Archive for September, 2011

Facebook announces Timeline, Apps, new features at f8 conference

September 22nd, 2011

by Chris Hogg

At Facebook’s annual f8 conference, one of the most anticipated events in the world of social media, the company introduced new products such as a new Timeline page and the ability to embed various apps such as Spotify and Netflix.

Developers, entrepreneurs, bloggers and media descended on the f8 conference taking place in San Francisco, California today whereFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is opening the event with a keynote.

Among the features introduced at f8 was a re-imagining of the Profile page Zuckerberg called Timeline. He envisions it as the story of each member’s life, laid out with more emphasis on photos.Making apps “social by design”, Facebook also wants users to enjoy using new apps on their Timeline.

Getting the Spotify app, for instance, allows members to stream music and then publicize what they’re doing to their friends. The same practice applies to Netflix or Nike+ or Buzzfeed apps, among dozens of other apps.

Zuckerberg started by announcing a big milestone, saying more than 500 million people used Facebook on a single day for the first time ever recently. Zuckerberg then went on to discuss the user profile page, saying it’s changed a lot over the last five years but it has remained the most important part of Facebook for its users.

He said one of the problems with the profile, however, is that as people share more and more, your past events are pushed further down on the page until they become virtually forgotten. So the next big step with Facebook is Timeline.

Timeline:

Timeline includes “all your stories, all your apps and a new way to express who you are.” Zuckerberg then showed a screenshot of what Timeline looks like and it includes everything you’ve ever uploaded to Facebook so you can see it all on one page. You can also view your entire history of activity on a mobile device.

One of the biggest challenge in designing Timeline, Zuckerberg said, was figuring out how to tell all your important stories on a single page; not every update you’ve made is important in the history of all of your Facebook activity, so the company engineered Timeline to pluck out important moments and summarize your historical activity based on those moments. If you want to add certain pieces of content, you can do so by selecting them and telling Facebook to add them to your Timeline. Timeline also lets you choose certain views, allowing you to view specific types of content in your Timeline view (such as pictures, maps, etc) rather than the entire content feed.

In addition to content, Facebook is also including embeddable Apps as part of Timeline.

“People who use Facebook really love apps,” Zuckerberg said. “People really want to use apps to express themselves.”Apps are now designed to fit into Timeline, so you can highlight everything you’ve done with an app. If you’re cooking, playing a game, reading a news site — it all fits into the Timeline to show what you’ve done.

Finally, Zuckerberg said Timeline will allow users to express who they really are. For example, users can select a “cover photo” which acts like a magazine cover shot and can change it as often as they want.Facebook’s privacy filters are also incorporated into Timeline, allowing users to choose what content to show, a concern for many Facebook users.

With all the customization around Timeline, Facebook is essentially introducing a personalized newspaper that lets users curate content, personalize the look and publish details of their life as part of a single-page layout.Timeline is expected to be available in a couple weeks.

Apps:

The second part of the keynote touched on Apps and Zuckerberg said the company is introducing an entirely new type of application.

Specifically, Zuckerberg said people will now be able to show “lightweight” activity. He said people have continued to say they want to share something, but they don’t want to post it to Facebook because it will annoy their friends. They’re usually small updates such as commenting on a photo, liking a movie, or earning points in a game. People don’t always want to share that info.

To solve this problem, Facebook introduced Ticker to the profile page that shows these small events. Ticker shows on the right side of the profile page.Facebook is introducing new types of apps, to be rolled out in several weeks.

The first is the type that helps you fill out your Timeline, and the second is designed to help you discover new things via your friends.

Music:

Using Spotify as an example, Zuckerberg said users can grant an app permission and then the app will start publishing small events to your timeline. This allows your friends to see what you are doing live, in real time. So when a friend is listening to a new song, that story will be published to your Ticker so your friends can see that you’re listening. Your friends can listen to the same song as you, and the Ticker story is designed to surface new content.

Rumours around listening to music have been floating around for some time but speculation turned into realization when Facebook employee Ji Lee leaked details via tweet yesterday: “The ‘Listen with your friend’ feature in ticker is blowing my mind,” he tweeted. “Listen to what your friends are listening. LIVE.” The tweet has since been deleted but the listen-with-your-friend feature is indeed real.

As you’re listening to a song, you can also start a discussion with the friend with whom you’re listening. And when someone finds a piece of music from you, you are notified. Zuckerberg was particularly proud of this feature, saying it’s great to learn when your activity influenced someone and they liked it. So this real-time sharing is all about discovery, discussion and notification about who is doing what and how people are finding new content.

Movies, TV & Video:

The service is about more than just music, too. Zuckerberg said it will also include movies, TV shows and videos. So Facebook Ticker and News Feed will show you what your friends are watching in real-time and allow you to watch video content within Facebook, powered by Facebook’s new Open Graph.Partners include Netflix, Hulu, Flixter, DirectTV and more.

All this activity shows within Timeline, allowing users to showcase what they’ve watched and listened to, and allowing others to discover new content.

News stories:

Zuckerberg said several businesses will be able to use these new types of apps to build products and make them more social, including news organizations. For the first time, you will also be able to see what news stories your friends are reading in real-time via Ticker, and summaries will be published via News Feed.

Zuckerberg said he sees this as a way to change how the whole news industry works by making everything more social. “The new Open Graph is all about discovering new things through your friends with frictionless experiences real-time serendipity and finding patterns,” Zuckerberg concluded during his keynote.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Photo courtesy of Facebook f8 livestream

Digital Journal launches iPad and PlayBook apps powered by Polar Mobile

September 20th, 2011

Digital Journal, a global digital media network with contributors in more than 200 countries, has launched two free news apps for the Apple iPad and BlackBerry PlayBook.

Partnering with Polar Mobile, Digital Journal is releasing free tablet apps that feature breaking news, blogs, image galleries and user-generated content submitted by more than 32,000 Digital Journalists around the world.

“Digital Journal is excited about the opportunity to continue working with Polar Mobile to showcase world class user-generated content on mobile devices,” said Chris Hogg, CEO, Digital Journal. “With the success of our mobile apps on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone devices, we’re eager to extend our mobile reach into the tablet space. Digital Journal’s tablet apps offer outstanding features with a sleek design, and the tablets themselves provide unique reading experiences we know readers are going to love.”

Digital Journal’s iPad and PlayBook apps showcase top news and commentary from tens of thousands of Digital Journal members across the world. The tablet apps also include blogs, special reports and image galleries featuring an up-close-and-personal look at communities, people and events from thousands of cities.

“We are excited Digital Journal has picked our tablet platform to further extend their presence in mobile,” said Jon Zifkin, Director of Customer Success, Polar Mobile. “Tablets will play an integral part in Digital Journal’s user engagement and monetization strategy.”

Digital Journal’s tablet apps boast an immersive and engaging reading experience with a stunning layout and social media features such as the ability to share content on Twitter and Facebook from within the apps.

The tablets apps also offer readers access to read and share Digital Journal’s Twitter and Facebook streams right within the apps.

Digital Journal’s iPad and PlayBook apps are available for download from the iTunes App Store (link) and BlackBerry App World (link) today.

This article was originally published on Digital Journal [Link]

Digital Journal launches Achievement & Badge program to showcase top talent

September 19th, 2011

Digital Journal, the parent company of Future of Media, today announced a new Achievements and Badge program designed to reward top members and highlight talent from the company’s 30,000+ members in 200 countries around the world.

Who is the most active member on Digital Journal? Who uploads the most original photography? Who comments most often?

Today Digital Journal is happy to introduce a new badge and Achievement program that showcases top talent and the most active members, giving everyone the chance to compete for top spots. Top contributors will be showcased more prominently across the digital media network and earn badges for reaching certain milestones and accomplishing various tasks.

How it works:

Digital Journal members can perform actions across the Digital Journal network such as posting news articles and blogs, uploading images and connecting to Facebook. Each member is given a certain number of points for completing actions and the people with the most points and who are most active can earn badges.

Also, every Digital Journal member is now ranked in order based on how active they are and how much they have contributed to the Digital Journal network. A leaderboard with the Top 50 members can be found here.

To view a person’s rank, points and badges simply click on their name. From here you can see how that person earned his or her points and who they are beating in the ranks. Points and Achievements are updated regularly to reflect activity in each calendar month and everything is reset at the start of the month to begin a new competition.

Digital Journal is launching its Achievements reward program with seven Achievements up for grabs, and the company will add more Achievements in the future.

Achievements

The following Achievements are being announced at launch (a full list of who has earned each Achievement is here):

(1.) Power User The most active Digital Journal members who have earned the most points this month. Points are earned from doing various activities such as uploading articles, posting blogs, connecting to Facebook and receiving “Likes” on uploaded content this month.

(2.) Top Editor Digital Journal members who have submitted revisions on news articles that were approved. These are the top editors with the most approved edits.

(3.) Top Photographer Digital Journal members who have submitted the most original photos this month.

(4.) Top Commenter Digital Journal members who have commented the most this month.

(5.) Top Blogger Digital Journal members who have published the most blogs this month.

(6.) Top Content Producer Digital Journal members who have received the highest number of Likes on their content this month.

(7.) Million Pageviews Given to Digital Journal members who have received more than 1 million pageviews on their content.

To see a list of how many points each action is worth, bookmark this page.

The most coveted Achievement is the Power User reward, an honour that identifies the most active and prolific Digital Journal members. Because the Power User spot is the most difficult to maintain and earn each month, Digital Journal will reward Power Users with the following additional benefits:

• A special Power User badge will appear on the person’s profile page.

• Digital Journal Staff will promote and profile Power Users.

• Power Users will be listed in the TopFinds roundup each week.

• Content uploaded by Power Users will be featured and promoted frequently via Digital Journal’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

• Power Users can participate in private chats with Digital Journal staff members to offer feedback, provide input on new features and maintain a direct line of communication with decision-makers behind the scenes.

• Digital Journal will issue a press release each month to showcase and promote Power Users.

• Power Users will be promoted and featured to new members when they sign up to the site as Suggested Users to follow.

• Digital Journal will also promote Power Users via the company’s sister site, Future of Media.

For Power Users, the above benefits will be given to Digital Journal members for one month after earning the Achievement (i.e. a person who earns a Power User badge in September will be given the above additional privileges in the month of October).

All Achievements will be reset each month to allow new people a chance to earn a badge for each action.

This article was originally published on Digital Journal [Link]