Facebook Rooms, Apple Pay and Robots Battling Ebola? | This Week in Social Media

Facebook RoomsWhat’s old is new again

Remember the early days of the internet when chat rooms that connected people with specific interests were big? Facebook wants to bring that back with its new Rooms app for iOS. A Room allows you to access a feed of photos, videos and text like you might normally see on your Facebook page – but all tied to a specific topic you find interesting. Want to talk about that big move trailer you’ve been gushing over? Go to a room. Love windsurfing? Chat about it in a Room with others. A big departure from Facebook, however, is the use of a pseudonym to allow you to chat (or troll) anonymously. Android and desktop versions are currently in development.

Advancing the mobile wallet

Apple launched Apple Pay on Monday, allowing iPhone 6 users to use their devices to forego their wallets to purchase items. The function uses the fingerprint scanner on a phone to connect to your preferred financial service to pay and approve transactions. While all three major credit card companies are currently working with Apple Pay, several banks and retailers have yet to join, leading several users frustrated that the service was unavailable to them. However, that isn’t the worst thing that has happened. Some people have complained of being charged twice when they made their purchases, though that glitch has been observed with a fix on the way.

Robots vs. Ebola?

The U.S. government is reportedly looking at the use of robots to help combat the threat of Ebola in Africa. A simulcast workshop next month by Texas A & M University’s Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASARwill look at the feasibility of using robots in the battle against Ebola. There are already some fascinating ways robots could help battle the virus. Some of those include the safe transport and disposal of infected bodies, automated material handling to reduce staff at risk, detection of infection and sterilization.

Safety Check, Google Doctor and REALLY Fast WiFi | This Week in Social Media

Facebook safety checkIn case of emergency…

A fascinating new feature from Facebook announced this week may help users stay in contact with loved ones in times of crisis. The new tool, called Safety Check, is designed to quickly update your status in case of emergency.

Facebook uses information like your last check-in and Nearby-Friends tracking feature (if it is turned on) to determine if you’re near a disaster. It will then prompt users and ask users if they are both safe and near the disaster. This could be incredibly helpful in letting concerned loved ones and friends know if you’re alright during an emergency.

The doctor will see you now

The future is now. Google is testing a Talk to a Doctor feature within medical search results. It allows people to directly speak with a verified doctor through chat.

For now, the service is free while Google experiments and analyzes the effectiveness of the function, but it’s likely to cost something if and when it becomes widely available. While Google is not the only one experimenting with this type of feature, if implemented, it would easily be the largest. Not only would this open up a new form of revenue for Google, but it would allow doctors to avoid patients from self-diagnosing themselves based upon information they find online.

WiFi game changer?

If Samsung has its way, internet speeds will get much faster. The South Korean company has developed 60 GHz WiFi technology that would be FIVE TIMES faster than anything currently available. This would mean a 1G movie could be transferred between devices in as little as three seconds. It would also mean uncompressed high-definition videos could be streamed from mobile devices to a TV in real time.

This isn’t some far-off technology you may need to wait years for, either. Samsung believes it could start to commercialize the new tech as early as next year!


Facebook Spam Money, Ebola vs. Apps, Teens Flee Facebook | This Week in Social Media

Facebook and SpamBusting spammers is good money

Just HOW good is the money? Facebook claims to have collected more than $2 BILLION in legal fines against spammers. In the past, the company has written about its efforts to create a spam-free environment for its users. While this is a great sentiment, it seems the altruistic notion isn’t without its benefits.

Facebook busts spammers several ways, one of which includes targeting those with fake Likes and limiting Likes per account. If there are too many Likes being sent out, Facebook will take the time to verify the legitimacy of those engagements. Spammers beware.

Combating Ebola with apps

There are different ways counties are combating and working to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus. However, Nigerians are employing an Android app to cut down the time it takes to track and measure symptoms of the virus. The app gradually helped reduce the reporting time it took to report symptoms to make it work in real-time. This allowed health workers to identify where symptoms where popping up and if they were indeed caused by the dreaded illness.

Nigerian officials are now confident the outbreak in their country has been contained (and may be eliminated by October 20th) through the use of the app and an aggressive educational campaign to help people keep themselves safe. Other countries, including the U.S., are also showing interest in the app as new cases of the disease appear around the world.

Facebook is, like, soo 2010…

First they were leaving, then they were coming back, but now it appears teenagers are leaving Facebook for other social networks, like Twitter and Instagram. That’s according to a new report showing less than half of the teens surveyed reported using Facebook. While most surveys should be taken with a grain of salt, this one spoke with more than 7,200 teens from across the country of various genders and household incomes. The survey provides a variety of other data, including the way they prefer to consume music, movies and videos.

SlideShare App, Hong Kong Protests and Surrendered Information | This Week in Social Media

SlideShareSlideShare gets an app

After more than two years, SlideShare, LinkedIn’s content and presentation-sharing platform, now has an app of its own. It appears to be the latest move in LinkedIn’s push for prominence among social media platforms.

The new app allows you to like, upload and save presentations as well as view presentations from friends or those in your professional network, tying LinkedIn’s social graph into the design. LinkedIn claims there are already more than 15 million presentations available for viewing, which could be valuable for companies and colleagues collaborating and sharing presentations with one another or clients. The app is currently free and only available as an iOS app.

Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution

Pro-Democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong are finding different ways to communicate in the wake of China’s crackdown on social media to dispel recent protests. Called the “Umbrella Revolution,” and paying homage to the umbrellas many protesters use to shield themselves from pepper spray, many are using apps like FireChat that allow phones to act as a mini-transmitter using Bluetooth signals. This has permitted organizers to stay a step ahead of and work around the blocking out of several social media sites (like Facebook and Instagram) and the censoring of posts by the officials in Beijing.

Ooh, a cookie!

Finally, while it isn’t terribly shocking, a new (unscientific) study in New York found 380 people were willing to give up some of their personal information for just one homemade cookie. What kind of information? Partial social security numbers, fingerprints, mothers’ maiden names and other data that could be used to bypass security settings on things like social networks and online bank accounts.

The experiment called “Please Enable Cookies,” artist Risa Puno essentially highlighted what many people suspected: that many people are unaware of just how valuable their personal information is rally worth and what it could be used for. Puno said that the information was freely given even when she refused to tell people what the information would be used for. Scary.

Facebook Ad Network, Pass on Google+ and Shellshock | This Week in Social Media

New Facebook Ad NetworkFacebook vs. Google advertising

Facebook’s cross-platform ad network could be rolling out as early as next week. Facebook’s goal is to provide marketers with more accurate data about who interacts with ads on both Facebook, its third-party apps and websites. This new network will also be a “demand side platform” allowing bidding for impressions on third party sites. This could pose a threat to Google’s Display Network due to the vast amount of data Facebook has on its users. Perhaps most interestingly, the new platform could be a cookie-less cross-platform dimension. We’ll have to wait for the unveil to see just how helpful it can be to marketers and how big a threat it might be to Google and Yahoo. Facebook is currently in second place when it comes to global digital ad revenue – right behind Google.

The beginning of the end of Google+?

Good news for those not entirely thrilled with Google+. Google will no longer require a Google+ account with the activation of a new Gmail address! While Google claims the social network has more than 300 million users, those numbers have been in doubt as some insiders claim that a user doesn’t necessarily have to navigate to the Google+ tab to be considered active. This news has led some to wonder about the future of Google+, which was originally touted as a major contender to Twitter and Facebook.

Worse than Heartbleed?

A computer vulnerability worse than Heartbleed has some concerned about the risk to thousands of unpatched systems. Called Shellshock, it (very) basically leaves unpatched systems vulnerable to malicious and remote attacks. Why could it be worse than Heartbleed? Because it affects Bash, a command-line interface that allows a user to talk to a Unix-based system in such a vast number of networks it may never be (fully) fixed. To protect yourself, be sure to update your computer the next OS X security update comes around (probably quite soon).  More information may be found here.

Facebook Moments, Netropolitan and HealthKit Delays | This Week in Social Media

Facebook developing new app?

Facebook is reportedly testing an app called “Moments” that would allow users to share information with a small, select group of people. For example, if you find an article on bond prices rising but don’t want to bore your family and friends to death, you can select to share the information with coworkers. Conversely, if you have pictures from the previous weekend of a family party that you’d rather not have coworkers or your boss see, you don’t have to let them see it! Those who have seen the app compare it’s look and function to that of Cluster.

Of course, the question that you may be wondering has yet to be answered: “when will this be out and why would I need another app in my life?” Only time will tell.

Netropolitan“Facebook” for the rich

Tired of sharing social networking sites with all of those commoners? Good news. For the low, low buy-in price of just $9,000 you can join Netropolitan, the social networking site for those who wish to discuss the finer things in life like caviar, yachting, solid gold cheetahs or whatever the rich discuss (we can only imagine!).

It isn’t all bad, though. For example, Netropolitan users don’t need to worry about information being handed out and viewed by third-party advertisers. Members must be at least 21 years old and use their real names. Additional details are sparse and we couldn’t go any further than the welcome page (that whole $9,000 thing), but feel free to check it out and sign up if you feel so inclined.

Apple postpones HealthKit app and others

A bug in Apple’s HealthKit and fitness tracking platform delayed the release of this and other applications with the release of iOS 8. HealthKit, for those unfamiliar, gathers and aggregates data from other health and fitness applications and allows it to be visible to doctors. Regulated medical devices, like glucose monitors, can also be paired with the app.

Once up and running, hospitals will be able to use the data for a variety of purposes, such as monitoring diabetic children or tracking blood pressure in heart disease patients. Apple expects to have HealthKit and the other apps it delayed up and running by the end of the month.

“Buy” Twitter, Facebook vs. Snapchat and #Brandfails | This Week in Social Media

Twitter Buy Button“Buy” more with Twitter

A new week, a new feature on Twitter. The social network announced this week it would be rolling out a “Buy” button that could be embedded into tweets and direct users to make purchases with just a few clicks. This could be a major new source of revenue for Twitter, which currently relies advertising for nearly all of its funding. Facebook began testing a similar feature earlier this summer.

The feature is not tied directly to Amazon or Google, however. Once the button is clicked, users will be asked to provide credit card and shipping information or, if already on file, will ask users to confirm the purchase for maximum efficiency. Goodbye life savings…

This message will self-destruct in 3…2…1…

Not to be outdone by the likes of Snapchat, Facebook is testing out a new mobile feature that will allow messages to be sent that would delete after a set amount of time. While it is only be tested in limited amount on iOS right now, it could lead to a new direction for the company, which has seen younger users flock to other networks, like Snapchat, as parents and grandparents have joined Facebook.

You stay classy, brands

If social media marketing has taught us anything, it’s that brands will do anything for attention – even if it’s tacky or (unknowingly) controversial.

Frozen pizza maker, DiGiorno, faced incredible backlash after its community manager sent out a tweet with a hashtag tied to the incident involving former Baltimore Ravens player, Ray Rice attacking his now-wife in an elevator. While the community manager apologized profusely and claimed they were not aware of the meaning of the hashtag they used, the damage had already been done.

While this isn’t necessarily an incident drawing the same kind of heat as DiGiorno, Mashable found a number of brands that sent out 9/11-related content to commemorate the anniversary of the terrorist attacks. While some messages were simply showing support and genuinely heartfelt, others very clearly slapped their logo in patriotic imagery featuring quotes about the anniversary. The Internet reacted as it normally does with these kinds of situations, unrelenting criticism and cynicism

Being timely and clever can absolutely help brand awareness, however it’s important to take a step back and ensure that the message is the right one being sent as well as how it might be perceived.

Apple Under Fire, Twitter Text and Google Gifs | This Week in Social Media

Kate UptoniCloud hack(?) exposes stars

Apple is under fire after more than 100 celebrities were the victims of what appears to be an iCloud hack that resulted in nude photos they had stored being shared online. Many of the victimized stars spoke out about the hack, with some harshly criticizing Apple for perceived flaws in its security.

Apple maintains that there was no hack and blames the leaked photos on “a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions.” The FBI is currently investigating the matter.

Twitter adds more features, people complain

Twitter sent out two tweets this week about changes to the social network: a change in font, new buttons on profile pages and more color options for profiles. In typical internet fashion, people complained. However, the font change is actually going back to a sans-serif default font from the change to a Gotham Narrow font that people also complained about (notice a pattern?).

The new buttons make it easier to directly communicate with an account with  “Tweet” and “Message” buttons. These simply make it easier to mention or direct message an account.

Google gifs

Google is getting in on the fun when it comes to gifs. The search engine is working with Madden GIFerator in creating a live stream of memes using Madden NFL 15 gameplay footage. For example, if Detroit Lions wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, makes a fantastic catch at the beginning of a game you might see the meme below celebrate with the player’s nickname, Megatron.

Clickbait Crackdown, Twitter Analytics and Hyperlapse | This Week in Social Media

clickbaitCutting down on clickbait

We’ve all seen posts with an enticing photo and text reading something like: “You WON’T believe what happened after this picture was taken! Click HERE —–>.” Fortunately, Facebook has taken notice of these irritating clickbait-type posts and is looking to do something about it.

By seeing how long people view the articles they click on (and whether they share it), Facebook hopes to determine which types of posts are spammy and baiting users to click. This isn’t the first time Facebook has looked to crack down on this kind of practice. In April, the social network began targeting and removing “like baiting.”

Twitter analytics for all!

No longer reserved for just a few, Twitter has opened up its analytics dashboard to all users. Now, anyone can see just how well their content is performing. The analytics give users information on reach, impressions and engagement. While the majority of users may not find this helpful, smaller companies and bloggers will find the information of great use as they look to establish their own foothold in the Twittersphere. Analytics were previously only available to verified users and advertisers.

Video gets a bit more watchable

Instagram unveiled a new app this week designed to improve video quality for users: Hyperlapse. The app works to condense and speed up videos in order to stablize them. That means your panoramic video of last week’s barbeque will give viewers less of that “jolting” look and a much smoother viewing experience.

We know you’re reading this and just bursting with excitement at all of the cool videos you’ll be able to make, but keep in mind that this type of app and feature won’t benefit every video. To get a good idea of what Hyperlapse looks like in action, view the video below. Happy filming.


Instagram Ad Tools, Twitter Anger and Taking the Plunge! | This Week in Social Media

Instagram Account Insights650Instagram rolls out advertising tools

While Instagram introduced ads last year, it is now providing advertisers a better way to track how their money is spent. Three features designed to provide better analytics and data were announced this week:  Account Insights, Ad Insights and Ad Staging. Each will help determine how well a brand and its paid content are being engaged with and the reach of that content.

While the tools are currently only available to existing advertisers, Instagram is collecting feedback before making the new features available for all advertisers later this year.

Favorites = retweets?

A riddle for you: when is a favorite a retweet? Answer: quite often, apparently. Twitter has rolled out a change to its timelines that now shows users what their followers are retweeting AND favoriting. As if this wasn’t annoying enough for some (many) users, they are also seeing accounts people that they follow are following.

For one thing, it does away with quietly favoriting something to show appreciation and it also shows a continued blurring of the lines between the way Facebook and Twitter show popular content and the difference between the two social networks. While the company says it isn’t sharing a favorited tweet every time, if you follow several hundred (or thousand) accounts, it stands to reason that you’ll see an awful lot of favorited content. Yay.

Millions donated by taking the plunge

By now, you’ve undoubtedly seen or heard of people dumping cold water on their heads, but why are they doing it? People around the country are “taking the plunge” with the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. Here’s how it works: you decide (or are nominated by a friend) to dump a bucket of freezing cold water on yourself and donate $10 to ALS research OR forego the water and donate $100.

So far, nearly $42 million has been raised for what is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and thousands of videos of people accepting the challenge have been uploaded. It isn’t just your friends; many celebrities have gotten in on the goodwill – including former president George W. Bush! If you’d like to donate, head to http://www.alsa.org/