4 social trends affecting the dynamics of learning in the workplace

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Many of us remember a time when Internet access was a privilege; now, however, access to the Internet is believed to be a basic human right by 83% of global users.

Access to a global network of information has become something we can’t live without. The Internet enables us to be more self-sufficient — and yet more dependent at the same time.

Smartphones are like security blankets, with 65% of digital natives reporting that they carry their devices from room to room with them. We feel safer knowing we have access at our fingertips to any information or people we need. We don’t need to know it all; our phone does.

In a Pew Research social networking study, 72% of adults online reported that they use social media. In fact, use of all social platforms has dramatically increased since 2012.

Technology has not only changed how we consume information, it’s also defining how we learn. Companies will need to rethink how their employees are taught new skills in light of the ideals of the changing workforce.

Here are a few trends transforming learning in the workplace.

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Kim Dotcom Launches Skype Competitor MegaChat

Kim Dotcom, the infamous entrepreneur behind Megaupload, has released his latest product. Currently in beta, MegaChat is a browser-based encrypted video calling and file-sharing platform that is being positioned as a Skype competitor.

MegaChat is being rolled out feature-by-feature today and there are still a few kinks left to sort out.

When I tested the service with my TechCrunch co-worker Jon Russell, we had problems connecting a few times. Despite enabling them, neither of us got pop-up notifications for incoming calls. When the service did work, however, audio and video quality was on par with Skype’s. MegaChat screenshot

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LinkedIn is working on two new products to help coworkers connect

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LinkedIn is most known as a place to network or look for a new job, but now the career-oriented social network is working on some new tools to help users connect with their current coworkers.

A source from LinkedIn told Mashable that the company is developing two products that can bring employers, employees and colleagues closer together. That way, the platform can be better utilized to improve connections within the office, rather than outside of it. The tools will make it easier to access employee information, as well as share content relevant to your workplace.

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The SocialRank Index Shows Companies How They Stack Up On Social Media

Social media analytics startup SocialRank released a new tool earlier today called the SocialRank Index — aimed at tracking and aggregating the performance of the biggest brands in the world.

This seems like a natural evolution of SocialRank, which started out as a side projectfor identifying your “most valuable follower.” Not surprisingly, it expanded with new data points and filters, though the main buckets are still valuable, engaged, and “best” followers. (The last category being a combination of the other two.) It also developed features to show users the same data about their competitors.

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How Retailers Like Apple Mess With Our Senses to Boost Sales (Infographic)

The best ads and sales tactics — the ones that move us to get up, go out and buy something — are a feast for the senses. And that’s no accident. It’s a ploy, in every sense.

Retailers, and the marketers who promote them, are master manipulators. They toy with our delicate senses — smell, sight, hearing, taste and touch — to have their way with us, all the way to the checkout.

While sight is typically the strongest draw for consumers (specifically the sight of color, especially red), smell is also a powerful lure, a fact that’s not lost on brick-and-mortar retailers. For example, Bloomingdales pumps different scents into different sections of its department stores to enhance the shopping experience — and, more importantly, sales. The tropical scent of coconut wafts in its swimwear section, the gentle aroma of baby powder in infant wear and the sweet bouquet of lilac in lingerie.

Apple is more touchy-feely. The iconic computer giant displays sample products in clever, carefully plotted ways that tempt shoppers to reach out and play with them. Before each meticulously uncluttered Apple store opens, employees tilt Macbook screens open to a seductive perfect viewing angle of 70 degrees. It’s not a coincidence. It’s an effective sales tactic or Apple wouldn’t bother.

Meanwhile, studies show that offering customers a soft, cozy chair to kick back in can improve negotiations in ways that favor retailers. Comfort is key to establishing brand trust and brand trust often leads to sales.

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Twitter Plans To Increase Revenue With Ads On Publisher’s Apps

Twitter reportedly has a new advertising strategy – sell ads within third-party apps. According to the Wall Street Journal, the social media network revealed the new plan to expand advertising revenue during a presentation at CES.

“Advertisers and agency executives said that was a big focus of Twitter’s pitch during CES this week,” writes the WSJ. “The company wants to be able to eventually make the claim that it delivers the ‘largest daily audience online.’”

According to a person who spoke to the WSJ about the matter, “The social media company is planning to sell ads within streams of tweets on other publishers’ apps and websites.”

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Facebook Dumps Bing, Will Introduce Its Own Search Tool

It seems that Facebook quietly removed Bing as its primary search provider over the weekend, announcing plans to debut its own search tool on Monday, according to Reuters.

The report says that Facebook’s new search tool will give users the ability to filter through old comments and other information from friends.

Facebook has been building out its search products for a long time, using Bing as an extra layer to provide results beyond the Interest Graph in an effort to avoid letting rival Google into the system.

A Facebook spokesperson told Reuters: “We’re not currently showing web search results in Facebook Search because we’re focused on helping people find what’s been shared with them on Facebook. We continue to have a great partnership with Microsoft of lots of different areas.”

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