Today, Tumblr is releasing its redesigned client for iPhone and iPad, bringing along a completely refreshed look and feel for iOS 7. The redesign, unlike some others to come out of Apple’s big shakeup, manages to maintain the core of what makes Tumblr so attractive to its millions of users.
The new Tumblr app will look fairly familiar to users, as the trademark blue remains, as does the post format that puts the focus on the content being shared, with a slim bar of interface hovering behind, helpful but not intrusive. What’s gained this time is a big focus on the Activity stream, which was previously buried underneath the account tab.
Moving the Activity stream out to the tabs, says Tumblr’s Creative Director Peter Vidani, was a decision that was made simply because it was so popular. Users, especially heavy users, were checking it a lot to see the latest likes, replies, reblogs and follows incessantly. Moving that out to the tab bar is a statement about how important this stream is. It’s the feedback loop, the thing that keeps you coming back to the app obsessively, just to see if you’ve got some new interactions to check out. The same concept drives feeds in other apps like Twitter’s Connect tab. If you’re getting feedback, you’re going to keep producing content (or re-blogging it) to get more. Call it Pavlovian, but it makes a lot of sense.
In addition to the Activity stream’s promotion, posting has also gotten a complete revamp. Tapping the new post icon gives you access to six large and easier to tap icons for all of the content types. Each of the composition screens has also gotten a revamp, but the photo sharing option is probably the most different.
The photo capture screen is really cleverly done, and now dumps you onto a grid of images from your camera roll, rather than allowing you to choose immediately between the roll and the camera. This, Vidani says, was done after the data suggested that people dipped into their albums for images to post far more than they went to the camera. But the camera experience isn’t neglected — there’s a square near the bottom with a camera icon that displays a live view of your phone’s camera, inviting you to shoot an image if you choose. It’s neatly done.
Nicely detailed touches are scattered throughout. There are now ‘toast’ notifications that pop up while you’re using the app to tell you if you’ve gotten a reblog or like. This behavior was more difficult to implement on previous versions of iOS, Vidani says, because it was tough to get the metaphors to make sense. iOS 7 allows for much more freedom to ‘play with shapes’, letting the tab bar expand outwards to display the notification naturally.
The Explore screen has also gotten a nice refresh, with a line of hashtag topics near the top that use iOS 7′s dynamics engine to stretch and scroll quirkily. They’re also animated, displaying video or gif content to catch the eye.
Vidani says that Tumblr has been making an effort to make posting more of a ‘casual’ function. This, he says, is in keeping with Tumblr’s design directives to ‘keep it small’. Even the number of things that a user is being asked to assimilate on the screen at once is given careful consideration.
This fits in thematically with other interesting experiments in the online publishing world. Medium, for instance, leverages the lowered barriers that come from making the act of creating a post the same as publishing a post. It’s a one-for-one equation. When you make a post in Tumblr, the post screen looks exactly like it will once you hit go. There’s no ‘rendering’ process here like there is with some platforms like WordPress. Yes, there are limitations to this approach, but it also keeps the threshold for self-publishing to the bare minimum.
Services like Tumblr (or Twitter, for that matter) have taught a generation of content creators that publishing things to the web can be something we do from anywhere, at any time, without a major production. This redesign keeps to that tenet well.
The overall feel of the Tumblr app for iOS 7 remains close to its previous editions at heart. Everything has been touched, massaged or redesigned, but it doesn’t feel foreign. “We thought hard about how to apply the feel [of iOS 7] without compromising what we know to be Tumblr, what users know to be Tumblr,” says Vidani. From our brief time with the app, that appears to be true. It’s a solid, clever and beautiful update that has found a home on iOS 7 without selling all of its belongings to buy it.
Go here to read the rest: Tumblr for iOS 7 Sharpens A Great Design Without Diluting It, And Brings Focus Onto Activity Stream
Jake Athey is the Marketing Manager for Widen Enterprises.
If you’re struggling to remember, or are having daymares about your own content, the first thing you need to do is stop thinking of content as just “filler,” like packing peanuts or bubble wrap.
Visiting a website with filler content is a lot like walking into a living room and finding a coffee table book like “Extraordinary Chickens” or “United States Coinage: A Study By Type.” As a visitor, you’re under no obligation to read either book, but you have to question the judgment of the person who chose them.
In other words, I would argue that bad content is worse than a lack of content.
This means that great content can also give B2B companies a serious leg up over their competition. Anyone can produce Web copy, infographics, videos, slideshows, white papers, blog posts, cartoons and interactive gizmos – but not everyone can do it well.
Publishing, distributing, tracking and analyzing content has become much easier thanks to technology. But what in the world should B2B businesses try to create? If you’re looking for a better starting point, here are three steps that can help.
In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” a lost and troubled Alice asks the Cheshire Cat for directions. The exchange goes like this:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
B2B content often sounds a lot like Alice: it never had a destination, so the subject and type of content never mattered.
Instead, set a quantifiable goal before choosing what you’re going to create. Do you want website visitors to spend X percent more time on your new product page? Do you want to boost blog traffic by Y percent? Do you want to increase the sales conversion rate on your new software suite by Z percent? Be specific and make sure you can measure your success. This will hold you and your team accountable for whatever you do create.
When you visit Google News, you want to be informed. When you load The Onion, you want witty entertainment. When you visit Dunkin’ Donuts, you probably want coffee.
However, when Dunkin’ launched in the 1950s it wanted people to buy donuts. Once local coffee shops, McDonald’s and Starbucks starting kicking its butt, Dunkin’ Donuts realized people wanted coffee first and donuts second. In the 1990s, Dunkin’ Donuts became a coffee shop with donuts.
If ‘donuts’ aren’t helping you reach any of the goals you set in Step 1, it’s time to search for your coffee and test your hypotheses.
HubSpot, the maker of inbound marketing software, could have created one of the world’s most boring B2B blogs, but instead they created one of the Internet’s favorites. They figured out that their audience likes up-to-date marketing news, inbound marketing tips and the latest statistics on SEO, blogging, social media and marketing trends—all packaged in concise, readable posts. You don’t have to be a HubSpot customer to benefit from the overwhelming majority of their content.
Whether you aim to inform, entertain, inspire, argue or mesmerize your audience, before you publish anything, ask yourself: Why do they care? What’s in it for them? Am I giving them coffee or forcing down donuts?
The Internet is a breeding ground for repurposing. It’s easier to retweet, ‘like’ and copy/paste than it is to tweet, post or write from scratch—so businesses often cringe at the idea of offering something entirely new. Imitate all you want—the very best writers, filmmakers and artists are all prolific imitators—but add your personal touch.
Original surveys or experiments could be a great option if you have the time, skill and money. But sometimes you just need a fresh, unusual perspective on a familiar topic.
If you’re grasping for ideas, there are probably interesting characters at your company that can help out. Chances are, that highly caffeinated, 60-year old sales veteran who shouts across the office and replies all to every email has some great stories and unconventional opinions that would make for a fun post on sales strategies. Has that topic been covered? Many times, but that’s because people, including your B2B customers, probably care about making sales.
Don’t get trapped into believing that your business is too technical or confusing for lively content. If Stephen Hawkings can make cosmology interesting and understandable for the masses, you can make your industry interesting to more people than you think.
After all your brainstorming, research, creating and editing, how do you know when a piece of content is ready to ship? I recommend two litmus tests:
If the answer is “no” to either question, pump the breaks and get some outside opinions.
Don’t beat yourself up though: you don’t have to publish the next Malcolm Gladwell book on your blog. Just set your goals, remember your audience and take the risk of offering something original and perhaps even risky.
View original post here: Bad content is worse than no content: How to create stuff that doesn’t stink
This post was originally published on the Buffer blog.
I recently covered some big changes that Twitter has made, and here is another one. Twitter just added inline images to tweets so that you don’t need to click a link to see an attached image, but rather the Tweet itself expands. This only works with images uploaded directly to Twitter, which use a pic.twitter.com URL. If you Tweet a Vine video, you’ll also see this inline on Twitter.com or in the official Twitter apps for iPhone and Android.
Here’s what Tweets with images look like now on Twitter.com:
And here’s how it looks in the Twitter stream:
In the official Twitter apps for iPhone and Android, images are automatically expanded as a preview, and you can tap to open the full image. Here’s what the new Twitter stream looks like on Android:
It’s not surprising that Twitter’s focusing on images and videos uploaded to the service itself, and in fact social media scientist Dan Zarrella found in research prior to this change that Tweets using pic.twitter.com links were 94 percent more likely to be retweeted.
Dan also found that Tweets including Instagram links were 42 percent less likely to be retweeted. I’m interested to see what kind of stats come up in Dan’s future Twitter research, after this change from the company itself.
We’ve been experimenting with this change by adding images to a lot of the tweets from our @buffer Twitter account and have noticed a big difference in the engagement we’re getting.
To get a better idea of what a difference inline images has made, I took the last 100 tweets including a link from our @buffer accounts (not including any retweets) and compared the averages of the tweets with and without images included.
Using Buffer’s built-in analytics, we were able to look at the number of clicks, favorites and retweets each of our Tweets received.
Here are the stats taken from averages of our last 100 Tweets.
The first data point we looked at was “clicks“. Here is the result:
Our click-rate did grow, but not by very much. My theory on this is that with an inline image, there’s more content for the user to consume without leaving Twitter (which is probably what Twitter wants), so they’re not much more likely to click-through.
Of course, that’s just a theory so it’ll be interesting to see what the data says over a longer time period as we keep experimenting with this.
Favorites increased quite a lot. Along with retweets in the graph below, this shows a lot more engagement with the Tweets themselves. Clicks, on the other hand, show engagement with the original content. This could explain why clicks didn’t increase as much—if Twitter is hoping to increase engagement on average with Tweets within your stream, it appears it’s working from our early indications.
I’ve embedded the full list of analytics at the bottom of this post in case you want to take a look, and here’s a quick overview of the changes we’ve seen:
If you want to try adding images to your tweets to increase engagement, here are a couple of tips that work for us.
1. Right click any image on the web and “Buffer this image”
The Buffer browser extensions let you right-click on any image you find on a site and use it in your tweet. We automatically add the link of the page, so you can easily credit the owner of the image. This uploads the image to Twitter itself, which means Twitter will show it inline.
Here’s how to do that:
First, with the Buffer browser extension installed, right-click on an image and choose “Buffer This Image”:
The image will be added to your post in its full size:
2. Matching your tweet to the image
Something to be particularly aware of now that images are displayed inline is that if you tweet the title of your article without explaining the image, it could be confusing for your followers. We found that writing a tweet which gives context to the image itself and simply including a link for our follwers to read more worked well.
So for example, the original title of the article below was: “The surprising history of the to-do list and how to design one that actually works”. Clearly, that caption doesn’t relate very well to the image.
So instead, we changed it to “This is Benjamin Franklin’s original to do list”, which was a much better caption and gave the Tweet a whopping 111 retweets:
3. Using variety to keep your followers engaged
It can be easy to get carried away with something that shows so much promise like this, but don’t forget that your followers probably want to see some variety from your Tweets. As you can see from our analytics near the top of this post, we’re still seeing some great engagement on Tweets that include a link without an image. In fact—that screenshot shows that link-based Tweets without images can get even more click-throughs that those with images.
A few ways to vary your Tweets are with the following;
This is somewhat similar to the science of blogging. In the same way as you don’t want to make every single article a list post, it’s probably not the best idea to make every single Tweet an image Tweet.
Big things are happening at Twitter right now. Having just announced the company’s IPO, there’s no slowing down on new features. In fact, just today another one was announced: custom timelines for TweetDeck.
So where is the company heading? It’s hard to guess from the outside but it probably wouldn’t be a big leap to imagine more inline media in the future.
Some people have pointed out how advertising could become a bigger part of Twitter’s strategy, with inline media helping to encourage more of that. Others have pointed out that words are taking a backseat in social media these days, with images and other rich media becoming more of a focus.
What do you think is coming for Twitter? Let us know in the comments.
Photo credit: FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
See the rest here: How Twitter’s new expanded images increase clicks, retweets and favorites
Last month, we wrote about this Chinese photo app that strangely went viral, holding lofty rankings in main app stores in Western markets, despite almost all the users being unable to understand the instructions.
What’s more, Android users of popular messaging service WeChat get two extra sets of MomentCam comic templates — a move that will likely benefit both apps. Fans of MomentCam may very well download WeChat to get more templates, while spreading MomentCam images on the messaging platform could place the photo app in the limelight.
The photo-taking and editing app, which comes with a range of customization options to transform your photo into a comic character, is produced by China’s Hightalk Software.
As we mentioned before, the app uses advanced facial recognition to paste your face onto comic caricatures, and you get to make edits after that happens. You can alter the shape of your face, get a different hairstyle and eyebrows, and choose from 200 post-editing templates.
Headline image via Feng Li/Getty Images
Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question.
Twitter announced the addition of custom timelines to Tweetdeck on Tuesday. The feature is rolling out over the next few days, but here’s a quick look at how to curate your own timelines if you don’t have it yet.
Tweetdeck will show you a popup alert once custom timelines have been enabled for your account. The Web, Chrome and PC versions are getting the feature first, followed by the Mac app down the road.
To get started, add a column and choose the new “Custom timeline” option. You can name the timeline up at the top and add a 160-character description.
Tweets now have a perpendicular arrow icon in the bottom right corner that you can click to drag them to your custom timeline column.
If you’re not a fan of drag-and-drop, you can also add tweets by clicking the “…” More Actions option underneath a tweet and selecting “Add to custom timeline” or by using the “c” keyboard shortcut.
From what I can tell, there’s no way to reorder your timeline, so you’ll want to keep that in mind as you start populating it. That also means your timeline doesn’t actually display in chronological order. You can always delete and re-add tweets to it, or just delete the whole timeline if you decide you want to start over.
You can also share a permanent Twitter.com link to your timeline by clicking the Share button in the column and choosing “View on Twitter.com” or “Tweet about timeline,” which automatically populates the link into a new tweet. Here’s how it looks on Twitter.com:
Twitter has moved fast in the past few months to completely reimagine its service. Sure, the core of the service is still the same, but many of the aspects we came to expect from our timelines (text-only, chronological, updating) are changing. It’ll take time for us to adjust to the new Twitter, but I’m looking forward to seeing how people put this feature to use.
To browse other users’ custom timelines, open up their profile card on Tweetdeck and click the “Custom tim…” tab:
Viewing custom timelines didn’t work for me until after I got the ability to post my own, so if you don’t see any yet, you might have to wait until the rollout reaches you.
Alongside the Tweetdeck rollout, Twitter also announced the release of an API for the feature:
This new API will open up interesting opportunities, such as programming your custom timelines based on the logic that you choose, or building tools that help people create their own custom timelines, as TweetDeck does.
Twitter says that initial access is only for a “small group of selected partners,” but you can pitch the company with an idea if you want to get into the beta.
Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Read more from the original source: Here’s how to create Twitter’s new custom timelines in Tweetdeck
Happy anniversary to me: I’ve now been writing this here weekly column for exactly three years. Over the last year I have opined, prescribed, and predicted many things. And now, like last year, and the year before, as part of my one-man crusade for greater opinion-journalism accountability, I’m going to take a moment to go back and look at what I got right… and where I went horribly, hilariously wrong.
OK, let’s start with my primary theme this year: technology and jobs. I actually asked the key question in a post two years ago, entitled “What If Technology Is Destroying Jobs Faster Than It’s Creating Them?“
This year, though, I expanded on that at considerable length with “America Has Hit ‘Peak Jobs’,” “Get Ready To Lose Your Job,” “After Your Job Is Gone,” (sense a theme here?) “The Future Of Work,” “Jobs, Robots, Capitalism, Inequality, And You,” and “Meet The New Serfs, Same As The Old Serfs.”
Whew. Tired of it yet? I can’t blame you. But I keep hammering at it because I believe this is one of the most important issues of our time. The notion that technology destroys more jobs than it creates has slowly become mainstream over the last few years: witness this recent piece in The Economist. My take on it, however, is different: I think all these job losses are good, in the long run, because we are (hopefully) at the very edge of a long, slow, decades-long trend towards zero jobs, i.e. a post-scarcity society. The trouble is, our current economic structure is built on those building blocks called “jobs” — and as their number slowly withers away, the necessary transition to a new system will be extremely painful and wrenching for a very large number of people worldwide.
OK. Back to the recap. Way, way back, to my very first TechCrunch post, which began: “Oh, Research In Motion. You never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Prophet score: A++. And while that may seem like fish in a barrel now, back then, believe it or not, it was fairly controversial.
I also wrote a couple of pieces about Bitcoin back in 2011, saying: “Does Bitcoin have a long-term future? I strongly doubt it…but I expect that something like Bitcoin eventually will.” Which, I note, is a whole lot like what Naval Ravikant wrote this July: “It’s better to think about Bitcoin the protocol as Bitcoin 1.0, destined to evolve.” I followed that up this year with the suggestion that a Bitcoin-like currency would eventually go mainstream in the developing world, not the rich world. Here in the medium term, of course, Bitcoin is bubbling along nicely…
I wrote about the NSA and the incipient panopticon back in 2011, too, saying: “surely there are better ways to catch these morons than building a vastly expensive and dehumanizing panopticon surveillance state.” Quite happy to stand by that one, too. I’ve been writing a lot about surveillance ever since, though I’ve actually ramped down since it became well-trodden media ground thanks to Edward Snowden.
I complained about 3D printers twice. Well, I wrote that they’ll become amazing world-changing technology, at the enterprise level — but I wrote those in articles entitled “There Is No Reason For Any Individual To Have A 3D Printer In Their Home,” and “3D Printers Are Not Like 2D Printers: A Rant.” This remains a contrarian view, but I’m happy to stand by it.
I also claimed “All Journalism Is Tech Journalism Now,” which was admittedly a little aggressive, but I still think we’re heading that way. Same for “The Technical Interview Is Dead,” and “Prepare To Pay For Your Privacy.” (See also.)
Bored with my self-congratulation? Let’s move on to where I messed up. Six months ago I proudly proclaimed “The Time Has Come For Chrome In The Home,” a celebration of Google’s ChromeOS. It’s early days yet, but I think I got that one wrong. I’ve hardly touched my own Chromebook since I wrote that post. Meanwhile, ChromeOS isn’t actually that much more capable than a tablet — and tablet prices are dropping faster.
Last year I wrote “I Believe In Google Plus,” but this year my view evolved into to, “Google Plus Is Like Frankenstein’s Monster.” Which is actually mostly a compliment, as those of you who have read the original novel know; the monster was brilliant, urbane, civilized…but spurned by the world. Alas, that seems true of G+ too.
And then there’s Foursquare. I complained about them in my second ever TC post and in “Check In, Flame Out: How To Save Foursquare,” where I described it as a “long-term loser.” On reflection, that was probably too harsh; I think they’ll probably keep eking out an existence on the perpetual edge of mainstream relevance.
Last year, I wrote “Whither, Hollywood, Whither?“, in which I wrote “it seems to me that the predatory price-gouging Internet is more dangerous to movies than television,” and this year I followed it up with “When Will Doom Come To Hollywood?” where I, er, revised my opinion somewhat.
The prediction I’m personally most interested in, though, is one I made last year: “In Five Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones,” which I followed up this year with “The Second Billion Smartphone Users.” We won’t know until 2017 whether I’m right on that one — but there are claims that smartphone penetration has already risen to 21 percent in the Middle East and Africa, up from 1.3 percent in 2009. If that’s true, then 50 percent by 2017 looks downright conservative.
So: while I wouldn’t bet all your bitcoins on every word I type, that’s a decent performance nonetheless, if I do say so myself. And I hereby resolve to be a little bolder over the next 12 months with my predictions — because if nothing else, it ought to make next year’s iteration of this post awfully entertaining.
View post: Where I Went Wrong, Third Annual Edition
1) Broken Link Checker: http://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker/ 2) Tweet Old Post: http://wordpress.org/plugins/tweet-old-post/ 3) WordPress Editor…
View original post here: WordPress Plugins: My Faves
Facebook started life as a university-only network and has since grown far beyond those original roots, with some one billion+ users globally. No surprise, then, that it’s losing ground among its original user-base. Facebook finally fessed up to some decreasing usage among teens just this week.
Being social’s catch-all behemoth means there’s plenty Zuck & co can’t do. Facebook’s huge size, ambition to ‘connect the world’ and user-base that spans the generations is inevitably fossilising its feature-set, as usage of the service condenses down to a well-trodden average.
This makes the social network ripe for disruption — or more specifically for creative deconstruction. In recent years less overarching services have been able to come in and attract users to more tailored and intimate products, whether it’s photo-sharing (Instagram), mobile messaging (Line, WeChat) or more targeted social networking services.
U.K.-based startup Unii sits in the latter camp. Like Facebook 1.0 it’s focused exclusively on students (you have to have a U.K. university-accredited email to join). But unlike Facebook it’s planning to stick with students and build out a business based on providing services to that specific user-base. “We want to scale laterally and with depth, rather than opening up to the rest of the world,” says founder and CEO Marco Nardone.
A tagline on the Unii website reads ‘what happens at uni, stays at Unii’ — a not-so-veiled dig at Facebook as a vast information repository that allows potential employers to pass judgement on job applicants based on the content of their Facebook profile. Unii is purposefully locking down its user-base to make students more comfortable that they are sharing stuff only with each other, not with their parents and/or future employers.
Unii. com launched back in May, at a sub-section of U.K. universities and colleges (it’s now live in over 185 out of a total pool of around 300). In those six months it’s managed to gain a decent bit of traction among its 18-24 user-base, announcing today that it has pushed past 100,000 users.
Nardone argues that students are getting tired of having to manage their activity across multiple social network services. “Our research across a sample of students from over 30 universities showed us that students are fed up of having to use larger, amorphous services to carry out daily activities and needs which are specific to the student community,” he says.
“For example, a group of students need a fifth housemate for a five-bed house, but they are reliant on posting on Gumtree or on a flatsharing platform which means they could be sharing with somebody outside of their university. We can leverage the power of our student-exclusive network and match up students in similar situations.”
Nardone said he came up with the idea for Unii after seeing what he thought was a gap in the market for an “all-encompassing platform exclusively for those in higher education”. He had in fact been developing a social network for traders (based on using crowd wisdom to predict markets), after leaving a job at Credit Suisse to do so. As that product developed, he looked into launching a sub-section of the service for finance students, which got him interested in the student market. Then, after talking with students, he realised there was an appetite for a dedicated platform providing student-focused services — and Unii was born.
The social network is free for students to join and use, and won’t ever be monetised by ads. Rather the plan is to launch a series of sub-businesses that sit on the platform and cater to students’ needs — from the likes of finding accommodation (Unii Living), to buying and selling books, to finding a job (Unii Jobs). Some of these are already live on the platform (although it’s not yet taking in any revenue, focusing first on building out its users), with many more planned: 10 will launch over the next three to 12 months, according to Nardone.
Each of these sub-businesses will then have different revenue generating models. For instance, employers will pay to post jobs to the Unii network — with the ability to segment job adverts by university or study topic, and so on. Another sub-business will provide university societies with tools to manage their memberships — a sub-business that is more likely to have a freemium model, he says.
Segmenting users’ content is another focus for the network, which has a dynamically structured tile-based homepage view (see screenshot above) — something that Nardone argues gives it a more flexible technical architecture than Facebook. Unii also allows its users to post updates to their friend group but also to post things university-wide (say you’re looking for a flat-mate), or to post something to the entire U.K. student community. Types of content that can be shared over the network includes the usual social networking staples of photos, videos and links. Unii has also built an opinion polling tool that displays responses in an infographic form.
“We’re not really replacing Facebook,” adds Nardone. “It’s great to keep in touch with your family, it’s great to keep in touch with friends elsewhere — in the U.K. and across the world. Facebook is great for that need. But if you want specific niche services, and want to communicate with the entire student market all in one place, which you can’t physically do on Facebook, then you use Unii. So it’s not in direct competition with Facebook… It does different things.”
Unii has raised a total of £1.8 million in seed and Series A funding to date, from private investors, and is in the process of closing a “much, much larger” Series B round, according to Nardone — due to close this quarter. He pegs the size of the market in the U.K. at some 2.5 million students (undergrad and post-grad) with a £20 billion total market value. “We want a decent slice of that market,” he says, adding: “We want to be the sole student brand in the U.K.”
The startup is also eyeing up international expansion — with the U.S. and China two markets of interest, along with Europe more generally — but Nardone also says it hasn’t made any decisions about where to go next.
Unii is currently live on the web, with Android and iOS apps also in the works — due to land in around two weeks.
Read more from the original source: Unii, A Student-Only Social Network, Signs Up 100,000+ Users In Six Months In The U.K.
HowAboutWe, a startup that recommends date activities for both singles and couples, is launching the first internationalized versions of its iOS app.
The company bills itself as “the first offline dating site” because of its emphasis on real-world activities. Beyond the obvious dating site features (browsing profiles, sending messages to set up dates), HowAboutWe offers the ability to post local date ideas, to browse ideas from others, and to see who’s online nearby.
Head of PR Jade Clark told me via email that the HowAboutWe already has international users, but the app was only available in English, limiting its growth outside the United States. Now it’s available in 15 new languages covering more than 30 countries, including Japan, France, and Russia.
The company says it’s also making all features in the app available for free to international users, in contrast to the US, where premium features like unlimited membership can cost between $8 and $35 per month. Asked why HowAboutWe is taking this approach, Clark said the first step is “to extend our reach as a brand and to hit critical mass in one of these new markets,” and then to look at monetization options.
HowAboutWe Dating (that’s the singles product) has 1.7 million users in the US, while there are half a million HowAboutWe for Couples users in four markets, the company says. When asked about mobile and international plans for the couples product, Clark said, “Yes, we’re working to expand our mobile offerings and have some big announcements tied to this planned for Q1 .”
Co-founder and co-CEO Aaron Schildkrout has also to put together a blog post with his team about “10 Things You Need to Know Before Internationalizing Your App.” Many of those items are pretty technical (“All of your translatable copy should be stored in strings”) but some are more general — for example, he talks about the challenge of languages that require “grammatical differences for men and women”.
His final point: “It will always take 3x longer than you think!”
See the original post: HowAboutWe Internationalizes Its Dating App, Goes Entirely Free In 30+ Countries
If you’re a user of social media scheduling app Buffer, there’s a good chance that your Saturday morning has been less than relaxing. There have been numerous reports circulating today purporting that the service has been hacked, and just a few moments ago the company officially confirmed those reports in a tweet.
“Hi all. So sorry, it looks like we’ve been compromised,” the terse statement reads. “Temporarily pausing all posts as we investigate. We’ll update ASAP.”
At this point the company has said little else about the cause of the issue, but its effects are clear: users who have linked their social accounts to the service have been posting sketchy weight loss links like the ones seen below. The extent of the hack is also unclear at this point, but Buffer Chief Happiness Officer (yes, really) Carolyn Kopprasch has said that it doesn’t seem like every user has been affected by the exploit.
UPDATE: The Buffer team has posted an update on its blog that shines just a little more light on what happened. Perhaps most importantly, neither user passwords or billing/payment information were exposed.
Speaking of affected Buffer users, you’re probably in the clear if your Facebook or Twitter accounts haven’t already started spewing spam — following a tweet from CEO Joel Gascoigne, all sharing from the service has been temporarily halted as the team tries to figure out what’s wrong. A quick attempt to sign in from the Buffer homepage confirms the team’s response — it’s impossible to sign in using a Twitter account, and the corresponding Facebook app seems to have been pulled into sandbox mode so the Buffer API is inaccessible to outside users. Even so, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to revoke Buffer’s access to your accounts just in case — you can disable Buffer from connecting to your Twitter account here, while doing the same on Facebook will require a trip to your application settings page.
While the slew of spammy links only seems to have begun within the last hour or so, it appears as though the root cause of problem may have begun a little earlier than that. Judging by the company’s timeline of tweets, the issues began late last night when some users reported not being able to access the service, while others claimed that their scheduled social posts had disappeared from the Buffer backend. I’ve reached out to the company for some additional insight and I’ll update this post as I learn more.
Originally posted here: Social Scheduling Tool Buffer Gets Hacked, Floods Twitter And Facebook With Weight Loss Spam