Social Media

Get better at SEO by taking this online course

Get better at SEO by taking this online course

Search engine optimization is something we seriously can’t seem to get away from — whether we like it or not, it’s the new “it” skill that almost every employer looks for.

The only issue? So many of us don’t actually know what SEO is. We hear about it all the time, see it in job requirements, and maybe know it has something to do with Google. This SEO for beginners online course can fill you in on almost everything you need to know, and there’s no experience required.

Get ready to be guided into the world of search engine optimization, broken down into three factors: utilizing keywords, knowing the search engine tracking tools for websites and blogs, and concrete instructions on how to get your site popping up first.

Going far past headlines, this course gets into the real nitty gritty of stuff that may have overwhelmed you in the past, including HTML coding, 404 Errors, how to track monthly searches, and optimizing social media.

Image: managed web services

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 19:33:29 +0000

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Linkkle is a super simple tool for all your social media links

Linkkle is a super simple tool for all your social media links

Decisions, decisions. Do you link to your Instagram profile on your Twitter feed or your Facebook page? Or maybe you want to showcase your Github, LinkedIn and Pinterest pages but there’s only one URL field which means you have to choose.

Linkkle is a newly launched, free to use tool that aims to remove this dilemma by letting you post a single link (aka your ‘linkkle’) that points to a link hub where you can add up to 10 links to all your various social media accounts along with some basic profile info.

Basic idea being you don’t need to keep switching out your social media profile links — you can just link to your linkkle.

“I’m a web designer/developer and initially back in late 2016 I had a very crude version I used to send links to my clients rather than bombard them with an email full of different links. Whilst working with some other developers on projects I shared a link in this manner and several of them asked could they use it too,” says UK-based creator, Paul Maloney, who’s bootstrapping the project between his freelance jobs.

“As with anything I started to get more feature requests and some of the users started using it differently than intended. The idea grew from that really and I feel it could be of use to everyone from everyday social media users to bloggers, social media marketers and anybody else that has a number of links to share.”

Whether fatigued social media users really want to have to sign up to yet another service to try to take some of the strain out of managing their online life remains to be seen. But if you’re active on a lot of accounts and want to keep things streamlined it could come in handy.

That said, there is clearly some overlap with existing services — such as about.me, for example. Though Linkkle is a lot more ‘no frills’ (not least because it’s an MVP); right now it’s really just offering a way to collapse access to multiple links into one link.

If you want a way to showcase a more glossy profile/CV page about.me is a better option. So horses for courses and all that.

But is it is a business-in-the-making or just a tool? “At the moment it’s a utility, I saw a need for it and it’s had some great reviews and feedback from users,” says Maloney on that, adding: “If it continues to grow and the users keep supporting it strongly there is a possibility of adding some premium features.”

Published at Thu, 04 Jan 2018 13:22:24 +0000

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Germany can now fine social media sites $60 million for allowing hate speech

Germany can now fine social media sites $60 million for allowing hate speech

The start of the new year is generally a cause for celebration, but this may not be the case for a number of social media companies in Germany. 2018 rang in a new era in Germany in terms of the nation’s laws around hate speech, and on January 1, the country began enforcing strict regulations that could result in fines of up to $60 million if such posts are not removed within 24 hours of being flagged. These new laws could affect a number of major players in the social media and media space, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Any social network or media company that boasts more than two million members will be on the hook under the new provisions, which means that folks like Reddit, Tumblr, Vimeo, Flickr, and even Russian social network VK will likely be affected.

While the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) law was actually passed last summer and went into effect in October 2017, Germany gave companies until the end of the year to properly equip themselves to address hate speech reports. But now, three months later, the nation expects large social networks to have the tools they need to combat fake news, racist posts, and other bigoted messages on public platforms.

A number of social media sites have already attempted to cut down on the spread of certain fallacious reports on their platforms. Facebook, for example, rolled out its fake news identification tools at the beginning of 2017, and claimed that its efforts were already having a mediating effect. Journalists, however, weren’t so sure about Facebook’s self-reported success rates.

Under NetzDG, however, the stakes will be much higher. And not everyone is thrilled about the stringent new laws. Some in Germany (and around the world) worry that the provisions could result in censorship or infringe upon free speech. But Germany is far from the only country to criticize social media platforms for their role in spreading false information and otherwise unsavory material — lawmakers in the U.K. for example, have said that these networks are “shamefully far” from adequately addressing hate speech and problematic content.

“We’re committed to being part of the solution to illegal hate speech and extremist content online — around the world, and in Germany, working within its new legal framework,” a YouTube spokesperson told CNET in an emailed statement. “We’ll continue to invest heavily in teams and technology to allow us to go further and faster in removing content that breaks our rules or German law, and by working with government, law enforcement, civil society groups, and other companies.”

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Published at Tue, 02 Jan 2018 18:48:26 +0000

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Facebook, not Twitter, will live stream this year’s Golden Globes’ red carpet pre-show

Facebook, not Twitter, will live stream this year’s Golden Globes’ red carpet pre-show

Facebook has scored the exclusive rights to live stream this year’s Golden Globes’ red carpet pre-show – a deal that last year went to Twitter . On Tuesday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and dick clark productions announced the two-hour event would be exclusively available on the Golden Globes Facebook page from 6 to 8 p.m. ET (3 to 5 p.m. PT) on Sunday, January 7, 2018.

This is not the main awards show, mind you, but rather the official red carpet where celebrities are photographed and asked softball questions about their wardrobes, plus-ones, and who they’re hoping will win. When Twitter live streamed the event, the company collaborated with the Hollywood Foreign Press to source questions from fans’ tweets.

This time around, the HFPA will leverage Facebook’s technologies and platforms to enhance the experience for viewers, including sourcing fans’ questions from Facebook.

The Golden Globes Facebook Page will also post exclusive live footage, including 360-degree videos captured at the event along with other backstage content. In addition, the @goldenglobes Instagram account will offer similar exclusive footage shared in real-time, and the main @Instagram Story will be hosted by one of the red carpet hosts, Laura Marano.

The other event hosts include AJ Gibson, Jeannie Mai, and Scott Mantz.

The ability to post to both Facebook and Instagram likely sweetened the deal for the HFPA. For example, the main Instagram account today has 230 million followers – or 230 million potential viewers for the red carpet Instagram story. Twitter, meanwhile, has 330 million monthly actives in total. The Golden Globe Awards Facebook Page is followed by 2.3 million users, though it may acquire more viewers for the red carpet event, as anyone can visit the page to watch – not just those who explicitly “liked” it.

Plus, as Variety notes, the Golden Globes’ other media partners will post to Facebook and use Instagram Live for sharing photos and videos from the event, as well, providing even more exposure.

“Facebook has had a long collaborative relationship with the entertainment community, and we’re thrilled to be able to extend that through our work with the Golden Globes,” Sibyl Goldman, head of Facebook’s Entertainment Partnerships in a statement. “We always aim to create unique experiences which bring communities together, and partaking in the kickoff of award season in conjunction with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is a demonstration of our commitment to bring fans together through entertainment they enjoy.”

The awards show itself will be less accessible for streaming. The show is live on NBC on January 7th, and available through nbc.com/live in select markets, if you can authenticate with your pay TV credentials. Some paid streaming TV services, like Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV and others offer NBC in select markets as well.

Published at Tue, 02 Jan 2018 16:45:13 +0000

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WhatsApp users are experiencing New Year’s Eve outages

WhatsApp users are experiencing New Year’s Eve outages

On New Year’s Eve, WhatsApp briefly experienced service outages in Europe, Asia, and South America, VentureBeat reports. Down Detector showed that the majority of service problems are concentrated in England, the Netherlands, and other parts of central Europe. The app’s service problems first started showing up on Down Detector at about 9 a.m. PT. However, a WhatsApp spokesperson informed VentureBeat that the troubles began at around 10:30 a.m. PT.

“WhatsApp users around the world experienced a brief outage today that has now been resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience,” the spokesperson stated.

However, Down Detector still shows that several areas are having service problems and recent comments on the site indicate that some users are still having issues. Earlier on Sunday, a London-based WhatsApp user said that the service had been down since 6 p.m GMT and was still not resolved.

Beyond the service issues, several commenters mentioned that they were having trouble receiving verification codes, even though WhatsApp was once again operational in their region. It remains to be seen whether these problems are isolated incidents or part of a wider trend. WhatsApp said that the service issues were resolved, but it is possible that the messaging service may have missed something.

This is hardly the first time that WhatsApp has experienced such problems. In May of this year, users on the East Coast of the United States reported that they were unable to use the app, though it was not a universal problem. WhatsApp reportedly resolved the issue within a few hours.

While fairly popular in the U.S., WhatsApp is particularly popular in other parts of the world and has earned a reputation for quality and reliability. That makes today’s news particularly bad for the company, since it is likely that many people were relying on the app to plan News Years celebrations and coordinate with friends.

Service issues aside, 2017 has been a pretty good year for WhatsApp. The messenger service has seen a growth in its user base, as well as the unveiling of several new features and services. One particularly neat feature is the ability to take back unwanted messages.

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Published at Sun, 31 Dec 2017 22:30:45 +0000

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Facebook apologizes after report shows inconsistencies in removing hate speech

Facebook apologizes after report shows inconsistencies in removing hate speech

Facebook has taken plenty of criticism on the platform’s algorithms designed to keep content within the community guidelines, but a new round of investigative reporting suggests the company’s team of human review staff could see some improvements too. In a study of 900 posts, ProPublica reports that Facebook’s review staff was inconsistent about the posts containing hate speech, removing some but not others with similar content.

Facebook apologized for some of those posts, saying that in the 49 posts highlighted by the non-profit investigative organization, reviewers made the wrong choice on 22 of those posts. The social media platform defended 19 other instances, while eight were excluded because of incorrect flags, user deletions or a lack of information. The study was crowd-sourced, with Facebook users sharing the posts with the organization.

Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s vice president of Global Operations and Media Partnerships, said that the social media platform will be expanding review staff to 20,000 people next year. “We’re sorry for the mistakes we have made — they do not reflect the community we want to help build,” he said in response to the ProPublica investigation. “We must do better.”

ProPublica said Facebook is inconsistent on the treatment of hate speech, citing examples of two different statements that both essentially wished death on an entire group of people, with only one of them removed after being flagged. The second post was later removed after the ProPublica investigation.

“Based on this small fraction of Facebook posts, its content reviewers often make different calls on items with similar content, and don’t always abide by the company’s complex guidelines,” ProPublica said. “Even when they do follow the rules, racist or sexist language may survive scrutiny because it is not sufficiently derogatory or violent to meet Facebook’s definition of hate speech.”

On the flip side, the report also found posts that were redacted that shouldn’t have been. In one example, the image contained a swastika, but the caption was asking viewers to stand up against a hate group.

The study is far from the first time ProPublica, a non-profit investigative organization, has called out Facebook’s practices this year. This fall, Facebook changed its ad targeting after a study showed that when enough users typed in their own answers into the bio fields, racial slurs could become a category for a targeted ad. Just a week ago, ProPublica demonstrated that employers could discriminate by age using those ad tools. In the first, Facebook apologized and immediately paused the ad tool until the slip up could be fully corrected, while in the second, Facebook defended its practices.

Monitoring content from the largest social media network with more than 2 billion monthly active users isn’t an easy task and one that Facebook approaches with both artificial intelligence algorithms and human reviewers. Social media networks generally attempt to find a balance between banning hateful content and prohibiting free speech. Osofsky says the platform deletes 66,000 instances of hate speech every week.

The move to a review staff of 20,000 is fairly significant — when Facebook reported in May that it would be adding 3,000 more review staff members that brought the team to 7,500 people.

ProPublica says the investigation is important “because hate groups use the world’s largest social network to attract followers and organize demonstrations.”

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Published at Fri, 29 Dec 2017 18:11:17 +0000

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Pinterest adds former CBS Corp. CFO Fred Reynolds to its board

Pinterest adds former CBS Corp. CFO Fred Reynolds to its board

Pinterest announced today it’s adding former CBS and PepsiCo exec Fred Reynolds to its board of directors. Reynolds’ background includes global financial and strategic planning as well as business analysis, the company notes. He will also serve as Pinterest’s Audit Committee Chair.

Prior to joining Pinterest’s board, Reynolds spent 15 years at CBS and its predecessor companies, Westinghouse Electric Corporation and Viacom, Inc. as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He was also President at Viacom Television Stations Group, where he oversaw local television properties.

He announced retirement from CBS in 2009, where he received high praise from CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves, who spoke about how Reynolds had helped guide CBS’ Finance division through major transformative events, including the acquisition by Westinghouse of CBS in 1995, its Infinity acquisition in 1996, the Viacom-CBS merger of 2000, and the launch of CBS Corporation as a standalone company in 2006. During his tenure at CBS, shareholders saw shares appreciate and a return on capital.

Before CBS, Reynolds spent 12 years at PepsiCo, where he held positions including EVP and CFO for PepsiCo Foods International and Frito-Lay, and CFO at other subsidiaries, such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, PepsiCo International, and Pizza Hut.

Reynolds is currently serving as Chair of the Audit Committee and on the board at Mondelēz International, Inc. (formerly Kraft Foods, Inc.), United Technologies Corporation, Hess Corporation, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Inc., and NEP Group, Inc.

The addition is a signal that Pinterest, valued at $12.3 billion as of its $150 million funding round earlier this year, is looking for better financial guidance as its business grows. Prior to this raise, there had been some concerns about Pinterest missing its internal projections on user growth and revenue. However, its valuation wasn’t downgraded.

Reynolds would bring a sort of financial rigour to Pinterest’s corporate finances and financial reporting, thanks to his understanding of investor interests and his expertise in how large companies run and achieve profits. That could serve a business like Pinterest well, which, with its 200 million active monthly users, remains a sizable and growing network if not a profitable one. However, the network may not ever be the next breakout social hit, as once hoped, given that it continues to be smaller than Twitter (330 million monthly actives).

Getting Pinterest’s finances in order could also be seen as the next step towards an IPO. There’s been some talk of a 2018 IPO in Pinterest’s future, but CEO Ben Silbermann has downplayed those plans, saying instead the company is focused on user growth and advertising for now and that there’s no immediate plan or timeline for an IPO.

Snapchat, which has 178 million daily users, may have braved the IPO market ahead of Pinterest, but it also made it more difficult for Pinterest and others to follow with its earnings misses and falling share price. Pinterest, if it were to IPO, would want to have its finances in strict order to help investors see that it runs its business differently than Snap (and more like Facebook, which has done well post-IPO).

The board appointment also comes at a time when Pinterest’s business has been shifting. It’s now placing a heavier focus on its visual search technology which is used to identify products through the smartphone camera, and for advertising purposes.

It’s possible that, one day, Pinterest may want to spin off this technology into its own, separate business that’s not tied exclusively tied to Pinterest’s social bookmarking site. There’s definitely demand for just the core tech, after all – the company this fall partnered with Target to add visual search to the retailer’s apps and website. (Target wants to point customers to its products by way of camera-initiated searches; Pinterest’s social network isn’t a big factor in the deal.)

Pinterest, however, says the visual search tech is remaining in house, but Reynolds will be an “incredible asset” in forming further strategic partnerships, like the one with Target. The company is also working with other  brands and influencer networks, including Nordstrom (Pincodes by Nordstrom), Kraft Heinz, Home Depot, and ShopStyle.

Reynolds’ background in helping businesses through transformative times could aid in any endeavour related to the creation of a visual search business, if such a thing came to pass.

Image credit: Fred Reynolds, Chief Financial Officer of CBS Broadcasting Inc.; CBS Photo by JP Filo.

Featured Image: TechCrunch

Published at Fri, 29 Dec 2017 18:00:11 +0000

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Instagram has a new feature that adds 'recommended' posts to your feed

Instagram has a new feature that adds 'recommended' posts to your feed

Image: lili sams/mashable

What are your friends liking on Instagram? Whatever it is, it’s about to land in your feed.

Instagram is quietly rolling out a new feature that will recommend posts for you based on the activity of the accounts you follow. “Recommended for You” posts will sit in their own section, accessible through a thumbnail above your main feed, according to TechCrunch.

So, how does Instagram determine which posts will appear in the Recommended for You section? According to Instagram’s help section, the posts are suggested according to content liked by the accounts you follow. If you see something you don’t like, you can temporarily hide “Recommended for You” posts by tapping the camera icon above the post and selecting “Hide.”

It seems pretty similar to both the “Following” section, which shows what posts your friends are liking, and the “Search and Explore” section, where you can find photos and videos that you might like from accounts you don’t yet follow. 

Instagram told TechCrunch the “Recommended for You” section won’t replace or get in the way of the accounts you explicitly follow, and will instead appear after you’ve seen all posts in your feed.

Some folks are indifferent to the new feature, while others aren’t having a bar of it:

It’s not the only new feature Instagram has been subtly rolling out. In December alone, the platform allowed you to follow hashtags like a regular account, and added a new commenting feature that is only unlocked if you look at a post for over five seconds.

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Published at Thu, 28 Dec 2017 00:40:15 +0000

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Your tweets will no longer be archived by the Library of Congress

Your tweets will no longer be archived by the Library of Congress

If you’ve often passed the time perusing the Twitter archives of the Library of Congress, you’re going to need to find a new hobby. Not because the said archive is at all uninteresting (it does, after all, contain literally every single tweet to every be sent), but rather because it won’t exist in quite the same capacity after Monday, December 31. Alas, the research library will no longer keep a detailed social media record. Rather than collecting each and every 140-character (or now, 280-character) thought that pops into the Twitterverse’s collective head, the Library will now “acquire tweets on a selective basis.” That means that your Twitter complaint about how long the lunch line was today probably won’t live in perpetuity, at least, not within the Library of Congress.

The expansive archive was a project first announced in 2010. In an impressive project with Twitter, the library gathered a repository of all the tweets sent between 2006 and 2010, and continued to collect all public tweet text from 2010 until, well, now. “The Library took this step for the same reason it collects other materials — to acquire and preserve a record of knowledge and creativity for Congress and the American people,” the institution wrote in an announcement.

But since then, times have changed, and so, too, have social media platforms. Not only are there now more services available but as the Library noted, there are also more privacy concerns and shifting service terms. As such, 2017 will be the last full year in which all public tweet is saved by the Library of Congress.

It’s unclear exactly how tweets will be selected, though the Library is said to be working together with Twitter once again to establish these parameters. In a white paper, however, the Library notes, “Generally, the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy.”

To be fair, this change likely won’t affect all that many people. After all, it is mainly researchers who are interested in looking back at tweets from a decade ago — the rest of us, on the other hand, probably are more interested in our Instagram feeds. All the same, if you have a project that depends upon the Library of Congress Twitter archive, be aware that the database will be temporarily inaccessible while the Library deals with a few technical issues. No word yet on when it will reopen.

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Published at Wed, 27 Dec 2017 20:29:30 +0000

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President Obama warns against getting ‘cocooned’ in bias via social media

President Obama warns against getting ‘cocooned’ in bias via social media

Former President Barack Obama sat down with the UK’s Prince Harry for an extended and far-ranging interview with the BBC this week, and their conversation touched on social media, the use thereof, and Obama’s take on what the current state of social media means for human discourse.

The full interview covers a lot of ground, but the breakouts regarding social media include an admonition against those “in leadership” using it in ways that prevent establishing “a common space on the internet,” which seems an oblique reference to Donald Trump and his use of Twitter, which is often divisive, and seemingly intentionally so.

“One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities,” Obama told the Prince, according to the BBC . “They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.”

Obama never overtly named Trump in his comments, but he did make reference to a need for us to “harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices” without leading to “a Balkinisation of society,” per the news agency’s transcript.

The former U.S. President didn’t go so far as to completely condemn social media — in fact, he referenced it as a “really powerful tool for people of common interest to convene and get to know each other and connect.” But, he also said that people should then take that further and meet and become familiar in public spaces, too, in order to deepen their mutual understanding.

Featured Image: SAUL LOEB / Staff/Getty Images

Published at Wed, 27 Dec 2017 15:55:59 +0000

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