Tag Archive | "Stories"

Twitter news headlines

Twitter Debuts “Story Behind the Tweet” Feature

Twitter continues to find new ways to insert itself into the conversation around big news stories. Its latest effort is to show “related headlines” linking to news articles that embed particular tweets into a blog or news site. Here’s an example:

Twitter news headlines
Related News Headlines for an embedded Tweet

This example illustrates how Twitter’s Vine tweet announcing it had reached 40 million users was embedded in various technology news stories, including the headlines on Mashable and CNET news sites. Links are shown below the original tweet.

In announcing the change, Twitter said it’s hoping to provide more context for news. The headlines linking to news stories are designed to help users find more information about conversations taking place through tweets, which can be hard to decipher due to their extreme brevity.

Twitter’s announcement was titled, “New headlines feature offers story behind the Tweet.”

Source: About.com

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Wizard of Oz

Dorothy Gale, M.D?

Wizard of OzJust in time to celebrate – or take advantage of – the 75th anniversary of Victor Fleming’s all-time classic, Hollywood looks like it’s moving The Wizard of Oz from the silver screen to your living room television.

News broke a few weeks ago that CBS is developing Dorothy, a soapy medical drama that will use both the characters and the themes of L. Frank Baum’s novel in a contemporary hospital setting.

As if that weren’t enough, NBC plans to take a darker turn with a Game of Thrones-like adaptation that will draw stories from all 14 of Baum’s Oz novels.

Meanwhile, Syfy is set to make a miniseries called Warriors of Oz, which unsurprisingly will delve more into the fantasy side of things in its re-imagining the Oz world.

Meanwhile, a remastered 3D version of The Wizard of Oz (1939) will be released in theaters next month to get a jump start on the film’s much-anticipated anniversary.

The cast of Victor Fleming’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939)/MGM Home Entertainment

Source: About.com

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Getty Images/Ian McKinnell

Study: Facebook Impacts Happiness

Another round of stories appeared last week suggesting that heavy Facebook use makes young people feel worse about themselves, possibly because when they see how others are leading their lives, they feel inferior.

Getty Images/Ian McKinnell

Getty Images/Ian McKinnell

The stories cited new research conducted at the University of Michigan and published in the Public Library of Science’s open access journal, PLOSone. The study was titled, “Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults.”

“On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,” the abstract said. “Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.”

The researchers looked at the self-reported Facebook use and moods of 82 young people who actively used Facebook for a couple of weeks. They texted them five times daily to ask questions about their Facebook use and overall feelings that day.

Researchers found unhappiness levels rose with Facebook use — at least, those using Facebook the most reported feeling worse about themselves than the people who used it less frequently. Social comparison was theorized as a cause, rather than pre-existing feelings of insecurity, loneliness or depression among the heavy users.

For additional details, read the full academic study at PLOSone.

People suffering from Facebook addiction may find this study eye-opening. Of course, plenty of other options exist for connecting online, including a new social network designed to achieve the opposite effect the Michigan researchers found. It’s a new social network called simply, Happier.

Then again, anyone can take a break at any time and temporarily deactivate their Facebook.

Source: About.com

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Facebook Tweaks its News Feed

Once again Facebook is changing the news feed seen by more than a billion users worldwide.

The network announced two changes this month. The first gives older stories a second chance at being viewed in someone’s news feed if they missed it the first time it was shown because they didn’t scroll down far enough. The second gives greater weight to each user’s 50 most recent interations on Facebook when deciding what to show in their stream of updates.

The changes may seem contradictory because one emphasizes recency while the other de-emphasizes it, but they are designed to work together, and both highlight the growing complexity of the algorithm Facebook uses to decide what to show people.

Perhaps most interesting were the statistics Facebook released profiling a typical news feed:

  • At any given time a user visits Facebook, they typically have 1,500 items from friends– posts, photos, actions taken and so forth — eligible to be shown in their feed.

  • Facebook typically selects only 300 of those items to include in the feed; the rest get hidden.
  • Before the latest two changes, people, on average, only read 57 percent of the stories/posts they were shown, and missed 43 percent of them.

The changes are designed to increase the number of stories people read, Facebook said. You can read the official announcement in the company’s blog for business, or check out this history of the Facebook news feed for perspective on how it’s evolved.

Source: About.com

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Coca-Cola Homepage

7 Secret Coca-Cola Formulas to Successful Content Marketing

Here at Avaya, we’re focused on helping you be more successful today than you were yesterday. To that end, we’re constantly searching for insights to share with you about current business trends in communication, social media and the way technology is improving the bottom line.

This past week, Avaya’s social media team in Santa Clara spent the afternoon at BlogWell, a one-day conference for communication professionals sharing best practices and emerging trends. Speakers included executives at Coca-Cola, Whole Foods, Intel, Xerox, Citrix and others.

Coca-Cola, in particular, stood out as a company pushing the envelope on social media and branded editorial content. Coke recently revamped its corporate homepage, and is focusing its efforts on hiring journalists to help them produce a daily digital magazine. The effort is less than a year old, and is already yielding positive results.

Coca-Cola Homepage

The company’s stock chart and mission statement are buried elsewhere on the site, which instead offers up video on Tom Brokaw’s life tips for teenagers, a feature piece on a cold water surfing town in British Columbia and elevator etiquette. This content is wrapped in red and white, under the banner of Coca-Cola Journey, the company’s 9-month-old experiment in digital publishing.

So what’s driving Coke’s resurgent interest in editorial content?

The company is embracing its role as a storyteller, said Ashley Callahan, Coca-Cola’s manager of digital communications and social media.

“We’re building a network of [Coca-Cola Journey] editors,” Callahan said. “We really think of Coca-Cola like an international news market with bureaus. We’re based in Atlanta, but we’re in 207 countries. We have a lot of public affairs and communications folks in all of those markets, so we’re meeting with them and relying on them to tell us what stories they have, what stories we should be sharing and telling, and in response, sharing our stories as well.”

She offered up 7 major strategies her team employs when creating original content:

#1: It’s not always an article

Corporate blogs can be a little dry, with an endless parade of articles touting new products and features. Coca-Cola’s products don’t change much, so their content team had to look beyond traditional articles: Adopting photo slideshows, videos, infographics, songs and other bite-sized content packages designed to be shared socially.

“Just as long as it’s interesting and tells a story and draws the viewer in,” Callahan said. “Many times, the content is there and the real challenge is to craft it and create something interesting. We like to say, ‘Take the ordinary and make it extraordinary.’”

#2: Apply the water cooler test

Ask yourself, does this story grip me on a personal level? Callahan asked the audience to consider whether the story was so compelling they’d tell their friends and family about it.

The water cooler test is a related idea: How would you tell a coworker the story over the water cooler? If the story makes you want to go to sleep, chances are, you won’t do a great job getting your readers excited about it, either.

“If you think you’d still share it with a friend or family member, you probably have a good piece of content and should keep pursuing it,” Callahan said.

#3: Surprise sells

“A lot of times, writing is boring,” Callahan said. “It’s very predictable. We kind of know what’s going to happen. So I always ask people in our company to try to react to things as a human being and not so much as an employee. Is there something surprising that caught you off guard?”

The best stories, Callahan said, teach us something new, or cause us to think about the world in a new way. Writing surprising truths is an ambitious goal for Coca-Cola’s writing team, and Callahan makes sure to capitalize on it whenever she sees those truths cross her desk.

#4: Make data-driven decisions

More than 1 million people per month visit Coca-Cola Journey, roughly one out of four doing so on a mobile device. In the 9 months since the new site launched, people have consumed 23.8 million pages of content, shared that content 54,000 times and left 8,500 comments.

The company tracks those metrics through the Brightspot content management system, Google Analytics, Gigya and other proprietary tools to deliver something it calls the Expression of Interest score–studying, essentially, the popularity of specific topics.


Callahan and her team watch their metrics like an online news organization, tweaking coverage to reflect their readers’ interests. When they began tracking metrics, they found the top inbound search term was “Coca-Cola cake,” linking to a recipe containing 6 tablespoons of Coca-Cola.

Inbound search terms also gives her marketing team information about what people are actually interested in, helping them make informed decisions about new campaigns.

#5: Own the medium

Coca-Cola is a massive company–it estimates it sells 1.8 billion servings of beverages every day worldwide–and it has a lot of stories to tell.

Before the advent of the Internet, the company relied on traditional news reporters to tell those stories.

With Coca-Cola Journey, the company instead controls the medium and the message, which goes out to more than a million people per month. Sustained, creative social media campaigns help Coca-Cola grow that audience on a daily basis.

The company’s internal goal is to triple its readership on Coca-Cola Journey by 2018.

#6: Use that medium to react in a crisis

In late January, the New York Times published a guest opinion article by American history professor Grace Elizabeth Hale entitled “When Jim Crow Drank Coke.” The article claimed Coca-Cola avoided marketing to black Americans in the early 20th century, and only did so after facing renewed competition from Pepsi.

Callahan said the company reacted quickly to this emerging brand crisis, asking their chief historian to respond on Coca-Cola Journey.

“The lengths taken by Dr. Grace Elizabeth Hale to try to link the history of America’s favorite and most inclusive drink–Coca-Cola–to racism are both absurd and appalling,” Coca-Cola Chief Historian Phil Mooney wrote the next day.

Mooney’s response garnered media attention, resulting in links back to the company’s website.

#7: Think like a newsroom

Roughly half of Callahan’s team has a journalism background, and they apply traditional editorial standards and ethics in their work. Callahan is a journalist herself, having worked as a television reporter in North Carolina, Salt Lake City and Atlanta before joining Coca-Cola in early 2012.

The traditional measures journalists use to weigh a story’s importance–chiefly, does it educate and delight–are directly applicable in the world of content marketing, she said.

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Ruins in Turkey © Lauren Juliff

4 Quirky Festivals to Experience in July

Now that July is in full swing, I’m showcasing some of the funniest, silliest and quirkiest festivals that have been taking place around the world this month. From wrestling in olive oil to carrying your wife on your shoulders, hitting people with banana stalks to being carried in a coffin by your family, July certainly isn’t dull when it comes to festivals.

1-7 July — Kirkpinar oil wrestling, Turkey

Ruins in Turkey © Lauren JuliffTaking place in Turkey, the Kirkpinar oil wresting festival is the country’s longest-running sporting event and one that shouldn’t be missed if you happen to be in the area. The premise is simple (and bizarre!) — competitors wear a pair of tight leather pants, douse themselves in olive oil, are assigned to a partner and then wrestle in a sudden death competition. The winner is awarded a golden belt, often by the president of Turkey.

6 July — Wife Carrying World Championships, Finland

One of the strangest sporting events around the world, the Wife Carrying World Championships is exactly what it sounds like. Competitors carry their wives over a 250 metre obstacle course and the first one to cross the finish line wins his wife’s weight in beer!

15-21 July — Mwaka Kogwa, Tanzania

Mwaka Kogwa, which is celebrated in Zanzibar, Tanzania, is a four day purification ritual for the island’s inhabitants, marking the start of a new year. The first day of the festival is the most interesting as it consists of the men gathering together and hitting each other with banana stalks! This is seen as a way to settle any village feuds and start the new year afresh.

29 July — Festival of the Near-Death Experience, Spain

If you’ve had a near-death experience within the past year then congratulations — you’re eligible to take part in the Festival of the Near-Death Experience, held every July in north-west Spain. The festival is one of the more bizarre on this list and involves being placed in a coffin and paraded through the streets by your family. You’re then carried to the local church where you can give thanks to Santa Marta, the patron saint of resurrection.

Related Reading:

  • World Festivals by Month
  • Near Death Experience Stories
  • History of Oil Westling

Have you ever attended any of these festivals? Which one would you like to experience most? Leave a comment below and let us know.


Photos © Lauren Juliff | Student Travel Blog Home

Source: About.com

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Facebook Explains How Its News Feed Algorithm Works

The Facebook News Feed has evolved a lot since it first became a real feature back in 2006, and now, Facebook has planned to reveal how it continuously tweaks its algorithm to show you the most relevant posts in your own personal News Feed.

Called “News Feed FYI blog posts,” the first that was published today aims to educate users about how older stories will now be ranked depending on whether or not you already saw them or it. So if you never previously scrolled down far enough to see a good story, Facebook will keep that in mind and display it at the top the next time you check Facebook if it’s still getting a lot of likes and comments.

  • Facebook vs. Google+

The News Feed already shows you posts depending on which of your friends or Pages you interact with the most, how popular or how much activity a story is receiving, how much you’ve interacted with a story before and of course which stories are being hidden or reported by your friends or yourself. Keep an eye out on the Facebook for Business News section for more updates on how the News Feed continues to change.

Photo © Getty Images

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Source: About.com

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A non-expert’s opinion on why videoconferencing CAN help you land that dream job

There’s been a lot of attention lately around using video conferencing during the interview process – mostly negative. Even Fox News is saying it’s bad.

I don’t agree. And while, I personally haven’t commissioned a study like DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University did (Video Killed the Interview Star), I have seen real-world examples where video conferencing helps candidates land jobs.

I give credit to the team at DeGroote for their research and the attention the report is generating. They raise some valid points, and the tips they offer for video interviews are helpful. It’s definitely worth the read.

That said I believe video conferencing DOES enable successful interviews. Why? Below are five compelling arguments why video recruiting can be effective:

  1. Video expands a company’s talent pool and a job applicant’s opportunities by magnitudes. We live in connected world where real-time communications are viable anywhere you have a device and an Internet or cellular connection. So if you can work with anyone, anywhere, why limit your job search to down the street? Of course there are jobs that can’t be performed remotely, but many can. Avaya has an active teleworker global employee, customer and partner community, and we regularly use video for not only for collaboration among the team, but also for recruitment purposes.
  2. Our customers say it works. Video helps companies recruit top talent. A well-known client in the auto industry recently shared that they saved more than $10,000 in recruitment-related travel costs in less than a month thanks to video conferencing. If they’re relying on video to interview, they must be hiring some of those folks they meet via video, right?
  3. Video hides stature. Now some of you may argue this is a bad thing, but trust me… coming from a “vertically challenged” person, it’s not. It’s a fact that taller people are more successful in business. When you meet by video, no one knows how tall you are. So if you naturally exude presence in-person, you’ll exude it via video too. Again, speaking from personal experience… without fail, one of the first things I hear when I meet a colleague in-person is, “Wow, you look so much taller on video!” Now I don’t know if this feedback is good or bad, but if taller people are more successful, I definitely want to be as perceived taller than I really am 
  4. Video saves time. This is a win-win situation for both the applicant and the interviewer. By using videoconferencing for initial screening, no money or time is wasted on travel, and as we all know, time is money. If things go well, there’s more time in the next interview to delve into topics that really matter because you’ve already “met.” If they don’t go well, at least no one went out of his/her way to attend the interview.
  5. Visual communication builds better relationships than audio-only conversations. Meeting face-to-face builds rapport. What might have gone badly as a phone call could go great using face-to-face communications. I speak from experience on this one. In fact, I wrote a blog about it last year, and I see it happening every day at Avaya.

What do you think? This seems like a hot topic, and I’m obviously pro video. I’d love to hear success/horror stories for those who have used video during the hiring process.

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Monday Morning Manager: It’s Biogenesis D-Day

Today could be one of those days in big-league history that will be long remembered. Major League Baseball is reportedly ready to suspend several players in the ongoing Biogenesis investigation.

Alex Rodriguez is likely to come off the disabled list, but nobody is sure if he’ll go to the New York Yankees’ active roster or to the suspended list for a long, long time.

Several news sites are reporting that Rodriguez will be one of a dozen-or-so players suspended on Monday, just as he’s finally ready to come off the disabled list for the New York Yankees. It’s been an interesting game of cat-and-mouse between Rodriguez, the Yankees and MLB in the past few weeks as the timetable has meshed between A-Rod’s rehab, the investigation and a lot of behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Rodriguez has behaved in public as if there’s nothing wrong at all, saying he is ready to join his teammates and that he feels great.

Other players on teams in pennant races — such as Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta and Texas’ Nelson Cruz — are also likely to be suspended. But Rodriguez has vowed a fight, and it’s likely that MLB will let Rodriguez play while he appeals a long suspension, perhaps one that could keep him out until 2015.

And we’ll likely finally get a bit of resolution today.

On to this week’s Monday Morning Manager:


Jason Heyward, Braves: He’s coming alive as Atlanta is pulling away in the NL East, winning 10 in a row. He was 10 for 27 in the last seven days with two homers and eight RBI, but still is languishing at .235 with 10 homers and 31 RBI on the season.

Jose Fernandez, Marlins: Becoming one of the best stories of the year on a last-place team. He handed the Indians their only loss in the last 10 games on Friday, shutting them out and striking out 14. He’s 8-5 with a 2.54 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings.

Chris Perez, Indians: He’s returned to dominant form since coming off the DL on last June. He’s given up two earned runs since then in 16 appearances, with two wins and 10 saves.


Josh Johnson, Blue Jays: Toronto made three huge additions to its pitching staff in the offseason, and none have gone as planned. The worst of the bunch has been Johnson, who fell to 1-8 with a 6.60 ERA  after the Angels battered him last week.

J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays: Don’t mean to pile on here, but Toronto’s battery is woefully uncharged right now. Arencibia has two hits in his last 10 games and his average has slipped to .212.

Chris Carter, Astros: He’s just an extra H from a famous football Hall of Fame player, but this Carter didn’t have as good a week as the former NFL receiver. Carter, the Houston left fielder, is 1 for his last 21 and is at .213 with just two of his 19 homers since the All-Star break.

TOP 10

1. Atlanta Braves (67-45, last week unranked)

2. Boston Red Sox (68-45, last week No. No. 72)

3. Tampa Bay Rays (66-45, last week No. 3)

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (67-44, last week No. 4)

5. Detroit Tigers (64-45, last week No. 5)

6. St. Louis Cardinals (65-45, last week No. 1)

7. Los Angeles Dodgers (61-49, last week No. 5)

8. Cleveland Indians (62-49, last week unranked)

9. Cincinnati Reds (61-51, last week unranked)

10. Texas Rangers (62-50, last week unranked)


26. Chicago Cubs (49-62, last week unranked)

27. Milwaukee Brewers (47-64, last week No. 27)

28. Miami Marlins (43-67, last week No. 28)

29. Chicago White Sox (40-69, last week No. 29)

30. Houston Astros (36-74, last week No. 30)

Source: About.com

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New Research Offers Evolutionary Tales of Monogamy

If you didn’t catch any of the headlines this week about new evolutionary theories explaining monogamy, here’s a summary.

Two papers were published trying to explain monogamy in mammals. They found different explanations.

One paper, which analyzed data from 2,545 species of mammals, proposes that monogamy evolves in males as a response to their inability to prevent other males from mating with females, the result of how the females decide to set up camp and live far apart from one another. The other paper which analyzed data from 230 primate species argues that monogamy evolved as a way for males to prevent other males from killing their offspring.

One of the researchers is quoted in the New York Times dissing the other’s method of analyzing data (“They don’t use the latest methods, which is a bit of a pity,”).

It’s hard to imagine any one would be reporting on this if they didn’t assume that as readers we would relate this to our own human experiment with monogamy. But this is where we would benefit from a little critical thinking.

We might ask, for example, what exactly are they studying when they say they are studying monogamy. Often what they mean by monogamy is a pair staying together for their lifetime, reproducing and raising their offspring. Of course by lifetime they really mean as long as the researchers followed them. Sometimes that is a lifetime (particularly with animals in captivity). Sometimes it’s a little less than a lifetime.

But what about sex? When we talk about monogamy in humans we aren’t only referring to a decision or commitment to stay together for a lifetime, we mean that you aren’t having sex with anyone else. And if you ask most people who are monogamous what would count as cheating, they would list a lot more than intercourse. So is the monogamy that we talk about and that so many strive for (due in no small part to the unspoken ideals of compulsory monogamy) the same as the monogamy these researchers are peering at through mountains of data?

I also can’t help but notice that when this research is reported on, journalists seem incapable of talking about evolutionary responses without referencing sex and gender binaries and human gender role stereotypes. I know it’s a bit like a fish describing the temperature of the water it’s floating in, but again, it’s worth asking about the extent to which we are just telling ourselves stories about ourselves, with other animals as characters.

I like stories as much as the next animal, but I like my stories a bit messier, a bit more realistic, if they are meant to be teaching me something about my life.

Read More: New York Times – Despite Two New Studies on Motives for Monogamy, the Debate Continues


Join the conversation!




Source: About.com

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