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February 15, 2017Published by: Fereshta Amir

Do we need a digital Geneva Convention?

At the annual RSA Conference this week, Microsoft called for the establishment of a digital Geneva Convention. The company's President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, asked for technology companies to step up and work together to protect the public from nation-state sponsored cyber attacks.

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May 21, 2015Published by: Fereshta Amir

Inaugural TMRW conference explores: who owns social media?


Yesterday saw the inaugural event TMRW take place at the IP Expo in Manchester. With a focus on the future of digital and technology, the event featured speakers such as Professor Brian Cox and experts in the worlds of robotics, hacking and social media.

Our founder, Drew, spoke on a panel discussing 'who owns social media' alongside Steve Wood from the Information Commissioner's Office, Dom McGregor of The Social Chain and Stu Jackson of UP Communications.

The one point that all the panellists agreed on was that regulators such as the ASA and ICO are doing a good job of protecting the public, whether that be from abuse, bad content or misleading advertising practices. But that also the social networks themselves could and should always do more to speed up the process of cleaning up social media.

If you missed the event, highlights are on Twitter and on TMRW's site.

Photo credit Lizzie Wood 

May 12, 2015Published by: Fereshta Amir

Snapchat Our Stories returns to London

If you're an avid SnapChatter like we all are at Battenhall London, you will have noticed that for a while now, the photo sharing platform has been running 'Our Stories', which sees people from around the world showing what life is like where they live. So far we've seen the likes of NYC Life, LA Life, London Life, Dubai Life, Toronto Life, Singapore Life and more. Today, the Our London Story is running, meaning people in London can add snaps to the live story, with the hope of getting global fame, and users can take part right now.

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April 22, 2015Published by: Fereshta Amir

Is this Facebookgeddon? The social network changes its News Feed algorithm to promote friends’ content

Image Credit: Fast Company

Image Credit: Fast Company

Facebook just announced yet another change to its giant platform. This particular change has our eyes peeled, as it's about tweaking its algorithm to promote content from friends.

Let's look at the three main big changes in more detail, which as outlined by Facebook product manager Max Eulenstein and user experience researcher Lauren Scissor, are:

1. Facebook users will now be able to see more than one NewsFeed post from the same source in a row. Facebook's algorithm previously prevented that. Facebook says it's "relaxing this rule" so that users who don't see much content in their feeds can start seeing more.
2. Facebook will start prioritising NewsFeed content posted by friends. "The second update tries to ensure that content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it," Facebook writes. It says you'll still see content from news organisations and Facebook pages you enjoy though.
3. Facebook will begin hiding posts that say what your friends have liked or commented on. This sounds like it could really diminish a publisher's second-hand reach. "This update will make these stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all," Facebook says.

This is of course great news for everyone who has ever been annoyed at seeing more promoted brand content then friends' news on their News Feeds. As Fast Company reports, this could make life a little harder for brands and publishers, as traffic to brand pages could suffer as a result of the algorithm tweaks. Read the more about the changes over at Business Insider.

February 13, 2015Published by: Fereshta Amir

Could Yik Yak be the next big thing in mobile?

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 17.21.58

We'd bet our bottom dollar that most of you who are reading this are familiar with WhatsApp and have used it at least once, have heard of SnapChat and have read an article or two about WeChat's popularity in Asia by now. Well, there's a new player in the messaging app game that is worth taking a note of: Yik Yak.

Yik Yak is a hyper-local so-called 'gossip' app which has so far raised an impressive $10 million in funds and has taken US college campuses by storm (let's not forget that social giant Facebook started life there!)

We've been playing around with the app and the first thing to note is that it is very student and teen heavy, as expected. Users can post anonymous 'yaks', or text posts, into the Yik Yak ether which can then be voted up or down by other 'yakkers'. Everything you see on your feed is from other users within a 10 mile radius known as a 'herd'.

The posts with the most votes are ranked higher and can be commented on too. Everyone can post a yak and be a yakker and everything is anonymous - there is no such thing as photos or avatars to identify users. The below should give you a gist of the ever changing and random content you could see pop up on your feed.

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 17.26.10

Yik Yak is available on at least 1,500 college campuses and according to the founders it's starting to get a pretty good foothold into other English-speaking countries like Canada, the U.K. and Australia. It's growing fast and we're keeping a very close eye!

January 9, 2015Published by: Fereshta Amir

In numbers: why brands need to start taking Snapchat seriously

EvanSpiegelEvery month at Battenhall we take a look at user stats of major players as well as the next big thing in the world of social media, reporting our findings in The Battenhall Monthly. Times (and figures) are a'changing as in the last few months of 2014, we saw Instagram trump Twitter with a whopping 300 million users and now it looks like Snapchat could be bigger than we thought too. We've reported that SnapChat has more than 100 million users, but according to this Business Insider article that number could be closer to 200 million if you read between the lines of CEO Evan Spiegel's words.

If this is true, then the four year young photo sharing company has steadily grown to a user base as big as that of Instagram's. If this is not enough to convince sceptical brands (and people) that Snapchat is here to stay, then this might: the company recently raised nearly $500 million at a $10-20 billion valuation and reported 700 million photos sent per day on the app, with 500 million Snapchat Stories (and that was back in May 2014!)

Snapchat users are highly engaged and its CEO quoted its growth as "abnormal", which was revealed in leaked private emails following the Sony hack. Reading between the lines, it is hinted that Snapchat could be closing in on Twitter's hold of 180 million+ mobile users.

We're keeping our eyes peeled for official stats, but while we wait for that... maybe it's time for brands to consider Snapchat as not just another app, but one that is here to stay. Read more on this here.