Do you get your news from Facebook?

Facebook news

For many people, their first port of call on the internet is Facebook, so it would follow that the social network might become an ‘incidental’ source for news. As friends and contacts share and post information, opinions and links to news stories, you may find you start to build up a picture of the day’s events before you even buy a physical paper or click through to a news website. A survey by the Pew Research Centre in the US found that 78% of respondents said they received news information from Facebook ‘without actually looking for it’.

Facebook news


One respondent explained: “If it wasn’t for Facebook news, I’d probably never really know what’s going on in the world because I don’t have time to keep up with the news on a bunch of different locations.” Does this sound familiar? The researchers said the results provide evidence that the social platform exposes some users to news and information that they might not have seen otherwise. “It may be the very incidental nature of the site that ultimately exposes more people to news there,” the Pew Centre said.

On the surface, the survey seems like a pretty positive development in the social world – providing a wider source of information for users, especially content that they might not have otherwise looked for themselves. With this rise in exposure, does it mean we, as social users, are becoming better informed and educated? The idea is pretty subjective, of course, and depends on the type of news stories that are circulated. The likelihood is that the links that are most widely shared are those that provoke conflicting responses, or are concerned with an inflammatory subject – great for a debate but not necessarily always the most measured and unbiased views. Think about the type of news stories you’ve seen in your timeline recently – have you been inspired to weigh in with an opinion, or share a link, or sign a petition? Is receiving your news from social media broadening our outlooks or narrowing it even further with the biases of our friends and family? Or are we completely overthinking it? Tell us what you think!

Pew said that ‘it may be the very incidental nature of the site that ultimately exposes more people to news there’.

It also found that fully 59 percent of all adult Facebook users and 53 percent of Facebook news consumers mostly access the site through a desktop or laptop computer rather than a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Facebook Tests Professional Skills and Surfacing Tool

Facebook surfacing tool

Over the last few weeks Facebook has rolled out test version of two new functions on the social media site: the additional of professional skills to users’ work and education sections, and a new ‘surfacing’ tool to allow you to see the demographic breakdown relating to conversations.

The new professional skills section is a fairly obvious addition if Facebook are hoping to provide competition for LinkedIn as a recruitment and business-based platform. Facebook is still seen as a leisure activity, though the number of companies doing busines on the social site has increased enormously in recent years, and recruiters notoriously take sneaky peeks at applicants’ social history to check for past discretions or personality flaws – it makes sense to open the format up to individuals looking to provide potential employers with a more professional profile. These skills will also allow users to be grouped according to new specifications which could prove useful to marketers and advertisers.

At the same time, Facebook has unveiled their new ‘surfacing’ tool, drilling down into public conversations and collecting posts relating to certain terms or words over time, providing a demographic breakdown of the results. This will allow selected users, such as news organisations, to integrate Facebook conversations directly into broadcasts, displaying public posts in response to current news stories. Already tested by CNN’s News Day, the broadcast feeds in Facebook comments on breaking news during the course of the show to provide a social angle.

Facebook surfacing tool

This trending tool will allow the media to focus on specific topics, displaying feedback on relevant buzzwords and current events. Facebook’s VP for media partnerships and online operators Justin Osofsky explained:

“Over the past few months, we have rolled out a series of products aimed at surfacing the public conversations happening on Facebook including hashtags, embedded posts, and trending topics. We are committed to building features that improve the experience of discovering and participating in conversations about things happening in the world right now, including entertainment, sports, politics and news.”

Additional partners for the testing period include Sky TV, Slate, NBC’s Today Show, CNN, and Buzzfeed, who have been provided to access to the Public Feed API and Keyword Insights API to collect real-time feeds of public posts.


About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

#Facebook gets #hashtagged

facebook hashtags

facebook hashtags

Facebook has succumbed to peer pressure and taken to the hash. Hashtags, that is. Joining the ranks of Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, Facebook says it will be supporting the categorisation technique as of this month, along with the introduction of several other complementary additions, including trending #hashtags.

Facebook’s hashtags will be clickable and searchable, allowing users to browse through related posts from friends and pages they follow. At the moment there is no advertising support for hashtags on Facebook, through it seems likely that this will be added into analytics at some point. Clickable hashtags may appear to be a small addition to the social network (and some users have always insisted on using them on Facebook posts even back when they were effectively useless) but this is one of the only significant user-based Facebook update of the last year, with most other changes being aimed at advertisers and sponsors.

So… what are #hashtags good for? Well, here are the basics:

1) Use hashtags to browse a keyword or search term. Just like on other social networks, Facebook’s hashtags will allow you to search through relevant posts, images and videos. This is useful for tracking current trends, specific keywords and current events while filtering out the rest of the ‘noise’ on your timeline.

2) Draw attention to a specific subject or point. Whether in personal or business posts, hashtags can be used to add an extra comment, emotion, opinion, and provide a cheeky aside or afterword to a post. After all, no one does snark like Twitter, where hashtags have been in operation since the dawn of the tweet… #catchupFacebook #oooohburn

3) Hold a live chat, hangout or conversation. Hashtag chats are organised and made searchable and trackable using… you guessed it, hashtags. Say you wanted to put together a weekly Facebook conversation on your page around your products and services. Simply create a hashtag about it, for example: #SocialMarketingTips, then put out the word about when your chat will be held and encourage participants to use the hashtag whenever they post within the conversation.

4) Track promotions, advertising and marketing posts. For businesses, hashtags can be very useful to see what customers are saying about your brand, products and services. Encourage users to use related hashtags when they mention you or interact with one of your posts and you will spread your name further across Facebook. Or follow hashtags that relate to your industry to see what your target demographic wants and needs…

5) Include hashtags outside of Facebook. Add hashtags to promotional material, emails, advertising and on your website or blog. If you use a hashtag consistently across your different social profiles then wherever a customer searches for the term, they should be able to find information relevant to your promo or company.

What do you think about Facebook joining #teamhashtag? And how will your business be implementing hashtags into your social marketing strategy?

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Facebook’s New Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook has unveiled their new social search development, Graph Search, allowing more intelligent and in-depth searching within the social media platform. Not hugely exciting news for many users, but perhaps the biggest development in the battle between Facebook and Google to date…

The new natural search option gives users the option to search through highly specific and personalised content within their Facebook world, from something as simple as: “local cafes” to a query as complicated as: “local French cafes that my friend Joe Bloggs likes”. The layout of your timeline will be changed to include a large search toolbar at the top of the page when Graph Search rolls out site-wide. From there, you will be able to enter search terms that the natural language search API will try to match according to your friends’ data and your own information relating to your location, interests and contacts. Once you have an initial set of results you have the option of refining them using a dropdown menu on the right which gives you several different options like specifying page category, result type (for example, videos, pictures or business pages) or only showing results that are linked to your family, groups, or particular friends. And because Graph Search is integrated with Bing, you also have the option of searching outside Facebook by clicking over to web search.

Zuckerberg has a lot to say about his new baby, as you can see in the video below, promising that Graph Search has a long way to go in terms of further development, for example adding Instagram data to results in the near future. And though Graph Search seems to have a lot of similarities to Google Knowledge Graph in its natural search technology, Zuckerberg maintains that because it is contained within the social domain, it is not a direct competitor to Google web search. “We’re not indexing the web,” Zuckerberg explained, “We’re indexing our map of the graph – the graph is really big and its constantly changing.”

From an advertiser’s point of view, of course, anything that increases the opportunity for connection between users and pages and provides a more detailed ‘map’ of user data is going to be a valuable tool, and it’s no secret that recent developments within the world of Facebook have been tailored more towards shareholders and advertisers than the users themselves. It’s certainly a massive improvement on Facebook’s previous search tool, which was clunky and limited and usually ended in frustration. It remains to be seen how useful Graph Search turns out to be, but it has the potential to have a variety of uses for both business and social users – for example: recruitment, ad targeting, events, and…even more in-depth stalking if that’s the kind of thing you like to do on Facebook…

Responding to the big privacy question, Facebook as asserted that you will only be able to search content that has been willingly shared with you by your contacts. It could also prove to be an effective method of streamlining your own content, enabling you to search through your timeline history and remove or hide any content you no longer want to be seen.

The roll-out will apparently be very slow, with Zuckerberg asserting that there will be “years and years” of development ahead for their “third pillar” – making a holy trinity of Facebook’s News Feed, Timeline and now Graph Search. “We look at Facebook as a big social database,” Zuckerberg said, leading us back to the eternal question: what is Facebook going to do with all that juicy data?

For a brief walkthrough of Facebook Graph Search, check out the video below:

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Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Facebook’s Mystery Meeting Boosts Stock Shares

Facebook marketing

Facebook sent out invitations on Tuesday to a ‘mystery’ press event on the 15th of January, simply saying: “come and see what we’re building”. Intriguing to say the least. Speculation has surrounded the meeting, and stocks hit $30 per share on Wednesday – the first time in more than 6 months, gaining more than 3% on the day.

Facebook’s stock initially fell below $30 in May, with several rises and dips before falling to $17.55 a share in September. Mark Zuckerberg made a pledge not to sell stock and things have gradually improved alongside optimism regarding the new mobile and news feed ads.

So what are they planning now? The social giant made several significant changes to their format and privacy settings during 2012, notably the rollout of timelines to all accounts and pages, the acquisition of Instagram, the introduction of promoted posts, an updated mobile layout and, most recently, relinquishing user voting power when it comes to privacy changes.

Suggestions from the tech community on what Facebook are building have included:

  • new profile features
  • new monetising developments
  • the Facebook phone (despite Zuckerberg’s assurance that the idea is “the wrong strategy” for the social platform)
  • a Facebook-powered search engine

Whatever it is, they’re making sure they have everyone’s attention when they unveil their plans on Thursday. We’re certainly going to keep our eyes peeled…


About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.