October Brings Social Media Changes

With the ever-increasing popularity of social networks, viral videos, blogs and other online media, it is essential for PR practitioners to be proficient in using social media. These online media are constantly evolving, and staying on top of the changes can be a challenge. This past month, two of the most popular social media, Facebook and Twitter, unveiled changes to their sites, and a new tool was released that will make Twitter safer for users.

During October, Facebook modified its home page by adding a News Feed feature displaying highlights of users’ posts over the past 24 hours. News Feed displays the news and activities that have received the most “likes” and “comments,” and was designed to allow users to catch up on items they missed when they were not on the Web site. Facebook users can easily switch back to a live news feed, which displays their friends’ real-time postings.

Twitter also introduced a new feature this month. The social networking site launched Twitter Lists, which works like an e-mail folder. With this new feature, users can organize the people they follow into lists, and the tweets from people on that list will be streamlined. Users can subscribe to other users’ lists, as well.

Though the Twitter Lists feature was just released last week, there is already a Web site offering the best Twitter Lists. Listorious.com offers the best lists by categories, so users can find the best lists according to their interests. With offerings of the best “Media Lists,” “Marketing Lists” and “News Lists,” this Web site could be a powerful, time-saving resource for PR practitioners and marketers.

This week, Twitter followed up by launching the List Widget. Tweeters can place the widget on their blog, or other Web site, and display any list they choose. The list does not have to be made by the user that posts it; users can use and even customize other users’ lists.

Since these new Twitter features are sure to bring in new Twitter users, the release of a new tool called Krab Krawler comes at a very opportune time. Launched last week, Krab Krawler analyzes Twitter posts and blocks any malware associated with them. The tool protects Twitter users from hijackers and viruses, which have been targeting the site due to its popularity and the sensitive nature of information often posted by its users. According to an article on CNN.com, Twitter experienced phishing attacks earlier this year. Krab Krawler was designed to protect users from such attacks.

If you haven’t caught on to the social media trend, it’s time to catch up. If you need a little help learning the ropes, check out the Daily Dog Social Media Channel, which offers tutorials and news about social media.

By Meg Watson

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