|Original articles from Jessica Cherok.|
|Facebook's Impact on Your Mood|
Does Facebook make you sad? Not sad about the state of society today, but an actual psychological sadness.
We use Facebook to keep in touch with our friends and family. Except we’re not really getting a realistic view of their lives. As much as we complain about people posting the trivial and mundane details of their lives...
|Social Media in the Workplace|
Want to make sure your employees aren’t goofing off on social media at work? For a lot of companies, there is a tendency to try and ban social media outright in order to keep employee productivity in line. But before you go all North Korea and attempt to control everything, there are some things you should consider.
|Waze Brings Social Media to GPS|
Google just bought Waze for a $1 billion. A hefty price tag for an app a lot of people never heard of before. Is Waze worth the price?
Waze describes itself as a community-based traffic and navigation app. Essentially, it’s a social network on top of a GPS mapping application. Users share real-time information about traffic, road closures, gas prices, and even police activities. The app also uses your location to send alerts about nearby road and traffic conditions.
|Can an App Protect Your Privacy?|
PRISM has gotten a lot of us thinking about which of our personal information is vulnerable to being collected without our knowledge. It only makes sense that many people have been in a rush to download those apps that claim to help better protect their privacy. A lot of the apps promise privacy, but few deliver...
|Live Stream Weddings|
It’s tough not to be there for someone you love on their special day. Whether it’s geographic, financial, or bad timing, there are lots of reasons you may have to miss a wedding. But thanks to a new trend in webcast weddings, you may never have to decline a wedding invite again. Weddings broadcasted online, say via Skype...
|Legal Protection Against Revenge Porn Soon|
There may finally be some protections coming for victims of so-called “revenge porn.”
If you have never heard of revenge porn, it is when someone — an ex-boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or even former friend — uploads nude photos of another person to the Internet in an effort to shame and embarrass. There are several websites out there dedicated specifically to revenge porn...
|Facial Recognition Apps Won't be on Glass|
Maybe one of the biggest privacy concerns surrounding Google Glass is the unauthorized use of facial recognition technology. From its initial debut, Glass brought along fears that users would — intentionally or not — violate the privacy of others via the utilization of facial recognition.
|Facebook to do Better Against Hate Speech|
In a blog post this week, Facebook says it hasn’t been effective enough at identifying and removing hate speech posted on its site. The admission comes after pressure from women’s activist groups, demanding the social media giant do more to protect women and gender equality.
|Xbox One is Spying on You|
Microsoft has touted its Xbox One as the “next generation of gaming,” and apparently the next generation’s console is nosy.
Xbox One allows users to watch TV and movies, listen to music, surf the Internet, etc., all while using voice command. While the voice command feature is neat, it means, of course, that the console is always listening.
|Where the Cool Kids Aren't|
As a teenager, pretty much the last place you want to hang out is where your parents are. No surprise then that Facebook’s popularity is waning amongst the teens and young adults. Hanging out with mom and dad, even online, is totally lame.
Unfortunately for Facebook, this trend may only increase as more and more of its users' children become old enough to start using social media sites.
As a freelancer for a couple of different companies, I found myself needing to automate messages across a variety of social media platforms. Automation was supposed to make my life simpler, but little did I know it was going to turn it into a complex scheduling nightmare. There are a lot of different automation applications out there.
The ability to grow a majestic beard is a coveted thing. Now, it’s a profitable thing.
It’s also a silly thing. Probably a flash-in-the-pan thing, but definitely a thing.
From tattooing company logos or writing promotions on your pregnant belly to naming your firstborn after your most favorite television network...
|A Better Pin|
Pinterest has been diligently working on improving its usefulness over the last several months. At the beginning of the year, they debuted a new site design. Today, Pinterest announced its made its pins more useful.
Pins will now include little icons indicating there is more information about product availability, recipe information, or details about movies. Pinterest added these features by working with popular websites to create better, more useful content. Pinterest added these features by working with popular websites...
|Book a Flash Mob|
Does anyone else find it disheartening that flash mobs are now for hire? In maybe one of the biggest displays of how much corporations just don’t get it, many companies are hiring flash mobs to create spontaneity at their corporate functions.
Yes, create spontaneity.
Now HR departments are organizing flash mobs rather than social media.
|Facebook Home is About to be Evicted|
It looks like Facebook Home hasn’t found its forever home. At least, not with AT&T. After only one month, the service provider is rumored to be looking to ditch the HTC First smartphone. If you’ll remember, HTC First is the model debuted as having Facebook Home fully integrated into its operating system.
If Facebook Home had launched a couple of years ago...
|Snapchat's Not-So Deleted Photos|
It’s been said time and time again — once it has been made public, it’s out there forever. To which Snapchat responded, “Not with us.”
Snapchat, a photo-sharing service allowing the uploader to pick an expiration date for images shared, became wildly popular because it gave users more control over their pictures. That silly, albeit slightly risqué photo may not be so funny...
|Facebook's Trusted Contacts|
Locked out of your Facebook account? No problem, phone a friend.
Last week, Facebook debuted a new security feature allowing users to contact one of their Facebook friends in order to regain access to their account. Facebook calls these people your “Trusted Contacts,” and you can select between three and five...
|Photo Tagging Now in Instagram|
Finally the day has come when we can tag people in our Instagram photos! And people can tag us! The circle of narcissism on Instagram is complete.
Instagram announced last week it was rolling out its new Photos of You feature — a way to tag your friends, followers or other Instagram users in your photos. No longer will we have to take a screenshot...
|The 'Do Not Track' Face-off|
If you use the Internet, next week’s W3C conference will be making some big decisions related to how your information is collected online. Users, advocates, advertisers, developers, tech firms, and social media applications are all waiting with bated breath to see what happens.
First, the basics:
Do Not Track, or DNT, is technology enabling users to opt out of their online activities being tracked by websites. Currently, the user has to actively elect to opt out of tracking by disabling the setting within their browser.
However, several browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Mozilla...
|Facebook to Start Video Ads in News Feed|
A couple of weeks ago, an irksome report came out that Facebook is going to start showing video ads in our news feeds. Oh joy.
Except these videos won’t be something you can just scroll past like you can with the current ads in your news feed. According to a couple of sources, the video ads will be played prior...
|Password for Hire|
Congratulations! You’ve landed that job of your dreams, and everything is perfect. Except that your new company has asked for the passwords to the social media sites that you use. Now what? Should you just start including your social media passwords on your resume?
|Can You Opt Out of Facebook's Data Brokering?|
A couple of months ago, Facebook partnered with four data brokering firms in an effort to increase the flow of information about Facebook users to advertisers, and thus — more targeted ads. Only it’s hard to understand what that partnership means for users, or why we should care.
|A Little Birdie Told Me |
Twitter has been eavesdropping on us. The social media site made a big announcement this past week: its newest tool allowing analyses of the content of users' tweets.
When compared to Facebook's billion+ users, Twitter's 200 million seems small. Still, the company is projected to bring in somewhere around $600 million this year.
|Facebook's Most Hated Feature|
What do you hate most about Facebook? Okay, yes — the fact that your mom is on it is a pretty good point, but beyond that.
Like most people, you probably hate Facebook’s privacy controls. Ever-changing, cumbersome, and perplexingly inconsistent. It’s like a terrible labyrinth where you can lose your job, your significant other, or worse...
|Social Media Advocacy and National Tragedy|
You’re a good person, right? Someone who cares about the goings-on in the world around them? Someone who aligns themselves with the most just cause?
Of course you’re a good person. So am I. But — at least statistically — the biggest difference between you would I is who ultimately bows to social media pressures.
|Facebook Home: Know What You're Getting Into|
How impressed is everyone with Facebook Home? Well, as it turns out, not very.
At least that’s what the data suggests from Google Play reviews. Nearly a week after Home’s release, the app had received an average rating of 2.3 stars. To be fair, it should be noted that Facebook Home is only available on certain phones. But that only explains the low download numbers, not the low rating.
So what’s wrong with Facebook Home?
Right now it seems like a lot.
There are a lot of comments related to clunky functionality, but more concerning are comments related to privacy concerns. More concerning, but definitely typical Facebook.
|More Fake Stuff on the Internet by 2014|
According to Gartner, Inc., a technology research firm, by 2014 up to an estimated 15% of social media reviews are expected to be fake. That stinks for the consumer, but even worse for businesses who find themselves victims of negative fake reviews. The problem, in part, is due to the fact that companies, in their quest to continuously increase their customer loyalty and generate sales...
|Facebook Tax Cheats|
Not that you should be cheating on your taxes, but just in case you are — the IRS is using Facebook as a way to catch you. We’ve all heard about the feds monitoring social media for criminal activity, but tax cheats?
It’s not entirely outside of the realm of possibility. After all, government and law enforcement...
|Facebook Phone May be a Smart Move|
Facebook has a phone now. Should we all be concerned that this means the end of personal privacy as we know it? Well, yes. But only as much as Google Glass meant it, too.
Because ultimately — just as with Google Glass — we’re all looking around at each other wondering who in their right mind would even want such a thing.
Most likely it’ll be the nerdiest of our friends who opt for a Facebook phone, at least in the beginning. They’re the same ones who know about apps while still in beta...
|OKCupid Isn't OK for Privacy|
Online dating can be scary enough. Add in the unintended exposure of your personal information or private conversations and the whole thing can be downright humiliating.
Recently the popular online dating site OKCupid launched its new Crazy Blind Date feature.
|Lost in Texting Translation|
Is social media degrading our language skills, or is it simply that we’ve reached a new evolutionary place in communication? After all, you don’t hear anyone demanding we return to conversing in Latin.
Of course we’ve all been there — on the receiving end of an unintelligible text or email from someone that saddens your faith in the future of humankind. Srsly...u no rite? Right, you do seriously know.
|Klout's Popularity Contest is Coming to Businesses|
Apparently there is now Klout for businesses — aptly named Klout for Business — where you can find the same meaningless number, once only available to individuals, now ranking businesses as a whole.
If you’re unfamiliar with Klout, it is an application that will measure the amount of social media influence someone has.
|Busy? You Might Need a Sherpa|
You have a busy week — an unreasonable number of meetings, dinner plans with old friends, soccer practice for one kid, ballet lessons for the other. Not to mention heading out of town for a couple of nights to woo that potential client. You’re unreasonably busy, and you, my friend, need a Sherpa.
All of the hype to hashtag and like what’s going on in real-time is ruining the viewing experience for some. Is there some sort of social media etiquette for watching TV shows, movie premiers, and so on?
Recently some theaters around the country were offering free seats to patrons who would come and watch performances...
|Tweet Got You Fired|
This week a tweet meant to shame lewd behavior ended in two firings. While we’ve certainly heard before of people losing their jobs over something posted online, this particular incident has caused a lot of controversy. Is social media the place to publicly shame people?
|Pinterest's Subtle Changes for the Better|
Pinterest has a new design. You’ll have to look closely, but we promise it’s different. Very, very slightly different.
If you’re one of the people who uses Pinterest like a crack addict, then you’ll likely notice the changes more easily than the rest of us. For the more casual user, here’s what is different (from Pinterest’s blog)...
It’s about damn time. Facebook is finally implementing hashtags within the social media site, just like Twitter, Instagram, and others. But really — what took so darn long?
While hashtags have been around a lot longer than Twitter, they are certainly something synonymous with the site.
|Apps to Protect Kids|
Kids these days — always texting, uploading photos, and what-have-you. But the long-term ramifications of what is posted online are hard to impress upon the younger generation. Heck, it’s a lesson some adults are still learning.
But before we all go gray with worry and give up entirely on the future of humanity’s sense of decency online, you should know that there is hope. First, it’s not that younger people just don’t care about online privacy. For them, sharing information is par for the course...
|Big Data Can Help You Find the Best Social Scene|
You and your friends are trying to decide where to go this weekend. Sure, there are lots of options, but how do you know if it’s really happening there? After all, it’s a total buzzkill to get to somewhere only to find it completely dead.
Well never fear, ladies and gentlemen, because Microsoft may have an answer for you.
|Warrantless Email Requests|
Holy crap! Did you guys know how many government requests for data Google receives in a year? No, of course you didn’t, because that information wasn’t public. Until now.
According to Google, federal, state, and local government agencies made a record 13,753 requests for emails and other information from Google for 2012. That’s up from the 23,300 made in 2011. Most concerning is that more than half of the requests came without warrants. Google has more than 425 active Gmail users in addition...
|Facebook's Redesign Actually Isn't Annoying|
Facebook’s new news feed redesign is touted by Mark Zuckerburg as being the “best personalized newspaper” ever. Well, maybe not ever, but still pretty cool.
Unlike the previous feed, Facebook’s new version gives the user more visual ease over the content that is seen. We’ve probably all been somewhat tricked recently when seeing an a post that looked like it was posted by our friend...
|When Is Photo-Sharing Funny...or Creepy?|
Is it okay to take a photo or video of someone and post it online without their permission? If your automatic answer is no, then it’s obvious you don’t like humor. If your automatic answer is yes, then you must be a heartless creeper.
See? It’s a slippery slope. Maybe it’s a giant, hairy man on a beach. Or the woman at the coffee shop wearing head-to-toe leopard print.
|Desperately Seeking Girl Scout Cookies?|
If you’re lucky, the daughter of one of your friends or coworkers is in the Girl Scouts. You don’t have to think about when Girl Scout Cookie season starts or where to find the elusive little booths. For the rest of us, there’s the Cookie Locator.
The Cookie Locator, which debuted in 2001, is a smartphone app that lets you find where Girl Scout Cookie Booths have been set up in your area...
|Facebook's New Custom Audiences, Explained|
Facebook announced this week that it was partnering with four data brokering firms to expand their custom audiences tool capabilities. Facebook's statement highlights the benefits users will see in terms of more relevant advertising.
Nowadays everybody loves themselves an infographic, don’t they? Sure, infographics are helpful for when you want to read, but not really read. For when you want to digest information in a word-picture hybrid.
Infographics are great for conveying — often incredibly complex — information, no doubt about that.
|Et tu, Tumblr?|
Last week it was Flickr. Before that, Twitter. Now Tumblr has its own security breach. According to Tumblr, the data exposed is pretty minimal — the subject lines and perhaps the email addresses of messages sent to Tumblr Support.
|Social Media's Influence on Business|
In 2012, social media put a stomping on business technology. Social media gets a bad rap for hindering employee productivity about as much as it is touted as vital to a business’s communication success. Love it or hate it, social media has changed what we expect from technology in the workplace.
Think about when you’re using Twitter or Facebook. Or how fun and shiny the new app you downloaded is. Okay, now think about that clunky old application you have to use for your job. Eww, right? Social media applications have placed user experience on a high pedestal.
Did you happen to notice in between all of the Harlem Shake videos that a couple of fairly high-profile Twitter accounts were hacked? If you missed it, that’s too bad because it was awesome. Unless of course you were part of these companies’ PR teams.
First, @BurgerKing was hacked. In a flurry of hilarious tweets, Burger King announced its sale to McDonalds because of the Whopper's flop. Then came the @Jeep hack, also including hilarious (and less crude) tweets.
|Use AmEx to Buy on Twitter|
Get ready for it to be a whole lot easier to max out your American Express card! Twitter and American Express recently announced giving eligible cardholders the ability to buy items by using a special hashtag. Really cool, and quite possibly a whole new way to purchase goods.
American Express cardholders could already purchase $25 American Express gift cards by using #buyamexgiftcards25. Now, cardholders are able to buy additional things like a Kindle Fire, Sony Headband camera, Xbox, etc.
|CSR and Social Media|
In a world where corporate social responsibility has become critically important in the mind of consumers, businesses need to ensure they are including good corporate citizenship initiatives in their social media communications.
Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is commonly defined as companies’ taking responsibility for their impacts on the environment and social welfare. In recent years, there has been an increased trend in consumers believing companies have a social responsibility beyond their shareholders and turning profits. As a result, many have adopted very successful CSR campaigns...
|Why Aren't We Talking About MySpace?|
In January 2013, MySpace launched its new, revamped site, and it was cool. For about a day. Should we still be talking about it?
It’s no secret that Facebook — whether you love it or hate it — has a stranglehold on social media. Interestingly enough, the same stranglehold MySpace once held. And while the new MySpace looks great visually and is fairly pleasant to use, it apparently isn’t enough to entice users to move away from Facebook. This shouldn’t be surprising, though...
|Need A Booty Call App?|
Social discovery apps help you find other users nearby. This way, you can connect with like-minded individuals into the same activities you are. You know, like wine tasting book clubs, or — as in the case of Bang With Friends — sex.
Bang With Friends is a Facebook app that basically facilitates a hook up.
|Twitter to Add Account Security Feature |
After nearly 250,000 accounts were suspected of being compromised by ‘sophisticated’ hackers, Twitter reset the affected users’ passwords as a precautionary measure. In order to prevent hackings in the future, it appears Twitter will now opt for a two-factor authentication to better secure accounts.
According to Twitter, the hackers could have accessed “limited user information — usernames, email addresses, session tokens, and encrypted/salted versions of passwords.”
|Facebook's Photo Tagging is Back|
A couple of years ago, Facebook debuted a new photo tagging feature using facial recognition technology. "Debuted" may be too strong a word for it, though. More accurately, Facebook released its tagging suggestion feature, and a whole bunch of people freaked out, subsequently prompting an announcement of its debut.
|Tweeting for the Arts?|
Having your cell hone out in a theater during a show is typically regarded as being a major no-no. Recently, however, several theaters around the country are actually giving away free seats to people who will keep their phones out to tweet about performances.
These “tweet seats” are meant to generate buzz about the theaters’ shows, and hopefully entice more people to attend.
|Google, Facebook and Others Requiring Warrants for Your Online Communications|
Do you know what is required in order for companies like Google or Facebook to turn over information about your electronic communications when government entities ask? Both say that they require full warrants in order to give over information they have. This is a notable change for Facebook, which had in the past complied with simply a subpoena.
Their policies are actually above what is legally required to be provided, at least at a federal level.
|Facebook and Instagram Requiring Users to Upload Photo ID|
By now, you have probably heard the rumor that Facebook and Instagram are requiring your government-issued ID in order to restore locked accounts. Probably more accurate: By now, you’ve heard this is not a rumor, but true.
Instagram users who have found themselves locked out of their accounts have been prompted by the applications to upload a picture of their government-issued photo ID in order to regain access to their account.
|The Privacy Talk|
It seems a little counter-intuitive to be the one teaching your child about how to behave online when you're just learning the rules ourselves. But we’ve been doing that throughout human history — from the first caveman to warn his cave children about fire to teaching little Timmy about pedestrian safety after the invention of the Model T.
|Banjo, the Social Discovery App|
Ever been out at a particular place and thought to yourself, “I wonder what the social network profiles are like of other people who have been here?” Admittedly, that’s an oddly specific thought. But if you’ve ever wondered what your connections are doing, social discovery apps are right up your alley.
|Understanding Facebook's Graph Search|
Maybe you’re one of the many who has been laid up with the flu recently and missed Facebook’s big announcement this past week. Hopefully now you’re feeling better and can have enough energy to understand just what exactly Facebook’s Graph Search is, and what it means for your privacy.
First, Facebook unveiled its newest feature last Tuesday, but make no mistake...
|Standardizing Privacy Notifications|
Do you know the details of your online data privacy? No, of course you don’t. No one does. Don’t feel too bad. For whatever reason, it’s become rocket-science complicated.
What is clear: The White House has decided this is a big issue. After developing the Privacy Bill of Rights, The White House has set about pressuring the app industry to come up with a fix to the issue of informing the consumer. If the industry can’t come up with a system on its own, then it’s likely Congress will become involved...
|Facebook's Sponsored Stories Settlement|
Remember the Sponsored Stories on Facebook? They weren’t so much stories as they were ads that, as part of a recent lawsuit stated, “used Facebook members’ names and likenesses to sell products without their consent.”
You may have noticed a lot of your friends suddenly seeming to “Like” a product or company completely out of character for them.
|Social Media Hindsight |
Bragging about your latest accomplishment on social media is nothing new. We’ve all heard about engagements, weddings, babies, new cars, etc. from our friends and followers. While these types of updates certainly give us a glimpse into the happenings of others, they are relatively innocuous, and not exactly the kind of information that would get anyone into trouble.
|When Decency Fails Privacy|
“It’s not about privacy settings. It’s about human decency.”
At least it is according to Randi Zuckerberg’s tweet responding to a friend of her younger sister posting a Zuckerberg family photo. The sister’s friend, Callie Schweitzer, apparently is not Facebook friends with Randi Zuckerberg, but was able to see — thus copy and tweet — the photo because Randi’s privacy settings allowed for “Friends of Friends” viewing.
|The Good and Bad of Location Sharing|
Certainly location tracking without users' knowledge and consent is not okay. No one, regardless of their opinions yay or nay for location-related services, would likely say unauthorized tracking was okay. So, assuming everyone knows their information is being tracked in a particular scenario, what makes location-related services so controversial?
|Big Data in Social Media|
Big Data has been a hot topic as of late, but with its unfortunately Orwellian name, is it actually something to be concerned about? The answer as to whether Big Data is friend or foe comes down to context.
For businesses, Big Data provides the opportunity to put an actual value on marketing efforts. For example, instead of relying on the number of page likes or followers to measure social media impact, Big Data gives measurement of marketing activities in dollars.
|Keeping Your Resolutions with Social Media Accountability|
If you have ever made a New Year’s resolution you probably know how it can sometimes be a little difficult to stick to the commitment the whole year through. In fact, most people are lucky if they can stay on track through February. By June, more than half of people have bailed on their resolutions. If you’re the type that needs a little extra accountability in your resolution, turning to social media may be a great way to stay on track.
There are currently all kinds of apps out there that let you track a wide variety of activities...
|Understanding Privacy in the New Year|
Now is the time of year when people start to reassess their habits and make New Year’s resolutions. Just like every commitment to starting anew in other areas, it’s time to brush up on your current settings or start anew in your online privacy.
Even Facebook — if you have had a chance to notice over this holiday season — has asked you to look at how your information is shared...
|What Instagram Did for Flickr|
Whether or not you were one of the people who ceremoniously quit Instagram in the wake of their Terms of Service faux pas, you probably considered, signed up, or returned to Flickr. After all, it is pretty easy to assume all of the bad press recently focused on Instagram probably led to some of the best press Flickr has seen in quite some time.
Unfortunately, Instagram had also just removed one previously held advantage over Flicker — instant photo sharing in Twitter.
|Why Can't Mobile App Privacy Be Simple?|
We all know someone — ourselves, friends, children, or heaven forbid our mom — playing Words with Friends, Instagram, Ruzzle, etc. to a near obsession. But what kind of personal information are these apps, and others, collecting about us once we’ve downloaded?
Turns out, quite a lot.
|What Facebook's Changes Mean for Instagram|
|Christmas 'Cookies' and You|
If a stranger was following you down the street, you would tell them to stop, right? Or if you came home to find a hoard of strangers rifling through your belongings, would you feel some kind of way about it? After all, you have the right to be left alone. No one should be allowed to just take your information without your consent.
So let’s talk about cookies, and how they enable a digital version of the scenarios outlined above. No, these cookies are not your grandma’s kind of cookies.