Social Media Frontiers

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Biggest Snapchat Update Yet 

highsnobriety.com

So did you get a very long Snap from Team Snapchat yesterday? Did you watch it up to the point of the lion taking a swipe at the camera then start to lose interest? Me too. But, if you did skip it, here’s what it was all about.

Snapchat have revealed the app’s new featureDiscover’ which allows companies to publish content on their app for users to consume. The video that Snapchat users were sent included clips from brands such as National Geographic, Vice and The Daily Mail to highlight how the new app can be engaged with.


This update solidifies Snapchat’s place in the digital marketing world offering brands a unique way in order to reach their audiences.

To access the Discover feature you just need to click on the option that would normally take you to your contacts, then you’ll have a little circle in the top right of the screen which will take you to Discover. If you click on the Snapchat logo in the middle you’ll get a nice run down of what’s in store for you with the new update. Currently in the UK, you can access channels for: Yahoo, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, Bleacher Report, The Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice and MTV.
Not a bad start, you’ll find me in the Food Network section. I didn't know there was a dog café, gotta go there.

After taking Discover for a quick spin, it’s clear that this is a really unique way of getting your dose of news and advertising. As Discover develops and gets more brands involved, you’ll soon be able have a tailored Discover feed which consists of everything that you want. It works seamlessly as well, this is an impressive update for Snapchat. There have been some reports of the app crashing and content not loading but I've yet to encounter any issues as of yet. Though, it has just launched so there will probably be some kinks to work out.

In Snapchat’s blog post they claim that Discover is different to other social advertising because it’s more creative and is ‘all about the art’. Calling it art is a touch of a stretch though. Snapchat should just embrace it as a new and unique way for brands to reach users, it will still go far.

Snapchat was recently valued at about $10 Billion late last year and with updates such as this it shows no signs of slowing down. This update marks one of the largest steps that Snapchat will take in its evolution from a simple picture sharing app to a major media platform.

In other news with this update, Snapchat have moved all of your contacts around and have given everyone their own Snapchat QR code in order to add people and companies as well as share your snaps. This feature will probably be a great boost to Discover’s features letting users sign up to whatever they want just by taking a picture of the Snap QR. Tell you what, I’ll even share mine if there’s enough demand for it. I take great snaps, promise.

theverge.com

In the last feature of the new update, and funnily enough, probably the most spoken about is the news that Snapchat have removed the ‘Best Friends’ part of your contacts.

I mean, I’m not too worried about this, the feature never seemed to work properly for me anyway. Nonetheless, teens have stormed to social media in floods of tears. They're complaining and arguing with each other about the removal of ‘Best Friends’.

People seemed to love the feature because it gave people an easy way to send naughty pictures to each other and not to their unsuspecting mothers who they shouldn't have added on Snapchat. Some people are also upset because they now won’t be able to keep tabs on who their significant other has been Snapchatting the most. I think that there are more underlying problems there than the removal of the best friends list.

Here are some of the repercussions on Twitter:






The outcry has led to a response from the Snapchat CEO promising that the feature will return. 


Screaming teens aside, this is a remarkable update for Snapchat. 

I'm excited to see Discover's potential.

Tom Welby

Tom has just graduated from University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. He loves writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other loves include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.          

Snapchat Update Brings Discover Feature and Removes Best Friends

Shake Hacking Off

imgiz.com

Taylor Swift seems to be magnet for media interest at the moment. First her fans launched a massive online campaign to get her onto Australian radio station Triple J’s Hottest 100 playlist (something which she herself took no active role in) and someone has broken into her Twitter account, purporting to be the ‘leader’ of hacker group Lizard Squad


As far as the Triple J business goes, the station very openly and vehemently declared that Swift would be banned from the countdown less than an hour before it went live. "Even after all the tweets, the think-pieces, the hipster lulz, the corporate intervention and heavy gif usage, Shake it Off still didn't get nearly enough votes to be at the top of the Hottest 100," claimed Triple J. Allegedly, if the BuzzFeed-led campaign had even considered valid by Triple J, Shake It Off would have only reached the number 12 spot on the countdown

Meanwhile, Swifts Twitter account was targeted by a hacker yesterday, who posted a series of tweets through her account, including one that encouraged users to follow an account under the name ‘@Lizzard’. Said user claimed to be the leader of Lizard Squad, as well as other hacking groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec. I’m no hacking expert, but I’d say the likelihood of all three of those groups being headed by one individual, and an individual who thinks that hacking into Taylor Swift’s Twitter in order to claim to be her boyfriend is worthy use of his time is highly unlikely





twitter.com


The Tweets were removed in a matter of minutes, but not before Lizard Squad nemesis Brian Krebs caught a screenshot of the shenanigans and posted it on his own account. This is the largest hacker infraction Twitter has weathered thus far, with Swift’s page being the 4th largest on the site, behind Barack Obama, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. In that order. Ascending order

Swift’s Instagram account was also targeted, leading Swift to use her Tumblr account to let her fans know what was going on. "Twitter is deleting the hacker tweets and locking my account until they can figure out how this happened and get me new passwords. Never a dull moment." She wrote, following it up with a hashtag reading “hackers gonna hack hack hack hack hack” in a reference to Shake It Off. Addressing the hacker claims that they had nude images to circulate, Swift said “Psssh you'd love that wouldn't you! Have fun photoshopping cause you got NOTHING."


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.

Taylor Swift Faces Adversity from Triple J and Twitter Hackers

As One Falls Another Shall Rise

theverge.com

With recent news of Google Glass discontinuing for the time being, I thought we were hitting a sort of plateau for wearable tech and virtual reality. A quiet realisation that we didn’t have the tech to give the everyday consumer that awesome stuff that Tony Stark has access too.

Just when I thought it was time for that, Microsoft hits back with their HoloLens. It looks impressive. Very impressive.

It was announced during Microsoft’s presentation about Windows 10. Since the reveal, it’s trumped just about everything else that Microsoft told its consumers was coming with the new OS. But why would we really care about a bit of an update when Microsoft are promising the next big thing in virtual reality.

Take a look at the video.


Not bad, right? The HoloLens looks like its taking steps forward in virtual reality and also looks to be pushing its augmented reality capabilities. But we’ll just have to wait and see how that goes, AR is still in very early days, it’s much less developed than VR.

All this looks too good to be true. Microsoft has often fallen short of promised features. Take a look at Kinect for Xbox. It definitely fell short of expectations leaving much to be desired.
But during the presentation, the HoloLens was taken for a live action demo as a Microsoft staff member build a holographic drone in mid-air in front of the crowd.

The HoloLens is its own standalone unit. It requires no computer or other software and can operate independently on its own. This is a huge step forwards in AR and VR, leaving competitors such as Oculus Rift in the dust.

It does still look a bit ridiculous, but as mentioned in my previous article, it’s early days. Try to remember the first mobile phones.

There’s not yet been any news concerning pricing, release dates or if it will go straight to developers first. But for now I can safely say that this is a step in the right direction for wearable tech.

But how well it holds up for actual use is yet to be determined. I hope that Microsoft aren’t just making big promises that their tech can’t keep. I think HoloLens has a long way to go before we see any form of retail products. 

If this article has left you drooling for more, have a play around with this 3D model made by Sketchfab.


We'll keep you posted when there's more to know about the HoloLens.

Tom Welby

Tom has just graduated from University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. He loves writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other loves include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.           

Microsoft HoloLens – The Next Gen Of Virtual Reality

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Historic Blizzard Hits North East US

nydailynews.com

If you've been paying attention to any weather forecast I'm sure that you've heard about the blizzard that’s ravaged some parts of the US. It was warned that the historic snowstorm would drop over three feet of snow.

That’s just not even fair, I saw a bit of snowfall for the best part of 6 minutes a few weekends ago. My dog was able to chase around some snowflakes for a bit and I got a nice view but that’s all we seemed to get down in mild Cambridge. I want more snow. I’ll go back to Denmark unless we get some more snow, mark my words.

After severe weather warnings were put out and people were properly prepared, we decided to take some time to look at some of the best social media reactions to Blizzard 2015. Some are funny, some are beautiful and all of them are making me bitter that we haven’t had any snow yet.

C’mon, I want a snow day!













imgur.com - reddit.com/u/theHamburglersNugget

 Tom Welby

Tom has just graduated from University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. He loves writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other loves include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.       

Social Media And The Blizzard Of 2015

Neutrality For Mobile Apps

forbes.com

In a bold move, BlackBerry’s boss John Chen has said that App makers should be forced to make apps for Blackberry handsets as well as other smartphones. In his open letter to the US Senate, Chen said that app developers choose not to make apps work for BlackBerry phones. He also said that other phone makers such as Apple have monopoly over the app market and that developers were ‘discriminating’ against BlackBerry.

He faced huge levels of criticism with experts in the industry calling his claims ‘ludicrous’.

Poor BlackBerry, they don’t seem to be able to find their feet ever since smartphones became much more widespread. Initially BlackBerry phones were strong contenders for the top spot of the smartphone market. But unfortunately for them, their archaic keyboard design has left them lagging behind while other developers such as Samsung, Apple and HTC storm ahead.

telegraph.co.uk

In his letter, Chen first outlined the implications of net neutrality and smartphones. If you’re not sure, net neutrality is the principle that there should be no paid prioritisation for net traffic. This means no company should be able to gain a commercial advantage by paying ISPs to have its data reach people faster. Essentially, neutrality is a very good thing and prevents our ISPs throttling our internet for financial gain.

Chen then went on to say that the exact same principle should apply to smartphones and the app market. Under the rules that Chen proposes, app developers would be forced by law to make apps for BlackBerry as well. Let’s step back and think about what he wants. Anytime any company make an app for smartphones they wouldn't be able to release it until they had versions for every format. It doesn't sound too much for big developers like Facebook and Twitter, but imagine a small start-up group who are trying desperately to break into the market. This proposed bill would severely damage their production and potential.

As mentioned, Chen’s proposal has met with harsh criticism and rightly so. Stuart Miles founder of gadget site Pocket-lint spoke out against Chen.

‘He's asking someone that he does not pay, to work on their own time to develop something for his platform that might have the potential for making money but might well not’ He went on to say: ‘If you have an enticing, exciting platform, that's when people will start developing for you.’
Stuart Miles hits the nail right on the head.

This proposed bill from BlackBerry and John Chen is as pompous as it is ridiculous. Chen seems to operate under the belief that the current rendition of BlackBerry phones are as well made as the other big mobile giants. Until they step up their game developers aren't going to bother with building apps for what is nothing more than a dying brand. Think about it, imagine if you had a video game system that didn't have a big fan base. Why should developers be forced to make games for an unpopular system? The issue lies with the product, not with the number of available apps

Furthermore, this proposed bill seems to completely ignore the implications that BlackBerry wants to impose onto all developers working in the app market, as Stuart Miles said.

Just because Chen can say that some world leaders use BlackBerry phones doesn't mean that they're cutting edge, they haven't been for quite some time. 

Now, back to drawing board with you BlackBerry. This really isn't the problem you should be dealing with right now. Wake up and look at your product. Not some feigned discrimination. 


Tom Welby

Tom has just graduated from University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. He loves writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other loves include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.            

App Makers Should Be Required To Code For BlackBerry Says Boss

Social Media Sites Offline Following Hack


dragon.ak

Couldn't log into your Facebook this morning? Yeah, me neither.

It went down online and on mobile platforms as well. Facebook’s messenger app was also left offline.

It wasn't just Facebook either; Instagram, Tinder, AIM and Hipchat went dark for nearly an hour in the wake of yet another hack. MySpace was also apparently taken down. Because, that still exists. Who knew? 

It’s suspected that the ever irritating Lizard Squad are behind the hack due to them claiming responsibility for the attack, but there’s been no solid proof yet. Though, this hack like all others from our scaly friends smells strongly of a DDoS, the most basic and least dangerous of hacking tools. It basically just bombards sites with loads and loads of clicks and refreshes causing the servers to pack up and slow down. It’s not complicated to do and is easily fixed. We can see this as the outage only lasted 40 minutes. Lizard Squad might need to learn some new tricks soon, but I suspect they fear the repercussions of venturing out of their script kids playpen.


Lizard Squad were also responsible for the hack against PlayStationNetwork and Xbox Live over the Christmas period and just yesterday hacked theMalaysian Airlines website.

Once again, with all the other hacks there’s been no report of people’s information being revealed, so this hack proves to be nothing more than a bit of a nuisance. But then again, if you woke up at about 8pm GMT you probably missed the whole thing.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything else.

But for now, just relax and wait for the next news to break of another member of Lizard Squad getting arrested. Shouldn't be long now. 

Update 11:15 GMT: Facebook have confirmed that the outage wasn't due to any third party attack, but was actually the fault of it's engineers.

'Earlier this evening many people had trouble accessing Facebook and Instagram, this was not the result of a third-party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems. We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100% for everyone.'

This doesn't explain what happened to the other sites that were affected though. I can't help but wonder if Facebook are trying to cover up.

Check back for any more updates.

Tom Welby

Tom has just graduated from University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. He loves writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other loves include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.       

Social Media Sites Fall Prey To Hack

Monday, January 26, 2015

Fake Names, Anyone? 

China is stepping up its social media rules by requiring that people who sign up for certain sites be forced to use their real names.

mashable.com

The main target of this change will be China’s Twitter counterpart: ‘Sina Weibo’.

You might think that this could be bold steps to counter online bullying and trolling in aims to protect people who feel persecuted online on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, it’s more than likely that China is actually hoping to just gain a greater level of censorship across all online channels. Oh China, that’s not very good, is it? Sina Weibo is already heavily moderated and censored. Anything that comes up with any blacklisted words is not even allowed on the site. Their censorship borders a bit on the crazy sometimes. For a while in June 2013, the words of ‘Tonight’ and ‘Today’ were blocked from the site. Maybe they were bored of everyone being happy about it being a Friday?

Ironically, Sina Weibo remains one of the last bastions of the Chinese internet where any free speech can be found.

techinasia.net

However, with this new update in rules, it looks like this could be changing very soon.

With these new rules, for any website where you can sign up with a nickname or alter-ego, you would also have to provide your full name alongside it, else you won’t be allowed to create an account.
How they'll counter people simply using false names is beyond me, but I'm sure that they're actively working on a way to stop that, sadly. 

The nations Cyberspace Administration (The Internet Police) have also recently shut down 24 websites, 9 blogs and 17 Weibo accounts. The administration claimed that they were deleted as they:
‘Posed as official media or government departments to release false information, carried news stories without obtaining permits from the authority and allowed pornographic or other illegal posts.’

It’s probably quite safe to take this response with a grain (or pile) of salt.

Among the 24 websites were two grassroots anti-corruption websites that carried petitions backed by members of the public, who wanted to expose corruption and wrongdoings by local officials that have yet to be listed on the website of China’s anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Internet censorship is never a wise move to take by any government. More than anything, it’s always important to understand that you never truly can censor the internet, there’s always a way around any form of censorship.

Just look at the Pirate Bay. After being censored it’s traffic exploded. After being shut down recently, it’s once again back up.

Additionally, today China has banned three of the largest VPN services availableA VPN works by setting up a dedicated, encrypted link between a person's computer and the website or service they want to use and makes spying on the data flowing across the connection difficult. With this change, people in China will have difficulties accessing sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. Oh dear, it's censorship gone mad. 

Here's hoping that China’s internet gets some of its freedom back.


Tom has just graduated from University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. He loves writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other loves include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.

China Ups Social Media and Private Browsing Rules