Social Media Report - Friday 20th May 2016

Hot Topic...

GCHQ joins Twitter

The GCHQ unveiled its own official Twitter account on Monday, making it the first of the UK's three intelligence agencies to join the social network. Just after 11am the @GCHQ account tweeted: 'Hello world', a nod to the two words that programmers first learn to code. A spokeswoman for the agency said the move was a 'big step' for the organisation' as we become more open about the work we do to keep Britain safe'. The GCHQ intends to use the platform to provide information about its history, mission outcomes, cyber security, languages, maths and general information about the agency, such as job opportunities. Its tweets will not include intelligence updates or give away tradecraft. 'Some things have to stay secret - sorry', it said. One of the first accounts @GCHQ followed was @007, the official account for fictional spy James Bond. Within half an hour of its verified feed, the agency had attracted over 2,000 followers. Many Twitter users greeted the new account with wry scepticism, with tweets suggesting ‘they immediately follow 7 billion’ or ‘following count should be ‘everybody’.’

The Cheltenham-based signals intelligence agency follows in the footsteps of its US counterpart the CIA, who joined Twitter in 2014 with the opening gambit: 'We can neither confirm or deny this is our first tweet'. The UK organisation said its social media presence aimed to make the GCHQ more accessible as well as adding its voice 'to social media conversations about technology, maths, cyber security and other topics where we have a view'.

PR and Marketing in Social Media...

NASA teams up with Snapchat to showcase life on board the International Space Station

NASA has provided a glimpse of the day-to-day lives of astronauts in space to mark the International Space Agency’s 100,000th orbit around earth. The US space agency has partnered with Snapchat to launch a series of videos fronted by commander Tim Kopra. ‘A Day in Space’ was created using Snapchat’s Live Stories service, and shows the everyday activities of the crew – including the difficulties eating tortillas in microgravity as well as offering a view of the world from space. ‘One thing that never gets old here is looking down on our beautiful planet’, Kopra revealed in a post.

The videos are available on NASA’s Snapchat fed and join the growing social media presence of astronauts who are updating planet earth on their lives. Britain’s Tim Peake has been engaging with users on Twitter since he joined the ISS in December.;

Social Media Brands...

David Cameron meets with social media giants ahead of Brexit vote

Prime Minister David Cameron is reported to have met with representatives of Tinder, LadBible, Google and BuzzFeed as he explores social media strategies to encourage young people to vote in the UK referendum on Europe. Many young adults are yet to register to vote, and with the deadline looming, the Prime Minister called the meeting to enlist the sites’ help in encouraging electoral registration of under-25s. Tinder is thought to be planning a voting initiative with campaigning group Bite the Ballot, while The LadBible is set to play host to homepage takeovers and editorials urging readers to make sure they're registered. Promotions across platforms like Tinder and the LadBible, which boasts 12 million Facebook subscribers, would also be expected to boost the profile of the Remain campaign as polls suggest that two thirds of those under the age of 25 favour staying in the EU. Media interest in the idea of Cameron joining Tinder has reluctantly been discounted, however. Bite The Ballot's Kenny Imafidon told the BBC they were not creating anything to do with David Cameron on Tinder, but added: ‘We are in talks with Tinder… but can't talk about specifics at this stage.’

Elsewhere, political campaigns have been finding their way on to Tinder. In March the US 2016 election's 'Swipe the Vote' drive matched users up with presidential candidates to lure its millennial users into the voting booth.

Google make another attempt at social media with messaging app Spaces

Google has unveiled ‘Spaces’, a new messaging app designed to encourage ‘small group sharing’. The app is aimed at YouTube and Google users who wish to share links with their friends within its walls, and its internal search function means people do not need to navigate between apps. ‘With Spaces, it’s simple to find and share articles, videos and images without leaving the app, since Google Search, YouTube and Chrome come built in’, the internet giant revealed in a blog post.

Spaces could offer Google a way to succeed in the social media space, after its revamped Google + service has failed to compete with rivals such as Facebook. Latest industry estimates suggest that communications sent via messaging apps are set to double by 2019, hitting 100tn.

Facebook introduces interactive Live Video map

Facebook has begun the roll-out of a global interactive map which visualises the location of its live video feeds from strangers around the world. The most highly rated Facebook Live feeds are ranked in real time on a left of the screen, allowing users to select one and see both where a stream originates from and also where it is being viewed. The screen is clickable, allowing people to travel a map of the planet and sample feeds from around the world by selecting them. Blue dots represent Live videos, and the bigger the dot, the more viewers the video has. Thumbnail videos start when a user’s mouse moves over a blue dot, and clicking on one will expand it into a much larger version. The map is intended to improve navigation and search by enabling people to source content from new broadcasters without having to directly follow an individual person or group.

Users can access the new feature by accessing a ‘Live Video’ app on the left navigation bar within individual Facebook timelines and marks the latest move by the social media firm to put video at the heart of its business..

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