Find out who wants to join your Facebook group

Better Tools for Facebook Group Administrators

Facebook Groups are used by many organizations and groups to bring their members and communities together in an accessible discussion forum. Now, Facebook has provided group administrators with the ability to set up a brief questionnaire that prospective new members would answer when requesting membership in the group. It’s not a big thing. But it will help administrators to understand who is joining the group and what has drawn them to it.

We’ve set up a questionnaire for new members of the Inside PR podcast Facebook Group. The questions are simple:

  • Where did you hear about the Inside PR podcast?
  • What topics would you like to hear about on the Inside PR podcast?
  • Which other podcasts do you find most useful to you in your work?

Easy to answer questions that will provide us with new insight into the evolving membership of our Facebook Group. A small innovation, but a valuable innovation.

Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I discuss the new Facebook Group questions on the Inside PR podcast, episode 474.

RIP Twitter Egg

When I signed onto Twitter this morning, I realized that I’d been followed by a new “egg.” Except that the egg had been replaced by a generic head.

I guess that’s the idea. Twitter wants to step back from its unique “egg” identifier for new accounts that had become synonymous with online harassment.

So, Twitter has taken a step to address its uncomfortable identification with a widespread problem. But a branding change doesn’t equate with effective measures to address the real problem of harrassing  behaviour which Twitter enables.

Search on Snapchat provides an easy entry path for casual users

It hasn’t arrive on my phone yet. But news that Snapchat is enhancing its search function to support topic keywords will make the app more intuitive for the casual user. And that’s the biggest challenge right now for Snapchat: breaking out of its core enthusiast base to gain a wider and larger audience. It must overcome this barrier to justify sky-high stock valuations and to avoid the walking dead fate that seems to have befallen Twitter.

Source: Snapchat (SNAP) is becoming a search engine more like Facebook (FB) — Quartz

Words to live (on the internet) by

They comment on other people’s posts.They like other people’s posts.They share them.They don’t always talk about themselves.They have kind words for other people.They help other people without expecting anything in return.Even so, they reciprocate when people help them out.They add positive energy to the net.They always try to see things from other people’s point of view.They genuinely listen.They stand up for people who are being hunted.They read posts before responding to them.

Thank you, Dave Winer, for reminding us that we don’t have to be part of the bad behaviour that seems to have become so much the norm on social networks. Small gestures by individuals can make a difference.

Source: What do nice Internet users do?

Why I won’t be using Twitter’s new content filters

Some new features to help you control what you see and who you interact with on Twitter

Twitter logo

Twitter opens a window on the world. We can see events as they occur through the eyes of first hand witnesses and we can discuss events and issues with others. We can be entertained. We can learn. We can expand our horizons.

Unfortunately, these positive experiences may be offset by exposure to trollish behaviour and harrassment.

Yesterday, Twitter announced two new features that will allow people to filter the content that they see in their notifications and main twitter stream. A new Quality Filter will suppress content that Twitter’s algorithm considers to be low quality, such as “duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated.” In addition, a new control will be added to the notifications pane to enable users to “limit notifications to only people they follow.”

Providing users with greater control over what gets into their Twitter feed will be welcomed by many.

I, however, do not plan to enable either feature. Why wouldn’t I use these features? For a couple of reasons.

First, because I curate my feed, the trolls don’t find their way into it. I am not a profligate follower. I don’t automatically follow everyone who follows me. I follow only those people who have caught my attention with their views and thoughtfulness or their humour or just the fact that they are interesting people. So, I rarely have the problem of seeing garbage content. And when I do see it, I unfollow or block the source.

Second, I don’t want an algorithm to make my content decisions for me. I especially do not want to be limited to seeing only the content of people whom I have already followed. I do want to be open to the person who I have never met but who comes into my notifications because he or she shares my interests and has responded to something I said. And that doesn’t mean just someone who agrees with me. It also means the people who disagree with me, but who offer something worth considering in their disagreement. I want to discover these people. Because contact with the people I disagree with is my protection against homophily, the tendency we all have to seek out and associate with the people we agree with, the people most like us.

Homophily is the enemy of open-mindedness. And my open Twitter feed, a feed that is open to discovery, is my protection against being trapped in the bubble of likemindedness.

And that’s why I won’t be using Twitter’s new filters. They may create a safer experience. But at a price. A price I’m not willing to pay.

Google Play extends sharing with Family Library

…we’re introducing Family Library, a way for up to six family members to share purchases on Google Play. When you buy an eligible app, game, movie, TV show, or book in the Play Store, you can now share it with your family—across devices—with no additional sign-up fee...

Netflix does it. Apple music does it. Google Play Music does it. And now Google extends sharing purchases with family members beyond music.

That’s a good thing and probably can be seen as table stakes in the online media  rental and purchase marketplace. As a father, I’ve taken advantage of family sharing for several years. It has  proven a good way for  both Apple and Google to get my family members hooked on their services, so that when they leave home they set up their own accounts.

If you haven’t got family sharing yet, you should see it in the next few days.

Source: Google Play Family Library: Share what you love with the ones you love

Hey Twitter, What’s Happening?

…most [people] didn’t know or simply misunderstood what Twitter was for – many thought of Twitter primarily as a social network, a place to find and connect with friends and family members. Second, they thought if they wanted to use Twitter, they were “supposed to Tweet every day” and didn’t think they would have that much to say. We realized we had some explaining and clarifying to do!

Twitter has problems. Growth has stalled, even shrinking. People who haven’t used it aren’t sure what it is. New users find it confusing and difficult to get started. Executives are jumping ship. And the Trolls keep popping up.

In the past year, the company has tried to handle these problems in a substantive way, introducing a raft of improvements, including better integration and display of videos, less restrictive character limits on tweets, an easier way for new users to find and connect with people,  longer and easier direct messaging, and a new timeline algorithm that shows you the top tweets that you missed when you were signed off. And in the past few weeks, it has added a raft of deals to live stream MLB and NHL games.

Now, the company is ready to reintroduce itself to the world – with a new video ad campaign headed up by the tag line, “What’s Happening.” The campaign emphasizes video of recognizable events, highlighting Twitter as a place not just to talk about what is happening, but to actually see what is happening.

I use Twitter constantly as a news feed. News about what my friends think is important. News about what is happening in the world.

I can’t imagine a world without Twitter. So, as an avid user. I wish them well. And hopefully, the last line in their blog post announcing the campaign will in fact prove to be true: “This is just the beginning!”

Fingers crossed for Twitter.

 

Source: See Whats Happening | Twitter Blogs

Announcing an Application Process for Verified Accounts

There goes the neighbourhood. Now we all can be sure that we are who we think we are. Twitter will verify it. 🙂

Verified accounts on Twitter allow people to identify key individuals and organizations on Twitter as authentic, and are denoted by a blue badge icon. An account may be verified if it is determined to be of public interest. Typically this includes accounts maintained by public figures and organizations in music, TV, film, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.

Source: Announcing an Application Process for Verified Accounts

The most important report you may read this year

Comscore recently published its  2016 White Paper on the U.S. Cross-platform Future.

If you’ve missed the biggest change of the past couple years, it may be because you’re still interacting with the Web and social media on a desktop or notebook device. And if you are, you’re in the minority. Yep, that’s right folks. In December 2013, 53% of the time spent on digital media platforms was on mobile, 47% on desktop. Flash forward two years later to December 2015 and 65%, two thirds, of the time we spend on digital media platforms is now time that we spend on our mobile devices. Desktops have been reduced to one third of the time.

Comscore’s data also provides some interesting insight into the use of social media and the differences between people under 35 (think Snapchat) and those over 35 (think Facebook.) But regardless of which cohort you are looking at, Mark Zuckerberg can feel good, as Facebook and Instagram rank among the top three most-used social apps across all ages.

The other side of the move to mobile is the ongoing rise of video. And this data was collected before Facebook launched Live Video.

If you’re running a communications business, the Comscore report is a must-read. In fact, you may find that it provides you with the markers around which you’ll be building your business plan for the next year. You could do a lot worse than to place your business in the path of the trends charted out by Comscore. After all, there’s nothing better than be where the future is when it arrives.

And if you’re interested, you can listen to Gini DietrichMartin Waxman, and I discuss the report on this week’s Inside PR podcast.

Facebook is eating YouTube’s lunch when it comes to video views and sharing

Facebook has increasingly been making moves to position itself as the preferred platform for uploading videos. This morning I saw evidence that, in fact, Facebook really is eating YouTube’s lunch when it comes to viewing and sharing videos.

The Case

We’re in the middle of a federal election in Canada. My friend, Ian Capstick, uploaded a humourous video to both Youtube and Facebook on August 28. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the YouTube embed.

The Evidence

Ian uploaded the video to both platforms on Friday, August 28. It’s now Monday, August 31 and here are the stats for the first three days since the video was uploaded:

Facebook

  • 17,000 views
  • 205 likes
  • 323 shares
  • 57 comments

YouTube

  • 5,356 views
  • 60 likes; 5 dislikes
  • 11 comments

Same video. Very different views and social gestures. Facebook is generating 300% more views than YouTube, 300% more likes, and 500% more comments.

Clearly, something big has shifted in the past year. Facebook’s new video platform is making it king of video just as it became the top platform for pictures a few years ago.

What you should do about it

This is just one case. And it doesn’t mean that YouTube is in trouble. But it provides clear evidence that YouTube no longer has the video field to itself.

If you are not uploading your videos to both YouTube and Facebook, you are missing a substantial part of your traffic. So, starting now, upload your videos to both YouTube and Facebook. The times are changing – and so is our sense of where we will find and share video.