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Learn the ins and outs of Web Design with our how-tos and resources
  • Instagram privacy changes set for January 19th

    The significant changes to Instagram’s terms of service are scheduled to come into effect this week.

    As of January 19th, the photo-sharing and filtering service will be able to sell photographs and related data uploaded by its users to third parties after its parent company Facebook announced its controversial changes last month.

    When the alterations were unveiled in December, there was a widespread revolt among Instagram users, with many people deciding to close their account with the service instead of facing the prospect of having what they see as their own property sold to a third party.

    Indeed, a report by Reuters shortly after the announcement noted that Instagram had lost around 25 per cent of its daily active users as a direct result of the changes.

    This backlash has led to a lively debate among lawyers as to whether or not Facebook and Instagram are breaching the privacy rights of their subscribers. Jeremy Clarke-Williams of Slater & Gordon Lawyers said: “Your Article 8 rights are engaged if you can satisfy a court that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to an alleged breach. But where you have chosen to put your photos on Facebook/Instagram can you realistically have such an expectation? How wide does publication have to be before it can be deemed to have put material into the public domain? These are interesting legal questions, but one suspects the anger generated by this issue is less about privacy and more about the stark reminder that the social media sites are businesses and they have to find ways to make money out of their users”

    In a statement on its website, Instagram explained that by being acquired by the social media giant in September last year, it would be able to provide an improved level of service for its users following extensive consultations.

    “As part of our new collaboration, we’ve learned that by being able to share insights and information with each other, we can build better experiences for our users,” the company noted.

    With this in mind, Instagram has updated its privacy policy to highlight the details of its new collaboration with Facebook, telling its users: “You still get to choose who can see your Instagram photos and you still get to choose whether you post your photos on Facebook.”

    The company went on to insist that while it is now working closely with Facebook to find ways in which it can update and innovate its service, it is not “changing the core features of the app” that millions of people across the world currently use.

    Its official privacy policy states: “We may share your information as well as information from tools like cookies, log files, and device identifiers and location data with organisations that help us provide the service to you … [and] third-party advertising partners.”

    After Facebook announced the alterations to the way in which Instagram operates, the photo and content-sharing platform defended the changes and insisted they will actually improve the user experience of its site.

    In a statement, the company noted: “This means we can do things like fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems more quickly and build better features for everyone by understanding how Instagram is used.”

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    Jonathan Gordon is a freelance copywriter who writes for a variety of websites, including a number of specialist professional negligence solicitors.

  • Steps to Social Media Success

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    Be confident that you are making the most out of your social media platforms if you are connecting with your audience on a real level. It doesn’t matter if you have 10,000 followers because that doesn’t mean 10,000 people care about what you’re doing or even know who you are. If people form a relationship with you and your brand and continuously come back and interact with your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc., then you are successful.

    Don’t Talk AT Your audience, Have a Conversation

    It’s easy to post ten tweets in a row about why Steve at work thinks Helvetica is the best font of all time. But before you start having a one-sided conversation, remember that social media platforms were created for building relationships over the web, for two-sided communication.

    Instead of getting stuck in the “print” mindset- where your only option is to spread your message unilaterally and without reply- start engaging your followers. Ask them for their opinions. Ask if they agree or disagree with Steve and why.

    Your company wants to get attention, much like the rest of the world. Give your viewers some and they will return the favor.

    Success Isn’t Built in a Day

    Yes, a very small number of people have seemingly become overnight sensations on the web (usually through a funny YouTube video). These overnight sensations have been lucky individuals with a one hit wonder, not brands looking to establish themselves.

    Social media success takes time- months, maybe years. It must be planned and strategic, with your audience and goals always in focus. To establish yourself in any relationship, over the web or in-person, you must establish trust. We all know that trust is earned and that takes time.

    Don’t get discouraged if your social media efforts don’t pay off in a few days or even a few weeks, you will gain notoriety in time.

    Go to the People (Instead of Waiting for Them to Come to You)

    The best way to get your website ranked is to have lots of links and pages. Why? Google wants as much content spread around the web as possible.

    Spread your content across the internet and across a variety of social media platforms instead of harboring it all on your website alone. I may not know what “Nora’s Knits” are- but if I’m browsing Tumblr and see a post of an awesome NK knit sweater, or I am on YouTube and see a video of your Fall collection– I can visit your site, share your posts with my friends, and help spread your content without even being asked.

    Post your content everywhere- the more locations, the more viewers!

    Keep it Original

    With so much content circulating on the internet, the pressure is on to stay relevant and be a posting machine. Unfortunately, these posts can easily turn into re-posts only (which is how OTHERS get noticed- not you!)

    Do your best to put out as much original content as possible. Original content motivates people to link to you and share your stuff. Why would they share your re-post when they could go straight to the source?

    Less is more, especially when you are putting out unique and original content. If you are posting less frequently but with more substance, your viewers will be waiting by their computers in anticipation.