The Roaring PJ - A Social Media Blog

Update Your Status! Our Roundup of 5 Recent Social Media Updates

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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Keeping up with the status updates of friends and family presents challenges, and we know that staying abreast of social media trends and platform updates proves evroundup-image-for-blogen more daunting. Our team always shares news amongst ourselves on the latest changes – from minor tweaks to major overhauls – to the different social media platforms. To get you up to speed and update your status on the latest and greatest, here’s our roundup of some of the most compelling recent social media updates.

1) Twitter’s big, longer tweet update: Our team at Roaring Pajamas had been anxiously waiting for this one for a long time… longer tweets! On September 19, Twitter changed the way it counts to 140. Now, media attachments such as images, GIFs, videos, polls and more, plus quoted tweets, will not be included in the 140-character count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility when crafting their missives. Can you hear us celebrating?!

2) Facebook’s status update on branded content: On September 1, Facebook started enforcing their branded content policy. Facebook defines branded content as “any post on your Page that features any third party product, brand or sponsor.” So, if your Page is promoting content for a verified third party Page, you must disclose it via Facebook’s “handshake” icon. Facebook now removes any non-compliant branded content or disapproves ads that don’t adhere to the policy. Check out Mari Smith, our favorite Facebook phenom, who provides additional clarity on this topic.

3) Facebook Page design changes: Earlier this year, Facebook started testing and rolling out a new design for Pages. You’ve likely noticed these changes, but do they have you wondering what to do next? We found Kristi Hines’ article on Facebook Page design changes a great resource for navigating this new look, and we agree with all of her suggestions on adapting your Page to the new design. Our team finds itself especially keen on adding a call to action button and ensuring you have content for each of the content tabs. Pretty lame to click on the “Videos” tab and get donut (as in nothing, not actual donuts…), right?

4) Instagram photos maps are getting lost: We recently detailed Instagram Stories, Insta’s shiny new status update. The other, slightly less exciting, update is that Instagram is killing its photo maps feature. Apparently, photo maps were not widely used, so this won’t be a major upset. Going forward, one will still be able to click on a post’s location tag to see where a photo was taken, but users will no longer be able to view a separate tab containing geo-tagged photos on a world map.

5) YouTube’s major social network status update: Have you heard that YouTube’s now a social network, too!?! And, according to The Next Web, it doesn’t suck!  Some channels now feature a “Community” tab that gives YouTubers additional tools to interact with their audience beyond just video. They can now better engage their followers using text, GIFs, images and more. YouTube hopes this new features will keep YouTubers from breaking up with them and moving on and dating other platforms. Have you noticed this feature yet? If so, what do you think?

Have you heard of or are you curious about any other recent social network status updates? Social media platforms constantly change and evolve. Some changes affect users more than others, and some affect different types of users – either business or personal users – differently. Let us know what questions you may have about these, or any other, recent social media updates.

 

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My Employer’s Snooping! A Social Media Policy Review

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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Early in my social media career, when social media policies were just forming, I met people who were asked to give up their social network passwords during job intervisocialmediapolicyimageews. I also encountered someone who was forced to share a social media password with work, as the company was inspecting employee social media activity to ensure insider information wasn’t shared. Around this time, employees also starting taking issue with such an invasion of privacy.

Our Roaring Pajamas team recently chatted about this topic, knowing that a few states adopted laws around corporate social media policy, but curious about the current status of employee accounts and employer snooping. As the team dug in, we found this topic fascinating and thought you might, too.

The Law

Over the last few years, many states have considered and enacted laws around social media policy and social media privacy when it comes to employers. The team found The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) as the definitive source on, among other things, the states that have adopted or are considering laws that prevent employers and potential employers from requesting passwords to personal social accounts as a basis for getting or keeping a job.  

As a California girl, I am happy that California adopted comprehensive social media policy in September 2012. When signing the Social Media Privacy Act, California Governor Jerry Brown stated, “Today I am signing Assembly Bill 1844 and Senate Bill 1349, prohibiting universities and employers from demanding your email and social media passwords. California pioneered the social media revolution. These laws protect Californians from unwarranted invasions of their social media accounts.” Many other states also outlaw the practice, including Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, and Maryland – to just name a handful. For information and status updates of the other states, check out the NCSL’s comprehensive details on social media policy legislation across the country.

The Startup

Adding an interesting twist to this topic, Mashable recently highlighted an Australian startup with a tool that allows employers to automatically and quickly Google stalk candidates. The Social Index, with a recruit’s permission, gathers publicly available social media data, aggregates trends in the subject’s posts and delivers a report to both the recruiter and recruit. The company claims that, for a recruit, “it accurately aggregates and analyses an individual’s digital footprint and showcases your experience, skills and online influence relevant to the role you have applied for and is presented as an easy-to-read infographic. These insights allow for you to have deeper conversations with the prospective employer around their role and company, ensuring that both meets your particular career aspirations.” For a recruiter or employer, this tool allows them to easily look “further and deeper into a candidate’s profile to identify value and brand aligned individuals, using social media to determine and discover true talent.”

Interesting. I wonder how this will fly with current social media policy in the United States?

The Advice

Many parents tell tweens and teens to never post anything on social media or write in an email anything they don’t want their grandma to read. While this advice was mostly gained after years of seeing the ill-effects of digital scandal and may be sound for someone who doesn’t yet have a digital footprint, this advice certainly doesn’t address the needs of someone a little older and with a digital presence. So, aside from advising someone to move to a state that protects employees from social media privacy invasions or to (somehow!) demolish one’s entire digital footprint, our team considered the best guidance for someone seeking employment in the social media age.

Nolo proved a great source of counsel on what an employee – or prospective employee – can do if they are in a state where social media policy hasn’t been enacted or if they encounter a tool such as The Social Index. And, frankly, we think this advice remains useful for everyone, regardless of the state of residence or employment status.

Here are the top four actions to take:

  1. Check out your digital footprint. Did you find anything you need to clean up? Do it – like, stat!
  2. Consider your privacy settings. If you want to leave some information online but it’s NSFW, put it behind a privacy wall that will protect you if you are in a state that forbids employers from accessing employee’s social networks. If you aren’t in such a state, just take it down!
  3. Untag yourself. Find photos of you that others have posted? Ask your friend to remove the photo. Or, if nothing else, untag yourself. Going forward, don’t allow yourself to be tagged in photos.
  4. Explain if necessary. For anything that cannot be removed from scrutiny, be ready to explain it – and what you may have done differently. Don’t be caught off-guard or without an answer to why you were doing something unsuitable, unflattering or – worse – illegal.

Needless to say, this remains a complex and ever-evolving topic, one that we can only scratch the surface in a blog post. But, it reminds us to remain vigilant in thinking through what we post and write online. What are your thoughts on social media policy and do you live in a state that has enacted laws around social media privacy? Have you ever had an employer or recruiter asked you to surrender passwords? Would your digital footprint withstand review from examination?

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What’s Your Story, Instagram?

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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Last month, Instagram rolled out Instagram Stories, an exciting new feature that allows users to share snippets of their day for just a 24-hour period. Sound familiar, by chance?instagram-story Instagram Stories bears a striking resemblance to another popular platform that allows for disappearing media, Snapchat. Our team spent considerable time exploring the two platforms, experimenting with the networks and answering client questions on this format. Here are the top three questions we had and continue to receive about this brand new component of our favorite photo sharing network, answered for you.

What are Stories and how do they work?

A combination of photos and videos in a slideshow format, Instagram Stories tell a story of one’s choosing. Unlike a regular Instagram post, Stories don’t appear on one’s feed or allow for public likes or comments – only private messages. Available for only 24 hours and appearing in the bar at the top of a feed, Stories can be enhanced with text and drawing tools.

Stories can range from purely personal to business oriented. For example, one might share a Story with a behind-the-scenes look at one’s day, the unboxing of new products, the unveiling of a new project or the process for creating a new product or service. Additionally, a business could also use Stories to feature coupon codes, special offers or enticing incentives for clients or customers. Of course, the uses are almost limitless.

Ready to get going? Start with Instagram’s directions on how to share a photo or video to a story:

  1. Tap 1 in the top left of your screen or swipe left from anywhere in Feed.
  2. Tap 2 at the bottom of the screen to take a photo, or tap and hold to record a video. To upload a recent photo or video from your phone, swipe down on the screen and select what you’d like to share.
  3. You can tap a or pen to add text or draw on your story. Tap Undo to remove an effect or Done to save it.
  4. You can tap Cancel to discard your photo or video, or arrov to save it to your phone. When you’re done, tap check to share your story.

Need more details? Check out Instagram’s Help Center, which features a robust page on Stories – including the scoop on tips, who has seen a story, privacy settings and much more.

Are Instagram Stories better than Snapchat?

As with most things, the answer to the question of “which platform is better?” depends on your viewpoint. It’s true that Instagram Stories looks suspiciously similar to Snapchat. For long-standing Snapchat users with hoards of loyal followers, this new interloper likely seems a nuisance.

However, Snapchat has long suffered from usability problems. While millennials require no tutorial to get started, anyone over a certain age finds Snapchat confusing, complicated and counterintuitive. Even finding users on Snapchat proves difficult, let alone creating snaps and stories. In fact, we often wonder if Snapchat intentionally confuses users over 30! But, I digress.

Instagram and the new Stories feature seem much more intuitive than Snapchat. The ease of finding users and brands on Instagram starts as a great first step in usability, and the process for creating and posting content – including Stories – feels much less complex and scary. Given the user-friendliness of Stories, our team at Roaring Pajamas prefers it. Plus, many of our clients already use Instagram, so adding Stories seems an easy way to extend reach without adding yet another new platform or strategy. Who wouldn’t want to simplify things, right?

One differentiating feature of Instagram Stories recently emerged with suggestions on accounts to follow. While Snapchat doesn’t recommend accounts to check out, Instagram just started rolling out personalized suggestions for accounts to follow atop the Explore tab. The suggestions are based on Instagram’s secret-sauce algorithm. Given that this new feature showcases different users in the suggestions, those featured will likely gain followers.

Should I try Instagram Stories?

At Roaring Pajamas, we talk a great deal about the importance of infusing personality in a brand through social media. Instagram Stories allow for one to post just about anything – otherwise rarely-seen views of a day, special deals, sneak peeks and more. Such views help impart a sense of accessibility and – hopefully – affability that builds trust and loyalty. And, hopefully, new customers and clients.

Our only word of caution is this: remain true to your brand on Instagram Stories and all of your social media efforts. Never venture too off-the-cuff, rogue or negative so that you turn off your target audience, customer and clients. Always carefully balance personality with professionalism to achieve social media success.

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