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Get your own live, updating Facebook Page cover photo

Facebook Pages are fairly limited in what administrators can do, but without having to manually upload pictures every 10 seconds, your company can get in on the live cover photo trend.

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Facebook Pages gone wild

Zaraguza Digital, a Slovakian digital firm, has claimed to have launched the first ever live, updating Facebook cover photo, allowing anyone to see updated webcam videos of their office. They play hangman with fans, and even leave messages for fans, encouraging people to simply refresh the page for a newly updated image.

“In Zaraguza Digital we experimented a bit. Namely with Facebook cover photo feature and a webcam. After a few tweaks, our regular Facebook cover became a real-time Facebook cover. Zaraguza live cover was launched on July 30th 2012.”

Setting the stage for a new trend

Although Zaraguza is one of the best uses around so far, it was not the first to have a live, updating cover photo. They are, however, at the forefront of what will likely become a new trend, giving them and others a way to be interactive in a static environment such as Facebook.

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If Zaraguza wasn’t first, who was? French startup, LiveCover! has been in beta for several months now, boasting users like television shows, concert halls, and even a city, mostly marking countdowns and teasers.

Here are a few live, updating Facebook Page cover photos to give you an idea of how the feature is being used. Simply refresh the Facebook Page for a new image:

  1. Zaraguza Digital
  2. Secret Story – reality show that looks to only update when the show is on
  3. Ville de Besancon – French city with a constantly updating clock as the cover photo
  4. Operation Hermes – has an hourly countdown clock as the updating image
  5. Assassin’s Creed – France

Now, how do you get in on the trend?

The LiveCover! startup appears to be the first company to formally offer this as a service, which at a cost of a few hundred dollars, will offer a brand a live, updating Facebook page cover photo based on triggers such as hitting a certain number of followers, or a live event going on, or by offering a countdown.

But if you’re the DIY type and want to jimmy rig your own, or you’re a small business on a budget, there are free ways to automate your Facebook Page cover photo to update live, based on a series of functions, for example, you can use IFTTT (“if this, then that”), a startup that acts as the duct tape of the internet (if you’re unfamiliar, get into the details here, it’s worth the two minutes it will take to read).

Through the ridiculously simple IFTTT tool, you can automate your efforts through a few clicks, called “recipes” (think adding a little bit of Instagram as an ingredient to a dash of Facebook Page, and you’ve got a recipe). For example, if you take a photo through Instagram, set your webcam up to upload pictures to Flickr every 30 seconds, then you can connect it to the Facebook Page album for Cover Photos.

Take some time dissecting IFTTT, as it offers options for actions connected to Dropbox, Posterous, Blogger, Flickr, RSS, email, Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, and even WeMo Automation tools.

Ideas for creative uses

We would like to see some of the following uses of live cover photos:

  1. Developers/builders should set up a webcam that updates and shows progress at a work site
  2. Any company can follow Zaraguza’s lead and webcam the inside of their offices
  3. Events, conferences, happy hours, can use photos tagged on Twitter as their updated cover photo in real time
  4. Retailers can set up an Instagram photo booth for people to show off what they’ve just bought, and each photo updates the brand’s Facebook cover photo
  5. Any time a team member takes a photo from their phone and shares it on the company’s Flickr page, it can then instantly and without extra effort, become the brand’s cover photo on the Facebook Page
  6. Companies can use it as a teaser and make visual announcements, so for example, “we’ll announce our new VP on Tuesday at 9am, tune in here,” and not only visually introduce, but show that person’s reactions to comments, write notes to users in real time, etc.
The options really are endless, and we hope your brain is churning with unique ideas for your own brand!

Tip: remember, Facebook has extremely strict rules that are arbitrarily enforced and may result in the permanent and irreversible deletion of your Page, for example, you cannot have any calls to action, be the contact instructions, a “buy now,” or even a “share this,” so make sure you know the rules before investing too much time. Breakdown of rules can be found here.

The American Genius (AG) is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. michaeltudorie

    September 17, 2012 at 12:05 am

    @RealtyNinja wonder if this a trend or a fad ? How skype feel about this? Tbd

    • RealtyNinja

      September 17, 2012 at 12:06 am

      @michaeltudorie Doubt it will catch on!

  2. website101

    September 19, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Depending on your industry and your customers, investing your time into a social media strategy will reward you with a big payoff – in time.

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Social Media

Facebook wants your nudes now to protect you from revenge porn later

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook, attempting to get in front of revenge porn, is requesting that users send in all of their nudes.

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In a heroic and totally innovative attempt to combat revenge porn, Facebook has come up with the following solution: “PM US UR NUDEZ.”

No seriously. They want your nudes.

But don’t worry, they’re only going to be viewed by a small group of people for manual confirmation of said nudes, and then stored temporarily… for reasons.

That part gets a little fuzzy. Some sources report that Facebook isn’t actually storing the images, just the links. This is meant to convert the image to a digital footprint, known as a hash, which is supposed to prevent the content from being upload to Facebook again.

Others say Facebook only stores the images for a short period of time and then deletes them.

What we do know, is this is a new program being tested in Australia where Facebook has partnered with a small government agency known as e-Safety and is requesting intimate or nude photos that could potentially be used for revenge porn in an effort to pre-emptively prevent such an incident.

Revenge porn is basically when someone uploads your personal and private photos online without your consent. Rather than address the issue of whether or not it’s such a good idea to take photos on a mobile, hackable device, it’s better to just send a large corporation all your nudes… through their Messenger app. /sarcasm

For your protection.

According to the commissioner of the e-Safety office, Julie Inman Grant, however, they’re using artificial intelligence and photo-matching technologies… and storing the links!

If this isn’t convincing enough, British law firm Mishcon de Reya LLP wrote in a statement to Newsweek, “We would expect that Facebook has absolutely watertight systems to guard the privacy of victims. It is quite counter-intuitive to send such intimate images to an unknown recipient.”

Oh, she wasn’t joking.

I’m not sure how many people still hold onto old intimate photos of themselves, but I am doubtful that it’s enough for this to really be effective as it only prevents intimate photos from being shared on Facebook. At least that’s the plan.

Reactions to this announcement have largely been met with amusement and criticism ranging from commentary on Mark Zuckerberg and Co. being total pervs, and theories of shared Facebook memories: “”Happy Memories: It’s been 1 Year since you uploaded 47 pictures of you in your birthday suit”!

Either way, I can only imagine someone’s inbox is flooded with crotch shots right now, and Zuckerberg has a potential new industry in the works.

Just sayin’.

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Social Media

Twitter might make a profit for the first time… ever

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter seems to be very popular but it may surprise you to know that this is the very first time they might make a profit.

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Twitter reports that after a year of slashing expenses and putting itself in a position to sell data to other companies, it’s expected to be profitable. What’s surprising (considering how #huge Twitter is) is that this the first time that it will be profitable based on “generally accepted accounting principles” – #GAAP!.

In the 11 years since Twitter took to the field, it has never once met this standard, operating at a loss of nearly 2.5 billion dollars since its inception.

Twitter has struggled of a number of reasons, but particularly after going public in 2013 it suffered declining user growth, the rise of the #twittertrolls (coincidentally, Troll’s are discussed in my favorite TIME piece about the internet – located here), and competition from Facebook for the tough realm of advertising.

Since 2013, shares fell steadily, but things have increased thanks to some optimistic changes – the promise to crack down on harassment and abuse, a feed arranged by algorithm instead of time, and Twitter’s most vocal fan of late, President Donald Trump.

For the numbers fans, Reuters provides some input: Twitter’s loss narrowed to about 21 million down from 103 million this year. They have worked to cut a great deal of expenses -16 percent across the board broadly impacting sales, marketing, and R&D.

This kind of focused core improvement (can) help tip the balance sheet on the expenses side – but generating revenues remains a challenge due to slow growth. Twitter hopes to relieve this by working out some deals to sell data – the currency of the 21st century.

Several months ago, TechCrunch made perhaps the most important observation – that despite the fact Twitter has changed the world, changed our marketing, and empowered us to connect with other people, it has remained unprofitable. Many small and large businesses profit from Twitter, but in these 11 years the company hasn’t #sharedinthewealth.

Twitter is touching every realm of business and for American’s, is touching every aspect of their lives given its new form as the preferred medium of the political sphere. Given that, they have much to do to change.

Facebook commands an audience five times the size of Twitter – and their ability to reach success for the future seems #questionable. And how Twitter’s success changes the scape of influence, outreach, and entrepreneurship is something else to be seen.

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Is Facebook a potential Slack killer?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook’s steady ascent from social networking into the business world is giving Slack a run for their money.

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When it comes to the business realm, Facebook has steadily been increasing their reputation. Though Facebook is pinned as the social network, they are now proving to everyone that they can dominate in the professional sector as well.

Last year, Facebook launched an ad-free version of the site meant for the office called Workplace. Initially, 1,000 companies were signed on to try out this “Facebook for the office” in its starter phase.

As of last week, Facebook announced that 30,000 organizations currently use Workplace. These aren’t just small time companies. Some of Workplace’s users include Starbucks, Lyft, Spotify, Heineken, Delta and most recently Walmart.

It seems that overnight it grew from another side project to a valid rival for other professional communication tools like Slack.

Slack is the go-to site for business professionals. With over 6 million users and acquiring more every day, Slack is the place for teams to collaborate in real-time. It has virtually replaced email and external software when it comes to internal communication.

Slack has been successful at acquiring small corporations to use their service.

The problem is that Slack has yet to join forces with larger clients that have now turned to other applications. Just last year, Uber left Slack because they could not handle their large-scale communication needs.

In addition to being able to handle the needs of large companies, Facebook also offers cheaper services than Slack. A premium account with Workplace costs $3 per user each month while Slack charges double at $6.67 per user each month.

With the rapid growth and major reputation of Facebook behind it, many predict that Workplace will replace Slack, and other sites like it, in the not so distant future.

Recently, Facebook also launched the Workplace desktop app and plan to include group video chat. The biggest obstacle Workplace faces is the association with Facebook. It is ironic, since it is also their greatest strength.

The truth remains that many people think of Facebook solely as a social media network. Many companies forbid the use of it at work so the transition from the personal to the professional realm is still an uphill battle.

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