Facebook Gifts
Screenshot of the Facebook Gifts process. -- Credit: Facebook.com

What’s New in Search and Social Media? — August / September 2012

We periodically bring you news updates from the social media and search engine worlds, so you can stay on top of stories you might have previously missed. It’s that time again. Here are some of the social media and search industry stories that caught our attention over the last month or two.

1. Google News is Ten Years Old

Google News turned ten this month. And in honor of its anniversary, Google took a look back at the history of their news aggregation service, including highlights of the top stories in years past.


2. Twitter’s New Profile Design Introduces Header Photos

Twitter Header Image
Here’s an example of the new Twitter header images — one that I set up for my primary  Twitter account. In this case I just used a photo I took from NYC’s Central Park.

Twitter now allows users to add a header image to their profiles. These are larger images above your tweet stream, and they do not replace your user photo (which displays over your header image). These new header images give you a better chance to personalize your profile or incorporate branding elements, and they appear on Twitter.com and mobile apps.


3. Twitter Announces More Restrictive API Changes

In August, Twitter announced some API changes including changes to its guidelines that will further restrict third party developers. Focus is on display requirements which will require third party apps and platforms to do things like link profile names to profile pages and include retweet, reply, and favorite options. Apps that will be pre-installed on electronic devices will also need to be certified by Twitter.


4. Facebook Goes After Fake “Likes”

If you’ve noticed Facebook fan pages losing “Likes” lately, that’s because Facebook has been cracking down on fake Likes — such as those purchased or resulting from the installation of malware or account hacking. Facebook Security noted that they expect “less than 1% of Likes on any given Page will be removed.”


5. Facebook Reintroduces Gifts

Facebook Gifts
Screenshot of the Facebook Gifts process. — Credit: Facebook.com

Facebook is taking another shot at letting its users buy gifts for each other through the social network (after their failed foray into virtual gifts a couple of years back). This time users will be able to purchase gifts from partner retailers, which according to The New York Times will include things from cupcakes to sunglasses. The gifts will be shipped to the recipient, and a mention of the gifts can be either private or on a user’s public Timeline.


6. Americans Increasingly Turn to Mobile and Social Media News Sources

A recent Pew Research Center Survey shows that Americans are increasingly consuming their news online, such as through mobile devices and social media sources. In 2006, they reported that less than 25% of those surveyed responded positively about online news sources when asked “where did you get news yesterday?” In contrast, the latest survey shows 39% of those surveyed getting their news online. Don’t mistake that for online news being the primary news source though. While radio news and newspapers dipped below online news sources, TV news still far outpaces the Web based on this survey.


Do you have any thoughts on these social media and search industry stories?  Where do you get most of your news? Are you worried about being hit for getting fake Likes on Facebook? Have you updated your Twitter profile with the new header images yet? Tell us in the comments.

Written by
Jennifer Mattern
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