Microsoft Research, is a revolutionary way to bridge the gap between languages with a real-time, speech-to-speech translator.  The Skype community is extremely large, with more than 300 million active members across the globe, and a perfect partner for the project.

Even in its first stages, the Skype Translator only has a small delay before the speech is voice-synthesized into the translated language.  Skype Translator will even get to know individual users’ speaking habits and will improve translations over time.  Microsoft has not established a timetable of when this new technology will be released.

Learn more on The Huffington Post.


Myspace Wants You Back

In an attempt to win back its audience, Myspace has chosen to blackmail its users by emailing them old, only slightly embarrassing photos of themselves. These emails include one or two old photos with the line, “The good, the rad and the what were you thinking…” and a link that takes users back to their original profile.

While the strategy itself is clever and definitely intriguing, it remains to be seen whether it is actually enticing users to visit their old profiles. Currently, Myspace has over 15 billion user photos in its database and is still quite popular with music fans.

More information on Mashable.


Facebook Friends List – Not as Private as You Thought

The list of features on Facebook that aren’t as private as initially believed only seems to be growing. This week, it’s your friends. According to the current privacy settings on the social network, Facebook users are allowed to set the visibility of their friends list, so if a user wants their friend list to be private, they can do so by setting the visibility to “Only Me.”

The issue here is that other users may still be able to see some of your friends even if they can’t see the full list, so the “Only Me” setting isn’t as accurate as initially believed. There is an alert that pops up on the friend list privacy settings screen, but unless a user is playing special attention, they may not see it.  Therefore, your privacy settings are truly only as safe as the privacy settings used by your friends.

More information on Business Insider.


Nintendo and YouTube Partners Together

There is big news in the gaming world. Nintendo and YouTube are now collaborating to allow players to upload their gameplay footage directly from a Wii U console to YouTube. With the new program, Nintendo, Google and the content creators posting clips featuring gameplay from Nintendo games will split revenue made from YouTube advertising.

Due to Nintendo’s newest console, the Wii U, having very little success in the market and the company still reeling from their third consecutive full-year loss, it’s no surprise that the company was searching for new ways to increase income. Whether this partnership will be a success or not remains to be seen.

More information on Mashable.


LinkedIn Revamps Profile Design

Not one to be left behind after its social counterpoints introduced new updates, LinkedIn has announced new design changes to their profiles. Currently, only premium designers will have access to the new look, which includes a larger profile photo and a customizable header image that spans the width of the screen.

The inspiration behind the new design changes stems from Facebook and Twitter, who are working to become more visually appealing in their designs. In addition to the design changes, LinkedIn added additional tools to their premium service, allowing users to pick from a personalized set of keywords to add to their accounts to help them show up more frequently in searches.

Read more on information on Fast Company.


The 7-year Twitter Project Comes to an End

The popular Twitter bot @everyword has sent its final tweet this past weekend. Built by NYU professor Adam Parrish, the bot has tweeted a dictionary word every 30 minutes since November 30, 2007 and this weekend, tweeted the (supposedly) last word in the English language.

The bot reached the Zs in June and has sped through the 26th letter quickly, causing horror among the 95,000 followers on the account. Tweeted more than 109,000 words, @everyword has succeeded in a realm where many imitators, primarily @everynumber and @everyletter, have failed.

More information on Business Insider.


Instagram Adds New Effects

According to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, “People come to Instagram today to post their photos but haven’t come back to edit their photos.” To fix this, Instagram has added sliders to control 9 new photo effects. These new effects will provide Instagram users with the power to edit their photos as if they were using the top desktop editing suites and photo editing apps, but for free.

The new features show up with the new wrench button and can be applied with sliders that feature plus and minus counts for maximum control. Users will be able to preview their photos to see the before and after effects before posting.

Learn more on TechCrunch.


Facebook Video Ads to Target More

If you’re someone who enjoys watching the videos posted on Facebook, be prepared as marketers may soon begin to target you with their video ads. The social platform added a brand new targeting tool that will surface video ads to users who frequently watch videos on the site. Marketers can choose whether video views are an important element of a campaign on Facebook, and this will then ensure that the videos appear to those users who are most likely to click on the play button.

The company rolled out Premium video ads in March, but the new feature does not apply to that. Instead, it only works with standard video ads, or videos that brands share to their page and pay to promote.

Find out more on Mashable.

The week in social: Kimye, Trending 140, and HiddenCash

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Twitter partners with Billboard for real time music charts

Twitter and Billboard have formed a partnership that has seen the creation of “The Trending 140″, real-time coverage of which songs are the most popular, measured as a function of what songs are shared the most, through links to a song on iTunes, Spotify, and more. Hashtags are also added into the measurement metrics, such as #nowplaying and #np. Related words will also be indexed and factored into a song’s score, such as “music”, or “listen”. Users are able to see the algorithm on Billboard.com, and it shows the wild variations in popularity of songs as they are talked about more, or less. An additional billboard on Twitter, called “Emerging Artists”, ranks songs that are most shared on Twitter from up and coming music acts.

More information on Billboard.


Twitter experiments with sharing video through hashtags

Twitter is constantly experimenting with new ways to enrich its service, and video has been a recent hot topic. Although not available to the majority of new users, it seems that the micro-blogging giant is allowing some users to embed video clips onto their tweets when using a related hashtag. The example provided by Recode shows a user typing “#amillion”, and then Twitter auto-suggesting videos related to the new movie “A Million Ways to Die in the West”. It remains to be seen if this feature will become widely available to users, and is likely determinant on the sentiment generated within the test bed of users, as are many features that Twitter silently tests.


Read more on Recode.net.


Kik integrates web browsing into its mobile experience

As part of its plan to become an all-inclusive internet application, Kik is constantly tweaking its mobile app and adding new features. Among these new features is an integrated web browser, aimed at helping users stay within the Kik app and completing all of their desired online actions. Certain websites are now even rolling out Kik-optimized versions. The app is the first messaging app to do so. Having quadrupled its user-base in the last 18 months, Kik is poised for continued growth, especially as other messaging applications are consistently in the news, such as Snapchat.


Read more on Social Times.


Yahoo planning to launch service to rival YouTube

Although it is all only speculation for now, Yahoo is planning to launch a video service similar to current market leader YouTube. The current timeline for the launch after a supposed delay is by this summer. The apparent differentiators for the service will include offerings to content creators that want to monetize what they create, such as better revenue-sharing plans, and non-exclusive contracts, so creators can still work with other networks. In terms of advertising, the new service is said to be planning to offer pre-roll ads, similar to what already exists on YouTube. Yahoo has not provided an official comments, stating that they do not comment on rumors or speculation.

More information on AdAge.


Facebook to reduce app-related content in newsfeeds

Previously, Facebook users could see content from third-party apps that their friends and connections had installed whether or not that content was explicitly chosen to be shared. Facebook will be updating these sharing settings, to create a balance of content on the newsfeed, to be activated later this summer. Based on a post made by the social networking giant, users have felt “surprised or confused”, when they have noticed apps will share content without specifically requesting the user to do so. In a post to their developer blog, Facebook also noted that users have options to change how frequently automatic posts occur, if at all. Even with applications such as Instagram, how owned by Facebook, settings have been adjusted so that uploaded photos and other actions are not automatically shared Facebook, but can be toggled by users to do so, or not.

Read more on Kik.


Twitter switches to a new font

Although it may not be considered news to casual social media users, die-hard Twitter fans and users immediately took note of the micro-blogging company’s change to a new font on its website. The change switches the site’s font from Helvetica Neue font to Gotham Narrow SSm. The new font can be seen on the site’s brand assets page, and it comes at a time where all users of the site are being mandatorily switched over to the updated Twitter profile, that puts more focus on the visual portions, such as the cover photo and profile picture.


Read more on Social Times.


Anonymous Twitter user gives away cash as social experiment

A wealthy Twitter user, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been giving away cash all throughout the San Francisco bay-area, tweeting hints about locations of cash-filled envelopes. So far, the user has given away more than $5,000 dollars, drawing both praise and criticism for the acts. The account, @HiddenCash, is run by an individual who made his or her money in real estate, and wants to pay forward some of their success. The user encourages those who find the cash envelope to pay it forward themselves, to share their good fortune.


Read more on Time.com.


YouTube offers additional incentives for content creators

Search and video streaming service YouTube is planning on providing greater transparency for its users in terms of features they are planning to release, to give content creators a better idea of what’s on the horizon, and what they can get excited about. Among new features include an application that will be solely for content creators, and it will allow these users to manage their channels via mobile. In addition, a virtual tip jar will be created, essentially functioning as crowd-funding for content creators. This already exists, however it is not native to YouTube itself, and bring the solution inside will potentially help users get funding directly, and more easily. Lastly, minor new features will also be introduced, including updated comments, updated closed captioning, and a larger audio library.


More information on Social Times.


Thailand blocks Facebook to stop protests

Facebook and social media in general have long been a voice for activists campaigning for every type of cause. In Thailand it is not different, as users took to Facebook to protest a military takeover. In an attempt to stop the digital protests, the government of Thailand through the military blocked the social network. The secretary of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, Surachai Srisaracam, stated that the block was indeed intentional, and that they plan on calling other social media sites to cooperate with stopping the spread of the protest. The Thailand government also announced earlier last week that they were in process of implementing an updated Internet gateway to better filter content for its users.

Read more on Mashable.


Kim Kardashian wedding sets Instagram record

This past week, a record on Instagram was broken for the most liked photo of the social network’s lifetime. A photo of Kim Kardashian kissing Kanye West has elicited 1.92 million likes, whereas most of her photos only receive likes in the several hundred thousands. The “Kimye” wedding was discussed and covered all over social media, and has been hotly anticipated since the power couple began dating.


Read more on CNet.


Twitter builds interactive guide for small businesses

A guide for small businesses, and company owners who may not understand the power of Twitter and social media, the Twitter Interactive Small Business guide takes users through a set up process that starts with assessing how well they understand the micro-blogging service. From there, users will take tutorials on Twitter topics and functions, from beginner, all the way to advanced levels. Users also get to access a #MktgKickstart tool kit, which offers tools such as the ability to review a profile, create posts from templates, and create content calendars.

More information on AllTwitter.


Former Twitter employee creates “Choose Your Own Adventure” on Vine

A former video producer from Twitter, Ian Padgham, has created a series of 32 different Vine videos and turned them into a progressive story where users can choose the path they take from Vine to Vine, telling a cohesive story. This is the digital and social-media equivalent of Choose Your Own Adventure novels, which became popular upon their creation in 1979. The Vine adventure, or “”AdVINEture”, as it is being called by Padgham, was created because he was a fan of the books. Drawing out the scenarios in a notebook, Padgham created all the Vine videos in just two days.

Read more on Mashable.

The week in social: Facebook voter button, Twitch, and Voycee

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Facebook introduces a new way to flirt

It didn’t seem like Facebook could do it, but indeed the popular social media site has succeeded yet again. Due to a new feature on the site, interactions on Facebook may have just gotten a little more awkward. The new feature allows users to find out if another individual is in a relationship by simply clicking on a button and asking. A message related to the status, such as “want to grab coffee sometime?” is sent to the individual in addition to a request to list a status as single, engaged, married or in a civil union. The individual receives the request and selects a status that is sent only to the sender, which allows an individual’s status to remain private. This new feature could be useful for marketers as they can use it to target products and services to particular demographics.

Read more on Mashable.


Google eyeing Twitch acquisition

Google Inc. is eyeing the fast-growing, upcoming live video streaming service, Twitch. While talks are still in the early stages and a deal hasn’t been finalized, two people familiar with the matter say an acquisition is likely. Twitch launched in 2011 and is considered one of the most popular Internet destinations for watching and broadcasting video game play. Just last September, Twitch raised $20 million from investors. The acquisition of Twitch by Google could mean a huge boost for the search engine’s YouTube video service, which has its own live-streaming service for games, music, sports and news. Despite its association with Google though, YouTube Live struggles behind Twitch, which accounted for nearly 44% of U.S. live-streaming traffic in the week of April 7th.

Find out more on The Wall Street Journal.


Pinterest rolls out new “Business Insights”

Popular pinning site, Pinterest, is preparing to announce a new initiative that will help business gain a better understanding of Pinterest trends. In addition to this new initiative, Pinterest’s API platform will also receive an enhancement that will aid the new insights. The hope is that the API will share which products are more popular, what type of images work best, which Pins drive sales, etc with businesses. According to Pinterest, it believes that it is making it easier for businesses to engage with consumers on Pinterest, since they’ll be able to see which Pins are driving traffic, which Pins are being re-shared, etc. By using these tools, businesses will be able to customize their Pinterest activity according to their marketing campaigns.

Read more on TechCrunch.


Facebook has a new Shazam-like tool

Facebook recently unveiled a new audio recognition feature that can identify the songs and television shows that you’re listening to and then, hopes that you will share that information with your friends. The app works by using the phone’s microphone to listen for noises and sounds nearby. Once it identifies the song or television show, the content automatically appears in a post or a “Feelings” tab above the keyboard. Luckily, for individuals who don’t want the app, it is opt-in, meaning it won’t work unless manually turned on. The feature can identify millions of songs and TV shows from 160 different stations.

More information on Newsroom.


LinkedIn profile adds “How You Rank”

The “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” is an extremely popular destination on Facebook, so to continue improving the section, LinkedIn released a brand new feature that allows users to see where they rank compared to individuals in their network. The goal behind the new feature is to inspire users on changes they can make to their own profiles to increase views and drive opportunities for growth. Whether a user is a job seeker, a consultant, or a business owner, there are a number of possibilities available for users to take advantage of the new feature.

Learn more on LinkedIn.


Facebook voter button goes global

In November 2012, Facebook introduced the “I’m a Voter” button which allows users to show friends that they were participating in the election. Facebook is now planning on sharing that button globally in international elections. According to Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone, “There is a real social multiplier effect. When people see on Facebook that their friends have voted, they themselves are motivated to vote.” During India’s recent election of the new prime minister, the Voter button was available and used by over four million Indian voters during the month-long voting process. Next up, the button will be available during the European Parliament and Colombia elections and later in the year, it will appear for South Korea, Indonesia and a number of other countries. The button does not offer the feature to share who you voted for.

More information on The Wire.


Facebook changes privacy settings yet again

Facebook has changed their privacy settings yet again. The social media site shared that they had actually reversed a previous decision from five years to make the default sharing setting to new members public. Moving forward, new members that join Facebook will notice that their posts have been automatically set to “friends.” The reason for the change is to protect users from oversharing and in the long run, allows Facebook to take a proactive approach to the criticism it has been on the receiving end of for the past few years. While it is a good step in the right direction, this change does only affect brand new users, not the current members of the site.

More information on Newsroom.


Meet Voycee, a social network that eats itself

It’s long been stated and restated that when one is posting information online, he or she should be mindful of what is being posted because it could come back to haunt them. Now that Voycee has entered the picture, that is no longer a concern. The new mobile-first social network is one that eats itself so whenever someone posts a new status or shares new content on the service, previous posts vanish without a trace. The only post that retains on the social network is your latest. Once a new post has been shared, the update before is deleted from the network. This does beg the question of whether or not the content is worth posting in the first place since it will be deleted. According to founder Ilfan Radoncic, “Voycee is all about protecting your privacy, you have zero history with us.”

More information on Techcrunch.


Yelp adds user-generated videos to app

Soon, Yelp users, “yelpers,” will be able to add short video clips to their reviews when using the review site’s mobile app. Videos will be between three to 12 seconds long and are simply meant to complement reviews, not act as a standalone review. The change comes as the company believes the feature will be useful in situations where words and pictures aren’t enough to describe a venue. Things such as noise level and ambiance will be better conveyed with a short video clip than by pictures or descriptive words. Initially, only the site’s “elite” users will be able to use the new video feature, although all users will be able to view the videos immediately.

Read more on information on Mashable.


Facebook allows restaurants to post menus 

In an effort to keep users on the platform and potentially initiate more ads, Facebook has begun to allow restaurants to post menus on their Facebook pages through Constant Contact’s SinglePlatform. The tool is an online listing service that assists local businesses showcase products, menus and photos. Currently, the program is only available in the U.S. and Canada. If a business is in another country other than those two, they can upload a PDF of their menu through the “page info” under “settings” option. It seems as though this move is just the first step in allowing Facebook users to directly order from restaurants’ business pages. Facebook did partner with OpenTable last year, a move that allowed users to make dinner reservations without ever leaving their News Feed. Clicking through a restaurant’s menu to directly order seems like it could be the next step.

More information on CNet.