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As we're sat writing this article a brain surgery is being live tweeted for all the world to follow over @houstonhospital. Yes it's fascinating and awesome if you're a medical geek, but aren't there just some things that we should stop sharing already?

Ahh Twitter, haven't you enabled us to do a range of lovely, selfless and life-changing things over the years? You've brought people together, spread the word about important issues, enabled us to make valuable connections and allowed us all to bond by ranting and swearing at each other. But at the same time you've effectively given a very public voice to people who insist on confusing, offending and annoying us on a daily basis and most of the time that's because very private, inappropriate or downright weird thoughts and events are being shared that we have no desire to read. EVER.

Now technically all tweeting is "live", but you'll often see the phrase live tweet being used when users have an incessant desire to share whatever crazy stuff is happening to them at that very moment in a really haphazard way that leaves everyone else disgusted and/or irritated. Well at least that's the "official" definition.

Yes some of these live tweeting stunts have been interesting, informative or just downright entertaining, but on the whole we'd like to put a stop to the kind of over-sharing that makes us want to hit things, set the internet on fire or cringe into the palms of our hands.

1. Surgery

Today @houstonhospital decided to live-tweet brain surgery and it's pretty fascinating if you're a medical geek or into cutting things up, but if you're a bit squeamish then steer clear.

2. Marriage proposals and weddings

Last month Mike Duerksen (@mikeduersken) proposed to his girlfriend over a TWELVE HOUR date and live-tweeted the whole thing using the hash tag #MikeProposes. She (luckily) said yes, but doesn't use Twitter, so commented that she was confused why he was spending a lot of time on his phone during the night. Now if that isn't romantic I don't know what is.

3. Random stuff when you're meant to be a top celebrity on a popular TV show

According to Digital Spy, Black Eyed Peas singer Will.I.am got in a lot of trouble this week when he insisted on tweeting throughout The Voice. It's great to see him multi-task and tweet whilst also being on a TV show, but that kind of behaviour also makes it look like he doesn't take the role very seriously.

4. Conferences

Yes it's considerate that you share your cool, insightful new findings with your followers, but 99% of us really couldn't care less and in future would love for you to unfollow us a good 30 minutes before you attend your next innovative and ground-breaking industry event.

5. Sex and touching yourself

Yes, this happens. For instance, oxygen thief Heidi Montag (@heidimontag) tweeted that she was massaging her big fake breasts a few years ago, a fashion blogger tweeted the details of a threesome (as well as what they were all wearing, how considerate) and Donald Glover thought we'd all love to know two random people were doing it near a bank.

6. Every random thought you've EVER had

We know for a fact that Kanye West isn't the only Twitter user guilty of this crime against social media, but wow does he do it the best. Back in January he spent hours (yes HOURS) sharing pretty much every thought he's ever had, from clothing to fur and music to education. This week he's also started to lay into the world of fashion, tweeting:

Just driving through the city and I see a few things I hate...
I hate button up shirts with hoods.
I hate hoods with sport coats.
I hate sport coats with button up shirts, jeans and dress shoes.
I hate khaki trench coats with jeans and off brand work out sneakers.
I hate khaki cargo shorts. I hate big ass striped scarves.
I hate long ass sideburns with line up RnB beard.

You get the idea...

7. The birth of your child

It's one of the most important, special and potentially painful moments of your life, so why not share it with your followers like this couple?

8. Silly lies about events/incidents/emergencies you're nowhere near

As soon as news breaks online that there's an incident or accident or emergency some Twitter users take it upon themselves to make up random rubbish about what might be happening, which then causes others to take what they say seriously and sooner or later MASS HYSTERIA follows and it's like a scene from 28 Days Later.

crazy-computer-woman.jpgWe all know we spend far too much time stalking our friends on Facebook and mindlessly scrolling through tweets, but this week Twitter co-founder Christopher Stone has said it's "unhealthy" to sit and stare at the micro-blogging site for too long, despite the fact he, you know, founded it.

Speaking at an event earlier in the week, he said that he finds it unhealthy and a little worrying that some people have admitted to spending hours and hours on Twitter. Instead, he wants people to frequently visit the site, but then move around elsewhere:

"I like the kind of engagement where you go to the website and you leave because you've found what you are looking for or you found something very interesting and you learned something.

"I think that's a much healthier engagement. Obviously, we want you to come frequently."

[Via The Huffington Post]


fashion-week.jpgDuring London Fashion Week last September, UK-based fashion house Burberry debuted its new collection to fans on Twitter before industry insiders at the actual show got a peek, in what was dubbed the world's first 'Tweetwalk'.

Well according to Mashable, a number of key players in the fashion world are looking to take a leaf out of Burberry's book at New York Fashion Week, which officially kicked off today.

A number of fashion houses are keen to take advantage of their huge online following and share more content with their social networks than ever before. Tommy Hilfiger will be holding a 'Twitter Model Walk' of its men's Autumn/Winter shoe collection, Rebecca Minkoff will be debuting her designs on Twitter 30 minutes before her models appear on the runway and Diane von Furstenberg has interestingly teamed up with iPhone app Viddy to shoot short video clips of her collection, which will go live on both Twitter and Facebook before the show.

It's great to see such popular and prestigious names from the world of fashion share their collections with online fans in this way, in some cases long before those actually attending the show get a look in. Not only does it make the (sometimes) intimidating world of fashion more accessible to non-industry insiders, but it also points to an increasingly popular trend focused on sharing content and live-streaming events solely to a Twitter-centric audience.

[Via Mashable Image via br1dotcom]

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We know that social networks are closely monitored by authorities and that innocent tweets have been misconstrued as threats more than once in the past. Just take a look at the case of Paul Chambers, who was convicted for tweeting about blowing up Robin Hood airport back in 2010.

So although it may seem insanely over-the-top, it comes as no surprise that a pair of friends have been barred from the US for joking about "destroying America". According to tabloids here in the UK, the pair called Leigh Van Bryan and Emily Bunting were detained at Los Angeles International Airport, quizzed for hours, locked up in a cell overnight and then sent back home.

The tweet from Leigh read:

"Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America"

The term "destroy" is obviously slang for partying here in the UK, but US officials didn't seem to buy that excuse at the time...


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It's just been revealed that our beloved Twitter has had a fancy new makeover, which will mean subtle changes to the way the platform looks and works. But did it really need a redesign?

The new Twitter design looks similar, but on the new Home page tweets from those you follow are displayed on the right hand side and on the left there are a few boxes which make up a new-look sidebar.

The @connect page is where all of your @mentions or @replies are stored, so not too much difference there. The # or hash tag has been rebranded as #discover. You can now see (or discover, sorry) usual trending topics as well as all kinds of things that are customised to your interests and location. According to Twitter as you use this tool more and more it'll get better at recommending you content.

Your profile looks a little bigger and is laid out differently too, but it's essentially all of the stuff from before in brand new clothes.

The new profile is being rolled out to users right now and according to Twitter downloading the latest version of the app to your phone (because the mobile app has changed too), will activate it on your computer.

The new design appears to make sense, ensuring the interface is much more intuitive and rich in content. However, let's hope Twitter doesn't keep tinkering with the design over the coming months, after all its simplicity is what makes it so appealing to the majority of its users.

Check out the Twitter: Yours to discover video, which walks you through some of the new features.

twitter-activity-tab.jpgAlthough some users seem to have had Twitter's new Activity tab for a month or so, most of us noticed the sneaky little new addition last week.

What does it do?

The tab is located next to your @mentions and it features all kinds of information that you wouldn't normally be able to find quite so easily. The Twitter Blog states:

"It provides a rich new source of discovery by highlighting the latest Favorites, Retweets, and Follows from the people you follow on Twitter - all in one place."

Why do we need it?

The more people we all follow on Twitter, the more it becomes necessary for us to have ways of weeding through to read the most relevant tweets and finding new users that are interesting. So in theory, the Activity tab makes complete sense. In theory.

Is it any good?

After having a play around with the Activity tab over the last few days (and reading countless blog posts about how other users are finding it), we can't help but feel that instead of helping us to sort through the rubbish, it just makes everything more confusing.

Firstly, all of the information just seems too fast, much like Facebook's news ticker, so it's quite hard to keep on top of everything that those you're following have been doing.

But it's not just that things move fast, it's that a lot of it just seems a bit irrelevant. Sure there are plenty of theories to suggest we'd be interested in what friends of friends have to say, but in practice that isn't always the case.

Now we know this is rather contradictory, but in places there's too little information, especially when it comes to the users our friends have been following. It's a bit pointless seeing lots and lots of usernames but then having to click onto each profile to see their bio and whether they're worth a follow or not.

Should we pay any attention to it?

Overall we think the Activity tab is a feature that has potential, and with a little more work could be a great way of differentiating Twitter's offering from those of popular third party developers. It can also be pretty interesting to see who's been following and favouriting who, which appeals to our inner stalker. However, for now it's just not for us. Although it sounds as if it'll make things easier, instead it just makes us more confused. Good try Twitter, but we'll be sticking with TweetDeck for the time being...

twitter-photobucket.jpgDespite the fact services and apps like Instagram, Twitpic and PicPlz are growing in popularity on our mobile devices, it seems that in actual fact more users are uploading photos to the micro-blogging platform via Twitter's own photo service instead. But what does this actually mean for third party developers?

According to new research featured on ZDNet, Twitter's (fairly new) photo sharing service, which is powered by Photobucket, is now the number one way users put their photos onto the social network.

It could be said that this means we're favouring simple image uploading over adding filters, tags and editing, but instead we don't think apps such as Twitpic, Yfrog and (our personal favourite) Instagram have anything to worry about. Although Twitter's in-house photo service ruffled a few feathers when it was first introduced and the social network was accused of damaging relations with developers, we really doubt dedicated users are going to be ditching their favourite photo apps anytime soon. Instead, we suspect that people use different services for different purposes, so a user may upload a quick snap of a meal directly to Twitter, whereas that lovely sunset must be shared through Instagram.

Do you use a mixture of both Twitter and Instagram to share your photos?

[Via ZDNet]

This week sees Google+ launch its long awaited brand and business pages, rumour has it Instagram may be adding video sharing, how Tweet life and Klout scores are connected, romantic relationships in a social media world, Drinkify and Burberry continues its digital content endeavours.

Google+ launches brand and business pages
After waiting for what seems like forever (in digital time) Google has finally unveiled its Google+ Pages for brands and businesses, and they're... not so different from the personal ones. Having got over the initial disappointment, we've had a play around and checked out some of the brands, like Burberry, that have already extended social initiatives to include Google+. With the launch Google hopes that brands will now share the vast amount of content they are churning out to create a richer experience for its users, and in turn making people use the service on a more regular basis. Google has also introduced an official Google+ Pages guide.

Key points of Google+ Pages
You can +1 a Page to show support or add them to your Circles
No Google+ Page can follow you until you follow them
Google+ Pages will unfollow you automatically if you unfollow them
You can find Google+ Pages in Google+ Search

Burberry attempts 'mass customisation' as it truly establishes itself as a media-content company
Social media forward brand, Burberry is making its first attempt to let people design and purchase their own, personalised version of the company's iconic trench coat. With prices expected to start at $1,800 to $8,800, Burberry Bespoke will see almost 12 million combination, ensuring unique designs are obtainable. If you can't afford the real thing, you can still create a design and share it on Twitter and Facebook.

Instagram to introduce video sharing?
We love Instagram (so much that we've run an Instagram photo competition with our sister company) and apparently the photo sharing iPhone app is now looking to introduce video sharing according to The Next Web. As these rumours excite us iPhone users, it seems like Android users will have to wait a while still to take part in the photo and possibly soon video sharing fun as there is no news on an Android app.

Tweets by users with high Klout scores last up to 67 times longer
We're on the fence with Klout and what it has to say about your influence, but apparently a fleeting tweet may last up to 67 times longer if it was tweeted by a user with a high Klout score compared to other users. The results are presented in this infographic and interestingly tweets from users with a Klout score less than 40 actually have an identical half-life to those with a score between 70 to 75, which compares well with other studies on the half-life of sharing writes Mashable.

Romance and social media
Personally, romantic relationships and social media intrigues me as it is always interesting to see how people flirt, communicate and possibly break-up for everyone connected to them to see. Lab42 have taken the pulse on today's relationship seekers as well as established loves and conducted a survey this October, asking 500 social network users over 18 some fairly personal questions about meeting people, cheating, communication and more.

If you're looking for love, only 11% said 'physical attractiveness' was the most important trait their significant other should possess (no need to panic too much about your avatar then...), with 23% opting for 'other' (political views, religion, career oriented, financially stability and taste in music). Other findings show that an astonishing 75% believed there is ONE true soulmate for every person, and Facebook appears to be the preferred way to find out more about someone you're interested in with 57% of the singles asked saying they would Facebook friend someone after meeting them.

Drinkify will tell you what to drink while listening to your favourite music
We're all for things that can make our lives easier, and to have the hassle of deciding which drink to have when listening to Little Dragon, Casiokids or even Metallica can be such a pain - not really as the answer must surely Gin at all times! New site Drinkify aims to make your music experience a bit different, teaming up your musical taste to the best beverage along with a recipe on how to prepare it.  Not sure about the blood and cough syrup mixture for Cradle of Filth though...

Disney and YouTube signs video content deal
According to The New York Times, Disney and YouTube are set to announce a content deal worth between $10 to $15 million, which will see YouTube invest millions on an original video series produced by Disney and distributed exclusively through a brand new co-branded channel on YouTube and Disney.com.

US Starbucks launches augmented reality app for Christmas season
Avid coffee fans will know that when the red cups hit Starbucks Christmas is just around the corner (I love the eggnog latte, but I'll let the discussion about the quality of the coffee take place elsewhere), and this holiday season Starbucks is launching its first augmented reality app - Starbucks Cup Magic - that will let customers animate their coffee cups with their smartphones. Unfortunately for us European dwellers, the app will only be available in the US, but check out this video on how it works.

Adidas launches the world's first social football boots
Football clubs are becoming more aware of the importance of social media, and the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United are both breaking new ground in the social and digital sphere. So it was only a matter of time before brands that cater for one of the most popular sports in the world got on the bandwagon big time. Adidas has now revealed a new design that could change the playing field completely. With an on-board computer that stores data, the new boots measure speed, distance travelled and top speed. As soon as the game has stopped, the data is transmitted wirelessly to your phone, tablet or computer ready to be analysed. With top players having their own football boots sponsorships it will be interesting to see how this will impact clubs who will no doubt be eager to discover in more detail how their players are performing.

Glamour gains 50,000 'Likes' by marrying Facebook and 2D barcodes
The September issue of Glamour magazine got over 50,000 Facebook Likes for advertisers by including 2D barcodes in the adverts. The codes could be found throughout the magazine and was put there to see if codes invoking Facebook would spur more readers to action. Results show a high level of interaction, proving that readers do enjoy a more interactive magazine experience.

cia-logo.jpgDue to the fact that news often breaks on Twitter, it's no surprise that The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) over in the US spends a LOT of time monitoring our tweets.

According to Gawker, the CIA's Virginia-based Open Source Center monitors Facebook (despite lots of profiles being private), Twitter and the blogosphere for the most up to date information about what's happening all around the world.

Around five million tweets a day are apparently read, which means a hell of a lot of memes and declarations of love for Bieber and Gaga.

A lot of the monitoring is to obviously see what's going on in real-time, but it's also to gauge how the US is perceived abroad and reports are collated everyday which sometimes even make it up to the president too.

[Via Gawker]

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Twitter has launched a new website called Twitter Stories, which aims to "remind us of the humanity behind tweets that make the world smaller" according to the Twitter Blog. How. Sweet.

The spin-off website features a range of stories, including the tale of a tweet which stopped a bookstore going out of business and a fisherman who used Twitter to sell his catch from the day.

A few of the stories currently featured on the website are from well known figures and brands, there's no surprise Burberry has popped up on the main page, but there's also a story from Queen Rania of Jordan and American football player Chad Ochocinco.

Twitter is welcoming more interesting and inspiring stories from the Twitterverse, so if you've tweeted your way into someone's heart or saved the day with a hash tag, then submit your story by mentioning @twitterstories and include a photo to illustrate what happened to.

This is a lovely initiative from Twitter and not only does it restore our faith in humanity, but our tolerance for social networking. See, it doesn't ALWAYS have to be about ranting, snarkiness and self promotion.

the-x-factor-logo.jpgA new partnership between Twitter and The X Factor USA means fans of the show in the US will soon be able to vote for their favourite contestants via direct messages.

According to the official Twitter Blog, from next week viewers will be able to submit a vote via a direct message for their favourite act as long as they're following @TheXFactorUSA account first.

The blog post stresses that votes need to be sent via direct message so they're kept secret and normal tweets about the show and the acts don't count.

This kind of Twitter voting system seems like a logical step, for some time now users have been taking to the platform to discuss live events, reality shows and TV programmes as they happen. So, the new voting mechanic further proves that broadcasters understand the value of engaging viewers with their TV screens AND their computer screens at the same time.

This week sees that the number of visits to online video sites in the UK has increased by 36% since September 2010, four new social media magazines launch, the optimum length of a Facebook post, watch Florence + the Machine new album launch gig online for £3.99, Google makes changes to Reader and are brands 'over-reliant' on Facebook?

Visits to online video sites has increased by 36% in UK since 2010
New stats from Experian Hitwise show that visits to online video sites grew by over a third in the UK over the past year, with over 785 million visits to sites like YouTube in September.  From 2010 to 2011 traffic increased by 36%, truly demonstrating the increasing popularity of online video. If anything this shows the importance of incorporating video into brand campaigns.

How consumers interact with brands on social media [infographic]
A pan-European study has found that one third of Facebook and Twitter users in the UK follow brands, which apparently is more than twice the percentage of other markets on the continent, writes Wall Blog. Other stats include:
- Twitter has the highest sharing rate of branded messages and content (18%)
- Consumers want brands active in social media channels to be 'informative', 'entertaining' and 'interactive'

Social media magazines hit the shelves
At a time when most magazines and newspapers are gravitating towards tablet apps, digital editions it is interesting to learn that GSG World Media is publishing four new monthly magazines dedicated to Twitter, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn. The freshly pressed magazines are 'aimed at helping business owners harness the power of the social sphere' and come at $7.95 each.  But if you'd rather keep things digital, they are also available for free via a digital subscription. Is this the way forward: Offer print editions at premium prices and give the content away for free digitally? Not the best business model is it...

Does size matter when it comes to Facebook updates?
Apparently so. Publishing platform Vitrue has looked at over 11,000 posts made by the 150 largest Pages on Facebook to see if there is an optimum length on Facebook posts when it comes to engagement. Taking the Likes and comments and dividing them by the number of fans they ended up with an engagement rate as a percentage. The result: the longer the post gets, the more the engagement rate decreases... So what is the optimum number of characters? Well the study didn't say but ensure to keep Facebook posts as concise as possible while still fully communicating what you want.

Watch Florence + the Machine new album launch gig online
The gig is long sold out, but courtesy of theguardian and LoveLive fans of Florence + the Machine can see the album launch performance at Hackney Empire tonight, 25th October, online. Just request your access code, pay £3.99 and you're there (almost). Definitely cheaper that going to the gig, but the atmosphere won't be the same...

Are brands over-reliant on Facebook?
With brands investing millions into developing excellent Facebook pages, could they be at risk of trading in their privacy? A leading analyst at Constellation Research Group - quoted in Marketing Magazine - thinks so and has now warned brands that they are 'over-reliant on Facebook and it will come back and bite them'. An interesting notion, but we'd like to think brands are using Facebook in a way that doesn't put privacy or customer data at risk. However with Facebook's many 'privacy issues' over the past years, it's worth thinking twice about how your brand's customer data is stored. Are brand owned platforms the future?

Google makes changes to Reader
Google is definitely working on cleaning up its social/digital footprint. Not long after announcing Google Buzz is to become extinct, they've now revealed that they will be making changes to Google Reader. The service will get a brand new design and be brought closer to Google+. In a few weeks you'll no longer be able to friend, follow or share linked blogs inside of Reader. This will now be integrated into Google+ so if you're an avid user of Reader you best start working on your Circles now!

LinkedIn launches new tool to help you stay in touch with old school friends
First and foremost a place to keep your professional connections organised, LinkedIn is launching a new tool called 'Classmates' which aims to help you stay in touch with fellow graduates and alumni. Personally I welcome this as I sometimes feel that my Facebook is crowded with people whose holiday photos I don't necessarily want to see, but who I keep on there because I once went to school with them and it would be a shame to loose contact completely. What do you think?

43% of Londoners use social media to find jobs [infographic]
A nifty infographic by LondonLovesJobs shows how Londoners search for a job and how social media is changing this. No surprise that people are using social media in the hunt for the next step on the career ladder, but the research also shows that employers have yet to fully tap into this trend - as are the recruitment teams! Other stats worth nothing:
- 25% of Londoners look for a job on LinkedIn
- Only 14% of job sites and companies advertise or promote openings via social media
- More men than women search for jobs via social media channels - 30% of men use LinkedIn to find a job compared to 18% of women

More mums use Facebook and other social networks than average internet users
New figures by eMarketer show that an estimated 23 million US mums are on Facebook this year, using the site at least once a month, representing well over two-thirds of all online mothers in the country.  This means that more mothers use Facebook and other social networks each month compared to average internet users. Luckily my mum is not on Facebook - have yet to convert her to Skype - but I do have a few aunts and friends that have offspring of their own.

Toyota launches Facebook game ahead of Tokyo Motor Show sports car debut
Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has launched a Facebook game to promote the production model sports car that it plans to debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in December. Dubbed the Social Network Racer the game is now live and will run through 31 December, allowing racers across the globe to 'test-drive' the new car and compete for a super prize: a free trip to Japan. Start your engines!

Personal sharing network Path closing in on 1 million users
I tried Path - the mobile app that lets you share images and the personal things with friends - when it first launched a while ago. To be honest, I never used it again. But good news for the company as it is apparently closing in on 1 million users.  Path enables you to share the most personal things with a limited number of your nearest and dearest  (50 last time I checked), such as first dates, deaths or injury that perhaps might not be sharable on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Do you use Path?

Noel Gallagher has a new album to promote. It is called 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' and will be available on October 17. Judging by this it will be rather good too.

Noel, however, has never been one to shy away from making a controversial statement or two (especially when he has new music to promote), and this time round he has trained his guns on Twitter.

In an interview with Yahoo Gallagher argues that celebrities have wrecked Twitter by trying to sell people their "s**t" through it.

He told the website "I'm not a tweeter ... Stuff like, 'Oh I'm going for a shower,' great. 'I slept in again, bugger.' Life's too short for that kind of thing but I think those things like Facebook and Twitter and stuff were started with the best of intentions to connect ordinary people around the world, like daughters travelling in Europe can tweet their mums. But as with everything celebrities get involved and bastardise it, trying to sell you their s**t. There's too much of that. Anything that's of any use famous people get hold of it and take it for themselves and it gets a bad rap. I'm like sitting here and thinking I hate Twitter and I don't know why."

Now Gallagher is known for being something of a Luddite. His erstwhile rival Damon Albarn might have made an album already using Garageband on his iPad, but Gallagher apparently only got a PC at Christmas.

Yet does he have a point? Here's a few of the arguments, you make your own mind up

Yes, celebrities have ruined Twitter

1 Noel is right, they have sullied the micro blogging service. It is full of rubbish from people who want you to think their lives are amazing, but are actually really rather dull.

2 Celebrities on Twitter have made it ok to overshare - They have set a bad trend here. They have inspired lots of people to use Twitter to tell you stuff that no one really needs to know.

3 They have tweaked the perception of Twitter by providing a feeding frenzy for the mainstream media. Celeb journalism, which used to be edgy and fun, is now all about broadcasting what celebs have been tweeting. Very dull.

4 Celebs on Twitter have taken the mystery out of the creative process. This was another of Noel's points. He says 'there's no magic or mystery anymore. That's why I didn't announce I was in the studio making this album until 18 months down the line. Because it would be like, 'Yeah man I'm in the studio and today I recorded a song in my socks! And it was great man and it might turn out to be a disco song.' What's the point?' I was obsessed with the Smiths and there was none of that going on. You just waited and wondered what they were up to and then the album would come out in four weeks and it was like, 'Wow.'

Noel should stick to writing his arms in the air ballads and leave micro blogging alone. Celebrities have been good for Twitter because...

1 For every Katie Price there's a Stephen Fry or a Graham Linehan who are genuinely funny and insightful.

2 Some Celebs are really generous with their Twitter accounts. Arsenal and England's Jack Wilshere has gone out of his way to use Twitter to help poorly children, while Alastair Campbell is always using his account to plug charity events.

3 Celebs made Twitter high profile and got a lot of people to sign up who otherwise wouldn't have. A big catalyst for Twitter growth was when Ashton Kutcher tweeted that picture of Demi Moore's bottom. Without that buttock moment Twitter might not have become so big and so much fun.

4 Twitter can act as a counter balance to made up stories in the media. You get to hear things from the horse's mouth, rather than having to hear things filtered through publicists and journalists.

This week sees Nielsen release some stats and facts about the state of social media from the third quarter of 2011, Oscar de la Renta crowdsources catwalk coverage live on Tumblr, Brits would prefer to live without a flushing toilet than without Facebook, Facebook fans are useful to brands, a fashion party for the social savvy, is social media stopping you getting a good night's sleep?

The state of social media in Q3

Nielsen has just released some great stats and facts about the state of social media in the third quarter of 2011 (predominantly US though). The study shows that social networks and blogs reach nearly 80% of active internet users in the US and makes up the majority of Americans' time online. The same report also shows that American's spend more time on Facebook - Liking and Tagging away - than on any other US website. Another interesting finding is that accessing social media content from mobile phones is continuing to rise with the over-55s driving this growth. Time to target those silver surfers!

Oscar de la Renta to crowdsource catwalk coverage live on Tumblr

The fashion community and its photography loving crowds has embraced blogging platform Tumblr for a while now, and tomorrow American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta is looking to capitalise on this trend. He's planning on creating a new style of online presentation to his Spring 2012 collection at odlrlive.tumblr.com which will show all photos that are uploaded to Tumblr with the tag #odlrlive in real-time, enabling editors, bloggers, models and viewers at home to  contribute to the display. We'll be watching for sure - mostly to see if anyone tries to hijack it!

Brits would prefer to live without a toilet than without Facebook

This is social media addiction at its best. When the London Science Museum surveyed 3,000 adults on 50 things they couldn't live without, Facebook landed on 5th place right up there with sunshine and clean drinking water. You can find out what the 50 things were here, but it is rather astonishing to think that Briton's would now rather have access to Facebook than a flushing toilet, central heating, a shower and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Tumblr has second most page views in UK as 10th billion post is published

Things are looking good for Tumblr which can now claim to have the second most page views on any social network or blog in the UK... after Facebook of course (Source: Nielsen). UK internet users viewed a total of 229.6million pages on the popular blogging platform in the third quarter this year. The New York City based startup had more reason to celebrate this week as it could also announce its 10 billionth post, having grown from 7 to 28 million blogs over the past year. If you're wondering which ten Tumblr blogs to follow these are pretty good and here are five reasons why you need Tumblr in your life.

Twitter has 100 million active users - will they show Twitter the money?

Microblogging site Twitter celebrates having 100 million active users a month - that's apparently up 82% since the start of the year - with half of these clocking in every day amid a flurry of new statistics announced by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. He could also reveal that Twitter.com now sees 400 million visitors a month, an increase of 70% from the start of 2011, while 55% of active users are on mobile. The real question though is if its new advertising system will be able to exploit the audience and start making the company some real money.

Facebook fans are useful study finds

New research shows that Facebook Fans are in fact useful, so if you're working with someone that's still hesitant to join the party here are some facts to bring to the next meeting. The study found that people are more likely to recommend brands to their friends after becoming fans themselves and that they are more likely to buy products or services from brands after becoming fans. It also appears that Facebook is the preferred platform for interacting with brands (well after 'none of these' so take it with a pinch of salt) and that once they've liked a brand they rarely 'unlike' it (76% said they had never unliked a brand)

What's your Klout? A Fashion Night Out party for the social savvy elite only

It was bound to happen sooner or later; if you not social savvy you're not getting 'in'. This week an invite to a VIP Fashion Night Out VIP party in Florida was sent to various people with a Klout score of 40 and above. OK granted this was part of a plan to get online communities talking about the party - mission accomplished - but it is likely a sign of things to come. Klout is a metrics system that rates your social influence score based on reach, user engagement and how many followers you have. How accurate Klout results are has been discussed for a long time, but it is a fun way of using social media metrics to ensure the most socially engaged will be in attendance at your event (in other words those most likely to tweet, check-in and Instagram your event to the masses).

Facebook introduces Smart Lists
Yes, you've guessed it. Facebook's Smart Lists is pretty much the same as Google+ does when it allows you to group your friends to decide who gets which update or not. However, Smart Lists appear to organise your friends for you which takes away the hassle of having to allocate people to certain lists manually. It is on the other hand somewhat worrying that Facebook appears to know EVERYTHING about your life and those you are connected with by doing so... While still being rolled out, it looks like your 'friends' will be divided into three categories: those you work with, those you went to school with and people who live within 50 miles of you. Have you got this new feature yet?

Is social media stopping you getting a good night's sleep?

A new study shows that social media could have an impact on how well we sleep, with 86% of those questioned saying they spend time on social networking sites when they really should be sleeping. Over half of the respondents (52%) admitted they tweet and like from their beds, which isn't surprising considering how many of us depend on our smartphones to wake us up every morning.

Are we a nation of online spies?
A survey by Norton (the anti-virus company with the Dolf Lundgren vs a Unicorn ad) finds that more than one in five women check their partner's emails, messages and social networking accounts - only one in ten men do the same... Apparently more than half of Britain's couples share their passwords openly with each other and 15% of those that snoop have found something upsetting by being so curious. As they say, curiosity killed the cat - and perhaps a relationship or two.

Twitter sues company to get the rights to the word 'tweet'

Uh oh, looks like a service called Twittad has registered 'tweet' before Twitter could do it. And guess what, Twitter doesn't like it! Twitter is apparently suing Twittad - which filed for the rights for the word in 2008 - to have the trademark registration cancelled so that it can file for the rights.

StNeots_CrossKeys1 (1).jpgOne of the saddest websites I have ever seen is this one. Basically it is a catalogue of pubs across the country that have closed in the last decade or so. It is so grim to go back to your home town (in my case St Neots) and see the number of pubs that have now closed. Some were always going to disappear - my local High street ultimately had way too many - but it is still a shock to see hostelries that I once supped warm beer in got chased out of for being underage turned into flats, supermarkets or worse.

In fact it is estimated that as many as 25 pubs hang the permanent closing time sign up each week. That's actually a much better scenario than in 2009 when the number was double that figure.

So what is killing British pubs? Well the answer that the brewery trade and others seem most fond of peddling is that the smoking ban has driven people away. I think that's true to some degree, as are theories about the price of beer - I paid £4 for a bottle of ale yesterday, I could have bought four bottles of beer for the same price from my local Asda. There are also big issues facing pub owners who have to deal with escalating rent prices, demand for housing which makes it attractive for developers to buy premises and competition from pubs owned by chains who can offer discounted beer.

However I think the prime reason is one that is just becoming more apparent now and that is that we are becoming a society that's much happier socilaising in our homes than outside of them.

Over the last decade there have been many factors which have kept us at home. TV has become more compelling - not necessarily the quality of the programmes - but the fact that we can chose to watch them when we want now. Then there's the endless distraction of the Internet. There is a fear (which is probably not justified) that city centres are no go zones, while country dwellers are very aware that a whiff of alcohol on their breath now when driving is likely to get them into trouble.

A prime reason though for the shift away from pubs is that we are changing the way in which we socialise. For me the whole point of going to the pubs was to sit around talking rubbish with my friends. Now, thanks to social networking, I don't need to go to the pub to do that. I can do it at home.

I am also not limited to a few close mates. If I want to talk about the 13th Floor Elevartors there are a number of psych heads on Facebook who will gladly argue the toss about whether the band's second or third album is their masterpiece. Similarly I can share my frustration about Arsene Wenger's lack of signings with mates (and quite often randoms) on Twitter and on countless blogs and forums.

In some ways the Internet and social networks have spoiled us rotten. We no longer have to worry about getting stuck in public place making small talk with someone whom we have little in common. Put simply we don't have to make an effort any more. We treasure our free time, why spend it with people who bore us?

Besides we can get online and share our stories with people anywhere in the world who immediately understand our reference points, nuances and arguments. Real world networking in the local just doesn't compete.

Is this necessarily a good thing? Well it is bad for the brewing trade? It is also bad for local communities too, especially if our only point of contact with those around us in shops or schools. I don't however buy the idea that we are all lacking in real world social skills. Until the day when home working becomes the norm for everyone we still have to engage with others in work situations.

There are many others who feel our addiction to social networks is a bad thing. In Jonathan Coe's recent novel The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim, the main character is a person who has countless friends on social networks but no one he can turn to in a crisis.

Then again maybe being much more picky about how we spend our precious spare time is a good thing. What's really that wrong about only spending your leisure time with people who share your passions? As Mae West once said 'Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.'

The pub at the top was The Cross Keys in St Neots. For several centuries a key staging post on journeys from London to the north it is now shops and estate agents.
pic from this ace site

This week sees almost two thirds of Brits now use social networks, Tumblr still attracting record number of visitors, did Facebook kill of Places too soon, a very geeky proposal, the car for social network addicts, and Justin Bieber only has the second most engaged Facebook fans - stay tuned to find out who number one is!

Majority of Brits now use social networks

According to the Office of National Statistics for the first time the majority of Brits over 16 are now using social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Overall 57% of adults have used one or more of these platforms this year compared to only 43% last year. And guess what, women are apparently more eager about creating online friendships than men. What can we say, we like to have big groups of friends off- and online. Makes us feel all loved. That said, men are almost twice as likely to have used the more 'professional social networks like LinkedIn compared to women.

Tumblr's popularity continues as July saw 13.4 million unique visitors
With Jux entering the blogosphere Tumblr might have been worried for a second or two, but as the July figures from comScore show it is still attracting a record number of visitors each month as the multimedia-focused microblogging platform scored 13.4 million unique visitors in the U.S. alone. That is up 218% from the same time in 2010, making it one of the fastest growing consumer-oriented internet sites over the past year.

A geeky proposal - and we love it!
When Google engineer Ari Gilder wanted to propose to his girlfriend Faigy he came up with this great idea. He created a custom app 'The Big Question' that sent Faigy on a romantic scavenger hunt using Google Maps around New York City filled with memories of their relationship. Faigy had to answer several questions correctly throughout the route which she then entered into the app to 'unlock' the next location. At the final location Ari stood waiting with the Big Question. Guess what Faigy answered... And it is all oh so adorably geeky!

Did Facebook kill Places too soon? Had 4 times more check-ins than Foursquare...
Think several of us were a bit surprised when Facebook canned Facebook Places the other week. Sure, it needed some TLC to be maximised to the fullest, but it was fairly popular according to figures by Visit Britain that claim Places had four times the number of check-ins compared to Foursquare at the time of digital death. ShinyShiny thinks Facebook might have canned check-ins a bit too soon, but we're sure Zuckerberg and Co. has more surprises up their sleeves.

The social media ministry: Justin Bieber is second to Jesus Daily in engaged fans on Facebook
Yep, that's right. The Bieb is only second when it comes to the number of engaged or highly active fans on Facebook. But he did only lose out to Jesus and Jesus Daily. So the most 'popular' man on Facebook is Dr. Aaron Tabor, a diet physician and medical researcher, who set up the page in 2009 as a hobby and now has some 8.2 million Facebook Page fans. Pop darling Justin Bieber has 35 million plus fans, but they don't interact as much as Jesus Daily's fans. Jesus 1 - Bieber 0. Actually come to think of it, don't think Bieber is too disappointed to be beaten by Jesus, as he recently got the Hebrew word for 'Jesus' inked on his upper body.

Foursquare adds five new languages
In its second wave of global language expansion, location-based social network Foursquare has added five new languages to its app: Bahasa Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Thai. And as a result, according to a Foursquare blog post, the use of the app in the countries where those languages are spoken has since "exploded" - go figure. oi! привет! 안녕! hai! and สวัสดี! Foursquare.

The car for social networkers
If you, like us, are addicted to social media and enjoy spending countless of hours chatting to your virtual chums you might get excited about this new car from Ford. The Evos plug-in hybrid is apparently so smart that it can socially network with its driver's friends and recommend roads and routes that are quickest or most fun to drive and is always connected to his or her 'personal cloud'. If it will manage to give you a "seamless lifestyle between home, office and car linked by access" to your personal information we don't know but we'd love to find out! But sadly we won't be able to drive it anytime soon...

Foodily Facebook app streamlines feed for shared recipes
Facebook is a great thing, but can also get quote annoying when people start sharing just one thing... like baby news... or recipes! So if you're one of the latter you might fall in love with the Foodily app (sorry but if you belong to the first group I have already blocked your updates. You are more than welcome to block my shares of LOL kittehs if you wish). For now all cooking enthusiasts can get a dedicated, real-time feed of the recipes Facebook friends save on the site and dip into your friends' recipe boxes for inspiration.

Zara Phillips: The unsocial royal
The Queen is here, there and everywhere, Clarence House uses it to announce royal engagements, and there are numerous fake accounts set up in the name of the English Royals. We're of course talking about social media, more specifically Facebook and Twitter. However, there is one young royal that we're not likely to see tweeting about horses anytime soon and that's newlywed Zara Phillips. In an interview with Tatler, Zara has said she's not a fan of social media and that she thinks Facebook is 'dangerous'. We hear you Zara, just think about all those Facebook photos of you as the "royal rebel" that would be tagged. Best to stay off it! Do you know anyone who is against social media? I did, but then they joined...

And to round off this week in social media...

Here are the 10 best YouTube cat videos according to ShinyShiny.

By @elisabethLDN




This week sees use of social media among US adults soar, Twitter launches User Galleries to tempt people to use Twitter.com, Facebook ditches Places and adds location to updates, Manchester City in a digital and social media push, Beyonce's baby bump break Twitter record and 10 cool Facebook brand pages.

Adult use of social media soars
Thumb up for this one! Here's a reason for your company to jump on the social media bandwagon if you haven't done so already (who are we kidding, of course you have). New research by Pew Research Center has found that 65% of all US adults now use social networking sites, up from 61% one year ago, with 43% saying they visit sites like Facebook and Twitter every day. Interestingly most of the growth came from Americans over the age of 30 with seniors making up the bulk of it. With Silver surfers now joining in on the fun, why are some businesses still scared of entering the social media sphere we wonder?

Twitter launches user galleries
Totally unexpected, but perhaps unavoidable Twitter has launched User Galleries that gather all the recent images tweeted by a user in a pretty and scannable gallery. I love this new addition - it does make me want to user Twitter.com more - but it has also made me rethink what images I tweet. Downside: it will only display up to 100 images.

10 cool Facebook brand pages
ShinyShiny has listed ten Facebook brand pages it thinks tick all the boxes and make people want to actually 'Like', competitions and incentives aside.

Facebook ditches Places and adds location to status updates
In a somewhat surprising turn, Facebook has scrapped its Places check-in feature after only one year. But Facebook hasn't left location-based features completely, as it has instead launched a new 'add location' to your updates or tag a place in a post. Gravy, we weren't really getting anything out of Places either way apart from stalking our friends' whereabouts.

NOTE: As Facebook rolls out these changes they might have changed your privacy settings. So unless you want your location posts to go public, check your privacy settings now!

Pregnant Beyonce breaks Twitter record
It doesn't take a nature disaster or big sports event to break records in the social world. Sometimes all it takes is a celebrity and her belly like we discovered this week. Pop star Beyonce's performance and subsequent reveal of her pregnancy smashed the standing tweets-per-second (TPS) record when her 'happy news' garnered a whopping 8,868 TPS.

In total B obtained 280,000 mentions on Twitter that night according to MTV's own statistics.

Want to increase website traffic? Make sure you add the Google+ button
Webpages that have Google's +1 button installed generate 3.5 times more traffic from Google+ than website that don't according to HubSpot. Well of course. If you have your content connected with a Google +1 it will create more referral traffic from Google+, goes without saying really. If you don't have the button there is no way for it to generate referral traffic... Anyway, it is time to join the party. Circle us up!

Facebook hits 1 trillion page views in June
Well that is according to Google's Double-Click says TechRadar. If you ask comScore they will tell you the 'real' number is 467 billion not 1 trillion. Either way, it is a huge number!

Think SEO when creating Facebook pages
In a world of SEO and getting the wording right, new research shows that search makes up to 34% of all external referral traffic to Facebook pages. Facebook page admins should therefore be concerned with search engine optimisation when naming pages, filling in fields on the Info tab, posting content and placing links to Pages on websites.

The growth of social media
An interesting infographic by Search Engine Journal that tells it how it is and how social media has grown since the early days. Among the stats are:


  • 1 in 4 Americans watches a video on YouTube every day

  • 86% of US internet users between 18 and 29 uses social networking sites in May 2010

  • Facebook dominates the daily unique visitors graph with 310million daily uniques

  • 53% of employers research potential employees on social neworks

  • In 2012 it is estimated that 43% of companies will use blogs for marketing purposes, up from 39% this year




Would you like a pizza with that app?
Pizza chain Domino's has launched its official iPad app on the UK app store, so you can now order your pizza, pay for it and track it as it makes it way to your house. The latter is really cool if you haven't got anything better to do than track your pizza delivery man... But luckily we can think several things that are more worthwhile.

Manchester City rolls out digital initiatives
Between us here at Sutro we care more about Manchester United, Arsenal and Aston Villa, but we have to say that the digital initiatives by the 'world's wealthiest football club' Manchester City sounds pretty impressive. Man City is to offer RFID chip membership cards, augmented reality season tickets, online data toys, connected TV channels, Foursquare, mobile remixes and more - and all for free!

Man 'earns' £11,000 through Twitter by betting against his boss
Must admit that when I spotted the RTs on this one on my Twitter feed recently I did wonder if it was some kind of spam campaign. What started as a bit of fun - basically this guy trying to prove to his boss that Twitter isn't a waste of time - ended up with 23,000 retweets and @poultrykeeper £11,000 'richer'. Unfortunately the boss in question didn't pay up and poultrykeeper in no richer. This is a great example of how Twitter can work to spread the word, but please don't think of it as an excellent way to get exposure. Most people just RT without even looking at what they are sharing - sadly.

Vanity Fair *hearts* Mark Zuckerberg
As the Next Web comments it "truly is the most beautiful sign of nerd's revenge when you see who's made it into Vanity Fair's New Establishment list this year". For the second year in a row, VF editor Graydon Carter has included Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg tops the Top 50 list of an "innovative new breed of buccaneering visionaries, engineering prodigies and entrepreneurs" as "The Age of Information gives way to a burgeoning Age of Technology." Click through to Vanity Fair to see the complete list.

Google+ lets you ignore people
Yep that's right, you can now ignore people's updates on Google+ if you so wish without blocking him or her completely. By 'ignoring' you will not see any of their posts in your stream, you won't be notified about their activity, and they will be de-Circled - all with them being none the wiser. He or she will still be able to see your stream and comment on your updates.

Facebook has offered this for a while so you can keep people as friends but don't be hassled with their updates. It honestly does make for a happier social experience sometimes.

This week sees Google add Google+ Hangouts to YouTube, Twitter users more likely to impact brands than any other social network, tech inspired words like retweet and w00t make it into the Oxford dictionary, new service Twylah makes it possible to create brand pages for Twitter, 44% of companies track employees' social media use in and out of the office and is football gossip ruining Twitter?

Google adds Google+ Hangouts to YouTube

In what is being seen as a drive to boost Google+ numbers and interaction levels, Google owned YouTube has been kitted out with a 'Hangout' icon underneath every video. Mashable notes that this is the first step towards Google+ members being able to activate hangouts around content. This means that we can now watch cats being silly with our friend, without them having to be in the same room. Life is complete.

Twitter users more likely to impact brands than any other social network

The Next Web reports on a recent study which found that active Twitter users are three times more likely to amplify the influence of that brand than a Facebook user would. For people who are active on Twitter daily don't stop there: 72% publish blog posts at least once a month, 70% comment on others' blog posts, 61% write articles for third-party sites, 61% write at least one product review a month. In short, the content on Twitter doesn't just stay on Twitter. How can brands use this information? For one brands ought to not treat Twitter like any other social network. It is a social network populated with influentials who are active online participants in internet culture, and should be treated that way. Use Twitter wisely and there is no limit to where your content could go.

Retweet and w00t makes it into the Oxford dictionary

The Oxford English dictionary is updated and a couple of tech inspired words are included in the 400 new words that have been added. These include 'retweet', 'cyberbullying', 'sexting' and 'woot'. No doubt social networking sites have contributed to create a language on the net, which has in turn trickled into offline conversation. We wonder what people would have said 100 years ago - when the first edition of the dictionary was published - to the latest additions... Rather splendid we say.

Retweet Pronunciation:/riːˈtwiːt/

verb:(on the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user). Noun:a reposted or forwarded message on Twitter

Meet Twylah, your brand page for Twitter

One thing that Facebook - and soon also Google+ - has that Twitter hasn't is brand pages. Instead brands have to use the same account template as the rest of us. Not great for marketing your brand... Enter Twylah, a new service that lets you create one page that sums up what you're about. Automatically selecting 20-odd of your most popular tweeted topics (you can exclude any of you so wish) to give potential followers an instant summary of what you tweet most about.

This is a great way to find out who your latest followers are and if you want to follow them back. Check out The New Web's review here.

Social media in the workplace: 44% of companies track employees' social media use in and out of the office

A new survey finds that 71% of the companies asked claim to have actively blocked social networks. This is a very high figure and quite odd considering how integrated social media is in people's lives these days. The same study also finds that 44% of the companies' surveyed say they have polices in place for use of social media that cover both in AND out of the office. While we agree that you as an employee are part of your company's DNA and that anything you do and say online could indirectly implicate your employer, we're wondering if this is taking it a step too far. Should your boss be allowed to "tell" you what you share and tweet in your own time? Truth is that most organisations will benefit from networked employees with possible lead generation, new opportunities, access to 'influencers' and more being brought to the company; so why is it that such a huge portion of companies are still actively restricting this?

Yumalicio.us makes food blogging made easy... well nearly

If you're an avid cook and want to share your creations but can't be asked to set up a blog on the topic, here is the social network for you. Yumalicio.us lets you share images of your dishes, add a short description, follow other users and leave comments. Negative points are that you can't add the whole recipe on the site and there isn't a mobile app for it yet so you still have to take the photo and upload it to your computer before loading it to the site.

Is football gossip ruining Twitter?

The football season is back and fans across the UK rejoice as they take to Twitter to talk about the games. That said the social network has been filled with tweets over the summer with transfer rumours and the saga of Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas' move to Barcelona. As a result of this ShinyShiny asks if football gossip is ruining Twitter, and if so what can be done about it?

It is annoying when a specific topic clogs your Twitter feed for a longer than necessary. Things that I can think of right now: X Factor, Celebrity Big Brother and ... Justin Bieber.

ShinyShiny offers two solutions to the football conundrum (and potentially all other listed above)

1) Create a Twitter especially for fans, whether it be football, X Factor or the Bieber.

2) Use technology to block subject-related tweets. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could simply block out any noise around a subject you have no interest in! I am currently choosing to not go on Twitter during times of #CBB and #XFactor as I have no interest in either, and my feed is flooding with tweets related to the reality shows when they're on... Would be nice to be able to filter out so that I could still see the cool things people are tweeting/sharing even during times of bad TV.

What's your view on this? Let us know in the comments below.

German state dislikes Facebook's 'Like' and bans it among data protection violation claims

The German state of Schleswig-Holstein tells all state institutions to close their Facebook pages and remove the 'Like' button from their websites. Otherwise they face fines. The reason? Apparently Facebook builds profiles of both users and non-users with data collected by the Like button, which, if true, violates German and European data protection laws.

Check into events with Foursquare

One of the first location based social networks, Foursquare adds new features that allow check-ins at events, like concerts and cinemas, instead of just the actual venue. Currently only available in the US and only on the iPhone, Foursquare has partnered with ESPN, MovieTickets.com and SongKick to realise the new features. If you're using Foursquare are you looking forward to this feature coming to the UK?

Starbucks to launch its first Facebook game challenge

Yep, it's soon autumn holiday season in the US which means pumpkins all around. In a new creative push coffee giant Starbucks US is launching a Facebook game - a first for Starbucks - that asks its 24 million plus fans to compete to bring the holiday themed Pumpkin Spice Latte to their cities one week ahead of the official release date.

FA cup match airs live on Facebook

Friday's "first-kick" extra-preliminary FA Cup game between non-league teams Ascot United and Wembley FC was streamed live on Budweiser's Facebook page, the new sponsor of the cup. The 90-minute live steam reportedly had a 'viewing' audience of over 20,000 Facebook members which is a pretty decent first time figure. There are no reports of how much it cost Budweiser...

boxing-ring2.jpg

Don't worry. It's hypothetical.

Unless our daily social media intake suddenly starts to get rationed, which in light of recent events isn't that hard to imagine, then it's not a decision anyone would have to make any time soon, but what if you did have to choose just one, FOREVER?

Granted some people prefer LinkedIn to Twitter and claim it's much more than just a business network and an increasing number of users are getting to grips with Google+ and ignoring Facebook, but I think if we monitored everyone's time 1984-style, then most people would still log onto Facebook and Twitter over the rest. On the whole anyway. Plus I'm REALLY sick of Facebook vs. Google+ posts.

So imagine the scene, Zuckerberg in one corner of the ring and the big, blue, faceless Twitter bird in the other (which in actual fact is called Larry). Who's going to win?

Now although there have been thousands of versus posts pitting these two against each other since Twitter was first launched, the truth is they're extremely different in many, many ways.

So instead of comparing specific features, let's just have a look at some of the main concerns and wider topics:

Round One: Privacy and Settings

This may seem like a bit of a dull one to kick us off, but the issue of privacy and how we can change settings to have more control over our personal information and everyday content is a pretty contentious issue.

Facebook has come under fire countless times in the past over issues of privacy, with many getting increasingly frustrated that every time a new feature is rolled out, all users are forced to automatically opt in. The most recent uproar has been the introduction of facial recognition to people across the globe. There were some concerns when it first came to the US last year, but it wasn't until European countries noticed the changes that things started to really heat up, with German officials claiming it's far too intrusive and asking the social network to remove the functionality altogether.

Having said that once you figure out all of the changes, Facebook's settings page is pretty comprehensive, just a check list of what you do and don't want everyone to see.

Twitter is different in many ways as it's very much an open network. Obviously you can protect your tweets so they're only visible to your friends, but less and less people seem to be taking that option. You can't @ people who don't follow you if your account is locked, which most people don't find appealing because they wouldn't be able to spam celebrities anymore. Sigh.

As far as settings go though, Twitter does let you control everything you need to.

Winner: Tie

Round Two: Photos

Facebook has always been about the photos for me, incessantly taking them, tagging them and browsing through them. The recent "lightbox" effect seemed a little strange at first but actually makes viewing pictures much more appealing and they can now be uploaded in a higher resolution too.

Twitter has always been a handy platform when it comes to sharing photos with your followers, especially considering a lot of photo apps allow you to share straight through to Twitter via your mobile. However until now you'd have to store all of these photos within another service, like Instagram of TwitPic. UNTIL NOW. Over the past few days Twitter has been rolling out a new photo gallery functionality which displays all of the photos anyone has ever added to Twitter, whether that's through an external service or via Twitter's new photo tool - a tiny picture of a camera underneath the "What's happening?" box.

It's hard to tell whether the photo gallery has been received well by the "Twitterverse", there are obviously those that always hate change, but the way it's been integrated into the current look and feel of the site is really slick, so only time will tell whether it'll make people more inclined to share, whether it'll make people less inclined to use third party apps, or whether it'll make no difference whatsoever.

Winner: Facebook, but Twitter was very very close.

Round Three: Friends and Followers

This section is really what you make of it.

If you follow thousands of people on Twitter without thinking and you're still friends with those you hated in school on Facebook, they're both going to be too overcrowded and, well, suck.

Both platforms have the ability to make lists and group your friends, and although that may not be as intuitive as Google+'s circles, it still makes much more sense if you can be bothered to sort through everyone.

The way Twitter handles lists seems much easier in my eyes, and you can then even manage your account through an external tool like TweetDeck to see a column dedicated to that particular list, which many would argue is the most effective way to use Twitter.

When it comes to the content your friends and followers share, that's again down to who they are, but on the whole I think we can all agree that Twitter is often more focused on current affairs than Facebook (unless you're following Kim Kardashian of course) and it's much easier to see the things that interest you with the search functionality and trending topics in the sidebar. In comparison Facebook seems largely more focused on personal news and sharing, but again it really all depends...

Winner: Twitter

Round Four: Usability

Facebook likes to add new features and things every now and again to confuse us, but overall it's fairly easy to get to grips with, particularly if you ignore all the fluff down the left-hand side, like apps, groups and pages - oh, just me?

Twitter does seem much more simple to use, particularly since it became "new Twitter" and did away with the old and dated design.

Winner: Twitter

Round Five: Apps and External Tools

Twitter has a whole host of third party applications that let you manage your Twitter presence, like HootSuite and TweetDeck. There are also all kinds of apps that let you share information and connect with your followers, from fitness tracking apps to photo apps. Of course after the recent photo gallery addition, photo apps are tied into the Twitter offering now more than ever.

It's much the same story with Facebook, but with more of a focus on social gaming, with apps like Farmville going from strength to strength.

Winner: Tie

Winner?

Although there are lots of areas in which both platforms would tie and it's very much down to personal preference, it seems Twitter would win. In the final round Larry would knock Zuckerberg to the floor with his wing. Just.

Briefly exploring each of the areas above has proved more than ever that although each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, they can both be very much what you make of them and I think a large part of that comes down to who you're following and who you're friends with.

So which would you choose?

[Image via]

UK-Riots-Twitter-Chatter-300x200.jpgSo as of 10pm last night Colonel Gaddafi had been shot by his own people. As well as being arrested by foreign forces, holed up in a hotel in the north of Tripoli and having absconded and left the country. When it comes to the truth you take your pick. All of the above were rumours on Twitter and all from reasonably creditable sources. All were heavily retweeted too.

No I admit I don't know where Gaddafi is, but I am sure starting to have issues with Twitter. Not the technology, just like Blackberry Messenger and the riots you really can't blame the medium for being chosen by those who choose to break the law, rather the people who use Twitter.

I can't imagine why people would wish to tweet news they know isn't true. Maybe in Gadfaffi's case presenting him as dead bought him a few hours to be whisked out of Tripoli. As for the rioters, saying things are kicking off in Kilburn might mean that there are few less police out in Dalston. However I think that most of the people are tweeting wrong information aren't that sinister. They are just misguided fools having fun at our expense.

As for retweeting information that hasn't been verified, I guess most people on Twitter (myself included) have done this. However after the riots, like a lot of other Twitter users, I am lot more wary of doing it.

Also those who plea for others not to retweet rumours need to be clear as to what 'rumours' are. What 'verifies' a story? When the BBC runs it? News organisations have got things wrong before. Some, ironically take a lead from Twitter...

I guess Twitter really is just a reflection of its users and if there are people who get off on making up news and retweeting hearsay then there's little the technology can do to stop it.

Over the past few months what once was a very real breaker of news has shifted to become much more of a field for rumour, unsubstantiated facts and more all presented as gospel truth. In many ways it undermines the credibility of Twitter as a news source and makes me feel less inclined to go there for updates. It is saying something but these days Sky News seems to be a better bet.

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