Surveys often reveal facts that are largely common sense, and this is certainly true of a study by the Pew Research Center -- the findings being that is seen as "very important" to workers. Nearly half of the 1,066 people surveyed said internet, email and cell phones made them more productive, while just 7 percent said the opposite was true.
So far, so predictable. But the same study also reveals that just 4 percent of workers feel that social networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are "very important". These are findings that Facebook would almost certainly disagree with, as would Twitter and LinkedIn, despite reports suggesting that Facebook is valuable to business users.
When the LinkedIn network for professionals launched it was sometimes referred to as social networking for grown ups. But is it really any better than Facebook for business users?
The UK's Brighton School of Business and Management has produced an infographic comparing the relative merits of the two sites and it shows that Facebook may be getting overlooked as a business tool.
You must have seen them whilst browsing your Facebook feed, you probably even have one of your own. Facebook took it upon itself to produce a Year In Review post for users, pulling together photos from throughout the year into one delightful, cheery look back at the previous 12 months. But for some people things weren’t quite so cheerful.
The algorithm that was used to collect photos for inclusion in the posts picked out not only photos of the happy family get-togethers, the unforgettable vacations and so on. Some users were distraught to find that some of the bleaker moments from the year had been highlighted in a presentation entitled "It's been a great year!". Now Facebook has apologized for the upset.
You send a command from your smartphone and your house automatically decorates itself with a holographic Christmas tree complete with decorations and a suitably conifer-like smell.
Sound like science fiction? Maybe, but this is among the predictions by the authors of a new book that looks at how technology is changing our lives and how we do business.
We've already heard that 2015 is supposed to be the year of cryptocurrency, and Microsoft recently announced that Bitcoin is an acceptable form of payment. Now Reddit is getting in on the virtual currency action. Kind of. Well, perhaps. The details are vague at the moment, but the intriguingly-named Reddit Notes have been announced.
It comes just a few months after Reddit managed to secure $50 million in funding, and at the time "the investors in this round have proposed to give 10% of their shares back to the community". The birth of Reddit Notes is the start of this payback, but it's not yet clear who will receive them or what they will be used for.
A little over a year ago, Facebook introduced videos that play automatically. If a report from AdWeek is correct, it looks as though others thought that this was a great idea because Twitter is reportedly considering implementing the same feature. As this is a report that appeared in AdWeek, it should be clear that one of the most likely reasons for introducing the feature would be to increase the visibility of ads.
Just as with Facebook, the concern here is that -- as well as being considered by many as an invasion of, if not privacy, then virtual personal space -- it will lead to an unwanted increase in data usage.
Bing has been unceremoniously dumped by Facebook. The social network had been using the Microsoft search tool to power its Graph Search platform for some time now, but no longer. While no announcement has been made, Facebook confirmed the news to Reuters.
The lack of official announcement meant that the dropping of Bing was immediately noticed. Facebook does not have a replacement partner in mind -- there is no danger of the social network teaming up with Google -- but will go it alone instead.
YouTube is a great source of entertainment, but don't you wish that sometimes people would just cut to the chase? There are plenty of videos of epic length, often comprising a massive build up to a short punchline. Why not cut the crap and get to the point?
One way to do this when re-sharing YouTube videos is to convert the interesting portion into an animated GIF, saving viewers time and bandwidth. YouTube itself is getting in on the web's rekindled interest in animated GIFs. A new beta program has been opened up that lets YouTube users transform lengthy videos into snapper clips of up to six seconds in length.
Media regulator Ofcom has found that the use of social networks is on the decline across a number of countries, but most prominently in the UK.
The International Communications Market Report 2014 found that the number of UK weekly visitors to social networks fell from 65 percent to 56 percent between September 2013 and October 2014.
What's your gender? For some people it's a simple question -- nothing more than checking one of two boxes. But it can get more complicated than simply indicating that you're male or female. Many people feel that gender is not important and would prefer to keep this information to themselves. This is now a wish that Google respects on Google+.
In fact Google is going far beyond this. Starting today Google+ includes support for an infinite number of gender identifies. So whether you would rather not disclose where you fit onto the gender spectrum, or want to proclaim it outside of the confines of the usual binary options, now you can.
A little over a year ago, fashion photographer Viktorija Pashuta released images from a photo shoot entitled What If Girls Were Internet Browsers. It was a simple, fun idea in which Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari were given female personas and represented by models. Now Viktorija has a new project -- What if Guys Were Social Networks.
The idea's very similar to last year's project. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, tumblr, Pinterest, flickr and LinkedIn are all anthropomorphized into eight men, each with their own unique look and personality. In the line-up of social networks, all of the major players are represented, but the new kid on the block, Ello, is notable by its absence.
As part of an on-going battle against malware and abuse of the social network, Facebook has joined up with security firm ESET. The partnership follows on from the news back in May that Facebook was working with both Trend Micro and F-Secure to try to combat the threat of malware. The addition of ESET makes a trio of security partners, and Facebook has incorporated the company's technology into its own security systems.
Facebook hopes that by combining the power of F-Secure, Trend Micro and ESET, it should be possible to block the appearance of more malicious links from newsfeeds. The thinking is that adding more security providers will helps to catch even more malware without the need to rely on users having antimalware software installed.
Ads are hard to avoid at the best of times, but it has a tendency to get a little worse in the run-up to Christmas. Advertising has become increasingly prolific on social networks, and this is certainly true of Facebook. As we enter the holiday season, Facebook is providing advertisers with advice that will enable them to deliver finely-tuned ads at highly specific sets of users.
If you picked yourself up a new tablet in the Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales, Facebook makes it possible for advertisers to pick you out of the masses. The social network is not only rolling out a couple of new features to help with targeted advertising, but also providing tips for more successful campaigns.
Over the years Twitter has come in for a lot of flak for the level of abuse that runs rife on the social network. Now the site is taking action by making improvements to the existing blocking features as well as refining the harassment-reporting facility. With the likes of #gamergate and various other high profile cases, Twitter users have found themselves on the receiving end of vitriol, hatred and abuse.
Today's updates aim to clamp down on these activities, making it easier for users to report problematic tweets and easier for Twitter to respond quickly to problems. There is a particular focus on making life easier to users of mobile versions of Twitter, and the blocking feature is now more prominent in apps.
Researchers have warned that big data trends discerned from social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, misrepresent the real world because they use biased information.
Computer scientists at McGill University, Montreal and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, have discovered that social media is often guilty of "population bias", as large sections of society are not represented by the sites.