Flickr adds Downloadable Video Sharing

It’s not often that there’s a new feature worth talking about at Flickr. And it seems to have been so long that Flickr’s marketing team dropping it into a particularly bare email, giving it just two lines.

Flickr Photostream

But it’s actually quite interesting. Flickr has now made it possible to allow you to share videos in the same way as you can allow people to download your photos. You set your defaults and can tweak them for individual items.

It’s useful in two ways. Firstly it’s a way to allow videos to be used, modified and uploaded by others under a Creative Commons License, which is a great way to allow others to build on your work. And it also allows friends and family to potentially download and save videos which are important to them – meaning that your backup archive doesn’t just have to be on your own computer.

The first way is the most interesting though – obviously Youtube, Facebook and the likes of Instagram and Twitter are either the giants in online video or trying to get there. But although they all have ways to embed video and therefore display the original upload information and advertising, they don’t have any ways to allow people to share and download videos.

That relies on filesharing services like Dropbox, Hightail etc.

But that then relies on a personal relationship with the sender. I need to know the videos exist and be given the link to their location to be able to access them.

Flickr allowing video sharing changes that. It could really benefit a core group of video creators – although I wonder how many of them will actually be aware, given the lack of promotion about it. Strange considering how immensely important video is for big tech brands and publishers right now.

Friendfeed and GigaOm announce closures as Apple launches new products

While Apple launched new products including MacBooks and Watches, two pioneering services announced they would be closing. Friendfeed was a useful social network which combined short updates similar to Twitter with the ability to easily collect and aggregate your content from a huge variety of sources, into one feed. It launched back in 2007, and the service and team had been acquired by Facebook in 2009.

FriendFeedLogo

There’s no official news beyond the April 2015 closure date, but there is some unofficial code on Github to export your data if you wish.

And at the same time, one of the first big independent tech blogs has ceased operations. GigaOm originally launched in the mid-2000s, and became a full time job for founder Om Malik in 2006. It since acquired PaidContent, launched a paid Research area and various events etc.

GigaOm Logo

It’s sad news for those of us who have followed the site closely for 8+ years, and for the team of around 70 employees, although it may be wound down, acquired or who knows what else. It is known that the latest $8 million round of funding took place 12 months ago, but it has ceased operations due to being unable to pay creditors.

Whilst it’s unfortunate for all involved, including the millions of readers, it’s important to remember that the closure of GigaOm is more a reflection of the economics of an individual business. FriendFeed, meanwhile, reflects the trend for social network acquisition by the big players in the space – Facebook obviously went on to pick up Instagram and WhatsApp with far, far larger userbases and bigger brands.

Google Authorship and rel=author is no more

One of the main benefits of signing up for a Google+ profile as a writer, blogger and author has been the Google Authorship program, which began back in 2011 with the launch of Google’s own social network. And in a Google+ post, Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that not only will the search results no longer show any Authorship results, but data will no longer be tracked from the rel=author markup.

Since the start of 2014, Authorship has carried slightly less benefits for those who implemented it correctly with first a reduction in the amount of author photos shown per query, and then a complete removal of author photos, leaving only bylines. Now that’s gone as well.

Google+Logo

Should you remove Authorship markup?

Although the markup is no longer being utilised for authorship, Mueller has confirmed that it will be treated just like any other markup (e.g. Schema), and won’t cause any problems.

Part of the reason given for Google Authorship ending has been the low take-up and correct implementation of the process. Given that Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has stated the importance of real identity and information tied to online profiles, it’s unlikely that Google won’t continue to try and complete the link between people and their work in a less public way in the future.

 

What about Publisher markup?

Although the links between an individual and their articles won’t be correlated and highlighted any more, there’s been no explicit mention of Publisher markup between a brand and their Google+ page. It’s always been slightly easier to implement, and obviously only has to be done once for potentially hundreds of authors working for a brand, so the future is potentially brighter for Publishers than Authors.

 

Why was it ended?

The reasons given for Authorship ending at Google are:

  • Low numbers implementing it, and even fewer implementing it correctly.
  • Low value to searchers. Mueller stated ‘Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results’ – partly this may be down to the need to display properly on mobile devices, and there have been conspiracy theories about the impact on paid search advertising, as well as the possibility Authorship didn’t offer an increase in click through rates after the initial novelty had worn off.

 

What now?

So for the time being, we’d recommend that if you have Authorship in place, you don’t rush to remove it. And you continue to link your Google+ page with your website.

Mueller also mentioned an expansion of support for structured markup such as Scheme.org, which we recommend all clients look at to see how it can be implemented.

And Google+ posts and pages will still appear in searches where relevant, so there is still some reason to post on the network, even if it’s lost one compelling reason for a lot of journalists, authors and bloggers.

 

How to merge an existing Google+ page and Youtube Channel

The continued integration of various Google services with Google+ has generally been a positive move for both Google and businesses who can now access pages, page insights, analytics etc all in one place. But it does create an issue if you have existing Google+ pages and Youtube channels assigned to different registration emails, or if you accidentally create duplicates.

Fortunately, the process to merge an existing Google+ page and Youtube channel isn’t as difficult as it once was.

 

Google+_Youtube_Merge

We’ve merged G+ and Youtube profiles for our own sites and clients

Disconnecting a Google+ page and merging an existing page with Youtube:

The first step is to make a note of the email address and Google account which your Youtube channel is setup up with.

1. Make sure that the existing Youtube account is added as a Manager to your Google+ page (Which is done under the Managers section of your Page Settings)

2. If a duplicate or alternate page has been created by mistake via Youtube, you’ll need to disconnect that Google+ presence by clicking on Disconnect in Youtube Settings, in the Name section.

3. Google will take around 20 minutes to proceed through the disconnection process. It’s a good time to get a drink and relax!

4. Now go back into Youtube Settings, and click on Advanced. You should then have the option to link the Youtube account to a Google+ Page. Click on that link and you should be able to select the correct page.

5. Once that’s done, you should be able to click on Edit to be sent to the Page where you can click on Posts etc to check it’s the correct one.

6. Once that’s all done, you can then go into Google+ with your original Youtube account and remove the Page created in error.

You’ll now have the benefits of a linked account, including access to a Youtube tab on your page, Hangouts etc. If you get stuck, there is a Google+ community dedicated to Youtube integration.

Best Business Social Media and Blogging Guidelines

Social Media policies and guidelines are vital for every business and employee. Not only are they helpful in ensuring that everyone in a company understands what is expected of them, they can also be a way to empower your employees to feel comfortable and confident in engaging with customers or clients via social media.

Rather than relying on the efforts of a small group of individuals to monitor, engage, interact and report on all activity across the plethora of social networks, blogs, wikis, forums and other locations, a good social media policy or set of guidelines means that the workload can be shared, and the responses can be crafted by those in the best position to respond with the right knowledge on a subject. That also cuts down on response times, as it avoids having to spend time internally contacting the right people within your business and obtain an answer.

Even with a small business, it’s good practice to instill the right guidelines and policies early on. That way you are already building a strong brand image and reputation, and new employees as you grow will pick up the right methodology by example as well as by instruction.

 

List of Social Media Guidelines and Policies:

Company NameDocument NameLink 
AFPGuidelines for using social mediahttp://www.afp.com/newsletter/new-social-media-guidelines.pdf(PDF)
American Medical AssociationProfessionalism in the Use of Social Mediahttp://www.ama-assn.org//ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion9124.page
BBCSocial Networking, Microblogs and other Third Party Websiteshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidance-blogs-bbc-full
Boy Scouts of AmericaSocial Media Guidelineshttp://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Marketing/Resources/SocialMedia.aspx
Cabinet OfficeSocial Media Guidance for Civil Servantshttps://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/62361/Social_Media_Guidance.pdf(PDF)
Civil ServiceLets Get Socialhttp://www.civilservice.gov.uk/news/lets-get-social
Coca ColaSocial Media Principleshttp://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/online-social-media-principles
Exeter UniversitySocial Media Guidelineshttp://www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/web/socialmedia/
FordFord Social Media Guidelineshttp://www.slideshare.net/opinionwatch/ford-social-media-guidelines-scoot-monty
HPBlogging Code of Conducthttp://www.hp.com/hpinfo/blogs/codeofconduct.html
IBMSocial Computing Guidelineshttp://www.ibm.com/blogs/zz/en/guidelines.html
Imperial College LondonSocial Media Guidelineshttp://www3.imperial.ac.uk/webguide/socialmedia
IntelSocial Media Guidelineshttp://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/legal/intel-social-media-guidelines.html
International Olympic CommitteeSocial Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelineshttp://www.olympic.org/social-media-and-internet-guidelines
Inter-Paliamentary UnionSocial Media Guidelines for Parliamentshttp://www.ipu.org/PDF/publications/SMG2013EN.pdf(PDF)
Nursing & Midwifery CouncilSocial Networking Siteshttp://www.nmc-uk.org/nurses-and-midwives/advice-by-topic/a/advice/social-networking-sites/
OracleThe Oracle Social Media Participation Policyhttps://blogs.oracle.com/otn/entry/the_oracle_social_media_partic
RocheRoche Social Media Principleshttp://www.roche.com/social_media_guidelines.pdf(PDF)
TescoSocial Media Colleague Guidelineshttps://www.ourtesco.com/media/2013/09/social_media_colleague_guide_160913.pdf(PDF)
University of Texas at AustinSocial Media Guidelineshttp://www.utexas.edu/know/directory/guidelines/
Thomson ReutersSocial Media Guidelineshttp://thomsonreuters.com/site/social-media-guidelines/
University College LondonSocial Mediahttp://www.ucl.ac.uk/social-media
University of MichiganGuidelines for the use of social mediahttp://www.voices.umich.edu/docs/Social-Media-Guidelines.pdf(PDF)
University of YorkSocial Media Guidelineshttp://www.york.ac.uk/admin/hr/resources/policy/social-media-guidelines.htm
WalmartWalmart's Social Media Guidelineshttp://corporate.walmart.com/social-media-guidelines

 

 

2013 Reviews of the Year

As 2013 draws to an end, almost everyone is busy either compiling their reviews of the past 12 months, or publishing predictions and trends for 2014.

Predicting the future is always difficult, even when you spend your life watching an industry closely – it’s easy to get caught up in enthusiasm and shorten the timeline that you might have logically thought, and there are always external factors and events which we don’t know about yet which could mix things up a bit more…

Annual reviews can also lead to an overwhelming amount of information and data, but there’s often inspiration to be found, so we’ve compiled some of the 2013 reviews from the big internet names to share:

 

Tumblr 2013 Year in Review:

Tumblr2013YearinReview

Tumblr has released a big categorised review, including everything from New and Top blogs, to the most popular in Movies, Music, and even Sponsored Posts. Plenty of inspiration and enjoyment to be had, particularly if you’re a fan on animated Gifs.

 

Pinterest: Top Pins of 2013:

Pinterest2013TopPins

Staying with categorised imagery, Pinterest has also released a ‘top pins’ for 2013, separated in categories such as Home Decor, Art, Design and by country ( UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland).

 

Google: Zeitgeist 2013:

GoogleYearinReview2013

As always, Google has produced a range of videos and data to cover the top searches in 2013. Exploring the data via Google Trends is a bit more useful from a business perspective.

 

Bing: Review of the Year 2013:

BingReviewoftheyear

Bing has released the 2013 top searches etc in a more traditional article style via MSN news. Strangely they released the url bingtrends.com which redirects to MSN news for the UK. Either way, the information is there.

 

Facebook: Stories 2013

FacebookStories

Facebook Stories 2013 includes video and the Most Talked About Topics etc near you, as well as personal Year in Review features. Also available in text format for global and US information.

 

Reddit Top Posts and Stats of 2013:

redditlogo

When you start a look back at 2013 with 56 billion pageviews, 731 million unique visitors and 404,603,286 comments, it’s not been a bad 2013 for Reddit. Also includes top countries, top posts, and highlights from the End of Year awards.

 

Slideshare Zeitgeist:

 

 

Instagram has released blog posts covering 2013 Top Moments, and 2013 Top Locations.

And with a day to go, the most popular articles on TheWayoftheWeb.net in 2013 were:

Google+ adds embedding for posts

Joining Facebook and Twitter with easier ways to share Google+ content, you can now embed any Public Post made on Google’s social network by selecting the Embed option from the drop-down on every post.

The embed code can then be put onto any website, and will look and function just like it would on Google+, including the ability to follow the author, +1 a post, add comments and read them etc.

Google+ Embedding Posts

There are more details available for developers, including loading the JavaScript asynchronously to improve page load times, explicit rendering and loading etc.

In addition, Google has also integrated Google+ Sign-In’s with Google’s Authorship program, which means that if you sign in with WordPress.com and TypePad, you’ll automatically have your articles associated with your profile. It’s coming to a number of other sites in the future.

Facebook testing new tools for business and personal use

Facebook continues to quietly launch and test new services for both businesses and individuals. On Monday, they announced that selected news individuals can now integrate real-time information by using either a Public Feed or Keyword Insights API.

That means the likes of Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC, BSkyB and Slate can now hook into a feed of public posts for a specific word, or the total number of posts that mention a specific term in a given time frame, which can also displays anonymous, aggregated results based on gender, age and location.

FBGrowthGraphic_V2

These tools will become available for other media partners and Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers in the near future. The benefit for Facebook is that it is likely to be used far more in coverage of news and events, alongside the existing usage of Twitter.

For individual use, Facebook is also testing the option for users to add Professional Skills to their personal profile – it’s similar to LinkedIn, allowing you to add list the skills you’ve acquired in your education and career. It’s currently available on a limited number of personal profiles during testing, and could then be rolled out to all users in the future.

 

Facebook updates rules for Facebook Page Promotions

Facebook has made it easier to run promotions on Facebook, which is good news for all page owners. The requirement for all promotions to be run through dedicated applications has now been removed, meaning that you can promote your page and business on your Page Timeline as well as in an app.

That means you can:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

One area which Facebook has now tightened up on is tagging – the new Page Terms now prohibits Pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content they are not actually in:

  • It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
  • It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize

You can download the full Facebook Promotion Guidelinesas a PDF, here.

TheWayoftheWeb on Facebook

TheWayoftheWeb on Facebook – click to go and Like us.

 

Great news for small businesses:

This is particularly good news for smaller businesses who may not have had the knowledge or resources to choose a good Facebook Promotions or Competition App, or might have found the process to run it confusing.

While we’ve worked with several low cost Facebook Apps for this purpose, starting from a typical cost of $10, it can be slightly time consuming to set up, and dissuades brands from last minute offers, giveaways and competitions, which remains a prime reason for choosing to follow a company on Facebook.

And it will encourage more experimentation with promotions, which is only a good thing.

 

Also good for larger businesses:

It’s also good news for bigger companies, as often promotions and giveaways are constrained by time and effort, rather than budget and availability. This means that bigger Facebook pages will also be able to get more exposure and benefit from any contests and promotions which might be available last thing on a Friday, rather than missing the opportunity due to the hassles of setting up applications.

 

Top tip: Have boilerplate terms and conditions ready to go:

The one thing that all companies and promotions will still require are suitable terms and conditions to be legal in the country in which your business operates. Far too many companies fail to consider this in the planning stage and then find themselves unable to run offers and promotions, so it’s well worth investing some time and effort to ensure you have a standard boilerplate Terms and Conditions which can be easily changed to be applicable for any promotion, and possibly a longer version available via a link to your website.

 

Facebook rolling out option to Embed Posts

Facebook has announced that you will soon be able to embed public posts within your website or blog. It’s launched the new feature with CNN, Huffington Post, Mashable, PEOPLE and Bleacher Report, and will apparently be rolling it out more widely very soon.

In use, it’s very similar to the process for embedding individual tweets into a blog or website. If a post is public (Shown by a globe icon), then it will be able to be embedded via an option in the drop down menu for any post, as shown in the following example:

Facebook Embedded Post Example

Facebook Embedded Post Example

You’ll then be shown some embed code to put into your page (in HTML view in WordPress for example). In addition to displaying in a reasonably nice way, the embed option also allows visitors to like, share, like the author page, and see shares and comments from within your website, rather than visiting Facebook.

Whether or not you want to use this option rather than embedding a screenshot image will depend on whether you want to allow your website visitors to interact in that way.

FacebookEmbeddedPostExample

But it’s certainly worth considering how you can use this alongside Facebook Open Graph and the Twitter equivalents to drive traffic to both your website and your social properties.