Businesses increasingly are starting to spend some of their advertising dollars to buy ads on social networks. Social media advertising is still a relatively small part of the overall ad pie, but it continues to grow as most major social networking platforms have been adding options to let merchants show video ads and reach users on their mobile phones.
Facebook advertising, in particular, is big and getting bigger with the advent of mobile video advertisements this year.
The Whisper app launched in 2012 and has grown into a popular place for posting strange or even shameful thoughts.
In other social media news over the past month, YouTube has been checking out Twitch, and Prince Harry has been checking out Twitter. Details in our social media news roundup.
Google announced a new feature called Stories to its Google Plus Photos service last week, and it's a fairly powerful tool that automatically generates chronological, multimedia slideshows.
What's cool about Google Plus Stories is how it automatically assembles slideshows for each user after analyzing their photos to try to determine where and when they were taken, and which ones are the best.It's rolling out first for users of Android mobile phones, but Google said in a blog post that the iOS version is coming soon.
It's an addictive little free app which gives users the option of selecting any song snippet from the Apple iTunes store. You can only play the preview part of the song, though, not the full song. Read our review of Tunepics for more.
LinkedIn recently added a feature called "How You Rank" that lets users see how many people have viewed their profiles on the business networking service and compare that number to their connections on the same service.
In other words, where do you stack up against all of your connections in terms of being "seen" by other people on LinkedIn?
How You Rank is part of LinkedIn's long-standing feature allowing you to see who's actually viewed your profile, provided that you allow others to see when you view theirs. <.p>
(Learn more in our review of "Who's Viewed Your LinkedIn Profile.")
In a significant reversal of its long-time policy, Facebook announced it is changing the default privacy setting for sharing -- who can see their updates-- when people first sign up to use the social network.
Since 2009, that setting has defaulted to "public," meaning that anyone can see what people post on Facebook. That's largely been because Facebook has tried to actively encourage people to share information widely.
But now, by default, only "friends" will be able to see what new users post on Facebook, unless they actively change their default privacy setting to allow a wider group to see their status updates, such as "friends of friends" or the widest group, "public."
In the announcement, Facebook said some users prefer to share with a smaller group. It added: "We recognize that it is much worse for someone to accidentally share with everyone when they actually meant to share just with friends, compared with the reverse."
The company also said it was introducing a "privacy check-up tool" that will be a series of screens walking users through an explanation of who they are sharing what information with on Facebook. For example, for people who are sharing their updates with everyone, a pop-up may appear reminding them that they have their sharing set to "public" and offering the option to change it to "friends."
On iPhones, the company said, it is moving the placement of the audience selector to the top of the screen to make it easier to change.
Also coming soon, the company said, is a new "anonymous login" that will give people more flexibility in deciding how much information from their Facebook use can be shared with apps they connect to Facebook.
Rejection on Facebook can not only hurt our feelings, it can also lower our self esteem, according to a new study by researchers in Australia.
Scholars at the University of Queensland found that people felt "ostracized" when no one engaged with their status updates on Facebook; those who received no feedback when they posted reported lower levels of self-esteem, belonging and a sense of meaning in their lives than those who did receive feedback.
The same was true for people who only "lurked" by reading posts on Facebook and weren't able to post comments or updates. (The researchers prevented one group of subjects from doing any posting during the study.) Like those who got no feedback to their posts, the "lurkers" scored lower on questions involving their sense of meaning, belonging and self esteem.
The study was titled, "Threats to belonging on Facebook: lurking and ostracism" and was published in an academic publication called The Social Influence Journal.
Don't want to unfollow someone on Twitter? No problem, Twitter's got you covered. The company started rolling out a "mute" function this week that lets users block tweets from specific users they follow, but still see any mentions or @reply messages from that person.
In effect, it lets you unfollow someone without letting them know. It effectively removes all of that person's content from your own Twitter timeline, but doesn't break the "following" connection between you and that person. It's not as harsh as either a "block" or "unfollow."
Muting someone will allow that person to continue interacting with your tweets by retweeting them, replying to them and clicking the "favorite" button. If you blocked them, which is a function Twitter has long allowed, they wouldn't be able to follow you or interact with your tweets.
When you mute someone on Twitter, they do not get notified or have any way of knowing you have done so. It's a lot like how Facebook allows you to hide content from certain friends in your news feed.
To mute someone, click the "more" button next to their tweets, and then click "Mute @theirusername." You can also mute from a person's profile page by clicking the gear icon at the top of the page and doing the same thing in the drop- down menu.
Private social networks may sound like an oxymoron, but they represent an imporant experiment with next-generation mobile networking.
It wouldn't be surprising to wake up next year and find that one of these confessional-style apps has emerged as the Next Big Thing in social media.
Here's a list of the many semi-anonymous and so-called private social networks that have launched recently: Read more.
Someone needs to create a memorial website for all the Facebook apps of days gone by.
The latest items Facebook has consigned to the scrap heap of failed experiments? Poke and Camera, two copycat apps it created in 2012 in an attempt to emulate Snapchat and its own Instagram. The company removed both from the Apple apps store last Thursday and effectively discontinued them as standalone apps, though people who already have the apps can continue using them.
Facebook has already incorporated most of the photo features of Facebook Camera into its standalone Facebook mobile app.
As for Facebook Poke, the disappearing messaging service the company launched in December 2012, it never really caught on.
Makes you wonder what's next, doesn't it?