Let’s consider an imaginary scenario.

You wake up one day and realize that all social media platforms are non-functional that day. Bewildered, you check your phone and open the Instagram app. It shows a blank white screen. You try opening facebook.com on your browser and nothing happens. Snapchat, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest are down too.

People around you cannot communicate with one another like they used to. The younger population that grew up with the internet is losing their minds. The most followed influencers are unable to reach their audience. Marketing teams are struggling to find a replacement for their online ads.

All in all, chaos would ensue and the market would collapse. And it would only take 1 day of no social media to cause such hue and cry.

A little over a decade ago, social media was only getting started. Today, we cannot live without it. Crazy, right?

Every disruptive invention follows the same trajectory. Take, for example, cars, electricity, or cellphones. For hundreds of years, humanity managed to live one way and an innovation entered the market to introduce a comfort that slowly turned into a necessity. And such leaps occur all the time. Just like we evolve genetically, we also evolve technologically, albeit in an offbeat way.

The advent of social media is among the most recent(on the human civilization scale) of such disruptions. It has taken the world and its population by storm. If you’re not on any of the social media platforms today, people will put up a confused expression and ask you, “Why?” And, back in their heads, they’re also wondering, “What’s wrong with him/her?”

Therefore, participating on the different social media platforms is no longer a privilege, but a mandate. If you stay away from them you lose many of the advantages they offer. That said, does social media offer benefits and benefits alone? Not at all. These platforms also come with a dark side which can damage you in very many ways.

But, social media platforms cannot be classified as good or bad. What makes them helpful or harmful is your usage of them.

In this article, we’ll explore both the pros and cons of social media.

13 Pros of social media

The advantages of social media are well known. Here are 13 pros of social media platforms.

1. Faster connectivity

You can connect with anyone located anywhere on the globe by clicking a few buttons. To make that better, you don’t even need a computer or a fixed-line internet connection anymore. You can pull out your phone and send a message to both knowns and unknowns with one hand while you munch on a slice of pizza with the other.

2. Saves the trouble of setting face to face meetings

Back in the day, if you’d to schedule a meeting with an unknown person with whom you had no rapport, you had to knock on several doors and wait for several days before the interaction happened(if at all).

Today, you can send a connection request to anyone in a few minutes. Sure, the outcome depends on how well you manage to make an impression, but the previous roadblocks of physical familiarity don’t exist anymore.

3. Faster communication

If you have to gather 10 people to party on a Saturday night, you need to send one single message in a group. Imagine calling those many people on a landline, finding them home, and co-ordinating a time. Phew, I broke a sweat while I thought about it. God forbid if you had to change plans last minute.

4. Opportunity to build visibility for yourself

Social media provides you with a platform to make a name for yourself.

If you’re a writer, you can self-publish on Amazon today. Compare that with sending your manuscript to hundreds of publishers. If you’re a musician, you can open a Youtube channel. Compare that with finding a music director willing to launch you.

Though the internet has created more competition, you can independently make a name for yourself with a pinch of hard work and a sprinkle of talent. 

5. Brings change

Any event that occurs over the globe spreads like wildfire. Events such as corruption, poor customer service, unnecessary arrogance come into the limelight. You don’t even need a media team to cover the story on their channel or website.

People capture videos and post them online to expose the reality to millions of people. Brands are concerned about providing better service to avoid a bad review while a corrupt government official knows that a video of him accepting a bribe means a death sentence to his profession.

Though such problems are still prevalent, social media makes people more mindful of their actions.

6. Quicker feedback

Want to know feedback about an unknown service or a product? You can read what other users have to say using the reviews.

Looking for recommendations on the things to do on your backpacking trip? Find a Facebook group and many will provide suggestions at no cost.

Yes, you receive pointers from a person you’ve never met about a product you’ve never used, yet, you know you can follow the guidance.

7. Social Groups

No matter what your area of interest is, you can find like-minded people on social media. Facebook has groups for everything you can think of. Not every single one of them is active, but with a little effort, you can find an engaged community to exchange your thoughts. Without social media, you’d struggle to find a handful of people in your vicinity who share the same interests as you.

8. Job seekers find opportunities

A decade ago finding a job required a candidate to check newspapers and hoardings, carry a file folder to an office and wait in the queue for an interview.

Today, you can apply for a prestigious job right at your desk. If that wasn’t enough, recruiters themselves reach out to you if you have an influential presence on LinkedIn.

9. News propagates fast

Newspapers and television have served as the source of news for decades now. Since the advent of social media, they’re losing their audience. Social media offers different modes of internet communication and an insane speed of propagation.

You no longer need to find the news. The news will find you.

10. Businesses reach out to the right audience

For business, the traditional sources of advertising were large ads in the newspaper, hiring a brand ambassador agency, an engaging TV commercial, or a hoarding on a busy street. Such forms of marketing relied on reaching a large number of people, hoping it would catch the intended audience’s attention and thereby convert into a sale.

Social media transformed that approach on its head. If you run ads on Facebook today, with the right targeting, you can reach only those who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, be it an antique clock from a haunted house or a Persian rug from Aladin’s era.

11. Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is a sourcing model where individuals obtain goods and services from a large pool of participants. The method has a widescale implementation for different purposes and among them, raising capital for a business idea stands out the most. Crowdsourcing banks on social media platforms to put forth the idea to a larger audience.

Many entrepreneurs have raised capital using crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. For example, Oculus took life after raising 250,000$ from Kickstarter before Facebook acquired the company for a whopping 2 billion dollars a few years later.

12. Faster propagation during a crisis

Due to the speed at which information spreads over social media, you can hear about any crisis faster than ever. When a natural calamity occurs, Facebook offers an option to mark yourself safe. A simple click will avoid your loved ones having an anxiety attack.

13. Having fun

Spending time on social media helps you enjoy in little ways. You can share an update on your wall, tag your friends to capture their attention, crack a joke over your sibling’s picture, and whatnot. Are all these activities productive? Not quite. But are they fun? For sure.

13 Cons of social media:

Though social media has taken the world a step forward, it has also caused many hassles which never existed before. If you allow these apps to control you, they can have negative consequences. Here are 13 disadvantages of social media.

1. Addiction

All social media platforms have a large team whose only focus is to ensure users like you and me repeatedly use the platform. Therefore, once you engage on one such website or app, you feel the urge to come back again and again.

Have you noticed yourself opening your social media newsfeed and scrolling through for no reason? That’s what Instagram and Facebook can do to you.

2. Kills productivity

With the number of apps in the market today, your phone will throw a bazillion notifications every day. Even if a person whom you’ve never met likes your picture on Instagram or a fake profile swipes you right on tinder, your phone beeps to tell you, “Look, something interesting is happening. Check me right now.”

By itself, every notification seems like a small distraction, but little by little, one after another, they consume your time and destroy your productivity without your knowledge. 

3. Shows only the good side

Do you find your friend posting a story about a bad day they had? Or do you find your coworker sharing a picture about a cheap restaurant he/she visited?

Do you post such updates yourself? Heck, no. Such updates rarely occur, if at all.

On social media, everyone wants to portray only their expensive, interesting, or glorious moments. Call it passive showboating or humblebrag, the updates from people scream, “Look, I’m doing this and I want you to know.”

Such behavior causes low esteem where you start to wonder if you’re living a miserable life while others are having fun. Therefore, next time you find an opportunity, you post a delightful event from your life thereby adding to the already existing pile. You want to pass a message that you’re enjoying in life too, but little do you know that a friend who looked at your picture considers your life amazing.

All in all, it’s a vicious circle where everyone thinks their life is miserable while their friends’ life is fascinating. I know people who go out just to post an update on social media.

4. Unreliable information

The Abraham Lincoln meme conveys how questionable the authenticity of information on the internet is.

For those who did not understand the joke, Abraham Lincoln died in 1895, long before the internet came into existence.

Due to the speed of propagation and the negligence of people to verify authenticity, tons of fake information floats on the internet. To make that worse, when you try to look it up, you’ll find many websites mentioning the same information and you assume multiple sources cannot be wrong. But many a time, all of them have only broadcasted what they found without performing any due diligence.

5. Tells one side of the story

Due to the virality of social platforms and the gullibility of people to trust any random person’s word, one-sided stories create a furor on the internet.

For example, in 2015, a lady put up a social media post complaining about eve-teasing from a biker on the street. Millions of people supported her cause without verifying her claims and the post received 100K shares in no time. TV news channels called the guy a pervert while politicians and celebrities lauded the lady for her bravery. The police arrested the “alleged harasser” who even lost his job. No one tried to hear his side of the story.

The truth was that the two of them had a minor disagreement about a traffic signal. The lady had an incorrect understanding of the traffic rules and the guy had pointed that to her without any harassment involved. The lady had twisted the facts on her Facebook post.

An eyewitness defended the guy’s side and mentioned how the lady had used abusive words and misbehaved on the street. The court ruled in favor of the guy and asked the media channel to issue a public apology. 

On social media, people jump to conclusions without any attempt to unearth the reality of both sides.

6. Creates false expectations

The likes and comments on social media do not always translate to real-life praises. Teens who grew up in the current generation have trouble facing the harsh reality in the real world.

For example, a motivational post about entrepreneurship will garner many upvotes, but it won’t ensure a successful business venture. Impressing the opposite sex in person is different from wooing a good-looking person on Tinder. Getting your way over group text messages doesn’t mean you can grab the attention of the audience over a presentation at work.

Social media provides a virtual experience of real-life and that causes damage on several occasions.

7. Privacy issues

Facebook knows a lot more about you than you think. In the highly-rated TV series Black Mirror, on one of the episodes, Smithereens, a person kidnaps the employee of a social media company as a method to get in touch with the owner.

Soon after the crime begins, the TV show depicts how the management team of the social media company knows more about the criminal than the FBI does. Though the series uses a dystopian future, it subtly shows how social media has changed the concept of privacy for the whole of humankind.

You have no control over how your information is stored and used. Many a time, even a status update or a picture you post reaches an unintended audience. Even among your followers and friends, you have no clue how people are judging you mentally.

If you’re on social media platforms, which I can bet you are, you have already divulged more about yourself than you wanted to.

8. You cannot delete your content entirely

Assume you posted a bold picture on social media one day. A few weeks later, when you look back, you feel you made a mistake. Therefore, you visit your profile and delete it off. But does that mean your picture no longer exists on the internet? I wish I could say yes, but unfortunately, no one can provide such assurance including the social media platform itself.

That’s because what’s posted on the internet propagates to other places against your choice. Different automated content scrapers are reading content round the clock. Or your friend can save the picture and send it to a large group on WhatsApp. A stranger can take a screenshot and post it on his blog. The scenarios are endless.

In the past, we’ve witnessed celebrities posting a controversial update or picture which receives a barrage of hate comments. But, even after they realize their mistake and delete their post, the backlash doesn’t subside. That’s because several people would have saved screenshots and different websites would have written articles about it already.

What you upload on the internet is no different than a new virus. Once it’s out in the open, you will never manage to get rid of it altogether.

9. Sales targeting

Have you noticed the creepy behavior followed by online ads? Once you look for an item on an e-commerce website, all of a sudden you notice ads about related products all over your browser on various websites you visit.

Online ad platforms allow marketers to target ads to people who show interest in their product. Such flexibility serves the advertisers dual benefits. One, their advertising expense remains low because only the intended audience sees the ad. Two, a person who has shown interest has a higher chance of converting into a sale.

If that doesn’t raise your eyebrows, Amazon’s approach of anticipatory shipping will. Amazon uses a mixture of their logistics skills and data analysis process to figure out your needs. In short, Amazon knows what you want to buy before you buy it. So, it wouldn’t be incorrect to say Amazon knows what you will buy before even you do.

10. Causes mental fatigue

Using social media between tedious work hours appears to provide solace, but it only exhausts your mind even further. When you’re scrolling through your newsfeed, you make many little decisions without your knowledge.

Your brain runs on alert mode with thoughts like, “Should I click on this post? Does this picture deserve alike? What is a suitable reply to this comment?” All those decisions consume mental energy.

As a result, if you use social media during your breaks assuming it’ll help you de-stress, you’ve got it wrong.

11. Transformed face to face conversations

A family which used to have dinner as a group together now eats their meal with cutlery in one hand and a phone in the other. Eye to eye contact has changed into half-lowered heads engrossed in the phone. Social media has caused the human connection to drift apart.

Such behavior does not apply to family relationships alone. Friends have arguments over texts and managers provide critical feedback over electronic mediums. Heck, some lovers have broken up on social media messengers too.

Because social media has made communications easier, people resort to them over other personalized interactions.

12. Damage to businesses

To buy an item on Amazon, you read the reviews first or at the very least check the overall rating. Anything below a 4 star becomes a mental filter for rejection. The same applies to the restaurants you visit or the books you read.

Though social proof has powerful benefits, bad reviews can hurt a business. A disgruntled customer can leave a poor review even if the business did nothing wrong. In rare cases, companies have left fake poor reviews on their competitors as a strategy to acquire customers.

Since the reviews on the internet are not moderated, incorrect reviews can spell disaster for a business.

13. Fraud and scam

Due to the social media reach, fraudsters loom large in every nook and corner. If you’re not careful, they will pounce right on you.

Scammers use public feeds to gain knowledge, the chat medium to make a connection, and finally use the information for an unauthorized transaction.

Take for example the following conversation:

Phone operator: “Hello Philippe, you had visited Honda Motors last week and you’ve won the lucky draw for a new Honda CR-V”.

Poor victim: “Really, that’s amazing. I have never won anything in a raffle before.”

Phone operator: “We’re thrilled ourselves. We’ll need a few details to have the car ready for you. Can I know your date of birth and the full name of your spouse please?”

And the conversation follows where the fraudster learns more information about the victim which can be used to change the password of their banking account or guess the pin.

If you’re gullible on the internet, you’re doomed.

Conclusion

Social media has catapulted technology and taken the world forward. As a platform itself, you cannot hold it entirely accountable for the damage it causes people.

Social media is no different than liquor. If you use it in moderation, you’ll relish the good time. But, if you need a dose every few hours, you have a problem. Sure, you can pin the blame on the alcohol, but the truth is that the addiction is your doing. Similarly, whether social media helps you or hurts you depends on how you choose to use it.

[Source: This article was published in productiveclub.com By Maxim Dsouza - Uploaded by the Association Member: Logan Hochstetler]

Facebook allows search engines like Google to index your profile and publicly available information. But if you don’t want people to be able to look up your social profile outside of Facebook, you can choose to delist it. Here’s how.

First, head over to Facebook’s website using your Windows 10, Mac, or Linux desktop browser and sign in to your account.

Next, click the arrow in the top-right corner of the social network to reveal a dropdown menu, then select “Settings & Privacy.”

facebook website settings

Navigate to “Settings.”

settings menu facebook website

Select “Privacy” from the column on the left.

visit facebook privacy settings

Scroll down toward the bottom of the page, and under the “How people can find and contact you” section, you’ll find an option called “Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your Profile?”

delist-facebook-profile-search-engine-settings.png

Click the blue “Edit” button located beside that option.

delist-facebook-profile-search-engine.png

Uncheck the box next to “Allow search engines outside of Facebook to link to your Profile.”

block-search-engines-from-linking-facebook-profile.png

In the following pop-up message, click “Turn Off.”

turn-off-search-engine-linking-facebook-profile.png

Finally, select the “Close” option to save your new preference.

block-search-engine-indexing-facebook-profile.png

That’s it. Now, Facebook will prevent search engines outside of the social network from linking your profile in their results.

Note: This setting will take at least a few weeks to come into effect. Even after Facebook processes the request on its end, your information and profile link will continue to exist in search engines’ cache and will surface in search results. Once Facebook relays the updated preference to sites such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, they will take some additional time to reflect the changes.

In addition, while search engines will no longer be able to directly link your profile in results, they can crawl your publicly available information, like posts and your full name. Due to this loophole, anyone with the right keywords can still locate your Facebook profile through search engines.

 [Source: This article was published in howtogeek.com By Shubham - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]
Published in Internet Privacy

Learn key insights that will help you understand how the algorithms of Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook work.

Here’s an old question that gets asked every year:

How do social media algorithms work?

But, you can often uncover strategic insights by looking at an old question like this one from a different perspective.

In fact, there’s a term for this effect.

It’s called the “parallax” view.

parallax-view.png

For example, marketers often look for influencers on the social media platforms with the greatest reach.

But, influencers evaluate these same platforms based on their opportunity to grow their audience and make more money.

This explains why The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report found that the top five social media platforms for influencer marketing are:

  • Instagram (82%).
  • YouTube (41%).
  • TikTok (23%).
  • Twitter (23%).
  • Facebook (5%).

This list made me wonder why marketers focus on the reach of their campaign’s outputs, but influencers are focused on the growth of their program’s outcomes.

Influencers want to learn how the Instagram and YouTube algorithms work, because they want their videos discovered by more people.

And influencers are interested in learning how the TikTok and Twitter algorithms work, because they are thinking about creating content for those platforms.

Facebook’s algorithm, however, doesn’t seem quite as important to today’s influencers – unless Facebook represents a significant opportunity for them to make more money.

There are a lot of strategic insights that marketers can glean from looking at how social media algorithms work from an influencer’s point of view.

How the Instagram Algorithm Works

Back in 2016, Instagram stopped using a reverse-chronological feed.

Since then, the posts in each user’s feed on the platform has been ordered according to the Instagram algorithm’s ranking signals.

According to the Instagram Help Center:

“Instagram’s technology uses different ways, or signals, to determine the order of posts in your feed. These signals are used to help determine how your feed is ordered, and may include:

  • “Likelihood you’ll be interested in the content.
  • “Date the post was shared.
  • “Previous interactions with the person posting.”

This has a profound impact on influencers – as well as the marketers who are trying to identify the right influencers, find the right engagement tactics, and measure the performance of their programs.

Relevance

The first key signal is relevance, not reach.

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Why?

Because Instagram users are more likely to be interested in an influencer’s content if it is relevant – if it’s about what interests them.

In other words, if you’re interested in football (a.k.a., soccer), then the likelihood that you’ll be interested in content by Nabaa Al Dabbagh, aka “I Speak Football Only,” is high.

But, far too many marketers are looking for celebrities and mega-influencers who have lots of Instagram followers (a.k.a., reach), instead of looking for macro-, mid-tier, micro-, or nano-influencers who are creating relevant content that their target audience is more likely to find interesting.

i-speak-football-only.png

Recency

The second key signal is recency, or how recently a post has been shared.

This gives an advantage to influencers like Marwan Parham Al Awadhi, a.k.a., “DJ Bliss,” who post frequently.

dj-bliss.png

Unfortunately, far too many marketers are engaging influencers to create a single post during a campaign instead of building a long-term relationship with brand advocates who will generate a series of posts that recommend their brand on an ongoing basis.

Resonance

The third key signal is resonance.

In other words, how engaging are an influencer’s posts?

Do they prompt interactions such as comments, likes, reshares, and views with the influencer’s audience?

And, unfortunately, way too many marketers assume that an influencer’s post that mentions their brand has increased their brand awareness, using bogus metrics like Earned Media Value (EMV).

If they’d read, Why International Search Marketers Should Care About Brand Measurement, then they’d realize there are a variety of legitimate ways to measure the impact of an influencer marketing campaign on:

  • Brand awareness.
  • Brand frequency.
  • Brand familiarity.
  • Brand favorability.
  • Brand emotions.
  • Purchase consideration.
  • Brand preference.
  • Brand demand.

Using this parallax view, it’s easy to see that too many marketers mistakenly think influencer marketing is just like display advertising.

They’re buying posts from influencers the same way they would buy ads from publishers.

So, marketers who only look at an influencer’s reach shouldn’t be shocked, shocked to discover that some influencers are using bad practices such as fake followers, bots, and fraud to inflate their numbers.

If you use a one-dimensional view of an influencer’s influence, then you reap what you sow.

How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?

But, these articles were written for marketers, not influencers.

So, what can we learn from looking at YouTube’s algorithm from an influencer’s point of view?

Well, according to YouTube Help:

“The goals of YouTube’s search and discovery system are twofold: to help viewers find the videos they want to watch, and to maximize long-term viewer engagement and satisfaction.”

So, YouTube influencers need to start by creating great content on discoverable topics.

Why?

Well, YouTube is one of the most-used search engines in the world.

People visit the site looking for videos about all sorts of subjects.

These viewers may not necessarily be looking for a specific influencer’s video, but they’ll discover it if it ranks well in YouTube search results or suggested videos.

Learn how to use Google Trends to find out what your audience is looking for on YouTube.

The default results in Google Trends shows “web search” interest in a search term or a topic.

But, if you click on the “web search” tab, the drop-down menu will show you that one of your other options is “YouTube search” interest.

YouTube influencers can then use what they see to inform their content strategies.

For example, you might learn that there was 31% more YouTube search interest worldwide in the topic, beauty, than in the topic, fashion.

fashion-vs-beauty.png

Or you might discover that there was 18 times more YouTube search interest worldwide in the sport, drifting, than in the sport, motorsport.

motorsport-vs-drifting.png

YouTube’s algorithm can’t watch your videos, so you need to optimize your metadata, including your titles, tags, and descriptions.

Unfortunately, most marketers don’t use this approach to find the search terms and topics on YouTube that are relevant for their brand and then identify the influencers who are creating content that ranks well for these keywords and phrases.

Now, getting your YouTube video content discovered is only half the battle.

Influencers also need to build long watch-time sessions for their content by organizing and featuring content on their channel, including using series playlists.

As YouTube Help explains:

“A series playlist allows you to mark your playlist as an official set of videos that should be viewed together. Adding videos to a series playlist allows other videos in the playlist to be featured and recommended when someone is viewing a video in the series. YouTube may use this info to modify how the videos are presented or discovered.”

Fortunately, one of the guest speakers for NMA’s program was Mark Wiens, one of the most famous food vloggers in the world.

His YouTube channel has more than 1.4 billion views and almost 6.7 million subscribers.

Here are examples of the playlists that he had created, including Thai food and travel guides.

mark wien

Now, marketers could also look over the playlists on the YouTube channels of influencers when they’re evaluating which ones are “right” for a campaign.

However, I strongly suspect that this only happens once in a blue moon.

How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?

The TikTok Newsroom posted How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou just before I was scheduled to talk about this topic.

Hey, sometimes you get lucky.

tiktok.png

Here’s what I learned:

“When you open TikTok and land in your For You feed, you’re presented with a stream of videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love. This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”

So, how does this platform’s recommendation system work?

According to TikTok:

“Recommendations are based on a number of factors, including things like:

  • “User interactions such as the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and content you create.
  • “Video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.
  • “Device and account settings like your language preference, country setting, and device type. These factors are included to make sure the system is optimized for performance, but they receive lower weight in the recommendation system relative to other data points we measure since users don’t actively express these as preferences.”

The TikTok Newsroom adds:

“All these factors are processed by our recommendation system and weighted based on their value to a user. A strong indicator of interest, such as whether a user finishes watching a longer video from beginning to end, would receive greater weight than a weak indicator, such as whether the video’s viewer and creator are both in the same country. Videos are then ranked to determine the likelihood of a user’s interest in a piece of content, and delivered to each unique For You feed.”

TikTok cautions:

“While a video is likely to receive more views if posted by an account that has more followers, by virtue of that account having built up a larger follower base, neither follower count nor whether the account has had previous high-performing videos are direct factors in the recommendation system.”

It’s worth noting that Oracle has won the bid to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations after ByteDance rejected a bid by Walmart and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, YouTube released YouTube Shorts, a TikTok-like feature, while Facebook recently launched Instagram Reels, which is basically a TikTok knock-off.

So, it appears that some very big players are convinced that TikTok represents a significant opportunity to make more money, or a competitive threat to the growth of their own social media platforms.

I wish that I could add more, but I’m a stranger here myself.

How Does Twitter’s Algorithm Work?

When Twitter was launched back in 2006, it had a simple timeline structure and tweets were displayed in reverse chronological order from the people you followed.

But, like other social media, Twitter started using an algorithm to show users posts that different factors indicate they’ll like.

The biggest recent change to Twitter’s algorithm took place in 2017.

According to a Twitter blog post by Nicolas Koumchatzky and Anton Andryeyev:

“Right after gathering all Tweets, each is scored by a relevance model. The model’s score predicts how interesting and engaging a Tweet would be specifically to you. A set of highest-scoring Tweets is then shown at the top of your timeline, with the remainder shown directly below.”

Their post added:

“Depending on the number of candidate Tweets we have available for you and the amount of time since your last visit, we may choose to also show you a dedicated “In case you missed it” module. This modules meant to contain only a small handful of the very most relevant Tweets ordered by their relevance score, whereas the ranked timeline contains relevant Tweets ordered by time. The intent is to let you see the best Tweets at a glance first before delving into the lengthier time-ordered sections.”

How Does Facebook’s Algorithm Work?

The biggest recent change to Facebook’s algorithm took place in January 2018.

In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg announced:

“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

He added:

“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

That same day, Adam Mosseri, who was then the head of News Feed, also wrote a Facebook post that said:

“Today we use signals like how many people react to, comment on or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed. With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”

He added:

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

So, it isn’t surprising that influencers got the memo.

Which explains why so few believe Facebook represents a significant opportunity to make more money.

Ironically, it’s unclear that marketers got the memo.

Far too many are still cranking out Facebook posts and videos despite the fact that few people are reacting to, commenting on, or sharing them.

Or, as I wrote in Two Social Media Vanity Metrics You Need to Stop Tracking, marketers should stop tracking Facebook Page Likes and Followers because “you’re lucky if .0035% of your Fans and Followers even sees your post or tweet these days.”

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The Takeaway

These are just some of the strategic insights that marketers can discover by looking at how social media algorithms work from an influencer’s point of view.

If you’re a marketer, then I suggest you move most of the people and budget that you’ve dedicated to creating branded content on Facebook into influencer marketing on Instagram and YouTube.

As for TikTok and Twitter, wait until after the dust settles later this year.

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Greg Jarboe - Uploaded by the Association Member: Corey Parker]

Published in Social

Facebook is merging Messenger chats with Instagram direct messages, giving users a way to access both inboxes from the same place.

Facebook is giving users the option to merge their Messenger inbox with Instagram Direct, which grants the ability to send messages across platforms.

Users are seeing a pop-up when opening the Instagram app informing them about this update.

“There’s a New Way to Message on Instagram,” the pop-up reads.

The notice goes on to emphasize the following benefits of merging the two chat platforms:

  • New colorful look for your chats
  • React with any emoji
  • Swipe to reply to messages
  • Chat with friends who use Facebook

Before you choose to update, be aware that it will change the entire look and feel of your Instagram direct message inbox.

Instagram Direct will suddenly look more like Facebook Messenger. Even the icon at the top right of the screen will be replaced with the Messenger icon.

Those who prefer things the way they are will be happy to know this update is completely optional.

If you enjoy the classic design of Instagram DM’s, or you want to keep the two inboxes separate, select the “Not Now” option at the very bottom of the alert.

Users who are on board with merging the two inboxes can go ahead and select “Update.”

Here’s what the alert looks like:

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Note that even if you don’t update you will still be able to receive message requests on Instagram from Facebook accounts.

That appears to be the only way to message Facebook users from Instagram at this point – a Facebook user has to initiate the chat.

This may change in the future, but right now it’s not possible to start conversations with Facebook users from Instagram.

With that being the case, this update seems to be most useful for Instagram users who are not active on Facebook.

This gives non-Facebook users a way to keep in touch with friends and family who would prefer to communicate through Messenger.

Now, there’s no compromise needed on either side. Messenger users can communicate with Instagram users without having to leave their platform of choice.

This is an update that has been in the works for well over a year now, as Facebook gave the world a heads-up about this change back in 2019.

Facebook Cross-Platform Messaging

We reported back in January 2019 that Facebook was working on merging its messaging products.

As per a statement from a Facebook spokesperson:

“[We want to] build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.

We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.”

At the time, Facebook planned to have a solution in place by early 2020.

Those plans got derailed by the pandemic, which forced Facebook to focus instead on live streaming.

The live streaming boom was triggered by COVID-19 lockdowns, which lead to increased time spent at home on Facebook.

In order to keep up with the demand for live streaming Facebook had to pause work on other projects.

Presumably, merging messaging platforms was one of the projects that got put on hold.

After successfully beefing up its live streaming capabilities, it appears Facebook is now picking up where it left off.

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: Bridget Miller]

Published in News & Politics

Researchers point out social media and search engines have encouraged greater and more diverse news consumption, thus challenging the concept of filter bubbles and echo chambers on the Internet

Digital media have fundamentally changed the way we consume news. It is often assumed that the use of social networks and search engines has had a negative impact on the diversity of news that people access. This is often attributed to the algorithmic filtering used by these intermediaries, which only displays information that corresponds to the individual users' interests and preferences. However, a recent study undertaken by researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), the University of Hohenheim, and GESIS - the Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Cologne contradicts this widespread conjecture. Based on an innovative analysis of the web browsing behavior of more than 5,000 German Internet users, the results show that the use of intermediaries such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, or portals like GMX actually results in more visits to news sites and a greater variety of news sites visited. This runs counter to what has been postulated to date.

"Anyone visiting Facebook or Google is much more likely to come into contact with news items. Therefore the use of these intermediaries is an important mechanism in the consumption of news on the Internet," said Dr. Frank Mangold of the University of Hohenheim. The research team attributes this to the concept of incidental exposure to news. In the case of traditional media such as television and newspapers, people often only see the news if they deliberately choose to do so. On intermediary platforms they can also come into contact with news by chance, if, for example, their contacts share news content with them or they happen upon interesting articles when checking their emails. According to the researchers, the study's findings could have significant political and social implications, as they disprove the notion of the formation of filter bubbles and echo chambers. "Previous debates have, in many respects, revolved around the fear that online media would lead to new social barriers," said Professor Michael Scharkow of Mainz University. "However, our findings show that social media and search engines in fact have great potential to break down existing barriers."

"From previous studies undertaken by the University of Oxford in particular, we know that although access to news often happens partly by chance, it is also partly down to conscious choice. Some users even visit sites like Facebook and Twitter in order to consume news content," added Dr. Johannes Breuer of GESIS. For their study, the researchers used a statistical model to calculate the estimated daily usage of news content in order to isolate the extent of incidental or unplanned contact with news items. "Regardless of whether a user usually consumed a little or a lot of online news, on days on which someone spent more time on Facebook, Twitter, or Google than usual, they also came into contact with more news as well as more news from different sources than usual," stated Dr. Sebastian Stier from GESIS in the light of the findings.

Last but not least, the researchers also point out that further studies and more detailed insights into the algorithms of intermediaries are necessary in order to understand more precisely how these intermediaries promote unintended, incidental news consumption.

[Source: This article was published in eurekalert.org By JOHANNES GUTENBERG - Uploaded by the Association Member: Deborah Tannen]

Published in News & Politics

Facebook  is testing a new feature that aims to keep users inside its platform when they’re looking for factual information they would otherwise turn to Google or Wikipedia to find. The company confirmed to TechCrunch it’s now piloting an updated version of Facebook Search that displays factual information when users search for topics like public figures, places, and interests — like movies and TV shows.

For example, if you type in a movie title in the Facebook search bar, you’ll be shown an information box that gives you all the details about the movie.

The information is gathered from publicly available data, including Wikipedia. But instead of requiring users to click out of Facebook to view the information, it’s displayed in a side panel next to the search results. This is similar to the automatically generated Knowledge Panel format Google uses for these same types of searches.

SocialMediaToday was the first to report the news of the pilot, citing posts from Twitter users like JC Van ZijlMatt Navarra, and Giulio S.

Facebook confirmed with TechCrunch the feature is a pilot program that’s currently running in English on iOS, desktop, and mobile web. (Users may or may not see the information panels themselves, as this is still a test.)

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We’ve found the new feature can be fairly hit or miss, however.

For starters, it doesn’t always recognize a search term as a proper title. A search for “joker,” for instance displayed a Wikipedia-powered information box for the movie. But a search for “parasite” failed to do so for the Oscar-winning title that in 2020 became the first non-English film to win Best Picture.

Meanwhile, a search for “Donald Trump” easily returned an information panel for the U.S. president, but information for many members of his cabinet did not come up when they were searched by name. Information about leading coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci came up in a side panel when the term “Anthony Fauci” was entered in the Facebook’s search box, but not when “dr. Fauci” was used as the search query.

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Google’s Knowledge Panel doesn’t experience these same problems, as it’s able to make intuitive leaps about which person, place, or thing the user is likely searching for at the time of their query.

Facebook Search will also direct users toward its own features when doing so is more beneficial, it appears. For instance, a search for “COVID” or “COVID-19” will return Facebook’s own COVID-19 Information Center at the top of the search results, not a data-powered side panel about the disease. Google, by comparison, returns a coronavirus map, case overview, and CDC information in its Knowledge Panel.

And a search for the popular game “Animal Crossing” returns its Facebook Page and the option to add it to the titles you’re tracking on Facebook Gaming, but no information panel.

In other words, don’t expect to see an information panel for all the persons, places, or things you search for on Facebook at this time.

The update follows the closure of Facebook’s previous Graph Search feature. Years ago, Facebook attempted to reinvent its search engine with the launch of Graph Search, which allowed users to find people, places, photos, and interests using Facebook data. The feature was later shut down as Facebook dealt with the backlash from major security lapses, like the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Doing so hampered investigators’ ability to catch criminals and other bad actors, BuzzFeed News noted at the time.

Last year, Facebook also told Vice it was pausing some aspects of Graph Search to focus on improvements to keyword search instead.

Presenting “factual” information in the sidebar could also help Facebook claim it’s addressing concerns around the spread of misinformation on its platform. As a home for active disinformation campaigns, propaganda, and conspiracy theories, Facebook needs a tool that displays fact-checked, factual information. (There was a time when Wikipedia wasn’t considered a valid source of that kind of information, but we’re long past that point now!)

This isn’t the first time Facebook has tapped Wikipedia data to enhance its service. It used Wikipedia information on its community pages over a decade ago, for example.

Facebook didn’t offer additional details regarding how long it plans to test the new search feature or when it expects it to roll out more broadly.

[Source: This article was published in techcrunch.com By Sarah Perez - Uploaded by the Association Member: Daniel K. Henry]

Published in Search Engine

The removed pages are only a fraction of the reach of other QAnon groups and pages on Facebook.

Facebook said Tuesday that for the first time it had removed a handful of pages dedicated to the QAnon conspiracy theory for violating the same rules against fake personas and inauthentic behavior used by government influence operations.

Facebook removed five pages with titles like @RealQAnon41020, @RealTrumpQAnon and @AAnonTees. Around 133,000 accounts followed at least one of them, the company said.

QAnon is a conspiracy theory in which adherents believe President Donald Trump is running a secret war to rid the U.S. government of a group of child-eating cannibals, which includes some of the president's political enemies.

The pages that were removed are only a fraction of the reach of other QAnon groups and pages on Facebook, however, reflecting the difficulty of moderating content tied to extremism that doesn't necessarily violate Facebook's policies.

Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, stressed that the company removed only the content that violated its specific rules against coordinated inauthentic behavior, in which multiple accounts act in tandem and obscure their identities to push content.

Facebook created the rules in response to heavy criticism that it did little to stop Russia's Internet Research Agency, the "troll factory" that created an army of false personas to influence voters in the 2016 election.

"From my perspective, we have a very clear behavioral line," Gleicher said. "Whenever an actor crosses that line, we're going to take consistent enforcement."

A study by the social media monitoring firm Graphika, published alongside Facebook's announcement, found that the QAnon pages were egregiously coordinated, repeatedly posting the same links and text at the same time. The pages shared a number of administrators and were followed by many accounts that seemed to be slight variations of the same few names and profile pictures.

Last week, a QAnon supporter carrying 18 knives was arrested in New York City and accused of threatening Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. QAnon, which began on the extremist message boards 4chan and 8chan, has been tied to several real-life crimes and one murder in the recent past.

[Source: This article was published in nbcnews.com By Kevin Collier and Ben Collins - Uploaded by the Association Member: Patrick Moore]

Published in Social

As a business, you want to continuously be reaching out to new customers to expand your customer base. While getting found online is ideal, it is becoming increasingly difficult as search engines process over 3.5 billion searches every day. The good news is that if you are having trouble finding new customers through search engines, there are several other ways to gain new customers online.

Get Listed

One of the easiest ways to grow your online presence is to take advantage of the reputable online directories that exist online. Most directories and listings will remain for some time and all you have to do is submit your information once. The best part about directories and lists is that your business is listed where customers are looking.

Claim Existing Listings

Many sites, including Google, already have listings for your business. Make sure that you claim these listings. This means making sure all information included in the profile is accurate and up-to-date. This way when customers come across your profile they are getting the information they need to contact you.

Look For New Opportunities

Another option is to look for new opportunities. Actively seek out directories or listings that are in your niche. For instance, you may find a directory for wedding photographers in Boston and request to be added to the directory.

Another option is to keep an eye out for any writers looking for products or businesses to include in lists. Working with a site like HelpAReporter.com can help you connect with journalists and get your product featured in publications, reaching potential customers.

Online Advertising

Online advertising is another way to reach new customers. You want to get your advertisements in front of prospective customers and convert views into leads and sales. This means working with major advertising companies including Google, Facebook, and YouTube. Using these online advertising platforms can help you build brand awareness and provide reminders to curious buyers.

YouTube Ads

While YouTube is owned by Google, its ads hold a place of their own. There are some creative practices for YouTube video ads— TrueView in-stream ads (can be skipped), discovery ads (come up in search results), and bumper ads (cannot be skipped). With these ads, you have a captive audience that you want to engage in the first few seconds of video. If you can do this successfully you can quickly build brand awareness, as well as leads and sales.

Google Ads

With Google Ads, you can opt for either display ads (with a picture) or search network ads (top sponsored search results). Surprisingly, if implemented correctly, search network ads can yield high conversion rates.

This means users that click on these links are often ready to spend. By choosing search network ads, you can secure some of the top positions for keywords related to your products and services. In turn, your company can realize significant ROI.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are slightly different in that they are on a social platform, often when consumers are not actively looking to buy. More often than not, Facebook Ads are designed like other stories in the newsfeed, all to drive clicks. This means that your landing page is as important as your ad is in converting to leads and sales. However, sidebar display ads and carousel ads are available (and effective) on Facebook too.

Meet Customers Where They Are

While digital advertising costs money, there are other ways to find new customers online that only cost time. This often entails meeting customers where they already are online. This can be as simple as going to the sites that your customers already use and engaging with them as your brand or company.

However, it is important to note that to do this successfully, you actually have to post engaging content. Simply dropping your link or only promoting your product will not yield positive results.

Common places where you can do this is on Quora, forums like Reddit, and industry and related niche blogs. By posting content that is relatable and engaging you establish yourself as an expert in the field. This means customers will take you more seriously when you recommend a product or service that you offer if it is directly related to the topic at hand and could be beneficial for the user you are responding to. Again, it’s important to not simply drop links if you want to be seen as an expert in your industry.

Your Own Content

Creating your own content for prospective customers is another great way to get found online. You want the content to be engaging and helpful for customers. This could mean answering common questions in your industry, discussing popular topics in your niche, etc. There are several ways that you can create content that adds value to prospective customers.

Write a Blog

Writing a blog on your company website can help new customers find you, especially if you search engine optimization techniques when writing each article. This will help your brand get found for a wide variety of keywords. It also helps establish you as an authority in the field and develops trust with your reader.

In addition to writing your own blog, you can also opt to write guest blogs for other sites to further establish yourself as an expert in the field and to help get your name in front of a larger audience.

Email Newsletters

Start collecting emails from both existing and potential customers. This allows you to reach out to them directly. Create newsletters that provide them valuable information that can help them with problems they may be facing.

For example, if you are a lawn care agency you could focus your email newsletters on tips for raking leaves, reminders to clean their gutters, etc. Again, don’t always focus on pushing products, but instead, focus on providing potential customers with value.

Social Media Presence

There are approximately 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, spanning across several generations. Moreover, users spend an average of 3 hours on social media every day. Therefore, chances are that by maintaining a social media presence you’ll be able to reach your target market.

Use your social media to tell the story of your brand and how your brand can be the solution to the problem they are facing. Gain a following by posting content that is relatable and memorable. This will help you build brand awareness and will also help you start to develop a relationship with your potential customers.

Creativity is Key

Most of the world is online. While search engines are wildly popular for finding things, there are many different ways to reach your target market online. The key is, however, that you create content that provides value to your potential customers so that they begin to trust you enough to convert into sales.

 [Source: This article was published in customerthink.com By Margarita Hakobyan - Uploaded by the Association Member: Grace Irwin]

Published in Search Engine

Google has seemingly put the final nail in the coffin for Adobe Flash, the once-popular video and animation player that's become less relevant as newer web standards like HTML5 have taken over.

The company announced on Monday that its search engine will stop supporting Flash later this year, and that it will ignore Flash content in websites that contain it. The search engine will also stop indexing SWF files, the file format for media played through the Flash Player. Google noted that most users and websites won't see any impact from this change. 

The move has been a long time coming for Flash. Adobe announced in 2017 that it was planning to end-of-life Flash by ceasing to update and distribute it at the end of 2020, and Flash is already disabled in Chrome by default. When it made the announcement, Adobe said it was working with partners like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Mozilla to smoothly phase out Flash.

Flash was once a critical technology that enabled content creators to easily implement media, animations, and games  in their websites during the earlier days of the web. If you frequently played online games in your web browser in the early 2000s, you'll probably remember that Flash plugin was a necessity. 

But as new web standards like HTML5 and WebGL have risen in popularity, there became less of a need for Flash. Plus, as time went on, Flash became more prone to security concerns — including one vulnerability highlighted by security blog Naked Security which surfaced last year that would have made it possible for hackers to execute malicious code via a Flash file.

[Source: This article was published in businessinsider.com By Lisa Eadicicco - Uploaded by the Association Member: David J. Redcliff] 

Published in Search Engine

In Summary

  • Every time you use your Android device, access YouTube, Instagram or WhatsApp, even your internet provider is in on it - Big Brother is watching.
  • A fraudster now has key information that could allow them access banking details, government accounts etc.

According to University of Massachusetts psychologist, Robert Feldman, 60 per cent of people lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation. Especially when you are trying to appear likeable, not offend, capable or competent. Do you know who you never lie to though? Google.

Indeed, there is a high probability that Google knows you better than your spouse. The phrases you search for reflect your likes and aspirations, fears and trepidations - whether that is: News from Migori…Causes of red rashes...Arsenal vs Tottenham results…Best colleges for accounting …or How to get divorced (sssh don’t tell the wife!).

If you think these are private conversations between you and your search engine, think again.

INTERNET

Every time you use your Android device, access YouTube, Instagram or WhatsApp, even your internet provider is in on it - Big Brother is watching. Who dares to say no when you are browsing the internet and the pop-up screen appears asking if you consent to The ‘Cookies’.

I normally agree to these vaguely threatening messages, as I wish to continue using the site and who knows what will happen if you don’t accept.

As Al Franken, former US senator, says of the tech companies: “Accumulating massive troves of information isn’t just a side project for them. It’s their whole business model…We are not their customers; we are their product.”

And the problem is not so much that your search for ‘how many calories in a chocolate bar’, makes you a good candidate for Cadbury’s ads.

The issue is whether all the other data that is collected about you is used as innocuously or in a worst-case scenario, is secure from hackers.

Do you use Facebook?

FACEBOOK

The people’s republic of Facebook has over two billion netizens. It’s bigger than China, bigger than India and more populous than the whole of the African continent.

Its de-facto leader, Mark Zuckerberg, has unwittingly inherited many of the same headaches as a world leader. For instance, how to keep the peace.

The fact that Facebook may know more about you than your own government, makes it vulnerable to the sophisticated deceptions of unethical players whether it is Cambridge Analytica or Russia interfering with US election results; or other rogue elements such as terrorists using your platform to recruit followers for their misinformed ideologies.

And you know how John and Mary post photos of their new baby girl Waceke on their timeline, telling you the birth was at 3.02am, and of course that mother and baby are well at Mater Hospital in Nairobi? Well, they have just unwittingly created a digital footprint that exposes their child to identity theft in the future.

SOCIAL MEDIA

A fraudster now has key information that could allow them access banking details, government accounts etc.

Dear parents, there is a name for what you are doing. It’s called ‘sharenting’ meaning the over-sharing of children’s information on social media.

And if you live in the land of the Eiffel tower, your child could sue you for this. Let alone that in 18 years’ time, Waceke may cringe at having her future beaus or potential employers viewing half-naked toddler pics.

And you know how these days if you take a photo on an iPhone, it will be stored together with the name of your exact location.

Without your knowledge, this information may be shared. The answer to protect our individual online privacy may be global regulation. However this will take eons and we can’t live without the internet till then. So in the meantime, be safe. Be careful what you share.

[Source: This article was published in nation.co.ke By ADEMA SANGALE - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jason bourne]

Published in Internet Privacy
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