Friday, November 14, 2014

Facebook Is Putting It's Policies In Words We Can All Understand, Finally!

When it comes to the social media sites that we use on a daily basis, it's hard to really pay attention to anything other than what you're trying to do. You never really notice the small things at the bottom of the page, like the privacy policies and what not. Even if you do notice them, 9 times out of 10, you're not going to read them. Why? Well because you can't really understand what they're saying unless you went to law school for eight years and are studying to become a Supreme Court Justice. This is where all of the "fine print" for your social media sites are at, though, so it wouldn't be the worst idea to check them out. Again though, it's hard to read into them when you can't even understand what you're reading. Facebook has made a change to that however.

As it stands now, we will all be able to read the basics of what the Facebook policies are, and it's not just for individual users, but also for businesses and advertisers.

How Is It Helping The Users?
Recently, we've seen concerns involving the privacy polices that come with some of our beloved social media networks. Remember the backlash Facebook received for "accessing your phone and camera" whenever they wanted to? That caused a big scare among Facebook users. Now people seem a bit more inclined to know what exactly they're agreeing to by using a particular service. The only problem is that it takes so long to get through because of the way it's written. By taking the approach that Facebook has taken now, they're hoping to make the privacy policy a bit more understandable to those of us who aren't used to reading through all of the legal jargon. Should you want to find it, all you have to do now is look under the Privacy Basics

How Is It Helping Advertisers?
When it comes to the advertising aspect of Facebook, you probably get annoyed. In June though, Facebook updated their advertising policies that that advertisers could target specific groups of people based off of the the applications and websites they go to while they're not on Facebook. I know that sounds a bit stalker-ish, but this way, the advertisers are able to properly utilize their funds to target the users that will be the most likely to purchase their products or services. Facebook will be giving the information of users who would seem the most relevant, while still maintaining the users anonymity.

What Else Is Facebook Doing?
Facebook isn't stopping just at the privacy policies and cookie policies. They're also working to add new features such as a "buy" feature to the site itself. When this finally takes place, they say that users will be able to buy directly from another service, directly on Facebook without having to be routed to that services page directly. They will also be targeted users based on location. Essentially whenever you "check in" some where or are with "nearby friends", Facebook will gather that data to show ads for places and services that are nearby. It will also use the data to show you updates of friends who are nearby, instead of that one friend you randomly have in Colorado.

Facebook is taking their marketing game to the next level, there is no doubt about that. They themselves now hold 10% of the $50.7 billion digital advertising market. They're only increasing that share percentage with the changes they are making.

Whether it be with the "readable" privacy policies, or the increased targeted advertising policies, Facebook is making sure that they stay relevant, and stay on top.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Facebook Is Launching A New App So That You Can Talk To People Anonymously

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Soon, Facebook might be giving you the option to share things with other people anonymously. They are getting ready to put out a separate app for it as well.

According to The New York Times, this app is going to come out in just a few weeks. The excuse for the app is that people might want to talk about things that they are embarrassed about and don't want to reveal their identity.

It's a little bit ironic, because right now Facebook is still suffering from the backlash of their "real name policy" where they locked a lot of people out of their accounts for not using their legal name. A lot of the people who this happened to were transgender and going by a different name, so that created even more of an issue for Facebook as you could imagine.

Right now it isn't known if the new app is going to actually connect with the Facebook app in any way or not. It is also a little bit confusing as to why this is even a good idea. People have been anonymously making fun of each other on forums for years now and don't need an app to do it. They say that it may be good for people who want to talk about things without giving out their real name, but lets be honest, we all know what it's really going to be used for, and there is nothing good about it.

People are also saying that the app may be of some benefit to those who have serious health issues that they don't want to make public. Like, people could band together and form a sort of support group without ever revealing who they are in real life.

Whatever it is going to be used for, Facebook has made it clear that releasing this new app is going to be a top priority for them. Up until now, the new messenger app and all of the heat they have been taking for it has been their main focus. With all of that being cleared up for the most part, they can move on and we can finally see what this new mystery app is really going to be all about.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Waiting 2 Days In Line For An iPhone 6 To Win Back Your Ex-Wife? Sounds Reasonable

The internet has been abuzz recently with reports coming in from around the world about the first people to get their hands on the iPhone 6 and/or iPhone 6 Plus. The sheep fans of Apple's mobile devices have a history of doing ridiculous things in order to be the first one to get their hands on the Cupertino company's "newest" handset. Some people wait in line outside of the store for days, including one Darius Wlodarski. However, Wlodarski has a different reason for waiting in line for the iPhone 6, one that isn't him being the first one to lay hands on the device.

Wlodarski, a Polish-born man who resides in Bristol, waited in line for 44 hours in order to be among the first people to get an iPhone 6. His reasoning? Winning back the love of his ex-wife. Wlodarski's world came crumbling down after he and his wife of 20 years ended their relationship nearly a month ago. Before they broke up, however, Wlodarski promised himself that he'd get her the iPhone 6, which lead him to the lines of the Apple Store in Bristol.

While Wlodarski didn't reveal the specific nature of the couple's split, he did mention that he "wasn't the best husband or father." In a video uploaded by UK news wire SWNS, Wlodarski states, "I didn't know that family is important to me, so I did so many things wrong. So I want to say sorry to my wife and my daughter that I wasn't as good as I could be."

Unfortunately, Wlodarski's reasoning behind why he thinks this plan will work is shaky. As he reports it, the phone is significant because he gave his wife an iPhone two years ago and it "made her very happy." Based on that previous result, Wlodarski believes that this upgrade is sure to do the trick again. "She told me she would like an iPhone 6 because it had a bigger screen but realized we could not afford it but still, I want to buy it for her," Wlodarski added. Reports have noted that Wlodarski is currently unemployed due to health issues and intends to pay for the new phone with a credit card. "I want to say, maybe one day you'll realize ... I could be good again," Wlodarski told SWNS. "I don't know, maybe you'll trust me again. Sorry."

I certainly wish Wlodarski the best of luck in his endeavor to win back is beloved wife. As the old saying goes, you don't truly know how much you love someone until they're gone and Wlodarski is learning that lesson first hand. However, I don't think it's wise to base an entire marriage and life together on something as trivial as an iPhone but hey, what may be true love for Wlodarski and his wife may not be true love for me so to each his own I suppose. The only thing that concerns me now is what the daughter is getting out of this? I think she deserves a new iPhone too right?

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Twitter Timeline Changes Include "Relevant Content" and Sponsored Tweets

Within the past week users on Twitter noticed that the social media company had deployed an experiment to a handful of users that started showing actions, like favorite Tweets, on the user's main Twitter timeline. In addition to that, Twitter also experimented with showing tweets from accounts users didn't follow earlier in the month. When it first appeared, it seemed as if this feature was simply a test due to the fact that it had yet to be universally deployed to all users. However, it appears as if Twitter has updated some key language on its help page that indicates a permanent change.

It appears as if Twitter has updated the definition of "What's a Twitter timeline?" with a new bullet point. That new point reads as follows:

Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that's popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don't follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting. 
A previous version of the same page was found in Google's Cache and reads:

 Note: You may see content from accounts you do not follow, such as promoted Tweets, Retweets from accounts you follow, or content that may be relevant to you. Read more about promoted Tweets here, and Retweets here

 The phrasing in the old text that you should focus on is "content that may be relevant to you". The new paragraph explains more explicitly something Twitter previously displayed. With the new paragraph, Twitter is more clearly defining what the "relevant content" is. Regardless, this just goes to show you that, as a company, Twitter is doing more of what it can to increase engagement in users and become more similar to other social media sites like Facebook.

What isn't clear is how or when Twitter will implement these changes, though it makes sense that the company is still experimenting with how it will show additional tweets to users and determine what works. However, some users will argue that this is a fundamental change to the core Twitter service. Until now, users had the privilege of only seeing the tweets you wanted to see, not counting retweets and sponsored tweets. This new influx of "relevant content" could turn Twitter into something more like Facebook and its newsfeed with all the sponsored content, something that many users don't particularly care for.

The most relevant point to consider is that Twitter is an immediate social network. Users are living in the present moment on Twitter with Facebook allowing for more longevity to content. However, as Facebook has proven time and time again, making major changes doesn't necessarily result in a loss of users as most people adapt and get used to it eventually. However, more people are willing to leave Twitter behind then they are Faebook and leaving Facebook over Twitter makes much more of a statement in terms of social networking, so Twitter should definitely tread lightly.

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Monday, August 04, 2014

LinkedIn to pay nearly $6M in unpaid overtime wages and damages

LinkedIn to pay nearly $6M in unpaid overtime wages and damages
to 359 employees following US Labor Department investigation

WASHINGTON – LinkedIn Corp. has agreed to pay $3,346,195 in overtime back wages and $2,509,646 in liquidated damages to 359 former and current employees working at company branches in California, Illinois, Nebraska and New York. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that LinkedIn was in violation of the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. When notified of the violations, LinkedIn agreed to pay all the overtime back wages due and take proactive steps to prevent repeat violations.

“This company has shown a great deal of integrity by fully cooperating with investigators and stepping up to the plate without hesitation to help make workers whole,” said Dr. David Weil, administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. “We are particularly pleased that LinkedIn also has committed to take positive and practical steps towards securing future compliance.” 

LinkedIn failed to record, account and pay for all hours worked in a workweek, investigators found. In addition to paying back wages and liquidated damages, LinkedIn entered into an enhanced compliance agreement with the department that includes agreeing to: provide compliance training and distribute its policy prohibiting off-the-clock work to all nonexempt employees and their managers; meet with managers of current affected employees to remind them that overtime work must be recorded and paid for; and remind employees of LinkedIn’s policy prohibiting retaliation against any employee who raises concerns about workplace issues.

“Off the clock’ hours are all too common for the American worker. This practice harms workers, denies them the wages they have rightfully earned and takes away time with families,” said Susana Blanco, district director for the division in San Francisco. “We urge all employers, large and small, to review their pay practices to ensure employees know their basic workplace rights and that the commitment to compliance works through all levels of the organization. The department is committed to protecting the rights of workers and leveling the playing field for all law-abiding employers.”

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees. Additionally, the law requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records, and it prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Foursquare Rebrands With A New Logo And A New App

Foursquare, the popular social media app, has announced a huge re-branding. They are taking the apps focus away from checking in at different places around the globe and going more toward helping people find places that are nearby. Along with the big change comes their new logo.

The point of the huge change is so that Foursquare can better compete with other apps that are becoming more popular such as Yelp and Google Places. They believe that there are problems with those apps, and they believe they have the answer to fixing them and making their app the superior choice. But can you really compete with Google? Can ANYONE really compete with Google?

They are so dead serious about this huge change that they even put out a brand new app called Swarm. It came out in May, and it is basically just the same thing that Foursquare used to be. Since you can't "Check in" with Foursquare anymore, you use Swarm instead. The company decided to do this because lots of people used Foursquare to check in, and lots of people used it to search for different nearby places, but users rarely did both. Once they caught on to that, they just decided to split the apps into two different things. To me it seems like it would have made more sense to make the new app the one that had all the crazy new changes. But what do I know?

Apparently both apps are going to be able to work together fairly seamlessly. This will allow users to still use the check-in feature through Foursquare. Your check-in history will also transfer over to the new app, for anyone that cares.

Like myself, real marketing analysts also think that the huge re-branding is a pretty dangerous move for Foursquare. Yelp and Google are obviously the main competitors for the app, so they are going to have to come up with something really interesting to set themselves apart. It will either have to be something that isn't offered yet, or they will have to offer the best user experience ever.

The company has been listening to its users, hearing what they have to say about Swarm. Some users are pretty upset about the lack of some of the features that the original Foursquare had, but about 75% of the users have been pretty happy so far.

As stated earlier, with the big change there is also a new logo. The new Foursquare logo is now a big pink "F". The company says that the new app should launch in a few weeks.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Forget the Ruling... it Started with a Repossessed House

The Court of Justice of the European Union recently handed down a ruling that will force search engines to remove links containing personal data... if that data was published by third parties.

The ruling effectively forces Google and other search engines to remove certain results at the request of individuals, but not for corporations other other enterprises.

It started with a Spanish Newspaper Auction Notice
In 2010 a Spanish citizen lodged a complaint against a Spanish newspaper with the national Data Protection Agency and against Google Spain and Google Inc. The man complained that an auction notice of his repossessed home on Google’s search results infringed his privacy rights because the proceedings concerning him had been fully resolved for a number of years and hence the reference to these was entirely irrelevant. He requested, first, that the newspaper be required either to remove or alter the pages in question so that the personal data relating to him no longer appeared; and second, that Google Spain or Google Inc. be required to remove the personal data relating to him, so that it no longer appeared in the search results.

The case was referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Here is the ruling verbiage
"An internet search engine operator is responsible for the processing that it carries out of personal data which appear on web pages published by third parties...Thus, if, following a search made on the basis of a person's name, the list of results displays a link to a web page which contains information on the person in question, that data subject may approach the operator directly and, where the operator does not grant his request, bring the matter before the competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results," said the Court.

The proposed Data Protection Regulation is about much more than the right to be forgotten. It is a fundamental modernization of Europe’s data protection rules, establishing a number of new rights for citizens of which the right to be forgotten is only one (data portability, data breach notifications for instance), creating a single market for data in the European Union and streamlining cooperation between the Member States’ regulators.

This ruling does not remove the link or webpage from the internet, it only requires Google, Yahoo, Ask and Bing to remove a particular link from their search results page (SERP). So a search result containing the link may live on secondary and tertiary search engines... forever.

Source: "Right to Be Forgotten" for complete pamphlet:
Photo: Thinkstock

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Yahoo Attempts To Make Your Home Screen Smarter With New Aviate App

Let's be honest when it comes to social media and smartphones Yahoo isn't at the top of the list. I mean, when was the last time you heard someone say, "I don't know, let me Yahoo it really quick!" I rest my case. However, that hasn't stopped the website from trying to get a better foothold in the mobile industry. In recent news, Yahoo has announced the release of a personalization app for Android.

Known as Yahoo Aviate, the app is the byproduct of Yahoo's acquisition of Aviate earlier in the year. During the acquisition, Yahoo also acquired an app for personalizing the home screen on Android phones based entirely on what users are doing. The Aviate app has previously been in a closed beta, though the version that was just released is available around the globe in English with some new features.

The developers of the app have been focusing on organizing the apps of users based on a number of different signals. Walk by a gym and fitness apps might show up. Driving in your car listening to the radio could very well bring up apps like Spotify or other music apps. Yahoo's version of the app brings in new features that are designed to make the app more useful. Some of these features include weather changes and a way to connect to a conference call with the tap of a single icon.

CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer has been very vocal as of late on the company's efforts to offer more in terms of contextual search. According to Mayer, Aviate is a key element in that pursuit. However, Aviate exists in a very crowded market of apps that offer functions that act like a personal assistant, like EverythingMe and EasilyDo. The other big challenge is that predicting what people want can be very difficult and failing to do so accurately could be a very big annoyance for users.

In addition to that, apps like Aviate also compete, in some ways, with apps like Google Now. Google Now is Google's mobile tool for Apple's iOS operating system and Android. The app provides different information, like sports scores and news headlines based on data signals specific to that person.

If Yahoo is trying to get a foothold in the mobile and social media market then an app like this might not be the best idea. While the idea is interesting and has potential, the risks are large. If the app becomes an annoyance more than an assistance then users could get a sour taste in their mouths for future Yahoo apps. Only time will tell, however, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this thing plays out.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Facebook Cuts Down On Automatic Posts In Newsfeed

Are you a full grown man who may have been really embarrassed because Facebook decided to share with the world that you are currently listening to Lady Gaga on Spotify? Whether or not that has ever happened to you, there is still some pretty good news from Facebook, so keep reading anyway.

On Tuesday Facebook announced that they will be cutting down on posts that third party apps make on your behalf that make their way into the Newsfeed.

Most of the time, you don't even know that different apps are making posts for you. You often may get tricked into it when you are first setting up a new app and forget to un-check one of the little boxes that they purposely try to place in a spot where you will overlook it. But luckily, now all of your friends won't always be able to see what you are listening to or how many points you have earned in a dumb game that you probably shouldn't be playing at work anyway.

Facebook's own studies have shown that when a user actually decides to intentionally share a story from a third party app, it gets a lot more attention and interaction than an automatic post. So you will still be able to post on your own behalf from third party apps and have them show up in your friends' Newsfeeds.

Back in 2011, Facebook gave third party apps the ability to post for you and share with others what you are reading, listening to, or watching. They thought it would be cool to give everyone real time updates on what everyone else is doing, but in actuality it wasn't cool at all. It made Facebook feel more like a silly spam website, much like what happened to Myspace which made everyone run away and never look back.

For all of the Facebook users out there, it should bring you great joy to know that your Newsfeed should be chilling out a little bit and you'll actually be getting the updates that you want to see instead of getting apps and products shoved down your throat.

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Thursday, May 01, 2014

Facebook Is Dead, Time To Move To Twitter

It is a fact: The days of marketing yourself on Facebook for free are over.

Facebook is trying so hard to get companies to pay for marketing that they have actually cut the reach of pages to only 1% to 2% of the fans. That is ridiculous. We know how hard you have worked to build up your Facebook page, and we are sorry. However, since you have worked so hard for it, you shouldn't ditch it. Your loyal customers and fans will still check it out. But the time has come to find a different strategy.

Many people have a hard time with Twitter. For a while, it was much harder to build your Twitter than your Facebook. You only have a limited number of letters you can type on each post, the home page seems crazy with all the different tweets flying around every two seconds, it's not very visual, the list goes on. But there are a few new updates to Twitter that are going to allow you to use it more to your advantage than ever before when it comes to social media marketing. It has a much better design now, it's more attractive, more visual, more welcoming. There are a few steps you can take to ween yourself off of Facebook and start making more money with Twitter.

1. Be Real With People

There is no reason to talk like a big shot business rep on Twitter. You should speak to your customers on Twitter like you would talk to your friends in real life. If you can make people laugh and smile, you will stand out from the crowd. Be approachable, be human, be kind.

2. Use The New Layout To Your Advantage

This seems pretty obvious, but some people don't know that Twitters new features are only an option. If you don't make sure your profile has all the new features activated, then... it won't have all the new features. Soon though, it will not be an option and everyone's profiles will be updated. So it is best to make sure all of your images are ready and in order before they switch everyone's profiles and you're left looking like a clown.

3. Use Images

With new updates come new strategies. Twitter users are posting more pictures than words right now, Figure out how to use images to your advantage.

4. Say What Your Customers Want To Hear

Make sure that your posts stay relevant and you are giving your customers what they expect from you. If you don't know what your customers expect from you, it is easy to check out what some of your competition is doing on Twitter.Twitter is now probably the best way to connect with your customers one-on-one, so make use of it.

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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Twitter And Billboard Will Be Working Together To Give You The Top Music Charts In Real-Time

People love music. Music has been around since the dawn of time it seems, and it still is one of the biggest staples of our humanity. It keeps us sane, gives us a sense of perspective, and makes us what to shake what our mommas gave us. Music means a lot to us as a society. People want to know what is going to be the next big song. Who is going to have the next big hit? Lady Gaga? Macklemore? There is a place that we look to that usually tells us who is leading the charts. Good ol' Billboard! Yes the Billboard charts mean basically everything in terms of who is who in the music world. The only bad part is that songs will be out for at least a week before you see anything solidified. Well, Twitter now plans to work with Billboard to change that wait time around, and give it to us in real-time instead!

How is this all possible? Well, with a lot of paperwork for one. When two super giants team up together, the result can be quite beautiful and beneficial for both parties. Billboard and Twitter together signed an Twitter Amplify partnership. This will essentially boost the availability of the chart and not just leave the ratings on Instead, there will now be in-tweet charts on Twitter to help show the most popular and trending songs, videos, and artists as they happen.

We live in a world where music is constantly discussed, shared, and listened too. We all have that friend who has music A.D.D., and continuously plays a new song every 15 seconds from their phone. With so many songs, it can only be natural to see all of the tweets on Twitter involving artists, songs, screenshots of songs, lyrics, and more. Music is actually the most talked about thing on Twitter today. 2013 saw more than 1 billion tweets all relating to music. Roughly 100 million of these tweets came from Twitter accounts that were relating to music already, like band Twitter accounts for example. In the short time that 2014 has been around, there have already been another 40 million tweets about music from user accounts worldwide.

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Since music is so heavily talked about on Twitter, it would only make sense to have the Billboard charts involved. Think of all of the implications that can go along with this now. Almost everyone has a Twitter these days, including some of the top industry execs. This means that they will be finding out about the numbers and rankings the same time that Andrew and Jessica do. Lets say for example a band trying to get noticed is distributing music via Twitter. By distributing their music and engaging with their fans on Twitter, there is a much higher chance to expand the audience now. How? Well think about how many people tweet about music. All it takes is a simple "Man, Blah Blah Blah should really have made it on Billboard. They are amazing!" and one industry executive to look at the band to be noticed and have a shot at the big time. The Billboard charts will now be viewable by everyone on Twitter as they happen, which means that music will become popular at a quicker rate and even more music will be shared. More artists will have a chance.

You never know who your next favorite band will be now, especially now that so many of them will have more of a chance to be noticed and exposed. Now with Twitter, Billboard and music will know no bounds.


Friday, April 04, 2014

Facebook Updates Messaging App With Free Voice Calling

Facebook recently acquired WhatsApp for a cool $16 billion. This raised a lot of questions for the social media company, namely what would happen to its existing messaging app. However, recent reports have confirmed that people don't have anything to worry about. Facebook recently updated the mobile messaging app and added a very new and cool feature: the ability for users to make free voice calls to their Facebook friends.

The new feature is pretty similar to voice calling found in other messaging apps, like Viber and WebChat. With the new update, users will be able to make calls to friends for free provided they have a WiFi connection. A phone icon now appears when you view your contacts in Messenger. Simply tap the icon to initiate a phone call. Both participants in the phone call need to have a WiFi connection or a data connection.

This update came a mere weeks after pics of voice calling on WhatsApp started popping up on the internet. That feature had been rumored to be in the works for some time before the pictures leaked online. What's really interesting is that the leaked screenshots of WhatsApp's in-call screen and the in-call screen for Facebook Messenger are practically identical to each other and to the in-call screen of iOS 7. The only difference is the in-call screen for the Android app.

The messaging app for Facebook mobile is definitely a handy little tool. It allows users to send messages to other Facebook users without having to be in the actual Facebook app itself. In addition to that, the app also allows users to pop out chat heads for quick access to any ongoing conversations. The chat heads can be a little distracting, though the ability to literally move the chat head around anywhere on the screen (like any other app) gives you complete control over where you want it.

I wonder, however, how users will take to the calling feature for messaging. I personally use the messaging app all the time, though I don't see much use for the phone calling app. If I want to call someone I'll just use my phone like normal. I guess this app could be considered useful if you wanted to or needed to call someone who you are friends with on Facebook but don't have their number. It could also be a good way to call people without actually exchanging numbers, if you ever needed to be in a situation like that.

You can grab this latest version of Facebook's Messaging app on the Google Play store and the Apple App store for iOS and Android users. Users of the app on Windows Phone devices are still waiting on the update.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The App That Allows For Real-Time Q&A With Your Twitter Followers

Who doesn't love asking questions? We tend to crave as much knowledge as we can possibly get, so we ask all the questions we can. They don't necessarily have to be educational questions either. You may just want to get to know someone, ask a business directly about particular inquiries, or try to learn a bit more about your favorite celebrity. These days, however, communication has become a bit more "technical". It's as if everything we do or say is voiced via our Tumblr, Facebook, or Twitter. This can be both good and bad. The bad being finding out a bit more information than you wanted to know. The good thing, though, is the fact that this gives us the opportunity to ask questions directly to people tagging them. Twitter is the best way to do this normally, due to the 140 character limit. Short and sweet Q&A.

Normally, Twitter can be a bit annoying to deal with due to heavy traffic for particular companies and celebrities. Recently, however, an App called "Flawk" has made the Twitter Q&A a lot easier by making it real-time.

Flawk creators, Kabriel Robichaux and Matt Coalson, are using their app to correct a problem with Q&A and AMA platform problems; they aren't completely "instant". They claim that no one really wants to go to a Reddit page from 20-some years ago to refresh it and see if anyone has really posted anything. They go on to say that "nothing beats being in the same room" and "getting a real, human connection". Reddit does demand that you have an actual verified account in order to take part in the AMA's that they host. Twitter makes things a bit easier because its main interactions consist of replying to tweets and the ever-popular retweet. Even with that, however, it can be very hard to follow all of the questions, answers, and other tweets in order.

With the Flawk App, the creators have more or less created a chat room of sorts. By accessing the Flawk App through your Twitter account, you become directly connected to the event. Since the Flawk namespace coincides with the Twitter namespace, the person hosting the event "controls" what goes on directly, much like a real life Q&A. Everything from choosing which particular questions to answer, which users to interact with directly, and even what songs or YouTube videos to play during the event. While everyone can see the Q&A chat happening, a real-time live chat happens below the Q&A. This allows the actual questions and answers from a company or celebrity to not get flooded with other nonsense from potential spammers, keeping things a bit more professional.

The implications of this for your business could mean great things. How many times have you been reading something on the side of a food package, or any type of good for that matter, and seen the small box that says "Questions? Comments? Call 1-800 blah blah blah"? Imagine this as your time to actually talk to someone higher up in the company without having to sit through wait times or automated phone services.

Companies can actually now host an event for their Twitter followers after a product has been released and get immediate feedback from their first customers. The ability to talk to your Twitter followers in real-time makes for a better connection with your consumers and can ultimately increase sales. Find out what your customers like and what they think you can improve on. The customer is always right, after all.


Thursday, March 06, 2014

Scheduling Your Social Media Posts: The Pros And Cons

So, you run a business. Changes are, you are extremely busy all the time. You have things that you have to accomplish every day, you have a personal life, and it is hard to juggle everything and still be successful. One of the last things you probably think of is social media, although you shouldn't be overlooking it because it is one of your companies biggest tools if used correctly. You need social media to reach and increase your range of customers. This is one of the biggest ways of generating business, and generating business means generating money. If you fin yourself being too tied up with the other various aspects of your life to take on your social media profiles, there are a few things that you should consider first.

Pros of Scheduling Your Posts

The biggest and most apparent pro to scheduling your posts is that it frees up a lot of your time to do other things and not worry about it. You can write everything ahead of time and let a pre-scheduler do the rest. You can set any time you'd like, and your posts will go live in the order that you have predetermined and at the exact time that you have chosen, and you don't have to be anywhere near a computer.

There are certain times during each day that have proven to be the most active times on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever else. Sometimes, you're probably going to be super busy during these times. If you schedule your posts, then you can make sure that no matter where you are or what you are doing, your posts are going live at the perfect time for your fan base to see them.

It allows you to manage your time better. You know what they say; time is money, and money is time. If you schedule your posts, you can sit down when you have the time and write them all up and schedule a whole weeks worth of posts in one sitting, and then it's done and you don't have to worry about it anymore. By doing this, you'll have more time to devote to other aspects of your business and life.

Cons of Scheduling Your Posts

We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Scheduling posts makes it a lot easier to goof something up because you are doing several days worth of posts at one time. It's really easy to be in a rush and misspell something or paste an incorrect link without even realizing it until it's a week later and it's too late to fix. This could cause you to look unprofessional to your audience.

You could come off like you don't care about your audience. By scheduling posts, you will not be there when they go live. Now, when you get some sort of response on your post, you won't be there to respond in real time to you potential costumers. This comes off as insensitive, rude, and lets them know you don't care.

You are always going to seem like you're out of the loop. When you're writing all of your posts at one time, you are limiting yourself to current events only. If a new development pops up, you're not going to be posting about it. If something you wrote 3 days ago isn't even relevant anymore due to a change in your industry, now you just look like a clown. And don't even think about making up for it with a NEW post that you didn't schedule ahead of time. Then, you run the risk of having two posts that are too close in time to each other. That looks sloppy, and you don't get the most out of either of the posts.

Keeping up on your social media pages can be a huge and time consuming task. It can even be pretty intimidating sometimes. If you are at a point where you are considering doing pre-scheduled posts, then it is really important to not only weigh out the options, but to figure out what mistakes you COULD make, see where others have failed, and figure out a way to do it without making yourself look foolish. Put time and care into it, even though it's automated.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Kik's New Update To Help Developers

Remember growing up how talking to your friends meant everything to you. The ability to call your friends from your home phone was the biggest deal after school. Then came instant messaging. AIM ring any bells? It definitely should, as it was basically texting before texting was texting. After the instant messaging, we saw texting come into light. Now we have hit the age of different messaging apps that allow us to communicate, even without a phone number. Facebook messenger app allowed us to stay in contact with all of our Facebook friends without having to open up the app itself. Recently, Kik has become the new social messaging platform to see incredible growth. It is essentially the new from of AIM, only on your phone and app based. The developers of the app have released a new upgrade as well that may catch a few off guard.

For those that may be unfamiliar with Kik, it's a messaging app that only requires a user name. No phone number required. As long as both users attempting to communicate have the app, a username, and a connection, they will be able to message each other. It has become a somewhat "safer" alternative than giving out your phone number should you want to communicate with someone you may not be familiar with. The newest update to the system now add a web browser to the mix however. The new built-in web browser will grant its user the ability to surf the web without having to leave the app and open up a separate browser app. While it may not seem like much on the surface, this could mean very good things for new web developers. In fact, CEO of Kik, Ted Livingston has even claimed that this update is mainly for developers more so than users.

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While many of the mobile version's of sites have been designed with the apps limitations in mind, making it accessible through Kik may be a bit different. This is why different API's and other tools have been apart of the upgrade. Web developers will now be able to properly integrate a Kik friendly version of their mobile sights into the new Kik web browser. Many of the users won't be thinking about it, but this will save them quite a bit of frustration as well. After all, what good is a web browser if sites don't work or load properly.

The update has also done their best to cater to the app developers as well. Web apps that are normally accessed through the typical browser app of a smartphone, can now be integrated to function properly within the Kik browser as well. This means that some games may become available while still in the Kik app. Overall, this is not a bad upgrade for Kik at all. This particular update has done a great job in terms of networking to other developers to use Kik and help the app grow. If utilized properly, this could stand to put the app up against the top dog social apps out there. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may soon have some competition on their hands.


Sunday, February 02, 2014

Paper: The New App From Facebook

Last Thursday, Facebook made the announcement of their new app called Paper, which comes out this week. It's a free app for iOS that takes users created content and news from other, more legitimate sources, and puts them all in the same place.

You can create stories to share with others, or receive stories based on your personal interests. There are different sections that you can pick from like sports, world news, kitty cat pictures, photography, and even food.

The app is pretty similar to the Flipboard app in the sense that the stories have fun layouts, and most of the stories are more based on pictures instead of words. The biggest difference between Paper and Flipboard is that it is really easy for people you follow on Facebook to share stories with you, and you to do the same with them.

Moving around the app is pretty simple. It is designed to use with just your thumb, so all you do is swipe left or right to sift through different stories and then tap on one to open it up when you find something that you are interested in checking out. The pictures in the stories are sometimes panorama photos or just pictures that are too big for the iPhone's screen, so tilting the phone in different directions will reveal the rest of the picture.

The new Paper app is the first app to be made by Facebook Creative Labs, a company within Facebook that lets small groups create standalone mobile apps. This is part of the companies new plan to create more standalone apps rather than apps that work inside of Facebook itself.

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The whole idea behind the new app is to basically re invent Facebook. It uses literally nothing from what Facebook started with, and nothing that we once loved about Facebook. Instead, it focuses more on what Facebook has become. When you log into facebook, pretty much all you are going to see is news stories, animal pictures, and random people that you don't know complaining about their love life or posting five thousand pictures of their children. Paper is basically taking all of that and throwing away the random people complaining about their relationships and pictures of their kids.

It seems logical, it wasn't the original idea behind Facebook, but it is what the social media site has evolved into. Why not cater to the users and give them a less cluttered space to do what they want with? I'll probably give it a shot this week when it releases officially and see what its all about.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cutts Rebuts: There are some forking good guest blog posts

Last week Google Spam Fighter Matt Cutts declared 'Guest Blogging Done, ' and 'Guest Blogging for SEO is Over and Dead!, 'So stick a fork in it." Is there a 'fork you' message in there for guest bloggers?

 This week he has softened his stance stating that 'there are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging'.

Cutts listed exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc as examples of legitimate [read:forking good] guest blogging. He stopped short about followed vs nofollowed links. One can only assume that links that are nofollowed are ok and those who follow risk some sort of Google penalty to both the linker and linkee.

'there are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging'- Matt Cutts

Also mentioned were multi-author blogs such as Boing Boing that featured high quality content and can be 'compelling, wonderful, and useful.' So high quality multi author blogs are highly indexable.

What is interesting is that Cutts said he would "recommend 'skepticism' (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article." What he didn't say was not to allow guest bloggers.

Matt Cutts' blog post " The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO was at first a declaration of war on spammy guest bloggers, then a bit of a backstep.

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Why the softening position? Are there some forking good guest blogging?

Maybe the guest blog community was revolting a bit against such a blanket declaration on their efforts. Here are a few posts supporting guest blogging.

Elisa Gabbert posted on her blog, 3 Reasons Guest Blogging Isn't as Dead as Matt Cutts Says It Is

Jean Spencer posted, Guest Blogging is Dead? Not so fast...

Raquel Royers asks, Matt Cutts Declares Guest Blogging is Dead--But is it Really?

William Comcowich, editor of the Media Monitoring News wrote, Guest Blogging is Dead (Or Maybe Not)

Steve Masters of Yahoo! Small Business said Guest Blogging is not bad and is not spammy by definition.