Michelle McCudden is a Manager on the Client Strategy & Innovation team at Social Media Group.Follow @mmccudden1
The Timeline Deadline is Here
Today Facebook will implement the mandatory switch to Timeline for Pages. If you’ve been reluctant to make the switch, here’s some good news to ease you through the transition: It looks like Timeline will actually benefit your page. A study from Wildfire this week showed that Pages with less than 1 million fans are seeing a big boost in engagement from switching over to Timeline, with sizeable increases to comments, likes and People Talking About This. Larger pages have seen a smaller boost, but are still benefitting. We’re looking forward to more data after the switch this weekend. In the meantime, it’s been interesting to see what somebrands are doing to take advantage of that Cover Photo real estate:
Another awesome use for Timeline? Tracing your brand or industry back hundreds or thousands of years. Two of the best examples are the New York Times, which begins its Timeline in 1851 with the paper’s first issue, and Spotify, which traces the history of popular music back to the year 1000.
Pinterest’s New Terms of Service
Last weekend, Pinterest rolled out their new policies, with updates to the Terms of Service taking effect on April 6 and updated versions of Acceptable Use and Privacy policies taking place on March 23. Among the changes are new tools for reporting alleged copyright or trademark infringements, the prohibition of pins or boards promoting self-harm (targeting “thinspo” boards, among others), and an update to the Terms of Service to remove the word “sell.” (Pinterest recently came under fire for their stated right to sell any content posted to Pinterest, with critics sighting concerns about copyright and ownership.) The new Terms also state that users aren’t to post any content that would infringe upon the rights of the creator, as a means of protecting Pinterest against charges of copyright infringement. How tightly this will be enforced remains to be seen. Check out John Herrman of Buzzfeed’s projection of what a board without copyrighted content might look like:
Understanding the Twitter Bug
A big story this week has been Twitter’s confirmation that there is, indeed, an “unfollow” bug, making it appear that you are not following someone that you had previously followed. Since Twitter’s redesign late last year, it’s much easier to see if someone is following you or not, thanks to the “FOLLOWS YOU” that appears next to their name.
While there’s some speculation that the bug is the result of the December redesign, others (myself included) seem to remember it starting earlier. Twitter reports that they’re working to fix the bug.
During the Facebook Launch Event this Wednesday in San Francisco, Carl Sjogreen, Facebook’s Director of Platform Products, announced the improvements to their new Open Graph and Gestures platforms it introduced during the f8 Developer Conference last September. With the new Open Graph, developers are able to create apps that allow users to add anything they want directly to their Timeline. Later on, they introduced 60 new now live apps that are tightly integrated to the new platform including some by well-known companies such as eBay, Foursquare, Airbnb, Foodily and LivingSocial.
Not familiar with the new Open Graph concept? Take a look at the video below:
SOPA and PIPA Outrage
Wikipedia, the most respected free encyclopedia website on the Internet, blocked their service for 24 hours on Wednesday to raise awareness, for those outside of the technology community they claimed, of two proposed legislations regarding Internet censorship – Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Internet Property Act(PIPA).
For those of you who are not yet familiar with the proposed legislations, here are the descriptions, as described by Wikipedia:
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)is a law (bill) of the United States of America proposed in 2011 to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Proposals include barring advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with allegedly infringing websites, barring search engines from linking to the sites, and requiring Internet service providers (ISP) to block access to the sites. The bill would criminalize streaming of content, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The Protect IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PIPA), also known as Senate Bill 968 or S. 968, is a proposed law with the stated goal of giving the US government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to “rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods”, especially those registered outside the U.S. The bill was introduced on May 12, 2011, by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 11 bipartisan co-sponsors. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that implementation of the bill would cost the federal government $47 million through 2016, to cover enforcement costs and the hiring and training of 22 new special agents and 26 support staff. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill, but Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) placed a hold on.
Many tech companies like Google, Wikipedia, etc. state that the two bills, if passed by the United States Congress, would fundamentally hurt the Internet Industry. For example, websites like Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr all seem likely to shut down if the bill becomes law, not to mention the developments of many emerging Internet and social media websites would be forced to stop, which would push technological innovations into the Dark Age according to one Mashable article published on Wednesday.
Content sharing website Reddit, as well as the famous tech blog Boing Boing, also joined forces and shut down their services for 24 hours. Many other websites added banner links, protest pages and published articles on the front page regarding the issue. One of the notable changes was Google covered its logo with a giant black ‘censor’ bar and wrote ‘Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the web!” below with a link to its online petition.
Watch this infographic video (originally created by Fight for the Future and posted to their Vimeo Channel. Reddit put it up during the service shut down) regarding the SOPA and PIPA bills and the effect they would have on the Internet Industry.
The official SOPA protest website, sopastrike.com, called the protest ‘The Largest Online Protest in History’ with an infograph showing the overall effect to date, and listed all the participating companies and organizations.