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Archive for the ‘The week in social’ Category

The week in social: Hyperlapse, Picdeck, and Amazon buys Twitch

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Facebook aims at taking down click bait

Facebook is taking a more targeted approach to getting rid of click-bait, or content that is focused on generating clicks no matter the content, from users’ news feeds. Facebook has said that the changes to how that content is prioritized in the news feed will only affect a small amount of users, and it is emphasizing the use of links through the status update format, versus writing the link out in the written content, or photo captions, of a post. Facebook went on to imply through a statement that removal of click-baiting will help users make more informed decisions about the content that they click on, because content that describes links better in a status update will be prioritized more highly.

 

Read more on AllFacebook.

 

Tumblr beginning to scan for brand images

Tumblr is highly notable for the amount of photo content uploaded to its network, surpassing 130 million photo uploads per day. The service is beginning to track the content that is uploaded for branded imagery, in a partnership with Ditto labs potentially as a new way to monetize. Organizing or analyzing branded content uploaded to the network could help brands and advertisers understand the nature of the conversation that is happening around it, using that to their advantage in brand messaging. This also becomes especially helpful in cases where the uploaded imagery does not have any identifying text or hashtags, because it will let the same brands see the context of the image upload. Although this is the first of Tumblr’s plans to do this, Curulate, the visual analytics company, has been doing this since April.

More information on Social Times.

 

#EverySimpsonsEver becomes a trending topic on Twitter

The FXX network starting last week aired a continuous loop of every single episode of the animated sitcom The Simpsons for what will be a full 12 day run once it has finished. The show was the most widely viewed block of programming for males 18-34 during the Thursday prime time slot. To go along with this, the network created a Twitter handle, @EverySimpsonsEver, that has been providing updates, show schedule, and giveaways. The handle has also encouraged users to submit pictures of themselves and other content, helping align its programming block (and the fact that the channel generally exists), with the marathon it is running.

 

Read more on Lost Remote.

 

Glassdoor rates Twitter top for Culture and Values

In a survey done of companies by Glassdoor, the employee-powered business review site, Twitter was found to have the best culture and values. Google placed 3rd, while Facebook landed 5th on the list of the top 25 companies. The remaining top companies comprised of popular brands such as Google and Nike, but companies such as Disney, and Progressive Insurance also made the list. One employee from Twitter anonymously posted about the company, saying, “the best place I have ever worked”.

 

Read more on Media Bistro.

 

Social media is a top destination for back to school shopping discovery

According to a study and infographic from Crowdtap, 64% of last minute shoppers for back to school supplies will discover or research the products they are interested in buying on social networks such as Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram, networks that are very visual in nature. Additionally, out of individuals surveyed, 45% said they would consider reviews by peers before making a purchasing decision, and within the same group only 33% would consider professional reviews. Within the total group, 60% also said they have made a purchase because of research on social networks, with Facebook being the leader.

 

Read more on Social Times.

 

Amazon agrees to purchase Twitch for $970 million

This past Monday, after rumors of acquisition by several different companies, Twitch, the increasingly popular computer and video game streaming service, agreed to be purchased by Amazon for $970 million in cash, although the acquisition will have to be approved by the government. Previously, it was rumored that Google was going to buy the game-streaming service to add to its YouTube portfolio of video services. The acquisition represents a major step for Amazon into the gaming space, although it did purchase gaming studio Double Helix, and hire additional staff members to start an Amazon Games Studio recently. It remains to be seen exactly how Amazon will integrate the service into what it already provides, but Twitch has a sizeable install base through game consoles and web users.

More information on Engadget.

 

Instagram debuts Hyperlapse

Earlier this week, Instagram unveiled and launched a new stand-alone app called Hyperlapse. Hyperlapse captures video at a slower than standard frame rate and then plays them at normal speed. What this allows users to do is capture an event or a video that takes a long time to play, such as a flower blooming or the sun rising and play it back it a short amount of time, giving users the ability to consume a video of an event they would otherwise need a lot more time to see. While this type of video capture is not brand new, the said advantage of Hyperlapse is the ease of use that it provides to users. The app also lets users choose one of 12 different playback speeds, and easily share to social networks such as Facebook and the core Instagram app.

 

Read more on AllFacebook.

 

Twitter releasing tweet activity dashboard for all users

Previously available only to advertisers, Twitter is rolling out the tweet activity dashsboard for all users. Through an update to the support article detailing the dashboard, the tool is currently available to English, French, Japanese, and Spanish users, provided they have had an account for over 14 days, or two weeks. The activity dashboard will show a full set of details about tweets, such as impressions, engagements, and clicks, previously only shown for paid tweets.

 

Read more on The Next Web.

 

The Emmy Awards generate over 1 million tweets

Leading up to, during, and after the show, The Emmy Awards generated approximately 1.1 million tweets on various subjects. The most popular topics of social conversation included popular AMC show Breaking Bad, and Seth Myers, the show’s host. The stars of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, also received a large amount of mentions. Overall, the Emmy Awards have generated fewer social mentions and conversations than other awards shows this past year, including the Oscars.

More information on Media Bistro.

 

Facebook introduces advertisements and insights for events

Along with introducing a new look for events pages for Page administrators, Facebook announced desktop and mobile news feed ads for events for all Facebook advertisers. Previously, it was possible to create right-hand side ads for events, but the extended options for events will become available in the coming weeks in the ads create tool, as well as power editor. Insights that advertisers and Page administrators will now be able to see on their events include how many people have seen a link to a given event, the number of people who view the event itself, and the number of joins, maybes, and declines an event receives.

Read more on AllFacebook.

 

Picdeck brings TweetDeck style interface to Instagram

A new tool for tracking content on Instagram, Picdeck brings a TweetDeck-type interface to the picture-sharing social network. The new tool allows users to track hashtags, and specific users in columned sections, creating a dashboard where they can see multiple lists at once. Geared more towards the social media power-user than the everyday “Instagrammer”, the tool will be especially helpful to social media managers and brands looking to easily track conversation that is organically occurring on the network.

 

Read more on The Next Web.

 

Google removes content author listings from search results

In a move that could potentially be seen as taking credit away from content authors, Google is no longer supporting authorship listing on its search results. The feature was originally launched in 2011, as a way of letting authors claim credit for the content that users searched for on Google. An author ranking was also created with the intent of scoring authors and creating a reputation for them. Google determined that after three years, the feature was not valuable to users, and could even be considered distracting. Furthermore, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller cited that traffic to sites had not been reduced as a consequence of removal of the feature. Google has continually moved in the direction of simplifying its search results, removing Google+ profile pictures and follower counts from results this past June.

More information on CNet.

The week in social: Mentions Box, SlideShare, and Twitter trolls

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Facebook testing using stickers in comments

A popular feature across many messaging applications and services, Facebook is now testing allowing certain users to place stickers in comments on status updates. Facebook has confirmed that the feature works the same way that it does in Messenger, the standalone app that lets users message their friends. Although there is no official word on a wider rollout, depending on how tests go, it is likely that the feature will be enabled for all Facebook users in the near future.

 

Read more on The Next Web.

 

Most organic social posts create no engagement

In a study conducted by SocialFlow, a social media optimization platform, 1.6 million organic social posts from networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ showed little to no engagement whatsoever. The study was conducted between the dates of April 1st and July 31st, and 99% of the posts analyzed showed almost no engagement. Total stats around the posts included 361 million users reached, and 1.5 billion social actions. The report goes on to imply that in most cases, the 1% rule applies whereby the top 1% of any given social community reacts to and creates the most content around it.

 

Read more on Venture Beat.

 

Snapchat Discovery to launch in November

A new service from the ephemeral messaging service Snapschat, Discovery is set to launch this coming November. Discovery will offer users advertisements from brands, content from news sites, TV networks, and more. Just like photo messages sent between users, the content from brands and networks will also disappear after a short time. There is no official word on whether the sponsored content will be part of a new application or whether it will live in the root Snapchat application. Snapchat is currently estimated to have 27 million users across iOS and Android devices.

More information on The Independent.

 

Facebook testing content tags for satire on the news feed

Facebook is testing a new feature that will tell users when a piece of content in the news feed is satire. Popular website “The Onion” is famous for taking current events and topics and making satirical articles out of them, but lately, many users have been confusing the stories for real news, and the new feature from Facebook aims to clarify the source and intent of this content, at least when they consume it on Facebook. The tag comes in the form of ‘[Satire]‘ text in front of the link. The feature is being tested within a small group, but it remains to be seen if it will eventually see wider adoption.

Read more on CNet.

 

New application identifies Twitter trolls

A new online tool helps users identify “trolls”, or users who conduct themselves in a purposefully inflammatory manner, by using nine key metrics, and the tool also helps identify bots and spammers, although those are much more easily spotted by the average user. The nine metrics include how many links a user posts, average amount of tweets per day, how old the account is, and more. The information is then broken down into graphs and users are assigned a color; green, yellow, or red, with red accounts most likely to be a troll or a bot. The aim of Trolldor overall is to improve the quality of users and conversation on Twitter by highlighting who these abusive users are.

More information on Social Times.

 

SlideShare becomes completely free and will offer Pro features to all users

SlideShare, the popular presentation and material sharing online service that is owned by LinkedIn is going totally free for users. Previously, there were additional Pro features, but over time these are going to become available to all users. These features include analytics, profile customization, and more. The features will not be immediately available, but will start rolling out once per month in September. Current Pro users will continue to have access to every feature from the start, but they will no longer be charged for the service, starting from the announcement earlier this week.

Read more on The Next Web.

 

Facebook doubles the amount of ads a user can see

In an email to ad agencies earlier this month, Facebook announced that users would now be seeing up to double to ads from Pages that they did not like. For brands that users like, advertisers would be able to show them up to four ads per day. The one important announcement that came along with this was that users would not be shown a higher total of ads that previously, just that the saturation on specific ads may become higher. It remains to be seen if a higher saturation of ad content will help engagement rates on sponsored content.

More information on AllFacebook.

 

Twitter used to help shut down dirty restaurants

The Chicago Department of Health is using social media to help determine what restaurants are causing food poisoning around the city. The Department created a Twitter bot that collects mentions of food poisoning and an online complaint form, and it helps the Department identify 133 restaurants that needed an inspection throughout a period of 10 months. 21 of the restaurants inspected failed. The bot, called @foodbornechi, mines for specific keywords, and then staff members for the Department manually read through to see if further action is needed. This one of the many continuing examples of how bots on Twitter and other social media can serve useful functions.

Read more on Media Bistro.

 

Facebook Mentions Box to debut at Emmy awards

At the 66th annual Emmy Awards, celebrities will be awarded the new Facebook Mentions Box, which lets them answer questions submitted by fans to the Access Hollywood Facebook page. According to Mashable, a randomly selected celebrity will be given the Facebook Mentions Box. The celebrity will respond to the questions via video response after “shaking the Facebook Mentions Box like a Magic 8-ball”. Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, and Kerry Washington are just a few of the stars selected for this experience.

 

Read more on AllFacebook.

 

Facebook is the top mobile application

A recent study by ComScore has tracked the top 25 most used apps by adults in the United States. ComScore used insights on both android ad iOS systems. The top three apps were Facebook with 115.4 users, YouTube with 83.4 users, and Google Play with 72.3 users. Instagram was number eight and Twitter was number 14. It is also notable that Facebook Messenger had its own listing and was 12th on the list, despite having received universally negative reviews from users since its launch.

 

Read more on Media Bistro.

 

Vine app updated to let users import videos

Vine now allows users to import existing videos from their phone and turn them into 15 second videos. The new features give Vine users more creative freedom and better access to creating the perfect video. The update provides grids, focus lock and ghost mode (where users can view their last frame when connecting clips). According to Vine’s blog, more than 10 million people watch Vines on the internet and 1 billion loops are created on a daily basis. Currently, the newest version of Vine is only available on iOS, but Vine says the Android version will be released soon.

More information on Mashable.

 

Twitter changes timeline to show users curated content

Twitter is testing a new code that will change its users’ timelines. According to Twitter’s new timeline definition, the social media platform will determine what users find relevant and will add those tweets to their timelines – regardless of if they follow the account or not. Twitter’s approach is similar to Facebook’s News Feed that shows relevant content, based on who the user follows, and what their social actions are. The new timeline is still being tested and the company has not mentioned when if or when it will be universally released.

Read more on Mashable.

The week in social: Twitter bots, Shark Week, and Bolt

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Twitter has 23 million active bots

In a recent filing with the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Twitter revealed that it had 23 million bots that were active on a monthly basis. With around 271 million monthly active users, this number accounts for approximately 8.5% of total users. Although bots on social networks typically have a bad reputation, many bots on Twitter serve useful functions, such as alert systems, or those that provide answers to queries when users tweet at them. One example is @earthquakeBot, which will automatically tweet updates on any earthquake above a 5.0 on the Richter scale.

 

Read more on Social Times.

 

Social referrals cause bounce rate of 65% on websites

Although the more publicly mentioned and popular social metrics, such as likes, shares, and comments are a focus for marketers and advertisers when it comes to social, other metrics have an impact on businesses, such as social media referral rates to website, and time spent on pages from social referrals. According to a report from AddThis, while social referrals account for a 65% bounce rate, meaning the percentage of users who leave a website after one page view, they are also 45% more likely to share long form content on Facebook. The report also goes on to say that the type of content matters when it comes to click-through, citing that entertainment-form content gets the most clicks.

More information on Social Times.

 

Yahoo News account tweets unauthorized announcement

Earlier this week, an unauthorized tweet came from the Yahoo News Twitter account, stating that Ebola had hit Atlanta with 145 cases already documented. Immediately afterward, Yahoo News tweeted again saying that the tweet was not authorized and asking users to ignore the post. Yahoo is currently investigating the cause, but there is suspicion that it was an employee of the company, due to the speed with which the tweet was responded to by Yahoo News itself.

 

Read more on AllTwitter.

 

Shark Week set on having another record breaking year on social media

In 2013, Discovery Channel had its more highly conversational event on social media with Shark Week, with over 10 million interactions on Facebook. Using Spreadfast this year, the network will integrate additional social tactics such as hashtag polling and Instagram posts. Fans will also have the opportunity to see their Facebook posts online whenever Shark Week programming is live. The event also has a hub where users can see camera views of live events taking place to celebrate Shark Week, and “Shark Cams” will allow viewers to see feeds of different sharks from unique vantage points.

More information on Lost Remote.

 

Twitter offers video advertisements in beta

In a new model of advertising, Twitter is offering Promoted Video ads in beta to marketers. The new ads are sold on a cost-per-view (CPV) basis, which means the advertiser only pays when an ad is viewed, where previous advertisements on were sold on a cost-per-engagement (CPE), where users pay for clicks, retweets, mentions, and all other interactions with a promoted post. Promoted Video ads are part of Twitter’s new Amplify program, which helps give advertisers tools for video uploading and promotion on the service. Video analytics that will come along with the ads will tell advertisers stats such as how long someone watches a video, and the number of paid views versus organic.

Read more on The Next Web.

 

Another Bolt app has been released

Several weeks ago, Instagram released a new photo-messaging app called Bolt in several territories outside of the United States. A new and different application, also called Bolt, has also just been released by creator Nick Bicanic. This new application is a side project that is a result of a business incubator that was meant to generate new ideas, called Bump Networks. Bolt is a simple messaging application that allows users to take and send a photo message, view a “stack” for viewing messages, and a message history. In a major difference from Snapchat, photos in Bolt don’t automatically disappear, but they can be deleted by a user, which deletes it from the messages of anyone who it has been sent to, unless they have saved a screenshot of it. The photo stack can then be used to swipe through photos a user has been sent to either delete it by swiping left, or saving it to conversation history by swiping right. It remains to be seen how popular the new app will become especially as Instagram’s Bolt is not available in the US or Europe.

More information on TechCrunch.

 

84% of consumers are influenced by Facebook offers

Based on a study completed by G/O Digital, people will use Facebook more than any other social network when they are seeking information about a local business. At 62%, Facebook leads with a very large margin against second and third place, Pinterest at 12% and Twitter at 11% respectively. In addition, a survey of 1,000 Facebook users showed that 30% of them would check a business’ Facebook page before going to the establishment itself. In another statistic for local businesses, 84% of consumers surveyed said they would be more likely to make a purchasing decision due to a related Facebook offer.

 

Read more on AllFacebook.

 

Snapchat becomes more popular than Twitter for 18-34 year olds

Millennials, ages 18 to 34, are known for making or breaking an app’s popularity, and have ranked Snapchat as the third most popular app, beating Twitter, and falling behind Facebook and Instagram, according to a report from ComScore. Millennials are very interested in the topic of online privacy, which makes sense for why the demographic would gravitate towards and app that throws away information after using it. Snapchat’s popularity also shows that apps that aren’t created as a texting replacement are able to win over the hearts of mobile app users.

 

Read more on Media Bistro.

 

Facebook lets advertisers see which device leads to a purchase

This past week, Facebook created a new snippet of code for advertisers that enables “cross-device reporting”, to allow them to see how well their Facebook Mobile Ad is functioning, and through which device a user saw the ad that eventually led to a purchase. By inserting the code into the app or site, called a conversion tracking pixel, advertisers will be informed every time a consumer purchases an item after viewing their Facebook ad. This has been done before by Facebook, but was for general conversions from ads, and device tracking now will let advertisers see which platform is most effective. According to Facebook this code will help the company and its advertisers understand the value in mobile, and overall advertising.

More information on Media Bistro.

 

Twitter helps verified figures tweet at each other more easily

In order to create “only on Twitter conversation”, Twitter rolled out a new feature allowing celebrities and verified Twitter users to be notified whenever another verified users follows or tweets at them. In other words, it makes it easier for Twitter to be known as a platform for media worthy interaction. This past July, Facebook launched a similar app, Mention, which allows celebrities to see what their fans say about them. It is speculated that this is the latest move in the competition between Facebook and Twitter to be the go-to social platform for celebrity conversation.

 

Read more on Mashable.

 

Twitter launches data visualization tool for the UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a new tool that visualizes interactions between Twitter users when they are talking about commonly discussed topics. The tool is aimed at advertisers and marketers and aims to help them understand when and how “Everyday Moments” data is talked about online. With the tool as it is available, there are 80 pre-set topics to choose from, and users can choose specific times, and days of the week. Spokespeople for Twitter have confirmed that while the tool is available globally, data is only aggregated from the UK.

 

Read more on The Next Web.

 

Instagram brings new advertising chief on board

As Instagram seeks to generate more revenue with its photo-sharing service, it has brought Facebook Regional Director James Quarles in to head its advertising, as Global Head of Business and Brand Development. Quarles will have the main responsibility of overseeing revenue generation strategy for Instagram, and he will manage sales and marketing teams, reporting directly to founder Kevin Systrom. Instagram currently offers ads, but only works with a small group of advertisers, as one of their main goals was to ensure promoted content was not seen as overly intrusive by users. It remains to be seen what new products are offered as the push for Instagram to monetize is taken forward.

More information on Re/code.

The week in social: Directr, PrivateCore, and Flock to Unlock

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Facebook updates Windows Phone app

Microsoft announced this past Monday a large update to the Facebook app for Windows Phone, which includes integration for the recently released Messenger app, the standalone application that allows users to access Facebook messaging. Many of the new features were previously available in a beta version, and these include a brand new design. There is now support for more languages, and in addition, users can upload videos taken from their Windows Phone device directly into the app. If a user has Windows Phone 8.1, the app will connect to the People Hub.

 

More information on AllFacebook.

 

Twitter testing showing users tweets from accounts that friends follow

Twitter is quietly testing yet another new feature, this time one that will show users tweets from accounts that people they are following have on their own follow list. Twitter tests features similar to this very often, but many times the features in question do not make it out of a quiet testing phase into larger adoption. Users will often times see tweets from accounts they do not follow, but these most often are advertisements in the form of promoted tweets, and not tweets from accounts their friends follow. It remains to be seen if Twitter will officially announce it is testing this feature.

 

Read more on The Next Web.

 

Puma to test Twitter’s brand new Flock to Unlock program

A new advertising program from Twitter, Flock to Unlock mimics previous social programs where users all have to buy into a deal in order to unlock it, but instead, a set number of users have to retweet a particular message so that the entire group can unlock a deal. Puma is the first brand to be using this new ad product from Twitter, as part of their larger global campaign for “Forever Faster”. The content that users can unlock is access to two advertising spots from the brand two days before they will air on broadcast. Puma will not release details on the exact number of retweets of its posts will be required to unlock the content, but it will display a status bar to give a general idea.

More information on AllTwitter.

 

Pope directs altar servers not to spend too much time on the Internet

Earlier this week in a speech to 50,000 German altar servers, Pope Francis pushed them to spend more time on “productive” activities, instead of on smartphones, and using the Internet. The Pope specifically called out wasting too much time towards specific activities: “chatting on the Internet or with smartphones, watching TV soap operas, and (using) the products of technological progress, which should simplify and improve the quality of life, but distract attention away from what is really important.”. Pope Francis has several Twitter accounts, with his English-language account holding approximately 4.3 million followers.

Read more on NBC News.

 

Facebook video ads not available for small businesses yet

Over the past few months, Facebook has been hosting small business advertising bootcamps to help advertisers understand how to use the wide range of ad products currently available on the network, such as creating good content and targeting practices for promoted posts. Facebook video ads however, were not part of the strategies reviewed, and according to Dan Levy, Facebook’s director of small businesses, they are not ready for the general Facebook advertiser yet. Facebook is continuing to test the format, and auto-play videos in general, to see what kinds of users watch them the most, and what other related behavior surrounds them. Levy has stated that eventually small and medium sized businesses will have the opportunity to purchase auto-play video ads, but the cost for them currently sits at a $600k USD investment, a decline from a minimum of $1 million USD from February.

More information on Re/code.

 

Twitter to potentially introduce shopping service

Within the official Android app, Twitter users have been noticing a dormant option for “payment and shipping”, that heavily hints towards the fact that Twitter is planning to move into the e-commerce arena. Other users have reported seeing a “buy now” call to action button, similar to the one recently introduced for Facebook ads, on a number of tweets. For now, there is no official announcement of either of these features, but Twitter has a history of testing many different features among small batches of users, generally across different platforms.

 

Read more on The Next Web.

 

Facebook introduces ad scheduling to Power Editor

A new feature for Facebook advertisers, available within Power Editor, lets users who opt to run their ads on “lifetime” budget instead of “daily” budget, schedule the timings for when ads spend money. Often times, ads are best run at specific time periods during the day to generate more impressions and more engagements, and this option allows advertisers to further customize their ad sets. The feature did not have a formal announcement but a full tutorial is offered to help users set scheduling up according to their preferences.

 

Read more on AllFacebook.

 

Lawsuit claims Yelp lied about review policy

A new lawsuit against the venue-review site and application Yelp sees the service and its executives being accused of selling $81 million USD in stock to shareholders while telling falsehoods about the quality of the site’s reviews. The suit is a proposed class action, filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco this past Wednesday, and states that many reviews for businesses were fraudulent based on the premise that those who reviewed the establishments had no actual first-hand experience with the business. CEO of Yelp, Jeremy Stoppelman, has also recently sold approximately 132,000 shares of stock in the company, valued at $2.5 million, further adding to the suspicion around the case.

More information on Reuters.

 

YouTube buys mobile video company Directr

Directr has been acquired by YouTube, announced by the company earlier this week, for an undisclosed amount of money. The goal of Directr is to make video easy to edit on mobile, regardless of the film experience of the users. Features available from the service include storyboarding, adding music, and the ability to add subtitles to audio tracks. Per a post from Directr, there are currently no plans to absorb the service in YouTube’s Creator app. Directr additionally announced that its standard and premium apps would become available for free following the acquisition. YouTube has also stated through a Google+ update that Directr will be used primarily as part of the company’s advertising strategy moving forward.

Read more on Venture Beat.

 

Twitter offers advertising for campaign-based goals

Twitter has rolled out a new set of tools for advertisers that lets them set up ads based against specific goals, currently being called objective-based campaigns. Goals that advertisers can choose from include driving for web traffic, app installs, or increasing follower count. After a user chooses the goal, Twitter will provide different formats that will best achieve the objective. The new tool also lets users swap out creative more easily by taking actions such as cropping the photo used in an ad. With this new tool, users also only have to pay when the specific action for a campaign goal is taken. Reporting that Twitter will provide will give a breakdown and context for the actions taken by users against the campaign goal.

More information on AdWeek.

 

Landon Donovan announces retirement from Soccer on Facebook

One of the most popular American soccer players ever, Landon Donovan, took to Facebook to announce his pending retirement at the end of the 2014 season. Donovan is a player for the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS, and posted on his social pages, “After careful deliberation and after many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last season as a professional soccer player,”. Teammates and other athletes took to Twitter and social media to share thoughts and gratitude to Donovan for his contribution to American soccer.

 

Read more on CBS News.

 

Facebook purchases security company PrivateCore

PrivateCore, a company that specializes in securing remote servers, has been acquired by Facebook. Joe Sullivan, Facebook’s chief security officer, said he hopes acquisition of the new technology will help make Facebook’s servers even more secure. Although the price of the acquisition was not detailed, PrivateCore did raise $2.25 million in funding during 2012. PrivateCore CEO Oded Horovitz stated, “Working together with Facebook, there is a huge opportunity to pursue our joint vision at scale with incredible impact,”. The news of this acquisition comes on the heels of giant Internet security breach where a group of Russian hackers stole 1.2 billion passwords from various online services.

More information on Mashable.

The week in social: Facebook Gifts, Shazam, and Madbits

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Facebook Gifts no longer available

Last year, Facebook dealt a blow to its Gifts option, by removing the option of users to give physical gifts to others, in place of only offering gift cards. Facebook confirmed earlier this week that it was shuttering the Gifts option completely, and made a statement saying that they will use the learnings gathered from offering this service to help businesses drive sales from Facebook. Gifts was launched in 2012, and eventually grew to include over 100 retail partners, and the switch to gift cards-only was made less than a year later. The “Buy” call to action button available on advertisements is now being seen as the next incarnation of pushing direct sales for businesses on Facebook.

More information on CNet.

  

Snapchat heading for a $10 billion valuation

After rejecting takeover interest from the likes of Facebook and Google, ephemeral photo-sharing service, Snapchat is in financial talks with investors for an additional round of funding, such as China’s e-commerce giant, Alibaba, who is valuing the company at $10 billion. Even with Facebook’s attempts to mimic the popularity of disappearing messaging applications, Snapchat is still the leader in the space. Alibaba is slowly but steadily making its way drive in the United States’ through investments in tech startups.

Read more on Bloomberg.

  

LinkedIn creates new mobile profile format

LinkedIn just updated their mobile app, featuring a new profile page to improve mobile messaging. The new profile helps tell a user’s personal story to professionals while they search on the go. The new “in common” feature gives you insight into what users have in common with other professionals. The profile places focus on a current job, qualifications, and common contacts with other users. The updates also include linking with an appointment calendar and notifying the user about local, relevant events. The mobile profile format appears on iPad, iPhone, and Android devices.

More information on USA Today.

  

Facebook expands its Internet initiative in Africa

As it seeks to provide Internet access for a growing number of people around the world, Facebook has launched its Internet.org initiative in Africa to provide access free of charge. The project in Africa has initially started as an app launch in Zambia this past Thursday, and will utilize Airtel, but in time will become available in other parts of the world. The network that can be accessed, available to Airtel subscribers, will include sites such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Facts For Life, Google, and more. Users will not incur data charges for accessing sites using this service, and Facebook itself is working with other mobile providers to allow use of the social network for free to other phone subscribers.

Read more on Yahoo.

  

Shazam launches a new desktop app

The popular music sharing application Shazam has released a desktop application for Mac, on the heels of a recently announced integration with Siri for iOS 8. The application is simple, and runs in the background, viewable on the menu bar, and tells users what songs are playing on or around their computer, tracking history, and giving other pertinent details of the song. The app also tags TV shows that are playing. When a song or other media is tagged, users have the option of sharing it on social media, or also going to the iTunes store to purchase it if available.

More information on TechCrunch.

  

Twitter considering Facebook-like newsfeed

In a recent quarterly earnings calls, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo mentioned that he was not opposed to creating an algorithmic method of showing users content on their main Twitter feeds, not unlike how Facebook shows users content. Currently on Twitter users, see every single tweet in their timeline that the accounts they are following posts, so long as they scroll back in their feed far enough. Many users are outraged by this potential exploration by Twitter however, citing that they will leave the surface if it takes a Facebook-like approach to deciding what content they do, and do not see. Costolo has said that the company is continuing to search for effective ways to surface the best conversations for consumption by its users.

More information on Gigaom.

  

Instagram officially launches Bolt abroad

Instagram revealed a new messaging app on Tuesday, “Bolt,” which allows users to send self-destructive photo and video messages. To test performance, the app is being released in just a handful of countries: New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa, before it is made more widely available. Bolt is Instagram’s answer to similar photo-sharing competitor apps, like Snapchat. Reflecting it’s namesake, Bolt’s specialty is speed, as it is said to be easier to use and more efficient than Snapchat. The app was previously leaked to Android Instagram users as a banner advertisement for an app download previous to the launch.

More information on Mashable.

  

Twitter purchases deep learning startup Madbits

Announced earlier this week, Twitter has purchased the deep learning and dynamic computing company Madbits. Purchased for an undisclosed amount, the company was started by former students of Facebook AI Lab Director Yann LeCun. In a statement on their website, Madbits explained what they have been working on, stating, “Over this past year, we’ve built visual intelligence technology that automatically understands, organizes and extracts relevant information from raw media.”. As the company prepared to bring an application to the public, the opted to be acquired by Twitter, whom Madbits has said will help scale the technology they’ve created. It is likely that Twitter will potentially use the technology to help monetize the amount of visual media that is uploaded each day through tweets.

Read more on CNet.

  

Yo app creator files a complaint with the iOS app store

The creators of the Yo app, a popular messaging platform that allows users to send each other nothing but the word “Yo” in a message, has a filed a complaint to request another app, “YOLO”, to be taken down from the app store. The app creators have stated that while many clones have been spawned as a result of the app, each of them generally does something a little different, but that the YOLO app is a complete clone that confuses users. Members of YOLO’s team have stated that their app is completely different from Yo, but it remains to be seen if Apple will take any action against the app.

  

More information on Social Times.

  

Facebook updates Slingshot app

Facebook has released its first major feature update for the Slingshot app, and now users are able to reply to friends’ reactions to photos and videos that are sent. Slingshot has a number of features similar to Snapchat, such as allowing users to draw or write text on the photos and videos they upload, but the major catch is that friends have to send each other a photo in order to see one person’s content, forcing an equal exchange. Incremental updates have also been made to the My People tab in an effort to make finding contacts easier.

More information on The Next Web.

  

Twitter buys password startup Mitro

Mitro, a password-security startup, is being acquired by Twitter for an undisclosed amount. Started by former Google engineers, a blog post from Mitro announced the acquisition, but a Twitter spokesperson declined to comment. Mitro developed a password manager product that will become a community run project while the company’s team will join up with Twitter on geo-location projects. It is speculated that with improved geo-technology, advertisers would be able to better target local consumers.

Read more on The Wall Street Journal.

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.