Social Media Field Guide

Google Glass now available to anyone, may be prepping for public launch

Engadget - 8 min 50 sec ago
Google offered Glass to the public as part of a one day sale not long ago. Now it seems that anyone can order one again without an invite. There been no announcement so far, no fan fair -- a few Redditors just happened to discover that you can head...

How Many Facebook Users ‘Pay It Forward?’

All Facebook - 27 min 52 sec ago

Odds are, most Facebook users have seen status updates in their News Feeds with some variation of the “pay it forward” theme, meaning that if a stranger or friend shows a person kindness in some form, the recipient does something nice for someone else. But which countries and cities were responsible for the most pay-it-forward status updates? Lada Adamic and Thomas Lento of the Facebook Data Science Team have the answers.

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Square to Open East Coast Headquarters in New York City

Mashable - 33 min 3 sec ago

On the heels of opening a new massive headquarters in San Francisco, mobile payment company Square is now expanding its presence in New York City

Square, which allows users to accept credit card payments via mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones, will be opening an East Coast headquarters in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan this summer

SEE ALSO: 8 Tech Companies That May Go Public in 2014

This isn't Square's first set up in New York. When it acquired design agency 80/20 in 2012, it opened a small Manhattan office, but the new space has room to fit 350 employees.

The news comes amid rumors that Square could be acquired in the near future, with both Google and Apple reportedly interested in acquisition bids. But in a statement provided to Mashable, a Square spokesperson denied acquisition talks. Read more...

More about Startups, Square, Mobile Payments, Small Business, and Tech

Lyft Launches In 24 New Markets, Cuts Fares By Another 10%

TechCrunch - 35 min 52 sec ago
 On-demand ride-sharing startup Lyft is expanding aggressively in the U.S., announcing the launch of service in 24 new markets today. Along with the expansion, Lyft company will be offering free rides to new users in all launch markets, while also lowering its fares by another 10 percent in existing markets. Read More

Ondot Launches Remote Control for Credit Cards

Mashable - 35 min 54 sec ago

A new app will allow users to control nearly every aspect of how their credit or debit cards are used directly from their smartphones.

CardControl is a service that aims to reduce the prevalence of credit card fraud by letting users set controls that determine how each card can be used from their smartphone. The hitch is that banks must opt in to the service before individuals can use it

See also: 7 Ways You're Killing Your Tech

"You use your card at a merchant the way you normally would, but you use your phone as a remote control to determine when, where and how the card can be used," Ondot's CEO and cofounder Vaduvur Bharghavan told Mashable. "We're putting intelligence into the card without touching the card in any way." Read more...

More about Credit Card Management, Tech, Apps Software, Apps And Software, and Ondot

Ondot Raises $18M To Let You Take Complete Control Of Your Credit Card Via Your Mobile Phone

TechCrunch - 36 min 1 sec ago
 Managing credit and debit cards is still a relatively complicated process. You can control some elements of your cards like accessing your balances and transferring money online, but you can’t turn off cards, or set transaction types via the web, or from a mobile phone. Ondot Systems, a stealthy company that has raised $18 million in funding, has developed a white label solution, called… Read More

Appsfire Launches ‘Brichter-San’, A Native Pull-To-Refresh Ad Unit

TechCrunch - 36 min 20 sec ago
 Advertising tech company Appsfire is rolling out a new ad unit again! This time, it’s called Brichter-San, and it’s all about taking advantage of the load time when you pull to refresh. These are native ads, but the content is automatically provided by Appsfire. Once again, Brichter-San seems to be mostly about app promotion. After implementing the ad unit, your app will automatically… Read More

Lyft Expands, Passes Uber in Total U.S. Cities

Mashable - 36 min 43 sec ago

Lyft, the ridesharing service that matches regular drivers with passengers in need of a ride, expanded into 24 new cities on Thursday, the company's largest single-day expansion to date

The move means Lyft now operates in 60 U.S. cities, surpassing competitor Uber which currently operates in 46, according to Uber's website. Uber does have more cities worldwide, however, and announced its 100th on Wednesday

See also: 13 Tech Products That Stood Out in 2013

Lyft has been preparing for this launch for months, Lyft cofounder John Zimmer told Mashable. The process is more complex than simply flipping a switch on the app, he explains. To ensure supply can match the expected demand, Zimmer says that each new city will start with roughly 100 drivers, who have all been vetted by Lyft employees ahead of time Read more...

More about Expansion, Uber, Business, Startups, and Mobile

You Can Have Lunch With Tim Cook at Apple — But It'll Cost You

Mashable - 36 min 49 sec ago

Apple CEO Tim Cook is willing to have lunch with you and a friend at the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, but it might set you back a couple thousand dollars.

Cook is putting his time up for an online auction as a part of the 8th Annual Robert F. Kennedy Center Spring Auction for Human Rights, in partnership with Charitybuzz.com. The highest bidder will get a one-hour sit-down lunch at Caffe Macs, the cafe at Apple's headquarters, to discuss anything.

See also: 10 Free iPhone Apps You'll Use Every Day

While startups and entrepreneurs will likely claw at the chance to have Cook's undivided attention, the opportunity may come at a high price. Last year, Cook auctioned off a 30-minute coffee date at the Apple campus that sold for $610,000 (an all-time high for the RFK Center); it was the first time ever he agreed to a celebrity auction. According to Charitybuzz, last year's coffee date ran over the scheduled time to about an hour, with a good bit of time spent in Cook's office. This year, he's offering a full lunch meeting Read more...

More about Apple, Tim Cook, Tech, and Mobile

Lyft's ridesharing service reaches 24 new cities in a single day

Engadget - 36 min 50 sec ago
Lyft isn't about to be outdone by its rapidly growing ridesharing competition. The on-demand transportation outfit has just launched service in 24 new US cities, all in one day -- enough to give it more American coverage than its rivals, at 60 cities...

Two weeks with Sol's solar-powered laptop

Engadget - 36 min 50 sec ago
When I showed Sol to my family, they all got a bit confused. My dad asked why I was testing a toolbox for Engadget, while my sister took one look at it and said "Bumblebee." If you peek at the images below, you'll understand why: this solar-powered...

8 Stops on the Path to a Better Blog

Convince and Convert - 36 min 50 sec ago

You already know that a blog can be a powerful tool for building authority and thought-leadership, sharing benefits of your company/product, and addressing your audience’s needs and concerns. But what happens when your goals are specifically around selling ideas and not products or services?

In last month’s Blog Rescue column, we took a look at how a company might traditionally use a blog, but this month, we’re taking a look at a website from UCLA Events & Transportation, BeAGreenCommuter.com (BAGC), aimed at encouraging the UCLA community to consider alternative forms of transportation.

Debra Yoo, digital marketing analyst, tells us:

Our consistent challenge is increasing our readership. Right now most of our traffic comes from sharing links to our posts on Facebook and Twitter (which isn’t bad in and of itself), but I wish we could create a standalone readership who finds our content valuable enough that they’d come back to the blog on their own.

Create Value for Your Audience

When it comes to a blog readership, it’s important to understand the value you provide your audience. Who are your readers and what do they need on an ongoing basis? How can you create content that draws them back again and again?

Since we don’t have access to BAGC’s analytics, we looked at its usage on Feedly, a popular RSS reader. While it is only a slice of all RSS activity for this blog, it can give us some public information to work off of.

There are only a handful of subscribers to the site through Feedly, but among Feedly users, it’s clear that two of the most recent 10 blog posts have gotten much more interaction than the others: 10 of the best LA day trips (and how to get there on transit from UCLA) and 8 Of the Best Hikes in Los Angeles – And how to get there on transit from UCLA.

Most likely, these two posts are doing well because they are truly useful to the UCLA community (and even people outside of the immediate community). Instead of focusing on the benefits of green commuting and possibly preaching to the converted, these posts integrate green commuting into a broader idea. They provide Youtility to your audience and are the kind of content that will perform well in search.

By using these activity-list blog posts as the backbone of its blog content and thinking about the youtility of every blog post for its audience, BAGC can provide the kind of useful content that will keep engaging readers.

3 More Ways to Improve Your Content

Post on a regular basis. In order to encourage readers to come back to the blog consistently, BAGC should post on a regular schedule throughout the month, instead of only sporadically. Aim to post twice per week. Post on the same days each week (For example: Monday and Wednesday) rather than have lulls in post frequency followed by days where multiple posts go up in the same day.

Use more visuals. Do more visual storytelling. Visual blog posts can provide a lot of information while addressing the fact that most readers don’t spend a lot of time reading. Visual content can also easily be split up and adapted as content for different social media channels. As we mentioned in our last Blog Rescue, captioned slideshows are a great way to keep things moving.

Get creative with content and posts. Not only do you want to identify post ideas that are useful to your audience, you also want to think about ways to creatively tell those stories. Now, BAGC has done some really creative things: the Valentine’s Day post, Love on transit: 30 wedding photos on trains and buses, and 10 of the world’s coolest transit maps were great creative posts.

Image via BeAGreenCommuter.com

Continue to think along those lines, but make sure to think about ideas that will resonate with BAGC’s audience—the UCLA community. For example, during March Madness there could have been posts about students getting to and from the most popular places on campus to watch games or a post about the most dedicated (read: craziest) Bruins fans found on a bike or a bus or on foot. BAGC could have a monthly post about the zaniest quotes heard while riding a bus. During graduation, there could be posts of students in caps and gowns getting to and from a ceremony. In these posts, the main storyline isn’t about green commuting and its benefits. The story is about the UCLA community and what that community looks like, act like and feels like in the context of commuting.

Promote, Promote, Promote

BAGC should also make a plan around promoting its content to a wider audience. Debra told us that as a non-profit, there’s no budget for advertising. We kept that in mind when we put together the next three recommendations.

Make it easy to share and engage with content on the blog. Consider adding dynamically-fed content from the blog to the home page of the website so that repeat visitors are shown new content each time they visit. Also, consider adding social sharing tools both on the blog’s index page, as well as on each individual blog post page, so that readers can immediately tweet, share, and pin content that interests them.

Cross-promote on social platforms. Regardless of your budget’s size, social outposts are a blog’s friends. When your budget is limited, social outposts are a blog’s besties. Each and every post should be cross-promoted through social media. In BAGC’s case, that cross-promotion is going to predominantly happen on Facebook and Twitter. With the addition of more visual content, it could happen on Pinterest, too. Once BAGC gets into the habit of posting regularly (twice per week), it should look at ways to promote each post multiple times on its social platforms. Remember, blog posts contain lots of points and ideas. Social content usually just consists of one point or idea. You can write 2 – 4 different tweets that talk about different aspects of the same blog post. Spread those out over the course of days or a couple of weeks and you can promote the same blog post multiple times.

Identify advocates and partners to help spread the word. When you’re selling ideas, there are bound to be others who are going to share your passion. You just have to find them. Once you do, ask them to help share your content. You can find these people a number of ways. There are tools like Social Toaster that will lead you right to them. There’s functionality in Sysomos, Meltwater, and Radian6 that will help you find them. You could even identify them by monitoring hashtag usage on Twitter, which is often the most cost-effective option.

BAGC can also look for opportunities to partner with other organizations to promote its blog. Is there an opportunity to provide content from the BAGC blog to a campus-wide email? Each program within UCLA likely has a newsletter, website or email for its body of students. Look at ways to provide content there that will promote the blog and draw the greater UCLA community to it.

Let Us Rescue Your Blog Next

We want to thank Debra for submitting the BAGC blog to Blog Rescue. If your blog can benefit from a Convince & Convert review, email us at blogrescue@convinceandconvert.com and tell us:

  1. Where to find your blog,
  2. What you believe your issues are, and
  3. Your goals.

We’ll select submissions* and will share our thoughts in future Blog Rescue editions.

*Please note that a submission does not guarantee that your blog will be selected for an audit. If you are selected, we will contact you; please do NOT email us to follow up on submissions. You must be authorized by the entity, whose blog you submit, to contact Convince & Convert on its behalf. By submitting, you agree to cooperate with Convince & Convert and to have us publically audit the corporate blog submitted and to share our findings on convinceandconvert.com. You also agree to allow us to reproduce the original submission email in part or in full on convinceandconvert.com.

Samsung debuts projector-equipped Galaxy Beam 2 smartphone

Engadget - 37 min 50 sec ago
Chances are your phone doesn't have a built-in projector -- and it never will. But there's at least a small subset of the Chinese market that apparently has a need for an entry-level smartphone capable of projecting dim videos and presentation slides...

Facebook Teams Up With Storyful To Launch FB Newswire For Journalists, Media Outlets

All Facebook - 39 min 35 sec ago

Facebook has become a virtual newsroom of sorts, with a recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project finding that three out of 10 U.S. adults get at least some news while on Facebook, and 78 percent of Facebook users see news while navigating the site. Now, the social network is aiming to become an invaluable resource for journalists and media organizations, announcing that it teamed up with social content discovery outfit Storyful to launch FB Newswire.

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New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Open Source Data Store Startup Crate Data Raises $1.5M From Sunstone And DFJ Esprit

TechCrunch - 47 min 15 sec ago
 When big data is more than a buzzword it can soon turn into a huge headache for developers or those charged with managing the storage and access of large and growing data sets. That's the problem open source startup Data Crate has set out to solve. Read More

France Joins Open Government Partnership

TechCrunch - 47 min 34 sec ago
 French minister Marylise Lebranchu announced earlier today at the Paris Conference that France is joining the Open Government Partnership. It’s the logical next step following France’s work on open data and open government. In particular, a small entity called Etalab acted like a startup within the French government to release a new version of Data.gouv.fr. Many open data advocates… Read More

FinancialForce Gets $50M Cash Infusion

TechCrunch - 52 min 41 sec ago
 FinancialForce.com, the ERP provider built on top of Salesforce.com, announced today they have received $50M from private equity investors, Advent International. The investment is actually part of a broader investment in UNIT4, FinancialForce.com’s majority investor. Salesforce.com is also a minority investor. UNIT4 remains the majority stakeholder, even after this investment from Advent.… Read More

Lumina: PC-BSD's Own Desktop Environment

Slashdot - 52 min 50 sec ago
jones_supa (887896) writes "The PC-BSD project is developing a new open source (BSD license) desktop environment from scratch. The name of the project is Lumina and it will be based around the Qt toolkit. The ultimate goal is to replace KDE as the default desktop of PC-BSD. Lumina aims to be lightweight, stable, fast-running, and FreeDesktop.org/XDG compliant. Most of the Lumina work is being done by PC-BSD's Ken Moore. Even though Lumina is still in its early stages, it can be built and run successfully, and an alpha version can already be obtained from PC-BSD's ports/package repositories."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Ukraine's Taxi Drivers Navigate Barricades, Curfews and Masked Gunmen

Mashable - 55 min 46 sec ago

The roads in eastern Ukraine are covered in barricades manned by armed separatists. A nightly curfew is in place, and talk of a Russian invasion hangs in the air

If you drive a taxi, how are you supposed to work?

That's the question an unnamed taxi driver posed to a correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty during a recent drive around the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk, where pro-Russian separatists are in a standoff with Ukrainian troops.

See also: 9 Essential Questions About Ukraine, Answered

The ride, which was captured on video, offers a unique view into the city's tense streets. It also shows the fear average citizens have over the unidentified "little green men" — a name that has been used to describe the masked gunmen that have taken power. Read more...

More about Russia, Us World, World, and Ukraine

E-Cigarette Liquid Nicotine: Toxic, Unregulated and Overhyped

Mashable - 56 min 4 sec ago

E-cigarettes are a hot topic this year. One minute they're public nuisances; the next they're helpful tools for quitting smoking. Other times they make users look like Boba Fett

People just can't seem to agree on them.

The latest alleged danger is the liquid form of nicotine, called "e-liquid," which is used in both e-cigarettes and customizable mods. See a March New York Times article called "Selling Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes." The piece references several poison control calls from 2013 by parents whose kids had accidentally drunk the liquid

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed its first set of rules toward regulating e-cigarettes and related products on Thursday. It's a standard first step that would prevent anyone under 18 from purchasing e-cigarettes and would also require manufacturers to disclose the products' ingredients and manufacturing processes to the FDA Read more...

More about Health, Features, Us World, Politics, and Us