Mom lashes back after seeing photo of her breastfeeding on Facebook

A young mother was shocked on Wednesday to find that a stranger had snapped a photo of her publicly breastfeeding her son and had shared it to his social media accounts alongside comments that shamed her for feeding her child in public.

In response, the young woman, who goes by Conner Kendall on Facebook, posted a scathing letter to the unnamed stranger in which she admonishes him for invading her privacy and shaming her choices. The post has since been shared more than 43,000 times.

See also: Why you should think twice about buying breast milk off the Internet Read more…

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How to Use Twitter Analytics to Create Smarter Content

By Saturday, May 30, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Reaching your customers is more difficult today than ever before. With over a billion tweets sent every two days and millions of blog posts, articles, videos and other content added to the web every day, cutting through the noise requires patience, hard work – and great content.

Marketers can use Twitter analytics to create smarter content that will reach their audience when, where, and how they want it. Here’s how.

1. Explore your top tweets

To access your Twitter analytics, simply visit analytics.twitter.com and log in with your Twitter credentials.

Click over to the “Tweets” tab at the top of the dashboard. Here, you’ll see statistics related to your recent tweets. Set the date range to the past 28 days, to get a good segment of tweets to analyze.

Take a look at your top performing tweets – those that got the best impressions and engagements. These are the types of tweets that resonated most with your followers.

Whether the content you shared was your own or someone else’s, pay attention to the trends. Were your top tweets about industry predictions? Jokes? Product reviews? Write down the top five topics.

From here, brainstorm 3-5 pieces of content around each of the five original topics. Within industry predictions, for example, could you write an analysis of recently released statistics? Do a round-up of the latest predictions from other sources? Go against the grain and argue the other side of popular belief?

In just a few minutes, you should have 15 to 25 new ideas for content that you can get started creating. And don’t forget to share it on Twitter when it’s published!

2. Explore your followers

The “Followers” tab in the Twitter Analytics dashboard is equally as valuable for content inspiration as the “Tweets” tab.

Here, you can view some basic audience insights to learn more about your followers.

The demographics tab can show you what education level your followers have, their marital status, location and more. This information can be useful if you are creating a marketing persona that will help guide your future content.

Arguably even more interesting, however, are the lifestyle and consumer behavior tabs.

The lifestyle tab offers up insights about the top ten interests of your followers – perfect fodder for content. From technology to sports, startups to politics, you can learn the broad topics that your audience tweets about most, and develop content around these verticals.

If you’re creating content in order to take your audience down the lead funnel, the consumer behavior tab also has some relevant information. Understanding whether your audience prefers premium or budget brands, healthy living or urban exploring can also inform content, especially when it comes to newsletters and sales.

So next time you’re stuck for new ideas for your content, just come back to your Twitter analytics and see what you can uncover.

(Content marketing image via Shutterstock)

Google Extends App Indexing to iOS

By Friday, May 29, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Content from iOS applications will now be available in search results from Google, joining content from their Android counterparts, and that content can be opened directly via Google search.

Product manager Eli Wald posted in the Google Developers Blog that the feature will roll out with “an initial group of apps” Google has been working with, both in the Google app and for signed-in users in Chrome, “in the coming weeks.”

Wald also offered instructions for developers interested in getting their apps indexed:

While app indexing for iOS is launching with a small group of test partners initially, we’re working to make this technology available to more app developers as soon as possible. In the meantime, here are the steps to get a head start on app indexing for iOS:

Add deep linking support to your iOS app.
Make sure it’s possible to return to search results with one click.
Provide deep link annotations on your site.
Let us know you’re interested. Keep in mind that expressing interest does not automatically guarantee getting app deep links in iOS search results.

Readers: What are your initial thoughts on Google’s app indexing for iOS?

Lara Croft: Relic Run Races onto Mobile [Interview]

By Friday, May 29, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Square Enix has announced the release of Lara Croft: Relic Run on iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, taking the star of the Tomb Raider franchise on a quest to uncover a conspiracy and save the world. Created by Square Enix and Simutronics, in partnership with Crystal Dynamics, the endless runner sees Lara pulling off parkour moves, engaging in combat with enemies (include a Tyrannosaurus rex), riding vehicles and more as she searches for the truth.

In each game of Lara Croft: Relic Run, Lara runs automatically, and players swipe left and right to move between three lanes, and swipe up and down to jump over or slide under obstacles. The longer players run, the more obstacles they face, challenging them to help Lara wall-run (swiping right or left when at the edge of the screen), drive an ATV or motorcycle, and even run along a cliff face while hanging from a rope. Combat is also present, which removes obstacles from Lara’s path, letting gamers focus on tapping to shoot enemies, explosive barrels or extra coin crates.

Gamers collect relics and coins as they run, as well as points multiplier items for increasing their high score. In between games, users can spend these coins on new weapons or upgrades for Lara’s existing guns, increasing their damage, clip size and reload speed. Players can purchase new outfits for Lara using free or premium currency, each with a different effect on gameplay, or can save their coins to purchase or upgrade additional boosts, including coin magnets, clue boosters for finding relics faster and more.

As players collect relics, they’ll eventually unlock new running destinations. Specifically, the Desert Ruins stage costs 15 relics to unlock, or can be unlocked instantly with premium currency, while an additional Mountain Pass environment is coming soon. Each location has its own achievements to unlock, rewarding players with free coins, in addition to global achievements tracking overall game progress.

For social play, gamers can login to Facebook to track their high scores on a friendly leaderboard. An additional Curses mechanic allows users to send curses to their friends in an attempt to ruin their next run. If gamers survive the curse sent by their friends (which takes the form of a limited time “full screen effect”), they receive a reward and a chance for revenge against the sender.

We had a chance to chat with Iain Riches, producer on Lara Croft: Relic Run, about the game, and what it’s like transforming such a well-known character into a mobile star.

SocialTimes: When developing a game in such a popular genre as the “endless runner,” how challenging is it to create something that’s familiar and easy to play, but not totally reminiscent of other existing titles?

Iain Riches:  When we put the original idea together for Lara Croft: Relic Run, we had some key gameplay elements that we wanted to retain so we remained true to the nostalgic Lara Croft. Lara had to feel acrobatic, we wanted combat, vehicle and boss encounters in the game—these alone, based on the competition, offered the user something different.

Obviously, it’s impossible to avoid comparisons with other endless runners as we do have running in it, but we wanted the experience to play like a Lara Croft adventure both visually and in intensity.

Visual fidelity was important, but we wanted the gameplay to go up a level as well. We wanted the player to feel like the game was different each run—to add surprise elements and secrets. It was also key that we had a story running though the game that linked to the universe and gave context to why you, as Lara, are doing what she is doing.

There was never any intention to re-write the endless runner wheel just for the sake of it, as there are so many very accomplished endless runners out there. So, we used many as benchmarks, and then added the Lara Croft game elements mentioned before to create a really fun, unique and addictive game experience.

ST: When mobile games are released for established franchises traditionally found on consoles, there tends to be backlash from many in the “core” gamer community. This is especially true when the mobile games are free-to-play, as Relic Run is, due to the additional stigma against free-to-play games in general. What are your thoughts on that?

IR: The mobile market is a very busy place, so to get yourself noticed in the crowd is an ongoing challenge. Creating a game based on Lara Croft helps give us something to cut through the noise, but the game needs to stand on its own two feet.

Mobile vs. console gamers have a clear difference; console gamers call themselves gamers, where mobile users, on the whole, don’t. Mobile is not core, and will always struggle to appeal to core gamers because of the experiences that they are used to.

Saying that, Lara Croft: Relic Run is a high production, pick-and-play game that is indeed free, but we don’t have an aggressive monetization strategy—everything can be unlocked in the game just by playing (granted this can take some time)! But there is no escaping that we want to be able to make money from the game so we can continue to support it with great content!

ST: On that same topic, did the development team take those sorts of player reactions into account and do anything to prevent the backlash, or has the trend shown not to be true in the case of Lara Croft: Relic Run?

IR: Our main goal was to build a Lara Croft game from the ground up for mobile. It was incredibly important to work with the franchise holders (Crystal Dynamics) to not only give us the legitimacy, but the franchise accuracy as well. We didn’t want the game to sit apart from the universe, but to be part of it.

We also involved the Lara Croft/Tomb Raider community and didn’t shy away that we were creating a fun and involving mobile endless runner using Lara Croft.

The response to date has been great from the people that have played it, both from the community and the general user. The reality is, endless runners are not everyone’s cup of tea, and assumptions will always be made about what the game is without even playing it. But when people do, they are very pleasantly surprised by what they get.

ST: Was there any concern during development of being compared to Temple Run, given the games’ similar settings?

IR: Always and inevitable—it’s the foundation endless runner that still sets the bar! As said before, we never tried to ignore what has been done before because they were a success for a reason, but we also wanted to enhance the experience as hardware and technology have moved on considerably since Temple Run (and all iterations) graced the various stores.

Setting the game in the Lara Croft universe offered us so much more to play with and offer to the player.

Pinterest Drives Traffic — and Commerce — Online [Infographic]

By Friday, May 29, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Pinterest might be one of the most frequently talked about social networks, but as of December 2014, it wasn’t even one of the biggest in terms of the number of users. Still, if you look at the sites driving the most traffic, Pinterest is among the top five. An infographic from Shopify outlines how Pinterest impacts online commerce.

Not only does Pinterest drive traffic, when its users click through to a branded site, they’re prepared to spend money. Not only do people go to Pinterest looking for ideas, Pinterest referrals result in an average order value of $50. Pinning something even indicates intent, as 93 percent of surveyed said they planned to buy the item in question.

As we’ve seen across the Web, mobile is changing the way people use Pinterest. In fact, there has been a major shift away from desktop over the last two years, with 80 percent of Pinterest users accessing the site from mobile devices. There is also a growing male contingent on the site and orders from outside of the U.S. increased 130 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Check out the infographic below for more data and tips on how to leverage the power of Pinterest for your brand.

Facebook Adds Limited Support for Animated GIF Files

By Friday, May 29, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Animated GIF files on Facebook? The social network finally announced support for the file format, but there are restrictions.

Christina Warren of Mashable reported that GIFs will only be animated if they are posted via links, and not uploaded.

Warren added that GIF links from Tumblr did not display properly in preview mode, but worked fine after posting.

She also noted that Facebook support for GIFs was extended to its flagship mobile applications, but not to pages.

Finally, Warren suggested that Facebook users looking to share GIFs from services such as Giphy, Imgur and GFYcat use the full URLs for those GIFs in their posts on the social network, as there were coding issues when using the Flash or HTML5 versions of those images that are created by the services.

Facebook confirmed that it is now supporting GIFs in a statement to TechCrunch:

We’re rolling out support for animated GIFs in News Feed. This is so you can share more fun, expressive things with your friends on Facebook.

Readers: What do you think of Facebook’s decision to support animated GIFs?

Image courtesy of Christina Warren, Mashable.

Social Media Jobs: Pratt Institute, Fidelity Charitable

By Friday, May 29, 2015 0 Permalink 0

This week, Pratt Institute is hiring a social media coordinator, while Fidelity Charitable needs an editor of social media and digital content. GLOW is seeking a community manager, and Hunter Public Relations is looking for a social media community manager. Get the scoop on these openings below, and find additional social media jobs on Mediabistro.

Social Media Coordinator Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY)
Editor, Social Media and Digital Content Fidelity Charitable (Cary, NC)
Community Manager GLOW (New York, NY)
Social Media Community Manager Hunter Public Relations (New York, NY)
Online Marketing Manager CraftDaily.com (Fort Collins, CO)

Find more great social media jobs on our job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented SocialTimes pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

What Facebook’s Instant Article Feature Means for Brands

By Friday, May 29, 2015 0 Permalink 0

Facebook launched its Instant Article feature recently, giving publishers, including both media outlets and brands, the ability to post more interactive and readable content.

Launched in response to an increase in users reading articles posted on the site — particularly on mobile devices — Facebook is also hoping to please publishers who are interested in posting sharable content on the site to better interact and engage with consumers.

The new feature not only meets the needs of both consumers and publishers, but also points to a larger trend of blurred lines between media outlets and brands and the rise in social media as a news source. Consumers are increasingly turning to social media to monitor current events and consume news, and brands have a desire to act more like publishers and reach consumers with genuine, informative content.

Rise in social for news

In our constantly connected world, it’s normal for consumers to check social media daily or even multiple times a day. And most are treating these sites as one-stop shops for both updates from friends or family and more information about current events.

If breaking news happens, many consumers will log onto Facebook or Twitter before visiting a news source directly. Not only are consumers looking for information from the news outlets themselves, but are also interested in hearing what their friends and family are posting in response to the event.

Facebook’s new feature makes it easy for users to consume content from publishers and share it with their networks. The feature makes content more readable and interactive across all devices by offering faster load times, high resolution photos, in-line commenting capabilities and higher quality videos.

Brands as publishers

The increase in consumers looking to social media for news paves the way for anyone to be a publisher, and brands have jumped on this opportunity.

Brands are now delivering timely, relevant content for followers. And for brands, this timeliness and relevance is the ultimate driver of business — it creates a relationship with their audiences and gives those audiences a reason to share. Ultimately, marketers can create a voice and gain consumer trust by developing timely, informative content that consumers want to read. And the best channel for this content to reach engaged consumers is social media.

Thanks to Instant Articles, posting timely, relevant content is easier than ever for brands. Rather than planning out major long-term campaigns that push promotions, brands can post genuine, sharable information in response to real-time events. As a result, brands are able to reach more consumers with the content they want to read and give them a reason to share it.

Steps for Marketers

But how do marketers effectively take advantage of Facebook’s new feature and meet the newfound consumer need for more genuine content? They can create a real-time, content-driven internal culture by following these steps:

Build a team and assign roles and responsibilities: With a team in place, marketers can create a content supply chain to make the content development process efficient and effective. Marketers also need an internal process in place for incorporating real-time events within content development.
Define your brand narrative: When developing content, it’s important that marketers have a consistent brand voice. Marketers need to determine messaging and a voice that meets their brand’s persona and stick to it.
Create a channel strategy: Some channels are better than others for certain content. Highly visual content might be better for Instagram, longer, more-developed content can live on Facebook and Twitter should be for quick reactions to events in real time. Marketers should also alter content for mobile, tablet and desktop.
Invest in the right technology: The right technology helps marketers find the right content in real time and use it most effectively. Search and analytics tools can help marketers uncover what’s important and find the right audiences, and display technology can help them use it strategically to interact with customers.

Brands are becoming more like newsrooms and consumers are increasingly looking to social media to monitor current events. As a result, brands have an increased desire to reach consumers with informative content on social media sites. This is easier than ever.

Brands interested in taking advantage of these opportunities with features such as Instant Articles need to develop a real-time culture and put in place the right team and technology to execute it effectively.

Jordan Slabaugh is the vice president of marketing at Wayin, a Denver-based social media intelligence and marketing technology platform offering solutions to surface the best social trends and content to persuade action and drive results.

Mobile Game Roundup: Cartoon Survivor, Breach TD and More

By Friday, May 29, 2015 0 Permalink 0

As we reach the end of another week, mobile app stores have been updated with a slew of new games for iOS, Android and other mobile devices. This week, Zen Studios released its Portal Pinball table on mobile, based on the popular Portal series of console games, while Zynga expanded its FarmVille franchise with the release of its FarmVille: Harvest Swap match-three game.

Finally, gamers looking for a deeper experience can find it in QCF Design’s Desktop Dungeons, which offers randomly generated dungeons for limitless gameplay on tablets.

As usual, this week’s lineup of new releases offers a little something for everyone. Here’s a look at some additional games released on mobile this week.

Cartoon Survivor (Free on iOS) – The debut title from Spunge Games, Cartoon Survivor is a level-based runner, challenging players to navigate obstacle courses as a colorful Doo Doo bird before time runs out and the dynamite strapped to his back explodes. In each course, the Doo Doo bird runs automatically, and gamers tilt their device to move left and right on the path. Gamers tap to jump or tap and hold to glide, and will collect coins as they complete each course. Players choose a difficulty before each stage, determining the number of stars available as rewards and the time limit to complete the course. As players collect coins, these can be spent on new costumes for Doo Doo bird, or helmets with special abilities.

Chaos Rings III ($19.99 on iOS, Android) – A full-scale RPG for mobile devices, Square Enix’s Chaos Rings III introduces players to the city of Neo Paleo and the planet Marble Blue. Gamers will control Nazca as he makes his way to Marble Blue in search of treasure, new lands and “mythical beasts.” The game promises over 100 hours of gameplay, including a lengthy story mode and a separate battle mode with new battle mechanics.

Snack Truck Fever (Free on iOS, Android) – This level-based puzzle game from Square Enix and Duello Games sees players tapping and dragging to create lines of matching ingredients. Each level has a different goal, from collecting a large number of base ingredients to feeding police officers coffee and donuts, and so on. Power-ups help gamers complete difficult stages, and players earn up to three stars on each level, depending on their final score.

Zombiebucket (Free on iOS) – From One More Level and Submachine Factory, Zombiebucket is a survival match-three game, challenging players to survive the zombie apocalypse by tapping and dragging to create lines of two or more touching zombies of a single color. As players create matches, additional zombies fill the bucket, with larger matches triggering the appearance of power-up zombies, capable of clearing large groups of zombies from the screen. Players will collect Superzombies as they level up or complete specific tasks (like creating a chain of 10 zombies, for instance), with the game’s overall goal being to survive as long as possible before the bucket completely fills.

One More Dash (Free on iOS) – From SMG Studio, developer of One More Line, One More Dash is a survival game based on timing. In the game, players guide an orb through a series of circles, each defended by at least one rotating barrier. Players must tap at the right time to dash forward and avoid these barriers, but have a limited amount of time to take each shot before the game ends. While it is sometimes possible to bounce off of a barrier and try again, some circles are defended by spiked walls, which instantly destroy the orb when hit. Gamers complete missions and collect currency as they play, which can be spent on new visual themes for the game.

Pits of Death ($0.99 on iOS) – Designed to resemble a retro experience from the 1980s, Rebisoft‘s Pits of Death sees players exploring tiled dungeons by swiping to choose a movement direction at each crossroad. The goal of the game is to find an arrow somewhere in the dungeon, and use it to kill a dragon also hidden somewhere on the grid. A warning appears when players are near the dragon or a pit, with falling into a pit ending the game and generating a new dungeon. Players can find rope used to escape pits, but should ultimately expect to fail repeatedly before claiming victory over the dragon. Pits of Death is also available as an Apple Watch game.

Dungeon Trackers (Free on iOS, Android) – From Joycity, this RPG mixes card collecting with traditional RPG elements as players take on the role of a summoner, capable of capturing and controlling creatures to defeat enemies. The game offers over 300 creature cards to collect, which relate to others in a “rock, paper, scissors” elemental mechanic. Users create a team and take it into battle, tapping on individual characters to attack, or swiping on character portraits to unleash special skills. Players can explore the world through the main story, or earn extra loot in special dungeons. Finally, a multiplayer mode allows users to battle other players.

Intergalactic Bubbles (Free on Android) – A 3-D bubble shooter from Hellscape Games, Intergalactic Bubbles challenges players to remove moving bubbles from the screen before they reach the cannon at the bottom. Players can upgrade a series of abilities over time, or use power-up bubbles to escape tricky situations. The game is coming soon to iOS.

Candy Crush Soda Saga (Free on Amazon) – Previously released on Facebook, iOS and Android devices, King’s popular match-three game is now available for Kindle users. The follow-up to the original Candy Crush Saga offers 390 levels at launch, and introduces players to a new square match mechanic, as well as soda bottles used to fill the screen with purple soda.

Funny Farm (Free on iOS) – Following its release on Android and Facebook, Eva Studio’s Funny Farm is now available to download on iOS devices. The level-based match-three game challenges players to defend their field from pests by completing a different goal in each stage. These tasks include removing specific crops wrapped in worms, dropping key items to the bottom of the screen and more. Players can use power-ups to complete tricky levels, and will earn up to three stars on each stage, depending on their final score.

Sproggiwood ($9.99 on iOS, Android) – A roguelike from Freehold Games, Sproggiwood takes players on an adventure inspired by Finnish mythology, challenging them to explore randomly generated dungeons and decorate their own town. Dungeons are filled with monsters and traps, and players can tackle these as one of six different classes. Sproggiwood is best experienced on iPad 3+, iPhone 5+ and iPad Mini 2+.

World of Madagascar (Free on iOS, Android, Amazon) – From JumpStart, World of Madagascar is based on the DreamWorks franchise Penguins of Madagascar. The children’s multiplayer game has been created with the help of educators, and includes grade-specific content for children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade. In the game, players join the team of spy penguins from the films, and work to rescue baby animals from Dave, an evil Octopus. The game was originally released on the Web in late 2014, and is coming soon to Windows Phone. The Android and Amazon versions are also not yet available, as of this writing.

Breach TD (Free on iOS) – Developed by Space Rhino Games, Breach TD began as a successfully crowdfunded project on Kickstarter, with the final product mixing tower defense gameplay with real-time strategy and MOBA elements. In the game, players are challenged to defeat the Void army using powerful guardians, with the goal of sealing the breach between dimensions. Before each battle, players choose from an expanding list of guardians, and choose two battle cards containing buffs like magic damage or healing effects, as examples. Each match is split into two phases: building (buying and placing guardians on a grid for battle, or upgrading structures) and combat (guardians defend their bases and battle in the middle of the lane). During battle, players can use battle cards and mercenaries to take over the opponent or strengthen their defenses. Breach TD will receive a three-on-three multiplayer mode and team vs. team battles in future updates.