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Connect6° is like Rapportive for social networking

(Social Media) Connect6° is set to launch in beta, and helps add context to your social networking connections to help you to better connect with anyone.

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Hover over your contacts to discover more information

How many times have you sifted through emails wondering if any of them were relevant? While there are several apps on the market that highlight your contacts; what does that really tell you? A new app, Connect6°, has a different approach. It is a bit like LinkedIn-acquired plugin Rapportive, but more social.

Connect6° is actually two services in one: PeopleDiscovery and PeopleSearch. PeopleDiscovery is a browser extension, currently for Chrome, which displays contact and professional details about a person, including picture, title, skills, links to their social profiles, and contact information; a real-time bio with a single click. PeopleSearch is a search engine to help you find business prospects and job candidates, based on keywords embedded in their social profiles.

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When you download the browser extension, you will begin to see a small “Connect6° beacon” beside your social profile contacts and cloud-based email accounts. You can see the beacon on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, GitHub, Quora, Outlook.com, and Hootsuite, as well. You can also see a complete social graph, highlighting the contacts between you and the person you choose. By highlighting this information, you can see which contacts you have the most in common with and expand your networking net even further.

But there’s a hitch:

There are a few items regarding security that need to be clearer: first, they state, “we may transfer the personal information we collect about you to countries other than the country in which the information originally was collected. Those countries may not have the same data protection laws as the country in which you initially provided the information.” This seems to be saying, they are selling your information and cannot guarantee its safety. But, if you put the information on your public social networking profile, it is already being used and shared. Also, there are no clear options on how you can “opt-out” of these connections.

While the networking benefits are beneficial to maintaining and understanding your contacts, it would be nice to have the option to “opt-out” of certain parts; especially the sharing of phone numbers and email addresses. Again, if these options were clearer, you may be able to control what is shared through Connect6° simply by restricting access to these details in your own social networking profiles.

UPDATE: Vik Kashyap, CEO of Connect6° addressed some of the concerns mentioned above:

Concerns about data sharing between countries: “We may transfer the personal information we collect about you to countries other than the country in which the information originally was collected. Those countries may not have the same data protection laws as the country in which you initially provided the information.” This is actually pretty standard stuff in a number of privacy policies, especially those that do business (or are planning to do business in the EU). You will find similar terminology in the privacy statements of Instagram, UPS and NetFlix. It was not written to enable us to sell your information (which we have no intention of doing). Instead it was written to help us conform to EU privacy regulations should we decide to expand into Europe. This terminology also allows us to keep your data safe by storing it in geographically-disparate data centers in the (unlikely) event of a system crash.

Concerns about opting-out: “It would be nice to have the option to ‘opt-out’ of certain parts; especially the sharing of phone numbers and email addresses.” We absolutely agree. In fact, we have an opt-out mechanism that’s defined in our Privacy Policy (though we could certainly make this language more prominent and transparent).
“If you would like us to remove information you submitted to Connect6° (i.e., your email address), you can send an email to remove@connect6.com with your request. You may also communicate your request by mail by using the contact information at the end of this Privacy Notice. Once we have received your request, we will act upon the request.”

As an added note, Connect6° collects much of its information about people from public-facing websites (including the big social and professional networks). We recommend to our users that the best way to avoid having their information found by our search engine (or any other search engine) is to contact the operator of the website that contains the original source(s) of the information and ask for the operator to remove the displayed information from the web. We will follow suit.

I hope this helps. Privacy and data protection are really important to us, so I wanted to set the record straight and provide some additional clarification.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Social Media

Instagram makes IGTV videos more accessible with automatic closed captions

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This new feature for Instagram opens avenues for viewers who don’t or can’t use audio on IGTV videos, creating more accessibility for all.

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Instagram live being recorded will now feature auto captions.

In an effort to expand accessibility efforts, IGTV videos on Instagram will now include an auto captions option. While its parent company, Facebook, has included auto captions on uploaded videos since 2017, this new-for-Instagram feature is expected to widen audience viewership and increase potential viewing by those who prefer watching sans-audio.

In a statement by Facebook, the company states: “While there is no shortage of information, not everyone can access it. It needs to be available to the hundreds of millions of people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – have disabling hearing loss, and that is projected to increase to over 900 million by 2050.”

Current events have made the need for auto captions even more critical for inclusion. “The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in both the supply and demand of public health information. Several local and state governments, that were accustomed to holding live press conferences but didn’t have the resources, staff or technology to record, stream, and caption their live events, turned to Facebook Live. Several governments also discovered that video captioning was not just a nice-to-have, but imperative, especially in the absence of available sign language interpreters,” states the company.

Currently, Facebook provides auto captions for videos in 16 languages and has announced that Instagram’s IGTV will have access to the same features. The caption accuracy is determined by the video’s audio quality, although AI technology is constantly improving in both precision and speed.

Additionally, branded content ads are likely to see an increase in consumer interaction. Recently published data by Facebook shows ads visually designed for watching with the sound off have 48% more relevance to viewers and a 42% higher purchase intent. As auto captions normalize across social media, users can expect ad content to utilize this feature to the fullest.

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New tool organizes your Reddit feed (and makes it actually usable)

(Social Media) Reddit’s UI hasn’t always been super intuitive. ‘Deck for Reddit’ organizes your feed into themed columns, making it way more user-friendly.

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Deck for Reddit on display on laptop on desk.

Love it or hate it, the mass collection of forums on Reddit have some form of content for everyone. The simple UX design places content straight down the middle of the screen and the infinite scrolling feature allows you to view a limitless amount of content from cute puppy images to cringe-worthy videos. However, its simplicity isn’t very practical, and is something that I think should be voted down.

Yes, Reddit has come a long way from its previous text-heavy form, but there is still a lot to improve on. Charles Yang, a frustrated Reddit user, has created a web app that could change all that: Deck for Reddit, a desktop optimized, alternative way to browse your favorite forums.

“I built it to show as much content as possible at a glance, while respecting your screen real-estate,” writes Yang.

Currently, the web app is in open beta. With a very similar experience to Tweetdeck, this Reddit tool seems to hold some promise.

On the far left side of the website, there is a list of icons with all the subreddits you’ve subscribed to. Clicking on an icon will take you directly to that subreddit column. This is very convenient for users with a bunch of subscriptions. Additionally, by making several subreddits visible on the screen all at once, Yang succeeds in his goal of taking advantage of the vast empty white space that Reddit failed to use.

From this display, you can click on a post, and it instantly expands to show all the comments. Hit the back button, and the post collapses. Now, you are back to seeing all the posts related to that subreddit. And at the top of each subreddit, you can easily sort the content by what’s new, popular, and trendy. Engagement has never felt easier.

Along with everything else, this extension also adds another great feature in setting customizations. The theme can be switched from light to dark mode. Fonts, text size, and even the shape of the subreddit icons can all be adjusted. Preferences can be changed to hide viewed submissions and reduce animation motion. And if you’re slacking off at work or want to chill, you can set it to hide NSFW content.

Overall, Deck for Reddit makes the user experience smooth sailing, and it truly makes Reddit the “front page of the internet.”

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Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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