US Special Operations Forces Post Social Media Data Mining Job to Combat Terrorism

The US government’s job portal is welcoming applications from contractors who can provide, among other things, social media data mining and market audience analysis, in an effort to stop extremists in their tracks. The ‘classified secret’ job points to government’s closer examination of social media conversations to identify terrorist and extremist organizations trying to infiltrate the United States. On their radar is Europe, Israel, Iceland, Russia and Greenland.

16% of Social Media Users in the World Based Out of Europe

A new survey conducted by social media agency We Are Social pegs Europe’s share of social media usage at 16 percent globally. The survey also reveals that 19 per cent of all internet users are based out of the continent. Almost 540 million people in Europe go online while 300m have an active social media presence. More than half of Europe’s social media users access social networks on their mobile devices.

New York Times Rolls Out Biggest Website Redesign in Seven Years has undergone cosmetic and under-the-hood changes, its largest in seven long years. It now has a look and feel on par with its print counterpart. The Times’ director for digital design said that the new change was aimed at preserving the brand’s identity.

Pinterest Invests in Image Recognition with New Acquisition

After Facebook bought and Yahoo’s purchase of LookFlow, Pinterest has snapped up VisualGraph, a start-up that develops image recognition, machine vision and visual search technologies. This latest acquisition by the pinboard-style photo-sharing website is an indication of the increasing demand for visual search solutions for better discovery and ad-targeting.

Sales of Digital Video Recorded 40% Growth in 2013

After five years of struggling growth, digital video sales soared in 2013. According to the year-end figures provided by Entertainment Retail Association, sales grew a healthy 40.2 per cent at £621.4m. The entertainment retail market is comprised of music, video and games. While all three recorded solid numbers last year, physical disc-based sales still ruled the roost at the top, accounting for over half the market with 56 per cent sales.

Twitter Reveals Top Tweets of 2013

Microblogging site Twitter has revealed the most talked-about topics on the platform in 2013. Its power to disseminate news in real-time to millions the world over has made it a desirable communication channel in the modern age. This year, the most shared post came from Glee star Lea Michele who broke her silence following the death of co-star and boyfriend Cory Monteith. Her post thanking fans for their love and support was tweeted 408,266 times. Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker’s shocking demise following a car accident also saw mourners take to Twitter, with a tweet from his official profile being shared 400,000 times.

Marks & Spencer Takes to Social Media This Christmas

Marks & Spencer’s television ads starring Helena Bonham-Carter and Rosie Huntington-Whitley have generated quite a bit of interest and buzz. But the movie stars are in for a tough competition from a West Highland Terrier who was christened by over 130,000 members of Facebook and Twitter. M&S has taken its holiday campaign to social media this year. Its ‘Believe in Magic and Sparkle’ television ad was first revealed on YouTube and followed by Instagram and Twitter campaigns, before being aired on television.

Vodafone Shifts Focus to Social Media with ‘Vodafone Firsts’

Traditionally, Vodafone has relied on global sponsorships as a brand engagement strategy. It is now shifting its focus to engage consumers through social media. The Vodafone Firsts campaign aims to interact with the company’s 400 million-strong customer base by reminding them about the power of technology. It will be kickstarted on New Year’s Eve and launched across all Vodafone markets next year.

Facebook’s News Feed Tweak Aimed at Delivering Quality News

Back in August, Facebook implemented an algorithm update aimed at encouraging managers to provide better-targeted updates and less low-value material. The social media giant seems to have made it a priority to limit low-quality posts from news feeds. This week, it announced an update to its news feed ranking, which will put more emphasis on shared news posts as opposed to memes and the like, which are popularly shared on the site.

Apple Acquires Social Media Analytics Firm Topsy

Apple Inc. wants to gain keener insights into conversations around its brand. That’s the feeler the iPhone maker recently sent out with the acquisition of social media analytics firm Topsy Labs. Of course, the tight-lipped and secretive company would not reveal the strategic reason behind the move. Its spokesperson said that the acquisition was in keeping with Apple’s goal of buying small technology companies from time to time.

What Google Wants You to Know Again: The 100 Links Per Page Guideline is Gone

This week, Matt Cutts talked about the permissible number of links on a webpage. SEO professionals, content marketing professionals and webmasters have been wary of adding too many links on a page for the obvious reason that it will spring search engine spiders into a spam alert. The understanding floating around is that any more than 100 links per page can attract a penalty by Google. Cutts, in his video, sought to dispel this myth. Actually, Google removed the 100-link-per-page guideline back in 2008. It now says that a webpage should have a reasonable number of links. It is not clear what constitutes ‘reasonable’, but here are some pearls of wisdom SEO experts have to offer.