Google+ is Going Through a Breakup

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Google+ has been suffering from what many tech blogs and business publications are calling a “slow death”—its initial launch established the site as an attempt to be a fully-integrated social platform, with its multifaceted approach rivaling companies like Facebook, Dropbox, WordPress, and Skype.

However, after failing to gain both traction and users in the social media community, it recently announced that it will be splitting the platform into three different components: Hangouts, Photos, and Streams. Hangouts is a video chatting service that will remain independent of Google+, photos is a storage space for images that will be added to Google Drive, and streams covers the rest of the Google+ experience along with News and Blogger.

While the idea of a streamlined, all-in-one social media platform sounded like a good idea, perhaps it was the ambition of the venture that led to its demise; users considered the Google+ login to YouTube a nuisance, found the interface unaesthetic, and the whole system a cheap Facebook facsimile.

Google has finally compromised, maintaining the best aspects of Google+ like Hangouts and Photos, and has removed the Google+ sign-in on YouTube, much to users’ delight.

The moral of the story: Don’t put all of your digital marketing eggs in one basket, especially if your product is at risk of being disruptive—and not in the good way.

What Sparks Our Fire: Google+ taking the next step forward and making smart decisions in the face of a highly-publicized technological failure.

Say Thanks With Facebook

8b1de2b5-343b-4734-b3a0-66048db520a0-bestSizeAvailableWhat is the most important part of your Facebook experience? Your friends, of course. For that matter, Facebook has launched a new ‘Say Thanks’ feature to express your gratitude to friends, family, co-workers and loved ones. Say gracias by creating and sharing an animated slideshow of your shared Facebook history set to the tune of inspirational music. The slideshow gives you the chance to relive past moments with the person you select. You can edit photos and posts those that best represent your friendship. There’s no limit to how many personalized videos you can create and share. So, get moving, it might take you a while to thank all 1000+ of friends. And please don’t forget those bothersome ones who keep inviting you to play FarmVille. The new feature is similar to the year-in review videos Facebook offered at the end of 2013 that we all loved. How apropros, ‘Say Thanks’ came just in time for the Thanksgiving season.

What Sparks Our Fire:  The perfect Facebook feature to celebrate friendships on social media.

Will you be using Say Thanks? Create your personalized video card here.

Are We Planning Our Future Memories?

Cameras are powerful tools to control the memories we make. In a 2010 TED Talk, psychologist and Nobel Prize winner professor Daniel Kahneman, presented the idea that millennials see the present as an “anticipated memory.” In other words, when a person takes an Instagram picture, that person is both experiencing the present reality and actively shaping how that reality will be remembered in the future. As a result, many will argue they are betraying the present by not living in the moment. But, are the memories the real motive why the ‘Instagram generation’ is so addicted to capturing the moment?

Internet surveys indicate over 80% of social media posts to sites like Instagram, Twitter and others amount to “announcements about one’s own immediate experiences”. We post pictures of what we eat, drink, where we’ve been and calmly await for the next tsunami of likes. But what is it that makes us post those pictures on Instagram? Can’t we keep those for our private use? It is undeniable we like the attention but, why do we like the attention so much?

In 2012, Harvard University National Academy of Sciences conducted a study to assess how much people liked talking about themselves and why. The results is that Humans get a biochemical buzz from self-disclosure. We devote almost 40% of conversation sharing our own experience. Sharing personal information activates the reward areas of the brain. The same as we experience after sex, food or getting money. Talking about other people in contrast does not activate the rewarding part of the brain. What is most interesting is the findings also revealed people actually love self-disclosure if they knew people were listening. All of this goes along way toward explaining the appeal of self-promoting social-media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

What Sparks Our Fire: The power of self-disclosure on social media through pictures.

Do you agree with Daniel Kahneman’s statement or do you think this entire generation is sharing Instagram pictures with the ultimate goal of a social validation? We would like to hear your thoughts.

For My Next Trick, I Will Make This Message Disappear

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Someone else has a toy, and Facebook really wants to play with it.

Several weeks ago, Facebook quietly shut down Poke, an app that was pretty much a clone of the monsterously successful Snapchat. Poke was released in 2012 and was touted as the next big thing in Facebook’s family of apps. However it was never on the same level as Snapchat, and in 2013, Facebook attempted and failed to purchase Snapchat with an offer to the tune of $3 billion.

It would seem that the Snapchat model is something Facebook desperately wants to get a toehold in, as evidenced by reports of a new app called Slingshot, which sends short video messages by tapping on the screen. The same reports caution that the app, while it has been in production for some months, may never be released.

Maybe it’s for the best. No one has yet managed to out-Snapchat Snapchat.

What Sparks Our Fire: It’s easy to tell what’s important in social media by the way that Facebook reacts to it.

Would you try out a Snapchat clone?

Kids, I Met Your Mother On Facebook

The basic premise of Facebook is asking you to share more than you naturally would with others. However, several new prompts may push that over-sharing over the edge of awkward.

Something that bothers me personally is when I get the prompt asking if I want to tag a friend in one of their friends photos. I will never ever click this. This is an incredibly awkward situation waiting to happen. I don’t know their friend and I’m always worried that I’ll accidentally click it and have to have an odd interaction with them.

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Now, Facebook is letting you ask your friends about their relationship status. To be clear, you’re asking people who have elected not to share. You click “ask” and you have to send the other user a message about why you want to know. Basically, this is the line between “flirty” and “really really awkward”.

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If you receive one of these messages, you can list select a status that only the other person can see, leaving it private from the rest of the world. This adds an extra layer to Facebook, which seems like it can become a sort of dating site.

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I just hope I don’t accidentally click it on the profile of the cute girl who makes the espresso at Starbucks.

What Sparks Our Fire: Being aware of what the new clickable buttons do.

Would you ever ask a friend if they were single?