An irreverent review of social media business news with Rebecca Davies-Nash, head of content at 24 fingers.

Right to reply

Twitter did its own version of Monty Python’s ‘Confuse a Cat’ with its blog post on the changes to the 140-character limit.

Twitter’s explanation of the changes could have benefited from some its characteristic efficiency. The later, less confusing announcement, was greeted with delight however.

The man who sold the world

Just when you thought your apps were safe from advertisers’ mitts Google Maps goes and sells out to big brands. Now, while you are trying to navigate your way to that job interview or train station the map will helpfully pin every Nike shop or McDonalds en route and a little advert will check that you are sure you don’t want to pop in.

Google unashamedly announced its plans to make more money from the service at its annual I/O conference dressing up the development as “helpful”. It’s so helpful in fact, that there’s no way to turn off these ‘promoted pins’.

“How can it not know what it is?”

ASOS was forced to deny it had ‘employed’ Facebook’s chatbots to reply to customer queries but the responses told another story. Genuine customer complaints swiftly turned into a Blade Runner-style testing questions and even just obvious ‘I know you are a robot’ posts.

No amount of chatty lingo such as “lil busy” and “fire over your deets” could disguise pre-programmed responses.

blade runner asos

Rediscover Snapchat

The way brands are featured on Snapchat is set to change. The Discover area had only allowed brands to place their logos – not terribly creative for a platform that encourages creativity from its users. Now, brands such as Cosmopolitan and Buzzfeed will be allowed to show off content to attract a larger audience.

Snapchat commented: “This time we built the technology to serve the art: each edition includes full-screen photos and videos, awesome long-form layouts and gorgeous advertising.” All this and it’s refreshed daily – Snapchat has come a long way since starting as a way to send naked selfies that vanish after a few seconds.

Instant business boost

Instagram has tackled the internet-age-old business question of ‘what’s in it for me?’ head on. Its new app allows businesses to decide how customers contact them, information on who is following them and which posts have been popular to find out more about their audience demographic and a way to turn popular posts into ads and select a target audience for them. Nice work Instagram. Now there’s no excuse for a business not to make use of this social media platform and to do it well.

Room with a view

Google has teamed up with Hilton Hotel Group to offer guests the chance to book rooms with the views they want when using the app. Google’s mapping technology will show guests what views they can reasonable expect at any Hilton hotel location. Of course the only limitation is that the desired room is free … and in a Hilton chain.


Big Brother is watching

So far, social media platforms have been able to trumpet their own success with whatever figures they choose, safe in the knowledge that everyone is too busy to check. Until now that is.

Facebook was left red-faced when it announced that more than eight billion videos are viewed on the platform every day and was immediately shouted down by media watchers who proposed that judging the results based on three seconds-worth of viewing was tantamount to someone simply scrolling through the newsfeed and paying no attention to the video. TV ratings companies were also quick to point out that the methodology for testing audience numbers consisted of measuring viewing over the course of a programme, not just the first few seconds. Whoops.

Storm in a B&B cup

Google was unwittingly caught up in a revenge review row. A fake Google review for a Cornish B&B by a rival has such a good ranking that it’s the first thing that appears when the B&B is searched for. The owners complained to Google that it wasn’t a real review, that it was damaging sales and should be taken down. Google said that it wasn’t in the habit of taking down reviews – favourable or otherwise. The owners are now looking at legal action against Google although strangely not against their rival who posted the thing in the first place.

The ego has landed

A Miami cosmetic surgeon is broadcasting his live surgeries on Instagram. Yes really. He employs two assistants to film him on their mobiles dancing to loud music while suctioning fat from buttocks and bellies and claims more than 800,000 people watch. At least no one could accuse him of not making best use of social media to promote his business eh?