Headlines & Stuff March 14, 2014

Written by: Christy Wise
Bookmark and Share
Bookmark and Share

Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook Updates Design For Business Pages
Only days after debuting a new look for the News Feed, Facebook this week began rolling out an updated design for brand Pages. Among the changes, all posts now appear on the right-side column of the Timeline, so all updates appear the same on a brand’s page and in the News Feed. The left-hand column will feature information about a company’s business, including a map, hours of business, phone number and website, as well as photos and videos. Also noteworthy –  Tabs are now hidden behind the “More” option, which is yet another step towards Facebook’s quest to focus entirely on the News Feed. Apps are still present but are featured on the left-hand side and are much less prevalent.

Tumblr Lets Bloggers Dial-In to Add New Content
Tumblr’s latest feature allows you to call a toll-free number and record a short audio message that becomes your latest blog post. The feature is easy to use – just add a telephone number to your Tumblr settings that you want to be able to record a message, and then dial 1-866-584-6757. As soon as you hang up, the message will get posted to your Tumblr account. Watch the fun video explaining how it works here.

Facebook Introduces 15-Second Video Ads
Facebook just introduced 15-second video ads, which will start playing without sound as they appear on screen and stop if you scroll pass. If you tap the video, it will expand into full screen view with sound. Users can expect to start seeing these ads over the next few months.

Pinterest Debuts Gifts Feed
Aiming to boost e-commerce activity, Pinterest this week introduced a new Gifts Feed showcasing all things that users can buy through the platform. This feed only shows Product Pins and includes pricing and availability details. The new feed also indicates price range through a system of one to four dollar signs.

Google Changes Search Results
Google is rolling out a new design of search to desktop users that includes changes to both organic search results and ads. The new design removes underlines, increases font size and changes the way ads are labeled in search results. Google’s AdWords-targeted ads no longer have the pink shading. Instead they are preceded by a small yellow box labeled “ad.”

Vine’s Hottest New Trend: #Whaling
Vine stars are looking to get in on the platform’s newest trend: #whaling. Whaling has even enticed news anchor teams to join in. Much like planking, whaling involves contorting your body into a shape resembling a real-life creature: in this case, a whale. More specifically, a breaching whale.

Global Social Media

China’s Sudden WeChat Crackdown
The social networking app, WeChat, also known as Weixin in China, fell victim to a very abrupt and unexpected crackdown this week, with dozens of politically active accounts deleted. Politically active users driven from censorship on Weibo, are finding the relative oasis of WeChat not as safe from the government as previously thought. Some of the squashed accounts had hundreds of thousands of followers. Some new sources were also shut down.  WeChat is slowly approaching the 300 million user mark, but if censorship like this continues, it may have a huge impact on the app. China’s crackdown on Weibo resulted in a 10% decline in users last year.  37% of those users that left Weibo flocked to WeChat.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Starbucks Begins Testing Mobile Orders, Payments
Starbucks plans to begin testing a service that lets customers place orders ahead of time via smartphone at some of its U.S. stores later this year. The coffee giant plans to let customers choose coffee or food while inline or before entering an outlet through the Starbucks mobile app. The step would build on Starbucks’ mobile payments business and loyalty program. The company currently processes almost 5 million mobile transactions a week through its payments app, which boasts 10 million monthly active users.