Google+

Google+ Has Nearly 360 Million Users

If you were trying to get a buzz on what social media platform is most popular, it’s likely that you would guess that Facebook is clearly number one, with Twitter gaining ground from the second spot. In fact, you’d likely claim that Google+ was a complete failure. It turns out that Google+ is currently the social media platform in second place, with 359 million active users.

It’s a wonder that Google is able to boast such high numbers. It’s likely that a large chunk of users are just Android phone owners who use occasional features such as the +1 link on many apps and web pages. Google has been working on integrating all of their services such as Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, and Google+ for the past couple of years, which was all a part of the original vision for Google+. It was supposed to offer connectivity to nearly every web service that we use, but Facebook has become so integrated with other sites that nobody really looks for Google+ integration other than Google themselves.

Speaking of Facebook, they have now passed 700 million active users.

Another benefit of Google+ has been the Google Hangout feature. That is likely where most of the buzz for Google+ has come from over the past year, as that feature has begun to get more and more popular. Twitter is getting a lot of media buzz and is generally more active per user, but it only has 297 active users.

One major benefit with Google+ is that it is the best of the social media tools to find complete strangers who share similar interests. Where Facebook is great at connecting you with people that you know, and Twitter is heavily influenced by connections to celebrities, Google+ connects the world wide web with each other in a way that the other platforms fail to do.

It has been nearly two years since Google+ launched. Despite many claims that there is no value to the service, it still has managed to stay ahead of Twitter for the second largest social media platform on the web. They still have a lot to do before they catch Facebook though.

Source: Business Insider

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Social Media

Should Businesses Allow Access to Social Media at Work?

I’m sure we’ve all had that job where it seems like the day never ends. In a world of increased connectivity, work can oftentimes be the one place where we’re no longer connected to the world around us. Many business owners want to keep it that way. They don’t want distractions coming in and slowing down productivity. Lately though, many employees have started to lash back and demand access to social media while on the job.

In the business world, it’s all about the bottom line. If they can find a way to increase productivity while keeping costs low, they will find a way to make it happen. In some fields, allowing employees access to social media can damage the image of their customer service. Some job markets, such as in construction, require that an employees attention be solely on the job at hand.

What about those desk jobs that so many people have though? I work as a technology technician on a college campus, and I get quite a bit of downtime in between tasks. I’m allowed to surf the web and check Facebook, but many people who have similar jobs aren’t granted that privilege.

In fact, recent studies show that employees are most productive if they’re allowed social media breaks. Compared to employees who were allowed to take breaks but weren’t granted internet access, those who had access to internet for their breaks have been found to be 16% more productive.

It has become time that we get past this idea that Facebook is toxic for the work environment. There should be no reason why social media should be banned during breaks. In fact, even Wal-Mart employees are told not to use social media while they’re at work, even during breaks. This old school way of thinking needs to change. As our society has embraced social media, so too should our work culture.

Using our own technology at work has its benefits, and allowing that access to the outside world will help workers be in a better mood. If this is a free and easy way to raise productivity, then we should let our employers know the facts. Let’s bring social media with us to work!

Source: BusinessNewsDaily

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breakingnews

The Controversial Role of Twitter Breaking News

As I was about ready to go to bed on April 18th, I decided to turn to CNN to see if the mainstream media updated any additional photos of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects that had come out earlier in the day. Right as I was about to turn off the news network there was a brief scroll of an M.I.T. police officer being involved in a shootout. CNN wasn’t really covering the shooting so I decided to take to Social Media to see if there was a rare chance that the MIT shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing were somehow related. What played out over the next 12 hours was surreal and showed the ups and downs that can occur with Twitter breaking news.

User Reports
Within half an hour of the MIT shooting, a Twitter user posted an aerial picture of the crime scene as taken from his upstairs  apartment or classroom window. The medics were still working on the downed officer by the time this picture had been viewed by thousands of people. Soon broadcastify and TuneIn links to the Boston Police Department scanner were popping up in the Twitter breaking news feed and users could follow the action in real time as cops tried to comprehend what was going on.

It wasn’t long until reports of a carjacking surfaced, then words of a gunfight and explosions that rang out in Watertown, MA. Panicked cops called for bigger guns to combat the assault rifle fire they were taking and ordered their fellow officers to retreat as the suspects had bombs. The #Watertown hashtag was updating literally every second but yet not MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, or any other media outlets had even broke to coverage of the event. It wasn’t long until a YouTube video of the gunfire exchange was uploaded.

shootout
A Twitter user snapped this photo of one of the suspects as he was fleeing the police.

Mainstream Media Checks In
Twitter had already broke the news that the MIT shooting suspects were also involved in the Boston Marathon bombing. The power of the Internet was evident in that anonymous sleuths had made the correlation that one of the fugitives was a Brown University student who had been missing for months. The names were even reported over the BPD scanner, unfortunately as we’d find out hours later, this information was false. There were also false reports initially of the descriptions of the assailants. One of the problems with anonymous Twitter breaking news is that nobody fact-checks a Tweet and by the time it’s passed on to thousands of other people it’s accepted as a fact.

Twitter Breaking News Helps the Suspect
As the surreal manhunt continued, eventually authorities took down the online police scanner feeds. It was rumored that the suspect who was still on the lam was actually staying ahead of officers by following their moves online! Therein lies another problem of real-time Twitter breaking news, it puts law enforcement officials in jeopardy.

empty-boston-001
TwitPics of the locked down, deserted Boston Streets littered the Twitter feed and Instagram

The speed and ground zero reporting of Twitter breaking news is one of its biggest assets. Unfortunately in the quest for up to date information we tend to rely on false reports. If anything, Social Media reporting may prove to be a Kickstarter for the main street media to pick up their game.

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twitter-logo-solid3

Twitter Music – Spotify’s Competitor

In many ways, Spotify is a social network. Not only can you create playlist and share them with both your friends and the world, but there is integration with Facebook and Twitter. You can share songs that you are listening to on both Facebook and Twitter, and on Facebook, people can listen with you in real time to the music you are listening to. Spotify has become a great and popular way for people to discover new music.

Some of you may remember Twitter Video, which was a complete disaster due to the high amount of pornographic content that began to be shared on it (go figure, it’s the internet). There is news that Twitter may be partnering with some TV media companies, so it’s obvious that Twitter still for whatever reason has interest in that form of media.

music_#NowPlayingTwitter has announced the launch of Twitter #music, which appears to currently only be available for iOS, but there is a web version as well at music.twitter.com. According to Twitter’s blog post, songs on the #music service, songs are currently picked from iTunes, Spotify, or Rdio. By default music previews will come from iTunes in the form of a preview, but if you have a Spotify or Rdio account you can log in to hear full versions of the songs.

There is also a now playing section (shown to the left) that consists of “songs that have been twitters by the artists and people you follow on Twitter”. You can also navigate to the twitter profile of the artists you are listening to, all from the App.

Will it Be a Success?

Now it’s obvious that Twitter is trying to expand their social network beyond the 140 character messages in the most minimalist way possible, and I like that. Twitter is attempting to launch new services without completely changing their original service to make room for the new services, and the integration appears to be seamless. As to whether or not this music service can be a success or not, I would have to say it’s really a 50/50 chance and depends on whether or not people want to use it. I have occasionally found myself using the Spotify integration on Facebook where I can listen to what my friends are listening to, but it’s not often. Then again, I’m not that much of a music junkie either.

The service may just be another Spotify, but it has something that Spotify doesn’t as far as social integration, and that’s a dedicated app. Spotify is really missing a dedicated app that can take all the music recommendations your friends post on Facebook and put them into one place, so with that in mind I could really see some success out of Twitter music. Hopefully they come out with an Android version as well, we will just have to wait, hope, and see.

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Vine

How Will Vine Change Twitter?

Vine is Twitter’s new social video sharing service, for those of you who don’t know. Basically Vine is an iPhone app that allows users to take six seconds worth of video and share it on social networks. The posts integrate with the Twitter cards on Twitter.com, so people can view Vine posts on there or through the Vine iPhone app.

The question is how will Vine change the way Twitter works and/or change the way people use Twitter? Twitter is supposed to be a simple service. 140 characters of text, that is the way it started out. Now you have images from hundreds of sources and now video clips. Is Twitter becoming too noisy?

It depends on how you use Twitter

If you use Twitter to get your news, Vine will probably just get in the way. You will want to make lists of people who just tweet about the news you care about. If, on the other hand, you use Twitter to keep up with friends and close followers, Vine is another way for you to do that.

The problem for Twitter is that they can’t make their product too complex or it just becomes another Facebook. With Facebook you can do everything, post videos, photos, text and whatever. The whole point behind Twitter is its simplicity. If they get too complex, the differences between the two social networks will begin to blur.

Vine style video is the future of the Internet

No matter what you think of Vine, you can’t deny that video is everywhere these days. More and more social sites are being built around the concept of sharing quick videos. Websites are using videos to increase user interaction and engagement.

Video is changing the web from a text-based entity to a video based activity. Basically the web is becoming YouTube. Is this a good thing? Video has its advantages and disadvantages. People like watching video (think of why TV was so much more popular than radio), so more video is always good. On the other hand, videos take longer to complete than an article or post. You can read a tweet in a second, but a video you have to wait to load, press play, and watch. It just takes longer.

Twitter has changed already

Twitter used to be about engagement. You would be on there to discuss things, promote content (both yours and other’s), and to talk to people about the news of the day. Now it is only about sharing. Sure there was always the element of people sharing what they had for lunch, but now it seems everyone just posts their things, pays attention to a few selected followers and that’s it. No more discovering what someone from across the globe has to say about a particular issue or event. While that part is still possible, people are not using Twitter in that way anymore.

Are you using Twitter in a new way? What do you think of Vine? Talk back in the comments below!

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Formspring shutdown affect 30 million users

Formspring is Dead Will Anyone Even Notice? (Good Riddance I Say)

Formspring shutting downFormspring announced that it will shut down effective March 31st. The company, it says, has become too large to sustainably support and it’s currently overstretching its own resources. It’s hard to believe because, at least personally, I find Formspring incredibly annoying, especially when the abbreviated questions appeared in my Twitter stream (Twitter is supposed to be micro-blogging not run-on stupidity!)

CEO and founder Ade Olonoh laments the death of his company in a statement issued on the company’s official blog. He says that Formspring was “a unique way for people to have engaging conversations about anything.” And some of those conversations were truly riveting.

“Taylor Swift yay or nay ?” (Apparently “Super yay!!”)
“heels or sneakers ?” (Indecisively “Both”)
“what do u do for fun ?” (Clearly “Tons of stuff xD”)

Yes, sadly you will no longer be able to “Share your perspective on anything.” And that’s bad news for the alleged 30 million registered users. They’ll have to turn to outlets such as Quora and Yahoo! Answers to fulfill their burning need to know who is hotter Angelina Jolie or Megan Fox?

These users can still export their oh-so-important Formspring data until April 14th and then it’s lights out for the former social golden child.

Formspring Troubles Began Long Ago

Apparently the resource stretching had been going on for some time at the trouble Formspring. Last December the company attempted to sell itself to Pavel Durvo, founder of Vkontakte, a Russian social networking site. At that time Durov said that Formspring was so broken that he refused to purchase it saying: “It’s not even scrap metal.”

Sadly, the $14 million the Formspring earned when it revamped its operations in 2009 (switching away from simple questions and broaching “conversations”) seems to have been pathetically wasted with useless chatter and idiotic ramblings. So much so that not even a third-rate social network wanted to touch it.

Some critics suggest that Tumblr had some role in the eventual demise of Formspring but also say the question site failed to keep up with popular trends and failed to embrace the needs of users.

Info Source: The Next Web | Image Source Formspring

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IG Tps

How to take better Instagram pictures

I’m a big Instagramer and an amateur photographer. If you don’t know what Instagram is I just have one question “Where have you been living in the past year?”. Instagram is probably the most popular photo sharing platform right now for mobile devices. As a big Instagram user I see a lot of un-necessary photo snafus. I’m not talking about composition or using the rule of thirds or anything. Instagram is for everyone professional and amateur alike. So I know people just want to share pictures of their adorable new pet, food or a new addition to their wardrobe among a million other things. What I’m talking about are the little things in the background that a few seconds could have lead to a nicer picture to share. So here are a few tips on how to take better Instagram pictures.

Selfies
If anyone says they use Instagram for themselves it’s a lie. Instagram is for sharing that is why it’s a Social app. We are all social beings we love to share what is going on all around us. If the pictures were for yourself they would still be in your camera roll or on your computer. Whether you are a fitness guru, twenty something partier or a teen obsessed with “Selfies”. There are a few quick tips you can follow to make your pictures a little nicer.

  1. 1.Take a couple seconds to scan the background: If you’re taking pictures in the bathroom checking if the toilet  seat is up, shower curtain/door is open or anything else that doesn’t need to be hanging around in the background can help. It only takes a few seconds and believe me nothing takes the focus off the image of you like a toilet right behind you with the seat up.
  2. 2.Think about where you are taking the picture: This kind of adds to the first tip. Take a minute to consider where you’re taking your selfie and what is around you. You might want to go to a different room, spot, turn slightly or move things out of the way. If you’re in a room where your pets live move the feeding bowls out of the way. If the hallway or room beside you can be seen and is cluttered or distracting close the door or go to a different room.
  3. 3.Dirty Mirror: Most selfies are taken using a mirror to take a picture of the person’s reflection in the mirror. If the mirror is dirty take a minute to clean it off.
  4. 4.Cropping can be your friend: Before posting a picture to Instagram there is the chance to crop it. It can also be cropped from the Photos app before even getting to Instagram. Most people hate the thought of cropping the image because it removes parts of the picture. Sometimes it makes a better picture ie. If you are holding up your iPhone for the picture who needs to see your bent elbow and “camera face” (when the camera covers the person’s face while taking the selfie)
  5. 5.Filters and special effects: Use them carefully and with purpose. The pictures posted on Instagram are personal but at the same time it is being put out there for others to see. So make sure people will see what was intended to be seen. Some filters will hide details or add to the image in a distracting way.

I did a quick search on Instagram to find a few examples of pictures that could have used a few of these tips. They are not horrible these tips would just have made them a little better.

2ded62bc7e4011e2baac22000a1fbda6_7 Here is amessy room in the background and a partial “Camera Face”

EditedCropped to get rid of the partial “Camera Face” I can’t do anything about the mess

b39edd0668b411e28cc022000a9f308d_7The toilet seat up in the background just really ruins this one

 

Foodies
These are the people who love to share the food they are making or eating with everyone. I am one of those people, I am a foodie. It’s fun and different to share and see what people all over the world have on their plates. Again a few little tips can help make the picture as appetizing as the food being eaten.

  1. 1.Take a look at the food before you bust out the camera: The food isn’t going anywhere so make it look appetizing in the picture too. Move the fork so it’s not just stuck in the middle of the food. Get the cup or glass out of the shot unless it’s meant to be there.
  2. 2.Have fun with it: The whole idea of taking pictures of our meals has taken off once smartphones got cameras and social networks to share the pictures. There’s a camera that is always available and travels with us at all times. It also means that after all this time every shot of food looks the same. It’s food on a plate, on a table with a knife and fork. So have some fun with it take the picture from different angles, highlight one specific part of the meal, spin the bowl on the table while taking the picture just make it creative and have some fun with the whole process.
  3. 3.Every meal doesn’t need to be shared: I don’t mean the meal doesn’t need to be photographed but it might not need to be posted to Instagram. Things are always novel, interesting, exciting or cool when it’s done in moderation. So while the dinner at the Mediterranean restaurant is colourful, different and has an interesting context. The bowl of honey nut cheerios for breakfast might be a little mundane after the third time being posted.

These tips can also be appliied to most of the other types of pictures being posted on Instagram. At the end of the day pictures are a personal thing and I’m just trying to make them look a little better with a few tips.

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post tweets to facebook

Automating Social Media – Should Tweets Go to Facebook?

Social Media isn’t something that really gets talked about here very often on T3KD. I had an experience today that I thought would make a great blog post. If you didn’t already know, Twitter allows you to have your tweets that you send out (not including replies) to also be posted as statuses on Facebook. A lot of people I know use this feature, but should you send tweets to Facebook?

Social Media Automation

Ever heard of the term Social Media Automation? If you are active in Social Media and have been for a while, and especially if you do any sort of marketing, you have probably heard of and done this before. Social Media Automation is as simple as having your blog send out a tweet every time you update it, or having some blog posts share at random times of the day via Buffer or HootSuite. However, this can get even more extensive. Thanks to an IFTTT script, my Twitter account automatically follows someone and ads them to a special list any time they share one of my blog posts and include me in a reply. That’s another form of Social Media automation, it just isn’t one that would be seen by all of our followers.

Why Would You Send Tweets to Facebook in the First Place?

When I originally set up my Twitter account to send my tweets to Facebook, I was mostly posting photos on Facebook from time to time. I wanted an easy way to bump up my activity level on Facebook. Since I was pretty active on Twitter at the time, having my Tweets go to Facebook seemed like a great idea, and it worked for a while.

A Word From a Friend

Should Tweets Go to Facebook?Now go to present time, and most of what I tweet lately has been blog posts, which means all that is showing up (for the most part) on my Facebook profile is blog posts. This is fine for Twitter where the stream of tweets is constantly moving, but on Facebook that’s just not the case, and by having all those blog post tweets go to Facebook as well, I have annoyed some friends and even lost one. No doubt that engagement is also way down as well.

So… to answer the question of whether or not your tweets should go to Facebook. I truly believe that you should keep your Social Networks genuine and not intertwine what you’re posting, but I realize that from a marketing standpoint this might not always make sense. Keep in mind however, that Facebook is a lot more photo friendly than Twitter, so you could actually use this to your advantage somewhat.

If you have a Facebook account and you want to keep it going but you don’t update that often, if you tweet a lot it does make sense to have your Tweets go to your Facebook account as well, and it would be perfectly fine. However, if you have certain friends that you know are friends on Facebook but aren’t following you on Twitter, you really need to keep this in mind. Remember that you won’t be able to put something on Twitter that you don’t want to be seen by your Facebook friends as well. Also keep in mind though that this only applies to original tweets. Mentions and Direct Messages will never be sent to Facebook.

If you are sending your tweets to Facebook and seeing little to no engagement, maybe try posting directly to Facebook. If most of the stuff you tweet is blog posts like me, you would be better off leaving the featured turned off. Each social network (in my opinion) has it’s own individual use and own type of content that belongs on it.

What do you think? Should Tweets Go to Facebook automatically? Talk back in the comments below!

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Facebook

Burnout from Facebook use

FacebookFacebook is without a doubt one of the largest social media websites on the Internet today. However, whether due to concerns about privacy issues, or just plain weariness, many users are now turning away or just taking prolonged breaks from Facebook. According to a recent survey, 61% of Facebook users have taken prolonged breaks and a quarter have admitted they plan to spend less time on Facebook.

 What does all this mean for Facebook?

Those adults who are online are very large market, but a fifth of those adults who admitted they were not Facebook users have stated they used the network only one time before deserting it. Facebook has been criticized time and time again for how it utilizes the content of its members and how it forces changes upon its users. But even with all that, that was not the most popular reason for taking a break from Facebook. Believe it or not, 21% of those who have taken a break from Facebook has said that it lacked the time.

Other reasons include losing interest or being a waste of time or having content that is not relevant to their lives. Those security concerns only made up 4% of the survey. This lack of time is fairly common across all forms of social media and there’s really nothing that Facebook can do to address these concerns.

The numbers for Facebook are showing that there are 1 billion monthly users of Facebook and nearly 618,000,000 daily users. In 20% of the time that users spent on Facebook was on a mobile app in this app was the most downloaded in 2012. Of those who said they wanted to take a break, more than half or 59% said that Facebook was still has important than has ever.

Throughout all of this, is important for the user to determine how much is enough for them and their uses. For those who live far apart from family, using Facebook is one of the only times that they can connect to other people and their family may live too far away for other forms of communication to be advantageous.

All of this doesn’t mean that Facebook fan is just around the corner. It means that social media will continue to grow and evolve in such a way that doesn’t interfere too much with the time of its users. These mobile apps are just beginning and are so many other innovations, both with Facebook and other companies, that will continue to push the bar of the social media experience.

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Twitter

250,000 Accounts Hacked on Twitter

This seems like a big month, both positive and negative, for Twitter. They recently launched a new video looping application named Vine, at the same time, being ordered by a French court to release the identities of an anti-Semitic group. Now, it has been reported that on Friday afternoon, Twitter was hacked, jeopardizing the accounts of a quarter million users.Twitter

 So How Did This Attack On Twitter Go Down?

In the weeks leading up to the discovery of the attack, Twitter had detected a breach in their networks, but upon investigation, this led to the discovery of a much larger breach. According to Twitter’s Director Of Information Security, Bob Lord, ‘This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later.’

This is hardly encouraging, as he goes on to say ‘our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information.” In response to this attack, twitter went ahead and reset the passwords and seizing session tokens, which allowed users to stay login without entering a password.

What Is Known About This Attack?

The attack is thought to have been exploited by a recent Java vulnerability and even the Department of Homeland Security encouraged computer users to disable Java, unless it was absolutely necessary. Until Java and Oracle address these problems, even more accounts might be at risk to such hacks, such as a kind used against twitter and other organizations.

Connections Between Other Related Attacks

Just recently, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal had their networks breached in an attack that was attributed to Chinese hackers. Bloomberg news has said it was targeted, but no computers in their networks were ever hacked. As of now, twitter has not place the blame on any one group or person.

What is known by twitter is that, as said by Bob Lord,  ‘”This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident. The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked.”

The quarter million accounts that were hacked is just a fraction of the 200 million accounts that are present in twitter service. In order to decrease vulnerability, using strong passwords with a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, as well as numbers, will greatly aid in reducing the chance of having your account compromise by other users. In addition, until the vulnerabilities of Java are addressed, it will be a great idea to disable the Java.

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