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:

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.

3 quick productivity tips for the weekend

If you’re like me, you’ve probably skimmed through a variety of productivity tips every week, planned to take a closer look, and then forgotten about them by the weekend. But recently, I’ve made 3 key changes which have really helped my productivity by reducing the information overload we’re all experience between email, social networks and the constrant stream of new content being published.

1. Archive all emails older than 2012:

With the amount of emails I get on a daily basis, Inbox Zero seemed about as likely as taking a vacation in Narnia this year. Prior to the last two weeks, I’d kept trying to delete or respond all emails, but the number never seemed to drop below 1500 which was pretty overwhelming. By archiving I can reassure the librarian squirrel instinct in me the email is still searchable, but now I’ve got a far more manageable 200 emails left for 2012 to action or file for responses. Much less stressful, and suddenly my email looks more like an actual action list, rather than a mess.

 

2. Cut down on RSS:

RSS is not dead – it’s still the most effective content delivery system around. The problem is it’s too effective in allowing me to hoarde every possible website I enjoy, but noone has come up with a way to de-dupe the echo chamber that is particularly bad for tech blogs. So in addition to removing a number of sites I rarely get useful information or great entertainment from, I’ve also cut down on the number that constantly publish ‘me too’ coverage.

I’ve also resolved to only check RSS at the end of the day, when everything else is done or scheduled for the following day – I love keeping up with the latest news and the best articles and features, but I’m not running a site for breaking news, so I don’t really need to check RSS every 30 or 60 minutes these days.

 

3. Kill cross-platform duplication

I’ve suddenly realised that I read some sites via RSS, see their updates on Facebook and their tweets on Twitter, as well as an occasional appearance on Google+. And there are very few people in the world who I need to pay that close attention to.

I’ve finally been making use of the ‘Hide All By’ option next to every Facebook update, and it’s definitely helping in making it a more usable social network, and letting me actually use it to keep up with my friends. The brands I like still get a ‘Like’ for their page for what it’s worth, and I don’t have to be bombarded by updates from a 10-year-old film I listed on my profile years ago.

 

OK, so this isn’t the most comprehensive productivity toolset you’ll see, but importantly I’m getting much more done with probably 30 minutes of effort to archive emails, unsubscribe to some sites and hide some Facebook posts. That’s short enough that you don’t have to wait until next weekend to get it done…

TheWayoftheWeb Most Read Posts in 2011

There’s still a week to go, but unless something radical happens, here’s a quick run-down of the most read posts I’ve written on this site in 2011. It’s purely in terms of visitor numbers via Google Analytics, so I’m resisting the temptation to try and promote posts that I felt may have been overlooked!

1. 2012 The Year of 3D Printing?

If anything, the coverage of 3D printing has only gained pace since I wrote this, and there have been several more developments with funding, new businesses based around the technology, and growing consumer awareness.

2. Problems embedding Youtube videos in WordPress?

With the roll out of new embedding tools from Youtube, Vimeo etc, it turned out that WordPress was stripping out the code whenever you tried to publish an embedded video. It’s since been corrected, but judging by the traffic, it wasn’t just me that was a bit puzzled by the fact I had to revert to the old code.

3. Feeling attacked on all sides

A popular post for freelancers and entrepreneurs which covered my feelings about setting up my own small businesses, and then seeing constant news about competitors and massive global corporations moving into similar areas. How do you work on a tiny marketing business when the ‘big boys’ are constantly unveiling new social media units?

4. Guy Kawasaki’s ‘Enchantment – The art of changing hearts, minds and intentions’

A review from back in February of what I think is one of the most useful books released this year.

5. Everyone’s a curator now

How content curation may be a new buzzword for the media industry, but everyone else is already doing it with their writing, photos and videos. How does that change the way we act with friends and family, or how we upload and share?

6. The two sides of 3D Printing

Two examples of current 3D Printing – one very positive, one perhaps very negative, which hopefully start people thinking how best to utilise the technology in benefitting us all, rather than just being impressed with the tech itself.

7. Why don’t Facebook fans like us anymore?

What turns people away from a company Facebook page, and also how to plan to fix it.

8. Klout and Peerindex: Social network loyalty cards

How Klout and Peerindex are initially mapping ‘influence’, and the result that they act as loyalty cards for the social networks they include, requiring you to do your daily posting on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ rather than using a competitor, for example. Add in the quantity factor as a part of their metrics, plus the perk offers as a reward, and they’re loyalty cards for digital services.

 

And I’d like thank you

I’d just like to give my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to everyone who has visited my site, subscribed to my feed, RT’d, Liked, or +’d a post, left a comment, stumbled, reddit’d, digg’d, or told their friends about TheWayoftheWeb.

Starting a blog or a business is incredibly tough, and sometimes we all forget to share how important it is when we see that someone has enjoyed what we do. I promise you that I still get as excited by seeing new readers, new comments, and new recommendations of what I do today as I did when I first started blogging. And even on the worst days, when I’m working alone at home and feeling like noone cares, it’s guaranteed someone will post a comment or share a post on Twitter, and it’ll fuel my determination and motivation for weeks.

So many thanks, Happy Christmas, and if I can help you in 2012, please do let me know…

Privacy, Frictionless Sharing, and Hasah Elahi

I originally wrote about Hasan Elahi four years ago following an article in Wired, which described how he was incorrectly questioned by the FBI, and the Tracking Transcience project he began as a result to share everything about his life – where he was, what he was eating, his purchases etc. (My original post is here). Way before frictionless sharing became available to us all!

I thought it was worth sharing his recent TED talk which was queued up in my always growing list of videos to watch;

 

It’s something which is going to be a growing issues for more of us as ‘frictionless sharing’ and online lives are the easiest for people to track and interact with. Rather than trying to hide everything, perhaps overwhelming the systems with information is the more effective route, particularly, as Elahi points out, the various Government agencies in every country whose stock and trade is information. After all, ‘Everyone’s a curator now

Frictionless sharing and frictionless ambivalence

I’ve been looking at the rise of ‘frictionless sharing’ – exemplified by Spotify autoposting every song you play on Facebook. The insightful Chris Thorpe summed it up well with his blog post comparing it with frictionfull sharing.

What I really want and act upon is that one personal recommendation from someone I trust/respect/like for the one thing that really matters – a new song, a book, an article. Something that someone saw and though they absolutely had to share with me.

After all, I thought at this time of year it’s meant to be ‘the thought that counts’, and ‘it’s better to give than receive’. No thought goes into autoposting, and you’re giving me nothing – except a bunch of unfiltered noise alongside everyone else doing the same thing in my friends list.

Unless you’re doing it to devalue government information agencies, in which case you’re far more interesting than your choice in mainstream pop suggests…

Getting around the new Facebook Lightbox feature for photos

Facebook has been rolling out a new method for viewing photos, which now brings up a lightbox with the selected photo and lets you scroll through without losing your place on the site. It’s OK for browsing, but one flaw is that it doesn’t allow you to access the original photo, and quite often shows a smaller version than the original, which is a bit of a pain.

Dan Thornton Facebook Lightbox

So how can you get around the automatic lightbox feature? Simple – just locate the image in the album you want and right click on it to open in a new window. That will show you the original and use the old way of viewing photos on Facebook.

Users dissatisfied with social networks – are you surprised?

Apparently American consumers surveyed in the 2010 American Customer Survey Index ranked Facebook lower than any other business in its category, but it still managed to beat Myspace by a point. Facebook scored 64 out of 100, Myspace scored 63 out of 100, and by comparison Google scored 80 (A drop of 7 points on last year’s score). (h/t Mashable).

The question is whether anyone is surprised:

a) That social networks can lead to dissatisfaction?

or

b) That social networks are still growing massively despite such dissatisfaction?

(Note – I’m not picking out any specific network here – I’m talking about everything from a traditional forum to the big social networks).

Firstly, social networks in themselves can be immensely frustrating and problematic – knowing how they work, putting up with them when they crash, receiving messages about problems from an anonymous staff member with no route to reply or dispute are just some of the things which can annoy social network users.

As someone who has used social networks for many years, I’ve become accustomed to the fact that quite often you can try for months to get a response on a business-related issue. Sometimes even when you want to spend some budget with the company in question.

But it’s even worse if you’re a ‘normal’ user – when you signed up to the Terms and Conditions, you agreed your account could be deleted, and unless the media or a prominent tech blogger takes up your case, there’s no real recourse.

Secondly, social networks are fantastic and will continue to grow and attract new users, even amongst those frustrated with them. And it’s all because of a simple selling point – other people. Even if a social network is clunky and frustrating to use, you’ll continue to use it if there’s a critical mass of your friends, family, contacts and information.

Unfortunately Twitter wasn’t included, as so many people encounter it via a 3rd party client. And I didn’t see any mention of LinkedIn. Suffice to say, most of the main social networks do a reasonable job until something goes wrong – then you’re at the mercy of a large company which has scaled quickly to deal with massive demand.

Interestingly, Wikipedia topped the Social Media category with a score of 77. In News and Information, FoxNews.com debuted with a score of 82, which is the highest ever for any news site. There’s a little more info at ForeSee Results.