Instagram Enables Its Users to Upload Longer Video Stories

Photo- and video-sharing social app Instagram is introducing the option for users to upload longer uninterrupted Stories of up to 60 seconds in duration, without automatically converting the video content into 15-second mini-clips as was previously the norm. The Meta Platforms-owned network began testing the update with select users in December 2021 and just announced that the feature is rolling out to all global users. Allowing content creators to share 60-second Stories in one slide is expected to be a welcome change for both users and viewers. Continue reading Instagram Enables Its Users to Upload Longer Video Stories

Gen X Now More Obsessed with Social Media Than Millennials

A new report from Nielsen notes that Americans 18-34 years of age are less reliant upon social media than some older consumers. “Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes a week for their younger counterparts,” reports The New York Times. “More predictably, adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on social media, with an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week on the networks.” Not surprisingly, the report stressed how important smartphones have become to people of all ages. The most popular mobile platforms, in order: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat. Continue reading Gen X Now More Obsessed with Social Media Than Millennials

Viacom Play Plex Offers Mobile TV Apps for its Major Brands

Viacom International is getting ready to debut Viacom Play Plex, a suite of apps for all its major brands, for iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets. Viacom Play Plex, which will be available in the company’s 180 international territories, will offer live and on-demand content from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Channel, Spike and BET. The suite of apps allows the company to make a significant move into the burgeoning mobile TV world. Viacom had previously launched a Nickelodeon app in 2013. Continue reading Viacom Play Plex Offers Mobile TV Apps for its Major Brands

Could Facebook Patent Be Used to Approve or Deny Loans?

Facebook just filed for a patent that tracks how users are networked together. The patent can be used to prevent people from sending spam to those they’re not legitimately connected with. But the patent filing also describes a less savory possibility: that banks and other lenders could examine the credit scores of those in your network when deciding whether or not to make a loan to you. For some experts, at least, this conjures up visions of housing discrimination, aimed at the poor and people of color. Continue reading Could Facebook Patent Be Used to Approve or Deny Loans?

Ad-Blocking Results in $22B in Lost Ad Revenue, Says Report

Ad-blocking software has grown dramatically in usage; an estimated 200 million people worldwide now use ad-blocking software of which 45 million are in the U.S. That’s one of the findings of a report sponsored by Adobe and PageFair, two companies concerned about the implications of such software on the advertising industry. Ad-blocking is responsible for nearly $22 billion in lost revenue this year. The Dublin-based PageFair focuses on helping advertisers regain some of this lost revenue. Continue reading Ad-Blocking Results in $22B in Lost Ad Revenue, Says Report

Maker Select Enables the Purchasing of Ad Space on YouTube

During its NewFront presentation in New York this week, Disney-owned Maker Studios announced Maker Select, which will allow advertisers to buy ad space on Maker’s 55,000 YouTube channels in addition to all other YouTube channels. Maker Select will incorporate Maker’s audience data with data from YouTube, Nielsen, social networks and additional sources. Advertisers can target ads based on content type, brand compatibility and audience makeup. The new offering comes from a partnership with Web video analytics firm OpenSlate. Continue reading Maker Select Enables the Purchasing of Ad Space on YouTube

Pew Research Study Says U.S. Adults Using More Social Media

According to a new Pew Research study, American adults are increasing their use of traditional social networks, while teens are spending more time with messaging services such as Snapchat. Facebook use has leveled off, but Pew points to increases in the use of Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter. Pew found that adult Facebook users log in at least once per day, while almost half of Instagram users visit daily, and 36 percent of Twitter users visit daily (a drop from 46 percent in 2013, which Twitter refutes). Continue reading Pew Research Study Says U.S. Adults Using More Social Media

Russian Criminals Obtain Passwords and More in Massive Hack

Hold Security, an Internet security research firm in the U.S., discovered a Russian crime ring has stolen an unprecedented amount of Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user names and passwords, and more than 500 million email addresses. The hackers targeted websites from multiple countries and a range of businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to small websites. The crime ring is currently using the information to send spam through social networks for a fee. Continue reading Russian Criminals Obtain Passwords and More in Massive Hack

The Future of Microsoft Focused on Productivity, Not Devices

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is adapting his company to address the challenges of a changing market. The software company is now working on improving Microsoft products across all platforms, such as Android and iOS. Also, Microsoft is about to release a search tool, Delve, that can peruse emails, social networks and corporate documents to find information for work-related inquiries. Microsoft is placing emphasis on Delve’s machine learning and artificial intelligence. Continue reading The Future of Microsoft Focused on Productivity, Not Devices

YouTube Founder to Launch Social Online Video Service

YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley has plans to launch a collaborative online video startup within the next month, he announced at South by Southwest over the weekend. The new service will allow people to work together to create content. This is a clear sign of the direction of video distribution, suggests Wired. It demonstrates how video networks are becoming increasingly more like social networks. Continue reading YouTube Founder to Launch Social Online Video Service

Future of the Internet: Do Web Technologies Need an Owner?

  • Software engineer Joe Hewitt proposed in a recent blog post that Web technologies may need an owner, and the assumption that the Web must not be controlled by anyone is a dangerous one. “The HTML, CSS, and JavaScript triumvirate are just another platform, like Windows and Android and iOS,” he writes, “except that unlike those platforms, they do not have an owner to take responsibility for them.”
  • He also suggests that “the arrogance of Web evangelists is staggering” since they “place ideology above relevance.”
  • Standards bodies cannot create the kind of cutting edge platforms developers need like they are doing with iOS, Android and Windows.
  • “My prediction is that, unless the leadership vacuum is filled, the Web is going to retreat back to its origins as a network of hyperlinked documents,” writes Hewitt. “The Web will be just another app that you use when you want to find some information, like Wikipedia, but it will no longer be your primary window. The Web will no longer be the place for social networks, games, forums, photo sharing, music players, video players, word processors, calendaring, or anything interactive. Newspapers and blogs will be replaced by Facebook and Twitter and you will access them only through native apps.”

Facebook Responds to Google+ Features, Unveils Smart Lists

  • Facebook has unveiled improvements to its “friends” lists with a new feature dubbed “Smart Lists” that automatically generates friend groups so that users no longer need to manage their own lists.
  • The improvement — which follows the lead of popular Google+ features — is currently based on categories that create lists based on workplace, school, family and city. “For example, if a user lists their college on their profile, Smart Lists will automatically find all their friends that did the same, and group them together for easier sharing of content between them,” reports CNET.
  • While the social networker has previously made list creation available, the company explains that users complained about “how time-consuming it is to organize lists for different parts of your life and keep them up to date.” These improvements should address this concern. Facebook also points out that users can still manually add or remove friends from their lists.
  • Additionally, a new “Close Friends and Acquaintances Lists” component has been added. The option allows users to categorize friends into either their “Close Friends” list or mere “Acquaintances.” The distinction will help funnel updates through the news feeds; users will see all updates from close friends and just important updates from acquaintances.

Pew Research Indicates Half of America Now Using Social Networks

  • Half of all adults in the United States said they use a social networking site, which is up from a mere 5 percent from six years ago when Pew Research Center conducted a similar survey.
  • Not surprising, 83 percent of younger people (from the 18-29 age bracket) indicate they use social networking sites, compared with 51 percent of those in the 50-64 bracket. The report lists women ages 18 to 29 as “the power users.”
  • Asked for one word to describe their social networking experience, the most common response was “good.”
  • However, one in five respondents sounded less upbeat: they used words like “boring,” “time-consuming” and “overrated” to describe their experience.

Identifying Effective Tools for Analyzing Social Media

Seth Grimes of InformationWeek reports there is a growing demand to analyze social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, but he has yet to see “satisfying criteria” for assessing existing analysis tools. This article outlines what Grimes considers to be six fundamental missing pieces in analysis tools that could prove effective in measuring social media.

Grimes breaks his approach down into six basic categories: Metadata, Resolution, Integration, Alignment, Interface, and Walk the Talk. The following are excerpts from his rationale.

1. Metadata: “Let’s not look at messages in isolation, as so many tools do. SMA tool makers: Help us understand message diffusion and discourse (threaded conversations) with an analytic that incorporates demographics.”

2. Resolution: “Content analysis is the real challenge, getting at the entities (names of people, companies, places, products, etc.), facts, opinions, and signals. For this, you need sophisticated natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis with the ability to resolve parts of speech and, especially for source materials longer than tweets, to spot co-references including anaphora.”

3. Integration: “To integrate, or link records across sources, you need to capture or discern identity. I think the information is more available than most people would suppose, with significant digital sleuthing involved in discerning it.”

4. Alignment: “I’m looking for analysis tools that measure and predict social’s ability to drive business transactions — money-making outcomes — as well as how business news will play out on social platforms.”

5. Interface: “BI tools will typically let you nest variables in an axis to create a pivot table with several dimensions. You often have a choice of measures — sums, counts, percentages, calculated values — and the ability to navigate up and down dimensional hierarchies (such as year-quarter-month-week-day) with automatic value aggregation. I rarely see these capabilities in SMA tools.”

6. Walk the Talk: “I look for clue-ful SMA suppliers. If a company doesn’t know how to use social media effectively, or if it won’t make an effort, do you really want to trust it with your business? The question isn’t moot; anyone who spends time on social platforms can tell strong from weak social engagement and has seen instances of both.”