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Meerkat Seeks a Place in the Social Media World After Losing the Battle for Live Streaming

iePlexus blog 1 3-09-16After creating the concept of live streaming from a cell phone to a social media network, Meerkat should be at the top of the live stream market. Unfortunately, with Facebook and Twitter recently jumping on the live streaming concept, Meerkat has become less appealing to users. Many people just don’t see the point of adding an additional social media network to live stream from.

After being heralded as the next big thing last summer, Meerkat took some serious hits to their competitive edge. Just because they were the first on the scene of live streaming, did not mean that they were able to maintain their edge when it came to competing with other streaming companies. Once Twitter purchased Periscope and turned this into their own live streaming application, Meerkat started to see problems in their own growth. Now with Facebook’s newly launched live streaming tool, they’re ready to give up on the idea of becoming a leading live streaming network.

The problem that Meerkat is currently experiencing is that their market has been flooded by products that are better and more convenient to customers. Rather than trying to continue to compete with Facebook and Twitter, the company has decided to shift their focus. The company recently announced that they will be changing their focus with the idea of making their social media network more private. They are hinting at the idea of live streaming toward more select groups of people such as friends and family members.

Businesses should pay close attention to the way that Meerkat is changing its focus as it relates to niche selection. Originally, the company was focused on a unique niche with no competition. Now as the market has been flooded to the point where they cannot compete, they have decided to further narrow their niche in an attempt to gain a unique audience. In many cases, narrowing a niche can be just what a business needs to succeed when they find that a larger niche is flooded with challenging competitors.

Apple Launches Apple Support Twitter Account to Field Questions About Products

iePlexus Blog 1 3-03-16Today, Apple joined the number of companies that are using Twitter as a way to field customer questions about products. Many companies have found that it is very useful to use Twitter as a place where questions can be asked and answered since customers seem to see this as much more convenient than having to call or email. Twitter users can ask all of their important questions to companies whose products they purchase to get answers without any hassle.

Of course, Apple hasn’t been devoid of any type of customer service account on Twitter prior to this. In the past, it has had some specific accounts that focused on Apple Music and iTunes which offered customer support for these specific Apple products. Their new account is different because it is the first time that Apple has had any kind of general customer service account where customers can ask questions about all types of Apple products.

The main benefit of such an account is of course the way that this improves Apple’s image in general. Apple has long portrayed themselves as a company that is willing to provide superior customer service. The new Twitter account helps with this by making it easier for customers to interact directly with the Apple customer service team on an easy to use platform. Customers should see this as marked increase in the level of service and support that Apple provides.

Apple began its Twitter presence with a brief welcome and a handy step by step picture slideshow that showed customers how to turn lists into checklists within the Notes app. The account has also invited customers to come forward with any questions that they might have about a variety of Apple products. The hope is to provide more tips and tutorials to make it so that customers can more easily work with the products they’ve purchased.

Other businesses should look to the way that Apple is using Twitter as a guide for what they can be doing in their own businesses. This new account shows the versatility of Twitter in the ways that it can be used by a business. Business owners don’t just have to use Twitter as a place to talk about their products, they can be like Apple and offer customer service within their Twitter pages.

Tumblr Struggles to Compete in the Social Media Market As Growth Falters

ieplexus blog 1 2-18-16In that battle for the social media industry, some companies are gaining users while others are having difficulties. Recent articles have highlighted Tumblr and looked at the way its numbers have lagged behind competitors. Many have speculated what Tumblr might be doing wrong and what might be able to turn things around.

Ever since Tumblr was launched in 2007, business owners and personal users have discovered the site and have used it to share images with friends or customers. While the site no doubt has its benefits, many worry that the website is not gaining users as quickly as its direct competitors. When you look at the rate in which the company has gained new users, it is easy to see that the number of new users is starting to slow significantly. This plateau signals problems for the social media website.

The clear focus of Tumblr and the owners of the company is on finding the problem and fixing it. For many, it seems that the flexibility of other websites may be part of the problem. Since Tumblr has a very limited way in which users are able to share content, it is possible that users may be less interested in this website. Tumblr is attempting to fix the potential problem by allowing users to start sharing videos and GIFs as well as adding a messaging aspect to the website.

Another problem many point to is the fact that this social media site does not cater to mobile users in the same way as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These social media sites have constructed applications that not only make the sites easy to use on a mobile phone, but actually encourage mobile users to participate and share in unique ways. Facebook extended their own mobile app recently by allowing live videos broadcasted via cell phone.

What Tumblr must do from here is find a way in which they can change the company in meaningful ways to make it more attractive. With a low number of new users currently, they should be looking at options to attract more business owners and personal users to the website to communicate in unique ways. It is possible that Tumblr, like Twitter, can expand the way that people use their social media site to help make it more relevant to a larger number of people.

Live Video Streaming is Facebook’s Newest Feature

ieplexus blog 1 2-03-16Facebook started the year off by adding live streaming videos as part of their application on the iPhone. This application allows users to stream what they are currently doing so that all of their Facebook friends can see it. It is similar to other applications for cell phones such as Meerkat and Pariscope, but with the advantage of actually being built into Facebook. They plan to eventually extend the video streaming portion of the application to Android users as well.

Facebook’s live streaming feature has some benefits over the previous video streaming applications just because it is built into Facebook. This automatically targets the audience for your live stream by limiting it to the privacy settings that you already have through Facebook. Unlike Twitter’s Pariscope app, there is no need for Facebook users to download any application in addition to their Facebook app to stream live videos. The really convenient feature is that these videos can be saved and put on the Facebook timeline when finished so that people can see the video later.

The live streaming feature takes Facebook to a whole new level since users are not only able to interact socially by sharing videos and posts, but by showing live events as well. This will allow people to live stream a baby’s first steps or a proposal happening in the moment. Business owners can even use these live videos to promote their businesses and interact with their network. Those who miss the live broadcast are able to find it later when they log on to Facebook. People can access it like a normal video, watching it more than once if they choose.

During the live stream, the person who streams the video will be able to see how many people are viewing the video and will be able to see comments as they are made. You can stream for just a short burst or a longer period of time through your phone. You can either use the rear facing or front facing camera to record making it easy to show anything that is going on. Friends on Facebook can interact while you film so you can answer questions live during the stream as well.

In case there was any doubt that Facebook’s new video streaming is a hit, it is clear that this has been successful purely because of rising stock prices and viral news about some of the videos that have been streamed live. Facebook has managed to create a video streaming application that competes with those from other sites because of its definite benefits over them. Although it took a while for this feature to become available, Facebook users can now discover this new way of communicating with each other.

Is it Possible There Are Too Many Changes Being Made to Twitter?

ieplexus blog 1 1-28-16Recently Twitter has seen a whole host of changes both inside the company structure and on the website as a result of a massive drop in stock value. Investors started bailing because they were not seeing the level of growth that has been going on in other social media sites. With all of the changes being made to the platform and the people in charge of Twitter, one of the problems that many users are now experiencing is confusion due to way too many changes being made all at once.

In the last few months, there have been several major changes to Twitter as the social media site has been trying to redefine themselves. One main change was the order of the timeline with Twitter’s new Moments which shows tweets tied to specific events and news stories. Another shift was from favorited tweets to “likes” much like Facebook. Rumor has it that the newest change will alter the character limit from the 140 character limit to a much higher number.

All of these changes have come as major shocks to experienced Twitter users who are accustomed to the old way that Twitter was organized. Some users have become less fond of the site since they suddenly find it confusing and difficult to use. The changes that have been made to Twitter thus far seem to be causing Twitter to lose some of what makes it Twitter. There isn’t the same easy to use system as can be seen in other social media sites since Twitter keeps changing multiple parts of the website.

One of the big problems with this is that new users have trouble distinguishing between all of the different features. When they go on Twitter, it takes time to slowly learn how you are supposed to do almost anything. When they do something the wrong way, they receive corrections from other users that may further complicate the whole thing. Without being able to easily just use the site without looking up how to do every little thing, new users stop wanting to be users at all.

With the drop in stock prices it is clear that Twitter needs big changes and it has been getting them. The problem is that these changes are coming so fast and in such a confusing way that old users and new users are being dissuaded from being users at all. The many changes to at the executive level and within the website itself seems to be resulting in a confusing mess that is just too difficult for your average internet user to decipher. If Twitter can’t get its social network on par with others like Facebook, there is no hope for the future of this social media network.

Twitter Planning to Extend Character Limit on Tweets

iePlexus blog 1 1-06-16For a long while, something that remained unique to Twitter and no other social media site was the length of the posts a person could make. Unlike Facebook and other social media sites, Twitter has maintained at 140 character limit for every tweet on its site. While some different applications allowed users to extend the limit, the limit offered within Twitter was still kept at 140 characters overall.

Now there is talk that all of this might be changing. The Chief Executive of Twitter posted a message suggesting that Twitter will be altering its limit to a much larger number of characters. In the message, he states that at the beginning the intention was not to limit Twitter users to a specific number of characters and that this came about to make it possible to fit a Tweet within the length of a SMS message. Since so many changes have been made since the site’s launch, it seems practical for the character limit to be extended.

One of the main reasons that Twitter is considering this change is because users have been finding other ways to extend their character limits. Users can do this by using specific applications on their phones or by screenshotting a larger body of text to post as a picture. This suggests that users want to be able to post longer messages on Twitter. Twitter’s approach to these workarounds seems to be that it is better to join them than to fight them.

Many users are worried about the idea of longer character limits within Twitter. They feel that this will change the social media site and shift the focus from short messages and quick conversations between individuals. Others argue that there is no problem with changing the limit and in fact this would be beneficial in many ways. Screenshot text is not searchable or highlightable which can make it more challenging for it to be used within the Twitter medium. Changing the limit for text would allow more text on Twitter that could be searched and used in conversation. Additionally, Twitter would continue to show only the first 140 characters of a tweet to keep Twitter feeds from being filled with large pieces of text.

Changing the limit on characters is definitely beneficial to Twitter itself since this will allow users to actually post what they want to on their Twitter feed. Twitter won’t have to deal with people sharing links to full stories which cause people to leave their site to learn more. Extending the length of a Tweet beyond 140 characters is likely to allow this social media site to grow and change in new and unprecedented ways.

Twitter Makes Changes to Hate Speech Policies After Paris Terrorist Attacks

ieplexus blog 1 12-31-15One of the problems that social media sites often face is where to draw the line between free speech and hate speech. Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter seek to give everyone a voice regardless of the opinions that they might have. The main problem with this is that some of the speech can affect others poorly and make them feel unwelcome when it comes to speaking out on their own.

Twitter decided recently to make updates to its hate speech policy after the terrorist attacks on Paris and the range of opinions being aired about the Syrian refugees on Twitter. They took the time to put the rules surrounding hate speech into different words. One of the main changes to the writing of the policy states that people on Twitter cannot promote violence against anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or gender.

When Twitter finds accounts and posts that go against their rules they may react in one of several different ways. They can lock the account for a certain amount of time forcing users to wait before they are able to access their Twitter account again. Users may also be asked to delete specific posts that do not follow Twitter rules. In addition to these changes, Twitter is putting more policies in place to prevent users from creating multiple accounts so that they are able to switch to a different account to continue spreading hateful messages.

The goal of these changes is to hopefully stop the spread of hateful messages by both terrorists and other people. Twitter is especially concerned with shutting down terrorist accounts which promote violence toward others openly and seek to recruit new members. The social media site hopes that new policies might help them to reign in terrorist recruiting through Twitter.

Already, changes to the rules regarding hate speech have come under attack by Twitter users. Some say that it is one thing for Twitter to make changes to the rules and another entirely for them to actually follow through with enforcing these changes. There is some worry that they will not have the people they need to really look at each tweet to sort through ones that are hateful. Twitter is addressing some of these issues by extending the size of their team and giving users tools to report abuse more easily.

Twitter Stops Cropping Pictures to Allow the Site to Focus More on Images

ieplexus blog 1 12-09-15The newest change to Twitter is its end to the photo cropping that ensured that all images were limited to a certain size on its timeline. Though Twitter began as a text only social media site, the site has since added the ability to post photos and even videos. Up until recently these were kept from dominating a timeline by being cropped to size, but now Twitter is allowing pictures to be viewed in full without a user having to click on the image to see the whole picture.

This new feature is sure to be a relief to all of the people who have previously been frustrated with the way that photos appeared. It is far simpler for users to scroll down their timeline without having to click on tweets in order to see the pictures in their full versions. Eliminating the cropping allows users to display photos as they are meant to see while allowing followers to easily look at pictures on the page. The new feature also changes the way that multiple pictures are displayed together to allow users to better show a collage of photos to their followers.

There is likely to be some level of frustration with the new photos among those more interested in the text part of the site since these are now overshadowing tweets without media attached to them. The photos take up a great deal of space in the timeline and are much more likely to gain focus from those scrolling through the page. Many people who joined the original version of Twitter might not be too happy about further changes to the focus of the site.

Twitter claims that it decided to make the change to bring the website up to date with the experience of modern media. It accepts that images are an important part of how people interact on social media and wants to add value to the way that photos are displayed within the website. Changes like this one bring Twitter into a better space to compete with other social media organizations such as Facebook and Instagram.

Social Media Helps Fuel Political Debate

ieplexus blog 1 11-11-15Since more and more people use social media on a daily basis it is becoming increasingly important for presidential hopefuls to interact with voters through the different social media platforms. Politicians use social media presence to provide voters with information about their views and to connect with younger voters who are less likely to tune in to presidential debates. They can also use information on social media to see the way that opinions over certain issues and hot topics of debate are viewed by the general public. Since social media has a growing influence in people’s lives, it is becoming a platform that politicians can use to interact with voters.

Some might feel like the politician with the most followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook, is the one most likely to secure more votes, but it isn’t that simple. Since people follow not only people that they actually agree with, but also accounts that are entertaining, it is likely that many followers and friends on Facebook and Twitter are actually looking for statements or possible slip ups that they can then share. In many cases, these items are shared along with sarcastic commentary to show the opinion of the person sharing the post. This means that in many cases the number of followers does not help anyone predict how many votes a candidate might obtain.

In the past, social media has been shown to give a positive boost to campaigns for different individuals. Many people would agree that President Obama was able to secure much of the younger vote at least partially because of his social media campaigns prior to the 2008 and 2012 elections. However, it isn’t about getting followers, but instead actually expressing opinions and interacting with voters. People are more likely to be able to communicate with politicians on a personal level over these platforms. Supporters of the candidates can also push information about the views of the candidate that they like the most, giving candidates an extra boost. For example, the supporter created hashtag for Bernie Sanders, #FeelTheBern, became a big deal on Twitter. This hashtag spreading information about the candidate, while requiring little effort by the politician himself.

While campaigning on social media is no doubt important, there have been many slips and failures throughout the time that politicians have been using social media as a campaigning tool. When Jeb Bush tried to start the slogan “Jeb Can Fix It”, Twitter users attacked the slogan, relating it to suspicions of his involvement with the voting scandal in 2000. Social media may be helpful to some candidates, but when something goes wrong with a campaign, social media makes it so that more people are more likely to hear about it. Campaigning in the age of social media has risks and benefits that were previously unheard of.

Twitter Polls Allow Users to Communicate on a Whole New Level

ieplexus blog 1 10-22-15In the world of social media, it makes sense for different websites to continually release new and different features that can set them apart from the others. Twitter is just one website that has been attempting to evolve to help keep the site popular. Since Twitter was first launched, there have been many big changes to the site to encourage people to continue using the site and to encourage new people to join. With some speculation that Twitter might be pushed out of the market by Instagram because of challenges within the platform, it is time for another big change.

The newest change for the Twitter platform is the roll out of a polling feature, which will allow followers to vote to signify their agreement or disagreement about a specific question or pick from two specific options available. This will allow businesses and individuals to put up simple polls to help them streamline a process that they might previously have conducted through hashtags or other Twitter features. This will make it significantly easier for anyone to use Twitter to construct an idea about the opinions of their followers.

The new poll feature of Twitter is starting out as something that will be fairly basic. Users will notice a pie chart button showing up on their Twitter within the next few days. By selecting this button, users will be able to construct basic polls to talk about anything as simple as whether a referee made the right call in a sports game or something that a business might actually need to collect information from customers about. This will give people who use Twitter the ability to communicate with their followers in a completely new way.