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Qnary Roundup: LiveRail, Gangnam Style, Native Advertising, and more

BN-FV591_1203ps_G_20141203085112 Each week, the Qnary team hosts a Friday morning meeting where we discuss the most interesting issues in social media today. Here, we recap those for you.

Why LiveRail Ditched An IPO To Sell Its Video AdTech To Facebook For ~$500M.

“The company was profitable. We probably would have pursued an IPO. The business was accelerating”, LiveRail CEO Mark Trefgarne tells me in his first interview about how his company was acquired by Facebook in July for what multiple sources say was $500 million.

Still, rather than go public, Trefgarne said his team realized that “If we work hard at Facebook, we have a real opportunity to take over the world…actually that’s not the best phrase [laughs]. Maybe not take over the world, but do some really industry changing stuff.” (Via TechCrunch)

Psy's "Gangnam Style" Has Exceeded the Number of Views a YouTube Video can hold.

Since his breakout hit “Gangnam Style” debuted in July 2012, it has become the most watched video on YouTube to date, scoring over 2.1 billion (that’s billion with a ‘b’) views. While this feat is staggering in itself, Google posted a nugget on YouTube’s Google+ page on Monday about this accomplishment, saying that it’s been viewed so many times they’ve been required to “upgrade” the video site’s backend. When YouTube was first designed, it was never expected for a video to exceed 2,147,483,647 views because of how the counter software was originally coded. “It’s like a car odometer,” says YouTube spokesperson Matt McLernon. “Once it rolls over the last nine, it resets.” He said the company thought 2 billion would be enough and it wasn’t. (Via The Wall Street Journal)

Former Google+ designer slams the service for being 'Facebook lite'

Google+ is a social network "adrift at sea," representing a big missed opportunity for the company, a former Google employee who worked on the service says.

Chris Messina, who worked on Google+ user experience design before leaving the company over a year ago, wrote a long post on Medium, in which he criticizes the service for not delivering on its initial vision of empowering users with the vast amount of data that Google collects about them. He also calls out Google+ for not having any meaningful differentiators over its more successful competitor, Facebook. "Most people would likely describe Google+ as a newsfeed, a kind of Facebook-lite," he wrote. (via Mashable)

Vloggers told to label paid-for videos before people click on them

Vloggers who make promotional videos without clearly identifying that they've been paid for have been warned by the Advertising Standards Agency that they must make it clearer to the viewer.

The warning comes after a BBC Newsround investigation into videos posted to YouTube by a number of UK bloggers in June who were paid by Mondelez UK to say good things about one of its brands, Oreo biscuits. A BBC journalist made a complaint to the UK ad standards body, which upheld it. (Via Mashable)

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Qnary Roundup: Facebook News Feed Tweaks, Tumblr on Net Neutrality, Ocho's New Vine App, and More

Tweeted from Orbit by Reid Wiseman. Via Each week, the Qnary team hosts a Friday morning meeting where we discuss the most interesting issues in social media today. Here, we recap those for you.

Facebook Tweaks Its News Feed

Facebook’s news feed is the most important part of one of the key sites on the internet. Almost everyone who has ever owned a computer is able to at least recognise it (particularly as so many other websites have emulated it in so many ways), and most of these people regularly access their own walls and news feeds via their personal Facebook accounts. It's the private little plot of land in which only content people actually care about filters through to them. (Via SocialMediaToday)

Tumblr taps artists to design shirts for net neutrality

Tumblr has tapped its community of artists to create products that benefit the fight for net neutrality. On Monday, Tumblr launched its latest foray into charitable merchandise with the launch of the Tumblr Artist Series, featuring limited edition T-shirts designed by artists Cindy Suen, Traceloops, Mikey Burton, Santtu Mustonen and Pasquale D'Silva. (Via Mashable)

Mark Cuban-Backed Ocho Launches Its Social Network For Eight-Second Videos

According to Jourdan Urbach, co-founder of social video startup Ocho, “There really isn’t anything out there that’s just a solid social video platform.” That might come as a surprise to users of Vine, but Urbach argued that with its six-second, looping videos, Vine has really become a unique, specialized format, one that’s dominated by “high-end creators.” More broadly, he said that video is usually “shoehorned into existing platforms,” or the apps are more narrowly focused on things like combining music and videos. (via TechCrunch)

Social media in orbit: An astronaut’s stunning photos shared via Twitter

After almost six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Maryland local Reid Wiseman landed safely in Kazakhstan. Wiseman built quite a social media following for his pictures from space.  “It’s been an honor and a privilege to spend 165 days up here. With that said, I’m looking forward to heading home,” Wiseman said on Saturday. Wiseman grew up in Cockeysville, Md., near Baltimore. Throughout his journey, Wiseman gave a glimpse of life in space through his social media accounts. While not the first astronaut to share photos from space or connect with Earthlings with social media, he gained an almost cult-like following. In the month he first arrived on the ISS, Wiseman had 37,000 followers on Twitter. As of Monday, he had more than 360,000. Wiseman spoke about his social media presence with Time in July: (Via Washington Post)

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Qnary Roundup: Hyperlapse, WhatsApp at 600 Million users, Twitter’s public analytics, and more

Via Forbes Each week, the Qnary team hosts a Friday morning meeting where we discuss the most interesting issues in social media today. Here, we recap those for you.

Instagrammers, Including Jimmy Fallon, Are Rushing to Try Out Hyperlapse

Call it fast-food porn. Now that hyperlapsing is a thing, courtesy of Instagram, everyone’s videos can be seen at 12 times the normal speed. The Hyperlapse app is the latest gift to social media, allowing people to shoot footage at warp speed and share it on Instagram or Facebook.

So far the results have been fairly mundane—it’s the same old videos of dogs, cats and food, only faster. That’s not to say Hyperlapsing won’t yield some creative uses, just like six-second Vines led to a whole new genre of mobile moviemaking. And there is actually some pretty sophisticated technology at work in Hyperlapse, the second stand-alone app from Instagram. The computing power needed for such fancy image stabilization has not always been available in phones, and Wired said this is essentially $15,000 worth of editing technology packed into an app.

What are the masses doing with this technology, which caused #hyperlapse to trend on Twitter? Well, so far, Jimmy Fallon has eaten cake really fast in Hyperlapse mode. Here’s hoping there’s some genius who can put fast-motion to good use. For now, here’s a look at some of the everyday joys of life, only faster, starting with Fallon's first attempt. (via AdWeek)

WhatsApp Hits 600 Million Active Users, Founder Says

When Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg held talks with WhatsApp over what would become a mega, $19-billion takeover deal last February, he told the founders he’d love for their popular messaging app to “connect 4 to 5 billion people over the next five years.” It was an extraordinary mandate, yet WhatsApp may be gradually getting there. On Monday founder Jan Koum announced on Twitter TWTR +0.65% that the free texting service he started in his Santa Clara townhouse in 2009, had hit 600 million monthly active users.

In late April, the number was 500 million, meaning the app has been gaining roughly 25 million new active users each month, or 833,000 active users per day. Back in March, WhatsApp founder Brian Acton confirmed to Forbes that the service had been signing up 1 million new users per day since Dec. 1, 2013, so the rate appears to have remained steady since then, when accounting for the people who sign up but don’t remain active. (via Forbes)

Twitter Now Lets Anyone Check How Many People Saw Their Tweets

Twitter analytics are now available to all users. In June, Twitter began experimenting with opening its analytics dashboard to users outside of its advertisers.

Then, last month, Twitter rolled out an updated analytic dashboard to marketers, verified users and Twitter Card publishers.

The dashboard lets users see how many impressions each tweet has received (how many times users saw the tweet on Twitter), the number of favorites their tweet has received, how many times others have clicked on their profiles, and the number of retweets and replies on a certain tweet. It also shows how many times users engaged with a tweet and what that engagement was.

Now, all users can get access to these types of statistics by visiting analytics.twitter.com. (Via Mashable)

Spending on Digital Ads to Overtake TV in 2017

Magna Global also predicts the strongest U.S. ad growth rate in a decade for 2015. Digital advertising spending will exceed TV ad spending in the U.S. in 2017, Magna Global said in its latest forecast Tuesday. That would be about a year earlier than the firm previously projected. The company also now forecasts the biggest U.S. ad gain in a decade for 2015, after raising its projections for the year.

Magna Global said U.S. digital ad revenue would reach $72.0 billion in 2017, compared with TV ad spending of $70.5 billion. Last year, digital accounted for $43 billion, with Magna forecasting it will reach the $50 million mark this year. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

Move Aside Twitter Timeline Haters, Business Wins

Twitter redefined its timeline Monday, officially acknowledging that the feature is for more than just those you follow and their retweets.

First, a quick recap. Earlier this month, Twitter started experimenting with what users see on their timeline. That included adding tweets from accounts users don't directly follow and has evolved to incorporate tweets users they follow favorite. The second experiment, which treats favorites more like retweets, offers a significant change to the ways users interact with the service. As I wrote on Sunday, Twitter favorites have an entirely separate social dynamic and their meaning is much more nuanced and personal to the user.

Unsurprisingly, the user response to the changes is predominately negative. Doing a Twitter search for "Twitter annoying" and "Twitter changes" turned up a number of tweets responding to the change from users of all stripes and follower counts. (via Mashable)

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Qnary Roundup: Twitter’s “Favorite” Updates, New Vine iOS App, Unseen, Looksie, and more

Looksee App (via Techcrunch) Each week, the Qnary team hosts a Friday morning meeting where we discuss the most interesting issues in social media today. Here, we recap those for you.

Twitter Starts to Change the Central Logic of Its Service

This week, the company tested a change to its core product that could alter the service in a small but important way. According to Mashable, Twitter is altering the timeline of a small number of users so that they see tweets from accounts they don’t follow.

Right now, users only see tweets for three reasons: They’re from an account that user follows; they were retweeted by an account that user follows; or they’re an ad. Now, a user might see tweets from an account that someone whom they follow follows, or a tweet that someone they follow favorited. (via The Atlantic)

Hands On With the New Vine: 6-Second Videos Will Never Be the Same

The new camera features on Vine aren't just shiny and new, they've totally changed the platform. It’s been nearly two years since Twitter acquired Vine and added it to the canon of notable social media platforms. Six-second looping videos simply weren’t “a thing” before Vine proved that our short attention spans were, in fact, good for something.

Scores of users descended on the simple new tool, discovering the world of complex six-second animations that could change perspective simply by touching the tapping the screen.

But there were limits. Users had to create Vines totally within the Vine app, which meant that all the restrictions of the 4:3 aspect ratio Vine camera were applied to your recording endeavors. Some got around this by shooting and editing video elsewhere, playing it back on a computer (or even tablet or phone screen) and then filming that with Vine on a phone. The results were uneven, and Vine purists started talking about “natural Vines” versus, one would guess, “unnatural” ones. (via Mashable)

Unseen, An Anonymous Photo Sharing App For Colleges, Raises $2.1 Million

An Austin-based company called Bearch has raised $2.1 million in seed funding for its anonymous photo-sharing app Unseen, which has been trending on college campuses. Investors in the round include Rackspace co-founder Dirk Elmendorf, Indeed.com CEO Rony Kahan, CEO of Woodbolt International Doss Cunningham, and several other angel investors.

At first glance, Unseen looks similar to other anonymous networking apps that have become popular in recent months, including competitors like Secret or Whisper for example. But co-founder Michael Schramm stresses its intention is to ultimately build a different type of community for its users. Using both manual and outsourced moderation procedures, the idea with Unseen is to cut down on the bullying and other inappropriate behaviors that anonymous apps can contribute to without being heavy-handed. (Via Techcrunch)

Social media monitoring by employers predicted to rise

A third of young people would be happy for their employer to have access to their social media profiles in return for job security, according to a report that claims such personal data monitoring will become more commonplace.

The report, written by consultants from PwC using a survey of 10,000 workers worldwide and 500 human resource (HR) professionals, suggests personal data from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites could be used by employers to understand what motivates their workforce, reasons why people might move jobs and to improve employee wellbeing. (via The Guardian)

Looksee Debuts A Tinder-Meets-Instagram For Connecting Around Shared Photos

A new “anonymish” app called Looksee has launched, combining mobile photography with a Tinder-like matching element that lets anonymous users connect with each other over their shared photos. The idea is that when two users mutually like one another’s photos, their identities will then be revealed to each other, allowing them to make a personal connection and begin messaging within the app.

Tinder without the superficiality, perhaps. Or just a different way to make Internet friends? Looksee_4LikedLooksee is largely an experiment at this point, given its launch took place July 31st. The app is a product from Quebec Drive, a company which has previously released a handful of single-named photo apps and games, including Dropin, Phodeo, and Flyin. (via Techcrunch)

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