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Learn essential digital marketing skills with this best-selling online course

Learn essential digital marketing skills with this best-selling online course

It's at the lowest price ever.
It’s at the lowest price ever.
Image: pexels

Any business owner who wants to be successful — and news flash, that’s all of them — needs to have a solid digital marketing strategy in place. We use the internet more than ever, meaning companies have a vast number of ways to reach audiences.

Savvy digital marketers need to find multiple pathways to engage, connect with, and inevitably sell to a well-informed audience. With the Complete Digital Marketing Course 2017 , you’ll learn contemporary strategies and techniques to grow a business — whether it’s one you own or just your 9-5.

Having a powerful, comprehensive digital marketing strategy can make a major impact, especially in small to mid-size companies. This 12-in-one course includes lessons in SEO, Google Adwords, WordPress, and social platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. You’ll receive 20 hours of lectures, quizzes, and hands-on practice with the most important digital marketing tools out there.

You’ll learn to build profitable campaigns, from writing copy that will increase search engine traffic, to developing data-driven approaches with Google Analytics that’ll get you noticed by any employer. These are invaluable skills to pick up, no matter what your current role is — because the ability to use techniques to effectively sell more products or services is tremendously valuable to any company. 

This was one of the most purchased courses from the Mashable Shop in 2017, and you can now get it for its lowest price ever: pick up the Complete Digital Marketing Course 2017 for $19, a whopping 90% off the original price of $200. Plus, use coupon code BESTOF17 for an additional 17% off the sale price. 

Image: pexels

Published at Wed, 27 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +0000

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Library of Congress will no longer archive all public tweets, citing longer character limits

Library of Congress will no longer archive all public tweets, citing longer character limits

The Library of Congress announced today that it will no longer add every public tweet to its archives, an ambitious project it launched seven years ago. It cited the much larger volume of tweets generated now, as well as Twitter’s decision to double the character limit from 140 to 280. Instead, starting on Jan. 1, the Library will be more selective about what tweets to preserve, a decision it explained in a white paper .

“Generally, the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, and themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy,” the Library wrote. (In other words, all of President Donald Trump’s tweets will most likely be preserved, but probably not your breakfast pics).

In 2010, the Library began saving all public tweets “for the same reason it collects other materials—to acquire and preserve a record of knowledge and creativity for Congress and the American people,” its announcement said. This included the backlog of all public tweets since Twitter launched in 2006, which the company donated.

The volume and longer length of tweets now means collecting every single public one is no longer practical. Furthermore, the Library only archives text and the fact that many tweets now contain images, videos or links means a text-only collection is no longer as valuable.

“The Library generally does not collect comprehensively,” it explained. “Given the unknown direction of social media when the gift was first planned, the Library made an exception for public tweets. With social media now established, the Library is bringing its collecting practice more in line with its collection policies.”

Other projects the Library has embarked on in order to ensure that the experiences and memories of ordinary people are part of the historical record include the American Folklife Center, which runs the Veterans History Project and collects dialect recordings, among other initiatives.

Featured Image: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Published at Wed, 27 Dec 2017 07:17:06 +0000

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Razer CEO steps in to replace a child’s stolen presents

Razer CEO steps in to replace a child’s stolen presents

An Australian boy was given a new Razer keyboard and additional gaming accessories after a thief stole the keyboard that was meant to be his Christmas present, Channel News Asia reports.

After hearing about the theft, Razer CEO  Tan Min-Liang reached out to the family on social media saying that he wished to replace Callum’s keyboard.

In addition to the keyboard, the thief stole a set of tools, a credit card and several gifts meant for Callum’s sister. In an interview, the children’s mother, Adela Courteille, expressed confusion as to why the thief would bother taking dolls.

“I can understand tools and a credit card but what is the thief going to do with a Barbie doll, a small play handbag and other tools for our daughter Chelsea,” Courteille told the Daily Telegraph.

“The presents for our son Callum will be harder and more expensive to replace because they were more specific, like a Razer gaming keyboard,” she added.

It’s at this point that Razer stepped in to replace Callum’s stolen presents. In addition to the keyboard, Razer provided him with several other accessories such as a mouse and headset.

We hope Callum enjoys his new Razer keyboard, but if you’ve still got some last minute Christmas shopping to do we’re here to help. Check out our list of best gaming keyboards to see some of the best keyboards on the market or check out our review of the Razer Phone to see what we thought of the company’s first foray into the world of smartphones.

Editors’ Recommendations

Published at Sun, 24 Dec 2017 22:18:29 +0000

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OkCupid insists on real names, and some folks are a bit worried

OkCupid insists on real names, and some folks are a bit worried

Though it may evolve to include them, true love certainly doesn’t start with fake names. So naturally, a website dedicated to the discovery of true love can’t include pseudonyms and pen names. OkCupid agrees, and has decided that there is, in fact, a lot in a name. As such, the online dating website is removing OkCupid usernames, beginning with a test group, and then rolling out to all users.

The goal, the site says, is to have users “update their profiles with what they want their dates to call them.” So unless you actually go by LittleBunnyFuFu, you’re going to have to change your name on OkCupid.

The rationale behind the decision, OkCupid notes in a blog post, is actually for users’ sakes. “We’ve discovered that [real names] actually work best — better than usernames — when it comes to connecting with people,” the dating site wrote. So even if you think that your username is particularly descriptive, or captures the essence of who you are, chances are it’s not nearly as effective as you think in finding your mate.

While this may seem like taking the fun out of online dating, we should point out that the vast majority of other digital dating tools, particularly those of the app variety, have never even had an option for a username. Tinder and Hinge, for example, are connected to users’ Facebook profiles, so unless your dedication to a false identity runs across all social media presences, you’re likely representing a truer version of yourself on these dating apps. OkCupid, then, should be no different.

After all, the site wrote, “[Usernames] are a pain to come up with and a pain to remember. And we hope that you can instead use your profile to give people an insight into your interests.”

Of course, this change does come with a host of privacy concerns. Due to OkCupid’s open messaging policy, users don’t have to be connected to begin inundating one another with messages. And once real names are brought into the mix, some are concerned that it could open the door further to harassment and digital stalking.

OkCupid assures users that it still won’t collect full names, but is rather encouraging members to put forth the name that they’d like to be called in a face-to-face meeting. And chances are, that’s not PrincessBananaHammock. And hey, you can always use a pseudonym!

Editors’ Recommendations

Published at Sun, 24 Dec 2017 17:21:28 +0000

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CNN cancels its Snapchat-specific show ‘The Update’ after just 4 months

CNN cancels its Snapchat-specific show ‘The Update’ after just 4 months

It seems like just yesterday that CNN launched its own Snapchat-specific show. The Update was barely four months old, but apparently, four months was all CNN needed to decide that the show needed an update of its own — or rather, a permanent downgrade.

That’s right, friends — as originally reported by the Wall Street Journal, CNN has canceled its daily bite-sized news show on the social media platform “after coming to the realization there wasn’t a clear enough path to make money,” according to WSJ’s sources. This might herald some concerning news for Snapchat as a whole, as CNN was one of the company’s launch partners for its Discover media platform, offering the TV-style show to news-hungry Snapchat users. But perhaps the problem is that such a demographic…doesn’t really exist.

The decision to end the program may come as a surprise to some, as The Update initially appeared to be quite a popular idea. Upon launch, Snapchat’s senior director of content programming said in a statement, “It’s more critical than ever that Snapchatters have access to the best journalism in the world, right when news breaks, and we’re excited to watch CNN deliver that to them through The Update.

And as Mashable noted, the show seemed to have its fans — for example, AdWeek called CNN one of the “hottest” online publishers, noting in particular its mastery of various media forms, including Snapchat.

“Snap and CNN have built a great partnership over the years and our teams have enormous admiration for each other,” the two companies confirmed in a joint statement. “We plan to keep working together and mutually decided to hit pause as we explore the best opportunities for doing that.”

While CNN may not have been able to make its made-for-Snapchat show work, not all networks appear to be having the same problem. NBC, for example, has its own Stay Tuned show on the air at Snapchat, and back in September, claimed to have 30 million monthly views. ESPN is also betting on Snapchat, creating a more youthfully-targeted version of its perennially popular SportsCenter for the app. And even though CNN is pulling the plug on its original show, the network says that it will “continue to experiment on Snapchat.”

Editors’ Recommendations

Published at Sun, 24 Dec 2017 17:51:48 +0000

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Facebook applies new authenticity tools, exposes Russian-controlled pages

Facebook applies new authenticity tools, exposes Russian-controlled pages

On Monday, October 2, Facebook shared data with Congress on over 3,000 Facebook political ads that came from fake Russian accounts during and after the 2016 presidential election. The social media platform has since shared that data with users, along with what steps the company is taking next to curb similar attempts in the future.

Facebook says that it found more than 3,000 ads that came from inauthentic accounts linked to a Russian group called the Internet Research Agency (IRA) that operated between 2015 and 2017. Some 10 million people in the U.S. viewed at least one of those ads, with around 44 percent of those views happening before the 2016 presidential election. The ads, as well as the spread of fake news during the election, have brought the social media platform under scrutiny.

In an attempt to bolster transparency, Facebook is now giving users the option of seeing what Facebook accounts and Instagram pages were associated with IRA. In a recent news update in November 2017, the social network announced the creation of a portal that would show users what IRA content they had liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017. The portal is now up and running, and can be found in the Facebook Help Center.

“It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 U.S. election,” Facebook noted in its update about the new tool. “That’s why as we have discovered information, we have continually come forward to share it publicly and have provided it to congressional investigators.”

You’ll only be able to use the tool if you did, in fact, directly follow an account set up by a Russian troll on Facebook or Instagram. The tool won’t show you content you may have seen simply because a friend hit the “Like” button, thereby displaying it on your News Feed. Indeed, Facebook noted, it would be “challenging” to identify every single one of the 140 million or so users who likely saw content or ads from the Kremlin.

Facebook said its advertising guidelines are designed to prevent abuse without inhibiting free speech. For example, preventing advertisers from advertising globally to other countries would prevent organizations like UNICEF and Oxfam from communicating with global audiences. All of the ads in question, however, violated policy because they came from inauthentic accounts, but Facebook says the content inside some of them would have been approved if the information had come from an authentic account.

“We strongly believe free speech and free elections depend upon each other,” Schrage wrote. “We’re fast developing both standards and greater safeguards against malicious and illegal interference on our platform. We’re strengthening our advertising policies to minimize and even eliminate abuse. Why? Because we are mindful of the importance and special place political speech occupies in protecting both democracy and civil society. We are dedicated to being an open platform for all ideas — and that may sometimes mean allowing people to express views we — or others — find objectionable. This has been the longstanding challenge for all democracies: how to foster honest and authentic political speech while protecting civic discourse from manipulation and abuse.”

With the data, Facebook also shared a list of next steps the platform is taking to catch ads like those from the so-called Internet Research Agency — which violated Facebook policy but ran anyway — in the future. Facebook will be adding 1,000 people to its staff to manually review more ads, looking at content as well as context and targeted demographics. Ads that target certain demographics will automatically be flagged for manual review, Facebook says, after both the election ads and the inappropriate user-typed demographics that snuck into the system. The platform currently uses both algorithms and human reviewers, reviewing millions of ads every week.

The platform is also taking steps to help users better determine where an ad came from. In the name of transparency, users will soon be able to click on an ad targeted to them and also view ads targeted toward other demographics, a feature that Facebook is currently building. Expanded advertising policies are also coming. For Pages that want to run ads related to U.S. federal elections, Facebook will be requiring more documentation confirming the business or organization. The social media giant is also reaching out to industry leaders and other governments to establish industry standards, continuing efforts like the partnership with Twitter, Microsoft, and YouTube designed to fight extremist content.

“The 2016 U.S. election was the first where evidence has been widely reported that foreign actors sought to exploit the internet to influence voter behavior,” wrote Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of policy and communications. “We understand more about how our service was abused and we will continue to investigate to learn all we can. We know that our experience is only a small piece of a much larger puzzle.”

Since the U.S. election, the platform has also taken steps to curb fake news in elections in Germany and the U.K.

Update: Facebook now shows you what IRA-run pages and accounts users followed. 

Editors’ Recommendations

Published at Sat, 23 Dec 2017 23:24:37 +0000

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It’s safe to add music to Facebook videos if it comes from this record label

It’s safe to add music to Facebook videos if it comes from this record label

Adding that soundtrack to your DIY video and sharing on Facebook might not get you in copyright trouble anymore. On Thursday, December 21, Universal Music Group and Facebookannounced an agreement that allows music from the record company to be licensed for use across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Oculus.

The agreement, Universal says, is the first of it’s kind and is available globally. The multi-year deal allows users to share the music online legally and is designed to open up “new music-based experiences online,” the record company said. Without the agreement, sharing music that’s not your own (or in the public domain), whether that’s background music to a video or in another format, is a copyright violation.

For now, the agreement simply means using that song in your own movie isn’t illegal if that song was recorded with the Universal Music Group. Considered one of “the big three” Universal has a long list of artists, including Taylor Swift. But that’s just the start — Universal says that the agreement plans to expand “to enable a vast library of music across a series of social features.” The companies didn’t detail exactly what that might mean, but the suggestion of a library brings to mind the easy access to GIFs using a GIF library. If that’s true, then users wouldn’t have to edit their own video to use the music, but could, say, create a photo slideshow directly on Facebook without ever having to download that song.

The partnership, Universal says, is beneficial to both Facebook users and the artists themselves. “Together, Facebook and UMG are creating a dynamic new model for collaboration between music companies and social platforms to advance the interests of recording artists and songwriters while enhancing the social experience of music for their fans,” Michael Nash, Universal Music Group’s executive vice president of digital strategy, said. “This partnership is an important first step demonstrating that innovation and fair compensation for music creators are mutually reinforcing – they thrive together. We look forward to Facebook becoming a significant contributor to a healthy ecosystem for music that will benefit artists, fans, and all those who invest in bringing great music to the world.”

The new agreement doesn’t come as a big surprise — Facebook has been meeting with record labels as early as February of this year. According to a press release, both companies will be experimenting with new music products based on the agreement, so be prepared to spot some new music features in future versions of the apps.

Editors’ Recommendations

Published at Fri, 22 Dec 2017 21:52:01 +0000

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Facebook and Microsoft to receive Helen Keller Achievement Awards

Facebook and Microsoft to receive Helen Keller Achievement Awards

Facebook and Microsoft have been named among the honorees set to receive Helen Keller Achievement Awards at a gala scheduled for April 4. Both companies are being recognized for their efforts to provide products and services that are accessible and inclusive.

Since 1994, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has been issuing awards in memory of Helen Keller, who was the organization’s lead ambassador for more than 40 years. The likes of Apple, Google, and Netflix have all been given the honor in the past, according to the AFB website.

Facebook has been chosen for its inclusivity initiative, which makes the social media platform welcoming to people with disabilities. One feature that the AFB has spotlighted in particular is Automatic Alternative Text, which generates image descriptions so that partially sighted and blind people can be updated on the contents of photographs uploaded by their friends. The company is also being lauded for its commitment accessibility options and assistive technologies.

Meanwhile, Microsoft was picked as a result of a wide range of projects from across the Windows ecosystem and beyond. Examples given by the AFB include the Seeing AI app, which uses artificial intelligence to provide a narration of the user’s environment, and Eye Control for Windows 10,  which allows people with mobility issues like those caused by Lou Gehrig’s disease to interact with their computer using eye movements alone.

The company has also made a wide range of options available across the Office suite, like the optical character recognition supplied by Office Lens. Even the Xbox One gets a mention, thanks to features like Copilot and the accessibility API offered to developers.

The majority of users will never need to call upon the functionality described in this article – but the people who do rely upon it for a positive experience. The Helen Keller Achievement Awards demonstrate the importance of accessibility to products and services that are intended for a mass audience.

Of course, it’s relatively easy for a company the size of Microsoft or Facebook to dedicate time and resources to developing these options. Hopefully, shining a light on the work that they’re doing will convince others to follow their lead.

Editors’ Recommendations

Published at Thu, 21 Dec 2017 22:20:38 +0000

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Facebook says job ads targeting by age isn’t (necessarily) discriminatory

Facebook says job ads targeting by age isn’t (necessarily) discriminatory

Facebook’s ad-targeting demographics are once again facing criticism — this time, for discrimination based on age. ProPublica and The New York Times released a report on Wednesday, December 20, revealing a number of employment ads on Facebook that were targeted toward specific age groups, often excluding older generations.

While in previous reports of ad-based discrimination, Facebook immediately took action, the social media platform is standing its ground on this one. “Simply showing certain job ads to different age groups on services like Facebook or Google may not in itself be discriminatory — just as it can be OK to run employment ads in magazines and on TV shows targeted at younger or older people,” Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president of ads, said in a statement. “What matters is that marketing is broadly based and inclusive, not simply focused on a particular age group.”

The report detailed a number of ads targeted toward specific age groups, some with wide age ranges and others with smaller ranges, including a United Parcel Service ad for ages 18 to 24, State Farm for ages 19 to 35, a Verizon ad for users age 25 to 36, and even age-targeted ads for jobs at Facebook. Facebook’s transparency tools that allow users to see why they were targeted for a specific ad are one of the methods the groups used to uncover the age-based targeting.

The report says Facebook wasn’t the only platform targeting employment ads based on age either. ProPublica bought ads with a targeted age range on both Google and LinkedIn. Since that ad, LinkedIn updated its advertising program so employers can not choose a specific age range to show the ad to.

Facebook argues that the age tool allows employers to recruit all ages, including advertising to retirees or limiting views in fields that have legitimate age requirements — such as airline pilots. Before placing an employment ad, Facebook says, advertisers are educated on the legal requirements and are required to state that they are complying with the law. “Used responsibly, age-based targeting for employment purposes is an accepted industry practice and for good reason: it helps employers recruit and people of all ages find work,” Goldman said.

The same day the report was released, the Communications Workers of America filed a lawsuit against Facebook claiming age discrimination for job ads. The lawsuit also includes the employers who took out those ads, numbering in the hundreds, including Amazon and T-Mobile. “In decades as a civil rights lawyer, I have never seen job ads like these that expressly target young workers and exclude older workers. The law requires equal opportunity in advertising, recruiting, and hiring,” David Lopez of Outten & Golden said in a press release.

Current laws, including the Age Discrimination In Employment Act, prohibit age discrimination for employment for those over 40 in the actual hiring process, but Facebook seems to be suggesting that age-based targeting for ads isn’t the same as refusing to hire someone because of their age. According to court documents, Facebook says that another law, the Communications Decency Act, makes the platform immune, with the responsibility falling on the employer that took out the ad, not where the ad ran.

Facebook’s targeted advertising tools are a big part of the social network’s advertising, allowing businesses to choose who they advertise to. In many cases, ad targeting can be a good thing — targeted advertising is what makes sure men don’t see tampon ads, pre-teens don’t see ads for X-rated movies, and the like. But ads for employment and housing fall under different laws. An earlier ProPublic report found that when users manually typed derogatory answers in the demographics fields, ads could be targeted toward “Jew-haters,” an overlooked error that Facebook immediately apologized for and removed from the system. The company was also sued last year for alleged discrimination in housing and employment ads by allowing ads targeted toward ethnicity. Earlier in 2017, Facebook strengthened its advertising guidelines against discrimination and began testing an artificial intelligence program to help spot controversial ads.

Editors’ Recommendations

Published at Thu, 21 Dec 2017 19:58:20 +0000

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Instagram has a cool new feature that only appears after you wait 5 seconds

Instagram has a cool new feature that only appears after you wait 5 seconds

Instagram comments just got a major upgrade.
Instagram comments just got a major upgrade.
Image: lili sams/mashable

Instagram loves to secretly test new features on some of its users and get feedback before deciding on whether it should roll them out for everyone.

But over the last few weeks, the company added a new commenting feature that you won’t see unless you look at a post for more than five seconds.

Before you go ahead and try it, make sure you update the app to the latest version.

Once you’ve done that, go to your Instagram feed and scroll down to a post. Wait five seconds and you’ll should see an “Add a comment…” box appear, like so:

Image: screenshot: raymond wong/mashable

Instagram confirmed to Mashable it quietly rolled out the feature over the last few weeks. A company spokesperson said it doesn’t always announce smaller feature updates.

The feature is indeed small, but it’s clear the app is now subtly nudging users to comment in a possible attempt to further boost engagement with posts.

I can tell you from my own personal experience that I almost never comment on Instagram posts. I like posts and archive them into a collection, but commenting on Instagram (especially a really popular account with hundreds or thousands of comments) feels like a waste of time. 

I’ve only started noticing the feature this past week and I already feel tempted to comment more. I guess the feature is working. df59 f361%2fthumb%2f00001

Published at Thu, 21 Dec 2017 18:42:48 +0000

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