Tag Archive | "language"

5 Annoying Direct Messages on Twitter (And Why You Should Stop Using All of Them)

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When was the last time you checked your Direct Message inbox on Twitter, and actually found an important, worthwhile, or interesting message? Sure, Twitter is doing its best to improve how DMs work, by enabling group messaging and allowing anyone to receive DMs from anyone else, regardless of whether the two are following each other… but the day-to-day DM experience remains frustrating for most Twitter users. And these are some of the main culprits:

Annoying DM #1: Welcome!

These DMs welcome you as a new follower of that account. As if you had forgotten that you followed that account in the 30 seconds between pushing “follow” and receiving the DM.

Example: “Wow, thanks for the follow! We really hope you like our Twitter community and can’t wait to read your tweets!”

Annoying DM #2: Download now!

The “Download now” DMs appear, at first glance, to offer up useful content. However, since the DMs are sent to anyone and everyone who follows the account, that content definitely won’t appeal to the majority of followers. Plus, they’re usually trying to sell you something.

Example: Hey! If you’re into [topic of account], why not check out our free [whitepaper/ebook/blog post/podcast/cupcakes-with-cute-flowers-on-them fan site]: [link]?”

Annoying DM #3: Follow us everywhere!

OK so you’ve followed them on Twitter… but now they want you to follow them everywhere they have even the smallest web presence. Ready to spend the next hour filling in forms and signing up for networks you’ve never heard of to support this Twitter account in need?

Example: “We’re so glad you followed us on Twitter… so why not Like us on Facebook, Pin some of our blog posts, join our community on MyOtherSpace, give us a five-star rating on Yelp, and subscribe to our seven-times-daily email list?”

Annoying DM #4: We’re adding value!

These DMs are similar to the Download Now messages, in that they are offering something “free” as a thank you for following. But, just like gated content, consultations and appraisals are rarely free in the long-term (and if they are, they probably won’t be of much value to your business).

Example: “Thanks for the follow! Want a free consultation? Send us an email and we’ll set one up!”

Annoying DM #5: We’re blatantly selling to you!

At least these DMs are honest about what they’re trying to do – take your money. With not even as much as a “thanks for following,” these guys go right into the sales pitch.

Example: “We’re the number one [type of business] in the country! Our product has a gold star rating. Buy our product today! [link]”

The reason these DMs don’t work is simple: they come off as spam. Plus, most are trying (usually with little to no subtlety) to sell you something.

Any user that sees one of these DMs is going to know that they are built off a template, and not targeted to their Twitter profile. Regardless of how casual the language, the content simply cannot be effectively positioned so that it feels “personal” to each user. And so, ultimately, these types of DMs will, at best, be ignored, or used as a reason for a quick unfollow.

Keep your eyes peeled for next week’s post about the right ways to use DMs to improve your brand awareness, marketing efforts and more.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

Can Facebook Keep Muslims Comfortable While Taking On ISIS?

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Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed that Muslims are “always welcome” on the social network, while head of global product policy Monika Bickert discussed terrorist content.

Zuckerberg said in a post Wednesday:

I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world.

After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.

As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn’t against you today, in time, attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone.

If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook, I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.

Having a child has given us so much hope, but the hate of some can make it easy to succumb to cynicism. We must not lose hope. As long as we stand together and see the good in each other, we can build a better world for all people.

However, Zuckerberg’s words were not enough for Australian charity the Online Hate Prevention Institute, which found in a new report that anti-Muslim hate on Facebook “accelerated sharply” in 2015.

OHPI CEO Andre Oboler said in a release introducing the report:

There is clearly a long way to go between the sort of environment Mark Zuckerberg says he wants Facebook to be and the reality we see online today. Part of the problem is the abuse of Facebook by those spreading hate, but the failure of Facebook to properly respond to users’ reports is also part of the problem. When people feel unwelcome, excluded and vilified, when they feel their dignity as a person is under attack, a reply from Facebook that the abusive content they reported does not violate Facebook’s community standards is just rubbing salt into an open wound. Our data shows that Facebook needs to improve the way it responds to reports of anti-Muslim hate–indeed to reports of all kinds of hate. We hope Facebook will work with us so we can help them make this happen. Grand words are welcome, but the proof is in the hard data, and right now Facebook is coming up short.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, Bickert responded to a petition on Change.org chiding the social network for not doing enough to fight ISIS.

She wrote in a message on the Change.org petition:

The best tool we have to keep terrorist content off Facebook is our vigilant community of more than 1.5 billion people who are very good at letting us know when something is not right. There are billions of new posts on Facebook every day, so we make it easy for people to flag content for us, and they do. Every piece of content on Facebook can be reported to our teams directly through the site.

When content is reported to us, it is reviewed by a highly trained global team with expertise in dozens of languages. The team reviews reports around the clock, and prioritizes any terrorism-related reports for immediate review.

We remove anyone or any group who has a violent mission or who has engaged in acts of terrorism. We also remove any content that expresses support for these groups or their actions. And we don’t stop there. When we find terrorist-related material, we look for and remove associated violating content, as well.

This is not an easy job, and we know we can make mistakes and are always working to improve our responsiveness and accuracy. We have expanded our team and increased our language capabilities so that we can respond to crises around the world faster and more effectively. As part of this effort, we have expanded our engagement with experts and follow world events closely. We remain in close contact with NGOs (non-governmental organizations), industry partners, academics and government officials about the best ways to keep Facebook free of terrorists and terror-promoting content. As governments and academics have pointed out, it is often hard to identify new terror groups and individuals because the landscape is constantly changing. We do our best to monitor emerging groups or trends by maintaining relationships with experts in the field and listening closely to our community.

Every time there is a terror attack, people come to Facebook to share their reactions. These posts from people around the world often express frustration and despair, but also empathy and a desire to help. Our community uses Facebook to share devastating news, but also to console one another, express solidarity and mobilize support for victims and other vulnerable people. For instance, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, we saw many people use Facebook to plan offline events to stand in solidarity against terrorism.

Of course, when people talk about these events for good reasons, they sometimes share upsetting content. It is horrifying to see a photograph of a refugee child lying lifeless on a beach. At the same time, that image may mobilize people to take action to help other refugees. Many people in volatile regions are suffering unspeakable horrors that fall outside the reach of media cameras. Facebook provides these people a voice, and we want to protect that voice.

If Facebook blocked all upsetting content, we would inevitably block the media, charities and others from reporting on what is happening in the world. We would also inevitably interfere with calls for positive change and support for victims. For this reason, we allow people to discuss these events and share some types of violent images, but only if they are clearly doing so to raise awareness or condemn violence. However, we remove any graphic images shared to promote or glorify violence or the perpetrators of violence.

Readers: How can Facebook walk the line between censorship and protecting its user base?

The illustration above was created by Matthieu Méron for rue89 and taken from the Change.org petition.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

Apple’s Swift Programming Language Is Now Open Source

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10 Tech Buzzwords And How To Explain Them To Your Extended Family

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How Are Apps and Social Platforms Changing Language?

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While our Facebook pages and tweets once relied on text alone, steady streams of images now dominate our digital profiles. The most prevalent social platforms we communicate on today are a far cry from the now seemingly primitive Facebook “walls” of our digital past, showing that today, visuals are the most popular form of communication and define how we express and relate to each other.

In the course of this evolution, we have both been catalysts and witnesses of the gradual decline of the written word, opting for a far more universal language: imagery. At its core, imagery has brought people around the world closer together and enabled us to refine human expression by elevating it beyond the barriers of literacy, language and imagination.

If we look to the origins of our communication, it was primarily image-based, with primitive cave paintings and hieroglyphics defining how we understood each other. From conveying directions to recording the victors of the latest battle, images permitted humans to share a basic language and understanding with anyone they met, because they are descriptive and easily accessible.

Over the millennia, we’ve come a long way in empowering ourselves through expression, which has improved our communication of thoughts, ideas and emotions via the written word. Text and the creation of a written language opened up the doors of expression, but it also caused people to lose the universality that visual language permits: a language beyond borders, education and sound. While language is an evolving art form, and our vocabularies have expanded tremendously over the years, verbal and written communication is still restricted to items and emotions that we possess the words for.

Fast forward to 2015, and technology has given us platforms that have allowed us to quickly and easily communicate with one another. This advance has offered up an opportunity to return to the roots of our communication, and bring back words like, “scroll,” and “tablet,” facilitating a return to the shared language we once had: pictures. Now, on these shared global platforms, we are faced with a deluge of photos, instant play videos, stickers, emojis and gifs from our friends, family, publications and the brands we follow. While Facebook photos once complemented our written posts, today they have largely supplanted them, with snapshots frequently substituting for words altogether.

Perhaps the strongest of today’s growing visual communication is the abundance of GIFs, stickers and emojis in our texts, tweets and posts. When Facebook implemented stickers in its Messenger application in 2013, the company changed the game for digital interaction. Instead of sending a small emoji, users can send the grinning sticker with the gleaming teeth that shows just how eager, sad, excited or enthusiastic the sender is. And, with stickers equipped to convey more than basic emotions, users can send images of people, buildings, landscapes, vegetables, fruit, animals engaging in various activities and so much more, cutting straight to the heart of human understanding.

With 200 million monthly users, Japan-based messaging app Line has been a key driver in the resurgence of visual-based communication and the unearthing of a true global language. Like WhatsApp, the service allows users to send highly detailed images via its signature animal icons: Cony the rabbit and Brown the bear, which encapsulate expression so well.

Instead of typing it out, users can virtually mime their actions and explain their current activities via a simple but elegant sticker. We’ve begun sending these images in lieu of expressing our emotions, because they’re universally understandable and transcend language barriers.

There are countless other platforms, such as Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Periscope and Meerkat that have helped drive and proliferate this dramatic shift towards visuals, but they are only the beginning. Communication is fundamental to business, commerce and our personal relationships, and because of this, we continue to crave and seek out a global language — though I think we’ve found it.

The beauty of this evolution of our chosen communication platforms is that while it brings us closer as a global community, it also removes limitations to expression. We’re not simply returning to the earliest, most primitive form of communication; through technology we’ve bettered it, enabling increased nuance, detail and clarity of expression so we can create an improved version of our global language, transcending the barriers of literacy.

Ambarish Mitra is the CEO and founder of Blippar.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

Facebook Page Admins Get New Video Tools

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Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed

She’s hot! Use Sensory Metaphors for Brand Memorability [Study]

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Digital marketing has a bright future with a sharp increase in effectiveness if we harness sensory metaphors (bright future, sharp increase) in our work.

A new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has found that sensory metaphors are more memorable and more successful (in terms of popularity) than non-sensory metaphors (open access draft). The logic is that our five visceral senses (sound, sight, touch, smell and taste), shape our language, our perceptions and our experiences, and so sensorial language cues more mental associations, making the metaphor more immediate, meaningful, and memorable. Like ourselves, it would seem our experiences and language are embodied.

The research ‘Drivers of cultural success: The case of sensory metaphors‘, conducted by Jonah Berger and Ezgi Akpinar looked at data from 5 million books over 200 years and found that sensory metaphors are used more frequently over time than their semantic equivalents (e.g. bright future vs. promising future). Followup experiments with 156 participants found that sensory metaphors are indeed more memorable than non-sensory metaphors, and that they have more associative cues (the metaphor is associated with more things).

What this means is that brands, advertisers and copywriters will enhance the effectiveness of their campaigns and content if we focus on bringing to life the sensorial truth of their communication through sensory metaphor.  This latest research confirms another finding that consumers may respond better to taglines that use metaphor (specifically metaphors with figurative and literal meaning) than purely literal language.

With that in mind, ask yourself – or better your customers – which of these sensory metaphors best suit your brand?  Use the answer to diagnose how people really feel (sensorially perceive) about your brand, and use that insight to connect with people on a more visceral level using sensorial metaphor.

Smigin Is a Foreign Language Tool That Doesn’t Make You Sound Like A Tourist

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WaitChatter Helps You Learn A New Language While You Wait For IM Replies

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The Secret Language of Emojis on Instagram

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As social networks become more visual in nature, it’s better to convey your message with images rather than text. Nowhere is this more apparent than Instagram, which is almost entirely image based. Hashtags also play a big role on Instagram, but now people are able to include emojis in their hashtags, which has given rise to a dynamic visual language on the site.

Emoji use has skyrocketed on Instagram since the introduction of the iOS emoji keyboard in 2011. Just one month after the new keyboard was introduced, 10 percent of text on Instagram contained emojis, and when an Android emoji keyboard was introduced in 2013 the upward trend really kicked off.

40 percent of text now contains emojis, according to the Instagram engineering blog. Some countries show even higher emoji use, with 60 percent of text from Finnish users and 58 percent of French users inserting emojis into their text.

The blog post also notes that users are replacing some words with emojis, because the emoji is enough to represent the intent.

Intuitively, substitutable words have similar meanings. For example, we might say that ‘dog’ and ‘cat’ are similar words because they can both be used in sentences like ‘The pet store sells _ food’.

Indeed, users are also forging their own meanings from the suite of available hashtags. The needle emoji is being used for blood donation pictures, tattoo pictures, and pictures alluding to drug use. Users have also been tagging adult content with eggplant and peach emojis, which has prompted Instagram to block searches for the eggplant emoji because it “consistently is used for content that violates their community guidelines.”

New York Times Bits Blog contributor, Mike Isaac, notes:

Users are finding new ways to use them to communicate. Paring two or more emoji together, for instance, can form rudimentary sentences or sentiments for others to understand.

The Instagram blog post theorizes that the use of emojis will increase. As users embrace the use of emojis in hashtags, it’s entirely possible this novel use of visual language will become more complex. But as with every language there will be limitations, and debate about how the language is developing.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed

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