Social Media

News about your favorite social media sites and those up and coming social media sites you are going to want to pay attention to.  Yes, we talk about changes, improvements and the opposite of improvement for all the major social outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and more.  There are also lots of new social sites connecting our world in new and exciting ways that we want to bring to your attention.  Some are groundbreaking and some build on existing social platforms to make them work in ways the original developer maybe never intended.  Social media has changed our world and its connectivity overall so we thought it deserved its own section.

Reactions: GIFs that Keep on Giving

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Reactions: GIFs that Keep on Giving

These days we’re all about using social media to express our thoughts and emotions. When you want to convey your psychological state of being or initial reaction to something you saw or read to a friend, you can choose between an assortment of methods: Emoticons. They’re fine, but aren’t always the most exciting option and they can get repetitive. Pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, but doesn’t always convey the magnitude of emotions you’re feeling. Videos can be funny and accurate as all get out, but they’re sometimes too long to sit through, especially with a slow Internet connection But a GIF, a GIF is perfection. A few seconds of an image from a TV show, movie, or interview can encompass your reactions and feelings for just about anything, And GIFs do so quite accurately, if not dramatically and hilariously, too. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to make GIFs so they just use search engines like Tumblr and Giphy to find the right one. However, a new search engine just launched and changed the competition. Hulu, the popular video streaming service, has launched a GIF search engine powered by Tumblr. The website, called “The Perfect GIF,” allows users to search for GIFs based on different categories such as shows, actions, reactions, current TV, and tags like #dancing or #awkward. At the time of its launch, the website featured 1,400 GIFs, and plans on adding more as shows premiere. These don’t just include GIFs from current shows, but also classics like Star Trek and Twin Peaks. So what’s so special about The Perfect GIF search engine compared to other alternatives? Well, the biggest benefit to Hulu’s GIFs is the high quality. Hulu hosts a variety of shows from different networks including NBC, FOX, Bravo, FX, and more, meaning they have the best quality of videos and can create GIFs using those videos. Hulu’s GIFs are also easy to find and share across social media platforms. The idea behind its GIF search engine is really to promote the Hulu service overall, but hey, if we get free access and an easy way to find GIFs while they do it, we’re not...

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Internet Giants in the Sky

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Internet Giants in the Sky

Imagine walking your dog one day, gazing up at the sky, when you see it. A giant shape moves across the sky. Your blood starts pumping and you think, “The comic books were right – superheroes DO exist!”  Sorry to break it to you, but that thing you see in the sky is not Superman. That there is a giant drone. These popular little buggers have started showing up everywhere in our skies whether it’s for taking pictures of natural wonders, videos of our wedding days, or super secret government missions. However, last week Facebook announced its first drone launch for something completely different – the Internet. Facebook has been working through its Internet.org initiative to find a way to bring Internet connection to countries that are underserved in Internet availability. They believe this feat will better connect the world because, “they can affordably serve the 10% of the world’s population that live in remote communities without existing internet infrastructure.” The company has been testing different technologies, including lasers and satellites, to see what would work best and drones are up next. Sounds awesome, right? Here’s how it works. The mission, beautifully named Aquila, involves a boomerang-shaped drone that is almost the weight of a small car with a 95-foot wingspan – about the same as a Boeing 737). This unmanned drone is covered in solar panels so that it can spend up to a few months flying up in the sky, somewhere between 60,000 to 90,000 feet, while providing beams of backbone internet access to countries worldwide. The first drone they launched not too long ago was not the actual size of the grand Aquila, but a smaller scaled model so that they could better test the aerodynamics. It’s not certain how long it will take Facebook to successfully launch a drone and provide internet access from the sky, but testing continues, and the hope is to test the full size Aquila this coming summer. But even if they successfully launch the drone, the next step is forming partnerships with mobile carriers to extend the Internet access. We’ll have to wait to see drones working to carry the Internet to the world, but in the meantime we can keep our eyes open and our fingers crossed hoping for those super...

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#EsuranceSave30: Esurance is the Undeniable “Winner”

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#EsuranceSave30: Esurance is the Undeniable “Winner”

Having a commercial play during the NFL’s biggest game of the year can set your company back a few dollars—a few million, to be exact. Many companies opt out of trying to snag one of the coveted spots while others put most of their marketing budget toward this day of the year. One company, however, decided that taking the first spot after the game would suit them better, and from the looks of it, it did. Esurance, the popular online insurance company, chose not to advertise during this year’s game but directly after instead. What they did in the process was save 30% of the money that it would have cost them to have prime real estate on national television during the game. They figured that it came out to be about $1.5 million. A good chunk of money, especially for a company that’s all about saving the customer a good chunk as well. So instead of putting that money back into the company or into another commercial, Esurance decided to give it to the people they love most: the customer. With the help of Esurance’s voice, John Krasinski, they put out an open call for everyone to tweet #esurancesave30 in hopes of winning the $1.5 million. Within a minute, Esurance saw 200,000 unique tweets with the hashtag coming their way. It wasn’t going to stop there. With two days to “enter” the contest, people were tweeting #esurancesave30 at almost any chance they had. It was so simple to do. Send a short tweet. It’s not like you weren’t the only one of your followers doing so either. After two days, Esurance had seen a spike in both mentions and followers, gaining 200,000 of those as well. When the winner was announced on Wednesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, millions of hopes were dashed, but Esurance was still leading the way on Twitter. Sure, there wasn’t a blackout at this year’s game and one cookie company didn’t have the chance to take over social media for a few days. But an online insurance company took a chance, and lo and behold, it worked. Extra Links: CNET,...

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TIME Uses Social Media To Find Person of the Year

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TIME Uses Social Media To Find Person of the Year

Every year, one of the most read and famous magazines throughout the world, TIME, picks one person from around the world who they dub as “The Person of the Year.” In past years, it has been an honor bestowed to mostly men. In the 86 year history of the recognition, TIME has relied on its editors and the news of the world in order to choose who should grace the cover of this storied magazine. Never before had the people of the world been in on the decision process, and many thought that this would never be the case in any respect. Well, this year, TIME flipped the process on its ear and turned to social media to find who this years “Person” should be. With the ten finalists chosen, TIME turned to Twitter input. By using the hashtag #TIMEPOY, people had the chance to let their voice be heard in the decision process. At the beginning, Miley Cyrus, who was inexplicably up for this partially noble honor, was using her own Twitter to encourage people to vote for her. Although the singer’s own campaign didn’t eventually help her into the top five, Twitter’s overall influence in this selection process was one of trial and error. It seems to be this way because, in the end, Pope Francis was chosen from the group. Now, it has yet to be revealed exactly who won in terms of hashtag uses attached to their name, but in terms of top 5, TIME seemed to have gotten it right. With Pope Francis (@Pontifex) being named Person of the Year, everyone was wondering where the rest of the candidates fell. It was announced that Edward Snowden is No. 2, Edith Windsor is No. 3, Bashar Assad is No. 4, and Ted Cruz is No. 5. Upon the finalists announcement last week, it seemed as though many assumed that Snowden would be the obvious choice for how much influence he had in the media after he leaked confidential documents. But when Nancy Gibbs, the magazine’s Managing Editor, went on The Today Show and announced the winner, the pick seemed to just fit. Next year, TIME may employ a better system while using Twitter once more to figure out who should grace the 2014 POY cover. Let’s hope that if they do, it’s an expanded role of the social media platform. Until then, here is TIME’s announcement (via Twitter). Pope Francis is TIME’s Person of the Year for 2013 http://t.co/AXKIlnqqjr #TIMEPOY pic.twitter.com/xO9K2lDxxf — TIME.com (@TIME) December 11, 2013 External Links: TIME Image via: Wikimedia Commons Image by: Tânia Rêgo/Agency...

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Pinterest Adds New Features

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Pinterest Adds New Features

In recent news, Pinterest has added a few new features to their site. These features will add  new ways for Pinners to enjoy the interactive social media site. With the new additions, users can now Place Pins, customize the Pin It button, and check out the most popular pins on partner sites through API (Application Programming Interface) endpoints. Adding these features will make traveling and finding places easier, as well as allow for more customization. You will now be able to view pins on some of your favorite websites. Place Pins: This feature allows users to add an interactive map to any of their boards. This is great for the Pinners who love to create boards around vacations that seem appealing. By adding Place Pins, Pinterest wants their users to map the things they are most interested in, wherever they are. The new Place Pin feature is also great for businesses. Any business can get involved by adding a Place Pin. This will allow for businesses to appear on an interactive map. Place Pins include details such as address and phone numbers. They can be accessed anywhere, including smartphones. This allows for users to find new places and get directions on the go. Pin It Customization: Active users and business have their own style, that’s why Pinterest has added the Pin It button, allowing for a little more personalization. By changing the button, they allow for their users to change its color and size. This feature will let the Pin It button to be tailored to what fits users or businesses. API (Application Programming Interface): If you are unfamiliar with this term, API basically allows for application programs to interact with one another and share data. For example, Pinterest is now allowing for their partners to showcase their popular Pins right on their website and mobile apps. Partners include Walmart, Nestle, Target and many more large businesses. Pinterest is also working on more API endpoints that will be showcased on a variety of different sites that include top Repins, related Pins, most recent Pins and many more. ­ As these new changes take place, users will start to see some of the most popular Pins throughout the various partner websites. They will change periodically so Pinners can keep up with what is trending the most. Users will start seeing much more Pins on sites like AllRecipies, Better Homes and Garden, Elle Magazine, Mashable, Buzzfeed and many...

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Snapchat: Going To The Highest Bidder?

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Snapchat: Going To The Highest Bidder?

Last week, we learned that Snapchat had recently turned down $3 billion from social media giant Facebook, who wanted to get a leg up on the competition by affirming themselves as the only social platform that would have every possible way to get photos and share them with the masses. Unfortunately for them, Snapchat had no interest in selling their platform, name, or application. What’s the point of having a startup though if there’s no intention of selling it? Well, Facebook won’t be the last company to try and acquire the popular photo and video “sharing” application. After Facebook was told no, speculation began to rise thanks to this All Things D article. They ask who could be the next one to offer an exorbitant amount of money to Snapchat in hopes of grabbing the entire pie of instant multimedia sharing. Who are the two companies in the conversation with the highest amount of interest aside from Facebook? Google and Tencent. Google has both the capital and the wherewithal to go after a company such as Snapchat. They want a better social sharing application to accompany Google+ but have yet to find a viable option. Tencent is being considered as more of a blueprint for what Snapchat could become. All Things D said, “This is a good fit…in terms of revenue models—potentially alluding to in-app purchasing possibilities for the startup.” With the way people use the app every day, adding in-app purchases may not be the worst thing that could come out of this whole thing. For one, Tencent would most likely be willing to become a majority holder of the private company in terms of a large scale investment. If they were to help Snapchat and show them the right way to go about getting people to buy filters or backgrounds, the selling price range could skyrocket. In the end, Snapchat is going to be by themselves for a while. They have a business model that has yet to be reproduced and most likely never will be. If they are willing to turn down $3 billion from Facebook, don’t imagine for a second that they wouldn’t do it again at a later...

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The IPO of the Week

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The IPO of the Week

The stock market can be a real bully some days. Facebook found that out first hand with their IPO last year and the $42 opening price. They couldn’t seem to get a handle on just how well or how poorly they would end up doing as time went on. Over the course of a year, however, they worked back and are now hovering around the $48 price. For Twitter, their IPO has gone a bit differently. On the first day of trading, Twitter opened up with a much more manageable $26 price. Unlike their social media competition, Twitter didn’t experience the same falter that Facebook ran into a year ago. This time around, things were looking to be flying along. After a day, Twitter’s price rose 78.65% from $26 to more than $46, prompting many people to believe that the social media site would see a significant drop on day 2, but as of this post going up, Twitter has seen anything but. When they announced their filing for an IPO just over two months ago, it came to be known that they were going to be the second largest Internet IPO ever, $13 billion behind Facebook. With a $1 billion listing and over $14 billion in assets, Twitter has the opportunity for growth. They have promoted that fact by introducing Twitter for TV and improved ad systems but only time can tell how it will work out. Twitter is about to become the second largest Internet #IPO http://t.co/V51ypyhJAx $TWTR pic.twitter.com/wUj5R4Zv8i — MarketWatch (@MarketWatch) November 7, 2013 No one knows what tomorrow will bring in the stock market, no matter how many “experts” believe they do. For now, if you’re a betting man or woman, take the risk. This low of a price is always favorable. If not, hold on to your money and maybe go and buy an iPad Air. To each his...

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Google+ VS. Facebook Want to be Your Login of Choice

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Google+ VS. Facebook Want to be Your Login of Choice

  It’s convenient for all of us when an app or site knows information about us. It sounds creepy, but it’s true. It’s not only convenient, but it makes it great for us because it will more then likely be an enhanced, friendlier user experience. It also makes it easier when you get a new app or create a new social page because it’s nice to not have to create a new login. We all know it can be annoying when we have to create a new username and password because today, it seems that there is a login for everything we do. From Fantasy Football to Candy Crush, they all require some form of login. Believe it or not, Google+ and Facebook are competing to be the login of choice. Shocked? Us either. Facebook has continued to lead the pack for the most users having over 1.14 billion active each month. However, Google+ is not far behind. They have the second highest number of users each month. Some believe by 2016, Google+ will exceed Facebook and according to Forbes.com, Google+ is projected to become one of the most dominant social media sites in 2014. It is no secret that those two are competing because they are among some of the top social media sites today and they want your attention. One of the main benefits to being the social login of choice is that if you continue to use the same login, it is more then likely that you will be using it for a while, or possibly years down the road. For example, being the number one login will create a long-term connection for users. That’s why Google and Facebook want to be the login of choice. They want users to have a connection with them, so they can use those sites and logins years from now. So, next time you are debating on which login to use, it might be beneficial to consider which login you will want to follow you as this social boom continues to grow. This is particularly important because social sites want you for the long haul and they will continue to work on gaining your...

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A Picture is Worth 140 Characters

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A Picture is Worth 140 Characters

Twitter says goodbye to clicking on a link to view a picture “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  We have all heard this saying at least once in our lives. Today, with people constantly being bombarded by posts, advertisements, and updates via their social media accounts – that is more true now than it ever was. Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest all understand that pictures are much more valuable to users.  Their layouts all feature content that is very visually dominated and very little text. Now you can add Twitter to that list, which opted to change their text-focused format it had since its launch in 2006. On Tuesday, you may have noticed your Twitter feed had a different feel, a different look.  That is because Twitter tweaked its design an is attempting to change the saying to; “a picture is worth 140 characters.” Finally, Twitter gets it.  After long acknowledging that pictures and videos are the most often shared content in social media, they finally make it easier for their users to do so. It is worth noting that the most retweeted post in the history of Twitter was of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama embracing each other on Election Night 2012, hidden behind the caption “Four more years.” Now your photos and videos are free, and no longer have to be concealed behind links or a “view photo” button on your timeline. This marks a momentous occasion in  Tweeters lives.  The ability to include photos and Vine videos directly in Tweets to their timeline is an attempt to bring your followers closer to what’s happening  and make them feel like they are right there with you.  A  statement on Twitters blog read, “we want to make it easier for everyone to experience those moments on Twitter.” For those users who do not like the change.  I have both good news and bad news for you. The bad news, there is no way to turn off the previews on the Website.  The good news, you can turn it off utilizing the mobile app and changing the settings. Other updates Twitter included is the improving the ease it is for users to reply, retweet, or favorite a Tweet without leaving the timeline, just simply tap right inside the timeline. This move also comes right before Twitter goes public and feels like an attempt to attract more advertisers by providing them with more opportunities to insert attention grabbing ads.  These ads will be more accessible because they will be right in front of Tweeters, which could lead to more revenue for the company. Is Twitter updating their format for your best interest? or is it in the best interest of other corporations?...

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Tweet a Random, Starbucks, Act of Kindness

Posted by on 1:27 pm in Internet News, Just For Fun, Social Media, Technology News | Comments Off on Tweet a Random, Starbucks, Act of Kindness

Tweet a Random, Starbucks, Act of Kindness

“You’re Awesome, This Starbucks is on Me” Traditionally, Twitter users post tweets to tell the world how they feel, what they think, what they are doing, and who they are doing it with; but never a way act out random acts of kindness, until now. As of Monday, October 28th, Starbucks announced a partnership with Twitter.  The program they are unveiling is called tweet-a-coffee, and will allow Starbucks fans to send $5 gift cards via Twitter to anyone they choose. Yes it is true.  In less than 140 characters you can treat your friend, or a complete stranger, to that sweet nectar of the gods and make their day a whole lot better. The process is simple, and allows for random, spur-of-the-moment, acts of kindness that Starbucks is hoping to capitalize on.  In order to use the program the first step you have to do is sync your Starbucks account to your Twitter account. Next, the magic happens, by simply sending a tweet beginning with “@tweetacoffee to [the handle of recipient],” you’re done. To ensure that the eGift was received you will get an “@” reply back from Twitter; the process is easy, too easy. In order for the recipient to use the eGift thy just simply have to walk into Starbucks, open the link on their phones, and show the screen to have the barcode scanned.  Viola, they get their $5 eGift card redeemed and a tasty coffee courtesy of you. A lot of work went into the program to foster a seamless experience for those who use it.  In order to work correctly, it is important to remember that the tweet has to follow the program’s rules exactly and must be in the right order. Personal messages can be added, but they have to be after the “@tweetacoffee to [the handle of the recipient].” An example tweet would be: “@tweetacoffee to @Mitchie_Oh… you are an amazing dude, here’s an eGift from Starbucks.”     To help launch the program, Starbucks is also giving the first 100,000 customers who use the eGift tweet an extra $5 eGift card for themselves, courtesy of Visa. Since the program only requires the sender to have a Starbucks account, it allows Twitter users to send the eGift to a complete stranger with only the knowledge of their Twitter handle.  Starbucks hopes that this will also help foster the random, in the moment, acts of kindness. Make someones day today, tweet them a coffee, and you may get one yourself....

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