Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:
- President Obama To Host Town Hall On Facebook
- Twitter To Unveil Pages For Brands
- Yelp Seeing Astounding Traffic
- Formspring Gets Makeover, Looks More LIke Twitter
President Obama to Host Town Hall on Facebook
In another move showing his embrace of social networking and grassroots organization, President Barack Obama will host a live event on Facebook at the company's headquarters. The town hall will also feature CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandburg. The event is scheduled for April 20 starting at 4:45 pm Eastern time.
Obama's Facebook event will answer questions about the economic recovery and funding for technology and education. Obama will answer questions that Facebook users post either to the White House Facebook page or via Whitehouse.gov. Facebook will broadcast the event live. Obama isn't the only US President to stop by Facebook HQ; George W. Bush was there to publicize his memoir late last year.
It's obviously a big deal to have a sitting president visit Facebook for a live broadcast. Whether the event is seen as a publicity stunt to help Obama's recently announced re-election campaign or just as a way to embrace the social web, President Obama is showing respect for social networking and that's a pretty big deal all around.
Twitter to Unveil Pages for Brands
Twitter, the popular micro-messaging platform, is going to embrace businesses in a whole new way. Soon, a brand will be able to have a new profile page that will help the business/organization embrace the social web and cater to Twitter users with a new kind of presence. The profile pages are supposedly like those on Facebook.
Brands such as Verizon Wireless, H&M, Coca-Cola and others already use Twitter. The new profile pages will give Twitter a way to monetize a brand's presence on the company's site. Currently, if a newcomer to Twitter goes to a brand's page, they see only the last messages sent from the brand with no context. The new brand profile pages might allow them to give general business information and be more useful to Twitter newbies.
Twitter needs new ways to bring in profit. There are limited advertising methods such as promoted tweets, but profile pages might be a good way for Twitter to monetize the services' success. How do you feel about brands having dedicated profile pages on Twitter?
Yelp Seeing Astounding Traffic
Yelp is a pioneer on the social web. Long before location-based check-in services such as Facebook Places, Google Latitude and Foursquare, Yelp has been on the web, taking reviews and sharing them with other perspective patrons on restaurants, coffee shops and doctors. Yelp has been around since 2004 and is still growing, according to recent numbers published recently.
Even though competition is at a high point, Yelp is drawing 50 million unique visitors per month, up from 46 million the month prior. Also, Yelp now features 17 million reviews on locations around the globe. Yelp's CEO recently said that Yelp is seeing double the reviews written in the first quarter of this year.
Yelp is rolling out new services to complement its core functionality. Soon Yelp will feature a local deals product, much like Groupon and check-ins are already supported (similar to Foursquare or Gowalla). While these may seem like copycat offerings, Yelp is merely adding services that its userbase is requesting.
Formspring Gets Makeover, Looks More LIke Twitter
Formspring is an established question-and-answer site. The popular site took the curtain away to reveal a new site design that features a new user interface as well as a new look and feel. What will Formspring users see when they log in? Let's dig in.
New visitors will notice a new persistent top navigation bar that remains even if a user scrolls down through multiple screens, adding to overall usability. The width of the site has expanded to 960 pixels wide, which, as Mashable points out, looks nice on regular computers and on devices such as the iPad. Also, like Twitter, Formspring users can set a background design to make their page look better to other users.
Did Formspring copy Twitter outright, or just leverage design theories that are proven to work well? We'll let you, dear reader, decide, but the new design is pleasing on the eye and makes Formspring more user-friendly at the same time.