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Updates and amends- a guide to social media changes

With all things digital progressing at an alarming rate,  keeping abreast with the latest developments in online networking isn’t easy. Consider this your essential briefing on recent alterations to Flickr, Pinterest, and Google+.

Flickr has had a huge overhaul after being bought out by Yahoo!, part of the latter’s spending spree which also includes the new acquisition of the popular blogging site, Tumblr.
Users are now being offered a staggering 1TB of free storage for photos and videos, equating to 500,000 six-mega pixel images. Pictures can now be up to 200MB each, and videos three minutes (previously the limits were 30MB and 90-seconds respectively, unless you paid a subscription fee).
A new Android app has been launched too, improving on the network’s mobile offering. Meanwhile, we’d say the clean looking re-design, making use of the increasingly common ‘panel’ based layout, works rather well with this network.
If you need anything in addition to what’s provided with a free account, the costs add up significantly. To remove adverts from the interface it’s £33 per year, to increase storage to 2TB the charges reach a wince-worthy £329, or thereabouts. In the past an unlimited account rang in at around £17. Aside from that, the lack of information on how many followers an account holder has is unhelpful from a PR perspective. Without this information it’s much harder to identify key influencers and globally significant users, albeit it does mean quality content has more chance of being noticed, as it draws eyes to good pictures, not popular account holders.

The second most used social network as of January this year still divides opinion, with many people logging in simply because of the additional functions (i.e. Docs, or Gmail). Nevertheless, it’s going nowhere, and has just been given its first ever facelift, with controversial changes also made to the real time communication tool, Hangouts.
The new look Google+ is definitely a simpler beast, with three columns on the account home screen, and a no frills aesthetic that makes it easier than ever to observe and interact with others on the network. Hangouts are also now available via a stand alone app that works on any operating system, apparently accentuating the company’s focus on ‘people, not gadgets’.
The new Hangouts will rank contacts in terms of how often you’re in touch with them. All conversations conducted in this way- either through messaging or a voice call- will be stored, meaning you can go back over them in the future. The problem being it all sounds a little Orwellian and surveillance state-like, and given the ongoing dialogue on privacy it’s no surprise this move has caused a stir.

Still a relative new kid on the block, everyone has been guessing how Pinterest could develop more business friendly functions since its inception. Recent changes including better e-commerce links, along with improved presentation of products are certainly major improvements.
The recent re-design means pinned items are now larger on the page, offering more space for lovely images, more room for text, and more chances of catching people’s eye as more information is presented. The navigation has also been overhauled, meaning the site remembers your position on the previous page when clicking through to another- saving time if there’s a need to check on something.
We’re also happy the powers that be have re-introduced the ‘Pinned from’ feature, which shows you the original source of any content on the network- so if that’s your business users will be able to find your page easily. Communications have also been given a Twitter style @ option, to tag specific users in a pin.
There’s a new Facebook-esque Pinterest Analytics tool available too, and it’s well worth knowing about ‘info-rich’ pins, whereby the platform becomes an online catalogue for your products. The new look version makes it far easier to display up to date details, ranging from prices and availability to review scores and recipes, realising more of the platform’s sales potential.
‘Info rich’ pins are only visible to people using the re-designed site, which isn’t compulsory at the moment and, at the time of writing, isn’t as widely known about as it should be. It also seems pointless to remove the hashtag search feature when it could easily have been left in, and seamless sharing with Twitter and Facebook has been lost too, reducing compatibility between the networks.

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