Google Maps Updated With Pit Stop Support on iOS

By Monday, February 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

After releasing its ‘pit stop’ update for Google Maps users on Android in October 2015, Google has announced the launch of the feature on iOS, allowing users to add new stops to their navigation routes without losing their original turn-by-turn directions.

With this update, users can search for gas stations, restaurants and other destinations by tapping the magnifying glass at the top right corner of the screen in the app’s navigation mode.

This brings up a list of suggested search terms, like gas stations and grocery stores (as examples), or users can search for other destinations by name or category. The app includes support for searching using voice commands.

When viewing search results, each destination is listed alongside its rating, and the estimated ‘detour’ time users can expect by adding the spot to their trip.

Google Maps is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play. This feature will begin rolling out to iOS users February 29.

Facebook’s Moments App Now Supports Videos

By Monday, February 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Facebook’s emphasis on videos was extended to its stand-alone Moments application in updates Monday.

Moments users on both iOS and Android can now share videos alongside photos, and Facebook said in an email to SocialTimes that the ability to add videos to Moments slideshows will be included “in the coming weeks.”

Moments users: What are your thoughts on Monday’s update?

More Instagram Advertising Means Less Organic Engagement (Report)

By Monday, February 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Has more advertising on Instagram led to poorer engagement for brands on the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network?

Social analytics and reporting company Locowise released its January Instagram data, and its findings included:

Follower growth remained strong. The January figure of 0.37 percent was up 60.87 percent from December and marked the highest growth since last August. Facebook only saw page like growth of 0.16 percent in January, while Twitter’s follower growth for the month was just 0.11 percent.
However, Instagram’s post engagement rate of 0.95 percent of total audience marked the lowest since Locowise began studying the network 10 months ago, and it was down 12.04 percent from December. Locowise said Instagram post engagement rate has fallen 66.07 percent over the past 10 months.
Despite the slump, the post engagement rate for Instagram in January was still higher than those for Facebook (0.46 percent) and Twitter (0.09 percent).
91.83 percent of posts on the brand accounts studied by Locowise in January were images, and image posts engaged 0.97 percent of their total audiences, while that figure slipped to 0.68 percent for video posts.

Locowise said in a blog post revealing its January results:

During the same period, Instagram has ramped up its advertising business as Facebook is pushing the platform to deliver return-on-investment. Some reports show that the volume of Instagram ad impressions has increased by a factor of 13 over the past five months. The plan is to get even more advertisers on board.

Analysts predict that Instagram will grow to 520 million monthly active users during the year and that it will generate up to $2 billion in revenue by end of 2016. Instagram no longer seems as independent as it was in the years since its acquisition by Facebook in 2012. It’s interesting to think about how long WhatsApp will be able to hold to its commitment to not run advertising.

Readers: What did you think of Locowise’s Instagram findings for January 2016?

Next Fallout Shelter Update Includes Crafting, Parrots, More

By Monday, February 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Bethesda has revealed the next content update for Fallout Shelter on iOS and Android, which is set to launch later this week. The version 1.4 update will introduce a new crafting system to the game, allowing players to create armor and weapons for their Dwellers.

The 1.4 update will include two new rooms for weapon and armor crafting, and will allow users to collect ‘junk’ items to use as crafting materials. Players will be able to collect junk by sending explorers into the Wasteland, or by opening lunchboxes (each will contain a junk card).

In addition, this update will introduce new weapons and armor from the Fallout 4 video game, which players will be able to craft or find in lunchboxes.

Elsewhere, a new Barbershop room will allow users to customize the appearance of their Dwellers, and players will be able to collect a third type of pet for their Vault: parrots. Additional dogs and cats will also be introduced in this update, along with new pet bonuses.

Finally, the update will introduce a realistic day and night cycle to the game.

Fallout Shelter is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play. The game takes place in the popular Fallout universe, and sees players construct an underground Vault to protect survivors from the Wasteland.

Fallout Shelter launched on iOS in June 2015, and over 85 million Vaults were created in the game’s first month. The game released on Android in August 2015.

Study: Instagram Users Think Positively of Gambling

By Monday, February 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

A new study from OnlineCasino.ca analyzed Instagram posts from around the world to determine what Millennials think about gambling. The company analyzed hashtags related to gambling and gambling tournaments, and used AlchemyAPI to determine whether posts had positive or negative user sentiment.

The report found Millennials overall have a positive opinion of gambling. To be specific, the company found 33,926 Instagram hashtags that were determined to be positive, and 9,636 hashtags that were negative. Another 8,309 hashtags were considered neutral, while the sentiment of 4,776 posts couldn’t be determined.

When looking at individual hashtags, the report found two gaming hashtag categories had the most positive average sentiment: bingo and slots. On the other hand, the LA Poker Classic and roulette hashtag categories were found to have the most negative average sentiment.

The study found France, Canada, the U.S., Great Britain, Spain, Japan and Germany had the most positive gambling sentiment on Instagram, while countries like Chile and Pakistan had more negative sentiment scores. In the U.S. specifically, OnlineCasino.ca said more affluent areas tend to have more positive feelings about gambling.

Readers: Have you ever posted about gambling on Instagram?

Biggest #Oscars Moments on Social: Leo, Chris Rock and Spotlight

By Monday, February 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Hollywood award season is in full swing and for the 88th Annual Academy Awards, the social chatter started in mid January with questions about diversity. As promised, host Chris Rock addressed the diversity controversy in his monologue, while Leonardo DiCaprio generated buzz for his Best Actor win.

Overall, some 24 million Facebook users were responsible for 67 million interactions (posts, likes and comments) during the 88th Annual Academy Awards. DiCaprio generated the most buzz of the night both on Facebook and on Twitter with more than 440,000 Tweets per minute — beating the record set by the famed Ellen selfie from 2014.

DiCaprio used his acceptance speech and his post on Facebook as a moment to discuss the need for action on climate change. By Monday morning, his post had tallied more than 1.5 million likes.

According to Amobee Brand Intelligence, it was Rock’s monologue, where he addressed the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, that was the runner up for most buzz on Twitter with 370,440 live Tweets. Bette Midler even took a jab at the Academy with a pointed Tweet that was Retweeted more than 30,000 times.

Rock also won the most awkward moment when he finished his monologue by inviting Fox & Friends Host Stacy Dash on stage as the director of the Academy minority outreach program. The moment, generated 158,211 mentions on Twitter and was met with silence and a smattering of confused laughter from the audience as Dash walked on stage and wished everyone a Happy Black History Month.

The top Oscar moments on Facebook included:

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio wins Best Actor
  2. Spotlight wins Best Picture
  3. Lady Gaga performs Til It Happens to You
  4. Alejandro González Iñárritu wins Best Director
  5. Mark Rylance wins Best Actor in a Supporting Role

The most-talked about people on Twitter were:

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio (780,147 Tweets)
  2. Chris Rock (370,440 Tweets)
  3. Lady Gaga (271,908 Tweets)
  4. Stacey Dash (158,211 Tweets)
  5. Sam Smith (134,649 Tweets)

Image courtesy of Leonardo DiCaprio on Facebook.

Create a Twitter Library So You Never Run Out of Things to Tweet

By Monday, February 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

If you manage a Twitter account, you understand the pressure. Having to come up with interesting, witty, creative tweets day in and day out … it can lead to some serious writer’s block and frustration when you simply draw a blank.

Maybe you’ve tried exploring what the competition tweets (great!), or creating lists and retweeting from those (even better!). But even that will only take you so far – and these methods don’t allow for much original content coming from you or your brand.

So why not create a Twitter library that you can turn to when the creative well runs dry?

A Twitter library is a great way to brainstorm and store a huge list of tweets that you can copy and paste into Twitter when nothing else comes to you. It can also be used more strategically, as a repository of brand/original tweets that you integrate into a larger editorial calendar.

What goes into the library?

The ideal Twitter library is a list of tweets that you can send at any time, whether because you have nothing else to tweet or because they are part of a planned schedule.

You can include any tweets you want in your library, but it’s best if they are branded, thought leadership, or otherwise unique. It’s not a good idea to include retweets or somebody else’s archived blog posts in your library, as that content won’t be fresh when you actually tweet it. Instead, include things like:

Images with industry-related quotes from influencers
Tips and tricks
Links to your brand’s blog posts
Questions for your followers (as long as you only tweet these when you’ll actually be around to respond)
Interesting industry observations or original thought

There are plenty more examples of types of tweets that you could include in your library, but keep in mind that a Twitter library works best when 3 criteria are met. The content should:

  1. be “Evergreen”. Tweets should not tied to any specific date/time/promotion/holiday.
  2. be complete. Include all relevant links, images, hashtags and other features so you don’t have to search these out when pulling content.
  3. be a living document. Each item should be easy to add, delete, edit and mark as tweeted.

How should you fill up your library?

Let’s say you just wrote a blog post. You could go ahead and tweet it out, using the blog post’s title, URL and image. And that’s great! But why not take an extra 10 minutes and add a big batch of tweets to your library?

Set a timer and brainstorm as many different headlines/tweets that you could use to promote your blog post. Write these in a list, with a separate line for each tweet (or, put them directly into your library). Since you just published the post, you’ll be in the zone and these tweets will come easier than if you try to come up with them on the fly.

You can use this method to add tweets to your library at any time. Or, you can keep a notepad handy (whether a physical one or virtual), and jot down tweet ideas throughout your day. Just make sure you add them to your library on a regular basis so you don’t lose them!

How should you structure the library?

In its simplest form, a Twitter library can be a spreadsheet that includes columns for the tweet, and where to find the mulitmedia (if any) associated with it. You can then highlight the tweets you send as you go.

Of course, your library can be much more robust, and you can create a document that you share with your entire team. This document could include direct links to multimedia, who came up with the tweet, when the tweet should be sent, etc.

Do you have your own version of a Twitter library? What are your tips for using one? Let us know in the comments below!

Mark Zuckerberg sets record straight on ‘Orwellian’ pic of him and his VR army

By Monday, February 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

You’ve probably seen the picture: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walking down the aisle with a huge satisfied smile on his face as a sea of seated people wearing Samsung Gear VR headsets are completely unaware of his appearance.

Many felt the photo was disturbingly Orwellian and a dark sign of what’s to come if we let virtual reality become mainstream and isolate us from reality with addictive experiences that we won’t be able to resist.

In a new interview with the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag Zuckerberg denied “enjoying” the fact that he was seemingly commanding this so-called “VR army” and went on to set the facts straight. Read more…

More about Facebook, Samsung, Zuckerberg, Vr, and Virtual Reality

Facebook AI Research Partnership Program Launches

By Monday, February 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Facebook AI Research announced the launch of an initiative to further its efforts by donating 25 state-of-the-art graphics-processing-unit-based servers to research institutions in the European Union.

FAIR announced in a blog post by director of engineering Serkan Piantino and research lead Florent Perronnin that the first donation in its Facebook AI Research Partnership Program will go to Klaus-Robert Müller at TU Berlin, who will receive four GPU servers to help speed his team’s progress on image analysis of breast cancer and chemical modeling of molecules.

The social network’s artificial-intelligence arm said it will work with recipients of its Facebook AI Research Partnership Program to ensure that they have the proper software to run the GPU servers, and it will send researchers to collaborate with participating institutions.

FAIR said in its blog post:

We are opening this program up to the broader European community, and research institutions will be invited to submit applications to receive a GPU donation, indicating the type of research they are doing and the number of researchers who would make use of the platform. The recipients will be selected based on published criteria and based on research alignment. Additional information on the program can be found here.

Müller added:

This partnership comes at exactly the right moment for AI research in Germany. It will help us as we study two very hard and computationally intense learning problems around image analysis of breast cancer and chemical modeling of molecules. The new servers will help us speed up our research cycles and do better AI research much faster.

Readers: What are your initial thoughts on the Facebook AI Research Partnership Program?