Safer Social Media

Cyber bullying has become a common occurrence online these days. Social media makes online communication easy and fast. Although these are positive attributes and reasons as to why social media is so popular to begin with, just as easy as it is to communicate with people about your day-to-day life, it is just as easy to bully and attack someone online. In recent years as the popularity of social media has increased and more teenagers join social networks, the amount of cyber bullying has risen along also. Last year, in a study conducted in the U.S., one million children admitted to being harassed, threatened or exposed to some form of cyber bullying on Facebook. To some it may not seem like a big deal because as reflected in the study 90% of these social media users ignored this behavior. However, more than ever this negative behavior is leading to an increase in fatal consequences. Until recently, there has been no full-proof way to manage online bullying.

In 2015 the app My Social Sitter was develop. The purpose of the app is to stop cyber bullying and ensure a safer and negative free social media environment. Using a four step process the app, which is connected to the social media platform of the user: detects, shields, informs, educates and rewards. The initial detection step has the ability uncover any harmful communication being received, and even harmful communication being sent out by the user. This is followed by the shield of protection, which prevents the negative message from advancing to the intended recipient. From there the user is informed whether a message has been posted or rejected within seconds and if they themselves are sending out a negative message they have the opportunity to edit their post. Along with the informing process is the apps ability to detect very serious messages surrounding depression or suicide. In this case the users parents are automatically informed. The final step is education and rewards. From the shielding step users are taught what is appropriate and what isn’t and the end they receive rewards for every positive post, such as tokens or gift cards.

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The newly developed app has many positive attributes with the first being its quick response rate whenever a message has been sent or rejected makes it easy to keep track with what is taking place on your social media. Another point is that the app is able to detect slang and sentiment in six languages, which increases chances of preventing cyber bullying because youngsters don’t usually write in formal English when they’re on social media. Another is the reward, which is a great motivation for kids and teenagers as they’re usually would not pay attention to ideas like this, but in this case they get something out of it. Finally, it keeps users’ social media profiles private from their parents with the exception of the notifications regarding harmful messages.

Personally I think it is about time an app like this was developed. Some social media sites have put regulations in place to try and hinder cyber bullying as much as possible, but it has not been the most effective. For that reason, I think social media sites like Facebook need to begin advertising the product in order to inform more people. Social media use is continuously rising and it is necessary to make it a safe environment because there is no reason bullying should take place. The app gives individual control to users, its fast and creates a more enjoyable online environment.

Resources

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Facebook’s Takeover Explained

As we have established, Facebook is the most dominant social media site currently, with over 1 billion active users as of early October this year. However, despite this milestone more and more statistics are highlighting Facebook’s decline in popularity. In a recent survey it was determined that about one third of Facebook users had updated their status in recent weeks and 37% of participants said they shared photos on the site. Each of these figures is significantly lower than they were at the same time in 2014. In 2014 half of participants updated their Facebook status and 59% were sharing their photos. Not only, but in comparison to last year the number of social networks people were part of has also increased from 2.5 to 4.3. This hardly comes as a surprise considering the rising popularity of Instagram where people tend to prefer posting their pictures nowadays. Snapchat is another social media platform where people are able to send pictures and videos, along with alternative competitive social platforms Twitter and YouTube. On top of that, despite Facebook’s strong most recent quarter three earnings, the majority of it came from growth in Instagram and Whatsapp, which the company owns.

After reading these statistics it gives an indication as to why Facebook is continuously trying to push itself into other markets. Within the last year Facebook has broadened its reach by focusing on other features like their messaging app, videos, media and their most recent shopping feature. One way or another for Facebook to remain at the top it of course needs to be innovative and expand its outreach, which finally gives a partial explanation to its behavior in recent years.

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However, before you begin to assume that the end of Facebook is near, it’s not. Facebook is still the most used social media platform in the world by a large margin with a user gap of roughly 15% between second place social media app, Instagram. Its overall monthly user rate is 1.39 billion in comparison to Whatsapp’s 700 million and Instagram’s 300 million user count.

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As Facebook remains successful at present, it is unlikely that its popularity will diminish anytime soon. At the moment a reasonable explanation is given to understand its recent actions, which personally I think are wise because although it bothers me now that Facebook wants to be everywhere and that it potentially could be. Just like most things there is tends to be an end, and it will be interesting to see where Facebook will go from here. Will its identity as the leading social media hub remain? Will it transition into a leader of another sector? Or will it end all together?

Resources

  • Facebook has a sharing problem. (2015, November 3). Retrieved November 5, 2015. http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/03/technology/facebook-sharing-down/index.html
  • O’Reilly, L. (2015, November 5). Here’s what analysts are saying about Facebook’s strong 3rd-quarter earnings. http://uk.businessinsider.com/analyst-notes-on-facebook-q3-earnings-2015-11

Social Media and Gaming

“Gamers are loners.”, “Gaming is not social.”, “Everything was better in the past.”
In the old days, when kids went to the arcade, they went with friends. These days, kids lock themselves in their rooms alone with their gaming device. That isn’t social, or is it?

Sony and Microsoft don’t agree with these statements. Their latest products, respectively the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, have social media integrated. They blend the online and offline world. For example, when a friend finds a legendary item while playing ‘single player’, the position of this item appears on your single player map too.
While playing a videogame you can also stream your gameplay live. This way your friends can watch you play and via their headsets they can interact with you. There’s even the possibility to aid your friend while using your tablet or phone. (Hunt 2013)

You could say console gamers are finally catching up with PC gamers on the social aspect. Failbetter Games, for example, is pulling people in socially long before Sony and Microsoft did. Failbetter creates unique interactive stories, like Fallen London, “which could be best described as a sort of choose your own adventure story in which you play alongside Facebook and Twitter friends, asking them for help”. (Harper 2013)

Moreover, the crowd-funding website Kickstarter lets both big and small game developers fund their game ideas. This really changes the gaming industry, because fans spread the word themselves via Twitter instead of the developer marketing their games via traditional media. (Harper 2013)

There are countless communities where people spread their love for gaming. People interacting, collaborating and sharing. Building new relationships, maintaining them, even ending some.
It’s like people are all around you, but are they really? Is it the same as having a real person standing next to you, breathing? What is the difference? Do you think people are less social because of these changes in gaming that are supposed to make it more social?

References:
– Hunt, T. (2013) ‘5 Ways Video Game Companies are Leveraging Social Media’. Visited on 4 November 2015 via https://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/media-journalism/5-ways-video-game-companies-are-leveraging-social-media/.
– Harper, E. (2013) ‘Insiders Explain How Social Media and Video Games Are Merging’. Visited on 4 November 2015 via http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-video-games/.

Teenagers prefer Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat over Facebook

Nowadays there are a lot of social media channels through which we can communicate with others. You might have an account on all of them or maybe only on a few. A survey was held among American teens to find out which social media channels are most popular amongst them.  A surprising finding might be that Facebook is becoming less popular for teenagers.

The survey included 9,400 teens from 13 till 19 years old, coming from households with an average income of $68,000. Around 56% of the teens were male.

The results showed that Instagram was the most important and popular social media. One third of the teens ranked Instagram first. Twitter ended second in the survey, ranked first by 20% of the teenagers, which is a little better then Snapchat’s 19%. It might be surprising that Facebook is not as popular under youngsters as you might expect.  Only 15% of the teens considers Facebook as their most important social network. The results are also in the figure above.

From Facebook’s perspective 15% can be considered as slightly disappointing. However, we must not forget that Facebook bought Instagram in 2012. Even though Facebook is losing interest from teens over the years, the growth of Instagram makes up for this. Facebook’s core audience is getting older and the figure shows this as Facebook was by far the most important social networking site for teens in 2012.

So should Facebook be disappointed with the results? I don’t think so. Facebook still owns the most popular social networking platform for teenagers and has the ability to focus on an older core audience now with their own platform. This gives Facebook the possibility to provide social networking platforms that suit anyone.

So now you know which social media are most popular and important for teens, did you expect this result? And what would be your personal order of social media? And what do you reckon Facebook thinks after seeing the results of this survey?

Sources
http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/10/16/survey-finds-teens-prefer-instagram-snapchat-among-social-networks/

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I guess you’ve all come across these ads on the internet. Some of you may have clicked on them. Lately, these kind of ‘ads’ are disappearing. Those were/are all scams to get your personal and financial data or infiltrate your computer with viruses. Other (real) advertising banners have also become less and less effective, amongst other things thanks to these scams. What can we do to make online advertising effective again?

From a jaw-dropping 50-90% Click Through Rate to a poor 0.1% CTR (MacDonald 2015). You could say banner ads are not an effective way to promote your product, service or company. There’s also a term describing the phenomenon where website visitors consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like information. This is called banner blindness (Nielsen 2007). Yet, there are some ways to improve your (banner) advertising.

Media rich engagement ads are ‘voluntary’ ads. In other words, they expand and play, once you hover above these interactive ads more than two seconds. Beware, consumers may also develop banner blindness to these engagement ads.
Banner blindness does not extend to audio, thus Podcasts are another effective alternative to traditional banners. For example, Spotify uses audio advertising like this. However, hearing the same voice and text over and over again, can be very annoying for consumers.

The opposite of Sponsored Posts and a very effective kind of advertising posts is User Generated Content. In short, consumers themselves post about you on their social networks creating a ‘buzz’. Be careful though: this ‘buzz’ can also be a negative one.
The idea behind Content Marketing is not creating ads that look like content, but actually creating content. “Don’t sell anything, just be useful.” Take a look at CMO.com, Adobe’s initiative (MacDonald 2015).

Another great way to increase advertising effectiveness is not to improve these banners, but rather on how to replace these ineffective (banner) ads. The answer to this problem is: using apps.
Starbucks does a tremendous job by using their app to involve consumers. ‘For Mobile Devices, Think Apps, Not Ads’ (Gupta 2013) discusses some tips to increase this consumer involvement:
– Add convenience
– Offer unique value
– Provide social value
– Offer incentives
– Entertain

The Starbucks app does more than just advertise its products. If you’re interested, you can read more about it in the article.

Do you know other new, creative ways to advertise? Let me know in the comment section below!

References:
– Gupta, S. (2013) ‘For mobile devices, think apps, not ads’, Harvard Business Review 91(3) 71-75.
– MacDonald, M. (2015) ‘Better than Banner Ads: Smart ways to spend your ad dollars in 2015’ via http://www.tintup.com/blog/better-than-banner-ads-smart-ways-spend-ad-dollars-2015-muriel-macdonald/ on September 23, 2015.
– Nielsen, J. (2007) ‘Banner Blindness: Old and New Findings’ via http://www.nngroup.com/articles/banner-blindness-old-and-new-findings/ on September 23, 2015.