News

These are the headlines from some of the web sources that I follow.

  • Your Crib Sheet for Microsoft's World of Data
    When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and his data team took the stage in San Francisco on Wednesday to talk about the company’s strategy, they used a few terms that are not yet in the vernacular. But they soon will be. And while you’re certainly welcome to figure out what they are and, more importantly, what they mean once you hear them, we figure that, at least some of readers, will want to be among the first to use them. Read full story... Follow us on Twitter Join free newsletter View upcoming events Find a new job
  • 5 Minutes with Vala Afshar
    Ask three marketing executives to define "social business" and you’ll get three different views. One may see the potential of using the big data of social media to enhance the customer experience. Another explains how collaborative social tools like Yammer enhance productivity. Some may see social business as a way to enhance brand. And they all may be right in the context of their own experience. One thing upon which they would probably all agree upon is that we’re just beginning to understand social business. To help shed light on the topic, we contacted Vala Afshar, co-author of The Pursuit of Social Business Success. Read full story... Follow us on Twitter Join free newsletter View upcoming events Find a new job
  • Why Does Facebook Want You To Broadcast Your Location To Your Friends?
    Facebook is trying to get you to share even more information, this time by beaming your location to your friends all the time. The optional feature, called Nearby Friends, is built to help you find people around you. You can tailor the options to prevent specific friends from seeing your location. Nearby Friends alerts you to when friends are in your area, and allows you to share your precise location with them for a set period of time. On the upside, it might inspire some friends to meet up in the real world.  The success (or lack thereof) of place-based social apps like Highlight show us that most people are perfectly happy keeping their location to themselves, unless they want to explicitly share it with friends. Running into someone on the street is just not the same when you know they’ve been following your location online in the hopes of a “surprise” connection. A Nosey Friend Who’s Trying Too Hard Facebook, like an overbearing acquaintance who keeps asking about your weekend plans, has made a habit of asking its users for their location—and doesn't seem to get the message when it’s snubbed. In 2011, Facebook rolled out a Foursquare-like check-in feature called Facebook Places in its mobile app. Most users ignored it, and Facebook eventually killed it, opting instead to let users include location in photos and status updates. A year later, the company attempted a similar feature that let anyone see your location, including complete strangers. Facebook quickly pulled the short-lived “Find Friends Nearby,” after many people raised privacy concerns. The company is ready to try again, and this time is quick to point out the feature is optional and only shows your location to people you want to see it.  But the question remains: Do we really want our Facebook friends to know where we are at all times?  There are already numerous services that let people share their exact location with friends, and in more intimate settings. Apps like WhatsApp, GroupMe, and Path let you share your location on a map with individuals or small, defined groups. Foursquare check-ins can be broadcast to both Twitter and Facebook, or shared to the smaller set of friends you have on that service. With all these services, users are actively sharing their location, with a fairly strong idea of who will receive the information and when they'll see it. But with Facebook’s new feature, users will be passively sharing their whereabouts, not knowing who is looking for them, or when they’ll be found.  Our Facebook accounts are no longer just for friends—the average user has 338 “friends,” many of whom they’d rather not accidentally run into at the grocery store. Sure, you can create specific lists with whom you share your location, but it’s likely those same people would be the ones you want to spend time with, and are likely in contact with on other apps, or even—gasp—in real life. A Battery Of Complaints There’s one more downside that Facebook is likely loathe for users to think about. The new feature will require users to turn on location services for the Facebook app, if they haven’t already done so. That will likely cause a huge drain on battery life. One former Apple Store Genius Bar employee recommends disabling Facebook location services as the best way to save your iPhone’s battery. Until Facebook delivers proper value to its users in exchange for learning their location—information that’s obviously valuable to advertisers—it’s not clear why anyone should make this tradeoff. There’s an obvious better way for Facebook to encourage users to share their location in a way that’s useful to them: Facebook Messenger. The current system has a very crude way to share one’s location, by clicking an arrow. All that does is inform the other user of your current city, which is useless if you’re trying to get together with a friend. Adding a way to share one’s specific location, down to a specific business, office, or other venue, with a specific group of people is an obvious move, and would keep Facebook Messenger competitive with other messaging apps. It would also put users in full control, since they would select exactly who to share location with and when. One reason why Facebook might not be doing this is that its directory of places is not yet fast, accurate, or complete enough to be useful. WhatsApp, which Facebook recently purchased for $19 billion, uses Foursquare's database, not Facebook’s, and Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service, is testing a switch from Foursquare to Facebook with apparently poor results. Rather than alerting people to nearby friends and hoping for the best, Facebook ought to fix its own places directory and let users share their location in a way they’ve shown they want to. It seems so obvious—but for the world's largest social network, maybe locating a clue is harder than we think. Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Nearby Friends displays your precise location at all times. You don't see the exact location on a map unless your friend has chosen to share their location with you, you just see if they are nearby. Images courtesy of Facebook
  • Mondelez VP Offers Food for Thought on Empowering Customers
    Mondelēz International may not be a household name, but its brands are. Think belVita Breakfast Biscuits, Cheese Nips, Chips Ahoy! Cookies, Chiclets chewing gum — and the seasonally appropriate Cadbury Creme Egg. As vice president of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelēz, Bonin Bough knows them all. But he knows even more about mobile, social and using both to reach and empower customers. He’s been described as a leader of the digital marketing revolution —"integrating mobile and social into all marketing campaigns and embarking on the next wave of social – empowering consumers to socially endorse products they love." At Mondelēz, he’s responsible for leading and developing partnerships and omnichannel customer experiences that span all forms of media. A magazine fanatic and Lego advocate, Bough is Twitter champ, with more than 14 thousand followers. He co-authored the 2010 book Perspectives on Social Media Marketing and has been recognized as one of business’ hottest rising stars on lists complied by Fortune, Fast Company, Ebony and The Internationalist. Read full story... Follow us on Twitter Join free newsletter View upcoming events Find a new job
  • Allegiance Wants to 'Change the DNA' of Customer Experience
    It isn’t always pleasant to acknowledge the negative. But the data didn’t lie — and HireVue reports it revealed a story of customer dissatisfaction.  Porter Williams, director operations and client services at HireVue, a 150-employee human resources technology provider, told CMSWire a quarterly survey showed a high level of discontent among customers migrating from the company’s old platform to a new one. “This set of unhappy customers represented 20 percent of our customer base,” Williams said. “And most were up for renewal. A huge percentage of our customer base might have defected if we had been oblivious to their concerns.” Instead, it addressed them — with the help of customer data insights from the Allegiance Software customer experience platform. It’s one reason South Jordan, Utah-based Allegiance has been able to increase its workforce 50 percent the past couple of years to 115. Read full story... Follow us on Twitter Join free newsletter View upcoming events Find a new job
  • Taking My Diet To The Next Level
    ReadWriteBody is an ongoing series where ReadWrite covers networked fitness and the quantified self. Quantifying your activity and nutrition, as I’ve done for years, can only take you so far. Sometimes gathering the numbers just tells you the same bad news you can see in the mirror. Here it is: After dropping 12 pounds last year, I’ve been stuck around 195 pounds for months. I'm still very active, going on runs with my dog around Telegraph Hill, spiking my heart rate with gym workouts, and trying different training techniques while I continue to test new fitness gadgets and apps. It's pretty clear what I need to tackle next: what I eat. And I have a short-term motivator: I've signed up to take my colleagues through a boot-camp exercise program in a month. My co-instructor is a former MMA pro. I’m feeling the heat. Beyond Food Logging As much as I love MyFitnessPal, an app in which I log everything I eat, it doesn't feel like a good meal-planning tool. I use it for accountability, recording what I eat as I go. Rigorously admitting my food slip-ups keeps me aware of my food habits and where I can improve them. I don't want to tinker with that part of my routine. What I need is an app that plans my meals, generates a shopping list, and helps keep me on track. Ideally, it would look ahead at my calendar. For example, this week, I packed five days’ worth of morning meals, forgetting that I had two breakfast meetings planned. Push notifications to remind me to eat at the right time would help—especially since the timing of meals may be a factor in weight loss. And there's always the unexpected, like the leftover Chinese food I'm having for lunch today. An ideal meal-planning app would adjust on the fly for the occasional overindulgence. The Ultimate Food App Hasn’t Been Invented Yet The last thing I want is connectedness: I want an app that automatically populates MyFitnessPal with my planned meals as I eat them, that consults RunKeeper or MapMyFitness to get an eye on my calories burned through exercise, that picks up my sleep habits from my activity tracker, that pulls menus from restaurants when I schedule a meeting, and that outputs a shopping list I can import into grocery-delivery services like AmazonFresh, Postmates, or Instacart. From what I've seen, there are plenty of meal planners that focus on organizing recipes. What they lack is contextual awareness of the vast amounts of data I throw off in my quantified life. Somewhere out there, someone must be building the perfect next-generation food-planning app, one that factors in my schedule, exercise, sleep, and other measurable habits. If you are, let me know. In the meantime, I’ve got some old-fashioned work to do, with a familiar set of tools to rely on. I’ll let you know how it goes.


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