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Social News Roundup | August 29, 14

  
  
  
  
  

1. Twitter’s Tweet Activity Dashboard Is Open to All Users

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Twitter has begun opening its Tweet Activity dashboard to all users, which shows information including impressions, engagement and clicks. Read more…

2. Brands Immediately Hop Onto Instagram’s Hyperlapse App

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Big name brands such as Mountain Dew and Bud Light have already used Hyperlapse, Instagram’s app for making time-lapse videos, within hours of the app’s launch. Read more…

3. Facebook Announces “Events” Ads and Launches Advanced Insights for Events

Facebook Event Ads

In the coming weeks, Facebook will release desktop and mobile News Feed ads and insights for events. Insights that event hosts will receive include the number of people who have seen an event link on Facebook, the number of people who have viewed the event and the number of joins, saves and maybes the event has received. Read more…

4. There Is Now a Tweetdeck for Instagram

Instagram Tweetdeck

To organize your Instagram feed, Marvel, a London-based prototyping platform, has created a web app that allows you to add columns based on users or hashtags so that users can easily follow updates on certain topics. Read more…

5. Google Stops Displaying Authorship Markup In Search Results

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Google will no longer display the names of authors in search results, since the feature wasn’t as useful to readers as Google hoped it would be. Read more…

Social News Roundup | August 6, 2014

  
  
  
  
  

1. Schedule Instagram Posts with ScheduGram

ScheduGram

ScheduGram allows users to pre-schedule Instagram posts and manage multiple Instagram accounts through one interface. Read more… 

2. Twitter Partners With Puma to Test “Flock to Unlock” Advertising Program

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Twitter has partnered with Puma to launch a new advertising program, “Flock to Unlock.” The idea behind the program is that a deal will be “unlocked” only when a certain number of followers retweet a particular message. Read more… 

3. Facebook Adds Ad Scheduling to Power Editor

Power Editor

Facebook added a new feature to its Power Editor that gives advertisers who use lifetime budgets the ability to schedule hours during which their ads should or should not run. Read more… 

4. Twitter Tests Showing Tweets From People Your Friends Follow 

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Twitter’s latest test involves showing tweets to users from accounts their friends follow. Read more…

5. Nielsen Data: Mobile Devices and Social Networks Are Making TV Better

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Social media is changing the way we learn about TV shows and how we watch them. Not only does it affect the consumer experience, but it also has proven to be a valuable source for advertisers to tap into social conversations. Read more… 

6. Google to Recognize Emails That Use Special Characters

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Google has become the first email provider to allow people to create email addresses using letters with accent marks and characters outside the Latin alphabet. Read more…

Social News Roundup | June 25, 2014

  
  
  
  
  
1.Facebook Slowly Moving to Real Time Stream

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Facebook plans to compete with Twitter’s real time stream and convince users that Facebook is the dominant social channel to discuss current events. Facebook’s VP of Media Partnerships believes Facebook has an advantage over Twitter in the battle due to its audience size and real identity. Read more…  

2. Twitter Testing Threaded Commentary to Retweets

Retweets Commentary

Twitter is testing a new feature called “Retweet with Comment”, which allows users to add their own commentary to a retweet. Read more…

3. Gallup Poll: Most Consumers Not Influenced By Social Media

Gallup Poll

According to a recent Gallup poll, social media had little influence on consumers’ purchasing behavior. Read more…  

4. Facebook Alters News Feed Ranking For Uploaded Videos (Not Links)

Twitter News Feed

Facebook is changing the way it ranks videos uploaded from users and pages by focusing on whether the videos were watched and for how long. This improvement does not apply to links to videos, only videos uploaded directly from individuals and pages. Read more…  

5. Lawyers Allowed to Search Social Media Profiles Before Selection and During Trial

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The American Bar Association has ruled that lawyers are allowed to search the social media profiles of potential jurors during the selection process. This change could allow lawyers to select jury members that will be more sympathetic to their client. Read more…

6. Google Is Watching to See If You Have Kids (For Advertising)

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Google has added a “parental status” tab to its AdWords dashboard, allowing advertisers to target that demographic subset. Read more…

7. Forrester Study: Teens Do Love Facebook After All

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A Forrester research study has revealed that teens use Facebook more than any other mobile app. Read more…

Social News Roundup | June 11, 2014

  
  
  
  
  
1. Facebook and Twitter to Compete for Real-Time World Cup Conversation

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With the World Cup only a few days away, Facebook and Twitter will both serve as a platform for news and conversation about the games. Facebook launched a new trending World Cup page that allows users to experience the action in real time. In contrast, Twitter created a Match timeline and World Cup timeline to make it easier for users to keep up with tweets relating to the games. Read more…

2. Twitter Reintroduces Hashflags for World Cup

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Twitter reintroduces hashflags, which allows fans to have a flag appear in their tweet by tweeting a “#” followed by a country’s three-letter abbreviation. Read more…

3. Google Incorporates Facebook Hashtags to Search Results

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Google has incorporated Facebook hashtags into its search results when users add them to their keywords. Read more…

4. The Psychology Behind Snapchat

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Snapchat is appealing and addictive because the app forces users to focus their attention. Read more…

5. Coca-Cola’s World Cup Campaign Creates a User-Generated Experience

CocaCola World Cup Campaign

Coca-Cola creates a user-generated experience for their World Cup campaign by creating a nylon flag comprised of photos collected from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. After the tournament, each participant will be emailed a link to a microsite showcasing the “Happiness Flag” as a digital memento. Read more…

6. President Obama Has His First Tumblr Chat

Obama Tumblr Chat

President Barack Obama had his first Tumblr chat on Tuesday where issues pertaining to college, education, and student loans were discussed. Tagged online with the hashtag #ObamaIRL, the conversation was moderated with questions from Tumblr users – many of whom are directly affected by student loans and the state of education. Read more…

7. Animal Planet’s World Cup for Dogs: the World Pup

World Pup

To capitalize on the upcoming World Cup games, Animal Planet introduces the World Pup where dog breeds most representative of each country will be pitted against each other in a single-elimination tournament. Read more…

Glass Half Full

  
  
  
  
  

Samsung is hoping to beat out Google in the latest tech-race to be the first provider of a computing eyewear device. Samsung calls their version “Galaxy Glass.” The device would connect directly with your smartphone and offer many of the same capabilities that have been advertised with the “Google Glass,” including push notifications, music display info, and photo capabilities. Since Google has put off the launch of their Glass to the latter half of 2014, we’ll see if Samsung can come up with a quality product before that time, or end up producing another flop like the Galaxy Gear. Either way, I raise a glass to their efforts.

For more information check out this great article on TechCrunch.

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Do you think Samsung will beat Google to the punch? If so, will you hold out for Google Glass?

Google is Changing the World…

  
  
  
  
  

Google I/O 13, Google’s annual developer conference, happened last week, and I had the fortune of following a few great people on Google+ through their experiences at the conference. There was a lot of talk about Glass and the new Google+ format, both of which I have experienced vicariously through a few people on YouTube. The really interesting part about I/O was the overarching theme of what Google is doing.

Jeremiah Owyang sums it up best in his post about the key trends at I/O:

Google products are being enhanced and interconnected, with no new products added.
Google is virtually replicating planet earth, but “improving” the quality.
Google knows what and who you love as we trade convenience for our data. 

It’s all true! Google didn’t make any big product announcements at this year’s I/O—they took care of that with Google Glass a month ago. Instead, they made major improvements to all their products.

Google Maps: It’s now better than ever. The improved Google Maps suggests related places and integrates friend’s social information into your map searches. It has a new interface as well, making the map more prominent on the page. Google also combined Google Earth into the maps so you can get the 3D experience on your browser.

YouTube: A new channel layout was announced a few weeks back and is now becoming official for all users. This update makes content discovery on any channel easier.

Search Improvements: With the implementation of Google+, Google search results now include your social graph results as well. Google uses your data to generate better suggestions across all searches, including Maps, YouTube and Images. 

So what are the business implications of these changes? Well, if your business is not on Google+ yet, and you’re not +1’ing your own content, you’re missing out on great SEO advantages. If you have a retail business or a restaurant, don’t forget to also include our business in Maps and promote reviews on the platform. Google is still the reigning search engine, and all that data generated by other Google users will help your search positioning and discoverability.

The future looks bright for Google and Android users alike. The company is using big data in all the right ways to create better a user experience and opportunities for businesses to promote themselves.

 

Google’s April Fools Giggles

  
  
  
  
  

Google took full advantage of April Fools this year with almost every major app having a great gag.

First is Google Nose, where search integrates with 15 million “scentabytes.” You can even smell “success!”

Althought Google Nose didn’t offer any real functionality; a personal favorite at Renegade is Google Treasure Maps. Where together we can discover the clues to a great treasure! It actually has a setting that will change your Google Maps to the treasure map mode.

Google+ had an emoticon layer you can add to photos. This actually works! Any photo you own and have uploaded to G+ will have a button where you can click to enable the emoticon.

 

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Google Schmick is an Australian Google Street View app that helps you spruce up your house. Now you can give your house a lick of fresh paint for free on Street View with Google SCHMICK (Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit). 

Gmail Blue is the great of all inventions! Transform your Gmail inbox into the deepest blues of blues. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to actually be an option.

For those office proficiency geeks, Google launched the “Levity Algorithm” to help make your appointments and documents more exciting! (no iteration of this is really available)

YouTube was by far the best April Fools with the greatest collaboration of pranksters!

Stay tuned tomorrow when Renegade explores pranks from all over the web! 

The 8 Quick Tips for Blogging SEO

  
  
  
  
  

Search Engine Optimization is the language of the Internet. The rules consistently change and everyone has a point of view on how to do it best. There is also the big debate of whether web design or SEO is the higher priority. All that aside, here are the key things you should focus on that don’t have anything to do with search algorithms and are effective no matter the design of your blog!

  1. Site Traffic: How much traffic your blog gets plays a big role. It validates the information on your blog. After writing, focus as much as you can on driving traffic. You can also do this with backlinks fairly easily, by leaving comments on other blogs that mention your topics and putting your address in the “website field” to drive traffic to your post. You should also share your post on social media, especially Twiter, as this creates backlinks as well. 

  2. Post Length: Your post needs to be digestible by Google's web crawlers, although this is not as important as some of the other items on this list. If you can, beef up your post to a decent paragraph, to include enough room for a good “keyword ratio,” and then you’ll be well off.

  3. Links: The links you put into your post that cite sources help your ranking. You could also leave a comment on the original source with a link to your site. Completed link-loops won’t hurt! 

  4. Tags/Keywords: Use tags and include keywords as a label/tag. A neat trick is to use the site Wordle.net to create a word cloud of your posts’s source article or, if your post is long enough, your own post. The five largest words in the word cloud will be your keywords. It's also important to use different instances of your keywords, e.g., not just using "light,” but also including "lightbulb," "bulb," "lamps," "light bulb" and "lamp." 

  5. Site Info: Make sure you have your site’s general keywords in your site description. You can also create a line that is similar to but not the same as your header in the footer of your site with the keywords, as well as a byline for your posts. For instance, you write a lot about recipes of fruit desserts, so “fruit,” “desserts” and “recipe” should be in your site description and bylines. “Charlie’s tasty creations blog” won’t be nearly as effective. 

  6. Other Blogs: If you can manage it, create relationships with other bloggers in similar or complementary topics. Offer to reference their work and link back to their blogs. As a group you can help drive each other up in the ranks through backlinks on similar subject matter. You can also guest blog for these blogs and include your byline in your post on their site, which will also help create relevance in the eyes of the web crawlers.

  7. Avoid Copying and Pasting: Create original headlines and content in your blog. Google will go the original source and ignore your blog entirely when it comes to search results.

  8. Google Authorship: Specifically for Google, the Google Authorship program will help your SEO. You must enter a bit of code on your site or byline and then register with Google. Any content that you create will be tied to your Google profile and Google+ account.

So, don’t get hung up on technicalities of SEO. Just focus on these key concepts and you’ll do fine as a blogger. When your site traffic hits a record amount, you can then dive deeper into the SEO game. 

Using Facebook Graph Search for Your Brand

  
  
  
  
  

Graph Search is officially here! That is, it’s available for individual users, but we know that won’t stop you, the savvy marketer, from thinking about how you can use it. We know you’re ready to take advantage of the next biggest thing since the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

It’s important to note that because Graph Search is connected to a your personal profile, results are ordered by the connections closest to you or by the number of fans of the pages. 

Facebook created the dynamic, long-tail, natural language search tool so that users can find people and pages with nearly infinite combinations of variables. For example, you could use Graph Search to find oxymoronic results like “People who like Beer and joined Alcoholics Anonymous” or “Christian Males who like Fifty Shades of Grey,” but that’s probably only good for a few laughs (or if you’re a troll, a few weeks worth of amusement). Putting self-amusement aside, Graph Search has serious implications for your brand.

 

Christian Men who Like 50 Shades of Gray

Now that Graph Search has launched, consider cleaning up your social media policy as soon as possible. The last thing you want anyone to find is that your brand is listed under “Places where people who like Racism work.” But how far you go as an employer to tell your employees what they can and cannot like is an ethical issue you’ll need to work out in your own company.

The real value of Graph Search lies in its ability to support your marketing research. The easiest and most obvious way to use this functionality is to find out who likes the brand and what their interests are. Search for “People who like [your brand]” and click on “More pages they like” on the right column of the screen to learn more about your fans. After figuring out their common interests in brand page, combine multiple brand pages in your long-tail search to find which brands are similar to both. This can have great insight to complementary brands. Now try selecting “Activities they like” in the right column and you may find a few sponsorship opportunities.

 

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By going through these steps you can find a broad pool of people you can potentially convert into fans based on the brand correlations you found above. You may even include geographical constraints to see where in the world you should concentrate marketing efforts.

Finally, another way to use Graph Search is to research your competitors using the same steps. Where are their fans located? What do they like? Which activities do they do? See, we knew you weren’t going to be deterred by the fact that Graph Search is only open to individuals, not brands. You savvy marketer, you!

 

Dandy Doodles

  
  
  
  
  

Think back to the days when you used to actually write on paper. I’m talking about school papers, journal entries, and letters to your pen pals. Okay, are you back there, before the days where everything started as a Word document, a blog post, or an e-mail?  Just how often did your paper wind up looking like this?

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I know, in my life at least, doodling has overtaken many a sheet of paper as I search for an idea... or admittedly just procrastinate. Therefore, it should be no surprise that this blog post starts with the modern-day equivalent.

How often do you find yourself staring at the Google homepage poised for greatness, if only the right inspiration would come? There I was just a few days ago. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button was particularly grating my nerves, as I was feeling quite the opposite. So I clicked. With that single click of the mouse (okay, tap of the touchpad) I opened the treasure box that is the Google doodles archives. 

Most of us are familiar with Google doodles, even if we don’t know they have a specific name. A doodle is the way Google modifies their logo to celebrate a special date or person. This practice started back in 1998. Google explains it best:

“In 1998, before the company was even incorporated, the concept of the doodle was born when Google founders Larry and Sergey played with the corporate logo to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. They placed a stick figure drawing behind the 2nd "o" in the word Google, and the revised logo was intended as a comical message to Google users that the founders were "out of office." While the first doodle was relatively simple, the idea of decorating the company logo to celebrate notable events was born.”

Picture 1 

Google has come a long way since the days of the Burning Man doodle. Gone are the days where it looks, well, like an actual doodle, as we are now living in the world of HTML5, JavaScript, and Flash.

Some doodles are more memorable than others. Some are reminisced about long after their 24 hour featured life-span, while others fade into oblivion. Some doodles made a big cultural impact. There are many doodles you may have never seen, because some are specific to a country other than your own. Personally, I wonder what the Google doodle will evolve into next, but for now, one thing is for sure… everyone has a favorite. Without further ado, here are my top 5:

 

5) 30th Anniversary of PAC-MAN

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In my experience, this is by far the most talked-about Google doodle. In fact, Google keeps a playable version here. According to Mashable, the PAC-MAN doodle consumed 4.8 million hours of time, which was broken down to cost $120,483,800 in productivity. Truthfully, I don’t want to admit to how many hours I contributed to that total, but I am happy to say I didn’t factor into the monetary productivity hit, since I was still a student.

 

4) Scientists Unveil Fossil of Darwinius Masillae

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Find a kindergartener and ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You are likely to hear answers such as “doctor”, “teacher”, and “police officer.” I was the strange five-year-old that replied, “paleontologist,” and often had to explain to the questioning adult what that word even meant. (For those of you who don’t know, a child-like explanation is a person who digs up dinosaur bones.) For many of my younger years, I put a lot of effort into learning about dinosaurs and trying to become an actual paleontologist. Although I have since set aside this goal, paleontology still sparks a glimmer in my eye.

 

 3) First Day of Spring 2009 - Design by Eric Carle

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I am very thankful that a love of reading was instilled in me during my impressionable childhood years. I don’t know exactly who to thank, but I’m sure my bookishness can be attributed to my family and first grade teacher. Anyway, one of my favorite books was Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I loved the format, and style of the book. This doodle conjures up fond memories of an easier time. As an aside, I recently bought a finger puppet version of this book as the “perfect” first birthday present for my friend’s son. Terrified doesn’t even begin to describe how he felt about the caterpillar puppet. Needless to say, I don’t think this will be on his list of favorite doodles when he’s older.

  

2) SOPA / PIPA

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This one might only make the list because it’s fresh on my mind. That being said, there is no denying the impact this doodle had. Users who clicked on this doodle were directed to a petition to tell congress not to censor the web, and over 7 million people signed it. I probably particularly like this censored Google image because I love books such as Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World and 1984 in which the government CONTROLS and CENSORS. And while I enjoy works of fiction dealing with these themes, I have no desire to live in a world of censorship.

 

1) Alexander Calder's 113th Birthday

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I’m an artsy person (notice I didn’t say artist!) and if forced to choose, I would pick Alexander Calder as my favorite artist. I’ve written a couple of reports on him as a matter of fact. I love whimsical, I love bright colors, and I LOVE 3D design. What makes this doodle really noteworthy is the fact that it was Google’s first doodle made entirely with HTML5, so it was the first doodle that really did something. I happily recall my excitement that day as I made the doodle mobile bob serenely. So, the fact that this commemorates my favorite artist, coupled with the game-changing nature for Google doodles, makes this the number one doodle in my book.

Have you been inspired to create a doodle? While there is already a team of illustrators and engineers (called doodlers!) in place at Google specifically for this purpose, Google accepts submissions for future doodles at proposals@google.com. Also, they run an annual contest, Doodle 4 Google, with the winning doodle being featured on the homepage. Unfortunately, I certainly stand no chance of winning a Doodle 4 Google contest in the modern era of doodle animation, so instead I’ll continue to enjoy the doodles of others in times of procrastination need.

What are your favorite Google doodles? Did you know you can buy customized items with your favorite Google doodle?

-- Allison Rossi

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