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Private Social Networks and the Value of True Connection

The head of the Catholic church might seem an unlikely candidate when it comes to people making poignant, interesting comments about social media, but in section 47 of his treatise Laudato Si, Pope Francis has done just that. He writes:

“Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature.”

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Private Social Networks: Three Case Studies

There’s a wide variety of reasons why people might want to start their own social network; privacy is a dominant one. Whatever you’re interested in keeping safe, from your children to data about how you use the internet, smaller social networks can be a very appealing option. Here’s three popular private social networks, to show you just how viable they can be in today’s market, and some of the ways you can utilise plugins like PeepSo. Read more

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Social Media Strategy for Small Businesses

As a new or growing business, it’s easy to try and cast your online net as wide as you can by signing up for every platform available. However, be wary of biting off more than you can chew; having multiple social networking profiles for your business can create a huge amount of extra work – turning something that should make your marketing easier into a massive burden.

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Social Networking from Apps to Zombies: Questions from Google Autocomplete

Google’s autocomplete tool is a great way to find out what people want to know about certain topics. It completes your words and sentences, based on what it thinks you’re going to type – and it makes these assumptions based on what other people around the world are searching on Google, and how frequently they’re searching for it (note: this works best if you’re logged out of your Google accounts and clear your browser history, as otherwise you’ll get autocomplete results tailored to you – rather than results ranked by worldwide popularity). Read more

Social Media by Numbers: What You Need to Know

At a glance, it might look like Facebook is your only option if you want to effectively incorporate social networking into your business’ online marketing strategy; but that’s simply not true. Here’s some facts and figures you should know about social media in 2015, and which might help show you just how relevant and profitable a niche, privately hosted social network could be. Read more

Why Design Matters

Good design helps a website stand out; even more importantly, it increases engagement and the amount of time a user will spend on your site. How users feel about your brand, how they engage with it, can be largely dictated by how user-friendly and pleasant to look at your website is. Read more

“Facebook Zero”: The Decline of Organic Reach

You have 8000 followers on Facebook, and need to post an important announcement about your business; maybe your office hours have changed, or you need beta testers for a new version of your product. How many people would you expect that post to reach, without paying for it to be boosted? According to a study done by Social@Ogilvy, you’re likely to reach 480 – a measly six percent. Larger pages (with followers in the hundreds of thousands) have their numbers slashed even more – to around 2 percent of their total followers. They anticipate that eventually, the average reach for most business pages will drop to zero. Read more

“Digital Kidnapping:” The Rise of a Disturbing Trend

Social media roleplays are an online game in the same family as fanfiction and cosplay; users will create settings and characters, create social media accounts for them, and then play out relationships and events as those characters. Sometimes they play as established characters from television and film; other times, they extend existing fantasy universes. Where new characters have been invented, tradition dictates that they’ll choose a celebrity who fits their vision of what the character looks like, and use public domain photos of that celebrity where images are required or desired. These games have become so popular that players have to apply to take part; game organisers will ask a set of questions, and select the person they think will play best. For the most part, it’s harmless, creative fun; but recently, it’s taken a darker turn as people have started playing using photographs of “real” people, stolen from their social media profiles. It’s not quite catfishing, as players will usually make it clear that they’re role playing (by putting “RP account” in their description), but it can be equally distressing to the people whose photos are being used to represent a character they have no control over. Read more

Social Media Around The World: Why Facebook Isn’t Enough

If you run an international company, it’s worth remembering that Facebook is blocked and/or banned in some of the world’s biggest markets. While China technically lifted its ban on Facebook in 2013, it seems that access is still only available within the 17-square-mile free trade zone in Shanghai (to make foreign investors feel more at home). Access in Vietnam is hit-and-miss, and content is heavily censored thanks to an official decree passed in 2013 (so if you’re trying to get your post shared in the Vietnamese market, you might be out of luck). Pakistan will block any pages that seem to have blasphemous content; Bangladesh is the same. Even in countries where Facebook is available, it’s not always the social network of choice: VK is the most popular social network in Russia, and Japan’s social networking landscape is dominated by Mixi (which has 25 million Japanese users, where Facebook only has 16 million).

Facebook isn’t the only social network.

Facebook isn’t the only social network.

And that’s just taking into account location-based markets – Facebook isn’t always the most popular social networking site for particular employment, lifestyle or age demographics, either. Style bloggers dominate on Instagram; academics who don’t use Facebook can be found on Academia.edu.

If you have your own social network to connect with prospective clients or users in countries or demographics where Facebook isn’t going to reach them, you’re automatically ahead of the game; using Facebook is basic online marketing, using your own private social network to widen your reach beyond Facebook’s borders is smart marketing.