Simon Pilkington
July 29, 2014

The Weekly Wrap: Pinterest improves categories and the world meets JIBO

In this week's social media news: Pinterest introduces more flexible categories, Facebook helps us save articles and we meet 'family robot' JIBO.

This week in social media is all about minor improvements – with brands like Facebook, Pinterest and Foursquare reorienting their efforts to make their platforms easier, more accessible and more useful for their users. Facebook introduces a Save feature, Pinterest gets serious about search and Foursquare launches a news app. In this week’s viral video, we’re introduced to JIBO, a forthcoming ‘family robot’ which is set to make the world of apps even more personal and tactile. Read on!

Pinterest improves categorisation

One of the biggest issues with Pinterest is that it has never been very easy to filter through content that didn’t come from your friends. This week, Pinterest announced a much easier way to find interesting pins from other users. The categories section has been dramatically expanded, covering interest groups from hiking to gardening to camping. Users can follow different interest, which will give them a constant stream of the things they’re most engaged with.

This is great news for both Pinterest – who are doing their best to monetise their platform – and brands, who can reach new audiences with their content. Previously, users would have to search constantly for the things they were interested in, and hope they were tagged correctly. Now, users get a great, organic Pinterest feed packed to the brim with things they care about.

Viral video of the week: Meet JIBO

This week’s viral video is a product advertisement with a twist: the product doesn’t quite exist yet. We’re meeting JIBO – they family robot which wants to revolutionise the way we interact with technology. The video shows JIBO interacting with a family in a number of different ways, such as helping out with cooking, taking photographs and teaching a child.

It all seems a little bit unbelievable and farfetched; and then we’re told that it is a work in progress – and it needs your support. This is a great piece of engaging viral content which invites the viewer in with a great vision of the future then tells them just how they can make it a reality. With over 8 million views, it’s obvious that this kind of technology holds a lot of interest for people.

Why was it so successful? There are a few factors:

New technology. Audience’s love announcements of cool new consumer technology. JIBO is futuristic even by today’s standards – so people are going to be very keen to see it.

A call to action.  The address by the CEO at the end of the film encourages viewers t help make JIBO a reality. Platforms like Kickstarter and Pozible show that people are always willing to support projects they find interesting.

Emotional connection. The ad does a great job of connecting with the audience by showing the kind of emotional connections that can be enhanced with a product like JIBO. A feature list wouldn’t have had the same resonance.

Also in the news…

Facebook introduces Save feature

‘Read it later’ apps like Instapaper and Pocket have been popular for a long time, and companies like Apple and Google have been integrating article-saving features into their flagship web applications. Facebook is joining the party with the Save feature for their iOS and Android apps, which allows users to save articles posted by their friends to read at a later time.

This is great news for people who love finding content via their Facebook News Feed, as it allows them to save these articles for later, rather than interrupting the News Feed flow. Articles, videos and multimedia content saved using the feature will appear in a single page within the app, for easy access.

Foursquare removes check-ins on main app

Foursquare, the kings of check-in, have made a major change to the way their service operates – you will no longer be able to check in from their app after the next update. Instead, a secondary app, named Swarm, will be where users can check in, just like they used to. The main Foursquare app, which has undergone a significant redesign, will be a social recommendation service like Yelp; giving users personal recommendations for shops and restaurants based on their consumption habits.

It’s an interesting brand change for Foursquare, which has until now been the most popular check-in app in many markets.

Stay tuned next week for more updates from the Social Wrap!

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