Give the “gift of gif” with Gifpop!

Gifpop! takes animated gifs (up to 10 frames) and turns them into fun cards thanks to lenticular printing.

They’ve got a lot of examples from popular Internet gif-related memes if you want to see how they work. I already bought a couple to give to my wife as Christmas stocking stuffers. Excited to see how they turn out.

Also a big fan of the fact that they clearly pronounce “gif” correctly since they rhymed it with “gift” and didn’t say “jive the jift of gif” as their tagline.

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Do Blogs Still Need Comments?

There’s been a lot of conversation lately about the value of comments and whether having comments turned on is still a necessity for blogs. Matt Gemmell has done a fantastic job of aggregating the conversation on his blog post Comments Commentary (ha!). Head over there to read more good discussion from both sides of the argument.

Comments and the two-way conversation they facilitate are one of the things that separates a blog but from just another webpage, but they can also be a giant headache. Keeping out all the spam and other filth while fostering a great community can be be very difficult and the necessary moderation is time consuming.

The right comment strategy will depend on the site and business goals. Depending on the site audience, there could be a more active (and civil) conversation about an article happening on Twitter or Facebook than on the site itself. All of these factors should be considered when making decisions on the tools you implement and on your site’s commenting policies.

Using Third Party Apps Could Have Negative Impact on Facebook Success

The tool you’re using could be hurting your company’s success on Facebook.

A recent study by EdgeRank Checker (a tool that helps measures the all important EdgeRank value) showed a precipitous drop-off when posting to your Facebook page using third party apps such as HootSuite and TweetDeck. Studying over 1 million updates from over 50,000 pages, they found that using third party tools decreases your likelihood of engagement per fan by about 80%.

EdgeRank Checker came up with four theories on the cause of the huge drop in engagement:

  • Facebook penalizes third party API’s EdgeRank
  • Facebook collapses multiple third party API updates into one post (see example)
  • Third party updates have a high chance of being scheduled and/or automated
  • Content is not optimized specifically for Facebook.

So which of these creates the negative results?

Continue reading → Using Third Party Apps Could Have Negative Impact on Facebook Success

Email Still the King of Social Sharing

Email is dead. Long live email!

We’ve been hearing that the email era is over on a monthly basis for years now. But despite overflowing inboxes, new email killers coming out all the time, and of course spam, email is still going strong. As the site share widget has become ubiquitous on the web, many sites are hiding email sharing amongst 750 other social media icons. Do so at your own peril. Email is still the most common method used to share content on the Internet.

According to a recent study conducted by AOL and Nielsen, 93% of users share content over email. Despite the trends and the growth of social powers such as Facebook and Twitter, that number is slightly higher than the 89% of study participants who shared using social networks and the 82% who use blogs. When asked what their primary sharing method was, 66% of people answered email and it was also the preferred method in every industry surveyed.

The numbers vary depending on the type of content being shared and whom a user wants to share it with. By a large margin, people prefer to share content with their friends and family and email is huge when sharing with those groups. 89% of those surveyed shared content with their friends over email and for family the number is 86%. The only category of people email isn’t a top sharing method with is the public.

(Wait… 6% of people use email to share something with the public? Stop forwarding those chain emails to everyone Mom!)

With all that data, it’s clear users prefer to share stuff via email. Why then are most sites either lumping email with everything else behind a single share icon or at most pulling out and promoting Twitter and Facebook only?

“Email to a Friend” buttons used to be everywhere but fell out of favor, possibly due to spam and the privacy concerns of submitting not just your own email but your friends’ emails too on a web form. The email share forms still have value though and web users have actually become more comfortable again sharing this information online again as sharing personal information online has been made commonplace by social networking. You can also also offer email sharing via a standard mailto: link. This allows visitors to use their own email client instead of a web form, helpful not just to those worried about privacy but also on mobile devices.

While Facebook Like and Tweet This buttons are great for encouraging conversation about your content, your visitors still also want to be able to easily share links with specific friends and family members. However implemented, it is important to encourage and enable the sharing of your site’s content via email and not just social media networks.

The stats show, reports of email’s demise were greatly exaggerated.

Does Your Facebook Page Work for Secure Users?

Facebook added the ability for users to browse using a secure connection (or https connection) back in January, but unless you were reading their blog or Mashable most users probably didn’t notice. This important feature secures the communication between your browser and Facebook’s servers as you browse the site, closing a gaping security hole that allowed anyone to easily hijack your session and pretend to be you while sitting at the coffee shop. Previously you had to dig deep into account settings to find and turn on https browsing, but recently Facebook has been promoting this feature with a large message on users’ news feeds.

This additional promotion means that more and more Facebook users will turn this setting on for their accounts. Great news… isn’t it?

Of course, better security for users is great but this change could completely break parts of your business’ Facebook page. Facebook tabs or applications that contain unsecure (non-https) content will not display to these users, and instead a large error message displays. The message gives them the option to temporarily disable secure browsing (that certainly sounds ominous) or else they can’t see this content.

Depending on what part of your page is causing the issue, the fix could be as easy as changing or adding one setting and loading an SSL certificate to the site where you’re hosting your app or external content (if you don’t already have one).

You’ve put a ton of effort into using social media as a marketing tool for your business, now make sure to take five minutes to change that setting and test your page to make sure all your fans actually get to see it.

Facebook Changes Give “Likes” More Attention

This weekend Facebook made a simple but possibly very important change to the way “liked” links are displayed on users’ profile pages. They now function similar to shared links and display chronologically within the timeline with a large headline, short text description, and thumbnail image. Previously they only displayed a small text link grouped with other minor informational notices.

This change means that visitors to your website or blog who take two seconds to click the “Like” button are now prominently promoting your content on their Facebook Wall. This is a much lower barrier than the previous sharing functionality which required users to click a link, interact with a popup window, enter comments about the link, and then submit the form to share a link.

While a “Like” button takes up more space on the page than a share link, the updated functionality and ease of use mean that in most scenarios it is the preferable solution to including a share link. It completely eliminates the need to ever have both a Facebook “Like” and “Share” on the same page and may mean the end the use of the share functionality altogether.