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Leslie Walker

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LinkedIn, SlideShare On the Go

Friday April 18, 2014

LinkedIn is on the move, beefing up its links to mobile users. The company announced today it has crossed the 300-million-registered-users milestone, up from 277 million at the beginning of this year.

In a blog post, LinkedIn's Deep Nishar said most of its users are outside the U.S., where the company has 100 million registered users.

"We know mobile is critical," Nishar wrote. He predicted that mobile access will account for more than 50 percent of all traffic to LinkedIn later this year. "Every day we see an average of 15 million profile views, 1.45 million job views and 44,000 job applications in over 200 countries through mobile," he added.

Also this week, LinkedIn announced the first mobile app for SlideShare, the presentation-sharing network it bought in 2012. SlideShare's mobile app, at least for now, is only available forthe Android platform. It focuses on discovering and viewing content, rather than creating or uploading presentations.

Facebook Promotes Offline Friendships

Thursday April 17, 2014

Facebook may be known for promoting online friendships, but now it's taking aim at offline connections through a new mobile feature called "Nearby Friends

Friends Nearby
Friends Nearby Alert

Announced today, Nearby Friends is a feature of its mobile app that notifies users when any of their Facebook friends are in close proximity.

The feature is turned off by default, so users have to activate it in order for it to work. And it will only work with those Facebook friends who also have turned on the feature.

It's no surprise that the feature was coming, because Facebook bought a location-based mobile app called Glancee in 2012 and has been working on the technology since then.

Facebook's Andrea Vaccari, in the blog announcement, stressed the fact that Nearby Friends is optional and that users can choose to share a general or specific location. If the users opts for a precise location, their friends will be able to see where they are on a map, making meetups easier.

The idea of letting people use their phones to see who's around them in real time has been the goal of many mobile apps launched in recent years. But other than the dating app Tinder and the older FourSquare, few have really caught on. It remains to be seen whether people will use Nearby Friends much - or even turn on the feature.

Twitter Snaps Up Gnip

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Twitter announced this week it has agreed to buy one of its data partners, a social media monitoring company called Gnip, which sells data about social media activity to businesses.

Gnip logo
Gnip logo

In announcing the deal, Twitter vice president Jana Messerschmidt wrote that "Gnip has played a crucial role in collecting and digesting our public data and delivering the most essential Tweets to partners."

Gnip collects and redistributes data from a variety of social networks besides Twitter, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress, Foursquare, Flickr and others.

In its blog post explaining the sale, Gnip said it has distributed more than 2.3 trillion tweets to customers during its four-year partnership with Twitter.

Social News Wrap: More Pin-It Buttons

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Highlights of social media news during the past week:

1. Pin It: Publishers on four additional platforms can now offer Pinterest Pin-it buttons so their site visitors can more easily grab images and post them to the image-sharing site. Those platforms are WordPress.org, Blogger, Tumblr and Wix.

2. Facebook's Messenger Hand Off: Facebook is discontinuing support for the messaging feature built into its standard mobile app, in an effort to encourage people to download its standalone Messenger app.

3. Tweeting Not That Popular: New data suggests fewer Twitter users actually write and send tweets than you may have thought. The full news wrap is here.

Twitter's New Look for Profile Pages

Sunday April 13, 2014

Twitter announced an all-new look for its profile pages this week, with bigger images and fonts, new filters to sort tweets and a few nifty touches such as the ability to "pin" a tweet to the top of your timeline.

Michelle Obama Twitter profile
The First Lady's profile shows the new Twitter layout
The new profiles are more visually appealing and will roll out gradually to users. The layout changes appear to be aimed at making Twitter's complicated messaging service more attractive to novice users, as well as to give people more reasons to use the profile pages by making the more dynamic. (They also come just a couple of weeks after changes Twitter made to allow more photos to be easily embedded in tweets.)

Here's what you need to know about the new layout, file size and picture dimensions for content on Twitter's updated profile pages.

Facebook Fights Spam in News Feeds

Thursday April 10, 2014

Facebook opened fire on spam in its news feeds today, vowing to reduce the volume of unwanted content that it shows by targeting three types of posts that are commonly made by businesses on their Facebook pages.

Link bait on Facebook
Link bait (courtesy of Facebook)

First, Facebook said it will give less attention to posts that beg for attention by asking people directly to click the like button, submit a comment or share the posts.

Second, the network said it would demote duplicate content--photos and videos that have posted repeatedly or recirculated.

Third on Facebook's new anti-spam list are deceptive links, ones that tease with a promise of one thing and then deliver something else after users click.

On its blog, Facebook made the announcement and said the goal was " to reduce stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don't want to see." All three of these types of posts are associated with low-quality content, the network said, and therefore will be shown less frequently in news feeds in the future.

Learn more about these common mistakes businesses make on Facebook.

Convies Takes on Vine

Monday April 7, 2014

The hyper-crowded field of mobile video messaging got even more crowded this week with the launch of Convies, a direct video messaging service similar to what Vine launched last week and Instagram released in December.

Convies app
Convies video app
The Convies app describes itself as "the first chat app designed specifically for video." Messages sent via Convies can be either private or public, much like Vine Messages.

Among its other features are the ability to slow down or speed up footage, and instant-play which lets recipients see clips faster. For now, it's only available on iOS, but the company says on its website that an Android version is in development.

Social News Wrap April 7: Twitter's Global Twists

Monday April 7, 2014

From Cuba to Turkey, Twitter was much in the news last week. Perhaps the most interesting headline involved a report from the Associated Press that the U.S. government under the Obama Administration tried to create a "Cuban Twitter" to promote unrest and protests against the communist government there.

Twitter also made news when Turkey flip-flopped and unblocked the social network, allowing Turkey's citizens to tweet again following a high court ruling in the country.

These stories and more in About's weekly social media news wrap.

Twitter's Latest Photo Makeover

Sunday March 30, 2014
Twitter keeps trying to get more visual. It's latest twist?
Multiple photos in one Tweet
Four photos in a Tweet
A photo collage layout that Twitter added to tweets last week, allowing users to attach up to four photos to any tweet in a rectangular grid layout.

More interesting, Twitter also added tags to images, allowing users to tag people in images the way many other social networks and blogging platforms do. Users can tag up to 10 people in any image by clicking a link that says "who's in this photo."

Tagging images on Twitter has been hard before this change. Users basically had to tag people in photos by inserting their @Twitter handles into the tweet, and of course each counted against the 140 character limit. The new photo tags don't count against that limit.

The multiple-photo collage feature rolled out first to Twitter's iOS app and is coming soon to the Android mobile app, Twitter said in its blog post announcing the features. Users will be able to see the photo collages and tagged images regardless of whether they are using Twitter.com, the ioS app or Android app.

Twitter offers special privacy settings to govern tagging, allowing users to prevent anyone for tagging them in photos, or to restrict tagging only to people who follow them. To prevent people from tagging you, choose "Privacy" under the Settings tab, then look for "photo tagging" and choose either "Anyone can tag me" or only "People I follow can tag me."

3-D Facebook in Our Future?

Sunday March 30, 2014

When the deal closes, Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of virtual-reality firm Oculus VR could well go down as the most surprising --and perhaps the most significant -- social media takeover of the year.

Some who contributed funds to help Oculus develop its Rift virtual reality goggles are worried that Facebook won't be able to successfully take the startup's technology to market or nurture it to its full potential.

But Facebook backers might want to worry, too, about what the deal signals about the future of Facebook and its social networking platform. Does it mean social networking is going to get more immersive and visual in a 3-D, virtual-reality kind of way?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg got a lot of attention when he said in a conference call after announcing the deal that his company hopes to use the virtual reality technology to create an entirely new communication platform, allowing people to enjoy all kinds of immersive experiences, from remote medical consultations to watching sports remotely. His press release gushed, "Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate."

In some ways, the deal highlights the enormous uncertainty about how social networks will evolve. Facebook clearly wants to have other bets on the table in case its own social networking platform peaks in the same way that, say, AOL and MySpace did when each had its turn at being the Internet's leading community hangout.

But it's hard to envision Oculus's virtual reality technology powering a mainstream social communication platform. Anyone who spent much time in SecondLife, a 3D immersive world, can attest to how hard it is to take virtual reality environments into the mainstream.

Oculus Rift was developed first with gamers in mind, and that community seemed particularly hostile to the takeover by Facebook, with many taking to Reddit and other forums to express disappointment and anger.

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