AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Archive for July, 2014

Instagram Decides to Launch Its New App “Bolt”

Posted by Amanda(Yueqi)Zhou on July 31, 2014

Instagram decided to launch its new app “Bolt” in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa.

According to TechCrunch, Instagram team says these countries have high instagram usage and are English-speaking, so they are great choice to test themarket before releasing the app worldwide.

Instagram spokesperson told Mashable:

“Bolt is the fastest way to share an image or a video – just one tap to capture and send. We decided to start small with Bolt, in just a handful of countries, tomake sure we can scale while maintaing a great experience. We expect to roll it out more widely soon.”

According to official description of Bolt, users of Bolt can add up to 20 friends to their favorite list and they can share photos and videos by one tap.

To be frank, I do not think Bolt can succeed, as Snapchat already has a large market share. Released last month, Facebook’s Slingshot does not perform good enough to win users from Snapchat. The app now is disappearing from App Store ranking.


Different from Slingshot developed by Facebook team, Bolt is designed by Instagram team and the two apps are not connected. However, this does not make the app stand out from its competitors. I really doubt whether this app can succeed.



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Bot or Not Helps You Identify Bot Accounts on Twitter

Posted by Amanda(Yueqi)Zhou on July 31, 2014

Many nonhuman Twitter accounts are polluting the social media site with spam. These accounts are known as social bots.

In 2011, researchers from Texas A&M University developed a way to detect bot accounts; however, social bots become more sophisticated and advanced. The bots can identify keywords and find content and some bots can answer questions like rel human beings!

Recently, Emilio Ferrara and pals at Indiana University in Bloomington find a way to identify these advanced social bots. The algorithm is called Bot or Not? 

They made it available at this site. You can check whether this account is a social bot by simply entering its Twitter username.

I think it is very interesting and it is helpful to protect the Twittersphere.


More on the story:

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Business Users Do Not Need a Google+ Profile to Use Google Hangouts

Posted by Amanda(Yueqi)Zhou on July 31, 2014

Google anounced yestersay that enterprise users of Google Apps do not need to set up a Google+ profile to use Google hangouts; a Google account is enough for a business user to start a conversation on Google Hangouts.

Over the years, Google tried to unite its disparate communication tools (Google Talk, Google Chat, Google+ Messenger) to Google Hangouts. Users are always required to have Google+ accounts so as to use Google Hangouts, however, many do not like this policy.

Google spokesperson explained for this move: “The goal is to make it easier for employees and businesses to communicate by video.” He also said this decision would enable Google enterprise users to have a better working experience with Google apps.

Personally, I think this is a smart move. Customers are not forced to do additional thing so as to use Google apps, which shows Google’s respect for its customers. Google deals with this issue better than Foursquare, as Foursquare users are still forced to install Swarm app to log in Foursquare app.


More on the story:

Hangouts Now Works Without Google+ Account, Becomes Part Of Google Apps For Business And Gets SLA

Google Stops Forcing Google+ on Businesses That Use Hangouts


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Twitter Releases Transparency Report about the First Half of 2014

Posted by Amanda(Yueqi)Zhou on July 31, 2014

Today, Twitter released its Transparency Report about the first half of 2014.

The report says information requests, including government requests, increased by 46% over the second half of last year. 54 countries cotacted Twitter for criminal investigations.


Removal requests including government requests increased by 55 cases over the second half of the year.


Twiiter has seen a 27% increase in copyright notice over the second half of 2013.


I like the way Twitter disclose the information. It shows that the company has a transparent policy, which is good to build customer’s trust and to protect the integrity of the company.

The increase of the requests number Twitter received may be due to the worldwide expansion of the company and it indicates that social media platforms are getting more powe than before.

More about the story:

Twitter Transparency Report Reveals 46% Rise in Government Requests

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But first…

Posted by chelseatufarolo on July 31, 2014

…let me take a selfie usie. Vatican Pope Youths It’s been about two months since Merriam-Webster added selfie to the dictionary. The official selfie definition is “an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.”

Looking back at Ellen DeGeneres’ viral Academy Awards photo or Pope Francis’ selfie with Vatican visitors, this social media trend has a lot of potential from a marketing perspective. Although communication professionals argue these types of group photos should actually be called usies (rhymes with fussy).

Usies (sometimes spelled ussie) are selfies that feature a group of people. According to Golden Gate University professor, Michal Ann Strahilevitz, usies are “more about the relationship, and less about you and your hair” and “have far more social value than selfies.”

The term was first used in April 2013, according to the executive producer of Ben Zimmer, but has yet to become part of our vernacular. Although the term not frequently used (and is sometimes used interchangeably with twofie and threefie) it does has a lot of potential to grow in popularity, if and when news outlets use it to describe the next viral photo.

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Have a Real Doctor in Your Pocket at All Times, With This New App

Posted by kwright28 on July 30, 2014

Who hasn’t tried to self-diagnose themselves in order to avoid long waits in a doctor’s office, ridiculous health bills, or just getting up out of bed when you feel like death? Web-MD, Google, and other health sites get a ton of inquires a day, probably even an hour! The masses have longed for a way to get real time answers from real live doctors.


Now, there’s an app for that! It’s called First Opinion. But before you get too excited, let me break down a few “fun facts”:

  • You won’t be dealing with doctors licensed to practice in the U.S
  • You are dissuaded from viewing any information you receive as “true medical advice”
  • You are urged to call 911 or your personal doctor for emergencies
  • Answers within 24 hours are FREE
  • Answer within five minutes, the cost is $9 per month
  • Answers within three minutes for $29 per month.

Now that we know what’s REALLY going on, does this change your opinion of the app at all? Currently only available on iOs, users have reported that they like the app. I think the app definitely has promise considering some of the “minor” questions I may propose to an app like this. I’m thinking this could also open doors to doctors offices within the US. My doctor’s office already has its own portal where the use is for exactly what the app is providing. It’s a place to ask questions to doctors and nurses without having to come into the office for an appointment.

I needed a refill on my asthma medication but because I’ve been on the same prescription for years, I didn’t want to make an appointment just for them to sign their medical pad. I was able to go into the portal and ask the question. The nurse from my office was able to see my records and called the prescription into my pharmacy. Done and done. Didn’t have to take off work or wait in a a waiting room.

This new app has a ways to go, but they are, indeed, on to something.

To learn more about some of the finer details of the app, take a look at this article on mashable.


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Should parents be paranoid about sharing pictures of children on Facebook?

Posted by Kristiana C on July 30, 2014

Maybe, but not for the most obvious reason.

This redditor brings up an interesting point, and one that I’ve thought about many times recently. While most of us (I assume the class is roughly between 20 and 30 on the whole) have had Facebook for a long time, we haven’t had it since the tender and utterly stupid ages of middle school. And even worse though somewhat unthinkable, we hadn’t had accounts set up for us as infants. While I think the latter is unlikely to be happening even today, parents posting pictures of their toddlers may one day mean that those images are “tagged” as those individuals.


And while my account may have some slightly embarrassing complaints of a 17 year old hidden deep within it, now 12 and 13 year olds have accounts too. The statuses they make, pictures they post, and things they “like” could stick with them forever.

So how do we handle this? Should we get new accounts when we become adults? Should parents be wary of posting pictures of kids for this reason in addition to safety?

It’s interesting food for thought.

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The Romantic Comedy That Actually Looks Good

Posted by samrishe on July 30, 2014

Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, Billy Crudup and Jenny Slate; how could you say no to such a great cast? In this years newest romantic comedy, ‘The Longest Week,” a 40-year-old living off his parents wealth and receiving monthly allowances finally gets cut off and moves in with his best friend. When he meets his friends new girlfriend, he can’t help but fall in love (surprise!). This somewhat obvious twist turns out to be acceptable for a couple reasons, 1. it’s a romantic comedy, what do you expect? 2. The cast is great so who cares?

This film has ‘Gossip Girl’ wealth, but with better actors, comedy, and better love triangles. What’s not to like? If you’re interested in watching the film or just have a few minutes to kill, check out the trailer below.

Also, if you would like to read more about the film, check out Refinery29.

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When Bad Marketing Happens to Good People

Posted by samrishe on July 30, 2014

Paramount Pictures marketing division in Australia recently tweeted a promotional movie poster for ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ showing them falling out of an exploding skyscraper. At first glance, it seems like a cool image for an exciting movie. The major issue here is the film will be in theaters in Australia on September 11. The not so subtle reminder of the horrific event angered many people.



Paramount Australia quickly deleted the tweet, and responded with a follow up.


“We are deeply sorry to have used that artwork for the marketing materials promoting the September 11 opening in Australia.”

Also, according to Mashable, the head of publicity at Paramount Pictures, Tom Roach, explained “Combining that image and the date was a mistake. We intended no offense and have taken immediate action to discontinue the use.”

This was clearly not a malicious act, and instead a major mistake from their marketing department. Thankfully this will probably not be a huge issue for the overall success of the film, and everyone can move on with their lives.

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Facebook App Kills Off Its Most Popular Feature

Posted by paulchronister on July 29, 2014

In a couple of days, Facebook will take away it’s messaging feature from its mobile app and force you to download their separate app – Messenger – whenever you want to message your friends on Facebook from your mobile phone. Facebook is currently in the process of notifying its app users. When you want to message someone, a nice little otter appears telling you to download Facebook Messenger to chat with your friends. facebook messenger

Facebook told Huffington Post that people in Europe responded 20 percent faster to messages on Messenger than they did through the site’s original app. They sent more pictures, videos, stickers, etc. through Messenger, which led Facebook to decide to split their app into two. Plus, Facebook boasts that the app is “faster and more reliable for everyday messaging.”

According to the Huffington Post article, by having two apps for Facebook, more people will be spending more time on the site, which essentially will allow them to collect more data on users and pinpoint their location, which they will utilize to target users with more centralized ads.

Annoying that you have to open a separate app just to talk to your friends? I think so. I believe an app’s features should be in an all-in-one centralized location. Plus, the extra effort from Facebook to data-mine our conversations to increase their advertising efforts is a bit creepy, and definitely puts online privacy more into question.


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