Four Social Media Stories to Watch in 2014

Here are four new and noteworthy stories in the world of social media so far in 2014. Some are the talk of the town and other are on the verge. Read through to get caught up

1. Jelly – A New App from Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone

Jelly is a new kind of personal question-and-answer app allowing you to solicit opinions or advice through pictures. The premise of the service is that it lets people harness the potential of today’s increasingly hyper-Jellyconnected culture.

Chosen as Geek Wire’s App of the Week on January 15th, Jelly presents inquiries to users’ friends. Crowd-sourced feedback can include everything from wine recommendations, product information, and “who is this random person who just crashed my party”-type inquiries.

MIT Technology review does a great job of highlighting Jelly’s strengths and weaknesses, most notably the inability to sort or search for questions. Advertisers and marketers should keep a close eye on this app, though. Jelly is free, but inevitably will have to monetize somehow. I’m thinking there are plenty of options – brands could offer coupons for users featuring their products, post sponsored questions about their goods, and keep an ear out for queries their services could answer.

What do you think? Would you use Jelly? How do you see companies interacting with   customers through the app?

2. Facebook Trending Topics

Facebook Trending Topics

This feature is a build-out of the 2013 hashtag functionality addition, allowing conversations to be organized. Facebook Trending Topics are more intelligent than Twitter’s, but so far a little less up-to-the-moment. Found in the right sidebar, they are a set of news headlines taking into account user interests and “who has the most interesting thing to say.”

In an interview with The New York Times, Facebook engineer Chris Struhar said this was part of an ultimate goal to “become your personal newspaper.”

3. iBeacon

Apple’s implementation of iBeacon opens up exponential avenues of potential benefits for consumers and retailers. Available on iPhone 4s or later, it utilizes Bluetooth 4.0 to heighten your phone’s location sensitivity.

One example of how this functionality is harnessed to add value on both sides of the counter is Shopkick’s shopBeacon, allowing coupons to appear on phones when customers pass specific objects in the store. Shopkick has partnered with a host of retailers, most notably American Eagle, who is implementing shopBeacon in 100 stores for analysis. Coca-Cola is looking into using iBeacon for things like event concessions and bars, where traditional menus may be obscured.

Want to read more? The Washington Post explores some trippy opportunities using the technology. The Patently Apple blog also reveals a secure iWallet payment system that is in the works.

4. Sayonara, Sponsored Stories

Were you embarrassed to find your secret penchant for Cheesy Poofs glaringly posted in random friends’ Facebook news feeds? Never fear, sponsored stories that looked deceptively like user-generated content are being pushed to the side(bars) in May.

This move means more than soothed privacy concerns of Facebook users, though. With this branded real estate freed up in news feeds, more options for owned and earned posts on Facebook arise in their place. From a marketing standpoint, the death of Social Stories doesn’t affect a brand’s ability to cooperate with Facebook to target audiences appropriately. Rather, it prevents users’ identities from being tied to ad content without their consent.

These are just a few highlights of what is going on so far in 2014. What other interesting social happenings have caught your eye? Share some other articles below!


About the Author

John Sammon

John Sammon is the CEO and founder of Sixth City Marketing and has been doing online marketing for over 15 years. During this time, he has been mentioned in many notable publications such as Forbes.

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