Friday Wrap #35: social influences spending, online errors, employee policies, end of the password2013-01-25
(c) Can Stock PhotoHere’s the weekly rundown of reports, articles and posts from the last week that caught my attention that didn’t get widespread coverage. I select these items from a larger collection of pieces I save to my link blog: LinksFromShel.tumblr.com.
Consumer spending increasingly influenced by social media
The holiday shopping season saw retail sales rise, and much of what consumers spent was influenced by social media, according to a study from the Advertising Research Foundation. The study, reported in Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog, found that about one-third of shoppers said they were either introduced to a brand or product they hadn’t already known or contributed to a change of existing opinion made during the buying process. Digital & Social Media in the Purchase Decision Process found shoppers take a variety of paths to a purchase, but social media is increasingly a part of the journey, with 22% stating that social media was “important in my final decision.”
Instant online corrections don’t alter misconceptions
A pair of Oregon State University researchers have found that the online population ignores or rejects instant corrections to online errors. R. Kelly Garrett and Brian Weeks studies what happens when “untruthful” information is immediately corrected in a news story, according to a John Biggs item in TechCrunch. “While some programs claim to call out false information automatically, such systems make users ‘more resistant to factual information,” Biggs writes. “That’s right: the more truth we read, the more we tend to believe strongly-held lies.”
Are your employee social media policies breaking the law?
In a New York Times report, Steven Greenhouse summarizes a variety of recent rulings and advisories from labor regulators who have declared blanket restrictions against employees’ social media activities illegal. For example, Greenhouse writes, “The National Labor Relations Board says workers have a right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution, whether the discussion takes place at the office or on Facebook.” The article is important reading for company legal and HR staff whose policies could land their organizations in hot water with regulators. Greenhouse covers a variety of cases in which companies were found to have wrongfully terminated employees for what they said about bosses and employers on Facebook and other channels.
New tool could help verify user-submitted content
It happens all the time. You see an amazing photo somebody has posted, so you share it with your online connections. Then, you find out it was a fake. Wouldn’t it be great is somebody found a way to help determine if the images submitted by people—particularly during major news events—are authentic? The human rights group Witness is developing an app that will help determine if video, photos or audio created and shared from mobile devices are real. Justin Ellis, writing for Nieman Journalism Lab, says Witness is partnering with The Guardian Project to develop an app originally submitted to the Knight News Challenge—called InformaCam—that “brings metadata to the forefront, allowing journalists, human rights organizations, and others to better identify the origins of a photo or video.”
Will NFC kill the password?
The venerable password is getting riskier and riskier as bad guys find more innovate ways to gain access to what you want to keep secure. Google security vice president Eric Grosse and engineer Mayank Upadhyay told Wired, “We feel passwords and simple bearer tokens such as cookies are no longer sufficient to keep users safe.” So what’s the alternative? At Google, it could be Near-Field Communication (NFC), those chips in smartphones that let customers pay for goods by tapping their phones on a retail device. The company is conducting a pilot that employs a cryptographic card developed by Yubico, called a YubiKey, that can emit encrypted one-time passwords to NFC-enabled smartphones, according to Liam Tung, writing for ZDNet. If the pilot succeeds, it could lead to a marginalized role for passwords as smartphones or other chip-enabled items become our primary authenticators. “We’d like your smartphone or smartcard-embedded finger ring to authorize a new computer via a tap on the computer, even in situations in which your phone might be without cellular connectivity,” the pair said.
Augmented Reality giveaway sets HP up to monetize Autonomy investment
Autonomy became part of HP in 2011 and began giving away its Augmented Reality tool, Aurasma, to brands for a full year. Autonomy partnered with entertainment, packaged goods and companies from other brand categories, using in-house creative resources to help brands like Universal develop AR campaigns. Having pulled 15,000 ad partners into the company’s mobile AR efforts, plans are afoot to begin charging now that customers have adopted the platform while scuttling the creative staff that has been assisting partners. Kate Kayne writes in AdAge that “Brands including Kellogg’s, Downy and Pennzoil, along with publishers such as Conde Nast and GQ used the technology, and Aurasma promoted the efforts in videos and press releases.” Some of those that took advantage of the free year still don’t see AR having reached critical mass and aren’t inclined to pay for it, though.
Twitter introduces improvements to embedded tweets
Embedded tweets allow you to include more than 140 characters in a tweet you decide to embed on your blog or website. Now, Twitter is rolling out enhancements to make embedded tweets faster and more useful, according to Gordon MacMillan, writing for The Wall. In addition to the typical tweet, the headline and introductory copy from an article linked in the tweet will appear. If you linked to a photo or video, they’ll show up in the embed as well. “The enhancements now mean you an view retweet and favorite counts to better understand engagement and see quickly how your tweets are performing,” MacMillan writes. To embed a tweet, you just click the “more” button in the tweet (only on Twitter.com—it won’t work on third-party tools), then select “Embed this Tweet.”