SOCIAL MEDIA SNAP: Facebook turns red, ads want to be your friend & Google cleans house

Social media changes so much in a week that it can be hard to keep up. Check back every Friday for our roundup of stories we think you should know about in our Social Media Snap.

One of the reasons I enjoy working on the Social Media Snap is that the subject matter is just fascinating. Social media has become so readily available to us that even our online activity has become part of a larger routine – update Facebook before bed, check Twitter followers during breakfast, post a photo to Instagram during the walk to work. It’s amazing how it’s almost second nature to document and share every small moment with the world, and it’s equally as amazing that we are so willing to embrace those moments from others.

Then, every once in awhile, a historical event is redefined by this crazy ability to interact with one another at the click of a button. I don’t know about anyone else, but those are the moments when it hits me: “Wow. This is how we do things now.”

If you’re an active Facebook user, you probably noticed when your news feed turned red this week. As the Supreme Court heard two days of arguments for and against Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), millions of users took to their profile to change their photo to demonstrate their support of gay marriage. While the jury appears to be out on whether social media activism actually makes a difference (and some make a more compelling argument than others), it’s still interesting to see how our idea of political involvement has changed.

Personally, I think one of the best things about taking these issues online is that it allows you to voice your opinion AND dress it up with bacon. Trust me, I’m much more likely to pay attention if you do that.

Klout, a service that analyzes your social media influence and ranks it on a scale of 1 to 100, announced this week that their new partnership with Bing will factor data from your Instagram account into your overall score.  Honestly, any updates from Klout will probably come as good news, especially for those of us who have experienced confusion with their ranking system in the past (my last score insisted I was influential about magic, which I can assure you I am not).

Every advertiser in the game wants to be able to communicate with their target audience, and a lot of times that can result in painfully awkward attempts at sounding “cool” (remember the infamous "I'd hit it" ad from 2008? Yikes.) New trends suggest that the future of advertising is in the ability to tap into our social media minds, a strategy that doesn’t just harness our verbiage, but our affinity towards various products and services as well.

Most people who work in PR are familiar with Google Alerts, automated updates that are sent to your email every time the keyword of your choosing shows up in a web or news search. For us, Google Alerts is a way to track client coverage or follow a hot issue in a particular industry. Well, in the wake of the announcement that Google Reader has been shut down, possibly due to privacy concerns, some of us are nervously anticipating that Alerts will be the next to go. Though it’s not entirely impossible that we’re just experiencing a post-traumatic response similar to the ones we have every time our Facebook changes (“There’s a new newsfeed? What if I like the old newsfeed???” “Why are there comments on my comments?” “OMG ARE ANYONE ELSE’S UPDATES TOTALLY PUBLIC NOW?!”)

And finally, last week my TBG teammate Kelly posted about how social media plays a role in the hype that surrounds the NCAA and March Madness, and how the majority of the teams have yet to get on board. As one of the few people in this office (or on this planet, for that matter) who doesn’t follow basketball, the weeks between football and baseball are lonely ones, so I’m downright giddy that my San Francisco Giants are already gearing up to Tweet, Pin, FB and Instagram the heck out of Opening Day next week.


Happy weekend,