Twitter will unveil its first Australian headquarters this week.
The social networking giant has been steadily increasing its presence in Australia since late 2012, with a still-growing roster of staff and high profile partnerships with several sporting codes and media organisations.
It will formally open its corporate offices in Sydney CBD this week – though staff have been working from the building for several weeks.
Twitter also confirmed on Monday it has appointed former Google Asia-Pacific executive, Karen Stocks as its Australian managing director.
The move comes as Twitter seeks to grow its pool of around two million Australian users and increase advertising revenue.
A permanent presence in Australia may also help streamline cooperation with local authorities, who’ve previously asked social network companies to play a greater role in the fight against online bullying.
Facebook increased its presence in Australia in 2011, hiring Mia Garlick, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to oversee its local operations.
Google also has corporate offices in Sydney.
As a busy business owner, you’re unlikely to have endless time and resources to spend on marketing, so what you execute needs to really count. Focus on these five strategies for maximum bang for buck.
A survey conducted by US email marketing company Constant Contact has revealed the most effective marketing techniques for small businesses. Even though the study is perhaps biased to email marketing, the overall results are consistent with what I believe works well for soloists.
Here are the top five marketing strategies for small businesses according to the survey, and the percentage of respondents who found these strategies effective:
1. Email marketing – 83 per cent
2. Website marketing, including both content marketing and SEO – 71 per cent
3. Face-to-face interaction – 68 per cent
4. Social media – 49 per cent
5. Events – 41 per cent
These results show some interesting trends, which may change the way you think about and conduct your marketing activities.
Facebook and other technology giants have launched an initiative designed to give the whole world access to the internet.
The project is entitled Internet.org and its goal is to extend internet access to five billion people by cutting the cost of smart phone-based internet services in developing countries.
"Everything Facebook has done has been about giving all people around the world the power to connect," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday.
"There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy," he said, adding that the project aimed to make it easier and cheaper to connecting to the web.
The other partners in the project are Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Opera, while Twitter and LinkedIn are also due to sign up.
Today some 2.7 billion people, just over a third of the world’s population, had access to the internet, and the number of new users was growing only slowly each year, a statement said.
"The goal of Internet.org is to make internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected, and to bring the same opportunities to everyone that the connected third of the world has today," the statement said.
The seven founding partners are going to develop joint projects, share knowledge and mobilise governments and industry to bring the world online.
Specifically, they want to simplify mobile apps to make them more efficient and improve telephone components and networks so they perform better while consuming less energy.
They also want to develop lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones and partnerships to more broadly deploy internet access in underserved communities.
Zuckerberg insisted in an interview with CNN that the project was not simply aimed at generating more customers.
"If we were just focused on making money, the first billion people we’ve connected have way more money than the rest of the next six billion combined. It’s not fair but it’s the way that it is," he said.
The partnership emulates one launched by Facebook in 2011 called Open Compute Project, which also aims to improve the materials used in call centres and make them less energy-hungry.
That project was originally met with scepticism but has gradually won over the major players in the computer industry.
The new thrust comes at a key time for tech groups. Mature markets are saturated and have little potential for significant growth, while poor regions like Africa, Latin America and some parts of Asia are pools of potential new customers.
Facebook could be spreading unhappiness through society as well as keeping people connected, research has shown.
The number one social networking site is strongly associated with declines in well-being, psychologists claim.
Scientists found the more time people spent on Facebook over a two-week period, the worse they subsequently felt.
In contrast, talking to friends on the phone or meeting them in person led to greater levels of happiness.
‘On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,’ said study leader Dr Ethan Kross, from the University of Michigan in the US.
‘But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result – it undermines it’.
The researchers recruited 82 young adults, all of whom had smartphones and Facebook accounts.
To assess their personal levels of well-being, participants were sent questions by text message at five random times each day for two weeks.
The ‘experience sampling’ technique is a recognised reliable way of measuring how people think, feel and behave in their day-to-day lives.
Participants were asked how they felt ‘right now’, how worried or lonely they were, and to what extent they had been using Facebook or interacting with other people directly.
Writing in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE, the researchers said higher levels of Facebook use correlated with greater loss of well-being.
Volunteers were also asked to rate their level of life satisfaction at the start and end of the study.
Over the two-week period, satisfaction ratings were found to decline the more people used Facebook.
‘This is a result of critical importance because it goes to the very heart of the influence that social networks may have on people’s lives,’ said University of Michigan neuroscientist and co-author Dr John Jonides.
There was no evidence that people were more likely to log into Facebook when they felt bad, said the researchers.
In addition, loneliness and Facebook both had an independent impact on happiness.
‘It was not the case that Facebook use served as a proxy for feeling bad or lonely,’ said Kross.
Further research is planned to look at the psychological reasons for the negative effect of Facebook on well-being.
Story source: www.bigpond.com
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has never paid to boost his social media profiles.
But his office acknowledges some of his 1.4 million Twitter followers aren’t genuine.
‘Neither he (Mr Rudd), nor his office, has ever paid to boost the Prime Minister’s Twitter followers, Facebook friends or Facebook likes,’ a spokesman for Mr Rudd told AAP.
‘What spambots choose to do in their own time is a matter for them.’
Spambots are automated programs that create fake social and email accounts to flood users with spam and a number appear to follow Mr Rudd, who is easily one of the most popular Australians on the social media site.
Telltale signs of spambot Twitter accounts include those with little or no personal profile information combined with zero or few tweets and very few followers.
An analysis of Mr Rudd’s followers list shows a number of accounts fitting that description – though it remains unclear what proportion are genuine.
Most famous people on Twitter have spambot followers – and there’s little they can do about it apart from the report the accounts and hope they’re removed.
It comes after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was bombarded by about 80,000 fake, paid-for followers over the weekend.
‘We are working with Twitter now to remove the fake accounts and investigate who was behind this,’ the Liberal Party wrote on Facebook.
‘The Liberal Party has not purchased or artificially sought to inflate any social media numbers.’
By Monday morning Mr Abbott reached 208,357 followers – up from just over 120,000 two months ago, with most of that increase occurring on Saturday and Sunday.
Shortly after 8.20am (AEST) on Monday, the opposition leader’s numbers plunged to just over 165,000 as the paid-for accounts were removed.
His numbers reached 168,725 by early afternoon.
It’s unclear who paid to boost Mr Abbott’s account.
One hundred thousand Twitter followers can easily be bought anonymously online, with marketing companies offering to supply 100,000 new followers for as little as $274.
Followers can be added at a pre-prescribed rate, such as five per day or one per hour.
Facebook likes’ can also be bought online for similar prices.
Queensland University of Technology’s Associate Professor Axel Bruns said Mr Rudd’s numbers were also boosted by about half a million in 2009 and 2010 when Twitter suggested new users follow him.
‘We actually looked at the follower growth over time and there are periods from mid-2009 to the start of 2010 when Twitter recommended Rudd to people who were signing up in Australia,’ Prof Bruns told AAP.
‘To the point where you almost had to follow him to complete the account set-up process.’
Prof Bruns said it’s unclear if a big, genuine Twitter following translates into increased popularity at the ballot box.
Story source: www.bigpond.com
The television networks’ worms were split on who won the leaders’ debate, but the verdict from the blue birds of Twitter was unanimous: they were not impressed.
The commentary on social media was that the debate was boring, the leaders were evasive and the rhetoric was more of the same.
John Collins tweeted that the handshake was the most interesting bit.
Jeff Neale tweeted he didn’t think the leaders moved anybody from entrenched positions.
‘Only item to excite ppl was Rudd’s SSM commitment,’ he said of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement Labor would move to legalise same-sex marriage with a conscience vote.
Twitter traffic peaked at 1,952 tweets per minute during the same-sex marriage discussion.
The announcement was largely greeted positively on social media.
Rauri Jayne wrote ‘KRudd, You just got my vote with that statement.’
But others questioned why Labor was waiting until after the election to move on the issue.
‘I just don’t think I can trust Labor on delivering marriage equality; you just played politics with it for too long,’ Stephen B Sander wrote.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott came under criticism for ducking the issue.
Many were unimpressed by his reference to his sister Christine Forster, including actress Magda Szubanski, who came out as gay last year.
She wrote she wished he would ‘stop trotting out his gay sister every time he is asked a direct question’ on marriage equality.
When it was over, Mr Abbott took to Twitter to say he was pleased with the debate.
‘If you want a new way, you’ve got to choose a new government,’ he wrote.
Mr Rudd also tweeted post-debate, but he did not comment on the outcome, preferring to reiterate there would be legislation for marriage equality with a full conscience vote.
‘I believe this is the right thing to do,’ he wrote.
Story source: www.bigpond.com
Facebook has begun letting people share social network posts at blogs or other spots on the internet.
An Embedded Posts feature being tested out at CNN, Huffington Post, Bleacher Report, PEOPLE and Mashable websites lets Facebook members broadcast posts in real-time to broader online audiences.
‘We are beginning to roll out Embedded Posts to make it possible for people to bring the most compelling, timely public posts from Facebook to the rest of the web,’ Facebook software engineers Dave Capra and Ray He said in a blog post on Wednesday.
‘When embedded, posts can include pictures, videos, hashtags and other content,’ they continued.
‘People can also like and share the post directly from the embed.’
Facebook posts that people allow to be shared publicly can be fired off to blogs or selected outside websites, with the list of venues to grow quickly, according to the engineers.
Examples given by Facebook included an official British Monarchy Page publishing a picture of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their newborn son.
‘Every day, public figures, journalists and millions of regular people share their thoughts on what’s happening around the world on Facebook publicly,’ Capra and He said.
‘Many journalists post detailed commentary about world events from their Facebook timeline.’
The Twitter-style feature is being added as California-based Facebook works to expand its presence on the internet and its appeal to members increasingly accessing the internet on the go with smartphones or tablets.
Story source: www.bigpond.com
Google has unveiled a slimmer, more powerful tablet computer on its Nexus brand and a thumb-sized device that lets popular mobile gadgets feed online content wirelessly to television sets.
The ramped-up second-generation Nexus 7 by Taiwan-based Asus made its debut along with a Chromecast dongle that plugs into television sets to let people easily route online content to big screens.
Mario Queiroz, head of Google TV, said Chromecast ‘won’t clutter your entertainment cabinet. It simply disappears behind your TV once it is plugged in.’
The new connector device went on sale for $US35 online at Google play and will also be sold through Amazon and Best Buy in the United States.
‘Cast’ icons built into applications for online video services YouTube and Netflix let people use smartphones, tablets or laptop computers to easily direct online videos to television screens, a demonstration showed.
‘If you know how to use YouTube on your phone, you know how to use YouTube on your TV,’ Queiroz said while describing the vision behind Chromecast.
‘Any device in your home can become a remote control for the television.’
Google also made available a software kit for developers to synch mobile apps with Chromecast. Online radio streaming service Pandora is among those with Cast application features ‘in the works,’ according to Google.
Google is also working to let people ‘cast’ online content from Chrome web browsers to televisions.
Content fed to televisions is delivered directly through home internet connections, with smartphones, tablets or laptops serving essentially as remote controls, according to Queiroz.
‘We are paving the way for more apps to come,’ he continued. ‘Over time, we expect the technology to be embedded in a range of devices from our partners.’
The Nexus 7 ramps up Google’s challenge to Apple’s iPad with a slimmer tablet to be easily slipped into a pocket or handbag and allow easy access to rich online content or services.
Nexus 7 prices will start at $US229 and top out at $US349 in the US market.
Story source: www.bigpond.com
The announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge had gone into labour caused a flurry of activity on social media.
The topic was trending on Twitter, while hundreds of mothers logged on to parenting website Mumsnet to give their opinions on the news.
Broadcaster Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘Keep Calm…and Carry On. #Kate’ and added: ‘My money’s on an Australian cricket birth – all out by tea.’
Labour’s former deputy prime minister John Prescott joked: ‘Great to hear the Duchess of Cambridge had gone into labour. Is she an affiliated member?’
Imagine living in a home where everything, down to the blinds, is controlled by smart phone.
Technology firm Cornflake have made this dream a reality, building a two-storey home in central London to show off the latest in home-living technology.
The house cost 1.4 million pounds ($AU2.3 million) to build – and a further half a million for the equipment.
Cornflake say there is no longer a need for multiple remotes, with everything controlled via a single phone or tablet.
The new App, named Cornflake Concierge, allows all home gizmos to be controlled either inside or outside the home.
‘Where the internet comes into your property from then onwards we can control anything, so whether it be your Aga cooker, the top of your swimming pool, your lighting, your heating, your climate control. We can take heat from one area of your house and put it into air conditioning system so you’re actually saving energy and saving money. Pretty much anything really that technology can do these days and it can do a lot,’ Cornflake’s CEO Robin Shepherd told Reuters.
The house includes a games room, featuring a revolving dance floor and giant screen hidden behind a wall, synchronising music, CCTV, heat and cinema from a centralised system.
The smart home comes after a boom in the home automation market which has seen a price drop in such technology.
Elizabeth Mead, market analyst at IHS Electronics Media believes cheaper technology has brought the future forward.
‘I think it might just might be the general uptake in technology in the home. You’re seeing much more of this in the mass market and smart phones and tablets are a lot to do with that,’ she told Reuters.