Friday Wrap #4: Foursquare’s overhaul, social customer service, Pinterest’s curated newsletter

Posted on June 8, 2012 9:34 am by | Facebook | Location-based Services | Mobile | Social Media

Friday Wrap #4A weekly review of some of the more interesting stories that have crossed my feeds in the last seven days.

Foursquare: The new Yelp?

While the deals have grown more sophisticated, with American Express and some hotel chains applying check-in rewards tied to your account number, growth of Foursquare has slowed. A recent study from Edison Research reveals that 74% of Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of checking in via a mobile device, and only 3% have actually done it.

I’m a 3-percenter. I like reviewing the tips; they’ve paid off for me more times than I can count. So it’s no surprise to find that Foursquare plans to overhaul its application, elevating the recommendation element. You’ll still be able to check in (and, I presume, unlock badges and compete on the leader board), but The New York Times reports that an “explore” button will become the new focus, giving “users suggestions on where to go, based on information like the time of day, the popularity of nearby places and past check-ins. For example, someone who habitually checks into bakeries will see more places in that category than someone who prefers barbecue joints.”

Half of online customers expect service on Facebook

You keep reading that people don’t like Facebook, that they’re abandoning it or spending less time there, upset by privacy settings or bored with the interface. (A Reuter’s study, for example, found that 35% of Facebook users say they’re less engaged on the network than they had been in the recent past, and that only 20% of members are spending more time on the site.) Yet nearly half of online customers expect brands to deliver customer service via the social network, which makes you wonder about all the whining. (Hey, you complain about the high prices of popcorn at the movie theater but you still go to the movies, and you still buy popcorn, right?) A worldwide survey of online customers by Oracle found that online users like being able to get customer support through any of a number of channels, and 46% expect companies would offer customer support through Facebook. Only 17% anticipate brands will use Twitter to deliver support. Regardless of the social channel, customers expect responses in 24 hours or less. According to the eMarketer report, “Customers who have a great experience on social media can easily become brand advocates, and are already in the right place to spread the word.”

Mobile and non-mobile users subscribe equally to print

Print is in decline, but reports of its demise are overstated. A survey by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri found that two-thirds of U.S. adults use at least one mobile device daily to get news, they still subscribe to print publications at roughly the same rate as people who don’t use mobile devices. Among mobile users, 39.8% still subscribe to at least one newspaper or news magazine, while 40.2% of non-users are subsdribers, according to a Poynter Institute report. Smartphones and tablets may be getting popular, but they’re not yet viewed as replacements for print media. Still, news consumptino is the fourth most common reason people use their mobile devices. Interpersonal communications, entertainment and Internet access for information not provided by news organizations were the top three uses of mobile devices.

Pinterest launches a curated newsletter

Content curation continues its rise as a form of content marketing. Curata, one of the leading fee-based curation tools, polled more than 400 markteers and agencies and found 95% had engaged in curation in the last six months. The key reasons, according to an eMarketer report: establish thought leadership, elevate brand visibility and buzz, and boost SEO.

The recognition of curation’s value may be one factor that led Pinterest to introduce a curated newsletter designed to drive users to more personally relevant content. The weekly email bulletin will make it easier to find pins they like and keep tabs on the activity around their own pins. According to Mashable, t"he newsletter lists a few popular boards, pins from friends that might be of interest and a useful feature for brands especially: your most popular pins of the week…Pinterest also includes its own favorite post in the newsletter.”

Recruiting has gone social

Social networks are the new home for job postings. According to Bullhorn’s 2012 Bullhorn Reach Rankins Report, 79% of job opportunities are posted to at least one social network. LinkedIn is the venue for professional jobs hosting 77% of openings, with Twitter taking second place with 54%. Facebook is a distant third at 25%, according to a TechVibes report. But all three networks play host to 21% of jobs.

But all is not well in recruiting land. The Wall Street Journal reports that a number of companies are competing to build tools to improve the recruiting experience for both employers and job seekers. “The holy grail: software that can read resumes intelligently, flagging a handful of truly promising candidates to recruiters and alerting job seekers to openings that are laser-targeted to their skills and background.” So far, despite several contenders, no software solution has come close.

Old guys rock

There’s an assumption that the online world is a young person’s game. For those of us in the over-55 set, that assumption can be frustrating. But there are glimmers of evidence that we older folks get some of this stuff better than our junior colleagues. The typical over-55 web user picks passwords that are two times stronger than those crafted by the under-25 set, according to a security analysis of some 70 million Yahoo! users. IBM’s SmartPlanet blog reports on the research out of the University of Cambridge, which also showed the Germand and Koreans were inclined to create the strongest passwords, while Indonesians picked the weakest. Those who change their passwords from time to time are also generally those picking the strongest passwords. More interesting data on password security habits is listed in the report.

Facebook page admins: Schedule your posts

Scheduling Facebook posts to appear later has been one of the draws to third-party tools like Hootsuite. Now, though, you can do it directly from Facebook thanks to an update to admin functionality. You can also assign specific responsibilities to each page admin, including manager, content creator, moderator, advertister and insights analyst. To schedule a post to appear later, choose the type of post, click the clock icon in the lower-left of the sharing tool, choose the yeaer, month, day, hour and minute, then click “schedule.”

There’s a new bookmarking tool in town

Delicious and its competitors evidently aren’t enough. Add Clipboard to the list of options for saving and sharing web content. Now open to the public, Clipboard lets you “bookmark, collect, organize and share web-clippings,” according to VentureBeat. “It’s not limited to images—it clips text, audio, animations, and fully-formatted sections of webpages with links intact.” The service is drawing comparisons to Pinterest due to its visual appearance, but its founder objects, asserting that Clipboad is “much more about getting stuff done.” A Pin may display an image, but you have to click through to the original content to get the recipe. “Clipboard displays the full recipe along with any relevant in-text links. It also shifts the focus from exhibitionism to useful tool by being private-by-default with social options instead of the other way around.”

CAPTCHAs disguised as brand research

CAPTCHAs are those hard-to-read words (andn on-words) you have to enter to prove you’re a real live human and not a bot in order to access or post content. Solve Media has already introduced CAPTCHAs that require users to enter a brand slogan or tagline; another approach let users skip a video pre-roll if the typed in a brand’s message. The company’s latest product, Brand Tags, displays a brand’s logo instead of those letters and instruct users to enter the word or phrase that best describes the brand. A company spokesperson said that the tool produces “an unusually large sampel size overnight,” which “can take the pulse of the customer and understand what the perception of the brand is before, during and after a campaign to optimize messaging.” AdAge has the story.



  • 1.This is the first one of these that I've caught flowing through my reader. Very helpful for those of us that may miss some news during the week. Thanks, Shel.

    Michael Wiley | June 2012 | United States

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