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Facebook Acquires Branch Media

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Facebook has acquired conversation service Branch Media and subsidiary Potluck, as of Monday January 13th. Josh Miller, Branch CEO, announced the buyout via Facebook.

In an article Miller posted last year on Medium.com, the now 23-year-old Branch CEO forecasted, “Facebook may have an irreversibly bad brand.” Miller will now be part of turning things around for the social media networking service, “After two years building Branch and Potluck, I am thrilled to announce we will be continuing our mission at Facebook!” Branch is to expand to Facebook scale, starting a Facebook ‘conversations’ unit aimed at promoting interest based interaction between users. The project is part of an overall Facebook initiative aimed at generating a more refined dialogue and supporting a News Feed composed of actual news.

Do you think “Facebook may have an irreversibly bad brand?” Is Branch just what Facebook needs? Will you stick around to see? Let us know by commenting below.

Mobile plan brings free Facebook access to US mobile devices

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Good news for Facebook’s 1.2 billion users!

For the first time, Americans will be able to access Facebook on their mobile devices without a mobile data plan. On Monday  T-Mobile, a mobile communications conglomerate, announced that GoSmart, (a T-Mobile subsidiary), would allow users to have free access to Facebook (and Facebook Messenger). The service is predominantly targeted to smartphones but it will also work on more basic devices known as “feature phones.”

For some time now, Facebook has been hoping to boost usage of their site for those who are unable to afford data plans.

Facebook has entered agreements with carriers in India, the Philippines and other developing countries for years. Such deals aim at increasing global internet access and providing widespread accessibility to websites such as Facebook and Wikipedia in low-income countries. However, the exact terms of the agreements with the companies remain unclear.

Chris Daniels, vice president of partnerships at Facebook, said

“Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected, and we’re delighted that GoSmart subscribers, many who don’t have data access, will be able to use Facebook for free.”

Increased Facebook availability could mean access to previously untappedby-social-media markets. For some time now Facebook has been an ideal platform to engage and reach your audiences. As the pool of Facbook users rapidly rises, one must closely examine if they are using the platform to its fullest; No better time than the present to confirm…

Sound Off: Does Facebook’s new partnerships effect how you look at the social media outlet?

Link: Mashable’s 5 Biggest Social Media Lessons of 2013

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[image from techwhyse.com]

As 2013 comes to a close it’s a perfect time to reflect on the hits and misses of a year nearly passed. Mashable’s “5 Biggest Social Media Lessons of 2013” succinctly categorizes worldwide social media events into intriguing yet practical lessons.

From Oreo’s growth in popularity through advantageous use of the Super Bowl blackout to an Associated Press’ Twitter hack that lead to market-wide panic, this summary of the year’s successes and failures serves as an intriguing and teachable blueprint for the coming year.

The major lessons are:

  • “Social Media Can Move Markets”: Even a simple Twitter account hack can lead to stock market panic. Suddenly, previously separate entities seem interconnected.
  • “Social Media Is Increasingly Visual”: Vine and Instagram Video were introduced, allowing users to create and share short videos with ease.
  • “Social Media Isn’t Just for the Kids”: LinkedIn Influencers became a platform for CEOs to interact with members and more high-ranking global leaders joined Twitter.
  • “Social Media Advertising Is Growing, Evolving”: More revenue and influence comes from Tweets, mobile ads, and sponsored posts.
  • “Social Media Could Be TV’s Best Ally”: Related to the point above, high rates of live-tweets during television programs represent more user-engagement.

As the post focuses on emerging trends, global successes and pitfalls to avoid in the future, we wonder: what will the next year bring? What will be the next social media trend? How will the internet react to world events and how can we take part in the process?

Mashable: 14 Facebook Tools

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mashable did a round-up of some lesser-known Facebook functions. Many of these tools are aimed at those who used Facebook Ads and Pages. But some of this information is valuable for authors who use Facebook to promote themselves or connect with friends.

Facebook is a very important site when you are promoting yourself and connecting with your audience. Knowing about these tools and playing around with their functionality will enhance your profile and online presence.

Here are the most important ones to be aware of: 

Browse: This tool filters content that you haven’t seen yet and is related to any topic.  It is valuable if you are looking for new friends, pages, etc.

Export Your Calender:  If you are an avid Facebook Events user, you may have a calender full of conferences, book signings, appointments, and birthdays.  This tool allows you to export Facebook Events to another calender (like iCal, Outlook, or Google Calender) so all of your scheduled events will be in one place.

Facebook Desktop Chat: Many people now use Facebook Chat instead of email, Instant Message programs, or GChat. If you want to avoid going back to your FB page each time a message comes in, use the messenger tool. It pops the chat functionality right to your desktop.

Related, Chat Keyboard Shortcuts: This makes Chat easier to navigate.

Interests: When you add “interests” to your profile, Facebook automatically collects feeds from those key areas.  This is valuable for keeping up with the latest news updates.

View As: If you set privacy guidelines for photos and other status updates based on your friends lists, you can use the View As function to see what they see.

Improving your profile picture across social media

Sometimes the smallest details can affect your presence on social media in a positive or negative way. With that in mind, Mashable posted a how-to guide for choosing and profile pictures.

From LinkedIn and Twitter to Facebook and YouTube, profile pictures are a follower’s first point of entry to your online presence.  The photo (or avatar) has to be representative of your persona as well as eye catching enough to draw them in.

Here are some tips:

  • Keep an eye on image-type restrictions.  These vary by site. Some sites may prefer high-resolution file types (like .jpg) while others prefer smaller files (like .tiff or .png).
  • Note any image size/pixel recommendations. Image size guidelines also vary by site.  Some site require different types of images. Facebook, for one, allows you to upload a cover photo and a profile picture.  Good cover photos are wider while good profile pictures tend to be square.
  • Choose images wisely. Note the audience of each social network may vary. For example on your LinkedIn profile, you may want to choose an image where you are wearing a suit or another authoritative outfit. LinkedIn has more of a professional vibe so leave the dog and family photos to your Facebook and Twitter pages.

A profile picture doesn’t have to be an image of yourself. It can be a piece of lab equipment or the cover of your latest publication.  As we always say, it is what you are comfortable with.

For some perceptive, visit TheFacesOfFacebook, an app that gathered all Facebook profile pictures from the beginning on to one page.  The outcome is very interesting.

Read about ways to boost your marketing (from New York Times)

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

As part of the New York Times’ Business Day section, you can view a series of articles aimed at small business owners.  Called You’re the Boss, this column features some interesting content that could be valuable for you as an author.

As an author, you essentially need to think of yourself as a “small business.”  You make the decisions on how to present yourself and what steps to take in promote your product (which is you).

On August 8th, the topic was ways to improve your marketing on Facebook. Melinda Emerson (founder of Quintessence Multimedia, a social media strategy and content development company) says you need to be aware of how Facebook algorithms work and how to use them to increase the effectiveness of your activities.  She also points out the importance of not flooding your fans (or customers).

Click here to read the post.

Protecting your privacy on Facebook

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

In the past, we’ve discussed online and tech safety. With all of the hackers and viruses that are out there today, it is important to protect your online footprint.

Mashable posted on this very topic last week.  In the post, the author specifically talks about Facebook’s privacy settings.  Because this social network is constantly changing and updating, their privacy policies are constantly changing and updating.    There is an ongoing discussion the professional sector just how much to share with the public.  There is also a push in the education sector for professors and other academics to lock down their profiles so that students aren’t able to access the personal content posted by their superiors.

Here are the main privacy areas to pay attention to:

About
Friends and Followers
Photos
Likes
Timeline and Tagging
Apps

Take some time to read the Mashable post that features step-by-step directions on how to personalize each of these important profile areas.

Remember that Facebook is only what you make it. You can choose to share as much or as little as you want with as many or as few people as you are comfortable with.