This Week in Social: Klout Switches Focus, First Social Media Olympics, New Blogging Platform Called Medium

By Rob McNair

Twitter Co-Founders Preview Medium, Their New Blogging Platform

For those who want more than 140 characters, Twitter pioneers Biz Stone and Evan Williams are launching Medium, said to combine the best of Tumblr and Pinterest in one simple tool alongside an upvoting system reminiscent of the likes of Digg and Reddit. The two are no strangers to blogging services, having first worked together at Blogger before starting up the micro-blogging platform for which they’re best known. Potential income generation hasn’t yet been mentioned, and advertising is currently absent from Medium pages. It’s open to anybody to sign in from Twitter and rate post, but contributors are at present invite-only.

Readers: Would you be interested in reading, voting on and creating Medium blogs?

Instagram Tells The Story Behind Photos With 3.0 – The Introduction Of Maps

There may only be fourteen employees in the Instagram team, but they’ve quickly developed the next phase for their ever-popular app (currently used by 80 million would-be photographers) by ‘shifting focus dramatically’ according to CEO Kevin Systrom – ‘Instagram 3.0 is about a new kind of browser experience, Photo Maps.’ The feature aims to offer a photographic narrative structure by creating custom maps from location data, offering a more coherent ‘storytelling’ platform. Users can discard chosen images from their map (whereby their geolocation data will be removed), review final selections and confirm, meaning users uncomfortable with sharing location whereabouts can opt out. Instagram 3.0 also offers a range of minor tweaks such as more efficient photo uploading and a speedier interface, as well as infinite scroll and multi-line caption editing. The Twitter ‘Find Friends’ facility is however now absent, following Twitter’s Instagram API shutdown last month. Facebook’s purchase of the company is thought to have influenced Instagram’s new direction, with Photo Maps resembling a mobile-focused answer to Timeline.

Readers: Do you like the look of Instagram’s new feature, or was it fine as it was?

Klout Switches Focus, Accounting For Real-Life Influence With More Accurate Calculations

The San Francisco-based company Klout, which values online activity with a score, has launched a major algorithm revamp claiming improved accuracy due to a new focus on ‘real-life influence’. Its measurement will now incorporate more social signals (400 in contrast to its previous 100) such as Facebook subscribers, Wikipedia importance (calculated using a PageRank tool) and the volume of Twitter lists an individual is on. Klout scores have been deemed controversial in the past due to the lack of transparency in their calculations and their alleged inaccuracy. For example, many thought Klout’s view of influence somewhat skewed due to Justin Bieber’s top score of 100 compared to Obama’s 94 (the two have since switched using Klout’s new algorithm).

Readers: Do you trust Klout’s scoring system more than before?

The First Social Media Olympics: A Legacy

Last weekend the London 2012 Games came to a close, which due to frantic Twitter and Facebook activity have quickly been dubbed the world’s first ‘Social Media Olympics’. As well as athletes breaking world records, impressive statistics were released about frenzied online communication with over 150 million Tweets about the Games overall. The most Tweets per minute were awarded to Usain Bolt’s 200m sprint gold at over 80,000, with his 100m win close behind with 74,000. Andy Murray’s tennis gold scored him more than 57,000 TPM, with Jamaica hot on his heels clocking in 52,000+ TPM for their world record in the 4×100 men’s relay. Spain being beaten by Team USA for the men’s basketball gold achieved 41,000+ TPM, while Bolt was unsurprisingly the Games’ most discussed athlete. Sport-wise, the majority of Twitter conversations revolved around football with over 5 million Tweets on the subject, while the Spice Girls accomplished more than 116,000 TPM with their performance at the closing ceremony.

In other social media news, some Olympians generated controversy by using online platforms to promote personal sponsorship, much to the International Olympic Committee’s annoyance. While the IOC was happy to develop its own social media initiatives to promote the Games, it introduced the Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines to prevent bringing any athletes into disrepute by banning them from engaging in promotional activity for the duration. This became known as ‘the blackout period’ with strict penalties for guideline breaching, which saw Greek triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou and Swiss footballer Michel Morganella withdrawn from their teams for posting Tweets that were considered racist.

Readers: Did you follow or avoid Olympic social media coverage? Should athletes say what they like?

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This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.