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Social Media for Social Good 4th in Series: Using LinkedIn Effectively

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by Keith McMean

LinkedIn is probably the biggest network for organization professionals to meet and connect on the internet. It’s a bit like Facebook for ‘grown ups’.  Connections are usually based on occupations and interests of the people on the platform. LinkedIn is a great place if you are looking for a new job or you want some professional advice as there is always someone there who can help. It’s also a fantastic place where business owners and managers can improve their business in lots of new and exciting ways.

linkedin(1)Now, I know that some of you out there are wondering how you can improve your organization growth on LinkedIn. Well first off there is a big difference between being a corporate type business on LinkedIn and a small business. Large corporations typically use LinkedIn to headhunt the top people in their sector. Human resource departments use the platform, and other means of finding candidates such as job sites and newspaper publications, to find suitable candidates, I know this because I have helped large corporations to do this.

Small business owners tend to use LinkedIn in a totally different way, it’s typically to find new clients, business partners, employees and to gain different aspects and insights in to their existing business. One of the fantastic things that is happening right now is organizations are being sold on LinkedIn, a great new innovation.

We all know that a successful business depends on networking to grow and one of the biggest innovations over the past ten years or so is the birth of these social networking platforms in helping to assist greatly in business development. One of the great things I love about social networking platforms is the interaction between members and how this can really propel a organization to the top in a very short space of time.

With is membership growing daily it’s not to be discounted for the small business owner, in fact its to be actively encouraged as the ‘go to’ platform but if you are just starting out here are my killer tips on how to succeed:

  1. Use LinkedIn to attract and hire the best people. Posting jobs on LinkedIn is really easy and don’t forget that all candidates profiles, most people still write their profiles like a CV but that’s another story, are conveniently stored so you can look through their skill sets and connections at your leisure. Don’t forget that someone who you might want to hire may have some really great connections you can leverage at a later date.
  2. So why would you go anywhere else if you have a problem with your organization? Just about every solution is there if you just ‘dig a little’. Use the Answers and groups as a starting point. So say you were looking to set up a new division in an area outside your current one, where better to find out locations, hiring staff in fact everything you could think of will be on LinkedIn, you just have to look and ask.
  3. So keeping to the ‘moving’ theme what if you want to acquire some new customers and clients in your new area? Well wouldn’t it make sense to ask for recommendations from you existing happy clients or customers? These are gold when you consider that millions of users can potentially view your profile and having some really great recommendations on there will really help.
  4. So what if you are looking to outsource some of your work you would want to find the right partner. So let’s say you sell food or sports supplements and you are looking for a gym to send your clients who are using them but haven’t found a great place to work out yet? Potentially this could be in any part of the world if you sell your supplements nationally or internationally. Let’s face it if you know nothing about how a gym works what better way than to find someone who can complement your existing business. Before long they will be recommending you and vice a versa.
  5. So what if you are looking for a new supplier? We all know that suppliers and vendors, good ones I mean, are hard to come by. LinkedIn is a great starting place to find new ones and can be used to foster competition among bidders and get the best deals, leading to lower costs for the business.
  6. What about partnering with allied businesses? Let’s say you have a limousine hire company doesn’t if follow that people who hire expensive limousines also like other expensive items like holidays, houses or watches, you get the picture. Using LinkedIn to form partnerships or connections will help gain new clients who can then get great deals, it’s a win-win for all parties.
  7. Visibility is key and if you need to create a business page then go ahead. Company page can offer some great public information where LinkedIn members can search and ‘follow’ companies and brands that they really like and engage with. This will also give you a means to share quality content on what happening in the business.
  8. Keep up with current trends, now I am not saying that you spend every waking moment on LinkedIn but we all know that knowledge is power. Well what you do with knowledge is the real power.  Keeping informed with the latest trends will allow you to be quick to respond to the needs of the consumers. LinkedIn has a section containing the latest news in the business world so use it!
  9. Join your industry associations or group on LinkedIn or start a new one. This has always been a ‘biggy’ for me as being a member of a recognised association builds up credibility in the minds of business partners or customers.  Starting a group is a really easy thing to do and will also present you as a leader in your area.
  10. Connect all you social platforms together in one place so that people and potential clients etc. can find you easily. This also helps to create a buzz about your business.
  11. I know that businesses use LinkedIn and other social media networks to find out what competitors are up to and with whom. I don’t get too paranoid about people watching me, I think of it as a compliment and help where I can.
  12. Use LinkedIn to find potential investors in your business. Be active on your industry forums and groups, present an outline of your business plan and see if there is someone willing to invest money and participate in your business operations. Also, if some business activity is too big for you to perform by yourself, look for someone with similar problem so you can join forces. For example, if you’re an importer of goods from the US you should import the whole container of products so you can keep your costs per unit down. But the whole container might be too much for your market share, so the best way is to find someone to join up with. Both partners would import only the half of the container while keeping all the advantages of economy of scale. A no brainer really.
  13. Using LinkedIn’s ‘Answers’ can really boost your credibility as you can answer people questions and again become a leader in your area. Becoming an expert can be really quick and easy. Now again I am not advocating spending every waking moment on this but having a ‘look see’ every now and again will really help in the credibility stakes. Don’t forget that members who are impressed by the quality of your answers may end up becoming clients. You could expect lots of inquires about your services and turning those answer seekers into new clients and it’s much easier than cold calling.
  14. One of the great things I found out about LinkedIn really early on was that it’s a fantastic SEO (search engine optimisation) tool. I can say that most of the time, when a LinkedIn profile for your business is up and running correctly, it is shown at the very top of a search. Having a LinkedIn profile helps your company be more visible on Google and search sites.
  15. If you are running an event, and I do all the time, LinkedIn is a great place to promote an event. It’s a very effective way of getting attendees. Once a member chooses to attend, that RSVP will be shown on his home profile, making it visible to all his connections. It’s fantastic word of mouth advertising.
  16. Don’t be shy because LinkedIn has a lot of built-in apps which can be utilised to promote and sell your services. Use the SlideShare app to upload a presentation about your business and the services you offer. Have a good dig about on LinkedIn because there are some really cool things going on that will really boos your business.
  17. I would urge you to join groups and seek out customers. Groups comprise members who share the same interests. Sign up for those that reflect the profile of your target market and interact with them. Do not hard sell but rather build your reputation with them at a steady pace that suits both parties. Making comments in the group will allow you to form connections with the subscribers of that group and build strong connections.

Because LinkedIn is a business network, it is made up of professional people seeking to make new and meaningful connections. By leveraging the power of LinkedIn, organizations will be able to achieve significant growth in their business.

  1. Finally build a killer profile that will really help propel you and your organization. I have said this before on earlier posts but it bares saying again that adding a profile picture is the single most important thing you can do. There is nothing worse than looking at a profile and trying to figure out if it’s the right person you want to connect with or not.

So that’s some of my killer tips for LinkedIn I hope you use some or all of them to boost your business and I hope you leave a comment on how you are using LinkedIn and other social networking platforms. Till next time…

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Keith McMean is a Regular Social Work Helper Contributor, and he is also becoming one of the most sought after consultants and speakers on Social Media Marketing in the United Kingdom. Keith covers all topics from expert level to the beginner. His goal is to provide you with information and resources to help you navigate the digital world.

          
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Top Apps and Tools Recommended for Every Entrepreneur

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Running a small business takes a lot of work. Today there’s technology that will help you with this. This technology won’t only help you stay on top of what you’re doing but it will also help you free up time so you’re not always chained to your office.

Accounting and Expenses

One of the most important parts of your business has to do with accounting and expenses. When you don’t properly manage this area of your business you probably won’t be in business for long. Although you can clearly see how this could take up a lot of your time, PC Mag says it doesn’t have to be this way. Some apps that will help you stay in control in less time include:

NetSuite OneWorld is a completely scalable enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that helps you manage expense reports, purchase orders, business dashboards, and security records. Many business owners have made this their one-stop shop for managing their business when they’re away from their computer.

Acumatica is a general ledger accounting software. This is a browser-based tool that lets you access your accounting data from any device that has an internet connection – including a downloadable iOS or Android app. You can enter time cards, run expense reports, and enter purchase orders from the app.

Expensify is an expense report software for use on your mobile device. With its app, you can upload receipts through OCR SmartScan. It does a great job at accurately processing scanned data, which will save you and your employees time when it comes to inputting and processing expenses.

Tsheets is a mobile app that lets you clock in or out and track time even if you don’t have cell coverage. As a manager, you can clock team members individually or all at the same time. You can also see who’s at work and where they’re working from. Additionally, you can create, edit, and publish scheduled jobs or shifts, automate timesheet alerts, and track paid time off, sick days, and holidays.

QuickBooks is still a solid accounting tool that will help you track and manage your finances. While the app isn’t a fully featured, mobile version of the desktop application it still lets you track sales, send out invoices, and review recent payments while away from the office.

Collaboration and Communication

There are some other great communication and collaboration tools you should also check out. These include:

SurveyMonkey lets you see what’s going on with your customers and employees – something that’s crucial for a business of any size today. Simply create a survey that people can create and participate in from their mobile device. You can then analyze the data from your mobile device once the poll ends.

MailChimp is very helpful when it comes to email marketing, which is a 24/7 job. They’re on suite tools make it easy for you to launch a campaign from your mobile device. All it takes is a few taps and you can recreate the same campaign that you would have created from your desktop. From there you can also monitor the campaign’s progress, edit subscriber profiles, and run multivariate reports.

HubSpot is a marketing automation tool that provides you with a robust iOS and Android app. From there you can manage contacts between your marketing, sales, and service teams while on the go. You can also monitor leads as they move through your sales funnel, communicate with partners who are members of other teams and evaluate campaign metrics to decide if you need to make any wholesale changes.

Evernote Scannable is a great mobile scanning app that quickly and automatically scans business cards, documents, meeting notes, and other files for you. It also connects to LinkedIn and offers you a great text-parsing tool so that you can clean up any docs that turn out jumbled.

UberConference for online meetings. Another important area of your business lies in communicating with your customers and collaborating with your employees. It’s a solid video conferencing app that allows you to meet remotely with employees and clients. The platform is flexible, allowing you to connect with users on any device. This is a great way to virtually drop into a staff meeting while you’re away from the office.

Business Management

Although collaboration, communication, and accounting lie at the heart of your business, there are other important work-related tasks you can probably think of as well. There are some business management tools that are helpful here, including:

Salesforce Sales Cloud Professional is a CRM software tool that gives you access to customer and sales data. You can then use this data to improve your business’ operations. This comprehensive and flexible platform helps you stay in step with your competition. Business News Daily also points out that there’s a free extension that you can add on to this app. It encompasses your service’s Chatter, CRM, apps, and processes within your Android smartphone. This allows you to customize these apps so that they’re more functional and you can stay up-to-date with any notifications and alerts.

Zoho CRM is just as functional as Salesforce, but it also ties in nicely with the rest of the Zoho software ecosystem – including your Zoho email, document management, and email marketing client.

Sprout Social offers you help in creating and maintaining a solid social media strategy. It also provides the best social media management and analytics tools that you can access directly from your mobile device without sacrificing any functionality. Through these apps, you can identify influencers, ideal moments for customer engagement, and have data that back all these things up.

HootSuite offers a mature, complete set of social media management and analytics tools in a nicely designed hub. This lets you conduct comprehensive monitoring, influencer identification, and publish to social media channels.

As you look through these tools, remember that your company is only as good as the tools it uses. With so many tools available, the selection process can become quite daunting. However, you can’t ignore the fact that you need these tools so your business can run 24/7 while you only work weekdays from 9 – 5.

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Booking.com and Web Summit Expand Commitment to Women in Tech

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Amsterdam, The Netherlands – 25 APRIL 2018 – Booking.com, one of the world’s largest travel e-commerce companies and a digital technology leader, announced a global partnership with Web Summit. Together they will host a dedicated ‘Women in Tech’ networking and mentoring program at the flagship Web Summit event, as well as initiatives at affiliated events Collison and RISE in 2018. This exclusive collaboration continues Booking.com and Web Summit’s efforts to redress the under-representation of women in technology by creating more opportunities for women to enter, advance and thrive in the sector.

Booking.com will host the first of a number of networking initiatives for women at the Booking.com Women in Tech lounge at Collision 2018, being held in New Orleans, USA, from April 30th-May 3rd, 2018. One of America’s leading technology conferences, Collison brings together CEOs of the world’s fastest growing startups and Fortune 500 companies, alongside leading investors and media. Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans will also participate in a panel on “Sustainability in Big Business”, sharing her insights on the role of major companies in furthering global sustainability and ethical practices.

Web Summit 2018, taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, from November 5th-8th, will be the focal point of the global partnership and will feature an expanded ‘Women in Tech Mentor Program’, following the success of the inaugural initiative at last year’s event. The Web Summit 2017 women’s mentoring program attracted nearly 200 participants, with 60 high-profile mentors from across the tech sector, including Gillian Tans and other Booking.com executives.

RISE 2018 will take place on 9th-12th July 2018 in Hong Kong and is the largest tech conference in Asia. The event attracts more than 15,000 attendees each year from over 100 countries. Booking.com will host the Women in Tech networking lounge at the event.

“We are excited to partner with Web Summit again this year to build on the strong demand and engagement we saw in 2017 and to continue our efforts in driving gender diversity in tech at a global level. Recent data suggests that 90% of women working in technology across the world have experienced gender bias in the workplace and this, coupled with the lack of mentors (48%) and female role models (42%), are the top three obstacles preventing women from choosing to advance their careers in tech,” said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com.

“We are expanding our partnership with Web Summit with marquee events in Europe, North America and Asia to continue the conversations about gender diversity and to support women through mentoring and providing more opportunities for them to collaborate, network and share experiences. This global partnership will give us another platform to help pivot gender inequalities and gaps in the male-dominated tech workplace and encourage more women from across the world to become positive role models for others.”

Web Summit runs the world’s most highly regarded technology events which bring together world leaders, Fortune 500 companies, tech giants and groundbreaking startups to examine and celebrate the latest advances in technology.

Paddy Cosgrave, CEO and co-founder of Web Summit, said: “Web Summit run the most prominent technology events in the world and we are committed to driving a positive change in the industry. We launched our women in tech initiative three years ago to increase the number of women participating at our events around the world. This commitment to change resulted in a female/male gender ratio at Web Summit of 42% / 58% for the last two years.

“We are pleased to partner again with Booking.com to further this important cause and provide a platform for raising awareness about gender equality in the tech industry globally. The partnership with Booking.com will help us provide further opportunities for female tech talent attending our events to network with and learn from some of the most successful tech entrepreneurs in the industry today.”

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iCloud Backup on iPhone and iPad – Discussing The Process and Its Many Advantages

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Your iPhone and iPad might have cost you a fortune. In a manner, these are almost like prized possessions. However, leaving aside the financial aspect, you are more concerned with the idea of saving your precious memories stored in these expensive devices.

That’s where you look for a backup. Since your primary intention is more about protecting the events that you had captured on your iPhone and iPad. Moreover, there is also the potential risk of the devices getting stolen or damaged ( circumstances beyond your control).

If it comes to a point, where you are interested to restore an iCloud backup to iPhone, then surely you are free to go ahead. To a large extent, it appears to be a good move.

By having a backup of the data, you are just making sure that nothing goes wrong.

The Process of  Backing up Data on iPhone and iPad

iCloud backup, by and large, gives you the ability to restore the iOS-based devices( new &old) with considerable ease. In fact, with iCloud backup, transferring data from one iOS device to another is not really a problem.

However, it processes itself that in general confuses you. Since you are not quite sure about the whole procedure, restoring the iCloud backup to your iPhone or iPad might seem to be a difficult task.

Nevertheless, restoring the backup is not an impossible idea. In fact, it all boils down to following a set of steps, which do not take much of a time.

Even before making an attempt to look at the process, it makes a lot of sense to look at the possible advantages.

Advantages of Restoring iCloud Backup

  • Almost all the settings and account will be restored from the iCloud backup that you had selected.
  • Movies, books, shows, app and other content which you have purchased will be download automatically.
  • The iTunes Store, App Store long with iBook Store will be re-downloaded almost instantly.

The advantages listed above give a general glimpse of how restoring the backup to your iPhone and iPad can be beneficial.

Well, there is no set script that you have to follow. On the contrary, it is more about choosing the particular medium that will make it convenient for you to achieve the desired objective. What really matters, in the end, is the type of device you are using.

Restoring iCloud Backup on iPhone and iPad

The process described herein can be used to restore an iCloud backup data for a new iOS device as well as an existing one.

  1. To begin with, you have to make sure that your iOS version is up to date on the iPhone or iPad. From herein, you need to go to Settings>General and make sure to tap on the “ Software Update’ option. The iOS will now look for any new major update. In case, you come across any new update, download the same and install it.
  2. In order to proceed further, you have to make sure to have a recent iCloud backup. Now, access Settings> Enter your Apple ID>iCloud> Manage Storage. Under backups, all you are required to do is to select the particular device, after checking up the backup date along with the size, so as to confirm that it is recent.
  3. If for any reason, the backup is not new, you are then forced to manually restore the iCloud backup. Go to Settings> [ Insert your Apple ID]> iCloud > iCloud Backup. When you are almost done, hit the “Backup Now” button. Follow the on-screen instructions and allow the iCloud backup process to complete.
  4. As far as restoring the iCloud back up on a device that happens to be already in use, you are required to reset it to factory settings. Once you are done, Open Settings and proceed to General> Reset and tap on the option- Erase all content and settings. Allow the iOS to complete the processing of erasing the earlier settings.

By now, you have completed the first objective. Now, comes the most intriguing part. To set up the device from an iCloud backup, you have to follow the instructions, listed below.

How to Setup Device from an iCloud Backup?

  • To turn on your new device and reset an existing one,  you need to access the Home screen. Keep on following the directives, until and unless you see the option – Apps & Data.
  • On the Apps & Data tab, just make sure to tap on- Restore from iCloud Backup.
  • In order to access the iCloud backup, sign-in using your Apple ID and password. Depending on the preference, select the iCloud backup that you want to restore. This way, iCloud data start to download automatically. Remember, iOS might ask for your Apple ID, in order to download and install any specific app purchases.
  • The restore time is based on the backup size and your internet connectivity. Preferably, you can use a Wi-Fi connection, so as to let the downloading of iCloud data such as music, app, photos, videos and other documents.

When everything is done and dusted, the device restarts and starts downloading. In short, if you are trying to restore an iCloud backup to iPad or iPhone, the whole procedure takes time. But it’s worth the trouble you take. Ultimately, you are looking for a way to safeguard the precious data, for your own good.

In a way, you are trying to keep some of the cherished memories intact.

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From Civil War Letters to Instagram: Social Media Trends Are Nothing New

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It might seem new, and maybe narcissistic, that people feel the need to share their lives with the world – tweeting about what they had for breakfast and sharing videos on Instagram of their kid getting a haircut.

Think again.

In a new book, Lee Humphreys, associate professor of communication at Cornell University, argues that the act of documenting and sharing one’s everyday life is not new – nor is it particularly narcissistic. “The Qualified Self: Social Media and the Accounting of Everyday Life” puts our mobile and social media use in a historical context, and shows how pocket diaries, photo albums and baby books are the predigital precursors of today’s digital and mobile platforms for posting text and images.

“Like social media accounts, these are shared and circulated and commented on. They are not just about the self but they are about other people and their lives,” said Humphreys, who studies the social uses and perceived effects of communication technology. “What people are doing with social media – how they’re using it to communicate, to understand themselves – is quite an old practice.”

The book stemmed from Humphreys’ empirical study comparing a Civil War diarist to a U.S. military blogger in Afghanistan. During the Civil War, the letters and diaries soldiers sent to their families provided an important source of news for the larger community back home. They would routinely be circulated around town and printed in the local newspaper. “There was this sense that they were writing for a potentially broader audience than just the addressees of the letter,” Humphreys said. “And of course the blogger did a similar kind of thing.”

She also analyzed the content of tweets and so-called “accounting diaries” from the early 19th century – and found similarities there, too. Both have entries that consist of a few words or sentences that catalogue daily activities and events – such as a morning trip to Starbucks or who stopped by the house that day – and these accounting diaries would commonly be shared with friends and family.

“We see people sharing everyday, mundane moments as a way of reinforcing social ties,” Humphreys said. “That was certainly the case historically and it’s one of the main reasons why people share things like that on social media today.”

However, one thing dramatically sets apart how we account our daily lives now: the fact that social media companies commodify people’s activity. “They have a financial incentive to get you to post and share, because the more you do, the more they can learn about you and the better they can sell to you,” she said. “And there’s more content for other people to look at, as well.”

In contrast, Kodak, for example, printed the photos that a family would put in its scrapbook; the company had access to the photos but didn’t commodify them. “This is a very different role for corporate entities,” Humphreys said, “to have not only access to our media accounts but also the ability to use that information and couple it with other forms of data to sell us things.”

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Facebook Comes Up With Anti-Harassment Tools for Messenger

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Amidst growing concerns of online harassments in Facebook, which of late has seen a drastic increase, some action from the social media giant was always expected. In a new moved to curb such incidents, Facebook recently announced a set of anti-harassment tools for its Messenger platform.

With almost 1.3 billion active users, Messenger is now a favorite of those, who specialize in this sort of activity. The move is aimed towards safeguarding the interest of vulnerable individuals and groups, who are often the target of much malice and ridicule.

What anti-harassment tools are meant for?

The anti-harassment tools are conceived to identify and restrict blocked contacts from reaching the aggrieved party, by creating a new or separate account.

Moreover, people who are abused online through the Messenger now have an opportunity to filter out conversations, that are completely off-the-hook. In short, without having to block the sender, the messages could be viewed and the sender will never know about it.

Already, the liberal and human rights groups have welcomed this move and are terming it as “concrete steps that in the long runs improves online safety”. Surely, these are good signs and there might be more. Especially in the context of survivors of domestic violence, this new security arrangement offers them some much-needed respite.

How do these tools work?

In a bid to identify the repeated offenders, Facebook will trace the IP address, so as to keep an eye on fake accounts and that of the owner. This is done to prevent the new account owners from contacting someone, who has already blocked them on Messenger.

Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, speaking on the new harassment tools said:”We’ve come across stories of people, who have blocked some users only to find them with a different account. To stop such incidents in the near future, we’re currently working on enhancing the existing security protocols that make it difficult for users to come up fake and inauthentic accounts.”

Unless the person who blocked the original account initiates contact with the new account, the conversation will be a one-way traffic. This, by and large, gives some amount of control to the victim of harassment.

Facebook has also released a feature that allows the user to ignore conversations. The new feature prominently stands out, because not only it disables conversations, but will also move the same into a filtered message folder.

As of now, the new feature is being extended only for one-on-one messages. However, a more enhanced version will be made available soon for group messages.

Bottom-Line

Facebook is also working closely with experts from diverse fields, in order to provide the Facebook users with safety resources. The company has even teamed up with the National Network to End Domestic Violence and is looking at the various threat perceptions and experiences, faced by journalists on Facebook.

The new anti-harassment tools are simple, yet effective. For people, who have been a victim of online abuse, these measures are bound to have a positive impact. Although there is a limit to how much Facebook can control, at least, the new security mechanism will key the online predators at bay, to an extent.

Have any Queries :

For those, who are victims of online abuse, they can contact our Facebook security experts for more information.

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Study Finds Fringe Communities on Reddit and 4chan Have High Influence on Flow of Alternative News to Twitter

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Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Cyprus University of Technology and University College London have conducted the first large-scale measurement of how mainstream and alternative news flows through multiple social media platforms.

After analyzing millions of posts containing mainstream and alternative news shared on Twitter, Reddit and 4chan, Jeremy Blackburn, Ph.D., and collaborators found that fringe communities within 4chan, an image-based discussion forum where users are anonymous, and Reddit, a social news aggregator where users vote up or down on posts, have a surprisingly large influence on Twitter. The results of the study were published this week in a paper at the ACM Internet Measurement Conference in London.

“Based on our findings, these smaller, fringe communities on Reddit and 4chan serve as an incubation chamber for a lot of information,” said Blackburn, assistant professor of computer science in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. “Many online hoaxes, false or misleading stories have been traced back to users on these platforms. The content and talking points are refined until they finally break free and make it to larger, more mainstream communities.”

The team gathered information from posts, threads and comments on Twitter, Reddit and 4chan that contained URLs from 45 mainstream and 54 alternative news websites. Activity on the three platforms was measured between June 20, 2016, and Feb. 28, 2017.

They analyzed more than 400,000 tweets, 1.8 million posts and comments on Reddit, and 97,000 posts and replies on 4chan. After analyzing the occurrence of 99 URLs on the top 20 mainstream and alternative news sites, they found Breitbart.com made up 55 percent of the URLs from six selected subreddits, and the nytimes.com made up 14 percent. Breitbart.com made up 44 percent of the URLs on Twitter, while theguardian.com made up 19 percent, and Breitbart.com made up 53 percent of the URLs, with theguardian.com making up 14 percent.

Using the unique URLs across all platforms and the time they first pop up, the team analyzed their appearance in one, two or three platforms, and the order in which the appearance occurred. Examination of the path of a URL reveals the domains whose URLs tend to appear first on each of the platforms.

Flow of Mainstream News

For the mainstream news domains, the group found that URLs from nytimes.com and cnn.com tend to appear first more often on Reddit than Twitter and 4chan. On the other hand, URLs from other domains like bbc.com and theguardian.com tend to appear first more often on Twitter than Reddit. There was no instance where mainstream news URLs tended to appear first on 4chan.

Flow of Alternative News  

The group found that breitbart.com URLs appear first in Reddit more often than on Twitter, and more frequently than they do on 4chan. However, for other popular alternative domains, such as infowars.com, rt.com and sputniknews.com, URLs appear first on Twitter more often than Reddit and 4chan. As is the case with the mainstream domains, there was no domain where 4chan dominates in terms of first URL appearance.

In addition to studying how news is shared on the three platforms, the researchers were able to estimate how much influence each platform has on the information shared on other platforms, using a mathematical technique knowns as Hawkes process.

The group measured the influence of six subreddits from Reddit.com, “The_Donald,” “politics,” “worldnews,” “AskReddit,” “conspiracy,” and “news,” the “/pol/” board on 4chan and the Twitter platform. They found that Twitter has a heavy influence on the posting of URLs from alternative news sites on the other social platforms, and is the most influential single source for most of the other web communities.

“These platforms have become an important piece of the modern information ecosystem,” Blackburn said. “As we continue to see the creation and spread of hoaxes, rumors and false information online, this knowledge is crucial to understand the risks associated with alternative news and to aid in designing appropriate detection and mitigation strategies.”

Blackburn is a co-founder of the International Data-driven Research for Advanced Modelling and Analysis Lab, or iDRAMA Lab, an international group of scientists focusing on modern socio-technical issues with expertise ranging from low-level cryptography to video games. The paper, “The Web Centipede: Understanding How Web Communities Influence Each Other Through the Lens of Mainstream and Alternative News Sources,” can be found here.

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