TIME Social Networking

Here’s How How Pinterest Is Trying to Attract More Men

Decorative pillows set the scene at a Pinterest media event at the company's corporate headquarters office in San Francisco, California on April 24, 2014. Josh Edelson—AFP/Getty Images

More gender-neutral search results, and also more tacos

With its penchant for promoting pulchritudinous pinups, plush petals and piquant plates, Pinterest has a reputation for appealing in particular to women — more than 70% of its 72.5 million U.S. users are female.

Now, Pinterest is trying to appeal to the male demographic by subtly making its search results more gender-neutral.

That means including more tacos and pizzas alongside popular baked goods and family meals in search results for recipe ideas, reports the Wall Street Journal, or a wider range of Halloween costumes. Executives are also targeting male appetites by introducing personalized search results where gender is factored into the results and promoting pins based on gender.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

TIME Social Networking

Twitter Buys Indian Mobile Marketing Startup

Zipdial allows people without internet connection to get advertisements and promotions on their cellphones

Twitter is buying an India-based mobile marketing startup for an undisclosed sum, as it seeks to attract users in the developing world.

The Bangalore-based ZipDial allows consumers interested in a company’s services to dial its number and hang up before connecting. The company then sends them free text messages, app notifications and voice calls containing advertisements. The so-called “missed call” marketing means users aren’t charged for the service, because their initial call never connects.

Twitter will use ZipDial to reach consumers who aren’t connected to the Internet. ZipDial’s campaigns have reached nearly 60 million users, the Wall Street Journal reports, and could be used to reach users in Indonesia and Brazil. The company has 56 employees.

Consumers in countries like India, Brazil and Indonesia with developing Internet infrastructures are key markets for Twitter, and 77% of the social network’s 284 million monthly active users are outside the United States.

“By coming together with ZipDial, we’ll help more people around the world enjoy great and relevant Twitter experiences on their mobile phones,” Twitter said in a statement.

TIME Companies

Facebook’s Hiring Spree Signals New Tech Offensive

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a Reuters interview at the University of Bogota
President, founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a Reuters interview at the University of Bogota on Jan. 14, 2015. Jose Gomez—Reuters

The social networking giant aims to add nearly 1,200 new employees to its ranks

Facebook is hiring, big time.

The social networking company’s recent acquisitions and investments in several tech companies, which specialize in niche markets like drone production, virtual reality and data centers, is helping drive the latest round of recruitment, according to Reuters.

“We are an ambitious company run by an ambitious CEO,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told Reuters. “Our users are growing and our business is growing and we want to support that.”

Facebook reportedly had 8,348 full-time employees at the end of last September and is looking to hire at least 1,200 new staff members in the coming months.


TIME Social Networking

Why MySpace Still Gets Tons of Visitors on Thursdays

The "Myspace" logo is seen on a tablet screen on December 4, 2012 in Paris. Lionel Bonaventure—AFP/Getty Images

Hint: They've come for a throwback

MySpace might have taken a licking, but it keeps on ticking, according to a revealing interview with the CEO published Wednesday.

MySpace CEO Tim Vanderhook told the Wall Street Journal that the site still draws 50 million visitors a month. That’s a massive 575% leap over last year’s traffic.

But even more intriguing is that MySpace gets a weekly surge of visitors every Thursday. What explains that bump?

It turns out it’s probably due to a weekly social media ritual called “Throwback Thursday” (or #TBT), in which users share long-forgotten photos, often from school or summer camp, and maybe tag a few other friends or family members along the way. Vanderhook said that some of these nostalgia-seekers return to MySpace every Thursday to raid their image libraries like a dusty old attic before heading over to post them on Twitter or Instagram.

“They may not visit every day, but they come back once a week or once a month,” Vanderhook told the Journal. The phenomenon may reinforce MySpace’s reputation as a mid-2000’s throwback, but it also helps the site stay alive and kicking.

TIME apps

Facebook Wants to Make You More Productive at Work

'Facebook at Work' is designed to boost productivity, rather than sap it

Facebook released an app for the workplace on Wednesday, offering a handful of test users access to a new site that looks like Facebook and feels like Facebook, but with a few key alterations.

The app, called “Facebook at Work,” breaks off co-workers into a standalone social network, Re/code reports. There, a team can share posts and images appropriate for the workplace. Users can also rest assured that personal posts, such as those polaroid pictures of your preschool class, won’t crop up on the professional feed unless a user feels a need to volunteer that sort of information.

To ensure workers have open conversations, the Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook will jettison its ad-based revenue model, stripping out ads from the site and assuring users that no one outside of the work network—neither marketers nor Facebook—will view the content.

The app is designed to offer an alternative form of communication to email, the Wall Street Journal reports, merging the pile of inbox messages into a continuous stream of communication. It also will pose a direct challenge to a growing number of work-oriented social networking sites, such as Microsoft’s Yammer and IBM’s Connections.

TIME Social Networking

Facebook Will Post Amber Alerts on Your News Feed

Alerts about missing children will show up on your news page, Facebook said Tuesday

Facebook will begin posting “Amber Alerts” on its users’ news feeds, encouraging its 140 million U.S. daily users to help lookout for missing children.

The alerts, a result of a partnership between Facebook and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, will appear in the second slot of the feed along with a photo and details about the case, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Facebook users already post pictures and updates asking others to help locate their missing children, a trend that Facebook’s head of global safety and policy, Emily Vacher, said inspired the new program.

Users will be notified depending on their geographical location, and won’t receive push notifications.


TIME Social Networking

Facebook Is Still Dominant in U.S., But Growth Is Slowing

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone Facebook
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Other social media like Twitter and Instagram are making major gains

Facebook’s growth among American adults slowed in 2014 compared with other online social media sites like LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, even while it remained the most widely used social network in the U.S. by far.

The percentage of online U.S. adults who use Facebook remained at 71% in 2014, the same proportion as the year before, according to a survey released Friday by the Pew Research Center.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn’s usage grew from 22% to 28% among American adults between 2013 and 2014, Pinterest grew from 21% to 28%, Twitter grew from 18% to 23%, and Instagram grew the fastest, from 17% to 26%.

But the share of Facebook users who are interacting often with the website increased significantly, with 70% engaging with the site daily in 2014, up from the 63% who were on Facebook at least once a day in 2013.

TIME Social Networking

Reddit to Award Lottery Fund to 950,000 Lucky Users

Flush with $50 million in capital, the social media site finds a novel way to give back

Reddit announced new details of a lottery fund that will siphon off one-tenth of the company’s share value and randomly distribute it to roughly 950,000 lucky users, in a bid to encourage contributions to the media-sharing website.

“To celebrate all of you and your contributions, we plan to give away reddit notes in a random lottery,” the company announced in an official blog post on Friday. Reddit relies on users to cull the web for interesting content and submit it to the wider community for an “up” or “down” vote, thereby driving stories of general interest to the top of the site.

Reddit first announced the lottery payout idea in September 2014, shortly after it closed a $50 million round of fundraising. Starting in fall of 2015, Reddit plans to notify the winning users to set up an online wallet, into which the company will deposit a “Reddit Note,” which users will be able to trade on an open exchange.

TIME Social Networking

This Is Why You Just Lost a Bunch of Instagram Followers

The Instagram logo is displayed on a smartphone on December 20, 2012 in Paris. Lionel Bonaventure—AFP/Getty Images

Instagram eliminates millions of fake accounts in a matter of hours

Judgement Day came for millions of fake Instagram accounts this week in a crackdown so widespread it’s been dubbed the “Instagram Rapture.”

The mass drop in Instagram followers comes as the platform looks to rid itself of fake accounts, which some users purchase en masse to inflate their apparent follower count.

Instagram’s official profile took the biggest hit in followers, plummeting by 18.9 million accounts in a single day, according to data collected by Zach Allia, a web developer who created a handy graphic of the reckoning. Some of the most followed celebrities on Instagram took the next biggest hits. Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce lost a following of 3.5 million, 1.3 million and 831,000 respectively. The rapper Mase woke up to find his 1.6 million followers had dwindled to 100,000, prompting him to delete his account for good, Business Insider reports.

An Instagram spokesperson told the New York Times that the company’s recently publicized tally of 300 million active monthly users excluded the fake accounts now being purged.

TIME Social Networking

This is How Mark Zuckerberg Celebrated Instagram’s Crazy Milestone

Facebook CEO is bouncing off the walls

Now that social media site Instagram has more users than Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg has found a shareable way to celebrate.

The co-founder of Facebook, which bought the photo-sharing platform for $1 billion in 2012, posed for a head-scratching photo in Instagram headquarters’ “gravity room” to mark the milestone.

Instagram’s room is not unlike every other room on earth in that, yes, it is subject to the forces of gravity. But in this room, the stuff that would normally be on the ground is attached to the wall — allowing Zuckerberg and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to appear to be bouncing off the funky wallpaper. Pretty cool.

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