Saturday Social – WhatsApp, Mashtags and a Twitter Lie Detector
Facebook Acquires WhatsApp
The biggest news taking place in the world of social media this week, was the acquisition of social messaging application WhatsApp by social giant Facebook for a whopping $19 billion. Facebook has announced that just like with their previous acquisition, Instagram, WhatsApp will largely remain independent from the network.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, called WhatsApp: “an extremely high-quality product with incredibly strong engagement and rapid growth. It doesn’t get as much attention in the U.S. as it deserves because it started out growing in Europe, India, and Latin America.” He also added: “It’s the only widely used app we’ve ever seen that has a higher rate of engagement than Facebook itself.”
The break down of the WhatsApp purchase includes $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in shares, with the WhatsApp co-founder and CEO, Jan Koum, joining the board on Facebook. The messaging app currently has more than 450 million users, so it will be interesting to see how this acquisition affects the figures.
Scientists Develop Twitter Lie Detector
With millions of tweets zapping around the world, it is often hard to tell which are real and which are completely fake. Scientists are now developing an online lie detector which can tell what is fact and what is just fiction from only 140 characters.
The new tool called “Pheme” will scan text in tweets from a range of news services and individuals, to decipher whether they are telling the truth or not. This tool good be invaluable in situations like the London riots, where rioters used the social network to share untrue information and organise themselves around the city.
“Pheme” is named after a Greek Goddess that was famous for spreading rumours. Social media can be fantastic for sharing news quickly, but with regular fake stories also making their way across the network, being able to tell the difference will really come in handy.
It has actually happened, Birds Eye have taken on the challenge to engage with the youth of today in the form of potato shaped “Mashtags”. Everyone remembers the delicious potato smiley faces that used to grace the plates of our dinner after a long day of school right? Well, now frozen foods brand Birds Eye have taken it a step further and developed a tea-time tasty “tweet”.
Pete Johnson, Senior Brand Manager at Birds Eye, said: “The addition of Mashtags to our food range is an exciting development for Birds Eye. Social media is all about conversation and we’re confident Mashtags will resonate across various groups of people”.
The potato Mashtags include hash signs, @ signs, asterisks and some remaining smiley faces. Advertised as #New and #Tasty, these scrumptious potato symbols will be available in a range of supermarkets across the UK from March onwards.
Philip Pullman Tells Story Through Twitter
Author Philip Pullman has finally given in to pressure from fans and set up his own Twitter account. He has based the decision on the fact that he can now recount his newest tale about a housefly named Jeffrey through the power of tweets. One of Britain’s top authors, Philip Pullman is most well known for his trilogy called His Dark Materials and unlike other authors is using his Twitter account in a completely different way to the average users on the social network.
His timeline now tells the story of Jeffrey in a series of painstaking 140 character long tweets. So far, over 8000 people have signed up to hear the story recounted one tweet at a time, which tells the tale of the housefly’s interactions with a ladybird called Polka and a woodworm called Dead-Eyes as he battles a dung addition.
This is a very interesting way for authors to engage with fans and drip feed snippets of future novels to an audience, to keep them interested and looking forward to more. This could be the future for authors when it comes to future book promotion, so watch this space.