Ever get tired of just “Liking” something on Facebook?
You may be in luck — the social network is developing “Actions,” buttons that let users do all sorts of things other than Like, from clicking “Own” on a product page to “Read” on a book’s Facebook Page.
As Facebook unrolled these new features, anyone looking to brush up on an obscure fact, learn a history lesson, or read a biography on Wednesday suddenly found that Wikipedia greeted them with a foreboding black screen.
Fortunately, food was unaffected. Foursquare users who wanted to know the location and cost of all nearby tacos — or any other kind of food — discovered they could now use the “Explore” feature of the popular mobile service.
Read on to find out more about these topics and more in this week’s news roundup.
Facebook Actions were originally announced at Facebook’s f8 developer conference last year, but they’re finally coming to life. In San Francisco this week, Facebook announced that a number of partners are using Actions instead of the simple Like. E-Commerce sites can benefit from “Own” and “Want” buttons; blogs, books, and more will benefit from a “Read” button; and that’s just the start of Facebook’s growing vocabulary.
Bottom Line: More buttons means more opportunities for social media marketers to learn about customers. It’s important to note that these buttons won’t be replacing the Like, just supplementing it. Now your fans won’t just be able to Like your Facebook Page, they’ll be able to clarify why.
Wikipedia and other sites attracted national attention by going dark this past Wednesday, in order to protest SOPA and PIPA legislation, bills being considered as an effort to combat online piracy. One of the main conflicts is the sweeping language of the bills, which opponents say will impede online innovation and creativity. Wikipedia invited users to find their local representative’s website to protest the bills; as a result, a number of contact links for Senators had “technical difficulties.”
Bottom Line: Thanks partly to the protests, SOPA and PIPA are now looking more and more unlikely to pass in their current forms — but online piracy isn’t going away, either. The entertainment industry is understandably concerned about illegal streaming of music, TV shows, and movies, but until lawmakers find a way to tackle those issues without infringing on the internet’s freedom of expression, this debate will continue.
Is the computer your new TV? If so, you’re not alone. In an ironically timed release, given the SOPA controversy, new findings from comScore Video Metrix showed that, among the 182 million U.S. internet users across the country, the average user watched 23.2 hours of online video in December, marking a 58.9% uptick from the same time last year. While TV shows and movies are prominent, so are music videos: Sony’s VEVO service, which hosts all the most popular music videos on YouTube, had 53.7 million viewers in December 2011.
Bottom Line: If you’re thinking about how to market your business or organization, the future —or more accurately, the present — is in video. So concentrate on making your own videos that show off your products and services, your team, or your customers, clients, and members and get them up on YouTube. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video is worth even more!
Anyone who has wandered from restaurant to restaurant in search of an enticing menu may be relieved to find that their aimless quests could be at an end. Foursquare has teamed up with start-up SinglePlatform on a feature that helps diners find the meal that’s just right for them. Explore will find the menus and prices of nearby restaurants that serve the food of your choice. That means if you type in “ice cream,” for example, you’ll get all the scoop shops located near you.
Bottom Line: With Yelp and Foursquare growing so popular, it’s becoming ever more important for restaurants and other businesses to establish themselves online. This new feature can be a valuable way to connect to diners, especially if your business is off the beaten path.
Businesses are increasingly relying on social networks to find out a little bit more about any would-be employees. OPP, a U.K. business psychology firm, found that 56% of employers look at would-be worker profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to screen them before making hiring decisions.
Bottom Line: As the line between professional and personal life blurs thanks to everything from the Like button to the everyday tweet, privacy has become an even bigger issue — even as there’s less and less of it. This recent study highlights the need for everyone to remember that anything they post to a social site can (and often will) be seen.
What news topics caught your eyes this week? Share them with us in the comments below.