This week in social media…
Twitter Searching Improved
Twitter announced number of new features that enhance its search and discovery functionality. In addition to the recent related query suggestions, spelling corrections, and more relevant searching, Twitter now has an autocomplete feature. Search autocomplete shows you the most likely terms you may be looking for in a the drop down box- a big help when you can’t remember the correct spelling of a person’s name, or the hashtag for an event you wanted to follow- and displays results for people by both their real name and handle. Twitter also organizes the most relevant Tweets, articles, images, and videos that match your query- giving you have a broader choice of content. Another great upgrade is ‘People you follow’, which filters your search term by only those Twitter users you follow, making it easier to have conversations and engage on a topic with people you actually care about- in a sense, very similar to the social-search functions rolled out recently by Bing and others.
Facebook In Overdrive
Facebook seems to be in overdrive lately- gobbling up startups and leaking new projects on what feels like a daily basis. This week it hinted about the development of a job board feature that would aggregate job listings from third-party providers. Using its own app platforms, namely BranchOut (which I’m a big fan of), JobVite and Work4labs (which I have yet to try), the board could be up as early as August. The question many users are already asking is will this feature stream into their newsfeed, adding another distraction on top of sponsored stories and people’s fan page ‘likes’ (Listen, we all ‘like’ Amazon).
Facebook is also cracking down on lurking (you know, those people who look but never post). As of yesterday, when you visit group pages on Facebook, you can see which group members have viewed each post. That means if you’re planning a party via Facebook, you can compare the people who saw the invite, yet chose not to come. I’m going to miss some of that that shameless stalking.
Even more, single people take cover! Facebook may also be plastering people’s engagement and marriage status to the section that currently lists birthdays and event invites. Now there’s no excuse for not saying “congratulations”.
The best part of election night for techies? Seeing reporters struggle with the latest digital gadgets. Remember the giant pre-iPad during the 2008 election, or when Wolf Blitzer interviewed a holographic Will.i.am? Classic. This year, election coverage is going to get even weirder. CNN announced it is partnering with Facebook to make election coverage an interactive, social experience. Facebook’s data and research team will be supplying the network with monitored social buzz and voter surveys. Facebook has also created an “I’m Voting” App, which will display peoples’ intent to vote and preferred candidate (and yes, it’s public). CNN has seen an overall decrease in ratings over the years and is hoping this initiative will boost ratings and perhaps reclaim a younger viewing demographic. But which party, Dems or Reps, will benefit the most from this? Obama was signaled out for his use of social media in the 2008 election, yet many predicted those young voters have less momentum this time around. Facebook could end up the real winner come election night- adding political leanings to their big book of user data.
Companies Out of Touch with Social Media
A new report by the Ethical Corporation and Social Media finds that a majority of companies are unprepared for a social media backlash. A survey of companies found a full 72% are unprepared to handle social media criticism. The data comes from in-depth interviews with industry experts from companies including GE, Gap, Proctor and Gamble, and Southwest Airlines; activist organizations like Greenpeace; and leading social media companies. The findings confirm previous research that show social media users believe companies are ‘out of step’ with social media, particularly in their resistance to using it for customer service (and not just advertising). The top social networks are the same for both companies and consumers- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube- so it is somewhat surprising that there is such a disconnect on how they interact with them. The fact that many companies are unprepared is alarming given how detrimental a social media attack can be to a brand (Dell and Nestle for example) that, if nothing else, should scare companies into drafting a response policy.