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/

 

Google and Yahoo Ally, Floods Flood Social Media, Goodbye Robin Williams

A more secure email by 2015?

Setting aside their competitive differences, Google and Yahoo are teaming up to provide a boost in their encryption services for email. The news came earlier this week that a source code would be released in the coming months with the hopes that the open community would help identify threats.

Yahoo stated the goal was “end-to-end encryption fully available by 2015.” Once implemented, it would make it nearly impossible for hackers, providers, or even the government, to read messages.

Flood imagery floods social media

From Detroit to Rhode Island, incredible images of intense flooding permeated nearly any social media network after storms dropped several inches of rain in just a few hours. In Detroit, some lower stretches of highway were submerged under as much as 13 feet of water and damage estimated in the billions of dollars.

Social media helps remember the life and works of Robin Williams

Robin WilliamsThis week, people around the world were shocked to learn that comedian and actor, Robin Williams, had died. For decades, Williams had inspired and entertained with his fast-paced improvised antics that could change at the drop of a hat and become a somber lesson about life.

Williams had been battling depression for some time, his publicist said, but his wife has also revealed the actor was in the beginning stages of Parkinson’s Disease

Williams’ passing led to a collective mourning on social media. From quotes of “O Captain! My Captain!” from Dead Poets Society to images of Williams’ genie in Aladdin, the outpouring was real and very heartfelt.
Goodbye Genie

Twitter Tinkering, the New Foursquare, Barnes and Noble Parters with Google | This Week in Social Media

Twitter TinkeringTwitter tinkering

Even though you don’t follow Donald Trump, Buzzfeed or Lebron James it doesn’t mean you won’t start seeing their tweets in your feed. That’s because Twitter is experimenting with a new algorithm designed to make popular content accounts you follow visible to you. Think of it as the same way viral content is spread and made more visible on Facebook.

This isn’t the same as sponsored posts or ads, these are genuine tweets that include the option to follow the accounts. While this may be helpful for those new to Twitter, those that are well-versed in the social network may find it irritating and even frustrating as you may not have any interest in seeing an account someone you follow is following. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do if you don’t like it – besides just ignoring irrelevant content for now.

Look out, Yelp, Foursquare isn’t playing around

That new and “improved” Foursquare we recently told you about is now live. Gone are the days of the Foursquare check-in. Now, the app is hoping to take a bite out of Yelp’s business. This video gives an overview of the changes and purpose of the new Foursquare. Suffice it to say, its essentially revamped itself to become more intuitive to search recommendations to help you find where and what you might be looking for. The new slogan even reads “find your place.” Only time will tell if the changes will be enough to unseat Yelp as users’ go-to app for ratings, reviews and recommendations.

Google, Barnes and Noble join forces

In an effort to take a bite out of Amazon’s business, Barnes and Noble has partnered with Google to provide same-day delivery to Manhattan, San Francisco and West Los Angeles from local Barnes and Noble stores. Google normally charges $4.99 for this type of delivery, but seems to have waived the fee – for now.

In the meantime, Amazon recently expanded its same-day delivery to six more major cities. There’s no telling just yet if the move will cut into Amazon’s business or help boost a struggling Barnes and Noble. For the rest of us outside of these metropolitan areas, the best thing to do is just bite the bullet and wait for our goods to arrive whenever they do, pay more for quicker shipping, or just wait until the service comes closer.

Google Pigeon Update, Snapchat’s worth, Bloom vs. Bieber = Social Gold | This Week in Social Media

Google-Pigeon-updateGoogle’s “Pigeon” update

Google recently rolled out what is being called its “Pigeon” update. While there aren’t a lot of details on what Pigeon entails, the update is meant to provide better and more relevant search results. While this is a non-penalty update, many webmasters are reporting it impacting their local rankings in search results.

There is a great explanation breaking down how Pigeon may impact your website, but there are three takeaways you may want to be aware of:

  • Local listing packs disappear for a large number of keywords
  • Rankings are expected to depend more on website authority
  • Yelp and other local directories are seeing a ranking boost

How much is Snapchat worth???

A new report out shows Snapchat may have been right to scoff at Facebook’s $3 billion offer. Alibaba Holdings Group is reportedly talking with the company about raising funding for a $10 billion valuation, putting it on the same price level as Dropbox and Airbnb.

Reps for both companies are staying quiet at this time, though Snapchat’s popularity continues to grow with more than 700 million snaps being sent and disappearing each day.

Orlando Bloom vs. Justin Bieber fight excites the masses on social

A tussle between Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber lit up social media this week after Bloom is reported to have taken a swing at the singer after a less than cordial greeting. While some say the fight is making Bloom relevant again, others are chastising Bieber for his behavior and praising Bloom for doing what so SO many have thought of doing, but few have actually done.

As usual, the brilliant (demented?) minds on the internet had a field day with the scrap. Mashable has a glorious roundup of some of the better quips.

Save Facebook Content, Snapchat Clones and Foursquare sans Check-ins | This Week in Social Media

Facebook SaveSave that Facebook content for later

We’ve all been there. We’re at work and we see an article we really want to check out, but can’t read it for whatever reason and don’t want to lose it. Facebook has come up with a solution for that: saving the content to read later.

The new feature allows you to essentially bookmark content from links and places to movies, TV, music and recipes so you won’t miss out on something and spend a lot of time scrolling through your newsfeed to find it. Just tap on the “v” in the upper right corner of any post and select the option to save it for later. The new function will only work on content that includes a link, place or entertainment source. See it in action here.

Are we on the brink of a Snapchat clone war?

This week, some Instagram users reported seeing banner ads promoting Bolt, a “one tap photo messaging” service. The banner was quickly taken down, but not before people could screengrab the image and share it around and speculate. Nothing more is known at this time other than the fact that it was promoted as a free download.

Foursquare removing check-ins…wait, what?

Foursquare wants to compete more with review service Yelp, which is why its shedding the checking-in function and moving closer to a search and discovery service. The new Foursquare will allow personalized local searches, meaning users will receive different results based on their preferences and past activity. The new Foursquare will debut in about two weeks.

Worry not, its secondary app, Swarm, will still allow you to tell everyone where you are at any given time so that they will be totes jelly of all of the cool stuff you’re doing.

Newsle, Nielsen and Facebook | This Week in Social Media

Facebook and NielsenNewsle purchased by LinkedIn

LinkedIn wants to provide you with more helpful and reliable content on your newsfeed, which is why the social network announced this week it had acquired Newsle, the online tool focused on providing valuable information about your contacts. Exact details have not been released just yet, but LinkedIn has said that Newsle will continue to operate as a standalone company.

We can only speculate right now, but a sensible use for Newsle would provide users with more updates from tagged companies or influencers a user is interested in following.

Nielsen and Facebook teaming up

Privacy advocates aren’t entirely happy with Facebook and Nielsen this week after the two companies announced a partnership to provide more accurate viewing habits through  our of smartphones and tablets.

How might this work, you ask? In a nutshell, Facebook would pull the data from your tablet or smartphone if you haven’t opted out of this sort of tracking through your privacy settings and provide them to Nielsen. While it may not be entirely respectful of users’ privacy, the companies promise that identities will be kept safe and anonymous. The tracking is expected to begin during the autumn television season.

Facebook for VIPs

It’s so hard being famous, you guys!!! That’s why Facebook is making it easier for celebrities (or their handlers) to sift through the noise online to easily interact and respond to people using an app on a mobile device. The goal here is to compete more with Twitter, which makes it much easy for celebrities to track mentions and respond to fans. The app is still in early testing with just a few celebs, but from what we can see so far it’s doing its job correctly!

WhoopiGoldberg

Amazon Zocalo, Google Orkut, and Twitter Analytics | This Week In Social Media

ZocaloAmazon Zocalo

Move over, Google Docs, there’s a new player in town. Amazon announced its own document storage and sharing tool this week, Zocalo.

Like Docs, Zocalo allows users to store and sync documents across devices – but it also allows allows users to offer feedback on content and place comments in specific areas of a PDF or webpage (see the image to the right). However, the real difference that may attract more corporate networks is Zocalo’s ability to be set up with existing corporate credentials.

To use Zocalo, it will set you back only $5 per month for 200GB of storage, but customers with Amazon WorkSpaces get 50GB of free storage  - or pay $2 per month for the full 200GB. Zocalo is available now for limited preview.

Google kills Orkut

Google is killing off its first venture into social media…no, not Google+.

Orkut gained limited success in the U.S. since it launched in 2004, but gained much more popularity in Brazil and India where it was a top contender for Facebook as the dominant social platform for quite some time. However, fending off Facebook is like trying to hold back the ocean, with Orkut slowly losing popularity and users.

Google told user this week it would end Orkut in September, but wi Google has said it would preserve an archive of all Orkut communities that will be available from September 30

Twitter analytics are here

We knew it was only a matter of time, but Twitter has officially unveiled its own analytics measurement. Users can use the Twitter Analytics tool to track mentions, follows, and unfollows in 6-hour increments; view favorites, retweets, and replies for recent tweets; and display best (top 15% engagement) and good (top two-thirds engagement) tweets. In the “Followers” tab, users can access more detailed information on their followers’ locations, interests, and genders, as well as viewing the top accounts that their followers also follow. Data!

A Boost in Facebook Engagements, Reverse Yelp and Google Cardboard | This Week in Social Media

like message on keyboard button, social media conceptsFacebook’s best year ever?

It’s good to be a brand on Facebook right now - IF your content is popular. That’s according to a recent study that says the algorithm change so many brands and companies dreaded may actually be helping to give brands a boost in Facebook engagements.

That algorithm works to place higher-quality content in front of more people, meaning the days of posts reading “LIKE FOR X OR COMMENT FOR Y” and generating thousands of interactions are mostly over. The study indicates that more brands seem to be aware of the algorithm change and are focusing on better content to engage their fans – and it’s paying off.

Reverse Yelp

Are you an all-star diner, or your server’s worst nightmare? Good and bad behavior may not have had an impact on your dining experience from place-to-place before, but now some restaurants in Australia are using its version of OpenTable to rate and track its patrons.

What’s more, restaurants can add information about you to the network, like allergies, birthdays, anniversaries, what you like to eat and drink – as well as what kind of diner you are. This means things like frequent complaints and bad tips will also be documented, so don’t be too surprised if you’re constantly sitting near the bathroom if you aren’t terribly kind!

Cardboard is in right nowGoogle Cardboard

Forget watches and glasses, Google wants you to engage with cardboard! Kind of. This week, at Google I/O  the company handed out something called Google Cardboard in the last few minutes of its keynote to attendees. In an Ikea-like packaging, the “device” resembles a cardboard Viewmaster once assembled. You then place your phone in and are able to view 2D images in 3D with the aid of the Cardboard app. Fun fact: this type of technology (stereoscopic imagery, not apps; those are new) was made popular around the time of the American Civil War.

 

WeChat healthcare, World Cup fever and GIFs on Twitter | This Week in Social Media

WeChat healthcareWeChat healthcare

Many people could (and do) say there is room for improvement when it comes to healthcare. This is no different in China where doctors have even been attacked over patient frustration due to excessive wait times and alleged cases of bribery from doctors, among other things. Now, some officials are now looking at ways to alleviate the anger by improving efficiency with the use of  China’s most popular mobile messaging app, WeChat.

By posting WeChat QR codes in a hospital, users may scan the code to connect to the hospital’s WeChat account to view information about specialists, make appointments and even pre-pay registration and medication fees. As if that weren’t enough, patients can even order a taxi to get home quicker!

World Cup fever takes over social media

Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware that the World Cup is currently taking place in Brazil. Though Americans are traditionally less enthusiastic about soccer, or futbol, America’s win over Ghana this week undoubtedly made it to your newsfeed. After all, nearly 5 million tweets about the game were sent out, which was also the highest-rated World Cup game to ever air on ESPN.

It’s likely that Sunday’s game against Portugal to advance into the next round will generate even more buzz and excitement from the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Of course, this IS social media and the internet, where things are not always roses and teddy bears. The reigning World Cup champions from Spain were dealt a humilating 2-0 defeat by Chile, launching a worldwide meme-centered mockery of the Spaniards.

GIFs finally arrive on Twitter!

Finally, this week, GIFs are now available for use on Twitter! The feature was teased a few weeks ago, but now you can officially post all the GIFs you like to your heart’s content. We’re pretty excited about this. Here’s how you can get in on the fun.

TweetDeck and Gmail Security Concerns and is Social Media Healthcare’s Crystal Ball? | This Week in Social Media

TweetDeck and Gmail Security ConcernsTweetDeck and Gmail security concerns

Two big security compromises this week: one involving TweetDeck, the other with Gmail. On Wednesday, it was revealed that a vulnerability in TweetDeck could allow an attacker to remotely execute javascript code just by tweeting it out.

Twitter promptly took down all versions of until the issue could be fixed and asked users to log out and then log back in order to activate the fix. Everything appears to be in order now and, allegedly, the person who caused the vulnerability has been exposed as a 19 year old Austrian teenager who was trying to tweet out hearts (we are not kidding).

Meanwhile, a Gmail vulnerability may have existed for years. The bug, which has also been fixed, could have provided every single users’ Gmail address to someone with the right know-how. The good news is that passwords themselves would not have been compromised, but users could have been left vulnerable to spam, phishing or password-guessing attacks. Again, as with the case involving TweetDeck, the issue has been resolved.

Social Media and healthcare: a crystal ball into the future?

Just as your social media posts can help companies predict buying patterns in order to tailor ads to you (it’s Best Buy HD TVs galore on my newsfeed), your activity may also help healthcare providers predict healthcare outcomes.

A recent study shows that tracking a Facebook user’s “Likes,” while looking at public health records may (more accurately) help predict various health outcomes. That report indicated that by combining the information from social media, records were two-to-four times more accurate.

Of course, this brings up privacy concerns and the debate of utilizing personal posts and interests for medical records, but with the federal government now requiring those records be digitized, more accurate reports may soon be on their way thanks to your social posts.