When disaster strikes, technology can often be put to good use. Following the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal this week, Google and Facebook are among the companies helping those in the area, as well as people looking for friends and relatives.
Google's People Finder does very much what it says on the tin. It's a very simple website that enables people to publish requests for information about loved ones, as well as giving those with information somewhere to share it. Facebook's Nepal Earthquake Safety Check provides a similar feature.
Social media is a large part of many people's lives these days but it seems that people at the top of enterprises and large organizations are more reluctant to engage.
Management education advice site MBA Central has produced an infographic looking at how CEOs are lagging behind in their use of social media despite the benefits it can bring to their personal and professional reputation.
What's the significance of this? Twitter Inc is governed by US law, it is obliged to comply with NSA-driven court requests for data. Data stored in Ireland is not subject to the same obligation. Twitter is not alone in using Dublin as a base for non-US operations; Facebook is another company that has adopted the same tactic. The move could also have implications for how advertising is handled in the future.
Despite being incarcerated for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning has joined Twitter. The solider formerly known as Bradley Manning has been approved to receive gender-reassignment hormone therapy, but is not permitted access to the internet.
To get around this restriction, supporters of Manning have set up the @xychelsea account on her behalf. Tweeting is due to start today, and Manning will dictate messages over the phone so "her own candid thoughts and comments" can be shared with Twitter users.
When you stick a photo online, how can you make it clear that you are happy for anyone to use it however the heck they want? By adding support for the Public Domain and Creative Commons 0 designations, Flickr just made things a whole lot easier.
The site has long been home to a raft of images made available under Creative Commons licenses, but now options have been expanded further. If you're happy to forego the copyright you have to your picture, Flickr now lets you become a photographic philanthropist.
Facebook is about more than being social; it's about presenting a version of yourself to other people. When you share a photo of your meal, you're making a statement: "look at this delicious expensive meal I can afford", "look at the fancy restaurant we're visiting", or "gosh, aren't I healthy for making this salad?". But of course Facebook is not just filled with photos of food -- there are also photos of kids, presenting an image of family life.
Starting today, Facebook is rolling out a new scrapbooking feature designed specifically for pulling together photos of your child. The idea is to make it easier to collect together photos into one place so you can view all of your memories without having to jump from place to place.
History. It's so much more reliable than the future. You know where you stand with things that have happened. This is possibly why they are often looked back upon (is that not the only way to view such things?) with such fondness. Unless they were bad things, of course.
Latching on to the general liking for getting moist-eyed and nostalgic, Facebook is rolling out a new On This Day. It's something that borrows heavily from services like TimeHop, and gives users of the social network a new way to check back on the content they've posted. It's something Facebook has experimented with already with its Year In Review, but this is a more wide-reaching feature.
Facebook is introducing support for sending and receiving money through Messenger. Starting in the US in the next few months, users of the social network will be able to make electronic payments free of charge. While this is not a service that will rival the likes of Apple Pay or PayPal, it provides a way to quickly send money to a friend.
This is not a payment system that has been completely built from the ground up. It's based on the same backbone that's used to process payments for gamers and advertisers. Security is understandably of paramount importance, and Facebook stresses that as well as encryption and PIN protection for all, iOS users will also be able to take advantage of Touch ID.
Facebook has updated its Community Standards document, outlining the type of content that is not permitted on the social network. When it's not forcing people to reveal their real names, blocking 'offensive' content, or encouraging users to vote, Facebook is often to be found removing content that has been reported for one reason or another. But what's acceptable, and what's not?
The chances of getting a new Windows 10 build this week are starting to look a little thin, but releases are going to be made available more frequently. Writing on Twitter, Gabe Aul said that "we've decided to try to increase pace of Fast", promising that more details would be forthcoming.
Earlier in the week, Aul responded to complaints that new builds were not appearing fast enough, joking that a new release ring called Ludicrous Speed was being considered. Now we've learned that "a good build candidate with some new features" is very close to release.
Facebook is often a breeding ground for controversy. When it's not being used as platform for mindless idiots to air their dirty laundry, the social network is busy upsetting people for one reason or another. We've had censorship of one sort or another. We've had the debacle surrounding the requirement to use a real name and opening up of custom gender options.
If you're the sort of person who likes to express the way you're feeling through the medium of emoji rather than words, you may well have used Facebook's built in 'I am feeling...' feature. Feeling excited? Don’t type it, just select a starry-eyed smiley. But following a Change.org petition, you can no longer select a predefined option to indicate that you feel fat. Why? Because Mark Zuckerberg is completely spineless.
A former Google engineer revealed on Twitter this weekend that she suffered sexual harassment whilst working at the company. In a series of tweets, Kelly Ellis said that not only had she been sexually harassed by a male colleague, but that her promotion through the company had been effectively curtailed because she would have been in a position that meant reporting to her harasser.
There is more than a hint of irony at the timing of the revelation. Google would much prefer to be seen encouraging women into technology but Ellis -- who worked on the Google+ team -- dismisses this as nothing more than "PR bullshit". She also says that she was let down by co-workers who failed to back her up.
Like just about any online service, Facebook has a huge number of dead and dormant accounts. It could be that the owner has died, they might have lost interest, or they may be spam accounts that are no longer used. Facebook is now having a spring clean, sweeping aside inactive accounts, and this could have an interesting side effect for page owners.
Accounts that have been purposely deactivated, or memorialized after a death, are currently still factored into the 'like' count for pages. This is set to change, so many page owners should brace themselves for a sudden drop in likes over the coming weeks.
It just became a whole lot easier to embed Twitter-hosted videos on websites. A newly launched widget makes it possible to add the video from a tweet to a website without the need to embed the entire tweet. It's a neat-looking solution that makes it simple to embed videos without unnecessary, distracting page furniture.
It works in just the same way as embedding an entire tweet, and it provides a way for Twitter to drive traffic back to its own site rather than other video services, whilst simultaneously making life easier for embedders and helping to pull in followers from other sites.
As the manager of a small business or an entrepreneur just starting out, you should always be on the lookout for anything that can improve your productivity, time management, organization, and ultimately make day to day tasks easier to manage.
It can be hard enough trying to run things in the office without also having to worry about your online presence. But like it or not, today’s business needs an online presence in order to ultimately succeed, or at least remain competitive.