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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Zuckerberg’

How Charitable Is Facebook’s ‘Internet for All’ Project?

Internet.org sounds like the most noble kind of charity organization: designed to bring broadband to the four billion-plus people around the world who don’t have access, it might be Mark Zuckerberg‘s passion project (and the promo clip is quite stately thanks to JFK).

But Matt Buchanan of The New Yorker, among many others, isn’t so sure about Internet.org’s goals. What’s the problem? Well, the project was founded by FacebookEricsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, and Samsung—seven companies that would love to get those 4-5 billion wired up so they can provide them with related services (and promo messages). Buchanan takes issue with the fact that Facebook stands to gain millions, if not billions, of new users without actually doing any of the infrastructural legwork required to make the plan a reality. It’s hard to believe, but many of the areas targeted by Internet.org don’t have any electricity, much less 4G service.

This is why Zuckerberg’s Wired interview, published yesterday, reads something like the first stop on a damage control tour.

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Teens Haven’t Really Abandoned Facebook

Yes, your 13-year-old cousin is totally over Facebook. Yes, she wrote about that fact on Mashable. But that doesn’t mean that you should sell all the stock you bought last year. More importantly, it doesn’t mean that your clients should stop paying you to manage their pages.

Slate offers a counterpoint because that’s what they do, noting that, while none of the author’s friends are on Facebook, she supposedly fears getting in trouble for unflattering pictures that her older acquaintances post on their timelines. And seventh graders never imitate their elders.

For the two hundredth time, Facebook isn’t going anywhere. More than 40% of Americans still check it every single day. Mark Zuckerberg says that the site’s teen membership has held steady over the past couple of years; if you don’t believe him, the latest Pew Research study found that it’s still far and away the most popular social network, no matter how much Yahoo paid for Tumblr.

You already know how this story ends, but we’ll clarify. All this little bit of citizen journalism means is that Facebook is not, and never really was, the be-all-end-all of social media promotions—and you’ll need more than a timeline post to win the attention of the youngest generation.

That’s it. Moving along…

Instagram for Brands: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Photo courtesy of PiXXart / Shutterstock.com Every brand on Earth is chomping at the bit to place official ads on the rapidly growing Instagram, but parent company Facebook continues to proceed with extreme caution.

While Mark Zuckerberg says he is very encouraged by the expansion of the image-sharing network, he clearly does not plan to open the commercial floodgates until he’s good and ready. In his own words, Instagram must first focus on “build[ing] community” before determining how best to use its considerable potential as an ad/marketing forum. We can see why Zuckerberg prefers to take low-risk baby steps, no matter how impatient advertisers may be.

In the meantime, brands and their social media teams should be quite happy to learn that they do have more promotional options on Instagram thanks to the newly introduced function “photos of you,” which allows users to tag any other existing account—be it a friend, a celebrity, a local business, or a big-name brand—in their own pics. Amateur lensmen and brand managers alike will receive notifications when others tag them, and they can then choose whether to display these images on their own public feeds.

Can you say “pre-approved user generated content?”

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Sheryl Sandberg’s PR Team Doesn’t Handle Criticism Well

Today in Classic PR Infighting news: we’ve all heard of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg‘s book Lean In, which is all about how women need to assert themselves more aggressively in the workplace.

Of course Sandberg’s been making the media rounds to promote the book. This week Kate Losse, an early Facebook employee who once wrote speeches for Mark Zuckerberg and published a memoir about her experience there, posted a critical review of the book in Dissent magazine.

Here’s how current Sandberg rep and former Facebook PR chief/Losse coworker Brandee Barker responded:

Alright then!

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What Does The New Facebook Feed Mean for Brands? 5 Takeaways

In case you spent all day yesterday hiding under a rock, Facebook unveiled its brand new revamped news feed model. During the press conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wants the network to double as the world’s best “personalized newspaper”. We think we just heard the entire Internet issue a collective groan.

And now for the inevitable follow-up question: where’s the outrage? The public has yet to render a judgment, but so far the word on the changes from the brand/advertiser side appears to be cautiously positive! In fact, the new setup might be better for brands and advertisers. How so?

Well, the biggest change for the new feed is more, bigger pictures. This is in keeping with the PR/marketing industry’s increasing focus on visuals over text when driving audience engagement.

Our conclusions on what this change will mean for brands, marketers and PR teams:

1. More pictures and video: This is a bit of a no-brainer: we’ve been moving in this direction for some time. This larger shift means that ambitious PR pros should work on developing their design skills and portfolios.

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Facebook Not Too Comfortable with Democracy

Facebook Governance LogoYou can’t please everybody all the time—especially when that “everybody” includes nearly a billion people. But Facebook’s not even trying any more: As much as Mark Zuckerberg claims to love transparency in messaging, decision-making and management, his company’s troubled flirtation with “democracy” appears to be on the wane.

Last week brought the announcement of what seems like the millionth round of changes to Facebook’s official privacy and “governance” policies. The changes concern “the integration of Instagram data” and revisions to “the filters for managing incoming messages”, and they’ll make it easier for Facebook to share its coveted data with partner organizations. While Facebook calls these changes “minor and beneficial to users”, many predictably disagreed and shared their opinions online. You’ve probably seen this status update at some point over the past week:

“I DO NOT AUTHORIZE the use of my personal data (text, photos, images, videos, comments or any content contained on my page now or in the past), under any pretext, for commercial or non-commercial purposes without my written and signed approval. Also, I REJECT AND DO NOT CONCEDE that Facebook stores messages, comments, images, videos or any other data I choose or chose to delete.”

The most interesting aspect of this story? Facebook has decided to abandon its attempts to imitate a “direct democracy” by allowing users to vote on proposed changes. As of this afternoon, you and the other 999 million people on the network will no longer have a direct say in this matter–or any other.

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Facebook Couples Pages: Dumb Idea or The Dumbest Idea?

Facebook Couples Pages DebutToday BostonInno asks a crucial question: “Are Facebook’s New ‘Couples Pages’ the Dumbest Thing the Internet Has Ever Given Us?” We’d say n0–that would be a three-way tie between “YOLO“, “Bronies” and Rebecca Black–but the public response to Zuckerberg’s latest awesome idea seems to be overwhelmingly negative.

Come to think of it, we can’t remember a single Facebook tweak inspiring anything but ridicule. Maybe the company needs to re-think its product rollout strategy…

Also: breakups will be a whole lot more public now, won’t they?

P.S. We do feel a little bad for Mr. and Mrs. Stephanie Holson above. We don’t even know them, but they already annoy us (and we’re married)!

Will Instagram Profiles Change the Visual Branding Game?

You may not have noticed, but Instagram (undisputed king of online “food porn“) made a big announcement this week: the service has begun moving away from its status as a purely mobile application to establish a major web presence with Instagram “profiles.”

These new web pages very closely resemble Facebook profiles, which should surprise no one considering Mark Zuckerberg‘s recent acquisition of the nascent imaging service. In place of the Facebook “cover photo”, visitors will see a rotating lineup of recent images posted by the Instagram user in question.

Instagram on the web is, for all intents and purposes, a purely visual version of Facebook.

One potential problem has emerged, and it will be familiar to many Facebook users: Within a week or so, everyone with an Instagram account will also have a page with a default “public” setting, which means that anyone online can visit a given user’s profile and view his or her images. Does this amount to an invasion of privacy? The service will almost certainly need to address the issue in the days ahead.

But we expected Instagram to encounter a few bumps in the road as it expands. The big question: what does this new feature mean for brands?

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Is the Lightt App an ‘Instagram Killer’?

Mark Zuckerberg clearly made a wise move in acquiring Instagram. The social media reaction to yesterday’s story about a Manhattan restaurant’s brilliant new “Instagram menu” proves that the app is hugely popular—and we also recently learned that Instagram beats Twitter when it comes to mobile engagement.

But can a new social media photo app climb to the top of the heap? As Social Times reported this afternoon, tech guru Robert Scoble seems to think so.

This new entry on the pic-sharing scene is Lightt, an app that creates silent photo sequences resembling gifs, those classic visual loops that ruled the Internet a few short years ago. The key catch is that users can share these images with friends, and the app grants us the power to create crazy pseudo-videos from the photos taken by, say, a group of friends attending the same concert from different angles. Sound cool? This video is a little slow, but it does demonstrate how Lightt works if you have a minute:

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‘Facebook Gifts’ Just Might Work

You’ve probably heard that Facebook just hit the one billion user milestone. The company celebrated the announcement with a teary-eyed commercial and a typically understated blog post by the Zuck complete with a “one billion fact sheet.”

While the stats on the sheet are fascinating, they also bring attention back to Facebook’s biggest challenge: How can they turn that unbelievably huge data pool into real-world revenue?

Over the past two weeks, the company rolled out two new answers to that question in the form of “promoted ads” and “Facebook Gifts”, its new entry into the rapidly expanding world of digital retail after acquiring the social gifting app Karma. Now users can send their friends a lot more than hearts or Farmland invitations. It’s a bit of a twist on the DOA Facebook Deals plan: interested parties can choose from a list of products to send their friends and, in the most important update, the recipient can specify size, style, color, etc. so the gift best fits his or her individual tastes.

The big unknown right now is exactly what sort of gift selection the new feature will include.

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