1. Twitter Enables Always-Visible Images: The Effect on Social Customer Service

http://feedproxy.google.comWednesday, October 30, 2013 10:40:33 PM

Yesterday, Twitter again announced further changes to its platform that will change the way in which customers and brands interact. Their most recent announcement states that any Tweet that contains an attached image will automatically display a preview of the image directly in the user’s timeline.

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2. New AdWords Ad Ranking Formula: What Does It Mean?

http://feeds.searchengineland.comWednesday, October 30, 2013 9:15:31 PM





3. Kickstarter Juggles Its Execs As It Grows Up

http://feeds.fastcompany.comThursday, October 31, 2013 11:43:00 AM

In a post on its official blog Kickstarter is letting the world know of some big changes in its top management team after about five years of rapid growth that’s seen the company become the best–known crowdsourcing site in the world. All three cofounders are moving into new positions.

Perry Chen, currently CEO, is becoming the company’s Chairman––stepping deliberately away from the day–to–day demands in order to fashion the company’s long term strategy. Yancey Strickler is taking over the CEO role, after being instrumental in the development and back–office support for the small company for years. Charles Adler is taking an opportunity to connect with his family and look at “new challenges”, and will remain only in an “adviser” role at Kickstarter.

What does this mean? Not much immediately, since two of the key minds behind Kickstarter are still in control. But it’s definitely a sign that Kickstarter has grown up into a serious company, and is now considering consolidating its business and taking it into big new directions. Considering how influential the 68–person company already is this could mean that we may expect some interesting developments over the next year. One thing that very likely won’t happen is that Kickstarter will sell itself.


4. How to Build a Credible Blog [INFOGRAPHIC]

http://feedproxy.google.comThursday, October 31, 2013 3:50:55 AM

A great way to build credibility online is by blogging, which helps people and businesses reach their audience and display their expertise and skills. But credibility isn’t something that can be attained instantly. As with everything, certain factors play a key role in making a blog trustworthy.

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5. How To Achieve ROI From Your B2B Content Strategy In 60 Days

http://feeds.searchengineland.comWednesday, October 30, 2013 9:00:20 PM





6. How Will You Save This Article For Later?

http://feeds.fastcompany.comWednesday, October 30, 2013 5:26:00 PM

Maybe you still use old fashioned browser bookmarks to save links you like––if that’s the case, we’re here to take pity. There are easier ways of managing your reading queue, so as we were deciding which tools to use in our own newsroom, we figured we’d put together this run–down for our readers to check out as well. If we’ve missed one, let us know in the comments.

The Most Popular

Read later services are quickly becoming the most popular form of bookmarking, a stealth addition category. Instapaper, Readability, and Pocket are the most common and generally have hooks into additional sites and apps, making them an addictive way to save and collect all your links in a single place.

If you do use Chrome, you might not also realize Google does make your bookmarks accessible on the web as well––an easy way to get to them when Chrome isn’t available.

Safari’s Reading List can be severely limited compared to other options, but having a handy iPhone/iPad link syncing tool is better than nothing.

And of course the original bookmarking site on the web, Delicious. Delicious is continuing to improve after it was run into the ground and is still a viable free option.

The Best For Sharing

Streme lets you create “streams,” or groups of bookmarks that are easy to share. The group of links can be shared as read–only or editable lists which then makes creating a bunch of article links for a specific topic or event easy to collaborate on between multiple users.

One of the nice features, Streme auto–detects videos, songs, and other types of media to make the experience a visually pleasing one. That also means that instead of having to leave the site, you can play supported media in–line.

Another sharing focused site, Buffer, allows users to load up links and have them shared throughout the day, trying to optimize them for the best possible time. Even with recent hacks that caused Buffer’s sharing to be used for spam, it still is one of the best ways to share links across social networks.

To its credit, Buffer has also detailed the problem, providing transparency on the recent hack.

The Simplest

Saved.io is one of the simplest ways to be able to save a link, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. On any browser, desktop or mobile, simply add “saved.io/” in front of any url. The link is then saved to your account. You can also add a tag or list name to the front or the URL to pre–sort the link (“listname.saved.io/URL”).

While you aren’t going to find many if any features with Saved, the service guarantees that while you’re on a work computer, abandoned mobile device, or borrowing someone else’s machine that you can still save links you run across without much hassle.

For The True Archivist

Pinterest is probably the best, or biggest, example of a collection site, but there are other sites doing similar things.

Kippt can be slightly ambiguous for simple link saving, but offers plenty of features for sorting, organizing, or even finding content. The feed of public content being saved is a helpful resource for finding interesting links. The site offers extensions and other tools to make the most of the service.

Fusings is another collection–type site, but it focuses more on using links to define a message. Aimed at the business community, Fusings is a place for saving different links that might define your thoughts on a specific topic or idea.

A closer fit to Instapaper, DotDotDot tries to be the place you collect e–books, among other things. The site is able to connect to publishers like O’Reilly and A Book Apart as well as Project Gutenberg.

For People With Programming Skills

Pinboard isn’t new, and you might already you use it, but there are quite a few good clients and tools that hook into the service that you might not know about. If you’re willing to pay a one–time fee of ~$10 for Pinboard, you gain access to one of the most flexible bookmarking services available. Also because Pinboard connects to IFTTT, it means you can automate saving links from specific authors, or sites sites without much effort.

For People Obsessed With Native Apps

On the Mac, apps like Diddu or Shiori make saving links to Pinboard as simple as a configurable hotkey.

On mobile, Pushpin is expensive, but is said to be one of the better options for iOS. My favorite iOS Pinboard app is Pincase, debuting as an iOS 7–ready app. For Android there’s Save To Pinboard.

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, here’s a comprehensive list of links for more places to save links. (It’s a vicious cycle!)






7. How NowThis News Makes Us Question the Future of Traditional Media

http://feedproxy.google.comThursday, October 31, 2013 2:59:51 AM

At NowThis News, 15-second news segments are the norm. Primarily using Instagram video, NowThis News targets the younger generation by relaying the news through social media as well as an app. Has traditional media given up on young people? And even more importantly, have young people given up on traditional media?

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8. New Google+ Photo Tools Aim To Turn You Into A Pro

http://feeds.fastcompany.comWednesday, October 30, 2013 2:13:00 PM

If Google has one thing to say about Google Plus, it’s this: Photography is going to be huge.

During a press event in San Francisco yesterday, Google’s Vic Gundotra delivered 18 new features for the social network designed to help its photography enthusiasts take, edit, share, and organize photos. Gundotra also shared some big, updated user numbers: 540 million active users now upload 1.5 billion photos to Google Plus each week. (By comparison, Instagram users share about 385 million photos per week.)

“We’re not building a service for lightweight sharing,” Gundotra said of Google Plus. Here’s what the best new Google Plus features can do:

Animated GIFs

Google knows you love GIFs. So they’re cropping up across the network, including directly in your Google Plus stream, where you can now also share your location and text with friends through newly added SMS support.

Better–Looking Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts now support full–screen video calls that add some new visual effects to change up the way you look onscreen. Poorly lit Hangout members now get a lighting boost, and new filters let you chat in black–and–white spotlight mode.

HDR Scape For Snapseed

Snapseed, the suite of free photo–editing tools Google acquired last year, got a wow–worthy new filter that mimics a pro technique called HDR, which photographers use to layer identical photos shot with various exposures. The resulting images often closely resemble what we see with the human eye.

Auto Awesome
Auto Awesome, Google’s set of photo tools that let you remix your pictures to create new, “fun” versions, got some new adds. Among the most fun: A Motion feature will detect when you take a series of at least five photos in succession and stitch them together to create a short animation.

Auto Awesome Action takes all the photos you took of someone in motion––whether they’re dancing, running, or jumping–– and merges them together into a single shot that looks like this:

Auto Awesome Eraser will detect any moving objects that accidentally sneak into your shot and magically “erase” them out of the photo.

Movies Of Myself

One Auto Awesome feature is particularly intriguing: Movies will create short films by automatically editing and compiling the videos and photos you took around an event or experience, and adding one of dozens of licensed tracks to the video. Once Google is done, it will send you a push notification so you just click and share.

If you don’t like one of Google’s machine algorithm–based editorial choices, you can always go in and edit movies yourself. Movies are currently only available on a handful of Nexus and HTC devices that run Android’s Jelly Bean OS and up.


9. The Billion Dollar History Of Trick–Or–Treating In America

http://feeds.fastcompany.comThursday, October 31, 2013 11:30:00 AM

Every Halloween, millions of surrogate zombies, vampires, and goblins take to the streets, looking to fill the fluorescent orange brainpans of their plastic pumpkins with individually wrapped, fun–sized candies. It seems like a custom immemorial, but trick–or–treating wasn’t always an inseparable part of Halloween: in fact, little more than 60 years ago, many Americans had never even seen a trick–or–treater.

While going door–to–door for candy may be a relatively new phenomenon, Halloween has always been about the things trick–or–treating represent: sugar and fear. In the ritual of trick–or–treating itself, though, U.S. candy makers have discovered countless ways to make money marketing both sweets and terror, to the tune of over $2.3 billion a year in 2011 alone.

Whether you’re a kid who loves monsters and gore, or a parent terrified of being egged for running out of caramels (or worse, seeing your child poisoned), U.S. candy makers have always been quick to respond with a candy that is custom–tailored to both your cravings and your anxieties. And why not? For a thousand years, Halloween has been all about eating sugar to assuage our fears.

The Origins Of Trick–Or–Treating

Dating as far back as the ancient pagan Celtic festival called Samhain––in which the end of harvest coincided with the opening of a liminal window into the spirit world––October 31st has always been an amalgamated swirl of sweets and the supernatural.

These ancient Celts would use honey, and later sugar, to preserve their perishable food and prepare the bounty of the summer for the winter ahead. “Humans just instinctively want to prepare their bodies for the winter by eating sweets,” says candy expert and historian Beth Kimmerle, meaning we’ve had this perfect metabolic storm that has lead people to eat more sugar around the end of October.

As the Celts gorged themselves on crude jellies, sweetmeats, and candies, they would mask or blacken their faces to placate evil spirits––a practice that witnessed a resurgence in Scotland in 1895 when adult masqueraders carrying lanterns of hollowed–out turnips went door–to–door “guising,” or begging for cakes and fruits. By 1911, guising had reached North America, albeit as a seemingly rare occurrence in largely Irish and Scottish neighborhoods.

In the 1950s, candy companies started realizing that this trick–or–treat thing might be a huge thing for them.

It wasn’t until 1934 that guising became known as trick–of–treating. The popularity of trick–or–treating briefly stalled during World War II due to sugar rationing, but by 1948, it was a common enough phenomenon that Jack Benny was doing jokes about it on his popular radio show, and by 1951, Charles Schultz was drawing the Peanuts gang wandering door–to–door wearing ghost sheets and witches’ hats.

Halloween was a thing people knew about, but before the 1950s, trick–or–treating simply wasn’t a part of most people’s Halloween celebrations. When the diminutive ghouls and ghosts did start showing up on people’s doorsteps, though, only sweets would placate them. Otherwise, you got egged , TP–ed, or worse.

Scaring Moms To Buy More Candy

It was this mass outbreak of high–fructose Halloween hooliganism that finally clued the candy companies into the notion that they might have a million dollar baby on their hands.

“In the 1950s, candy companies started realizing that this trick–or–treat thing might be a huge thing for them,” explains Kimmerle. “There was a rise of advertisements that talked about Halloween, and candy companies started marketing candy directly to moms. The message was: ‘If you buy the right candy, you won’t get tricked!’”

The candy that we know today––the tiny bars wrapped in specialty foils and packages––didn’t come about right away. In fact, the first Halloween–styled candy was designed not for the consumer, but for the shopkeepers to convince them to promote candy in their stores around Halloween. Companies like Curtiss (once–makers of Baby Ruth and Butterfinger), Lifesavers, and Beech–Nut would wrap wholesale boxes with Halloween–themed cellophane wrappers. The general public never saw these wrappers, though, because they were torn off before the candy reached the shelves.

There were exceptions. Jason Liebig of CollectingCandy.com notes that those companies already in the habit of promoting candy for Valentine’s Day and Easter reacted quickly to the trick–or–treating phenomenon. Brachs, for example, was advertising seasonal Halloween candy with jack o’lanterns and trick–or–treaters on the boxes as early as 1962. But for the most part, Halloween candy was no more ghastly, gross, or ghoulish than it was at any other time of year.

In 1964, Helen Pfeil, a Greenlawn, N.Y. housewife decided to hand out arsenic–laced candy buttons in an attempt to teach local teenagers that they were too old for trick–or–treating. Then on November 2, 1970, 5–year–old Kevin Toston from Detroit died after eating what initial reports identified as heroin–laced Halloween candy. It later turned out that the heroin never came from the candy, but by that point, no one was paying attention. The idea that sickos were poisoning candy to give to trick–or–treaters had been launched into the zeitgeist.

In a ghoulish twist, the notion that Halloween candy might be poisoned turned out to be great for candy makers. Concerned with safety, parents started telling their kids not to take any sweets that weren’t factory–wrapped, which meant that the homemade treats or loose candy that most houses had handed out in the past became objects of suspicion. The candy industry reacted with fun–sized candy bars: smaller, individually wrapped candies that a parent could be certain had not been tampered with.

“Candy companies realized that it wasn’t just about size, but about safety, which gave them this artistic license to create their own look and feel centered around Halloween. It had a profound effect on the industry,” says Kimmerle. “Now, everyone’s worried about their kids’ peanut allergies, but back then, it was poison and razor blades.”

Monsters And Buckets Of Blood

Buoyed by the monster fad of the 1970s, the packaging of Halloween candy got increasingly weirder and wilder. Rodda, beloved makers of Marshmallow Peeps, released cat and pumpkin–shaped Witchmallows to stores. Topps released a bag of bubble gum shaped like a Haunted House that could be hung on the inside of your front door so the candy inside could be easily handed out to kids. The makers of Sugar Daddy came up with a bag of nugget–sized, individually wrapped treats that could be used as a ghoulish hand–puppet when empty.

In 1975, H.R. Nicholson––a maker of drinkable candy sold in wax packages, a la Nik–L–Nips––released the quaffable secretions of Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman in vials and called them Monster Tears. And then, of course, there was Mr. Bones––little pieces of fruit candy that came in a tiny black coffin that could be assembled into an edible skeleton.

If the 70s was the era of groovy monster candy, then the ’80s and ’90s saw the rise of a new kind of Halloween treat. Early in the 1980s, future Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman joined chewing gum, candy, and card maker Topps, and immediately revolutionized candy shops around the country with a series of increasingly disgusting creations: Garbage Candy, Wacky Packages, and the Garbage Pail Kids. A couple years before Maus proved to the literary world that comics were worth taking seriously, Spiegelman proved to candy makers something else: grossness sells.

“In the late 1980s, candy makers realized that you could do more with Halloween than just seasonalize the packaging,” says Kimberle. “You could make this really gross Halloween candy and then sell it to kids all year round.” Parents hated it, of course, but kids love slime, organs, and sticky fluids. Once it was out there, gross candy wasn’t going anywhere.

It’s a trend that continues today. Check your local candy stores and you’ll find Halloween candies like gummi hearts, oozing edible eyeballs, Cadbury Scream Eggs, or chocolate covered brains filled with oozing red caramel that spurt when you bite into them.

There’s some awesomely gnarly stuff being sold, and for kids, the gloppier and grosser, the better.

Getting Greedy

Today, Halloween candy is big business. In 2011, $2.3 billion worth of Halloween candy according to the National Confectioner’s Association. Yet if there is a trend in Halloween candy design right now, it’s to escape the association with trick–or–treaters that turned bags full of fun–sized candy into a billion dollar business in the first place.

Candy makers are increasingly trying to generalize Halloween candy into something with a shelf–life past October 31st. Instead of wrapping the candy in orange, purple, and black foil, Hershey’s has released fall–themed assortments of Hershey’s Kisses that won’t be marked down to half–price come November 1st. Another example is Reese’s, who has recently abandoned the Halloween–themed palette and iconography on their Peanut Butter Packaging for something a lot less spooky (and a lot more autumnal).

“When it comes to the money Americans spend on the holiday, Halloween is second only to Christmas,” says Kimmerle. “But Christmas is a whole season, while Halloween is just a single day. Candy makers want to reach an audience bigger than just trick–or–treaters.”

Yet if there’s anything that the history of trick–or–treating or even Halloween shows us, it’s that sugar and fear are a winning combination. Whether you’re an ancient Celt facing the long nights of winter, when the spirits of the dead are rumored to roam; a kid running through the streets in a costume with his mouth full of gummi worms; or a mom, telling her children to only accept individually wrapped chocolates from name–brand candy makers, lest they be poisoned: candy sells better when it’s spooky.


10. Google Plus Adds New Photo and Video Editing Features

http://feedproxy.google.comThursday, October 31, 2013 7:00:05 AM

Google+ announced a new set of photo features at an event this morning in San Francisco that contain new functionality and compete directly with many Apple products such as iPhoto and iMovie. These new features are in addition to the photo center redesign from the I/O event in May of this year.

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11. Bing Ads Express Available To Agencies, Resellers

http://feeds.searchengineland.comWednesday, October 30, 2013 9:28:02 PM





12. Useful Pointers for Your Social Media Strategy

http://feedproxy.google.comThursday, October 31, 2013 3:30:48 AM

There’s a lot of planning going on in the business world at the moment: our social teams are preparing for 2014, and perhaps by default, that also means trying to look beyond 2014 at the kinds of strategic, structural and systems challenges that should be on our radar.

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