Thursday, March 29, 2012

Twitter Bug Is Unfollowing Followers

Just yesterday I went to look at one of my best friend's Twitter pages, only to find that it was saying that I wasn’t following her and her account was protected so I couldn’t see her tweets. Initially, I was offended to think that she might have dropped me from her following list; however, I have since found out that there is a “follow bug” that is currently plaguing Twitter.

The bug was first reported by TechCrunch. They stated that the glitch was causing some Twitter accounts to randomly unfollow some users for absolutely no reason.

"This is a bug, and our team is working to fix it," a Twitter spokesperson said.
Twitter also left a note on its support page: "Bug alert: A person you've recently followed shows in your following tab, but appears with a follow icon so it looks like you're not following them, as shown in the image below. Visit their profile if you'd like to confirm you're following them. Engineers are working to resolve the issues listed above. Thanks for your patience!"

Jeremiah Owyang, a technology industry analyst for TechCrunch, wrote an article saying, “I wonder how many businesses, personal, and casual relationships are strained by the bug haphazardly unfollowing. It causes us to give pause and question the stability of the Twitter infrastructure, usage of my personal data and social network, and what important messages I may have missed from my trusted Twitter network.”

Hopefully, Twitter will have this bug fixed soon. I’m finding it slightly annoying and inconvenient, and I simply want to know that Twitter is reliable once again and won’t have issues like this in the future.

Sources: The Telegraph - Twitter admits 'unfollowing bug' and PCMag - Twitter Admits Follow Bug, Says Fix Is Coming

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Facebook Password Amendment Doesn't Pass in the House

On Wednesday, March 28 the amendment that was written to ban employers from asking for their current and prospective employees' personal passwords was voted down by the House of Representatives.

This is an issue that has been popping up a lot recently. Employers have been asking employees and interviewees for their Facebook and email passwords as a condition to keep or get a new job. This is a violation of Facebook’s privacy policy and just seems inappropriate in general.

The amendment that was written concerning these issues says "that you cannot demand, as a condition of employment, that somebody reveal a confidential password to their Facebook, to their Flickr, to their Twitter, whatever their account may be," stated the author of the amendment, Democratic Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter, during his floor speech on Wednesday.

The amendment had been added to a large FCC reform package; however, it was voted down Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 236 to 185. Parties stuck together for the most part, with 183 Democrats voting for the amendment and 234 Republicans voting against it.

On Wednesday Fred Wolens, Facebook’s public policy manager, made a public statement because "there were a lot of questions and implications that I'm not sure employers were considering when engaging in these practices."

One thing that Wolens mentioned was that when employers are accessing the accounts of their current and prospective employees, they aren’t just getting to see the employee's or interviewee's information, they are also getting access to the information of all of their friends.

"You're very fundamentally breaking the privacy of not just [your employee] but their friends," Wolens said.

There are also liability issues that Wolens talked about. A person’s Facebook profile could have information about things like a disability or a pregnancy. These are things that have the potential to lead to employee discrimination suits.

"We give users control [over their information], and when you give away your password, it fundamentally changes your relationship with Facebook," Wolens said. "Employers would not ask people for their email passwords or bank account statement, and I think the implications are very similar, if not the same, to peoples' Facebook passwords."

As of right now, this issue has obviously not been settled. According to TechCrunch, Republicans simply were not convinced that the amendment was truly necessary; however, they did make sure to say that they would in fact be open to discussing the issue if it was separate legislation.

Source: PCMag - House Votes Against Facebook Password Amendment

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Eric Ward Selling Ads for Text Link Ads?

Does anyone else see the irony in the Text Link Ad above Eric Ward's post titled, "Dark Side of the Links: It’s All Fun & Games ‘Til Google Catches On".

From the article, Mr. Ward states, "Link marketing must be viewed more as a PR function and less of an SEO function. Links for the sake of manipulated rank is a fool's game."  The ad above Mr. Ward's post glares at the reader with a contradiction from Text Link Ads declaring that "Links are SEO fuel."

Mr. Ward goes on to say that he has seen tactics such as link buying 'blow up," and "The search engines make it pretty clear what they consider to be violations of quality guidelines."

Subliminal message... Oh and if you want some SEO link fuel, click on my ad.

I know I can't blame Mr. Ward, he probably doesn't have control over which ads are sold on Search Engine Watch.  But I can blame SEW for promoting something that is clearly not what Mr. Cutts and Google want to see promoted. At last check SEW had a PR7.

Will it last, or will selling ads for companies selling links cause SEW to be damaged by future Panda updates?
No one really knows for sure, until one day when you find out and its too late.

Full Disclosure: Xponex does not sell ads to companies engaged in selling links. We don't sell liinks, we don't buy links. We get links the old fashioned way, we earn them.*

We practice what Eric Ward preaches. We will always remain on the light side because we are in it for the long run.

*Reference: Some of you might remember the 1970s Smith Barney commercial starring the famous actor and producer John Houseman. This line, which he delivered at the end of the commercial, will be remembered for generations to come, not only because of his brilliant delivery, but also because of the profound message it carried: “How do they make money? The old-fashioned way…they earn it.”

Monday, March 26, 2012

Twitter Celebrates Its Birthday

On Wednesday, March 21 it was Twitter’s birthday. The micro-blogging site has just turned six years old, and a mere six years after its birth, Twitter announced on its blog that it now has more than 140 million users.

The blog also made sure to mention that the site sees more than 340 million tweets per day, which is more than 1 billion tweets in only three days.

It was on March 21, 2006 that Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey posted the very first tweet on the site. He wrote, “Just setting up my twttr.”

During this early point in Twitter’s life, it wasn’t a whole lot more than a vision of Dorsey’s. Twitter was first conceptualized on a piece of notebook paper, but since then, the site has exploded and become one of the most popular social media sites around.

“When @jack first sketched out his notion in March 2006, no one could have predicted the trajectory of this new communication tool. Now it seems that there are as many ways to express yourself in 140 characters as there are people doing it,” the blog post said.

"Without you, of course, there wouldn't be a Twitter," it continued. "We mark our sixth birthday with you in mind, and celebrate your myriad ways of engaging, enjoying, and emoting on our platform."

“I'm happy this idea has taken root; I hope it thrives,” Dorsey said.

Back in January, Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo discussed how the company plans to stick around for the long haul and doesn’t currently have any plans of going public.

"We are going to be really patient about the way we build the business," he said. "We are trying to build a decades-long, lasting business."

Sources: PCMag - Twitter Turns Six With 140 Million Active Users and Twitter Blog - Twitter turns six

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Facebook Responds to Employers Asking for Account Passwords

Recently is was reported that there were a number of employers who were asking employees or individuals that they were interviewing for their Facebook passwords in order to have complete access to their profile. Since that report, Facebook has responded with its opinion about the situation.

In a blog post Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said, "This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user's friends. It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability."

“As a user, you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job,” she continued. “We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do. “

Facebook has made sure to point out the fact that sharing your password with someone is technically violating the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. When registering for a Facebook account, users agree to the account security statement that states, “you will not share your password… let anyone else access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also criticizes this practice that employers have been using. A blog post written by the union’s attorney Catherine Crump said, “It's an invasion of privacy for private employers to insist on looking at people's private Facebook pages as a condition of employment or consideration in an application process. People are entitled to private lives. You'd be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside. It's equally out of bounds for an employer to go on a fishing expedition through a person's private social media account."

There has been legislation that has been proposed in Maryland and Illinois to ban employers from asking employees and interviewees for their Facebook passwords. Also, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said on Wednesday that he is currently writing a federal bill that would completely ban the practice.

Egan ended the blog post saying, “Facebook takes your privacy seriously. We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including shutting down applications that abuse their privileges. While we will continue to do our part, it is important that everyone on Facebook understands they have a right to keep their password to themselves, and we will do our best to protect that right.”

Sources: PCMag - Facebook Condemns Those Requesting Passwords of Interviewees, Employees, ACLU - Your Facebook Password Should Be None of Your Boss’ Business and Facebook - Protecting Your Passwords and Your Privacy

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Pretty Little Liars" Season 2 Finale is Most Popular Social Media Topic in the History of Television

Pretty Little LiarsThe season 2 finale of ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, titled "Unmasked", generated the most buzz on the social media channels of any regularly scheduled series in the history of television...ever! The initial showing became one of the biggest hours ever on Twitter with fans tweeting an astonishing 654,000 times during the first airing of the episode, which averages out to about 32,000 tweets per minute. Over the course of the entire day, 1.6 million tweets were sent by as many as 667,000 different users.

During the show on Monday night, there were seven different topics trending with regards to the series: "Pretty Little Liars", Pretty Little Liars in 10", "If Mona", "Spencer and Toby", "Dr. Sullivan", "Mona" and "ADay".

According to founder of TweetReach Jenn Deering Davis, "We've been tracking tweets about television shows and events for several years, and this is one of the biggest hours of TV on Twitter we've ever seen. Pretty Little Liars is consistently among the most active shows we track, and Monday night's finale eclipsed the show's previous high of 289,000 tweets during the one show."

If you are unfamiliar with the show, the premise is simple. The story follows a murder mystery involving four estranged best friends, all of whom are on a mission to discover the killer of another friend, Allison. During their hunt, the group is tormented by text messages from an anonymous sender who goes by "A". After two full seasons, the identity of "A" was finally revealed, obviously making it the most watched episode yet.

The four main stars of the show, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell and Troian Bellisario, are all avid tweeters and all have extensive followings on the site. In addition to that, Pretty Little Liars is the number one telecast for females aged 12 to 34 during its airtime as well as the number one scripted cable show in 2012 thus far for the same demographic. And if there is one thing that females aged 12 to 34 love to do, it's tweet.

Source: 'Pretty Little Liars' Finale Receives Most Social Media Buzz in TV History

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gowalla Announces That It's Shutting Down

The location-based social network Gowalla announced on its homepage that it will be shutting down.

TheNextWeb was the first site to report the news. According to TheNextWeb, Gowalla’s message said, “Thank you for going out with Gowalla. It was a pleasure to journey with you around the world. Download your check-ins, photos, and lists here soon."

Gowalla never was able to beat out Foursquare, a very similar service. Finally, after several months of rumors, Gowalla was acquired by Facebook back in December. After it was acquired, Josh Williams, the co-founder of Gowalla, wrote a blog post saying that Gowalla would be “winding down” sometime in January.

The deal between Gowalla and Facebook first became a possibility when co-founders Williams and Scott Raymond went to Facebook’s f8 developer conference in San Francisco.

Williams wrote, “We were blown away by Facebook's new developments. A few weeks later Facebook called, and it became clear that the way for our team to have the biggest impact was to work together. So we're excited to announce that we'll be making the journey to California to join Facebook."

In January, Williams, Raymond and the entire Gowalla team moved to the Facebook headquarters to join their social network design and engineering team.

For those who used Gowalla, it’s good to know that the Facebook acquisition did not include the attainment of user data. This means that Gowalla users that forgot to delete their information before the acquisition don’t have to be concerned that Facebook might be tracking their previous check-ins or any other information that they might have entered on the site.

Gowalla was a pretty successful company, so it will be very interesting to see what their team can do when working with Facebook’s team.

Sources: TheNextWeb - Well that's that. Gowalla shuts down. and PCMag - Gowalla Shuts Down Following Facebook Acquisition

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Employers Asking For Facebook Password

When posting things on your Facebook page, it is important to use discretion and keep certain things private. I think that most people know this. However, how would you feel if your employer were to have complete access to everything on your page?

According to a report released by the Guardian, it seems as though some employers are asking their employees for the email address and password to their Facebook account so that they can have full access to it. It also seems as though this practice is being utilized by some government agencies, colleges and job candidates.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) first caught the Maryland Department of Corrections (DOC) partaking in these invasive practices. They were asking applicants to log-in to their profiles and show them private messages, pictures, wall posts and other things. Such a practice is called “shoulder surfing,” and although applicants were voluntarily showing the Maryland DOC their information, the ACLU said that it is a major violation of user privacy.

According to the Guardian, the DOC was not only asking applicants for their information. Robert Collins said that they asked for his email and Facebook passwords, even though he had been working for the DOC for years.

"Here I am, a U.S. citizen who hasn't broken any laws, who hasn't committed any crimes, and here I am having a prospective – well, not prospective in my case – an employer, looking at my personal communications, my personal posts, my personal identifiable information," Collins said. "It is an absolute and total invasion and total overreach on their part."

The Guardian also made sure to note that for a user to share their password with someone is actually a violation of the terms that Facebook lays out. Upon registering for a Facebook account, you agree that "you will not share your password… let anyone else access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account."

Facebook spokesman Frederic Wolens said, "Under our terms, only the holder of the email address and password is considered the Facebook account owner. We also prohibit anyone from soliciting the login information or accessing an account belonging to someone else."

I know that I would be shocked if an employer asked me to provide them with my password to my email or Facebook account. It’s not that I have anything to hide, but it just seems like such a privacy invasion. Hopefully, the ACLU will get everything all figured out.

Sources: Mail Online - Revealed: How colleges and employers ask for candidates' Facebook and email passwords during job interviews and PCMag - Employers Asking Applicants for Facebook Passwords

SES New York Makes Vivastream Official Social Media Platform

Organizers for SES New York 2012 Incisive Media have just announced that Vivastream will be the official media platform for the conference. Being held from March 19th to the 23rd at the Hilton New York, SES New York is the largest search and social media event in the country with attendees reaching numbers of 3,500 to 4,000. In addition to that, Incisive Media is offering an SES New York pre-show discount of up to $200 for anybody who registers for the event by March 18, 2012.

Any professional in the search and social media industries who is taking part in SES New York 2012 is able to sign up with Vivastream right now in order to begin networking and planning their conference schedules. Vivastream is also available on most mobile devices including the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices, making it quick and easy to have the official social media site of the show always at your fingertips.

Also, attendees using the free social media platform Vivastream can review the list of topics for the show and indicate "I'm interested" and/or "I can help". This builds an individualized list of anybody and everybody you should know at the event. It also allows attendees to connect with other individuals of similar interests or professions, broadening their networks and making good business contacts. During and after the conference, Vivastream will continue to provide networking opportunities so you never miss a beat.

According to Managing Director of Americas at Incisive Media Matt McGowan, "This is our inaugural implementation of Vivastream, and we fully intend to employ it as our social media platform before, during and after all our SES North American conferences. Once signed up, the SES community can engage in continual networking on the topics they care most about. I've started using it myself and it couldn't be more user-friendly and comprehensive."

Source: Market Watch - Vivastream Now Official Social Media Platform for SES New York Conference and Expo

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Twitter Adds Four New Languages

At the beginning of the year, Twitter added Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu to the Twitter Translation Center. This was supposed to be the first step to making these four different languages available on the micro-blogging site. Well, on Tuesday, March 6 Twitter announced that things are finally ready to go. This will be the very first time that Twitter has offered the option of right-to-left languages.

"We first added these four languages to the Twitter Translation Center on January 25," a Twitter blog post read. "Thirteen thousand volunteers around the blog immediately got to work, translating and localizing into these languages in record time."

Twitter’s Translation Center works to make even more languages available on the site. It is made up of more than 425,000 volunteers from around the world. Currently, it is looking for translators to work on close to 30 different languages. Twitter said that there were many different people who worked to translate the latest four languages that the company now offers.

"Among those who donated their time and translation skills to make right-to-left languages a reality on Twitter: a Saudi blogger, Egyptian college students, a journalist at the BBC, IT professionals in Iran and Pakistan, an Israeli schoolteacher, the co-founders of the grassroots #LetsTweetInArabic campaign, academics specializing in linguistics, and teenagers in Lebanon," Twitter said.

As of today, Twitter offers 28 different languages. It is very impressive how quickly they were able to add the four newest languages. They were able to translate everything necessary in about a month and a half.

In April 2008 Twitter started adding foreign languages to its site. The first language to launch was Japanese. In November 2009 the social media site added Spanish and French. Russian and Turkish were added in April 2011, Dutch and Indonesian in August and in September, Chinese, Hindi, Filipino and Malay. According to Twitter, it plans to keep adding as many languages as it can in 2012.

Sources: PCMag - Support for Right-to-Left Languages Comes to Twitter and Twitter Blog - Twitter Now Available in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu

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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Windows Phones: Fastest on Social Sites

 Are the new Windows phones fastest at loading and updating social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin? Fastest at uploading photos to social sites?

Well Ben 'the PC Guy' put a $100 bet that the Windows phone is faster at social networking updates then any phone.

Here are some of the challenges:

- Checking the weather in two locations.
-Play a song, identify song, find it in the marketplace, download it, play it.
-Take a picture of each other, tag it with our self, then post to Facebook.
-Post the word "Hello" to social network, to Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.
-Text our favorite people, "Hello."

 All sorts of challenges were made. In every case, the Windows Phone Won and no money was paid.

The reason why the phone was so fast is because there are buttons for each social media site. The contest was about usability. All you need to do to take a picture and upload it by pressing a button two times. Plus Ben was a very fast texter. He was what you call and expert.

It is unclear if there is a Google + Button, but I would doubt it.

Full Disclosure: I have an android HTC Thunderbolt. This video presentation was very interesting to me. I will consider the Windows phone at my next upgrade time.