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Facebook enters the ecommerce space with launch of Shops

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As if Facebook didn’t already know you well enough to send you to sellers sites, now they have their own designated space for shops on it’s platform.

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Facebook shops

You can admit it – you find yourself being super annoyed with the fact that any time you look up a product or service online, you receive direct ads within Facebook or Instagram by items in that category. You may even be guilty of ordering some of those random products (customized illustrated book for Father’s Day, moon diffuser lamp, super absorbent hair towel? Oh wait, those were some of my random orders.) Regardless, you probably get a good laugh at some of the ads sent your way, and some are not surprisingly way off base.

Facebook hasn’t built itself into a billion-dollar company by charging the consumer a subscription fee. Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth is estimated at more than $84B by Forbes. They have built this company in many strategic ways including charging for advertising (their primary source of revenue) and offering highly targeted data analytics so you can reach a broad audience on a fairly modest budget. As a company, you can also review your ads’ reach and engagement as well as modify your campaigns while they are ongoing.

As of May 2020, Facebook has launched Facebook Shops, where businesses can now turn their Facebook and Instagram stories into online shops. According to Producthunt, “The aim is to help new shop owners and small businesses to leverage their existing audiences to compete with Amazon.” Facebook also partnered with Shopify to include their capabilities of shipping, fulfillment, and inventory management. The initial set up of Facebook Shops is free, and it may live within the activity page or a “shop” page. They will eventually integrate in to Whatsapp, and be ready for consumers to make purchases within chats.

Facebook has integrated into our daily lives in many ways. Examples include:

  • Shutterfly to where we post and share our photos
  • MeetUp.com to being in individual groups by interest
  • Craigslist to Facebook Marketplace
  • Birthday Reminder to Friends’ Birthdays Notification
  • Eventbrite (still popular for tickets) to Facebook Events
  • Donation pages are now able collect our money through Facebook Pay
  • Games, Movies, Business Pages, Live Promos, Crisis Response Information
  • There’s a Jobs Tab where you can peruse job postings, and a Town Hall tab to follow your local officials

It does appear in the last year they have been making strides to help out small businesses and deliver more localized content. This could be perceived as a group of business owners that receives less attention but offers lots of possibility, and make up a really large part of overall business in the U.S. Per fundera,“There are 30.2 million small businesses in this country.”

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?”
Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business

Erin Wike is a Career Coach & Lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin and owner of Cafe Con Resume. Erin is fueled by dark roast coffee with cream AND sugar, her loving husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs. She is the Co-Founder of Small Business Friends ATX to help fellow entrepreneurs + hosts events for people to live a Life of Yes with Mac & Cheese Productions.

Social Media

Zillow launches real estate brokerage after eons of swearing they wouldn’t

(MEDIA) We’ve warned of this for years, the industry funded it, and Zillow Homes brokerage has launched, and there are serious questions at hand.

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zillow group

Zillow Homes was announced today, a Zillow licensed brokerage that will be fully operational in 2021 in Phoenix, Tucson, and Atlanta.

Whoa, big huge yawn-inducing shocker, y’all.

We’ve been warning for more than a decade that this was the end game, and the company blackballed us for our screams (and other criticisms, despite praise when merited here and there).

Blog posts were penned in fiery effigy calling naysayers like us stupid and paranoid.

Well color me unsurprised that the clarity of the gameplan was clear as day all along over here, and the paid talking heads sent out to astroturf, gaslight, and threaten us are now all quiet.

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Social Media

We watched The Social Dilemma – here are some social media tips that stuck with us

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Here are some takeaways from watching Netflix’s The Social Dilemma that helped me to eliminate some social media burnout.

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Neon social media like heart with a 0

Last weekend, I made the risky decision to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I knew it was an important thing to watch, but the risk was that I also knew it would wig me out a bit. As much as I’m someone who is active “online,” the concept of social media overwhelms me almost more than it entertains (or enlightens) me.

The constant sharing of information, the accessibility to information, and the endless barrage of notifications are just a few of the ways social media can cause overwhelm. The documentary went in deeper than this surface-level content and got into the nitty gritty of how people behind the scenes use your data and track your usage.

Former employees of high-profile platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest gave their two cents on the dangers of social media from a technological standpoint. Basically, our data isn’t just being tracked to be passed along for newsletters and the like. But rather, humans are seen as products that are manipulated to buy and click all day every day in order to make others money and perpetuate information that has astronomical effects. (I’m not nearly as intelligent as these people, so watch the documentary to get the in-depth look at how all of this operates.)

One of the major elements that stuck with me was the end credits of The Social Dilemma where they asked interviewees about the ways they are working to eliminate social media overwhelm in their own lives. Some of these I’ve implemented myself and can attest to. Here’s a short list of things you can do to keep from burning out online.

  1. Turn off notifications – unless there are things you need to know about immediately (texts, emails, etc.) turn it off. Getting 100 individual notifications within an hour from those who liked your Instagram post will do nothing but burn you (and your battery) out.
  2. Know how to use these technologies to change the conversation and not perpetuate things like “fake news” and clickbait.
  3. Uninstall apps that are wasting your time. If you feel yourself wasting hours per week mindlessly scrolling through Facebook but not actually using it, consider deleting the app and only checking the site from a desktop or Internet browser.
  4. Research and consider using other search tools instead of Google (one interviewee mentioned that Qwant specifically does not collect/store your information the way Google does).
  5. Don’t perpetuate by watching recommended videos on YouTube, those are tailored to try and sway or sell you things. Pick your own content.
  6. Research the many extensions that remove these recommendations and help stop the collection of your data.

At the end of the day, just be mindful of how you’re using social media and what you’re sharing – not just about yourself, but the information you’re passing along from and to others. Do your part to make sure what you are sharing is accurate and useful in this conversation.

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Social Media

WeChat ban blocked by California judge, but for how long?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) WeChat is protected by First Amendment concerns for now, but it’s unclear how long the app will remain as pressure mounts.

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WeChat app icon on an iPhone screen

WeChat barely avoided a US ban after a Californian judge stepped in to temporarily block President Trump’s executive order. Judge Laurel Beeler cited the effects of the ban on US-based WeChat users and how it threatened the First Amendment rights of those users.

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging and social media/mobile transaction app with over 1 billion active monthly users. The WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit in August, pointed out that the ban unfairly targets Chinese-Americans as it’s the primary app used by the demographic to communicate with loved ones, engage in political discussions, and receive news.

The app, along with TikTok, has come under fire as a means for China to collect data on its users. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

This example is yet another symptom of our ever-globalizing society where we are learning to navigate between connectivity and privacy. The plaintiffs also pointed out alternatives to an outright ban. One example cited was in Australia, where WeChat is now banned from government officials’ phones but not others.

Beeler has said that the range in alternatives to preserving national security affected her decision to strike down the ban. She also explained that in regards to dealing with national security, there is “scant little evidence that (the Commerce Department’s) effective ban of WeChat for all US users addresses those concerns.”

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