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Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

Google continue integration trend with Google Play

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Google is integrating like mad. Earlier in the year, Google search incorporated results from its social network Google Plus then, at the beginning of this month, its new controversial unified privacy policy replaced up to 60 different sets of terms and conditions with a single policy.

Now the company has focused on bringing together some of its smartphone services with the introduction of Google Play.

Google Play brings together a host of separate Android smartphone apps into one location and rebrands different media services under one banner. The new service incorporates the Android marketplace for apps, Google Music, Google Books and Google Movies.

According to the company, Android phone users will notice very little difference in the functionality of their devices as Google Play will automatically recognise a user’s previous accounts and transfer them seamlessly to the new unified service.

According to Google, the company intends to build Play into a brand that will offer a strong identity and result in an increase of investment in mobile entertainment services. Google claim the new brand will increase connectivity and interaction and as a result, benefit both customers and developers.

The change is another step in the consolidation and integration of Google’s many individual services. Many observers believe that the company is positioning itself to deal with the commercial threat from Facebook which will see its first publicly traded shares come onto the market in the next couple of months.

The Facebook IPO is predicted to raise anything between US$5 and $10 billion and the influx of new finance may allow it to offer a challenge in markets where Google has traditionally been the preeminent player.

Many employers ‘actively encourage’ their employees to use social media at work

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Significantly more than half of employers in the UK actively encourage the use of social media for work-related activities such as internet marketing.

According to legal firm DLA Piper, a total of 65% of employers do this, whilst more than three-quarters of employers say that they have a social media presence. Altogether, 86% are on Facebook, 78% are on LinkedIn and 62% are on Twitter.

The findings appear in DLA Piper’s new report Knowing your tweet from your trend: keeping pace with social media in the workplace. The report investigates the problems that employers face in staying abreast of social media and suggests procedures that could be put in place to minimise the risk posed by employees using social media at work.

According to the report, only 25% of respondents have a standalone, dedicated social media policy. Less than half (43%) have a social media policy as part of another policy, for example as part of their HR rules and regulations.

Kate Hodgkiss, a partner in DLA Piper’s employment practice and author of the report, said:

“There is widespread recognition that social media is not just a tool for marketing, but something that needs to be considered by all aspects of a business; from HR, to risk, to the upper echelons of corporate management. Our respondents recognise the benefits of social media to get their messages out to a wide audience, at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods and far more quickly.”

Social network considerations now part of SMEs’ graduate recruitment process

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Nearly 70% of SME decision-makers say that a graduate’s experience in social networks and tools is important to them when considering them for hire.

According to a new survey from OnePoll and sales software company Salesforce, 76% of graduates are also attracted to employers who actively use social networks and tools.

The survey aimed to find out the importance of social networks during the recruitment process.

It also looked into stats regarding the use of social networks by SMEs – and showed that nearly half (47%) of those surveyed use social networks and tools to engage customers and prospects.

Meanwhile, nearly 70% of respondents say that social networks and tools are important to the future of their business. This figure rose to 86% amongst decision-makers aged 18 to 24.

SMEs are also more liberal regarding the use of social networks in the office. Only 15% of SMEs ban all use of social networks whilst 37% have no restrictions in place at all. This could work in those SMEs’ favour, as 40% of graduates surveyed said that they would be deterred from working for a business that had banned Facebook and Twitter.

Nearly 30% of managers in SMEs look to new graduates to teach them about how best to use social networking sites to grow their business.

Tim Barker of Salesforce.com said: “To attract and retain tomorrow’s talent, SMEs need to understand social networks and tools and use them to engage with customers, prospects, employees and in the recruitment process.”

Social Media ROI stats

In a more modest research project (in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University), we’ve actually been doing our own SME survey, looking at SME Return On Investment (ROI) by using Social Media. The first outputs can be found in the links below:

Prezi : Social Media ROI Survey – as presented at the Turing Festival in Edinburgh, and Social Media Week Glasgow.

Return on Investment: What Literature Exists on the Use of Social Media and ROI? – an annotated bibliography of academic journal articles, professional publications, authoritative blogs and other resources that address social media and return on investment (ROI).

Top Gear up for rent on Facebook

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Fans of the popular motoring show Top Gear will now be able to watch some of their favourite episodes of the programme on Facebook.

BBC Worldwide, which owns the rights to the programme, announced this week (22nd August) that users will be able to rent full episodes of Top Gear through the social networking site.

Fans will pay for their episode rentals using the Facebook credits currency system.

Users will need to become a fan of the Top Gear page first. After they do this, they will be able to choose episodes to view before streaming the content online.

They will have 48 hours to view each episode after paying and will not even have to leave the Facebook site to watch them.

Not all episodes of the hit show will be available on the social media site, however.

BBC Worldwide is planning to stagger the availability of select episodes.

The ‘Polar Special’ will show this week, the ‘US Road Trip’ will go live next week and the ‘Vietnam Road Trip’ episode will be available to view from 4 September.

Fans living in Europe, the USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand will be able to access the shows.

Each show will cost 15 Facebook credits to rent – equal to 94p each.

It’s all in the Analytics: Facebook vs. Google+

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

A major advantage of Google+ over rival social networking site Facebook, has been its promised ability to offer more detailed data on the success of social media campaigns.

But that could change.

This week, Facebook announced a tie-in with consumer audience measurement giant Nielsen which will see launch a new social media measuring tool, Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings.
The service, which launches in the US with a UK rollout later this year, works in a similar way to how TV ad audiences are measured, offering daily demographic reports of data gained from Nielsen’s TV viewing and online user panels and Facebook’s own database.

This announcement comes – with no great surprise – just as Google+ plans to launch its brand pages.

Ever popular Google Analytics is expected to be integrated within the Brand Pages (as well as Google Display Network, AdWords and DoubleClick advertising products) which will make Google+ a very attractive proposition, allowing advertisers to see clearly just who and where their fans are, and what online content they engage with.

Such a level of detail is imperative to help advertisers create more targeted online campaigns, relevant content, and most of all, maximise online marketing spend.

However, with a heavy-weight consumer insight company like Nielsen behind its data analytics, advertisers will have renewed confidence in Facebook, which could mean some hang on for the UK launch of this new analytics tool, rather than transfer their existing loyal and engaged Facebook base over to Google+, at the of risk of losing fans and customers.

Is Google+ courting celebrities?

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Google is reportedly planning a “celebrity acquisition plan” to help publicise its new Google+ social network.

According to US broadcaster CNN, the search engine giant wants its rival to Facebook to become popular amongst actors, musicians and other public figures.

CNN says that it found out about Google’s plans via a number of emails from Google.

The emails detail a new system that aims to verify the identity of a public figure when they sign up for Google+.

The system follows the model of that operated by Twitter, where celebrity accounts are authenticated and then stamped with a “Verified” icon. Twitter’s system was introduced after a number of fake accounts appeared purporting to be those of various well-known figures.

Experts speculate that Google may verify celebrity accounts by asking them to fax over official documentation proving their identity, such as their driving licence.

A number of celebrities have already joined Google+, including Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Swift and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Google remained non-committal on the subject in an official statement, merely saying: “We aren’t yet sharing any details on future plans around Google+. We plan to add a lot of features and functionality to Google+ over time.”

Meanwhile, regular users are clamouring to join the site, which has already amassed 10 million members.

Doctors warned not to befriend patients on social networking sites

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Doctors have been advised not to connect with their patients on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has made the recommendation because it fears that in befriending their patients doctors may risk breaching confidentiality.

It advises medical staff and students to decline friend and follow requests by patients current or past in order to maintain the clear boundaries needed in the doctor-patient relationship.

The BMA guidance, which was published earlier this month, also warns medical professionals against posting “informal, personal or derogatory comments” about their patients on social media sites.

The advice follows a series of mistakes that have got doctors into trouble on Facebook.

According to Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA’s medical ethics committee, most doctors already refuse to accept Facebook friend requests from patients, although a small percentage would think about befriending them.

He told the Guardian: “Accepting Facebook friends presents doctors with difficult ethical issues. For example, doctors could become aware of information about their patients that has not been disclosed as part of a clinical consultation.

“It would also be wholly inappropriate for doctors to disclose information about their patients online.”

The Nursing and Midwifery Council also published similar guidelines this week, asking nurses and midwifes to refrain from posting photos of patients, discussing work and publishing sensitive information onto their social networks as well as not befriending their patients.

Google+ has internet community running around in Circles

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Google+, Google’s answer to Facebook, launched last week, creating a frenzy amongst internet users desperate to get their hands on an invitation.

Such was the huge amount of interest in the new hotly anticipated social networking site that invitations to join had to be closed down in a matter of hours.

That hasn’t stopped Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg from joining: he’s one of the few thousand lucky users who have managed to join up in full.

Those who successfully joined Zuckerberg as members of Google+ were greeted with a well-designed social networking site which some say might eventually overtake Twitter and Facebook altogether.

Google+ is centred around the concept of Circles. This concepts is a further extension of Facebook’s straight friending system, where you see people you know and send them the same simple friend request whether they are your best friend, your mother or your boss.

Circles, by contrast, sets your networks in circles, starting you off with the default categories of Family, Friends and Acquaintances.

Google+ starts your networks off automatically by showing you your contacts. Unsurprisingly, it shows you your Gmail contacts by default and then gives you the option to search and import contacts from Yahoo and Microsoft. There is no option to import your contacts from Facebook, although there is a (slightly convoluted) way round this: import your Facebook contacts into your Yahoo and then import your Yahoo into your Google+. It’s worth opening up a Yahoo just for this alone – without your contacts, it’s going to be difficult to have the full Google+ experience.

Once all of your contacts are in, you can drag a person into the appropriate circle. This is a visual feature that’s as simple as it sounds.

Updates are a key feature of Google+, much like with Facebook. You will see a stream of posts from your contacts, although the difference from Facebook is that you can filter the stream by the circles you want to see.  Sharing photos is easy too, especially if you are already using Google’s Picasa photo storage and sharing site.

Chat offers more than Facebook chat: there is a Hangout room where you can chat with up to ten of your contacts. You can arrange your chat window into boxes, with each chat participant in a box, meaning that the conversation should be relatively easy to follow. There’s also the Huddle group chat app that works on the Google+ app on Android phones.

Accessing Google+ has been made extremely easy. Google have created a black bar which runs across the top of all of its services. This contains one-click links to all of the other services, including your Google+ profile, ensuring that users will be more connected than ever to their social networks.

It’s still very early days to predict if this will be the next facebook killer (probably not), but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on, and already here in the NSDesign office we can see some of the immediate advantages (and differences) that Google+ gives us over some of the other big players in Social Media…  Namely more private (internal) communication, and more control of the type of data we share and who we share it with….  interesting times!

LinkedIn floats on New York stock exchange for nearly US$10bn

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

LinkedIn, the first American social networking site to go public, has been valued at a sky-high US$8.5bn (£5.3bn) following its flotation on the New York stock exchange last Thursday.

The figure is a massive US$5bn higher than expected and the highest valuation of a US internet company since Google went public in 2004. The first shares in LinkedIn traded for US$90 each.

Experts are heralding the news as proof that global stock markets are ensconced in a technology and social media bubble, with excitement and valuations over internet companies almost rivaling those of the dotcom boom in the 1990s.

LinkedIn had a profit of US$15.4m on revenues of US$243 last year. This year’s valuation is 35 times that of last year’s revenues.

It is thought that the business nature of LinkedIn, as opposed to the purely social focus of Facebook, has given it such a high value: it means that advertisers are able to target business users and income groups.

The site offered 7.8m shares priced at US$45 each, which was above its initially expected price range of US$32 – US$35. A further 3m shares in the IPO were offered by some of the firm’s backers, including Bain Capital Ventures, Goldman Sachs and McGraw-Hill.

The site may well be the first of many social networking sites to go public this year.

Groupon, the online discount business, and Zynga, which makes games like FarmVille and CityVille for Facebook, are both expected to float by the end of 2011.

Social networks banned by half of British businesses

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

More than half of British businesses have officially banned access to social networking sites.

According to a new survey of 2,000 employees in the UK, 48% of organisations have banned them from using Facebook during working hours.

The survey, conducted by IT firm HCL Technologies and Lewis PR, also found that 63% of the bosses who have not officially banned access to social networking sites actively discourage their use during working hours.

Nearly half of the employees quizzed felt that the ban was not related to productivity but rather for the sake of the firms’ reputations. In total, 45% of respondents thought that employers “feared business reputation was at stake” if employees posted negative comments about their firm in public.

This survey is not the first to show employers’ concern over the use of social networking sites in the workplace.

Last year, a report by Webroot found that around half of the SMEs in the UK and the USA had banned workers from using social networks in the office. However, that survey blamed security concerns for employers’ fears.

Vineet Nayar, chief executive of HCL Technologies, said that UK businesses were risking “corporate suicide” by neglecting workers’ interests in social networking sites. He said: “Social networking is like food and drink to Generation Y workers; they are so used to communicating in a more open and collaborative way.

“Forward- looking companies should be aiming to encourage social media activity amongst their employees rather than stifling it. While we always advocate responsible use of social networks in the office, banning them outright will impact employees’ approach to work in a negative way, having a detrimental effect on the business as a whole.”