Facebook continues to make headlines this week with the release of their application for Google Android users, their integration into the just released iTunes 9, the implementation of @Mentions in status updates, and the launch of Facebook Lite. Twitter again went down, though this time it was thanks to Apple and Steve Jobs’ keynote speech. The service also made some significant changes to its Terms Of Service, which opens the door for advertisements, and along with Facebook, was also integrated into the new iTunes release. In addition, a pair of teenage girls in Australia opt to call for help on Facebook instead of dialing 000, the country’s equivalent of 911.
The rest of the top stories for this week follow in Overdrive Interactive’s 3rd edition of the Social Media Weekly Buzz:
• Facebook Google Android Application – Facebook has managed to maintain a solid mobile phone presence through its development of applications for such popular devices as the Blackberry Smartphone and the iPhone. A mobile version of the Facebook website is also available for phones with internet capabilities. Now Android users as well can join in on the fun, as Facebook on Tuesday launched a compatible app for the OS. Though not as full-featured as the other apps, it does have some Android specific features, such as integration into Android’s Live Folders.
• Girls Update Facebook Status While Trapped – The next time you find yourself in danger, forget dialing 911, and just update your Facebook status. That’s what two girls in Australia opted to do when they found themselves trapped in a storm drain.
• WordPress Now Functioning at Real-Time Speed – Nowadays, many people turn to real-time services such as Twitter to discover the latest news and updates from their favorite sources. The only way to keep track of your favorite blogs up until this point, however, has been through RSS, which can take up to hours to update. WordPress has recently altered this medium by supporting something called RSS Cloud, which pushes notifications to followers that your feed has updated, and brings blog updates to real-time.
• Steve Jobs Brings Down Twitter – Twitter again went down this week, but this time the source of the problem wasn’t malicious, or a malfunction. Really it was Apple’s claim to fame, as Steve Jobs made the keynote speech at their 9/9/09 event. The result? Mass tweets on Mr. Jobs’ return and lots of 503 errors.
• Find Friends on YouTube – Soon YouTube, just like Facebook, will make it easier to find your friends by recommending users that it believes you may have a connection with. You will then be able to easily connect and subscribe with your acquaintances. YouTube will use Gmail account information and your video sending habits to determine the most appropriate matches and suggestions.
• iTunes Implements Social Media Support – This latest release was a big one, and among the many changes of Apple’s popular music player was the integration of Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm support. For Facebook, the album art, artist and album name, and a link to the iTunes store will be posted to your wall. For Twitter, the only difference will be the lack of album art and the addition of the #iTunes hashtag. The Last.fm integration is a bit more in depth, such as giving you the ability to share your playlist with others.
• Tag Your Friends in Facebook Status Updates – Facebook has long allowed users to tag their friends in photos, videos, and notes. This week however, the service took it a step further by allowing users to tag their friends in Facebook status updates, which is very similar to Twitter’s @Mentions. Just include the “@” symbol before typing your friend’s name, and a drop-down box will allow you to select the correct person. Apparently this feature will soon be pushed out to applications as well.
• Facebook Lite Launches – Facebook has officially given the green light to the Lite version of its service which has been under testing for a while now. The experience is very bare-bones and Twitter-esque in simplicity. For now, only U.S. users are able to access this new experience.
• Twitter Updates their TOS – Twitter overhauled their TOS this week now that they have a better understanding of how individuals use their service. Among the many changes implemented, the more important modifications include rules for advertising, spam, ownership, and APIs.
The integration of social media into iTunes was a huge step forward for Apple. Though at the moment quite basic in function, Apple has the opportunity, after further experimentation, to leverage Facebook and Twitter updates as a marketing tool for their already popular music program. One of the core features of Apple products is the way they hold you to within the Apple environment. Apple’s products work the best with other Apple products. By expanding their reach to Twitter, Facebook, and Last.fm, they further solidify their hold on their current customers.
It’s quite scary, however, to see that as social media, and social networking in particular, become more widespread, individuals are turning to it as their main source of communication when not the most appropriate for the situation. The fact that two girls trapped in a storm drain would think of Facebook status updates before dialing 000, Australia’s equivalent of 911, is mind-boggling. However, it shows that as the younger generation grows up around all of this technology, these new forms of communication may naturally take precedence over more traditional methods.
Facebook, it seems, is quickly emulating some of the more popular features of Twitter. The introduction of Facebook Lite gives a more stripped-down feel to the service, and limits it to only the core functions, giving it a simplicity that Twitter has been so revered for. In addition, the introduction of @Mentions in status updates is a direct stab at one of the most popular features of Twitter updates. However, Facebook isn’t the only one stealing ideas from other services. YouTube will soon be implementing a feature that is almost a carbon copy of Facebook’s suggestion box, and will allow users to find and connect with potential acquaintances.
One of the most interesting developments this week for internet marketers is the new Twitter Terms Of Service. According to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, the door has basically been left open in terms of particular advertising options. This provides a great deal of revenue opportunities for marketers and Twitter alike. The company has recently been struggling to find a model that can result in a positive ROI. Could we soon be seeing ads on Twitter that correspond to tweets of the people we follow? Relevance will definitely be king in determining which marketing strategies will be met with success.