Edition #21: Battenhall Monthly social media and comms report.
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The Battenhall Monthly
Social media and communications trends digest from Battenhall

Welcome to edition #21 of The Battenhall Monthly, the regular digest of news and analysis on the social media communications space. If you are viewing online or if this has been forwarded, you can subscribe here. If you'd like to get in touch, contact us here.
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The month of November saw new innovations launched by social networks such as Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, and with Facebook announcing new upcoming service changes that will affect brands in the new year. We also saw growth from a number of the top social media sites. Read on to find out more. 
As usual, we worked through all the global social media news sources to compare sizes of the top social networks (see above). In November alone, Facebook gained 500 million users, that's nearly 17 million new users a day joining the world's largest social network. Whilst Facebook and YouTube remain the biggest social media channels online, Twitter reported growth too, with an increase of 29 million new users. Chinese social media networks also continue to rise with the likes of QQ and Qzone reporting a total of 829 million and 645 million users respectively. Those are the headlines and the numbers. Here is our run down of the full month's news. 

Facebook enters the workplace with 'Facebook at Work'

Facebook has announced that it is testing a new service called Facebook at Work which will allow users to connect with colleagues and other people in their professional network, as well as collaborate on work projects. Some reports have referred to this service as a competitor to LinkedIn, but most have likened it more to Yammer, the internal communications messaging and collaboration system. Read more here.

WhatsApp introduces double blue ticks to show message has been read

WhatsApp has introduced double blue ticks to indicate that messages have been read, in a move that has proven to be unpopular. iOS and Android users don't need to update their software to avail of the new feature as it was rolled out "over-the-air" with some users getting hold of the new feature before others. Read more here.

Facebook news feed algorithm to filter out brand promotion

Prepare for the new year with new changes to how brands are seen on Facebook in the News Feed. From January 2015, Facebook will launch a change to its News Feed algorithm to ensure users see less promotional, and more relevant content. This indicates that pages with promotional posts will see organic distribution fall while the move will boost Facebook's advertising revenues, which totalled $2.96 billion in the third quarter of 2014, amounting to 92.5% of its overall income. Facebook has explained its guidance in detail here.

Spotify and Uber forge partnership to allow passengers to stream music in cabs

Customers of smartphone taxi app Uber will soon be able to link their accounts with Spotify and stream music during taxi journeys, after the two companies announced a partnership recently. The feature will initially be rolled out to ten cities across the globe and will be optional for drivers. Read more here.

Technology's most powerful and successful millenials

The Time 100 is out, which is a yearly wrap up of the most engaging and successful young people in the tech and business world. The top names from this list have been taken as examples of the most powerful millennials in the Tech industry. Read more here

Labour MP's tweet results in resignation

The power of Twitter has been seen in full effect throughout November. Emily Thornberry, Labour MP of Islington South and Finsbury, resigned after tweeting a picture of a family home covered in St George's Cross flags with the caption "image from #Rochester". She was accused of mocking working-class voters in her tweet which was met with a backlash from the public and members of Thornberry's own party through Twitter, in Westminster and in the press. We worked with The Guardian to cover how the tweets and blog posts spread online, which you can read more about here

Sir Paul McCartney and Jaunt release 360-degree 3D concert recording for Google Cardboard

A video from musical legend Sir Paul McCartney's concert was made public recently by cinematic virtual reality startup, Jaunt. A recording of McCartney's performance was made using "a custom camera rig to record spherical audio and video that can be rendered for virtual reality headsets like Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, and Samsung's upcoming Gear VR". Read more here.

Apple becomes first company worth $700 billion

In November trading Apple shares rose by to $119.75, breaking a record to become the first company to ever be valued at over $700 billion. The company's value is now higher than the GDP of all but the top 19 countries in the world. Read more here.

Big Data to create 360,000 jobs in the UK by 2020

Business analytics firm SAS has completed a report in partnership with the Tech partnership employers' network predicting that in 2020 there will have been a 160% increase in Big Data jobs in the UK since 2013. Read more here.

Google launches 'smart' spoon, Liftware, to help sufferers of tremors and Parkinson's

Google has launched a digital "Smart Spoon", dubbed Liftware, designed to counteract the effects of tremors and Parkinson's while eating. The device reduces the effects of tremors for users by approximately 70%, and shows Google's continuing efforts to move into phisical product development. 

YouTuber brand endorsement crackdown 

As the influence of YouTubers has picked up over the last year questions have been raised by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over how vloggers acknowledge brands support. New rules have been implemented to ensure this is evident by clearly marking "Advert" or "Promo" to the title, or by adding a symbol to the corner of the video. Read more here

Snapchat launches payments

Snapchat has introduced a new built-in feature called Snapcash which allows users to send and receive money, and has partnered with mobile payments company Square. Following its recent $10 billion evaluation, Snapchat is looking to expand beyond its offering of instant photo and video sharing. Read more here.

Twitter now lets users share public tweets through DMs

Twitter has announced that it is rolling out a new tweet-to-DM feature designed to allow users to discuss public content in private through direct messaging. These changes are in addition to its recent added support for sharing links through tweets as well as support for photos. This feature shows that Twitter is beefing up its private messaging function. Read more here about the new feature changes.

Social networks urged to simplify terms

The UK's Commons Science and Technology Select Committee has called for social networks to simplify its terms, so that users are more aware of how their behaviour is being monitored and how data is being used. The BBC's report is worth a read, and the Commons report is available online here

WeMail Raises $1M From Twitch For Intelligently Designed Mobile E-mail

There have been many apps attempting to revolutionise email. The latest in this trend is the new app WeMail which has raised $1million in funding from a variety of investors including the Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman. The app aims to reduce inbox size by at least two thirds by organising users emails by sender. The new search function also aims to reduce the clicks necessary to find an email. Read more here

YouGov launches You Gov Profiles, a media monitoring and audience segmentation tool

YouGov has recently launched its newest tool YouGov Profiles which profiles a search subject's audience, including demographics and lifestyle, brand usage and perceptions, media consumption, digital and mobile behaviour, social media activities, and attitudes and opinions. Apple users prefer grilled halloumi while Android users like roast pigeon? Hmm! Read more here and give the tool a go here.

Brussels looks to break up world's biggest internet companies

The European Parliament is looking to break up monopolistic internet companies to level the playing field for competitors and new innovations alike. This analysis of the situation, in The Economist, explains that: "although no company is mentioned by name, it is very clear which American internet giant the European Parliament has in mind in a resolution that has been doing the rounds in the run-up to a vote on November 27th. One draft calls for “unbundling search engines from other commercial services” to ensure a level playing field for European companies and consumers. This is the latest and most dramatic outbreak of Googlephobia in Europe."  

YouTube channel names are now customisable

YouTube has recently announced a new way to customise your channel by choosing a URL that reflects the name of the channel. This is a very useful tool for brands to customise channels, however, it is not as simple as it sounds. The channels must have a following of at least 500 subscribers for a start. Additionally, once the channel qualifies for the new URL you will only be presented with a selection of URLs designed by YouTube, based on the contents of the channel's description. Read more here.

90% of world population aged over 6 set to own mobile phone in 2020: Report

Ericsson has released its latest Mobility Report where it predicts that there will be at least 6.1 billion smartphones internationally compared to 2.7 billion currently. It also forecasts that 90% of the world's population aged 6 and above will own smartphones by the year 2020. An Ericsson spokesperson said the figure was calculated "using certain assumptions about phone usage in five-year age brackets and using the UN forecasts of population development, in a medium fertility scenario." 

Quadriplegic man uses Google Glass and drone to experience flight

Home-bound quadriplegic, Stuart Turner, has been participating in a study at Brown University in Rhode Island to develop a drone project. The project allows people to explore their surrounding environments through a combination of drones and the Google Glass in a way that they may not have been able to before. Read more here.

8 insights on how the top 100 brands used Twitter in 2014

Simply Measured and Interbrand have released a report on how the the top 100 brands used Twitter in 2014. As the functionality of both platforms continue to develop it will get more challenging for brands to maintain an understanding of how to use the tools effectively. The top 8 insights from the report have been highlighted here. For more details see the full report here
Buzzfeed has released a new insights report into how technology is changing media. The report's insights go into how search is being replaced by social media, how the social feed is the new brand homepage, and how media consumption has shifted to mobile. The report is written through a Buzzfeed lens, but is well worth a read. The report in full is here.
One of the major trends that developed this year and which is certain to explode in 2015 with the arrival of a batch of wearable technology products and smart devices is the Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things world forum has released a new interactive map (see above) of the global IoT deployments around the world, visualising all of the smart cities and IoT instillations. If you are thinking about how you could take advantage of this growing opportunity, see here for the interactive map and for more information from the forum.
If you have any suggestions for articles for the next Battenhall Monthly, please do get in touch with the editors or call us on +44 207 887 2647. 
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