Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Twitter Testing Major Profile Redesign That Looks Like Facebook
Twitter is testing a major profile redesign that is very reminiscent of Facebook and Google+. The main picture and bio is scaled to the left and there is significantly more real-estate dedicated to the header photo. The revamped tweet stream focuses more on photos and content cards. It is also moving away from the vertical timeline format. No word on if or when this will become official.
Facebook Adds New Gender Options
Facebook announced the addition of customizable options for identifying gender. The new feature allows users to choose from about 50 different terms to describe themselves, in addition to male or female. They include androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual. Facebook came up with these terms after consulting with a leading LGBT advocacy organization.
Instagram Launches Blog For Business
This week, Instagram announced a new resource for marketers and news organizations – the Instagram for Business Blog. The goal is to create a place where corporate Instagram users can access tips, tools and other resources for creating really good content. Instagram also announced The Instagram Handbook for Brands, which you have to contact Instagram directly to get (we’ve already done so).
Global Social Media
Mobile, Widespread, Social Networking Catching On In Developing World
Cell phones are nearly ubiquitous in the developing world, and social networking is taking off in emerging nations where people have Internet access. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, more than half the population in each nation surveyed own a cell phone with 90% or more in countries like Jordan, China, Russia, Chile and South Africa. Across the 24 countries studied, only 23% have working landline phones in their homes with as few as 1% in Kenya and Ghana. They have skipped traditional phones and moved straight to mobile ones. Smartphones are gaining a foothold, but are only owned by 20% of the populations of 11 emerging countries. Text messaging is the most common activity, followed by taking photos. Making or receiving payments is rare except for in Africa where 68% use their devices for transactions. The study found that in six nations, at least half use their devices to go online, while 25% or less are online in Indonesia, Uganda and Pakistan. But when people are connected they are frequently using social networks. With 73% using Facebook and Twitter.
Target to Launch Collections Created by Pinterest’s Top Pinners
Target is partnering with three top pinners on Pinterest – Joy Cho, Jan Halvarson and Kate Arends, all of whom write blogs and work in design – on a series of limited-edition collections featuring party products that will be sold in stores and online. The bloggers have massive followings on Pinterest – with Cho ranking the highest with over 13 million. The first collection will go on sale in March and will be from Cho, the LA based graphic designer behind the blog Oh Joy!, which centers on fashion, design and food. Her collection will be made up of modern garden party wares.
Square Partners with Whole Foods
Payments startup Square this week announced a partnership with Whole Foods Market, making it the company’s biggest in-store retail deal since teaming up with Starbucks in 2012. Through the agreement, customers at Whole Foods will be able to skip the main check-out line to pay at specific in-store venues using Square’s POS system. These include sandwich counters, juice and coffee bars, pizzerias and beer and wine bars that are equipped with the Square Stand.