Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:
- Facebook Is Building a Cell Phone, Perhaps
- Foursquare Will Start Recommendations Soon
- Twitter To Release Analytics Solution
- LinkedIn Acquires Company To Provide B2B Referrals
Facebook Is Building a Cell Phone, Perhaps
Facebook has had tremendous growth in just the past 2 years. The social networking space has now jumped from the traditional web to the mobile web as mobile phone users update statuses, upload images and otherwise reach out whilst on the go. Facebook has responded with apps for specific phones, but it now appears the company will take the next step of building a phone tailored for their service.
After much press in the tech blogs, some details are starting to emerge. According to Om Malik, the Facebook phone will be built in partnership with INQ, a company that makes social networking-centric phones that are popular in western Europe and parts of Asia. With that, the phone will first show up in Europe and will also be bundled with Spotify, a popular music service in Europe.
There is much debate about whether a Facebook phone is a) needed, or b) marketable. Would Facebook be better served to simply strengthen the already-popular applications for the most popular smartphones already released into the wild? Perhaps -- but an INQ phone would likely be at a price point that would be attractive to folks who can't afford a smartphone or the accompanying data plan.
Foursquare Will Start Recommendations Soon
At an event in Amsterdam recently, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley said the company has a feature it will enable soon that will help users discover new places, based on their Foursquare usage. The location based social network has seen a growing user base as of late and this new feature will help keep them engaged.
The new recommendation service will analyze your check-ins, to-do lists and current popular items and urge Foursquare users to check them out. By using passive location tracking and push notifications, Foursquare hopes to offer you experiences you otherwise might not know about it.
How will this new feature go off? Privacy experts will most likely be quite leery of a location based service recommending other venues to you, because of the obvious creepy factor. However, one case suggested by ReadWriteWeb makes sense: suppose you're shopping at a local farmers market, Foursquare might recommend restaurants that use locally-sourced foods when you check in close by.
It will be interesting to see how this feature roll out goes in terms of adoption.
Twitter To Release Analytics Solution
Many brands (and even some individual users) have wondered how Twitter users en masse are interacting with your Tweets. That is, if you are a business or brand, are your Tweets resulting in any quality conversations or interaction on the popular social network? Many brands see Twitter as a great conversation tool while others wonder if any investment in time is worth it.
To help answer these questions and demonstrate the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of your Twitter activity, the company will soon roll out a free analytics dashboard. According to Twitter's Business Development team, in the last quarter of 2010, users will be able to access a tool to show which users are influential on your network and how far your Tweets go to spawn conversation on Twitter.
There are some third-party providers of analytic tools for Twitter, but the company released version will be of interest to brands and power Twitter users.
LinkedIn Acquires Company To Provide B2B Referrals
LinkedIn is a dark horse in the social networking world. The service is extremely popular amongst professionals, enabling co-workers to keep in touch, professional organizations to launch networks around professions and specialties and enabling job hunting in a very social way.
The company has made an acquisition that is also of high interest. LinkedIn has picked up ChoiceVendor, a startup that allows companies to review and recommend business-to-business service providers. Much in the way Yelp allows individuals to recommend restaurants and other businesses, ChoiceVendor makes it possible to find and recommend companies such as payroll companies, accounting firms and call centers.
LinkedIn is obviously trying to rule the business/professional social networking space. Have you ever heard of ChoiceVendor? Would you use this type of feature within LinkedIn? We look forward to the conversation that will occur in the comment section below.