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Twitter Is Trying to Patent “Pull to Refresh”

By now we have all grown familiar with the “pull down to refresh” action on mobile websites. Especially websites like Twitter and Facebook, but now Twitter is trying to patent the action – which means we’re going to see that small but extremely useful little trick less and less.

Loren Brichter filed for the “User Interface Mechanics” patent back in 2010, when he still worked for Tweetie, the move is something that really makes sense. Instead of having to press a “refresh” button, simply pull down and it will do the actual refresh automatically. The system is described as:

A method, comprising: displaying a content area; receiving input associated with a first command, the first command including a request to scroll the content area; and based on the first command, performing a second command, the second command being independent of the first command

Since the description is kind of “way out there” and doesn’t really say – Pull Down To Refresh – this means that if twitter gets the patent, any website that uses a pull down to refresh command is going to be breaking the patent which means you’ll have to sit around jerking your phone up and down trying to refresh your news feed looking over your shoulder making sure no one is trying to file a lawsuit for crude gestures in public.

This is the only thing I hate about patents, instead of making life easier on everyone else; we’re stuck in their stupid legal debates. Imagine if someone patented a cure for cancer and didn’t allow anyone else to use it – yet, they had no way of actually putting the cure to good use.   [USPTO via iPodNN]

Facebook to Introduce Ads on your News Feed in 2012

Advertisements are a necessary evil to keep a website up and running, on my site alone I have 5 different advertisement placements, this covers for up-keep of the site and hosting prices. But there is a thing as to many ads; I personally hate websites that have in-link ads. Sites that have an advertisement everywhere you put your cursor on, and sites that have pop-up advertisements that you have to slash through before you get to the actual content.

Facebook is no different than every site on the web, their advertisements are found on the side bar and on the commenting area, but starting  in 2012 Facbook is going to start showing ads in a very intrusive area of the page – The news feed. From a business point, this is a great move for Facebook, someone is going to see the advertisement, but from a user’s point of view, this is going to get annoying fast – the image at the bottom is an example of how this new advertisement is going to look.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook is only going to show one advertisement per day, which is tolerable. You can close it if you like, but there won’t be any opting out. So the next day, a new ad will appear on your feed.

There really is no reason to get angry over this because one more ad per day is not going to be that big of a deal, plus when you like a brand and that brand makes a status update you pretty much get an advertisement anyway, and lastly, if you want Facebook to continue on being free this is what we have to put up with. Here is something else too, if you don’t like it, you can always stop using Facebook, but how long will THAT last?

Come to think about it… it looks like those images that everyone on my news feed is posting left and right.

The Truth about Facebook and Grades

Contrary to popular belief, a recent study revealed that Facebook use among students really isn’t much of a problem. In fact, it hardly has any notable impact on a student’s academic performance.

The study surveyed 1,839 students attending 4-year universities. The majority of them (92%) reported using Facebook, and the average amount of time they spent on it was a total of 106 minutes. On average, students visit the site 6 times and stay for 24 minutes each visit. The survey also drew some interesting conclusions.Here are some of the most notable ones:

– Students’ GPAs dropped .12 points for every 93 minutes above the average of 106 minutes per day. Proving that while Facebook could impact students’ grades, the effect is rather small.

– Certain activities on Facebook were linked with either higher or lower grades.

– Most importantly, the study found no link between a student using Facebook and the amount that they actually spent time studying.

Check out the graphic below by Online Education to see the full details of the study:

Facebook and Grades
Via: OnlineEducation.net

Facebook Timeline: Will It Be Useful to us?

The Internet has become an eternal part of our lives, It’s the best place to hang around, make new friends, and earn money. Social networking sites are now one of the largest websites with the most traffic. Tumblr, Facebook, twitter, Youtube and many other sites have created a separate type of culture called “social networking.”

Sites like Facebook have become so important that people not only use them for networking, but they use them as their online diary where they are storing their entire lives from start to finish. Such sites offer everything form chatting, to sharing data, to listening music, storing and sharing your files, and a plethora of other services. These services incorporate a mix of media players, clean layouts and online file storage systems to attract new users. All of these services combined, make someone’s online presence extremely share-able.

This advancement in internet and social media technology has made the social sharing a convenient experience for all. Now at one place you can share all your important images, with all your friends in one go. The amount of information one can share at such social networking sites can be overwhelming. So having control over who sees the content you are sharing is extremely important. There are privacy settings to keep everything in “Check” but unfortunately, the settings keep on changing constantly that the typical user has difficulty keeping up.

One of the latest changes in our online community, and perhaps the biggest change, is the addition of the “Facebook timeline.” The time line made it very easy to find thing that you thought were hidden, content that is not marked as “private” is open for everyone to see. The time line is supposed to allow greater control when it comes to finding content in someones profile. The new set up however, made the privacy settings a little difficult to understand and are definitely not user friendly anymore. Some users have to conduct research, and read guides in order to use them properly. However, once the settings have been properly tuned, the time line actually keeps user’s private data safer from Strangers, than previous Facebook versions.

The timeline feature makes it easier to go through someones updates by clicking on the month, week, day, or year, as compared to dig through their profile to find the information you’re looking for. This new feature makes events that happened one year ago, as easily accessible as the fresh updates that were updated the same day. Additionally, the timeline lets you create an event for a remarkable day. Hobbies, life events, goals, new jobs, etc. once created, these events leave an impact “on your time line” the same way they leave an impact on our lives. Now each one of us can decide what is more important in our lives; and what we want to share with the world.

The Facebook Timeline definitely makes a large effort to bring our “offline” lives, online. The Facebook Time line change is not an “optional” one, it’s a mandatory one. Several people have already switched over to the new Facebook time line, these early adopters have already made the jump and created several different guides to help you along, a simple Google search brings up thousands of tips and tricks for the new time line. Facebook is going to make the jump for the rest of us in a few days, once the change goes “global” we’ll be able to focus more on our own personal branding, rather social networking.

New Features with Google +

Facebook is probably the most popular social media site available. It offers just about every feature needed to make new friends and meet new people online, and its popularity is certainly the highest among teens. However, there are other categories of users as well, who value things like privacy more than the “Like” button. Such users are not overly pleased with Facebook and are actively searching for a replacement. Fortunately, Google + is just what the doctor ordered!

Some consider it a weaker version of Facebook, while others think it is a huge improvement. As mentioned above, different categories of users give different importance to some of the features Google+ brings to the table.

The most notable feature is improved privacy. That’s right, Google+ offers much more than simply choosing if anyone else other than your friends can see your profile information or photos. Facebook doesn’t allow much customization other than that, and many users have had problems when trying to restrict certain information from being visible to only some people from their friend’s list.

Google+ allows users to make content available only to certain groups of friends. This allows everyone to have more control over their privacy and should prevent mistakes like those that frequently take place on Facebook and end up getting people fired.

As Google has gotten us used to, the UI of Google+ is as simple as possible. You won’t find any buttons that have little use or anything else that stands out from the rest. The interface is easy to use and effective, so anyone can learn how to use it without too much effort. This is something that will attract children, teens, and adults as well, and those who were frustrated with Facebook’s UI certainly don’t have any reason to dislike this one.

Creating groups of friends is extremely easy, and these groups are called circles. Are someone to your circle of close friends and you can immediately share content with that circle alone. This is a wonderful way of grouping contacts from work, family, or any other friends, and managing what content each circle has available.

Sharing is extremely easy, and anything from photos, links and videos can be shared. This means even teens who are more interested in a way of sharing their favorite music and videos with their friends will find it interesting, while people who value privacy more than anything else will also find it useful due to the different circles.

Another feature that will make it a huge hit with teens everywhere is the fact that it has both an Apple and an Android app available. While the Apple application lacks some features, the Android has every single feature available on the PC, as well as an “instant upload” option. It’s well known how much teens and even adults use their phones to stay connected and be notified as soon as someone on the friend list posts any content, so this is bound to attract more people to Google+ than any other feature!

Just exactly how popular it will be remains to be seen, because those who have a large network of friends on Facebook probably won’t want to switch to Google+ anytime soon. Those with newer profiles and with few or no friends shouldn’t have any problems joining though. As more people join, others will follow, and the growth should be exponential. We believe that Google+ is a strong competitor to Facebook and there is a chance that once people start using it, Facebook will be left without users! The more likely thing to happen though is that most people will have two accounts, one on Facebook and one on Google+.

This article is written by Kevin Moor, who also writes for registrycleanerswatch.com, a site emphasizing on registry mechanic.

Social Media and How to Market to Each of the Networks

The most common questions I get, which is why I’m writing this article, are what is social media? and How can I use it in my marketing strategy?  I’ll try to answer both questions in this article.

The first thing you need to understand is that social media and marketing go hand in hand with each other. Successful marketing companies use social media to get their point across to their readers extremely fast, but most importantly in a very effective and efficient manner.

You no longer have to spend millions of dollars with an advertisement campaign that may or may not get the message across to the right people. Thanks to social media, companies can now target very specific people. Sometimes, companies spend as little as $100 to get the audience moving.

Many people think that marketing is like a game of poker, the person that has the Ace card has higher chances of winning. But marketing is not a gamble, companies like Coca Cola, Red Bull, or Starbucks don’t gamble. They know how to play the game; they also know that it’s all about the SIM Card… No, not the cell phone card, but SIM as in Social Influence Marketing – Employing social media and social influencers to achieve the marketing and business needs of an organization. This means that there are people out there that get paid to promote and influence other people. They manage social sites, and they are experts at getting the right point across to the right audiences in the right manner. They know what social accounts to use, when to use them, and how to use them, I’ll explain how all of that works, but first, let me answer the first question.

The easiest way to really define social media is to break it into parts. Social is the ability to talk and interact with people (socialize). Media is a communications instrument, like radio, television, or news paper. So, social media is then an instrument that interacts with you by giving you information but in return, you can communicate back with that source. In 2008 if you were not part of the social media, you were not involved in the conversation, and today, if you are a company that is not part of the social media world, you are on a loosing end of the sticks. When social media was incorporated into the every day life, it gave large companies and corporations the ability to communicate with their customers and clients in a relaxed way. You feel as if you speak with the CEO of a company while he’s sitting in front of his fire place. And that’s awesome right?!?

A lot of people are afraid of social media, they hear the world “social media” and instantly the first things that come into their heads are, facebook page invites, request, and messages from other people begging to get them to like a page. While it is true that many people do that, it is wrong. It’s not the way to run a social profile. Imagine if I went to your home and bugged you all day to hang out with me, you’d do it, but then you’ll stay away from me so i don’t bother you again. Which brings me to the next question:

How can I use social media to help me with my marketing? Well, that all depends on what you are trying to get across. You can find many different examples of this, Coca Cola, Starbucks and Red Bull all have amazing facebook pages. Mashable, Tech Crunch and Barack Obama all have great twitter followers, Ray William Johnson has a large number of youtube followers. And the list goes on and on, Stumble Upon, Digg, and Reddit are also great websites to get your point across if you do it the  right way.

You have to make sure that you are using the right medium to get your point to the right people. You’re not going to go to a speaking convention and set up shop outside to try and sell toothpaste right? primarily because you know that no one cares about the toothpaste they care about the speakers, because that’s what they came there to see.

Social media sites have the same mentality. I’m not going to go to Youtube and post a status update on my channel the chances of anyone seeing my status update is slim to none. Likewise, I’m not going to come over to facebook and post a video expecting to get thousands of views. You have to pick the right medium for your purpose. So here are a couple ways you can use the social sites to help you get your messages across.

Facebook

Facebook, the biggest social network, with over 750 million users, aka possible customers, is probably going to be your best bet at getting some serious feedback for your product.

Facebook has given us the wonderful ability to open up a social profile for a company. You can list all of your company’s information on the about section, include links to your website, but most importantly make updates about your product.

Facebook also has a couple of applications that can help you make a splash page (the page that tells you to like their page only if you are not a fan of their page already) Check out Coca Cola’s splash page or Red Bulls page for some awesome examples and ideas.

This is the page that will set the tone for the rest of your page’s life. The old saying “the first impression is the most important impression” should be at the top of your mind while you make this page. You need to captivate and intrigue your visitors so they can click the like button on your page.

Once you get the people to like your page, then you really need to focus on your fans and offer them incentives to continue on liking your page and sharing your page with their friends. Facebook just recently rolled out a new feature that lets you “share” a fan page update. When you share the update, it adds a link at the shared status so your friends, and my friends, can all go and like this page if they find it intriguing. Most companies that are extremely successful have found a way to make the status updates go viral. Take a look at the two statuses below; see if you can tell which one was made by a very popular alcoholic beverage provider.

“Going out tonight guys let’s see where the party takes us! I’m listening to some awesome songs!”

“Going out tonight guys, let’s see where the party takes us! Check out this awesome song list I packed up for you guys! (link to a youtube song list)”

The one thing that you need to understand about social media is that people are attracted to content. We want to get things out of our “loyalty” a status update about you going out to party is making me jealous, but a status update about you going to party and you are leaving behind a sound track  for me to enjoy in case I want to party with my friends, sounds a lot better than the first one. In one update the user sounds selfish, in the other, the user sounds compassionate that you wont be there with him.  A social media profile will always work if you treat your fans, the same way you treat your friends.

Why would I want to hang out with a friend who never talks to me and when he talks to me he brags about how much fun he had the night before while I had to work?

Overall, facebook is very good when you have to let your audience and customers know what’s going on with your company. It’s also very good at having conversations with your customers, to make them feel like they are part of the crowd.

Twitter

Then you have Twitter, another social site that only lets you update statuses. Twitter is not as big as facebook since you really don’t have that much flexibility. But twitter is great when you have a news company. It’s fast pace, and it gets your message to a whole bunch of people very quickly. So if you are constantly updating your status this is a good site for you, for example, our blog stories are constantly being updated. We get a lot of our traffic from twitter, however, if I updated facebook once every hour, it could potentially hurt my edge rank (if you don’t know what that is read this article)

Twitter is not good for one time updates, specially if the people that follow you are following 500 other people. Your status update gets lost in between the crowd. When you do update your twitter account though, make sure that you add a link to the update, otherwise it goes to waste. Here is an example:

“When I was walking outside my house I saw a small dog it reminded me of the Taco Bell dog!”

You could turn it into:

“When I was walking outside my house I saw a small dog that reminded me of this dog! (link to the taco bell dog)”

When people that see that status, they automatically feel intrigued as to what you are talking about. And they will click on your updates. Another thing to always use are Hashtags the # and the @ symbol when you get the chance (without spamming your update with hashtags) this will guarantee that your update gets seen by more people and for a longer amount of time.

So, Overall, twitter is good for fast paced news that you constantly pop out every few minutes or so.  One thing to avoid “follow backs” this could be your worst enemy. You follow people that follow you back but in reality they don’t care about anything you have to say. So while you may look popular, you are the one guy in the crowd that everyone hangs out with because you hang out with them. And it makes your real loyal followers feel unimportant.

StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit

Next you have StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit, all are small but steady social networks that have the ability to bring your webpage thousands of views. But don’t confuse these networks with a social site where you can send out links to your content every 3 minutes. You need to participate in the network and send out links to every single page you find interesting. If you start to spam a website with the same content over and over and over, your site can bet banned and you’ll lose all of the site’s traffic.

These networks work by submitting a link to the site, usually this link is something that is funny, or something that has the potential to go viral, normally, theses sites are responsible for most of the viral content. When you submit the link, people either vote “yes” or “no” regarding the link. For example, if you get a whole bunch of up votes, your content will appear at the top of the page and increase the potential views to your website. If you want to be successful in these kind of networks you need to make sure that what ever you submit to these sites has humor, or something extremely popular. Make sure that you focus on the title of the article or link. Again, this is whats going to captivate your users into ranking the links to the top of the page.

The best to do is to supply content from all of your favorite blogs, every once in a while, you can submit your website to these groups and you’ll get a lot of traffic to your website almost instantaneously.  But to do this, you need to be an active influencer on the networks. You need to keep in mind that there are hundreds of small social networks, each have their own fan base. These are just the big ones that we all know about.

Facebook Mobile: Why Facebook Should Buy Out T-Mobile

Now that the US filed a Law Suit against the AT&T and T-Mobile merge, T-mobile will have to go out and start to look for other alternatives to stay afloat as a profitable company. They have a couple of options if the merge doesn’t go through,  either go out on it’s own, partner up with Sprint, or sell off to other companies.

If they decide to sell off, Facebook should really jump on the opportunity to try and acquire the network. Facebook already has several applications out there that will keep us connected via their facebook mobile interface. But we’re only connected at home, or when we use their application – which requires a data service at $20 a month from current cell providers. If facebook buys T-mobile they would instantly create the world’s biggest network in the united states and quite possibly the world.

A good question is, why would this be a good purchase for Facebook? Well, facebook has over 750 million users, and over 250 million of the users interact with facebook using their mobile devices. That’s several million more than what T-mobile had at it’s peak. That is also more subscribers than AT&T and Verizon have combined. So if facebook came into the picture and offered a service that was cheaper than all companies out there and they integrated their facebook application with the t-mobile network, they could make a profit even if they were selling the service at $10 a month.

They could incorporate their chat service with the text messaging service to stay connected with your friends and family. I’m sure you can argue and say that we already have that via applications but in order to use the applications we need to have the data service that I was talking about. I’m sure facebook would have problems with the whole connection and the dropped calls etc. but it would be a very appealing offer to have a cheap service that keeps us connected with everyone we have in our friend’s list.  So you could technically talk to your friends on the cellphone while they use their computers at home. So if your friend doesn’t have a cellphone, you could make calls using your computer and everything would be perfect. Yes they do have services available like Skype, MSN, and Google Voice, but humans tend to move towards the path of least resistance. Why would I want to have 3 different accounts when I could have just one account on facebook to take care of the three?

If facebook came in and offer the same services as a big company for a fraction of the cost, a lot of the users would move over to the facebook mobile interface because of how easy it would be to use. I’m sure there are some cons to this, like the inability to stay unconnected from people, facebook security, dropped calls, and so on. But at the end, I’m sure they could make something work, and when something is cheap enough, people buy it.

If they really want to blow Google out of the water and make sure that My Space’s coffin is truly sealed, then this option would guarantee this spot for them. This would also put them as one of the top competitors for phone services. I think this is the next big thing to stay connected in the social world.

How WaJam Can Change the Way you Search Using Social Media


Since I met with you all last week it’s been a bit crazy here in the north east last tuesday we got a small earthquake and over the weekend we were smacked by hurricane irene. But it hasn’t been this crazy string of event’s that’s got me so excited this week, it’s the new role that social media is playing in my life that’s really got me thinking… We are truly living in world that is more closely connected than ever before and it’s about time we really start capitalizing on that.

Social media isn’t just about what someone ate for lunch, it’s not just a place to post cute pictures of our kids. Facebook, twitter, google plus and other social media sites truly are tools we all SHOULD be using to get information from the people we trust the most… Our friends and family.

So I thought this week would be a perfect opportunity to introduce you to a new tool that I’ve just learned about that helps us to tap into the benefits of social, to be able to find the relevant things that our friends may be posting on just about anything that we’re interested in. I am Jeff Clark, today is Tuesday August 30th 2011 and it’s time for another episode of Tech Tip Tuesday…

Show Notes: www.wajam.com