Social Media Frontiers

Friday, January 23, 2015

Less Passwords? Yes Please

marketingland.com

In October last year Twitter unveiled its ‘Digits’ product for developers. Digits finally did away with passwords and emails and allowed users to log into their apps and services by using just their phone number. 

This was a welcome addition to anyone who’s constantly cycling through three different working email accounts, two throwaway accounts and countless passwords. If it weren’t for Mac Keychain I’d never remember anything I swear.

Digits is one key feature of Twitter’s own developer suite for creators, Twitter Fabric.

Digits only rolled out for mobile apps last year, but yesterday Twitter announced that they’re now rolling out the service for the web as well. It’s been a very good week for Twitter.

Twitter and developers are hoping that by introducing Digits they’ll be able to make it even simpler for users to sign up to new websites.
They’re onto something here, because we’ve all signed up to a new website recently only to have to fill in all of our details then validate our accounts by clicking the link in an email the site would send to us. Not before searching through our spam folders for the damn thing though.

Furthermore, people are often put off having to think about creating a new username, password, account and fork over one of your precious email addresses. I know I am, it takes me ages to think of a decent username and even then I’m never happy with it.

Here's what Twitter had to say on their blog: 

Digits login for web gives your users a powerful, single-log-in experience that also increases the conversion rate for your logins. The result: users only have to log in on the web once to engage with all of your services as well as other apps in the ecosystem.

Digits on the web is very simple. Say you’ve used Digits on your Twitter app and then go to log into your Twitter account on your internet browser, you’ll just have to enter your number again and then that’s it. No more logging in, all sorted, just with a number.
Once you’ve done this once, it’ll then work for all your Digits enabled websites. Easy.


twimg.com

One thing that I find quite concerning is the issues of security surrounding the use of Digits. In our ever-growing digital age we are constantly bombarded with the worries of cyber security and getting hacked. It’s all over our news, there was the iCloud hack and just last week some socialaccounts of the US Army was hacked.

Simplifying our passwords one step more doesn’t seem like the safest path for us to be taking right now. On the other hand, Digits could be used to create a form of Authenticator to help us log into services. Authenticators are great, you know that little thing that you have to use when you do online banking? That’s an Authenticator. World of Warcraft players are probably very familiar with them as well.

Either way, a simpler way to log in does seem great. If it’s just for my social media accounts then that’s great too, I don’t think anyone would really want to be hacking me.


I’ve been ‘hacked’ enough times while I was at Uni. I’m not sure any of my friends take any updates from me seriously anymore.



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/.

Twitter’s Password Re-Invention Is Now Online

These Balls Are Made For Throwing

espn.com

With the combatants now decided, the hype train for the Super Bowl (which takes place in Arizona on Feb. 1st) has most definitely left the station. Sadly for the New England Patriots, this year’s tournament comes laced with a fair amount of controversy. During their conference championship game (that’s semi-final in layman’s terms) against the Indianapolis Colts, an official made the rather disconcerting claim that the Pats were rolling out with a partially deflated football, making it easier for quarterback Tom Brady to grip (and therefore throw). Since then, the investigation has widening and snowballed, as it’s been discovered that 11 of the 12 balls the Pats used during the game were under-inflated by around 2psi, compared the NFL required standard. 

How much this contributed to the 45-7 spanking the Pats dished out against the barely-present Colts is difficult to determine, but it certainly taints the win and if they go on to win the Super Bowl, the elephant in the room will only grow larger. This isn’t even the first time New England have been caught with their pants down. In 2007, the team’s head coach was fined $500,000 when the management were found to have been secretly recording the New York Jets to try and figure out their signals. It was dubbed ‘SpyGate’, which doesn't have quite the same ring as ‘DeflateGate’, but let’s be fair they’re both pretty good


After an impressive run of Super Bowl wins in 2001, 2003 and 2004, the team have routinely fallen at the last hurdle year after year as their reputation for underhandedness has expanded. This won’t exactly help with that. They have since been weathering a vicious (and often hilarious) Twitter backlash that will likely only continue to gain moment in the run up to final in a couple of weeks. We've compiled some of our favourites below, but if you want a more in depth look, check out the hashtag feed.








 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/.

Twitter Reacts to the ‘DeflateGate’ NFL Controversy

Twitter, Have It Your Way

marketingland.com

Twitter has launched its ‘While You Were Away’ feature which was initially announced earlier this month. This new feature is designed to make sure that you see all of the top tweets that you weren't around for in between your uses of the app. It’s currently only rolling out for iOS apps, but Twitter have assured us that it will be hitting Android and their website in the near future.

‘While You Were Away’ is quite a simple feature. It’s essentially just a smarter way to organise what tweets you see when you return to your app. 

As your feed stands now, when you return to it after a time away, it will just show you all of the tweets that have been made in a chronological order and we all know that sifting through all that can be a nightmare. With this new feature, the app will also give you a selection of the top tweets that were made based on a clever algorithm which will factor in your engagement with others and your normal tweeting habits.

So if you love getting your daily dose of Liverpool FC news and they drop a popular tweet about Suarez coming back it’ll be one of the top tweets when you check back in on the app. (Suarez isn't really coming back, pack it up boys.)

This all sounds very similar to how just about every news feed is handled. Though they’re often quite quick to assume what it is that you want to see. I remember awhile ago my friend got matched with an old school friend of mine on Tinder. I checked my Facebook to see if I was friends with the match. Turns out I was. All of a sudden Facebook decided that I was to see every status update she made from then on. That friendship was terminated quickly.

However, Twitter’s Vice President said that their algorithm will prove to be more real time than Facebook’s. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out. I imagine it will just be a touch more of the same, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  

Either way, this feature is something that I’m really happy to see implemented. I often check my Twitter just a handful of times every day and so a way to make those check-ups as interesting and worthwhile as possible is great.

Thanks, Twitter. 



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/.

Twitter Launches ‘While You Were Away’

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Digital Politics

With the general election only a few months away, the end result is still anyone’s guess, but it almost definitely won’t end with a majority win. In 2010 there were a number of factors that resulted in the Conservative/Lib-Dem coalition that we currently preside under, and one of them was social media. 


hedgeuganda.com

When Tony Blair won his second term in 2005, Facebook was still in its infancy, Twitter didn't exist and the idea of appealing to voters via MySpace was laughable. In 2010 the surging support for Nick Clegg in the wake of his impressive performance in the leader debates was further fuelled by a weighty increase in online influence. The Liberal Democrat Facebook page rose to around 90,000 likes, only 10,000 shy of the Tories. The site also introduced a ‘Rate the Debate’ application which allowed users to decide who came out of each one looking the best. Unsurprisingly, Clegg won out every time. 

Elsewhere in other forms of mainstream media, Tory and Labour supporters began to malign Clegg, leading to a public opposition on Twitter, built around the #nickcleggsfault hashtag, which jokingly blamed him for a series of ridiculous things, like staging the moon landing. Whilst this spike in Lib Dem popularity was short-lived and ultimately led to a fairly severe decline in public approval after the election, it demonstrates just how much influence social media can have during election campaigns even by accident. In fact, premeditated attempts by the competing parties to use online platforms to gain votes were far less effective and frankly, a little tragic. 


SEO was almost as big of a sticking point then as it is now and both Labour and the Conservatives set their sights towards Google Adwords in order to pick up votes, with the latter bidding for both ‘David’ and ‘Cameron’ so that they could link them to a page full of negative press. The Tories instead opted for ‘Hung Parliament’ and did so successfully, their only competitor was Ann Summers, who had “Find out why we believe in a well hung parliament” on their home page at the time. 


Perhaps the most fascinating information came from the US. Collaborating with a few political scientists, Facebook conducted a social experiment (something they do all the time, frighteningly) to determine if social media could sway apathetic voters. People were shown an icon with a link to polling stations, then invited to click an ‘I voted’ button, as well as being shown which friends had done the same. The results were fascinating: 



“Overall, users notified of their friends’ voting were 0.39% more likely to vote than those in the control group, and any resulting decisions to cast a ballot also appeared to ripple to the behaviour of close Facebook friends, even if those people hadn’t received the original message. That small increase in turnout rates amounted to a lot of new votes. The researchers concluded that their Facebook graphic directly mobilised 60,000 voters, and, thanks to the ripple effect, ultimately caused an additional 340,000 votes to be cast that day. As they point out, [in 2000] George W Bush won Florida, and thus the presidency, by 537 votes – fewer than 0.01% of the votes cast in that state.”



That was 5 years ago; now social media is a more powerful promotional tool than ever before, particularly within the 18-25 demographic, one that all the major parties are keen to appeal to. Some interesting experiments have already started appearing, such as the ‘Vote for Policies’ quiz that cropped up during the European elections last year. The quiz listed all the policies of each major party without showing which parties they applied to. Users were invited to select the ones they found the most appealing, without there being any kind of bias in play. As of May 2014, 400,000 people had taken the survey and the results clearly indicated that, at least within the confines of social media, the Green Party are a favourable option. Their policies came out on top in 25% of cases, compared to 20% for Labour, 17% for the Lib Dems and 15% for the Conservatives. This kind of information appears to be the most effective means of appealing to the modern voter. 


Even more recently, social media had a big hand in the Scottish referendum, which famously had the largest voter turnout of any vote in the UK since 1950. According to a News UK survey done via YouGov, 54% of voters said that they took important information from social media platforms, whilst 39% said that it actually influenced their decision. 


It’s easy to understand why social media has become so effective. It’s an integral part of everyday life and presents information to people in a clear, concise way. Voter apathy can be assigned in part to the fact that people are not interested in making an active effort to seek out the information they need to reach a decision and also the fact that many people are dissatisfied with the current system, but see no alternative. Social media campaigning has answers for both of these issues. All the information is presented directly to the voters and those clamouring for change are often thrust into the limelight, like Russell Brand. Whatever happens now, social media has a big, pivotal role to play.



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/.

Social Media Democracy - Then and Now

Messenger Reincarnate 

softonic.com

WhatsApp has just launched one of its most requested features. A web based browser.
The last time I wrote about WhatsApp, I made an effort to download the app. Today I've only just verified my number and actually used it a little. I mean, I updated my status that counts right? I’m sure by my next article about WhatsApp I’ll be in the process of actually sending a message. Here’s hoping.

The WhatsApp new web browser will currently only be working with Google Chrome. To log in, all you need to do is open up the site in your browser and then scan the QR code using the WhatsApp app on your smart phone. I tried to give it a go but apparently there’s no love for iPhones just yet with WhatsApp citing platform limitations on Apple’s side
Once you've scanned the QR code, you’re set to go according to WhatsApp advice:

‘You have now paired WhatsApp on your phone with the WhatsApp web client. Your phone needs to stay connected to the internet for our web client to work, and please make sure to install the latest version of WhatsApp on your phone.’

This is just another reason for me to finally take the plunge and stop using Safari as my web browser and start using Chrome. Everything these days seems to thrive with Chrome, even things like Hola Unblocker to get my Netflix and Pandora working just right. But Safari remembers all my hundreds of different passwords. Life is hard.

Either way, this is a great move for WhatsApp as this has proven to be a heavily requested service.
WhatsApp posted on their blog unveiling their new client.

‘Today, for the first time, millions of you will have the ability to use WhatsApp on your web browser. Our web client is simply an extension of your phone: the web browser mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device -- this means all of your messages still live on your phone.’

This news hits as WhatsApp also reveal that they’re going to be heavily clamping down on security. Namely, the use of third party apps which are used in conjuncture with the main WhatsApp app. Third party apps have always been a bit of a risqué grey area. There was the infamous SnapSaved service that would save people’s disappearing snaps.

WhatsApp are already planning to take the battle straight to the third party apps, but in the meantime people who are found to be using them are being served 24hour bans.

‘Third parties that have built unauthorized functionality on top of WhatsApp create issues for people including lost messages. This goes against the experience we work hard to give people and we won’t let it continue. Starting today, we are taking aggressive action against unauthorized apps and alerting the people who use them.’

Some people are less than happy with the ban however.


Some bans have exceeded 24 hours already. But I wonder what they've been up to.


There seems to be some hefty movement behind companies shutting down third party apps and banning users. There were rumours a few weeks ago of Netflix banning people who were using proxies such as Hola Unblocker to access content that normally wouldn't be allowed in their respective countries.

We’ll see what WhatsApp has in store for these developers as the third party app world hides in a corner for a few days and waits for this to blow over.


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/.

WhatsApp Launches Web Client and Tightens Security

Keyboard Warriors Are Feeling The Heat As Tumblr And Twitter Seek To Get Them Fired

It’s never easy knowing that you have a prejudiced colleague; perhaps they seemed fine between 9 and 5 but the moment they get out of the front door political correctness flies out of the window. Perhaps it was just one drunken outburst or the slightly disconcerting EDL mug lurking on their desk. Whatever the case, it can make the working environment a lot tenser. 


ifonlyyounews.com

The internet is ever a reliable source for bands of keyboard crusaders and now a new one has arisen to combat this very issue. Across various social networks, people have been taking it upon themselves to expose racists online. The flagship example of this is probably ‘Racists Getting Fired’, a Tumblr blog that allows people to anonymously submit examples of people being racist on social media, so that their employers can be contacted and convinced to fire them for it. 



Usually this amounts to a post including a screenshot of the unfortunate comment in question (be it on Twitter, Facebook or wherever else), followed by a screengrab of their work information, up to and including emails, phone numbers and postal addresses. If the person does indeed get the sack, you’ll often see a post on the blog in celebration of having ‘Gotten’ them. This ventures into some murky moral territory. While there can be no denying that racism and indeed prejudice of all kinds is wrong, should someone really lose their job, their livelihood, because of something they said out of work? Freedom of speech is a right that all of us have, but sadly that doesn't preclude the kind of unpleasantness that bubbled to the surface during such pitched battles as Gamergate and other similar disputes. 


forbes.com

Elsewhere online, other endeavours to combat the racists hiding in plain sight have emerged that are perhaps a little less extreme. Yes, You’re Racist is a Twitter account that, rather than encouraging punishment of the people in question, merely exposes them to a wider forum. It’s a simple strategy: the owner of the account simply searches for tweets containing ‘I’m not racist, but…’ and retweets the ones he finds to be particularly unsavoury. The page has more than 57,000 followers, so I think it’s safe to say that anyone who ends up on the feed is in for a pretty brutal backlash



There are similar accounts geared towards homophobia and sexism, but Yes, You’re Racist is by far the most well-known. While this is far less extreme than Racists Getting Fired, it could be claimed that by publicly exposing these people in such a way, you’re leaving them open for disproportionally vicious abuse. Targeted abuse, however, is something that’s strictly prohibited in the Twitter policy guidelines, so ironically it’s far more likely to get slapped with a ban for abusing a racist than for making a racist remark. It’s difficult to know what the most effective response to prejudice really is, and where the divide falls between a troll and someone trying to incite genuine hate, but in either case it’s arguably better to ignore it than to broadcast it.



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/.

Tumblr and Twitter Users Expose Racists

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

You Can Take It Off Now. No, Really. Take It Off.


patentlyapple.com

Tuesday was your last chance to pick up your very own Google Glass. Were you one of the few people who were selected from Google’s initial process to be able to fork over £1,500 in order to take the rather odd looking device for a spin?

If you were, you probably felt like you were taking bold steps into the future just like the people who picked up the first mobile phones felt. Remember how those looked very clunky and awkward? Well, the same applies for Google Glass, sadly.

Google Glass’ production run is coming to a timely end and I’m certain that not many people will mourn its passing. We've been assured by Google that this isn't the end of its Glass project and that it will return after going under the knife for what I hope is scrutinising re-development.

You see, Google Glass is very much the first rendition of something bigger. Take a look at anything developed in the modern world and how it has changed in such a short amount of time. Think about it, the first hard drive which was made about 40 years ago could only hold 5MB, that’s just one song. A short one of not great quality, either. Now I've got a terabyte hard drive just sitting on my desk like it’s no big thing. Times change.

Wearable tech is however becoming a more prominent feature in our lives. Apple has their watch coming out later this year and we’re slowly making steps into Virtual Reality with the Oculus Rift. But I strongly believe that we’re not quite ready for all of this yet. The wearable multimedia watches are alright, but when we start comprehending virtual reality or Iron Man level Google Glass we've still got some ways to come.

Google have commented on the end of their first rendition of Glass and have assured wary users that they will be back. They say that they have successfully discovered what they needed to know about wearable tech and that they will now take the good and bad feedback and come back later on with a much more refined product. I hope that rings true. I think a solid first step would be to show people when Glass is recording, people ended up feeling as if their privacy was being invaded whenever they saw someone wearing glass. This was due to the specs being able to record what the user was seeing without any warning. Creepy stuff.

I think Google will probably take Glass and aim it much more for businesses than for consumers. There’s a lot that Glass could be doing in terms of work. Imagine how useful a well refined Glass product could be for such a wide variety of professional environments.

fastcompany.net

This new step for Glass will see it become its own standalone unit and will be run by Ivy Ross and Tony Fadell. I hope they take Google Glass in the right direction.

Let’s wait and see what they have in store for us. 


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/.

Google Glass Discontinued – For Now