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GOP Caught With Fingers in the Twitter Jar
November 18, 2014
The Republican Party and at least two outside political-spending groups reportedly used anonymous Twitter accounts to share internal polling data in the months leading up to this year's midterm elections. One of the accounts was named after the fictional West Wing character Bruno Gianelli, who attempted to fund campaigns with possibly unethical cash.
Facebook May Punch In at Work
November 18, 2014
Facebook is preparing to plunge into the office collaboration and communication space with something it's calling "Facebook At Work," according to a Monday report. The new offering will be similar to the consumer version of Facebook, but it will allow workers to chat with each other, connect with their professional contacts, and collaborate on projects.
LinkedIn Faces More Litigation for Doing What its Contracts Say It Will Do
November 17, 2014
LinkedIn has been a wildly successful social media business site for many years. It provides a free platform for millions of members to share professional experiences and for businesses to promote themselves. However, LinkedIn's financial success also makes it a target for lawsuits -- even suits that don't seem to make much sense. LinkedIn members voluntarily post their employment history.
Facebook Lubes PR Gears to Dampen Privacy Worries
November 14, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced Privacy Basics, a set of interactive guides to answer the most commonly questions about how users can control their information on its site. It also aired proposed updates to its terms, data policy and cookies policy; improvements to ad targeting; and expansion of user control over ads. "This is mostly a messaging exercise," said tech analyst Rob Enderle.
Kana Burnishes Omnichannel Customer Engagement Tools
November 11, 2014
Kana has announced the first major upgrade of its flagship enterprise product following its acquisition earlier this year by Verint. Kana Enterprise Customer Engagement Optimization platform has been available since Oct. 31. At its core, the platform is the same, said Director of Product Marketing Kana Kelly Koelliker. It provides tools to facilitate customer engagement across multiple channels.
Facebook's Voter Turnout Efforts: Good, Bad or Pointless?
November 5, 2014
In the run-up to Tuesday's mid-term elections, suspicions were rife about the possibility of Facebook influencing the outcome. Facebook had joined Google, Twitter and other high-tech companies in urging people to vote, but skepticism about its motives ran high. In previous elections, it had turned its call to voters into sociological experiments, tweaking its approaches for different groups.
The Trouble With Facebook's Tor Link
November 5, 2014
Facebook recently announced that it was providing access directly over the Tor network. Its purpose was to let users access Facebook without losing the cryptographic protections provided by the Tor cloud. Facebook is providing an SSL certificate which cites its onion address. It will add onion address support for its mobile site later. The Tor link will work only in Tor-enabled browsers.
Monster Tiptoes Onto Twitter
November 5, 2014
Monster Worldwide last week announced that it was rolling out a beta of a social recruitment ad platform, starting this Thursday. Monster Social Ads uses Twitter's Ads API to serve tailored job listings to Twitter users, based on career attributes such as occupation or industry type. A number of U.S. companies have signed on for the beta, including eBay, T-Mobile and UPS.
Facebook Aims to Deliver Real News to Mobile News Feeds
October 29, 2014
Facebook reportedly has been meeting with publishers to discuss better ways of collaborating. It apparently wants to implement a more seamless way for mobile users to access news and magazine articles, as well as other content developed for digital sites, directly from their News Feed. Facebook is considering inviting publishers to post their content inside its mobile app.
Investors Quiver Over Twitter's Shaky Prospects
October 29, 2014
Twitter shares closed Tuesday at $43.78, down almost 10 percent, even though the company's Q3 earnings report showed monthly active users grew 23 percent. Granted, that was down a tick from the previous quarter's 24 percent growth -- but recall the World Cup was being held at that time, driving user growth explosively. Germany's win saw Twitter use peak at nearly 619,000 tweets a minute.
Ello Sets Its Ad-Free Promise in Stone
October 23, 2014
Ello on Thursday made its ad-free philosophy official by incorporating it into a new company charter. Now converted to a public benefit corporation, the social network has stipulated not only that it will never make money from selling ads or user data, but also that any new owners will have to comply by those terms as well, in the event it's ever sold.
Mea Culpa: Social Media Apology Do's and Don'ts
October 21, 2014
When DiGiorno tweeted, "You had pizza. #WhyIStayed," Twitter lit up with criticism of the brand. The hashtag "WhyIStayed" is associated with domestic violence. In response to the firestorm its tweet unleashed, DiGiorno peppered its Twitter feed with apology after apology, all of them essentially like this: "A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting."
Google's Doctor Is In
October 13, 2014
Google is offering a limited trial of a feature that offers people conducting searches of medical terms the opportunity to engage in a video chat with a health professional via its Helpouts service. Helpouts, which launched last November, connects users with experts in a variety of fields such as Art & Music, Fitness & Nutrition, and Health. The experts typically charge a fee for their service.
Don't Look Now, but Ads Are Coming to Snapchat
October 9, 2014
Ads soon will arrive on Snapchat. However, they will not target individual users. Rather, they'll appear in a more generalized fashion within the service's Snapchat Stories feature among shared photos and videos, CEO Evan Spiegel said Wednesday. A new service for disappearing content and ads, called "Snapchat Discovery," reportedly also is in the works for launch this year.
Facebook Sharpens Audience Network Targeting
October 8, 2014
Facebook on Tuesday further opened its Audience Network to third-party developers and publishers. It debuted the platform in April, positioning it as a mobile monetization tool that would leverage Facebook's 1.5 million advertisers and the millions of users who sign into apps using their Facebook credentials. The platform is now available to developers and publishers around the world.
Can Ello Convince Facebook Fans to Say Farewell?
September 30, 2014
Facebook may have garnered 1.3 billion users since its inception a decade or so ago, but today there's an upstart contender that has set its sights on much of that same social networking world. "Simple, beautiful and ad-free" is Ello's tagline, and the new social network is gaining considerable attention.
Facebook Asks Users to Bare Souls Over Ad Hiding
September 12, 2014
Facebook has updated its ad policy with two changes. One gives users the option of explaining why they don't want to see a specific ad in their News Feed. The second update takes this new policy a step further by giving more weight to the feedback provided from users who rarely hide ads. Facebook's goal is to identify ads that aren't good fits or are generally offensive.
Polar Buy Hints Google+ Not Left Out in the Cold
September 12, 2014
Google on Thursday announced its acquisition of online polling startup Polar. "At first, it was difficult to find the connection ... opinions and polls?" mused marketing and social media expert Lon Safko. Upon reflection, "the acquisition was about driving engagement and audience to websites," he said. "Polar makes it easy to engage with your followers."
Twitter Cautiously Experiments With Buy Button
September 9, 2014
Twitter on Monday began testing a new Buy button with a small percentage of its users in the U.S. -- one of the first steps in a larger initiative to build purchase functionality into the service. A small group of brands, including Burberry, Home Depot, Keith Urban, the Nature Conservatory and Soundgarden, are participating by sending offers that are unique for Twitter users.
YouTube Does Social Media Marketing Best
September 8, 2014
It is a given that a marketing campaign must include a social media element -- especially when a brand is rolling out a new product. What is less certain is on which channel the brand should focus its time and resources. An answer was provided last week by Aol Platforms, which released the results of a study that tracked social purchase interactions through Convertro.
Now Netflix Members Can Pick Which Friends Can See Their Picks
September 3, 2014
Recommending movies and TV shows you've watched on Netflix to individual Facebook friends just got easier. The company on Tuesday launched a new social recommendation feature that lets users pick and choose the contacts they'd like to interact with after viewing a video. "It makes more sense that way," Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research.
What Lies Beneath Social Media Users' Self-Censoring Ways
September 2, 2014
People have been reluctant to discuss whistle-blower Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's surveillance activities in social media, the Pew Center Internet Project reported last week. Only 42 percent of the 1,800 adults interviewed by the center were willing to post their views on the topic on their Facebook and Twitter accounts, although 82 percent were willing to discuss it face to face.
Twitter Lets Ordinary Users Get Analytical
August 29, 2014
Twitter this week announced that its analytics tool now can be used by everyone. Twitter's analytics tool lets users click on any tweet to see how people engage with it in real time. They can compare their tweet activity month over month and see how they trend over time. Users also can click on a tweet to see the number of retweets, replies, favorites, follows or clicks received.
Salesforce.com Engulfs Communities in Community Cloud
August 27, 2014
Salesforce.com on Wednesday announced the debut of the Salesforce1 Community Cloud. The product is launching as a new division for Salesforce.com, on par with its Sales, Service and Marketing Cloud offerings, said Lisa Hammitt, VP of business operations. Built on the Salesforce1 Platform, Community Cloud connects to Salesforce CRM and related business processes.

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Is Microsoft starting to get cool again?
Yes - thanks to Satya Nadella's vision.
Yes - but only in certain areas, like AI and VR.
Maybe - it doesn't seem as stodgy as before.
No - it never was.