Top Story: Instagram 3.0
On Thursday, Instagram launched version 3.0 of its app for Android and iPhone. This update includes a bevvy of new consumption options for the famed filtered photo-sharing tool including Photo Maps, infinite scrolling, and overall speed improvements.
The standout of the 3.0 updates is Photo Map which, if enabled by the user (you’re automatically prompted when you elect to update) shares photos based on geotagging you’ve done in the past. While some might have concerns over privacy with this new features, it is important to note that the feature makes it easy to remove photos geotagged to that location (say, if you want to untag photos taken in your home). This feature of the app is very interactive – you can really drill down to specific locations and see your activity in geographic format. It also allows users to more readily tap into older photos, which were previously buried at the bottom of their feeds.
Photo Map can be accessed through your user profile, which has also been redesigned, along with updates to the location and hashtags pages. Scrolling is now infinite – there is no longer an option to “load more” because this happens automatically. As for security – you can now report comments as abuse or spam to the Instagram police.
So, what does this say about social media as a whole? We are definitely getting more comfortable sharing things with the world, and application developers are helping us by proactively enabling feeding us security options to keep privacy top of mind. A good step forward, with no steps back.
Under the Radar: Instagram Launches a Blog for Business Practices
While there have been some very successful on Instagram, from big gaining big followings, to using top users as reporters, most brands are still struggling to grasp how to use strictly photos to effectively engage their fans. This has been partly due to the fact that Instagram has not been catering to brands at all yet, with no brand-specific features or analytics, it is difficult for a brand to distinguish themselves and figure out what is and isn’t working.
It appears Instagram has recognized these challenges, and taken a small step to help businesses get their toes wet on their platform with their Instagram for Business blog.
The posts that have been put up so far include a spotlight on some of the most followed brands on Instagram, such as MTV, Victoria’s Secret and Burberry, and a best practices post. Both of these are good introductions to brands that are looking to leverage Instagram, but certainly not a game-changer into getting brands to join.
The big question is how much, if at all, Instagram will bend its user experience to accommodate brands. Being owned by Facebook, it stands to reason that we may see brand pages (like fan pages on Facebook), but this may push away many users who currently see Instagram as the anti-Facebook (no ads or interruptions of any kind).
Hopefully Instagram will navigate the line of user experience and brand experience wisely, but the blog was a step in the right direction.
Tool of the Week: Klout Updates Scoring System
Klout is certainly not a new tool in the social media world, but it is one that’s had much debate surrounding it. I’ve found that there are two camps when it comes to Klout- those who completely ignore it and think it’s ridiculous. And those who embrace it because they know they should… because marketers are. Klout insists it will help you “Discover and be recognized for how you influence the world.” The problem? Perhaps Klout can determine your influence to an extent, in terms of how much interaction you get on your updates and how many users are re-tweeting you. But it definitely favors users who update often (if you only update your social media accounts once in a while, does it mean you’re not influential on social media) and it doesn’t determine the type of people you’re influencing.
Last week, the team behind Klout rolled out a brand new scoring algorithm, which analyzes a lot more data than it once did. Allegedly, it factored in 1 million data points previously; it now factors in 12 billion. It also now takes real-world data into account, utilizing Wikipedia. Because, even if you’re not tweeting and Facebook posting a lot, you could still be quite influential. For instance, President Obama now tops Justin Bieber’s Klout score, as it’s been determined that he’s more influential in the real world.
Do these changes make a big difference? I do know that my Klout score went up 12 points when the changes were introduced, which is a huge amount. The changes haven’t been implemented long enough for me to see how my score is affected over time. In the past, my score would go down a great deal following days when I wasn’t posting much, which I always felt was a little odd. We’ll see if that continues in the future.
As a social media specialist, I pay attention to Klout for my clients, but don’t put too much stock into it. At all. But there’s another new feature (here for some; coming soon for others) that might actually have me reviewing it a bit more closely each month. The feature is call “Moments,” and it will be a way for you to see the updates you’ve made that have encouraged the most interaction from your followers. This information will be a lot more useful for improving social media accounts than a simple “score” will be.
Do you think Klout’s updates will help it become a more relevant, trusted social media tool?
Around the Hub: Local Police Departments & Firefighters Using Social Media
Social media isn’t just for fun anymore. Boston police departments and firefighters have ramped up their involvement in the social world to keep the communities informed with up-to-the minute information as well as responding to resident complains, comments, and concerns within the communities.
Twitter and Facebook have proved valuable to safety officials as an effective tool to communicate important information directly to the community. Boston Fire Department spokesman, Steve MacDonald (@BostonFire), walks the scenes of severe fire and emergency situations with an iPad in hand, snapping pictures and tweeting relevant info related to immediate dangers on scene.
Additionally, The Cambridge Police Department (@CambridgePolice) believes in social media to share updates in a more timely and efficient manner. The department uses Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and they even have their own app available for download.
More emergency response departments in the Greater Boston area: