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Google+ adds view counts to profiles: how you stack up, how to make it stop

(Social Media) Google+ has added a tricky little number to all users’ profiles – know what it means and how to turn if off if your number sucks.

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google plus view count

google plus view count

Google+ update will offer some interesting surprises

In a simple update, today, Google+ has added to user profiles the total number of times a user’s profile has been viewed by others since October 2012, but does not constitute the total of all views of a user’s posts, photos, and profile combined, rather just their profile. It would be more useful to see the number of times a specific post has been viewed, and that could very well be the next rollout by Google+.

This will likely trigger a barrage of “check out my profile” links on blogs and other social networks to pump up view counts, and the gamification will begin, but we’ve found that most people are completely unaware of the new feature on their profile.

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For Google, this means more traffic as people pimp their profile to the world, and for users, this means an interesting layer of transparency.

Users that have committed little time to the social platform typically have very few views in the hundreds, while others who have made G+ their primary social network have hundreds of thousands of views. In my own profile (which I was nervous to look at since I’ve only devoted time posting to it daily for the last quarter), I was surprised to see nearly 173,000 views, despite spending little time there, but remember – it is a count that dates back to October 2012, which technically rewards early adopters (like me) or famous people with curious fans.

How to hide your view counts

If you have so few views that it hurts your ego, you can turn the feature off, don’t worry. We encourage you to leave it on so as not to appear to be hiding something, but if it is just too much to handle, just go to plus.google.com/settings while logged in, and scroll down a bit until you see this, and uncheck the box:

google plus

How do you stack up?

It’s human nature to wonder if your number sucks or not. While it doesn’t matter because it’s a pretty irrelevant statistic, here is a handful of profiles ranging from the inactive user with a few hundred views to the heavily invested individual with over 1 million views:

patrick-healy

blake-zimmerman

brian-boero

victor-lund

danny-brown

mine

nicole-nicolay

darin-persinger

chris-chilek

rebekah-radice

terry-grier

geoff-livingston

shelly-kramer

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Danny Brown

    April 1, 2014 at 9:56 am

    It’d be nice if platforms stopped encouraging people to get so focused on numbers, and just got back to, oh, you know, people connections?

  2. Patrick Healy

    April 6, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for the mention Lani. I’m humbled to be in such good company. I don’t play too much into the stat either and to be honest I had no idea how many times that profile had been viewed. One thing I’ve always find interesting is how many times people view a cover photo. I guess Google is taking that to the next level.

    I am bullish on Google+ for a number of reasons and I’m happy more people are recognizing it’s potential as a real platform based on interest and discovery vs firehosing users with ads. 🙂

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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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