Headlines & Stuff January 17, 2014

Written by: Christy Wise
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Every week we recap the previous week’s headlines that pertain to social and digital media.  Since Monday is a holiday and because there was so much big news this week, we are publishing these Headlines a few days early.  Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook Will Now Tell You What’s Most Popular On Facebook
Facebook will now surface trending topics alongside the News Feed, using a product the company is calling simply: “Trending.” Trending will show a personalized list of popular topics for each user, combining their interests with content getting the most attention across the entire platform.  In other Facebook news, the social network recently purchased Branch to help form their Conversations Group – which aims to help people  connect with one another around their interests.

YouTube Debuts Super Bowl XLVIII Ads
YouTube launched the Ad Blitz channel today, giving football fans a sneak peek of this year’s Super Bowl ads. The pre-game gallery features teasers from advertisers and highlights from Fox Sports. YouTube creators will post custom content, promoting Ad Blitz through videos powered by TrueView video ads. The site also provides post-game voting.

Google Buys Nest for $3.2 Billion
Google announced this week that it purchased Nest, the maker of high-tech thermostats and smoke detectors for $3.2 billion in cash.  Founded by former Apple engineers, Nest promises to save homeowners energy by learning their daily habits and adjusting the temperature accordingly.  Nest will retain its brand name within Google.

Twitter Can Now Target Ads Based on Email Addresses and User IDS
Twitter just announced some new capabilities in its recently launched Tailored Audiences program. The additions provide new ways to create Tailored Audiences, either using a CRM database or lists of Twitter usernames of User IDs. Advertisers will be able to exclude certain audiences from their advertising in the same way.

LinkedIn Adds Search for Volunteer Opportunities
LinkedIn added a new Volunteer Marketplace on Wednesday, allowing users to search for volunteer opportunities that require particular skill sets like open board seats and non-profits. The social network launched the marketplace with 500 postings and plans to add more in the coming weeks.

FDA Issues Social Media Guidelines for Pharma
The FDA has finally released guidelines for social media marketing and advertising by pharmaceutical companies. The new guidelines cover all manner of “tools and technologies that often allow for real time communications and interactions,” including social networks, microblogs, online communities and live podcasts.  Firms will be held responsible for all promotional content on any site or account controlled by the firm, including, for example, all marketing messages posted by the company to its Facebook or Twitter account, as well as the company’s own blogs. Marketers will also be responsible for any content posted on third-party sites where their firm has powers of editorial review. They won’t be held responsible for content on sites where they are merely paying to post marketing communications, with no control over the content. They will also be responsible for any content posted by an employee or other paid representative on a third party site.

Global Social Media

Instant Messaging Overtakes Texting in the UK
More messages are now sent via apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat than by SMS according to a study.  The number of text messages sent in the UK fell for the first time in 2013. An estimated 145 billion SMS messages were sent, down from 152 billion in 2012. 160 billion instant messages were sent in 2013, up from 57 million in 2012.

Think Sochi Olympics Are All About Facebook and Twitter? Wrong! Get Ready for VK.com
VK.com (formerly Vkontakte meaning “in touch”  or “in contact” in Russian) is the dominant social network in Russia. Social data provider Gnip has added data from VK.com to their platform to allow brands to better track conversations going on in Sochi.  VK.com led social network visitors in Russia with 49.2mm unique visitors. Facebook attracts 11.9mm visitors (5th place).  As a way to increase their presence in Russia, Facebook has recently partnered with Yandex (Google Rival) in a deal that will see the search engine index publicly posted content on the social network that comes from the countries Yandex covers:  Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey

Noteworthy Campaigns

Chicago Sun Times to Test Bitcoin and Twitter Paywall
The Chicago Sun Times will soon test a new paywall system that accepts bitcoins as well as tweets from readers in return for access to content. Starting February 1, the Sun-Times’s site will prompt readers to either donate to, in the form of bitcoins,  or tweet about the Taproot Foundation. The paywall will be up for 24 hours to test the technology.

Giant Pinboard Façade Lets Fans Become The Face of The Olympics
London-based architect Asif Khan’s “MegaFaces” structure will display the faces of Sochi spectators as rotating 3D portraits. Photo booths within the pavilion and in the MegaFon retail stores across Russia, will capture five images of the visitors face simultaneously from different angles.  The faces will then be displayed on the façade for 20 seconds each as an eight-meter image.