Social Media Rundown: Toxic Speech on Twitter; Facebook Combats Political Influence Campaigns; WhatsApp Makes Business Push

Lots of social media news worthy of your time this week. And don’t forget to check out the learn section for a detailed look at how Gary Vaynerchuk turns once piece of long-form content into 30+ pieces to share on social media.

Also, here’s an interesting infographic to consider when thinking of how people will likely view your content on each social networking site:

Time spent on social networks in the US: mobile vs. desktop
See anything that surprises you here? Are you among the 2% who use Instagram on desktop?

Social Media News:

  • Twitter Is Funding College Professors to Audit Its Platform for Toxicity (The Verge). The researchers will investigate how toxic speech is created on Twitter. The team will also create algorithms to track whether conversations are “uncivil” or if they veer into “intolerant” in what could be hate speech.
  • Facebook Identifies an Active Political Influence Campaign Using Fake Accounts (The New York Times). Not much has changed since the 2016 presidential election. Although it does seem the company is doing a better job of getting ahead of things; Facebook detected and removed “32 pages and fake accounts that had engaged in activity around divisive social issues.” It’s a continuous game of whack-a-mole.
  • Snapchat’s New Voice-Activated Lenses Point to a Wild Future for AR Advertising and Commerce (Forbes). Snapchat’s latest Lenses react to a specific keyword instead of visual cues such as opening your mouth. The new Lenses animate after hearing a specific keyword, which Snapchat displays on the screen.
  • WhatsApp’s Making a New Business Push, Pointing to Significant Revenue Opportunities (Social Media Today). WhatsApp Business now offers businesses new options for connecting with customers, including request helpful information, start a conversation, and get support.

Learn:

  • The Garyvee Content Strategy: How to Grow and Distribute Your Brand’s Social Media Content (garyvaynerchuk.com). If you follow Gary Vaynerchuk, then you know he pushes out a ton of content. This post included a slide deck that breaks down how he took a recent 2-hour keynote address to create 30+ pieces of content to share on social media, blogging platforms, and audio & video sites.

What social media news or social media marketing tips caught your eye this week?

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Social Media Rundown: Snapchat+Amazon; Facebook Watch Struggles; Twitter Purge

Some interesting social media news headlines this week including a purge of suspended Twitter accounts, a rumored Snapchat-Amazon partnership, and Facebook Watch struggles for viewers. Also, here are some Facebook headlines that didn’t make the cut, but maybe should have been included with the main batch below:

A coder at Facebook.
Lots of Facebook news this week including more on the Cambridge Analytica saga, acquisition of Bloomsbury AI, and struggles with Facebook Watch.

Social Media News:

  • Snapchat Code Reveals Team-Up with Amazon for ‘Camera Search’ (TechCrunch). If the Snapchat-Amazon integration rumor is true, social media audiences will soon be able to point a smartphone at something and make a purchase directly through Amazon.
  • Facebook Watch Is Struggling to Win Fans (The Information). The number of people who visit the new section every day has disappointed some show creators. Ads that run in the middle of videos have alienated many users, according to Facebook’s own metrics. Some media partners have chosen not to renew their deals with Facebook. Meanwhile, Facebook Watch adds Bloomberg and BuzzFeed News to lineup.
  • Trump, Obama and Other High-Profile Twitter Users Could See a ‘Significant Drop’ in Followers. Here’s Why. (Washington Post). Twitter said the most popular accounts could experience a “significant drop” in followers over the next week. This news comes just a couple days after the Washington Post reported that the company has suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June, and the pace has continued in July.

Learn:

  • The Basic Social Media Mistakes Companies Still Make (Harvard Business Review). “No matter what your social media strategy is, it’s always a good idea to go back and make sure you have the basics covered.”
  • The Simple Facebook Posting Strategy That Helped Us 3x Our Reach and Engagement (Buffer Blog). The basic lesson here is that with Facebook, less is more and quality content reigns supreme. Read on for some quick stats to see what I mean.

What social media news and social marketing tips did I leave out this week?

 

Social Media Rundown: Facebook Bug Unblocks Messenger Users; Whatsapp Combats Fake News; Ads Transparency

Another typical week in social media news: Facebook admits to another privacy breach, Whatsapp combats fake news, and Twitter and Facebook work on ad transparency.

fake-news-stephen-cobert

Social Media News:

  • Twitter Launches Its Ads Transparency Center, Where You Can See Ads Bought by Any Account (TechCrunch). The company says you’ll be able to search for any Twitter handle and bring up all the ad campaigns from that account that have run for the past seven days. Meanwhile, Facebook says its users will soon see a new button called “info and ads” at the top of a Page belonging to a business, nonprofit, or other organization.
  • Whatsapp Will Pay Researchers to Study Its Fake News Epidemic (Mashable). The company is offering researchers as much as $50,000 in exchange for studying the spread of fake news on WhatsApp. The announcement comes after the Indian government criticized the messaging service for its role in spreading false information tied to a series of deadly instances of mob violence in the country.
  • A Bug Unblocked More Than 800,000 Facebook and Messenger Users (Fast Company). The bug meant that users could message people who had blocked them and see posts which had previously been hidden from view. Read more on the Facebook blog.

Learn:

  • How Vogue Diversified Away from Facebook (Digiday). In May, search traffic to Vogue was up 73 percent year over year. Newsletter traffic grew 32 percent, and Instagram traffic increased 139 percent. Facebook unique visits were down 30 percent on the same basis. “That diversification is the result of a long-term push to grow search traffic overall as Facebook has steadily cut back the amount of referral traffic it sends publishers.”
  • How to Combine Social Media and Email Marketing as the Perfect Lead-Generation Machine (ShortStack). This article has a full break down to using social media and email marketing in sync to build a lead-generation campaign.

What else happened this week in social media news?

Social Media Rundown: Lots of Facebook Headlines; Instagram Algorithm, Explained; Building Social Proof

Another week of news regarding Facebook privacy concerns and other negative headlines for the battered social media giant. It’s OK though, I’m sure we’ll all keep using the social networking site like nothing’s wrong.

Mark Zuckerberg takes a sip of water before Congressional questioning.

Also, be sure to check out the learn section to see how the new Instagram algorithm works, ways to build social proof, and how to make sure your social media marketing is in line with Facebook’s priority of making sure time spent on Facebook is time well spent.

Social Media News:

  • Facebook Says It Accidentally Let Anybody Read Private Posts From 14 Million Users (Business Insider). Facebook discovered a “software bug” that caused millions of status updates that were intended to be posted privately among friends to be public. The bug affected 14 million users, between May 18-27. Affected users will be notified and asked to review their posts from that period.
  • Facebook Will Remove the Trending Topics Section Next Week (The Verge). After a couple years of controversy due to Facebook editors curating the headlines, the company has decided to ditch the trending section. Other ways to deliver news, including breaking news labels and a section that collects local stories, are currently being tested.
  • A New Privacy Problem Could Deepen Facebook’s Legal Trouble (Wired). A New York Times article revealed that Facebook had deals with phone manufacturers that gave them access to personal data about users and their friends in order to re-create a mobile version of Facebook on their devices. Information included relationship status, religion, political leaning, events they planned to attend, and whether the user was online. Facebook disagrees with The New York Times.

Learn:

  • The New Instagram Algorithm Has Arrived – Here’s How it Works (Later). This could also go in the news section; Instagram recently invited a group of reporters to explain how the feed algorithm works (TechCrunch among that group). The short version is that the algorithm focuses on three core areas: interest, timeliness, and relationship. Secondary factors include frequency, following, and usage. If you’re an IG user, you probably won’t see any posts from several weeks in the past anymore.
  • Why You Should Be Using Your Content to Build Social Proof (Convince & Convert). In this blog post, the author outlines three ways to build social proof: release content consistently, create incentives for people to share, and measure success.
  • How Facebook Marketing is Changing (And How to Be Prepared) (Buffer App Blog). Rather than prioritizing content that might grab a user’s attention, but drive little interaction, Facebook favors the content that sparks conversations and brings people closer together. This helpful chart sums up what Facebook is prioritizing:
Signals that affect Facebook News Feed rankings.
Facebook wants more ‘meaningful interactions,’ as this chart outlines. Image: Buffer.

Social Media Rundown: U.K. Pub Chain Deletes All its Accounts; 5 Tips for Running Facebook Ads

Besides even more shady news coming from Facebookland, it’s been a relatively slow week in the world of social media. While the #DeleteFacebook trend gains steam in the U.K., even a chain of pubs gets in on the action — deleting all its social media profiles (story below).

For this week’s learnings, be sure to check out the tips on running Facebook ads and the handy guide on how to make GIFs (because everyone loves a good GIF).

Animated GIF of The Breakfast Club's Anthony Michael Hall being cool.
Even The Breakfast Club’s Anthony Michael Hall is cool with GIFs.

Social Media News:

  • GOP accuses Facebook of censorship but conservative media flourishes online (NBC News). “There are more than three times as many conservative publishers than liberal publishers on Facebook, and they receive more than 2.5 times the engagement on the social media platform than those who push opposing viewpoints.” Also, the recent string of Facebook scandals doesn’t seem to be hurting the company’s bottom line.
  • Fed up with social media, major U.K. pub chain deletes all of its accounts (Digital Trends). Interesting move. As a social media pro, it would definitely be against my recommendation, but perhaps it’s best for this particular company. It cited concerns over the misuse of personal data and the “addictive nature of social media.”
  • Facebook Tests Out New Video Format to Boost Communal Viewing and Engagement (Social Media Today). Called ‘Premieres’, the new feature would give approved publishers the opportunity to broadcast pre-recorded content through what’s essentially Facebook Live. Thus, allowing viewers to interact with each other in real time.
  • Barack Obama And Jordan Peele Urge You Not To Believe Your Own Eyes (Fast Company). This is sort of on the fringe of social media news, but it’s important to keep up with this emerging trend. Though this article didn’t mention it, digital voice manipulation is also on the rise, which would make the development of 100% fake, yet realistic videos all the more possible. As The Atlantic reports, we’re not so far from the collapse of reality.

Learn:

  • 5 Advanced Tips for Running Ads on Facebook (Sprout Social). Whether you’re looking to start running ads on Facebook or you want to learn a few tips, this is a good look at the basics you need to know. From refining your target audience to running split tests, this is an awesome guide to running Facebook ads.
  • How to Make a GIF: The Complete Guide (Hootsuite Blog). If you’re like me and think animated GIFs are the greatest thing on the internet, then this is for you. Creating a GIF really isn’t that hard so long as you know which tools to use. This is the guide with said tools.

Did I leave out some important news? This week’s edition was heavy on Facebook. Surely I missed something important from LinkedIn or Twitter?

Tweet-A-Beer: An app for buying your friends a beer via Twitter

Tweet-A-Beer app for buying a beer via Twitter.If you’ve kept a close eye on my Twitter stream, you may have noticed my occasional update on the world of craft beer. Or, maybe you’re aware of my love for a well-crafted brew because you’ve shared one with me. Either way, I’m announcing here on my blog that I enjoy a good beer (shocking, I know).

As most beer lovers would admit, the only thing better than enjoying a well-balanced frothy cold one is enjoying a well-balanced frothy cold one for free. Equally rewarding is sharing a beer with a friend and picking up the tab yourself. Certainly a nice gesture in any environment. The problem, though, is you can’t always be at the local watering hole with your buddy or maybe you’re both out-and-about, but in different locations. I hate to use a cliché here, but well, there’s an app for that! Online networking app Tweet-A-Beer allows for the payment of other Twitter users’ drinks. Cool, right?

I have yet to give the app a try, but it sounds pretty straightforward. Tweet-A-Beer syncs your Twitter and PayPal accounts so you can safely send beer money in $5 allotments. Tweet-A-Beer appropriately rolls out during South by Southwest in Austin, Tex. this weekend.

The Tweet-A-Beer website describes it quite eloquently:

Tweet-a-Beer was brewed and bottled by tenfour and Waggener Edstrom, longtime drinking buddies in Portland, Oregon. Tweet-a-Beer connects your Twitter and PayPal accounts together to ensure that distance, agoraphobia, and gang rivalries no longer prevent you from sharing a pint.

Please tweet responsibly.

Of course, you’re not actually purchasing a beer, you’re just offering to pay for $5 of their experience. Or as Doug Gross at CNN put it:

Technically, we suppose you could use those five bucks at iTunes or Amazon, for online gambling of dubious legality or, well, most anything. But there must be some bad karma associated with not buying an e-beer when a buddy has taken the time to tweet it your way.

With me, however, you can Tweet-A-Beer with confidence by knowing I will enthusiastically consume a hoppy pint and thank you for the kind gesture. I’ll probably announce to the entire bar what a cool guy/gal you are too. So, tweet me a beer. You’ll make my day. My Twitter handle is @eric_wheeler.

Redeeming a beer seems pretty simple as well. According to the FAQ page on the app’s website you just click the Tweet-a-Beer link mentioned in the tweet and follow the steps. Additionally, you will then be set-up to pay-it-forward and start tweeting beers to others, too.

As a PR guy, I can appreciate knowing the app was developed by Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and tenfour with no profits gained. The recipient’s PayPal account is charged a small fee of 10¢ to cover Chirpify’s fee. Chirpify is a ‘Twitter commerce’ platform used to make sure the transaction is secure. Read about their service here.

Please retweet this post and post your comments below responsibly.

My Thoughts on Steve Jobs and a Couple of his Best Quotes

Instagram users react to the passing of Steve Jobs.
Instagram users react to the passing of Steve Jobs.

After having a few days to digest, I feel prepared to write a short piece on the death of Steve Jobs. I learned of his passing via a push notification from the AP news app on my iPhone. At first, I thought it was a tasteless joke. There had been a number of Twitter hacks before, including CBS mistakenly reporting the death of Steve Jobs on Sept. 9, 2011. There was actually not a story in my AP app about the passing of Steve Jobs, so I went to Twitter to see what was going on. Sure enough, several other news sites and trusted followers were tweeting the sad news.

It always seems strange to be upset about the death of someone I never knew, but Steve Jobs was truly a visionary who changed the world for the better. Always modest of his life accomplishments, Steve Jobs made products that were easy to use and visually appealing. He had a way of looking into the future to deliver technologies that would change how people communicate and function in the world. But as I said, he maintained his modesty and focused on the important things in life:

“The problem is I’m older now, I’m 40 years old, and this stuff doesn’t change the world. It really doesn’t.

“I’m sorry, it’s true. Having children really changes your view on these things. We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much — if at all.” (Steve Jobs, Wired, 1996)

Silvia using her iPod touch.
Silvia using her mom's iPod Touch. The success of Steve Jobs is in the simplicity of Apple's products.

Whether or not Steve Jobs single-handily changed the world is up for debate. However, I don’t think too many people will argue Apple products are easy to use. Some may think of me as a bit of a tech geek, but if my aunt asks me to help her install a new app on her Android-based phone, I get lost in the process. Anything I do on my iPhone is easy. Apple’s products are so simple, my girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter can easily use her iPod Touch.

Probably the most profound technological developments of Apple came from the company’s ability to think of products in a new light and to keep things simple. While keeping something simple can often times be much more complicated, the simple designs of Apple products are clearly what sets them apart. Before I over-complicate this blog post, I will simply leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs:

“For something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” (Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998)

Apple products have had a major impact on my life and many others. May Steve Jobs rest in peace.