Monthly Archives: February 2014

Snapchat- Is it Ethically sound?

All aspects of social media were created with good intensions snapchat is no exception. Sadly, however, abuse is possible. In theory snapchat fulfills a role by allowing sender to present a photo to a recipient that will disappear after a set number of seconds. In practice, however, a recipient could screen grab the photo. Which means that the photo will actually stay on his/her phone.  Defeating the primary concept behind Snapchat. Which begs the question, will snapchat survive?


It is my opinion that Snapchat is the answer, right now. When people talk about privacy with photos snapchat is the best option. The use of screen grabbing is a weak argument to slander snapchat because snapchat goes hand in hand with a basic human instinct, trust. When a sender chooses a recipient he or she has trusted that person not to abuse him or her by screen grabbing that photo. This separates the app from Facebook and twitter and other photo streaming applications.


The clever programmers behind snapchat have even installed a notification system, which allows the sender to be warned about a screen grab if it happens. Allowing the sender to stop any chance of the photo to be manipulated.


Facebook, whatapp and twitter are the most popularly used social applications and have been heavily slatted for inappropriate ‘sexting’ and cyber bullying. It can be easily done but hard to stop. Once an incriminating photo is put up it can be shared, copied, re-tweeted so quickly that it will always be on the worldwide web.  Snpachat is in my eyes the only app, which can provide an answer to cyber bullying at this time.



Cyber bullying is not as narrow-minded as someone calling somebody a name anymore. Now it has broadened out to ganging up on someone by manipulating a story or an image and plastering it on the Internet for the world to see. So much so that it has now ruined so many people’s lives and there is very little can be done to stop it because by simply changing the documents name it can be put back up again and again. We have seen examples of that even in this country. Of papers such as the daily mail or the sun printing explicit stories of conversations teenagers are having over the Internet. This is the basis for snapchats success. It focuses on the trust had between the sender and receiver and while that still exists snapchat will continue to succeed


Users are exposed to 1500 posts every day, Who decides what we see?

The progress of Facebook stems down to how much is Facebook actually worth? This is in fact a number that is very hard to quantify, thanks to the relative age of Facebook and the evolution of its product, what its worth today may be vastly different from tomorrow. 2 years ago in 2012 Facebook made no revenue from mobile advertising, yet in 2013 mobile advertising was launched and Facebook now accounts for 18.4% of global mobile advert spending.[1] Facebook’s revenue from ads reportedly went up an unprecedented 76% from previous years, accounting for a large part of the reported $523 million profits[2]. The question now is why is this happening, and will it be a problem for the user?

Facebook has gone mobile with Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerburg reporting a total of 757million users, ¾ of which access Facebook though a mobile device[3], thus changing the dynamic of Facebook and how the users are interacting. It is this change that is allowing Facebook to increase profits and exploit the user, though I belief the increased use of the news feed. The news feed shows a constant stream of statuses, posts, pictures and videos from friends and family (our ‘friends’). However, sponsored links and paid ads now slip into this feed seamlessly, integrating themselves with our interests meaning that the news feed no longer contains only posts from people I naturally will interact with. This however, is not the problem with Facebook, as annoying as these ads are, they do not vastly change the experience and often go unnoticed by any users; the problem with Facebook I feel is the nature by which these posts are sorted and the method through which Facebook is now sculpting our news feeds to maximize profits.

The problem with Facebook is in essence it is keeping things from you, i.e. we don’t see most of what our friends post or the pages we follow. When I post, it will only be seen by a small number of people, if they actively engage with it, like or comment, it will be spread to more of my friends. This means the news feed will slowly progress to only being full of things I like, or agree with.  A report by Veratisum shows that the most likely things to fill a newsfeed are weddings and babies, posts that people feel obliged to like or comment. Now it is not the fact there is a filtering process that is the problem, on average there are around 4,750,000,000 posts shared on Facebook everyday, and if you were to log in once per day, you could be exposed to around 1500 posts. The problem is Facebook is using the filtering to make money.[4]

In a recent 3 page document to marketers Facebook has taken a much more blunt stance on paying for reach, announcing that ‘We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site’. Organic reach is said to be declining due to the vast increases in the amount of content shared by users, and marketers are being told to pay, in order to ‘maximize delivery of their [your] message’.  Now I don’t want to sound naturally bias against Facebook and I must also explain that it appears Facebook is trying to be fair, as it wants to value markets and users equally, meaning that marketers don’t get priority in a given news feed, if they don’t deserve to be there. Facebooks current solution is to make marketers more social viable,  In the document marketers were told to re-think the purpose of their fan bases, where in previous years a large fan bases was a great way to distribute free content. Now a fan base is seen as a tool to increase effectiveness through ads with social content, a large fan bases in 2014 will make it cheaper to advertise your content, due to it having ‘social context’. Facebook is trying to keep the news feed user based.[5]

Where LinkedIn’s Revenue Comes From?

LinkedIn is “a place where people could build and engage with their professional networks, access shared knowledge and insights, as well as discover new business opportunities”.(6) As Linked in is a professional social networking website, generating revenue is high on it’s list of priorities. However LinkedIn is a free service, which poses the question, how does it make money? LinkedIn, being the intuitive and highly adaptable service that it is has figured a way to combine different revenue gaining ideas.


LinkedIn generates money in three ways:

  1. (Talent Solutions) Selling recruitment services to employers
  2. (Marketing Solutions) Selling premium advertising
  3. (Premium Accounts) Selling premium subscriptions to both employers and users

Ref – (1)


“Talent solutions” is basically the way in which recruiters and businesses have to the ability to search for and contact potential employees that have profiles on the network. This is the way in which the majority of LinkedIn’s revenue is generated. It can be an extremely powerful tool for both the employer and the employee. “Talent Solutions brought in $524 million in 2012, and accounts for 54% of the company’s $972.3 million in revenue for the year.” (3)


LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions scheme allows them to generate a substantial amount of revenue without forcing the company to rely on advertisements. Marketing solutions comes second to Talent solutions in terms off gross income.  “Revenue from Marketing Solutions was $258 million in 2012, and accounted for roughly 26% of LinkedIn’s total revenue.” (3)


Premium subscriptions to LinkedIn is the third way that it can generate an income. This accounts for 20% of the revenue. These Premium subscriptions differ from standard subscriptions giving the user an enhanced use of the product. With this the user can:

  • Contact anyone on LinkedIn – response guaranteed*
  • Access expanded profiles of people outside of your network
  • See more profiles with every search
  • Zero in on leads with advanced search filters
  • Get the full list of Who’s Viewed Your Profile
  • Manage your contacts and profiles
  • Get full name visibility for all 3rd degree connections**

And a lot more



Figure 1: This is a graph of the revenue generated by LinkedIn and sourced from – (5)

The above graph also shows the growth of the breakdown of LinkedIn’s revenue generated. So now we can see the three pronged ploy that LinkedIn use to generate an income to enable growth and sustainability. As LinkedIn won’t be seen as attractive to the average Joe Blogs, it has the opposite effect on the high earning worker. As this is the case, LinkedIn’S marketing schemes and premium memberships tend to work as the user is intrigued with the service.

In terms of growth, LinkedIn’s users and sales may not be a colossal as Facebook or Twitters, however it is proportional to it’s competing social networks.


Figure 2: This is a graph showing the sales and user growth of LinkedIn comparing with Facebook and Twitter. Sourced from – (2)

It’s true that LinkedIn’s Growth rate and income has slowed considerably, however experts maintain that the company and service it provides is sustainable and will continue to survive in today’s social and professional networking world.

 – Patrick Nicholson 11346441











Instagram: 150 million Users Yet No Revenue

Instagram is unique in its attitude towards revenue. Although it is owned by Facebook, which has always had its priorities on making money, Instagram have shown they are very conscious of the users feelings and try to make it a positive user app, rather than a money making goldmine which it could be. As a user of both Instagram and Facebook there is a clear difference between the revenue generating features present all over Facebook and the pleasant absence of these features on Instagram.

From the beginning Instagram has been an app making no revenue from its users, their photos and the interactions. The main goal for the company was to grow its network, perfect the features and create a future for this photo sharing centre. Many people questioned Facebook’s purchasing of Instagram, for a value of $1 billion in 2012, as Instagram had no revenue. Instagram was in desperate need of financial support when, after two years, it had losses of $2.7 million [1]. It was then able to raise $50 million in the next financing round in March 2012, just 1 month before Facebook purchased the company.

The CEO, Kevin Systrom said, in August 2012, that the company has considered monetizing the app but

“Nothing came of it” [1].

However, in December 2012, Instagram announced it was going to change its privacy policy, in order to start making some money. The change would allow the company to sell user’s photos for advertising of the app. This received harsh backlash, with vast numbers of users, from individuals to The National Geographic, vowing to stop using the app if these changes came in [2]. I feel this was a bad move by Instagram as lots of the users, including myself, really appreciate the more private and personal side to the app. The company quickly reversed their plans and wrote on their blog saying,

“Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram… it is not our intention to sell your photos”  [3].

About 9 months later these “innovative advertising” ideas came into action. It started with 5 companies being allowed to have promotional ‘sponsored’ posts which would appear on user’s newsfeeds, different ads appearing based on photos and pages the user has liked on both Instagram and Facebook and what their Instagram friends have liked[4].


Figure 1 [5]

Above is an example of one of Ben and Jerry’s ads. Instagram announced in December 2013, two months after the first advertisement post that the campaign was working [5]. The companies seem to be reaping the benefits of the advertising, with a large range of people throughout the world being subject to their products, the ads can generate hundreds and thousands of likes.


Figure 2 [6]

Although the actual value of gains for Instagram and these companies is still foggy following this update, it certainly shows that the people behind the app are starting to really think of revenue possibilities and implement changes which it did not show in its first few years.

~ Finola Barry

[1] –

[2] –

[3] –

[4] –

[5] –

[6] –


The ceo of twitter recently said “We as a company aren’t going to be satisfied—I am not going to be satisfied—until we reach every connected person on the planet, period,”[1] which really showed the determination of the company as a whole.

Twitter experienced rapid growth from its launch very quickly. It had 400,000 tweets posted every three months in 2007, just a year after launching. And by February 2010, Twitter users were sending up to 50 million tweets per day.[2]

Then in June 2010, about 65 million tweets were being posted each day meaning that 750 tweets were being sent every second around the world. And in March 2011 140 tweets a day.[3]

This phenomenal growth brought twitter up from the twenty-second highest ranking social networking site all the way to third in one year.

During big global events twitter usage always has and will peak, for example during the 2010 World Cup when Japan scored against Cameroon there was 2,940 tweets sent every second. And when Michael Jackson died in the summer of June 2009, twitter serves crashed due to users were updating their twitter to include the singers name at a rate of 100,000 tweets per hour.[4]

What helped twitter on its path to success was the increase in smart phones and its apps. In April 2010 twitter had brought in application developer Atebits to develop an app that could be used to link to their twitter. This means users can now with the help of mobile data can tweet where and whenever they want.

In December 2011, Twitter changed features around to make it very similar to facebook, brining in the addition of the ‘home’ tab, connect and discover tabs this meant that new users found it easier to adjust to the settings and easier to such for people and hashtags.

Then in February 2012 twitter announced themselves and a Russian search engine ‘yandex’ had joined partnership and in April 2012, Twitter announced that it would be expanding and opening an office in Detroit, with the aim of working with automotive brands and advertising agencies.[5]

On October 5, 2012, Twitter acquired a video clip company called Vine that launched in January 2013. Twitter released Vine as a standalone app that allows users to create and share six-second looping video clips on January 24, 2013. Vine videos shared on Twitter are visible directly in users’ Twitter feeds.[6]

On December 18, 2012, Twitter announced it had surpassed 200 million monthly active users. Twitter hit 100 million monthly active users in September 2011,[7] and as of September 2013, the company’s data showed that 200 million users send over 400 million tweets daily, with nearly 60% of tweets sent from mobile devices.[8]

-Joe Kelly









YouTube’s Humble Beginnings to an Important Global Business

YouTube’s draw to public attention in all its forms has made the developers, owners, advertising companies and many users quite a hefty sum of money. The 3 original creators I mentioned in my last blog made $1.65 billion form Google in their sale of YouTube [1], and Google are still reaping the benefits from their acquisition through the huge amounts of money they’ve made from advertising. It would be expected that the 3rd most popular site on the web would allow the executives of Google to sit fairly comfortably on top of the healthy cash cow.

Experts have even analysed the possible return YouTube has, Peter Kafka from the Wall Street Journal said “Since Google releases almost no information about YouTube’s financial performance, the best we can do is make educated guesses. Here’s another one: The word’s biggest video site will generate over $1.1 billion in revenue by 2011, and Google will keep about $700 million of that.” Although this is a statement made over 3 years ago, much of it still rings true to its current performance. Further down in the article goes on to claim “this estimate comes from Citigroup’s (C) Mark Mahaney, who notes that the site continues to grow and that it is placing more ads on more videos” [2], indeed the site has grown and expanded being used more in other websites to share videos and more subscribers.

Is amazing to think that how many users there are on the website. I myself have account on the website and many others I know as well, and while I personally don’t upload videos the account make me an active user commenting, liking and saving videos. According to YouTube’s own website 1 billion people are using it each month and “according to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network”, “Millions of subscriptions happen each day. The number of people subscribing daily is up more than 3x since last year, and the number of daily subscriptions is up more than 4x since last year”[3]. And considering that the other top 2 social media website on the Internet are abundant with YouTube links its easy to see where these figures come form and the appeal to companies wanting to advertise their product to a large and diverse audience. The graph below even shows the increase in users over the past 2 years.


Graph 1.  Fortune 500 corporate social media usage, from a study by university of Massachusetts [4].

The advertisements generally on the website consist of many different things, such as joining universities, new movie release and tv shows, public messages, road safety ads, anything. The advertisements on the side not overshadowing the videos are fine but almost every single video shoving more junk at me that I don’t care about before every video can get annoying. Letting the ad run and waiting for the “skip in 5… 4… 3…” seems like an eternity. The red bull ads being the worst and always unskippable just frustrates me, but I guess that’s advertisement’s achieving their ultimate goal, for me to watch their ads even if I don’t want to but have no other choice.

With YouTube on almost every new phone it can be accessed anywhere, and if not to download it is free, although the ads still play before most videos unfortunately. Having the ability to play videos on the go, update my account and upload a video (most mobiles can even upload directly without the need of a computer) shows how integral the site has become in a modern world. According to YouTube “Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time” [5], this is probably due to a mix of young people using YouTube, how advanced mobile phone have now become and that many of the videos on YouTube are uploaded from mobile phones.


Image 1. A common view of the YouTube app on a mobile device. [7]

Having seen YouTube progression form humble project with an office run from above a pizzeria [8], to the now global network for sharing, creating and popularizing videos across the Internet with a massive headquarters  [9] in California its development and expansion are amazing. Its importance as an medium for advertising, sharing videos and information, employer and business is one of the many but most incredible rise of websites on this age.

-Aodh Maguire.


  1. Google buys YouTube for $1.65 billion,, accessed 13/2/2014,
  2. Another YouTube Revenue Guess: $1 Billion in 2011, Wall Street Journal online, accessed 17/2/2014
  3. Statistics, YouTube press page, accessed 17/2/2014,
  4. Why social media platform is the right one? ,, accessed 13/2/2014,
  5. Statistics, YouTube press page, accessed 19/2/2014,
  6. YouTube: iPhone Already Accounts for Half of Mobile Uploads, accessed 20/2/2014,
  7. A Brief History of YouTube,, accessed 20/2/2014,
  8. A Brief History of YouTube,, accessed 20/2/2014,
  9. Google San Bruno (YouTube),, accessed 21/2/2014,

Reddit: the front page of the internet


Reddit, branded ‘reddit’ with a lowercase r is a social news and entertainment website which prides itself as being ‘the front page of the internet’. Users post content in the form of a link or a text post, but unlike Facebook and other social media sites, these posts are usually not personal information but rather content in which other users can relate to and enjoy. Each submission is then filtered by other registered users by ‘up voting’ or ‘down voting’ content which they deem to be interesting or not. The more up votes a submission receives the higher up the page it moves, the idea is to filter the best submissions from the rest. To categorise submissions, the website is divided into areas of interest known as sub reddits. These sub reddits are used by syntax /r/. For example a post to do with politics may be posted to and something to do with rugby may be posted to r/rugby etc. etc. The sub reddits are moderated by registered users and the number and variety of sub reddits is increasing rapidly.

The Technology

You would imagine reddit to have an incredibly large workforce and server setup due to it ranking as the 66th most visited website daily worldwide and 20th in the USA. However, reddit employs just 28 people! It was originally written by 2 new graduates from the University of Virginia in Common Lisp but has since been rewritten in Python. In 2009 reddit decided that instead of using their own servers they would switch to amazon web servers to deal with increased traffic. Due to the popularity of smartphones in recent years, people have been crying out for an official mobile client for reddit. Sadly reddit themselves haven’t made an official release, but that hasn’t stopped other developers from making their own clients. Several options are available from Google’s play store, Apple’s app store and the windows mobile app store. The apps are so well coded that it has stopped the need for reddit themselves to make one. The reddit community is always posting constructive criticism to help improve these.


The users

It’s rather cliché to use the phrase the users make the site but with reddit it really is the nature and diversity of the users that make it one of the most unique online communities. This will be addressed in much more detail in future blog entries. But so often any kind of request or question will be fulfilled or answered by an expert in that field. In terms of quantity of users, as mentioned above, according to reddit is the 69th most visited website each day worldwide and 27th in the United States.

There is an almost even split to male and female users and the majority lie within the 20-35 age band. Reddit is also conscious about the nature of its content and any controversial material or material deemed inappropriate for younger audiences must be marked with the acronym NSFW (not suitable for work). It is the moderators of each sub reddit which makes it such a strong community.