How to make Facebook work better for you: Quit the ‘Like’

How to make Facebook work better for you: Quit the ‘Like’

The “Like” button on Facebook seems harmless enough: It’s an easy way to express your appreciation of something.

But as some people are discovering, that innocuous little like has some unintended consequences.

Wired writer Mat Honan found out what happens when you like every single thing that shows up in your Facebook feed. The results were dramatic: Instead of his friends’ updates, he saw more and more updates from brands and publishers. And, based on what he had liked most recently, Facebook’s algorithm made striking judgements about his political leanings, giving him huge numbers extremely right-wing or extremely left-wing posts. What’s more, all that liking made Honan’s own posts show up far more in his friends’ feeds — distorting their view of the world, too.

But Medium writer Elan Morgan tried the opposite experiment: Not liking anything on Facebook. Instead of pressing like, she wrote a few thoughtful words whenever she felt the need to express appreciation: “What a gorgeous shock of hair” or “Remember how we hid from your grandmother in the gazebo and smoked cigarettes?” The result, as you might guess, is just the opposite of Honan’s experience: Brand messages dwindled away and Facebook became a more relaxed, conversational place for Morgan.

While far from conclusive, these two personal experiments are highly suggestive. Facebook’s algorithm is tuned in a way that makes it respond to likes by giving you more of what it thinks is related — and those suggestions are usually driven by brand marketing. Stop liking things, and Facebook eases off the marketing messages, letting your friends’ updates come to the fore.

“Once I removed the Like function from my own behavior, I almost started to like using Facebook,” Morgan wrote, concluding:

Give the Like a rest and see what happens. Choose to comment with words. Watch how your feed changes. I haven’t used the Like on Facebook since August 1st, and the changes in my feed have been so notably positive that I won’t be liking anything in the foreseeable future.

Not so secretly, I think the humanity and love, the kinder middle grounds not begging for extremes, that many of us have come to believe are diminishing in the world at large are simply being drowned out by an inhuman algorithm, and I think we can bring those socially vital experiences back out into the light.

 

-Courtesy: Venturebeat

Snapchat Is Now The #3 Social App Among Millennials

Snapchat is now the third most popular social app among millennials, according to a recent report by comScore, which finds that Snapchat has 32.9% penetration on these young users’ mobile phones, trailing only Instagram (43.1%) and Facebook (75.6%).

That means the app is more popular than Twitter, Pinterest, Vine, Google+ or Tumblr among the millennial demographic, which comScore defines as those between the ages of 18 and 34.

It also puts into perspective why Facebook once valued the company at $3 billion, and why Snapchat had the vision – or hubris, perhaps – to turn that offer down. Millennials are the youngest, most active generation of mobile social networking users, and their habits are setting the stage to be the new “default” for the generations that follow, like Generation Z or Generation Alpha, or whatever we’re calling the born-with-iPad-in-hand kids.

Leading-Social-Media-Apps_reference

As comScore explains, Snapchat’s overall audience penetration among smartphone users was just 12.1% back in November 2013, when reports of the Facebook deal began to circulate. That made the company’s decision to decline the multi-billion dollar acquisition appear risky and maybe even rash – especially since Facebook and MySpace only began to see their user growth really accelerate once they hit 15%-20% penetration – something which Snapchat had not yet achieved.

But Snapchat is now at 18% penetration among smartphone-using adults, says comScore, citing figures from June 2014.

Snapchat-App-Smartphone-User-Penetration-by-Age_reference

More importantly, when you dive deeper into Snapchat’s user demographics, it seems that Snapchat has long since passed critical mass among users ages 18-24, where it now sees around 50% penetration. Combined with the slightly older 25-34 crowd, Snapchat’s penetration among the broader Millennial demographic is at 32.9%, as noted above.

 

“At this reach threshold, Snapchat has likely established a certain degree of staying power within this demographic segment that gives it some runway to evolve beyond its core value proposition,” says comScore VP of Marketing & Insights, Andrew Lipsman.

Snapchat’s ability to reach a critical mass matters because it demonstrates that apps that aren’t purely text messaging replacements, like Whatsapp (which sold to Facebook for an astounding $19 billion) can hit it big. Messaging apps as alternatives to pricey SMS was a void waiting to be filled on mobile, where apps like LINE, Kakao Talk, Whatsapp, WeChat, Kik, Tango, Viber and others each attract hundreds of millions of users.

Some of these “messaging” apps are more than simple utilities though, offering a platform for games and other apps to run on top of their social underpinnings.

182401-snapchatourstory

Similarly, with the launch of the collaborative “Our Story” feature, Snapchat also took its first big steps beyond the friend-to-friend photo messaging experience, offering a platform that could potentially appeal to paying customers like music festivals or sports teams looking to reach the Millennial crowd.

And while comScore’s numbers validate those who believed in Snapchat’s potential, there’s also that gut feeling that this is an app that will continue to resonate with today’s younger smartphone users. It’s a reimagining of a social network for the generation who grew up chastised for over-sharing on Facebook and other social media platforms; for those who watched as Facebook shifted the ground underneath them, tricking users into public sharing with privacy policies that were moving targets.

It makes sense that this group – a group who invented concepts like whitewalling on Facebook, where a third of users have deleted or deactivated entire social accounts – would gravitate toward an app that treats content as disposable.

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

5 Networking Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

 

There are a lot of responsibilities that you must undertake as an entrepreneur. But one vital task is sometimes easily overlooked: networking.

Networking may not seem like a big deal to you. Or you may find it terrifying. Regardless, it’s part of the foundation of being a connected and successful entrepreneur. When you make the right connections, you’re able to meet individuals who can provide advice, information, and referrals, and can help you expand your sphere of influence. How do you get out there and successfully network? Here are five tips that will help you get the ball rolling.

1. Be Prepared

For starters, know what kind of event you’re going to. Is it a conference? Is it a black-tie affair? This will obviously determine how you dress and help you know the appropriate time to speak to people. You also want to know who’s attending and whether or not it’s possible to reach out to them before the event.

Finally–and most important: Be ready to clearly and concisely describe what you do if someone asks. But remember, you’re not just there to make a sales pitch. You’re there to make connections. Sales will happen further on down the line as you get to know people with whom you’ve met and established a rapport.

2. Be Yourself, and Smile

Obviously you want to put your best foot forward, but don’t be afraid to be yourself. If you’re a bit goofy, let that side out a little. It sets you apart from everyone else in the crowd who might be acting overly professional. There will always be people who appreciate you for who you are, just as there are those who won’t. Forget about putting on a show, and trust yourself. Being real shows others who you actually are, and why you’re passionate about your product or service.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to smile. Not only is a smile more inviting than a frown, it makes others happy as well. When you see someone smile, your brain has a similar response. Smiling is also relaxing. So even if you’re terrified, putting on a genuine smile canslow down your heart rate and relieve stress.

3. Don’t Be Shy

What’s the point in establishing relationships if you don’t get out there and mingle?
“One of the best ways to break the ice is by asking questions,” says serial investor John Rampton. “It doesn’t have to be anything too in-depth at first, a simple ‘Hi, my name is… What brings you here today?’ That one little introduction could be just enough to launch an eventful and important relationship.”

4. Listen

It happens to the best of us. You’re nervous, and now you just can’t stop rambling on and on. The problem with that is that you’ve now hijacked the conversation. When conversing with someone, think of it as 70 percent listening and 30 percent talking. This makes people feel important and it shows that you are actually sincerely interested in what they have to say. When doing so, make eye contact, repeat the person’s name, and ask a question or make a statement that rephrases something that person has said.

Need some more advice with this one? Check out the work of American psychologist Carl Rogers.

5. Follow Up

If all goes well, then you’ve received contact information from some of the people you met. Perhaps they gave you a business card or friended you on LinkedIn. What are you going to do with this information? Instead of storing it away in some forgotten desk drawer, make sure that you follow up.

Whether it’s an email, phone call, or social media conversation through Twitter or LinkedIn, make sure that you get in touch within 48 hours of first meeting. If you really want to make an impression–or spark the contact’s memory–reference something that was discussed during your first encounter.

Bonus Tip

Every relationship has two sides, and one of the keys to networking is helping others. Look for ways to help people you meet. You gain people’s trust by going above and beyond to really help them out. Besides, karma is a good thing, and it’ll always come back to you.

 

-Courtesy: Inc.com

Inside Jobs: What It’s Like To Be The Community Director At Polyvore

For this week’s episode of Inside Jobs, I sat down with Nadia Hussain, the community director at Polyvore.

Polyvore has attracted one of the largest fashion-focused communities on the web today with some 20 million monthly unique visitors worldwide, so the company’s community management team never has a dull moment. Hussain’s job is to interact with them on a personal level, and relay their feedback to Polyvore’s engineering and product teams.

Doing this means hours of emailing, chatting, and often speaking on the phone with people all over the world who use Polyvore. So it made sense to hear Hussain say that community managers often form real friendships while doing their jobs:

“I keep love letters on my desk. I have these cards that members have sent our team, and it’s just a nice reminder every day to just think about, this is who I’m supporting, this is why I do what I do, it’s for the community.

And what’s really awesome is we have members all over the world, and I think they’ve all invited me to come stay with them. We were thinking about going to Brazil for the World Cup, and one of our members was like, ‘If you come, you’re staying with me! I have a room for you, and you can bring your friends.’ And that’s really cool. We’re developing these really awesome relationships with our community members.”

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

Founders, Execs, Denny’s Respond To The CIA’s First Tweet

You can now stalk the CIA back. At least within the realm of social media.

The government agency made its Twitter debut Friday afternoon with a self-mocking tweet that brought the account 50,000 followers in under 50 minutes.

The tweet, which combined a sense of humor with brand awareness–two key components for a successful social media strategy!–was retweeted over 280,000 times and drew thousands of responses from other Twitter accounts. Entrepreneurs and business leaders were among those who tweeted back at the CIA with a few jokes of their own.

Box CEO (and Inc’s Entrepreneur of the Year) Aaron Levie:

Jeremiah Owyang, founder of Crowd Companies Council:

Howard Fineman, editorial director of Huffington Post Media Group:

Billy Chasen, founder of Turntable.fm:

Dana Brunetti, president of Trigger Street Productions (and Kevin Spacey’s business partner):

And then there were brands like Denny’s, which took advantage of the tweet’s popularity to do some social media promotion of their own.

Given that the @CIA has now reached nearly 600,000 followers in the span of three days, it might not be a bad idea to spy on the account. You might uncover a few social media tips.

 

-Courtesy: Inc.com

Singapore’s Fastacash collects an extra $3.5M in funding to help make payments social

fastacash screen

Singapore’s Fastacash collects an extra $3.5M in funding to help make payments social June 6, 2014at 4:52 pmby Josh Horwitz Share 3025450 Fastacash, the Singapore-based payments startup, announced today it raised US$3.5 million in funding from Jagdish Chanrai, principal at the Kewalram Chanrai Group and Golden Orile Investments, along with prior investors Jungle Ventures, Spring SEEDS Capital, and Funding the Future. The round will top up the company’s funding to US$8 million.

Fastacash lets people send money to friends and family over popular social networks. A user who might want to send US$20 to a relative, for example, might log into Fastacash’s mobile app, input the sum of money to send, and then direct the cash to Aunt Susie’s Facebook. The next time Aunt Susie checks Facebook Messenger, she’ll receive a link that takes her either to her own Fastacash app or a web app, through which she accepts the transfer.

Fastacash provides accounts both to consumers, who might use it to pay for last night’s drinks, or companies, who might use it to give coupons to customers. Virtual goods, music, and images can also be transferred through Fastacash.

The company also revealed it formed strategic partners with a number of payment providers around the world, including Skrill, India’s Oxigen, Russia’s Mobi.Dengi, Kenya’s Imperial Bank, and Vietnam’s Techom Bank.

The social payments space – and the payments industry in general – remains crowded with young startups, none of whom have emerged as a globally dominant player. Venmo once looked to be at the forefront of a then-nascent wave of mobile payment startups, but it’s been relatively quiet following its acquisition by Braintree in 2012. Square also has its own person-to-person payments feature, though that company appears to be facing some growth hurdles. Old standbys like Google and Paypal also have their hats in the ring. Fastacash appears to bet that remaining platform agnostic, useful for brands, and relatively low-fi (you’re basically just sending out a link) will help win over users.

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Thailand social media stats: 28 million on Facebook, 4.5 million on Twitter, 1.7 million on Instagram

Thai social media

Back in March, Thailand had roughly 24 million Facebook users and 1.5 million Instagram users. Twitter saw 35 percent user growth and 45 percent more use per user in 2013 compared to 2012 in Thailand.

The number has grown significantly since then.

Earlier this week at the Thailand Zocial Awards in Bangkok, some interesting numbers were presented. Zocial Inc, the company behind ZocialRank, which monitors social media trends in the country, hosted the event.

According to the company, Thailand has 28 million Facebook users, growing 53 percent faster than the previous year. That makes Thailand Facebook’s ninth biggest country worldwide. Thailand has 67 million people, so one-third of the population has a Facebook account.

55 percent of Thailand’s Facebook users reside in Bangkok (15.4 million people), followed by Chiangmai, Chonburi, and Nakhonrachasima provinces.

In 2013, women accounted for 51 percent and men accounted for 49 percent of Thai Facebook accounts.

57 percent of Thai Facebook users post pictures, the most popular feature, followed by check-ins (33 percent), sharing links (21 percent), sharing YouTube videos (3 percent), and posting statuses about themselves (2 percent).

Twitter and Instagram is also popular in Thailand. 4.5 million Twitter users and 1.7 million Instagram users live in the country.

Thai people spend about 3.7 hours per day surfing social media, just behind the people in the Philippines who clock in at four hours per day.

Zocial Inc also did a small survey on users of messaging app Line. It shows that from 688 correspondents, 87 percent use the chat app to send messages, 47 percent use it to share pictures, and 45 percent use Line for its games.

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Foodstagramming and Potato Hashtags: A Social Media Campaign to Sink Your Teeth into

The latest innovation in social media is made of potatoes. And, it’s fried.

Frozen food maker Birds Eye is pioneering a new method of social media marketing where consumers can literally eat social media for breakfast. Though, with Mashtags–fried potatoes shaped like emoticons and hashtags–it’s probably more enjoyable for lunch.

Birds Eye also just launched a pop-up restaurant called Picture House, wherein customers may pay for their meals simply by posting shots of their meals on Instagram. At the pop-up restaurant in London, which just opened, customers can simply upload a photo to Instagram with the hashtag #BirdsEyeInspirations.

The innovative marketing methods are part of a larger marketing campaign from the nearly 70-year-old Feltham, England based Iglo Group, which owned by European private equity firm, Permira. With the hope of doubling its size by 2020, the company is looking into the benefits of social commerce. Marketing director Margaret Jobling told Marketing Week last year that the social media push was intended to build brand loyalty among adult diners and families.

So far the strategy has included everything from Facebook campaigns to social media-themed products like Mashtags. Birds Eye’s most recent foray into social media is intended to promote the launch of its Inspirations line, a new selection of premium chicken and fish recipes.

“The Picture House appeals to the current trend of taking photos of our food and sharing them on social channels and we feel that this is an exciting platform on which to champion two new premium products,” Jobling told Marketing Week.

According to research conducted by Birds Eye, 52 percent of people in the UK regularly snap pictures of their meals. Nine percent admit they cannot go a single day without photographing their food. The jury is still out about just how much of the population enjoys eating hashtags. (Though, we’re pretty sure, it’d be at least 60 percent of Americans.)

Given the new report that Instagram has the highest rate of user engagement with branded content, it’s no surprise that Birds Eye decided to capitalize on the foodstagramming trend. The tag #BirdsEyeInspirations has already generated more than 400 photos on Instagram. The brand is encouraging social media interaction on its own Instagram account, where it uploads its own pictures as well as “regramming” from customers.

While there’s no evidence yet as to whether the campaign will succeed in getting people to actually pay for the Inspirations meals once the pop-up tour is over, customer reactions have been very positive. Instagram user Nick Hay (@heavysound) described his experience at Picture House as an evening of “exceptional food and excellent service.”

Chef Boyardee had better watch its step.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

SV Angel Leads Pinterest Financing At A $5 Billion Valuation

News broke this afternoon that Pinterest has raised a $200 million Series F valuing it at $5 billion. We’ve just confirmed that the massive round, which could fund Pinterest until its monetization makes it self-sustaining, was led by none other than  SV Angel.

We’d been tipped earlier that Andreessen Horowitz and others had invested with significant participation from SV Angel, which Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz are a part of individually as LPs. We had also heard that SV Angel coordinated the deal for many of its friends and some of its LPs through a special purpose vehicle, as it has done in the past.

ReadWrite’s Lauren Orsini broke the news of the investment.

Pinterest PR rep Barry Schnitt confirmed the $200 million raise and $5 billion valuation in an email. He also confirmed that existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Fidelity, A16Z, FirstMark Capital, and Valiant Capital Partners went in on the round, which SV Angel led. SV Angel and its SPV (an investment entity created for a specific purpose) set the terms of the deal.

“Google is ‘I’m looking for this particular camera and model number.’ Pinterest is discovery: ‘What are the cool cameras?’”

When asked if this was the first in a series of later stage SV Angel investments, SV Angel founder David Lee told me, “Probably not, our core business is seed investing. This is not a change in our strategy or our normal day-to-day business, this is just a unique opportunity which speaks to how much we believe in the founder and the company. This is pretty rare.”

Previous investor Rakuten did not participate, and hasn’t participated since its first sizable Pinterest round, Schnitt said.

Pinterest held that the new money would be used primarily for international growth and monetization. The company plans to open worldwide offices beyond the ones it has in France, Japan and the UK.

Pinterest launched its first paid Promoted Pins three days ago, which actually should have clued us in to its need for capital — in order to further implement a product that could eventually make it profitable. To monetize, a company needs to develop a paying user base, prove out ROI, and then get clients to ramp their spend. That takes awhile, and some dough.

“It’s basically a visual commercial search” one person told us, of Pinterest’s lofty ambitions and valuation. RW’s Lauren Orsini described its goal as a “battle with Google,” referring to its mobile Guided Search product as one of the weapons in its arsenal.

Lee said that the Google positioning wasn’t exactly accurate, “I wouldn’t position it to take on Google, it’s a new platform. Whether it is planning your next vacation, planning your wedding, or planning things to buy for your home, all those activities blend discovery and search.”

It’s notable that vacations, weddings and home decorating are also all retail sectors with high cart sizes. And the ROI on successful ad conversions could be huge on these big-ticket items, so Pinterest could potentially charge sky-high ad rates.

“Google is ‘I’m looking for this particular camera and model number.’” Lee said, emphasizing the big difference between Google and his potential golden goose, “Pinterest is discovery: ‘What are the cool cameras?’”

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

As Mark Zuckerberg Turns 30, His 10 Best Quotes as CEO

In Silicon Valley years, Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is over the hill. Today is his 30th birthday.

In honor of Zuckerberg’s big day and to mark Facebook’s decade-long existence, we’ve compiled 10 of the tech entrepreneur’s most interesting quotes over the years.  

Here they are, in no particular order. Enjoy.

1. “Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”
(Oct. 2009)

2. “If I were starting now I would do things very differently. I didn’t know anything. In Silicon Valley, you get this feeling that you have to be out here. But it’s not the only place to be. If I were starting now, I would have stayed in Boston. [Silicon Valley] is a little short-term focused and that bothers me.” (Oct. 2011)

3. “I remember really vividly, you know, having pizza with my friends a day or two after — I opened up the first version of Facebook at the time I thought, ‘You know, someone needs to build a service like this for the world. But I just never thought that we’d be the ones to help do it. And I think a lot of what it comes down to is we just cared more.” (Jan. 2014)

4. “The question isn’t, ‘What do we want to know about people?’, It’s, ‘What do people want to tell about themselves?'” (Nov. 2011)

5. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” (Oct. 2011) 

6. “Building a mission and building a business go hand-in-hand. It is true that the primary thing that makes me excited about what we’re doing is the mission, but I also think, from the very beginning, we’ve had this healthy understanding which is that we need to do both.” (Sept. 2012)

7. “The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete.” (Feb. 2012)

8. “People can be really smart or have skills that are directly applicable, but if they don’t really believe in it, then they are not going to really work hard.” (Oct. 2005)

9. “I don’t want Facebook to be an American company. I don’t want it to be this company that just spreads American values all across the world. …My view on this is that you want to be really culturally sensitive and understand the way that people actually think.” (June 2011)

10. “My goal was never to just create a company. A lot of people misinterpret that, as if I don’t care about revenue or profit or any of those things. But what not being ‘just’ a company means to me is building something that actually makes a really big change in the world.” (Feb. 2011)

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

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