Pulse of the Profession

Friday Five: This Week in Social Media

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This week on PRSAY, we discussed the obstacles one faces when trying to re-enter the public relations field after “time off.” Among the many reasons why this can be a difficult task is the simple fact that the industry is constantly evolving and a major factor of that evolution is social media; if you’re not paying attention, you’ll be behind the curve.  Between staff meetings, end of the month reports, time sheets and client work, public relations professionals must also keep up with the latest news, tips and tricks affecting the social platforms and how they can affect daily tactical responsibilities.

In this week’s Friday Five – an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary – we share five news stories affecting five major social media networks. We’ll discuss Pinterest’s quest to expand globally, Foursquare’s attempt to remain relevant, LinkedIn’s new user profiles and Facebook’s ongoing struggle with user privacy.  We’ll also look at Twitter’s plan for global domination.

Pinterest’s new head of brand: ‘I’m here to expand it globally’ (Digiday)

Hop on Pinterest at any time of day and you’ll see decorating tips, the latest in fashion, DIY craft projects and mouthwatering recipes. While these can be engrossing to some, Pinterest isn’t exactly known for a strong male user base “which makes (David) Rubin — who was hired last week as Pinterest’s first head of brand — an interesting choice,” to lead the endeavor, explained John McDermott, author of the article.

Rubin’s goal as head of brand for Pinterest is simple yet challenging – expand Pinterest globally. In order to do that, he must try and diversify the platform, explained McDermott. “While there’s a small contingent of highly active male pinners, Pinterest’s user base is still 71.5 percent female, according to comScore,” said McDermott. “Other major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr have far more gender-balanced user bases.”

Read the full article on Digiday.

Can Foursquare Save Itself? (Inc.)

If you have been a Foursquare user for many years, you may have noticed some major changes when going about your regular “check-ins.” Jill Krasny of Inc. explains, “On Wednesday, the startup announced in a blog post that more than three-quarters of its users were actively moving to Swarm, a new app where they can continue traditional Foursquare activities like check-ins and spying on friends. The Foursquare app, meanwhile, is getting a reboot (though it will sync with Swarm).”

Krasny explained that some users got hooked on Foursqure initially because of gamification, where frequent check-ins would lead to virtual “badges” and other rewards. However, this quickly wore off as privacy concerns surfaced. The new app will not feature badges at all, and will now compete with powerhouses like Google and Yelp for helping users discover new businesses or share reviews.

Read more about Foursqure’s quest to become relevant once again via the full article.

LinkedIn Redesigns User Profiles to Foster Relationship Building (Fast Company)

When do you find yourself browsing LinkedIn? Do you only peruse the site when you’re looking for a new job? LinkedIn’s new user profiles may entice you to change that habit.

This week LinkedIn launched its revamped mobile app on iOS, Android and mobile web, featuring a simpler “glance” at user profiles. The new profiles offer a glimpse into what you might find most important about the potential connection, allowing you to browse further if interested. Alice Truong of Fast Company explains: “A new card at the top of the profile view surfaces more contextual information above the fold, including name, education, job title, and mutual connections. The mutual connections feature has also been retooled so the strongest shared contacts (determined primarily by the number of mutual connections as well as other profile information) are highlighted first.”

Read more about LinkedIn’s changes, including when the new profiles will debut on the web, via Fast Company.

Is Facebook learning to embrace privacy? (Washington Post)

From data-pulling to unapproved “mood manipulation,” Facebook has not exactly been known for valuing its users right to privacy. It seems, though, that the company is taking important steps to change this perception.

Washington Post reporter Hayley Tsukayama offered the following as one example of this possible new trend: “For instance, when the company broadened its ad network in June, it also redesigned the settings for the ads shows on its news feed that explicitly explained why they were seeing certain ads, based on things they’d liked or pages they follow. In April, there was another big push to better acquaint users with their privacy settings and make some settings more obvious.”

Read more about Facebook’s latest play with user privacy via the full article. Are they doing enough? You be the judge.

Twitter Reveals Its Master Plan For Growing As Big As Facebook (Forbes)

Will we ever stop comparing Twitter to Facebook? Instead of thinking of it as a social network, Twitter executives have called the site, “The largest information network in the world.” Executives seem determined to position Twitter as bigger and greater than Facebook. In doing so, will they make the mistake of turning away from the reason the site is so popular in the first place?

Forbes author Jeff Bercovici explains: “It’s also willing to tinker with the core of what makes Twitter Twitter: its strict reverse-chronological organization. Right now, every user’s timeline consists of every tweet by every user he or she follows. Asked whether Twitter would consider a version of timeline that uses an algorithm, a la Facebook’s Newsfeed, to determine which tweets get promoted and which get suppressed, Costolo said, ‘It’s fair to say we’re not ruling out any changes in product in service to bridging the gap between signing up for the service and receiving immediate value.’”

Find out more details via the original article and let us know how you feel about these potential changes to Twitter in the comments below.

About the author

Rosanne Mottola, APR

Rosanne Mottola, APR

Rosanne Mottola, APR, is public relations manager for the Public Relations Society of America. She is an adjunct professor of public relations at St. John’s University, Staten Island. Mottola obtained a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from New York University in 2010. You can connect with her on Twitter @RoeMoPR or on LinkedIn.

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