Shell Licking, the New Water Cooler and the Perfect Pin | This Week in Social Media

Behold—the perfect Pinterest pin

“Shell-Licking” Shell-Shocks Taco Bell

This week, two Taco Bell workers were fired after posting an image of one of them licking a stack of taco shells to Facebook. The image quickly circulated across the web, resulting in disgust and outrage and prompting the food giant to launch an investigation. Taco Bell released this statement saying that they found the shells in the photograph had only been used for training purposes for a new item, were about to be thrown out and were never served to customers.

During the training on the new product, employees were permitted to take a picture of themselves enjoying the newest item on the menu. According to Taco Bell, the photos had guidelines and the image in question was “clearly unacceptable.” Clearly.

Curalate Defines the Perfect Pin

Pinterest analytics platform Curalate attempted to solve the mystery of Pinterest’s appeal by studying 500,000 pins to determine which qualities make an image especially pin-able.  The verdict? Successful images are filled with lots of warm, highly saturated colors, and smooth textures. The most popular aspect ratio is 2:3, and images comprised of less than 10% artificial background are 2-4 times more likely to be re-pinned. Perhaps surprisingly, images of people are far more likely to drive engagement if they don’t contain faces.  The results of the study led Wired magazine to name this image of a Paula Deen cucumber salad the “perfect pin,” proving once again that if there’s one thing we can all get behind on social media, it’s pictures of food.

Social Networks are the New Water Coolers

Northwestern University might not be the best football school (Big Ten joke!) but when it comes to the Kellogg School of Management, they know their stuff. Kellogg recently released a study called The Coworker Network which researched enterprise social media similar in look and feel to Facebook and Twitter. Enterprise social media software like Yammer helps create a public flow of information and ideas that would otherwise be locked in private emails or run-ins in the hallway. A professor at Northwestern tested this theory and had a marketing group of a company use software to conduct routine communication rather than resort to email or in-person interactions. The results: After six months, the enterprise social media software improved their ability to find information by 31% and improved their ability to find people who knew the person with information they needed by 71%. Even those who posted infrequently still retained a working knowledge of what was being said and by whom. Maybe Facebook isn’t just for pictures of cats and babies.