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Posts Tagged ‘Apps’

Jan27

The Beard Olympics launch

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The beard is very much back in fashion. The hipsters have owned it, and now the every-man is getting on board, there’s no denying it, the beard is well a truly the male fashion statement of the moment.

So with that in mind we’re excited to introduce to you the beardy app you’ve been waiting for, The Beard Olympics! A sort of Tinder for beards, or perhaps a ‘rate my beard’ style app, it allows you to vote for the best beards of Instagram with the most popular winning the beard Olympics. It doesn’t officially launch until tomorrow so we’re giving you that sneak peek now.

The Beard Olympics follows up the other extremely successful app, created for Christmas SocialSanta.co which allowed users to log in via their Twitter account and find out whether they were on Santa’s naughty or nice list by the amount of times they’d sworn on Twitter over the last year. The results could then be shared to Twitter or Facebook which lead to the app being shared thousands of times.

The creator, Daniel Benzie said about creating the app: “The first thing I did was use the excellent Instagram API to begin pulling in any photos with the hashtagBeard. After this I wrote a small JS library which interfaces with the SQL database using Ajax to pull out records and randomly order them so that the user may play.” “Each card is weighted with an equal amount of plays so no particular card has a better chance than any other of ‘winning’.”

The great thing about the beardy app is the quick way it loads beardy photos from Instagram really quickly for easy voting, and if you notice a photo not of a beard in your comparison then you can simply report the photo and it will be removed from the game after 3 reportings.

There’s a section on the page where you can see the current top position beard, and all it’s runner up beards, which aren’t nearly as majestic. There is also a ‘worst beards’ section which houses all the crap facial hair of Instagram. Really, it should just house 20 pictures of Justin Bieber back when he attempted to grow facial hair, and look manly, that was hilarious.

As the great Ron Swanson once said: “Facial hair should be full, thick and square.  Nothing sculpted.  If you have to sculpt it, that probably means you can’t grow it.”

You can visit the app here: http://thebeardolympics.co.uk/

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by Helen Stirling

Jan15

A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 14th January – Twitter video & Facebook for Work

Here are today’s Likes and Fails! Today we feature Twitter’s future video plans and Facebook’s new platform for use at work.

Likes

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Twitter is expanding it’s business model with a new emphasis on video. Much like Facebook recently making video more of a focus, with added visibility in timelines and  Twitter has decided to do the same. Twitter spoke and said that it was taking the first step “in making video the natural platform” for the site. Part of the plan involves opening up and evolving its video products and offering it’s one-click play video card to all advertisers. They will also be using SnappyTV (a company they acquired in June 2014) for advertisers to use which should open up the potential of using live video streaming.

Twitter have also promised that there will be more announcements to come through the year regarding video on their site. This is definitely a step up in the video race against Facebook, (I mean we all know no-one can compete with YouTube). Facebook announced last year that they saw 1 billion video views daily, and that is definitely a milestone for Twitter to compete with. And with Twitter’s slip of news earlier this month about a YouTube rival service that will not host videos that are hosted on other platforms, that could be a big move for the company which will either go really well or be a complete flop.

Fails

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Facebook at work is a new invention, by Facebook, which aims to give you a whole new platform to use Facebook at work. Now I don’t know about you but I feel like I know of a site similar to this already, is it.. Linkyden? No wait, oh yeah of course it’s LinkedIn. This platform has been around for ages now and it’s main use is for business. I can’t really see where the need is for a new work site seeing as so many people already use LinkedIn for business conversations. This is also somewhat true of Google Plus as there are many who create a ‘Work’ or ‘Business’ circle and share relevant news and articles with those people.

Facebook at work promises a similar look and feel to that of Facebook but that the platform will be entirely separate and will just include a group of employees. The info you share on Facebook at work will not be seen on your Facebook profile. There are no indications yet if there is a business model involved with Facebook for Work, as mockups of the site do not show space for advertising, though there are rumours they may charge businesses for using the service.

The app has been released on the Android and iOS stores, but is currently only usable for businesses that are part of Facebook’s pilot program. We’ll hold back too much judgement for now, but currently it seems like it is attempting to infiltrate a market which already has platforms representing it.

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by Helen Stirling

Nov21

A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 21st November – Celebrities read mean tweets & Yik Yak threats

Good morning Social Media fans. Today we’re taking a look at the latest round of Celebrities read mean tweets and threats made on anonymous app Yik Yak.

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Everyone’s favourite part of Jimmy Kimmel’s show which is still more popular online than it is on his actual show, has it’s latest edition up online. Yes it’s Celebrities read mean tweets. In this little online series celebrities are forced to read mean tweets about themselves to camera and we see their reactions. In this edition we see celebrities such as Britney Spears, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ty Burrell and Lisa Kudrow reading hilariously mean tweets about themselves. My personal favourite is Lisa Kudrows tweet, the wording and the reaction is brilliant. There’s not much else I can say really other than this will  probably have millions of views soon. Watch and enjoy.

Fails

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Two schools in America were shut down after threats were posted on an ‘anonymous’ chat app called Yik Yak. The threats said, “If you go to Costa you should watch out very closely at school today,” which forced police to close down the schools in advance of a possible attack. After it had been shut down another message appeared whcih said ”Nice try costa, today was just a drill.” Also soon after this another school was threatened and subsequently shut down for the day, whcih in my mind is quite clearly a copycat and students attempting to get out of school for the day. though it is better to be safe than sorry. It’s interesting to think that there are threats like this being made on Social Media everyday, it’s hard to see how the hoaxes can be differentiated from the serious. Either way, it’s not cool, not only is it a waste of police time it make sit harder to pick out the real threats which could bring danger to peoples lives.

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by Helen Stirling

Nov11

A Social Media Agency’s Likes & Fails – 11th November – Instagram update & Samaritans Radar app suspended

It’s Tuesday and it’s time to read this week’s first Likes and Fails. Today we look at Instagrams newest updates and why the Samaritans have suspended their app.

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Instagram has finally added an update that a lot of people have been waiting for, the ability to edit captions. Many found themselves falling victim to auto correct and having their captions appear incorrectly on their photographs . Previously the only option was to grin and bear it or to delete the whole post and start again. The blog announcement from Instagram says

“This has been one of the top requests that we’ve heard from the community, and we’re excited to finally bring it to you today. You’ll find a new “Edit” option in the menu beneath your image. Tap it to edit your caption.”

Along with this useful addition Instagram has also made changes to their Explore section which promises to help you in finding the people you want to follow. When you open up the Explore section you will now find two tabs, ‘People’ and ‘Photos’. The Photos tab has not changed and still includes a scrolling page of photos and videos; but the ‘People’ tab will allow you to find interesting people by highlighting accounts.

Fails

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 The Samaritans have been forced to pull an app from the app store after complaints that it might compromise privacy and the safety of people online. The app, called Radar, picked up on Social Media posts and looked out for language that suggested users were feeling depressed or suicidal and shared this information with friends of that person. The idea being that you could then support that friend if they are seemingly going through a difficult time. However it seems that there were worries that the app would compromise people’s privacy, especially when rumours spread that the Samaritans themselves would receive notifications about messages that were picked out, thought the company denied that that was the case.

However now following extensive feedback from users, especially those with mental health issues, the app has been suspended whilst the company considers it further. The company spoke out and said,

“We care passionately about supporting vulnerable people in a range of ways, and know it is important we get Samaritans Radar right.”

Though they did follow up by saying that they thought there was an important need for ways to support vulnerable people online. They have said that they will be carrying out firther research into the best way to work the radar app. Specifically by consulting mental health professionals, and those who are interested in the app. So it looks like a relaunch will be in the near future but hopefully with a few important changes.

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by Helen Stirling

Oct24

A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 24th October – Facebook ‘Rooms’ & SSE Orangutan ads

It’s Friday! It’s this week’s last edition of Likes and Fails and today we’re looking at Facebook’s new app ‘Rooms’ and the SSE orangutan adverts which are perplexing the whole of Twitter.

Likes

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Facebook has released yet another app. This time it seems to be taking on other apps such as Whisper and Secret with their version called ‘Rooms’. This app ais to let users chat anonymously so that there can be no worries when discussing more sensitive or private subjects. The app allows users to create a room anonymously and invite others to join, the ‘room’ can be customised with colours, cover photos and icons.

Obviously you’d instantly worry about trolls but Facebook has said it will have strict guidelines on this sort of activity. Moderators will be able to band entire devices rather than just accounts meaning that trolls will not be able to create multiple accounts from one device. This is a good initial idea to clamp down what might be a tempting venue for trolls, but I am sure they will find their ways around the bans.

Though there are obvious downsides to this decision it’s interesting to see Facebook branching out again in what is clearly the beginning of their attempt to take over the online world. The app is currently only available on iOS.

Fails

Southern Electric have released a brand new advertising campaign which has been confusing and bewildering people on Twitter and Facebook. This is mainly because their new advertising campaign features a very wistful looking Orangutan, seemingly for no particular reason. What’s particularly great about the print campaign is that a reduced opacity version of the ape is overlaid on certain landscapes, one of a cottage, seemingly in the highlands, and another sees him looking wistful at an offshore wind farm.

Obviously this campaign has been met with some confusion and some hilarious tweets which I will post in below:

 

 

So this is what SSE said themselves…

 

I’ll let you make your own mind up about the ads.

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by Helen Stirling

Oct21

A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 21st October – Hoverboards & Ebola

Here we are then, day two of the week. Some may call it Tuesday. I bet you’re wondering what is hot and what is not today, well, always on time here I am to solve all your problems. Take a look to see what we Like and what totally failed in the Social Media world today.

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Hoverboards exist! Well sort of at least. Everyone who loves Back to the Future has been waiting to see the invention of the hoverboard, especially before the date in which Back to the future 2 was set. So now the first hoverboard type invention has been created and it will only cost you a measly $10000! The hoverboard can be seen on kickstarter and though it’s exciting that it exists, it’s also less exciting because you can’t exactly use it as a hovering skateboard, it’s probably a little difficult to maneuver. The board also has another catch, it will only hover above speciality surfaces as it works using magnetic resistance.

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The hoverboard is unsurprisingly on kickstarter and has a goal of $250,000 for it’s mass creation. The board will be usable in a specially designed hover park, which will be created with the raised funds. The lowest donation bracket will recieve a special thank you on Social media and the highest donation band of $10,000 or more will own their very own hoverboard.

Fails

An Ebola app, supposed to alleviate any fear you might have about the disease instead probably makes you more fearful than before you looked at it it. The app uses Geo location to find out where you are and then tells you how many miles away you are from a case of Ebola. Once it’s discovered how far away you are from a case it also gives you links to a couple of sources telling you the real facts about Ebola without any of the media hype.

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I mean it’s a good idea in principle, but seeing that Ebola is actually less than 500 miles away from where I am is a little disconcerting. I think that I was less concerned before I knew that fact. Not that I am concerned now, but if I had to compare the emotions I had prior to this knowledge to those now; I mean I’m thinking about it more than I was. Probably because I’m writing about it really.

 

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by Helen Stirling

Sep11

A Social Media Agency’s Likes & Fails – 11th September – Play Store increase refund window & Facebook ban advert for baby in need

Here are today’s Likes and Fails!

Likes

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Google Play has increased its refund window on the play store to 2 hours. This means that you can now try out an app for 2 hours on your device and if you’re not happy with it you can get a refund from the store and it will be uninstalled from your device. They had apparently already been offering this service but now there has been an official announcement from the company. Before the change was made Android users only had 15 minutes to decide whether they wanted to keep the app. This is obviously quite a short period to get a feel for an app, and say if you were distracted by something like a phone call then you may miss the refund window.

Google have made a great decision in doing this, the two hour window is much more reasonable to return an app. So once you’ve paid and downloaded an app the page for the app on the store displays the choices ‘Open’ to open the app and ‘Refund’. the refund button will be displayed there for 120 minutes after the purchase. After this time it will change to an uninstall button which will mean you can no longer receive the refund. Also if you change your mind and decide to buy it again you can’t at this point receive another refund.

Fails

A father with a very ill 2 month old son has been working tirelessly on Facebook and other Social Media to help find his son a heart donor for a transplant which he desperately needs. Recently on Facebook the man decided to boost a recent post which involved a picture of his baby in the post. Obviously as his child is not very well and has a heart condition, he has medical tubes all around him, but it looks as if Facebook didn’t take this into account when they banned the advert because they thought it was ‘Graphic’.

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As you can see from the image above the reasoning compares the image to scary, graphic images, which it clearly is not and clearly it brought up an emotional response from the boys father. He was upset that Facebook had described the photo of his son in this way as well as taking out crucial time from the advert posting.

Not cool Facebook.

As the story hit the media Facebook issued an apology and reinstated the advert on the site. However the father did say that noone from Facebook had contacted him directly and that he’d only heard about the apology through the press. So though they did the right thing by reinstating the advert they could have been a little more caring with these people’s feelings and sent them an apology.

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by Helen Stirling

Aug27

A Social Media Agency’s Likes & Fails – 27th August – Hyperlapse from Instagram & Self-censoring online

Here are today’s Likes and Fails – today we take a look at Instagram’s new app Hyperlapse as well as looking at the rise in online self-censoring on Social Media sites.

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Hyperlapse is a brand new app from Instagram launched yesterday. The app arrived initially without much fanfare, mainly as there had been no word of this app before it’s launch. The news of the apps launched arrived a mere two hours before it actually arrived in the Apple app store.

The app is a video sharing app which can turn your video clips into ‘hyperlapse’ videos, which gives a cinematic feel to the videos. Much like quick sequences you see in films when moving from one place to the other, this app now allows users to create the cool same effect without all the expensive equipment. Basically the app has built in stabilizing features which create the smooth moving effect in the finished videos. To use the app you only have to press the record option once and then press it again to stop recording. You can either play the video back at normal speed or create the hyperlapse at up to 12 times its original speed. You can then save the video by clicking the green check mark, and from there share the video.

This is a n exciting new development from the Instagram team, as many were focused on the launch of bolt – the Snapchat competitor – from them, but they surprised everyone with the launch of a completely different app with some really interesting technology involved.

We can only hope the delay whilst the make it available for Android is not too long, as currently it is only available for Apple devices.

Fails

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There are reports today that surveys have shown that users on Twitter and Facebook are increasingly self-censoring themselves regarding controversial topics. The study looked specifically at the fallout following the Edward Snowden leaks and peoples willingness to talk about the topic. A large majority of Americans, 86%, said that they were open to talking about the leaks and the impact of the government intrusion on privacy but only 43% said they were comfortable about talking about it online on Facebook and even less, 41%, said they would discuss it on Twitter

The survey also found, that people were more willing to share their thoughts on the case if they thought their audience would agree with them. Which is not really surprising. Though the report also suggests that people were less likely to share their opinions offline if they thought that their online friends and followers would disagree with their opinion. This displays a crossover between the two worlds which may mean that important information is not being shared between mediums and that the censoring is passing over into in-person contexts. Though this was not definitively shown in the survey, though it was suggested by the data received.

This is an interesting look at self-censoring, which we probably encounter daily online. I know personally I’ve had an opinion on a topic online but have not shared my opinion for fear of getting involved in an online argument which I did not want to deal with. I think this fear of ‘online confrontation’ is what leads us to shy away from sharing our opinions online. It is a lot easier for someone to counter your argument online, sometimes in an aggressive way, without any lasting backlash. Whereas if the same confrontation happened in-person there would definitely be some sort of lasting message, whether it be law enforcement of just the fact that the relationship with the person was ended.

 

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by Helen Stirling

Aug20

A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 20th August – Snapchat Discovery & Secret app to be removed

Good morning, we’re here to bring you the hottest and the not-test in Social Media today. Today we’re looking at Sanpchat’s expansion plans as well as a Brazilian judge’s agenda to get Secret removed from Google and Apple app stores as well as all phones!

Likes

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Snapchat is looking to expand their app’s offering. Currently the app has no way of generating revenue, so the first option one may think of is to introduce advertising to the app, which is one of the avenues that Snapchat will be exploring, but there are other plans too. The rumours are that Snapchat want to introduce a sort of ‘snap news’ to the app. The service is apparently to be called Snapchat Discovery and would allow users to read daily editions of publications as well as look at pictures and video clips associated with the stories by holding down on the images like you normally would in the app. The company has apparently been in talks with dozens of online content providers, with publications such as the Mail Online in talks to provide content on the app.

If Snapchat were to link up with other content poviders it would definitely make it more appealing to advertisers. The Snapchat Discovery feature will likely be the first feature of the app to offer ‘sponsored’ stories, another opportunity for brands to promote themselves and their advertisements.

This is a good move for the company which has now been running for 3 years and continues to grow it’s user base everyday. It will likely offer the app it’s first revenue, and help to build the company up even more.

Fails

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 A Brazilian judge has ruled that Apple and Google must remove the app Secret from all of their local devices and app stores. The judge was reportedly pushed too far by one case where bullying and intimidation had been happening on the app and the only way to solve this was to order Apple and Google to remove the app locally. The app is usually used to anonymously share gossip, or personal thoughts without them linking to yourself.

If Apple and Google don’t agree to remove the app then they will penalized by the Brazilian court for around $9,000 a day, that’s not a load of money in terms of the amount of revenue these companies make, but it may be easier in the long run if the just remove the app from local app stores and phones to remove themselves from the charges.

The request is definitely one that the two companies can fulfill, they’ve removed apps from their respective stores before and they can technically pull or block software that is installed on their gadgets. Though this is only usually used if the there is a malware outbreak.

So we’ll have to wait and see if the companies remove the app, pay up or instead contest the ruling, which seems likely in the circumstances.

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by Helen Stirling

Aug11

A Social Media Agency’s Round-Up – 11th August – Buzzfeed £30m funding, BBC Weather App, Bolt Aus launch & Pinterest messaging

Here is a quick round-up of what you may have missed in the Social Media world over the weekend!

Buzzfeed gain $50 million in new funding

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 Buzzfeed have raised £30m of new funding from a venture capital firm called Andreessen Horowitz, who are well known for their investments in large social companies, such as Facebook, Skype, Pinterest, Twitter and Foursquare. The investment comes from the company who see Buzzfeed as an emerging “preeminent media company”. This new strand of funding takes the total funding amount up to $96.3m since 2008. Buzzfeed is definitely the site of the moment with over 150 million monthly visitors, and a new valuation of $850m; this new investment should help them work on their online video section, a place of interest for the company, as well as an in-house incubator for tech start-ups. Whatever they use the investment for, it’s clear to see that Buzzfeed’s growth doesn’t show many signs of slowing.

BBC Weather app is extremely popular

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We Brits do sure love the weather. The BBC have revealed that their popular app, ‘BBC Weather’, which shows weather forecasts and lets you save favourite locations, gets a whopping 19,000 downloads everyday! These downloads have lead it to become the fastest growing BBC app of all time, with 8 million downloads since it’s launch last year.

Bolt launches in Australia

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Bolt, the new Snapchat style app from Instagram has now officially launched in Australia, being the latest country in a somewhat slow roll out to get access to the app. This could be due to trademarking issues with the app’s name, where an existing app called Bolt is fighting for it’s name rights, this could further explain why it hasn’t yet rolled out in it’s homeland, America, yet.

Pinterest launch messaging

Pinterest launched a brand new messaging service at the end of last week, which allows users to take interaction to the next level. The new feature allows you to send pins to others and reply to those pins with either a message or a pin back.

This new feature is available on the mobile apps, it does also work on the desktop sites but is currently in need of some work, as notifications don’t yet work on the site but instead send an email notification.  This new feature is an exciting step forward for Pinterest which could prove to be very useful for users, especially those collaborating on a creative project.

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by Helen Stirling