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What Can Twitter’s Struggles Teach You About Building A Successful Social Network?

Remember MySpace? It used to be the king of social media, the platform that other social media platforms wanted to be. When Rupert Murdoch bought it for $580 million in 2005, people thought he was crazy. When it reached 300 million members and was valued at $12 billion a couple of years later, it looked like he’d made a fantastic deal. And when News Corp accepted just $35 million for it in 2011, Murdoch’s critics had the last laugh. 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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You’ve Got Mail: On Social Media and Channels of Communication

You’ve got mail…and new mentions…and new direct messages…

The way we communicate keeps evolving and changing. We’ve now got such a plethora of options at our fingertips that phrases like “I’m not a phone person” or “I don’t do text” have become necessary qualifiers when trying to express how we prefer to communicate.

All of these channels have their advantages, and disadvantages. Public business pages on Facebook allow you to reach a lot of people…including spambots and trolls. The phone forces you to think on your feet, which can induce serious anxiety – as much as it’s nice to hear someone’s voice, and have a conversation in real time. Email is quick, but messages can get lost in the pile if you’re someone who gets a lot of emails every day. Snail mail isn’t always more reliable. Twitter’s character restrictions can be well, restrictive. Skype lets you converse face to face with people all over the world, but you’ve got to have a strong internet connection (and a high data cap).

What I’d suggest this tells us is: we need to think about all of the options available to us, and make sure we’re using those channels as effectively as possible. Having your very own private social network, based on your own WordPress site, is an option that many people aren’t aware of, and one that can revolutionise your web presence; one that can give you a whole new way to communicate with customers (existing and potential). It’ll allow you to reach those who don’t want to join the “big boys” of social networking for privacy reasons, and those who get your posts filtered out of their newsfeed by default (thanks to Facebook’s algorithms).

PeepSo 1.2.0 Has Native WordPress oEmbed Support

I know what you’re thinking: “Wow! Fantastic! Superb! Awesome! Fabulous… Huh?”

You were right the first time. oEmbed in PeepSo 1.2.0 is a way of presenting a link on a website. Instead of showing blue text and an underline, you get to show the actual content you want to share. So if you wanted to show your visitors a YouTube video, instead of telling them where to go, you embed the video itself.

YouTube embeded link.

YouTube embedded link.

You’ve seen this before. All the big names online— Spotify, InstagramTwitter—they all do it. It’s a fantastic way of presenting content.

Instagram embeded image.

Instagram embedded image.

oEmbed isn’t just pretty. It also helps with usability and it keeps people on your site. Instead of sending your users to YouTube, you can show them the video inline and keep them with you.

Twitter embedded link.

Twitter embedded link.

PeepSo now supports all of the embeds that WordPress natively supports. You can see the whole list here: https://codex.wordpress.org/Embeds

And if you really want to learn oEmbed’s technical details you can take a look here: http://oembed.com/

 

Women of WordPress: Defining Influence

There are a lot of great “Women of WordPress” or “women to follow on WordPress” posts out there; for the most part, the selections are based on the author’s personal preferences/favorites. If you amalgamate all these lists, you’re likely to get a pretty good picture of who’s making waves in the WordPress-sphere – or at the very least, who’s the most popular.

women-in-wordpress

As part of this series, we’re aiming to put together a definitive (though by no means exhaustive) list of women who are really changing the way we use and think about WordPress; the big names, and the unsung heroes. To do that, we need to get to the crux of what “influence” means and how it can be measured, with specific reference to this platform.

Initially, we’d considered limiting the list to women who have in some way changed the platform itself (creating a plugin or theme, being part of the WordPress team, etc), but that seemed restrictive; there’s some women out there putting together fantastic tutorials and discussion posts, and through those posts significantly changing the way people think about WordPress and the ease with which they use it (or just leading by example).

Here’s a few of the items we ended up using as a yardstick in our quest to quantify influence, and build a meaningful list; we’ll be sharing said list in a few days, followed by more individual features and interviews.

1. Social Authority

Moz has developed a metric to measure how influential someone is on Twitter; and it’s really pretty genius. You can read more about it here, but in a nutshell: it looks primarily at retweets, and takes into account a user’s friend count, follower count, etc. It also adjusts for time, favoring recent activity (aggressively discounting scores for people who haven’t said much recently). They see retweets as the holy grail of Twitter activity; to share someone’s content to your feed/your circle, it must have resonated with you on some level. Combine this with the #wordpress hashtag, filter by gender, and you’ve got a pretty excellent measure of who Twitter thinks our Women of WordPress should be.

2. Content and Contributions

To be a woman of WordPress, you’ve got to have done something of note that’s WordPress-specific. As mentioned above, we’re being pretty flexible about what counts as “something of note”; it’s the WordPress part that counts. This could mean they’re using WordPress in a way that’s being picked up by others as a direct result of their influence and visibility, it could mean that they’ve put together a really excellent plugin, it could mean that their tutorials are the go-to spot for people wanting to learn the basics of this platform.

Admittedly this leaves us with a pretty huge list (which is awesome); so we’re curbing it by picking women whose content/contribution is either a) original and mostly unprecedented or b) has consistent traffic/downloads/comments/shares (ie, activity of all kinds). If what you’re putting out there is good, it will stand the test of time.

3. Appearances on other “best of” lists.

As we stated above, these lists are kind of a popularity contest; but here, popularity matters. Unlike high school, people who are popular in the tech world usually have that status for a reason (based on their merits and achievements). To make a “Women in WordPress” list, you have to have more than hair that’s full of secrets – so we’re taking those appearances into account when building our list (as a “nice to have, but not necessary” qualification).

Again, the full list will be released in a few days; if you have any thoughts, questions or even rebuttals, we’d love for you to connect with us in the comments, on Facebook or right here on PeepSo’s own social network.

Five Posts About Social Networking That Everyone Should Read

facebook best articlesFor the relentlessly curious, there’s nothing better than reading something that opens you up to new ideas and ways of thinking, or takes you to a whole new level of understanding. A good piece gives you answers; a great piece inspires you to ask more questions.

We’ve read hundreds (literally hundreds – hundreds of hundreds, even) of blog posts and articles about social networking (and by proxy, social media) and these five really stood out – so we decided to share them here. There’s a variety of topics and writing styles represented in this list, so we’re confident you’ll find something that really piques your interest (truth be told, we’re confident that all these things will pique your interest).

1. Social Authority: Our Measure of Twitter Influence by Peter Bray

This piece on the Moz blog is over two years old and will be familiar to many of you, but it’s well worth reading again. What makes it so noteworthy is its focus on activity and engagement as a measure of social media/networking success, rather than followers; the popularity of “get more followers!” bots and apps would suggest that most people still see followers as the yardstick against which they should measure their social media/networking prowess. At a glance, it might look like someone with 8000 followers is more social-networking-successful than someone with 5000, but as Bray very successfully argues, following someone is a very passive act; sharing their content to your circle and taking the time to interact with someone is proof that what you’re sharing is reaching people and making a difference. We particularly like this because it’s a great argument for why people should consider starting their own private social network, despite the dominance of Facebook; is it better to have five people really talking to you and engaging with what you have to say on your own, WordPress-hosted social network, or a hundred people scrolling past (or never even seeing) your posts on Facebook? We also love the transparency of this article; they explain their research and methods in a way that’s clear without being condescending.

2. Dispelling the myth of free websites would diversify business models by Ronald Klingebiel

We like this article because it puts forth a really brilliant idea. People get up in arms about paying for Facebook, but they’re also not happy about using it for free in exchange for Facebook selling their data to advertisers (as the saying goes: if you’re not paying for something, you’re the product). What Klingebiel suggests is: give people a choice between paying for the service with money, or their data. There’s already a precedent for people being willing to pay a small amount in exchange for (relative) peace of mind, in the form of Posteo’s promise of truly private email and Ello’s one dollar charge for certain features and services (it’s still seeing tens of thousands of membership requests per hour). For those who can’t afford to pay or don’t want to hand over their credit card details, they can make peace with the fact that advertisers will be able to ask them to buy things, and find out “public” information like their hometown or alma mater.

It’s something worth considering: would you rather hand over your money, or your data? And, if you’re looking at setting up a private social network, how would you go about monetising that service/covering your running costs?

3. Who ‘likes’ my Virtual Bagels? by Rory Cellan-Jones

This fantastic experiment makes for a very entertaining read, and we’d consider it a must-read for anyone considering (or already engaging in) Facebook advertising. His simple experiment using a bagel shed light on just how many fake profiles are clicking on your Facebook adverts; fake profiles, but very real money you’re spending for those clicks. He then uses simple targeting to see if that decreases the number of fake profiles, with good results.

We like this post because Facebook can be really overwhelming for small businesses, and fake profiles clicking your adverts and liking your paid posts isn’t something Facebook is going to help you with – they get your money, regardless of whether you get real conversions. It’s witty, transparent as air, and has the potential to really help small businesses navigate the minefield that is Facebook advertising.

3. Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Database Ever Used the Site by Annalee Newitz

While the title of this Gizmodo article might make it look like yet another piece of Ashley Madison related clickbait, Newitz’s attempt to find out just how many real women were using the site (in the wake of claims that around 95% of the female profiles were fake) is incredibly interesting.  While most articles have focused on email addresses and credit card details, this one looks at how their messaging system worked, the IP addresses of female accounts, and other aspects of the massive data file that other writers have mostly overlooked. 

While it’s pretty clear Ashley Madison created the fake profiles themselves, the common markers of bot-created/fake profiles that Newitz highlights here will be useful for anyone running their own membership site (particularly their own dating site) and trying to keep it safe and spam-free.  

The internet’s golden rule is usually “don’t read the comments”, but we’d suggest taking a look at the top comments just this once (filed under “Annalee Newitz’s Discussions”) for some further interesting points (and general witty banter). 

The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed by Adrien Chen

This post from last year puts a face to the person who receives your report when you flag spam or transgressive content on Facebook or Instagram. It’s easy to see a process where you simply have to click a button and select a few options as something that would be automated; this article looks at how this process works, and talks to the people who have to watch hours upon hours of content that would make most of us sick, to check if it really does violate that particular network’s guidelines.

It does a really good job of making you think about how these processes work, and the mental and emotional toll they can take on the people behind them. For people who have, or are thinking about building, their own private social network, it’s excellent food for thought with regards to how you’ll deal with spam and unwanted content on your network.

 

Introducing: PeepSo’s “Women of WordPress” Series

Women and WordPress is a topic that’s been covered from many angles, across multiple platforms. There’s Twitter lists, blog posts and news articles about it; some argue that we desperately need more women in tech, others feel that “where are the women” or “hire more women” incentives are actually counterproductive when it comes to equality.

It’s that complexity which has inspired us to write this series of blog posts; to bring all of these ideas and viewpoints together in one place, weigh them up, and put together a comprehensive picture of where things stand when it comes to women and WordPress.

women web design

We’ll be looking at what it actually means to be influential on WordPress, and finding women who fit that definition. Influence isn’t just about the results you produce for your clients and the reach of your online presence (though that is part of it); it’s about being visible as a female (think the “I look like an engineer” project on Twitter), creating opportunities for other women to step up, and creating something that really changes the way we think about WordPress functionality and design.

We’ll be interviewing some well-known, established designers and engineers (including our own CEO, Merav Knafo), to get a first-hand look at what it’s like to be a woman who specialises in WordPress; the opportunities and restrictions that women encounter as they try to break into what is, by most reports, a male-dominated market.

To end, we’ll be bringing all of this together with a list of women you should be following across multiple platforms, based on our investigation and research, as well as some recommendations for events and summits that are well worth attending if you’re a female engineer/designer/developer.

If you’d like to take part in this project or have any thoughts, we’d love to hear from you; you can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or right here as part of the PeepSo social network.

Social Networking Digest: What’s Making News This Week

It’s been a busy week in the world of social networking, with more and more independent, smaller networks emerging, and all the major players taking a hit on the stock exchange. If you’re thinking about starting up your own social network or work in online advertising, here’s three news items you should be aware of.

Social Networking Digest

Image via Associated Press

1. Things haven’t been looking so great for major social networks on the stock market; even Facebook, which isn’t suffering from the same drop-off in sign-ups and activity as Twitter, Yelp and Linkedin wasn’t safe, dropping 2.6 percent. Facebook’s stockholders may simply have decided to cash in after the company’s stock reached record highs a few weeks ago, but it’s also been suggested that people have been spooked by their 82% rise in expenditure (hiring new staff, and investing in technologies that will bring the internet to remote parts of the world). By contrast, smaller social networks like Migme are having a fantastic run, with their shares showing continuous growth.

2. 18 percent of social networking site users have blocked, hidden, or unfriended someone for posting political articles and opinions they disagree with or find offensive. If you want to argue about politics and religion but don’t want to stir up trouble with colleagues or family, there’s two social networks just for you. Roust is an invitation-only social network for people who want a space to talk about important, hot-button issues in a space where lively, controversial debate is welcomed (encouraged!). They’ve introduced a dislike button, and the creator thinks it works well because people go in expecting strong, potentially unpopular opinions. Sean Parker, founder of Napster, has been working hard on an app called Brigade; this social network was designed to encourage Americans to engage with current events and political news.

This is interesting because it shows that niche social networks can be as much about *how* we communicate (eg, providing a space for people who want to be able to share strong opinions or do everything via video), as they are about creating spaces for people with similar interests to come together.

3. They’re calling it “the right to wipe” – that social media users should be able to completely remove any trace of posts they made before they were 18. Social media vetting of prospective college students and employees is becoming increasingly common, and increasingly easy; some employers have even fired current employees based on what they posted on social media as a teen, years after the posts were made. It’s something that’s worth thinking about – should we be looking at encouraging teens to join smaller, less public social networks while they’re going through their formative years? It’s also important to consider, before admonishing young people for not thinking about how their posts could affect them later, that large social networks are collecting huge amounts of data about users, regardless of how careful they are about their privacy settings – and they aren’t particularly transparent about how they share that data, and who they’re sharing it with.

Getting On the Same Page…Literally

The saying goes, “are we on the same page?” Meaning: do we understand each other, is everything clear, has everyone learned what they need to know so progress can be made.

It’s an ideal metaphor for good communication, particularly when applied to web pages; if all your colleagues and customers are scattered across different platforms and channels, it’s going to be much more difficult to ensure people are getting the information you need them to get, when you need them to get it.

PeepSo's admin interface.

PeepSo’s admin interface.

Creating your own social network saves you from having to post the same message, over and over. You can have a real conversation in a quiet, dedicated space, rather than participating in the online equivalent of shouting in a crowded room. It works better from the customer’s end, too: rather than being unsure whether they should inbox you, text you, tweet you, send you a carrier pigeon, etc to get in touch with you, they’ll have a central communication hub where they know they’ll be able to get the support and advice they need. Further, it’s all on your website; the same place they’d go to purchase your product(s). 

PeepSo is the ideal plugin if you’re looking to start your own social network; it’s clean, streamlined, and easy to use (no coding knowledge necessary). The admin interface will be of particular interest to business owners, as it allows you a huge amount of control and insight (similar information to Facebook’s Insights tool, but easier to read and interpret); you can track post engagements, check reported content (you decide what’s acceptable, not Facebook), check your member demographics, and much more.

All of your information and communication in one place. Simple, smart, and effective.