Facebook At Work Provides Social Networking for Businesses

January 15, 2015 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 1-15-2015There have been reports appearing for a while that Facebook was working on an app that would more easily allow co-workers to communicate with one another. I talked about this briefly back in October. The rumors continued to be spread until yesterday, when Facebook finally officially unveiled their new application, known as Facebook At Work. Though it will first only be open to companies that have joined the program with Facebook, it will likely be rolled out more extensively later on.

The app allows co-workers to easily message one another, post in groups, and set up events and tasks. Some news sources believe that Facebook At Work will be making some serious waves and could change the face of corporations as we know it. Transforming the Facebook platform into a platform that can connect names with faces throughout a large company could help to keep growing corporations from feeling so inhuman. Smaller companies can suffice with other in-house messaging systems, but larger companies will truly benefit from a full-fledged social network for their company.

Facebook At Work will keep information separate from Facebook itself, and privacy settings will be treated differently, as bosses will have access to any information posted by anyone in the company. The intention is that Facebook At Work will remain professional, while still being able to bring together people in a larger company or corporation. A hurdle that some companies may have to overcome will be getting employees to view this version of Facebook as something that’s pivotal to the company, rather than the time-waster and distraction it currently is for most employees.

Not to be left behind, LinkedIn appears to be launching their own products geared towards co-worker communication. One of these products is an update to LinkedIn’s InMail service, which will allow co-workers to more easily contact one another. Another yet unnamed product is also being worked on, which will make it easier for administrators to send information to groups of employees.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Updated Photo Filters for Twitter and Instagram

January 8, 2015 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 1-8-2015One of the things that many people seem to love about certain social networks is their ability not only to share images, but to make those images look like they were taken by a semi-professional photographer, despite these images generally being captured via phone. For a long time, Instagram has offered a plethora of photo filters that users can choose from before uploading a photo. Though other social networks have offered similar features, Instagram has long been the best choice for adding photo filters. However, as of last month, they may finally have some genuine competition in the form of Twitter.

Twitter initially launched their own photo filters in 2012, likely in response to the popularity of Instagram’s own filters, but the implementation of these filters left something to be desired. Initially, potential filters were shown on small thumbnails and the interface was not especially intuitive. In December, Twitter updated their photo filters to appear in the form of a row so that you can easily tap through them on your phone to choose which photo filter you wish to use. On top of this, Twitter’s photo filters are now adjustable, another feature that appears to have been adopted from Instagram.

Not wanting to be left behind, Instagram quickly responded with five new filters of their own: Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Aden, and Perpetua. This is a big deal to Instagram users, because new filters have not been added to Instagram in more than two years and this update brings Instagram to a total of twenty-four filters. In addition to launching new filters on their platform, they have also given users the ability to rearrange their list of filters to move the ones they use to the top of the list or even to hide the ones that they never use. These updates give users more customization options when it comes to the photos that they wish to share.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

What to Expect from Facebook in 2015

December 31, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 12-31-2014With 2015 on the horizon, the major social networks are already looking into new features that they will be able to provide to their users in the coming year. Over the past couple of months, various features for Facebook have been teased and announced. Back in October, some hacked screenshots were discovered, which revealed that Facebook was working on friend-to-friend payment features for Facebook Messenger. Users will be able to enter their debit card information to easily transfer money to friends. This feature still has not been officially announced, but is likely among the features for Facebook that will be rolled out in the New Year.

Friend-to-friend payments are not the only feature that has been discussed for Facebook’s future. Facebook is working on some artificial intelligence research, with the hopes of warning users when they are about to upload an embarrassing picture. Using a specific branch of AI known as ‘deep learning,’ the idea is to keep users from potentially uploading content that could be embarrassing or otherwise problematic for them. Some have suggested that this is Facebook’s method of stopping users “from uploading drunk selfies.”

Another feature that could be on the horizon for 2015 might be the long-requested ‘Dislike’ button. Facebook’s ‘Like’ button has been a symbol of the company for years now, and there have been requests for a ‘Dislike’ button for as long as the feature has been available. During a Q&A with Mark Zuckerberg earlier this month, the Facebook CEO mentioned that the company was thinking about the ‘Dislike’ button, or at the very least, other types of reactions and responses users could make to posts other than ‘Like.’

Most recently, Facebook has begun to test new advertising features. Advertisements are where much of Facebook’s revenue comes from, which is why they are always hoping to find innovative ways for their advertisements to work. One method that Facebook is currently testing is playing ads after a video is complete. Many people are familiar with ads that start up before a video is played, but Facebook wants to test out what happens when ads are played after the video has ended. It will truly be interesting to see how Facebook and the other social networks continue to evolve in the coming year.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Snapchat Continues to Find Ways to Stay Relevant

December 24, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 12-24-2014Some could argue that 2014 has been a bit of a rough year for Snapchat. Though this is the year that Snapchat was monetized for the first time, the ephemeral social media app ran into a variety of snags. In one instance, third-party apps allowed many photos taken with Snapchat to be saved and eventually exposed, in an event known as ‘The Snappening.’ However, Snapchat has proven this year that they are willing to change and alter their interface to provide a better experience for its users. In reaction to The Snappening, Snapchat added a function that allowed users to see if another app was saving pictures from Snapchat.

Another hurdle for Snapchat occurred when the Sony Pictures hack organized by North Korea led to a variety of Snapchat company secrets being exposed. These leaked emails had a number of early reveals to the public about what Snapchat will be working on in the future. One that stands out in particular would have to be the fact that Snapchat has met with Sony Music Entertainment in an attempt to bring a music service to the Snapchat platform, an interesting move that is definitely different from the norm for Snapchat.

Though some of Snapchat’s recent announcements and information reveals have been reactionary, Snapchat has found plenty of other ways to upgrade their service in the past few months. In November, Snapchat launched Snapcash, a feature that allows friends to send money to one another via debit card. They also opened up their Geofilters tool to the public a few weeks ago, which allows users to submit artwork that will appear as a geo-targeted filter in Snapchat photos. With these recent developments, one can only expect that Snapchat will continue to expand in the future.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Facebook and Bing Go Their Separate Ways

December 18, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 12-18-2014Facebook and Microsoft have had a long-standing relationship, which for quite some time has led to Facebook including Bing results in the Facebook search bar. Similarly, searching in Bing would allow Facebook users to find results from their friends. However, it appears that Facebook has been making some changes regarding the way their search function works. In particular, it looks like they have removed Bing from the equation, without fanfare.

One of the reasons that Facebook worked with Bing in the first place was because it has long considered Google to be a rival, especially with Google’s mostly unsuccessful plunge into social network territory with Google Plus. What this means for the future of the partnership between Facebook and Bing is currently unclear, though it is likely that these changes have been made in relation to Facebook’s new search functions, which I talked about last week.

It seems that Facebook wants to refocus their search functions to work within Facebook, rather than extending to the rest of the web. However, the refining of their search functions appears to be used to compete with other search experiences. A Microsoft spokesperson says that they continue to partner with Facebook in other areas apart from the search function. It still is possible that Facebook and Bing will work concurrently in the future, but under what circumstances is currently unknown.

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Tags: Search News,Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Facebook Now Lets You Search for Specific Posts

December 11, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 12-11-2014Last month, Twitter released an update to their search function that allowed users to search for any tweet that had ever been posted, from Twitter’s launch to tweets being posted right now. Twitter’s search had worked similarly to this beforehand, though it didn’t quite extend all the way back to the beginning of Twitter. Not wanting to be left behind, Facebook has updated their own search function in response and finally is now allowing users to find older posts.

Facebook has been working on this feature for more than a year. Searching is customized for each user, so that users can search only through posts that have been shared with them, rather than all posts on Facebook. Users simply have to type in any word and can find all posts that use that word or phrase. These can be specified to certain users, so that you could type in a friend’s name and find any posts that they might have written that used the word “Florida” or “restaurant.”

There are plenty of applications for this new feature that could benefit Facebook and even build it up as a competitor to Yelp or Google. For instance, now any user can type in “happy hour” or “great burger” and find every time that one of their friends referenced this sort of thing. It allows Facebook to operate as a service for friend-based recommendations. The search function can also be used to find friends’ opinions regarding major news events by typing in keywords like “ebola” or “Ferguson.” With Facebook making everyone’s posts that much more public, your privacy settings may be more important than ever, so it may be worth taking a look at those again now that Facebook has rolled this feature out.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Filtering Out the Garbage on Facebook and Twitter

December 4, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 12-4-2014Part of the social networking world often involves seeing a lot of information that we have no interest in or that flat out offends us. This is the kind of thing that happens when we add acquaintances, co-workers, or other people you may have randomly met on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Yet it’s become quite commonplace to add these people as ‘friends’ despite you not being friends with them outside of the virtual world. It’s even considered a faux pas in some instances to deny a person’s friend request. Luckily, Facebook and Twitter understand this and are adding features to help you see only what you want to see, regardless of who you might follow or be friends with.

Facebook launched a new tool last month in their News Feed Settings, which shows friends and Pages that take up the most space in a user’s News Feed. Through this setting, you can easily unfollow these people without having to delete them as friends and potentially run into the social awkwardness that can be associated with this. Other settings have also been included that make it easier to determine what it is that you want to see less of, so that your News Feed is more customized to show you the kinds of things you might actually be interested in.

While Facebook is giving users options to reduce annoying posts, Twitter is currently seeking to reduce harassment and other more specific troubles. Twitter released new tools of their own yesterday that allow uses to report harassment, offensive, threatening, or suicidal tweets, so that the company is able to more quickly handle the situation. Considering how there have been many instances of people using Twitter for malicious or abusive purposes, it seems that Twitter is trying to find ways to cut down on this sort of behavior amongst its user base.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Networking,Web 2.0

How Instagram is Evolving

November 20, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 11-20-2014Like any other social media platform, it’s important for Instagram to stay ahead of the game, especially with so many other image sharing social media apps competing for the number one spot. Thus, Instagram has been making a number of interesting changes over the course of the past few months, with many of these changes intended to give users more freedom over their Instagram accounts. Back in the summer, Instagram launched Hyperlapse, which was a separate time lapse app under the Instagram brand. Hyperlapse itself was updated to include a ‘Selfielapse’ mode in September, allowing users to do the same things with the front-facing camera.

More recently, Instagram made some changes to the actual Instagram app itself. One new addition to the application is the inclusion of a “People” Explore tab that can be used to discover interesting new Instagram accounts to follow. The tab is personalized based on who you follow and the things that you like on Instagram. Another well-received feature that Instagram has added recently would be the ability for users to edit image captions, which wasn’t available until last week, despite it being one of the top requests from the Instagram community.

Not every change to Instagram has been received so positively, however. In particular, Instagram launched their first video advertisements this month. Ads are important for the monetization of major social networks, but many people believe that social networks are particularly affected by video advertisements in a negative way, as they can be distracting and obnoxious. Through the good and the bad, however, Instagram is proving that it is able to change and evolve just like any other social network.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Networking,Web 2.0

The Aim to Consolidate Your Social Media

November 13, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 11-13-2014These days, many people find themselves with profiles on many different social networks: one person alone might have separate Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts, on top of plenty of others. As these social networks continue to grow, some app developers have been trying to find ways to make it easier to combine all the functions of these social networks into one consolidated application. This is something that has been handled in different ways, depending on the app.

Many of these apps work directly with existing social networks. For example, Snowball is an application that allows Android users to have a universal inbox for different messaging clients. This way, users are able to view all of their messages on one simple home screen. The app includes messages from Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Google Hangouts, and more, as well as including basic text messages in the mix. Comparatively, on iOS, an application called Accounts has been launched, which is more of an attempt to create a universal address book. It pulls from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, and more and attempts to aggregate these accounts to make things easier for its user base.

Other new applications seek to enhance the features of your existing social media apps. For instance, Xpire is an app for iOS that’s focused on the ephemerality of all of your social networks. It aims to allow your Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr posts to effectively self-destruct in the same way that Snapchat automatically allows you to. This app also has other features, such as allowing users to determine how much inappropriate content appears on their Twitter account (which may lead users to want their tweets to be a bit more ephemeral).

Still others are trying to launch mobile apps that will work as replacements for other social media apps, by offering multiple features all in one. One notable instance of this would be Selphee, an app that has been billed as Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine combined. Even Selphee, which features all of these functions, still allows users to share photos and videos through existing social networks, however. Each new app appears to be one step closer to our social networks being nearly interchangeable and smoothly working together as cogs in a social media machine.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Networking,Web 2.0

The Newest Tweaks to Twitter

November 6, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 11-6-2014The nature of social networks, likely due to their easily-bored user base, is to constantly be changing and evolving, in an attempt to provide users with the most intuitive design and the most useful features. Over the past few months, Twitter has made a number of relevant, interesting tweaks to their interface for these reasons. Back in June, they announced a small but well-received change that allowed the social network to support the sharing and viewing of animated GIFs on Twitter’s website, as well as on Android and iOS platforms.

Then in September, Twitter announced that they would be adding a “Buy” button, which would allow users to make direct purchases from tweets. Users can easily hit the button, enter their billing and shipping information, and complete a transaction in only a few taps on their phone. They have partnered with a number of artists, brands, and charities that will be able to sell products with this button; the list will be expanding as time goes on. This is Twitter’s first dive into a commerce-related situation, something that Facebook has had available for quite some time.

Most recently, Twitter managed to find another way to do something similar to Facebook. In an effort to make it a little bit easier to tweet on Twitter.com, Twitter moved their “what’s happening?” box, where you can enter a tweet, to the top of users’ home timelines. It was previously available on the left-hand side, but Twitter determined it would be easier for their users to tweet in this new location. A number of social media bloggers have noticed that this movement makes Twitter look a whole lot more like Facebook, which also features its status bar in the same place.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

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