What We're Reading: Week of May 14, 2012

It’s all about Google, Facebook and Twitter this week in online news. Google rolls out yet another search feature called Knowledge Graph, Facebook proves again their good intentions with questionable privacy practices and Twitter starts a best of the week e-blast series. Read about all of this and more in this week’s FSC reading list.

Ashley: With over one billion users continually sharing personal content, Facebook’s role as such a powerful social network comes with some pretty serious responsibilities. Facebook has recognized this and has rolled out enhancements to their Facebook suicide prevention outreach and services for vets and military personnel. Their engineers have been able to identify families and military personnel and have put crisis outreach in place for when any suicidal content is reported. I think it’s a socially responsible step for Facebook that has the potential to use their privacy-encroaching powers for good.

Brooke: Earlier this week GM withdrew $10 million in advertising from Facebook around the same time that Facebook itself conceded that it is struggling to deliver ad inventory to a growing base of mobile users. So what’s really going on with Facebook ads? In examining further, Forbes illustrates that there are at least four different possibilities to solve this riddle, but the bottom lineis, in order for brands to get engagement they will have to advertise.

Sadie: Google just doesn’t stop.  Over the next few days, the online powerhouse will be rolling out a new feature called a Knowledge Graph.  This informative video explains how the Google database has evolved to more specifically analyze a user’s query, further enhancing and organizing search results.

Paula: This week, Twitter began dropping the best of itself in our inboxes weekly. I was reminded of a recent Freakonomics podcast entitled “Eating and Tweeting.” I know strictly speaking this is What I’m Listening To, but in the podcast Stephen J. Dubner, spoke with sociologist Duncan Watts about reciprocal followers on Twitter and whether, outside of frenzied revolutions, Twitter is just another top-down means of communication. I was reminded of Dubner’s interview when my Twitter round-up, filled with retweets from lots of famous people I’ve never followed, hit my email.

Susan: The most interesting thing I read this week was this infographic created by the National Restaurant Association for Mashable. There’s a lot of interesting information here. First, there are many opportunities for restaurants to add technology to the menu: 39% of consumers would use electronic ordering, including iPad menus and wine lists; 46% of consumers would use a restaurant’s smartphone app if available. Also, dining is social: nearly 3 in 10 consumers currently use Facebook or Twitter to choose a restaurant and 4 in 10 consumers use deal sites such as Groupon or Living Social. Love it or hate it, nearly 3 in 10 diners have viewed or posted reviews on consumer-driven sites like Yelp. Restaurateurs and people who work with restaurant clients may want to take a closer look at this data for a glimpse into their future!

Sally: Huffington Post reported this week that YouTube will be rolling out HUNGRY, its new custom channel. HUNGRY will be an outlet for celebrity driven food demo videos and all other food related content. This should be a great tool and resource for anyone who wants to find or promote their culinary content!

Rebecca: Another one bites the dust! Everyone knows that what you post on Facebook or Twitter is seen by a lot of people, including work colleagues. The CFO of Francesca’s Holdings was recently fired for remarks made online. Just another reminder that whatever you say online is no different than shouting with a bull horn in a crowded room.

Lyndsey: Knowledge is power. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. According to Google, knowledge is by proxy. Google’s latest launch is the Knowledge Graph, a search results scheme built on knowing relationships between different people, places and things. Pre-Knowledge, SERPs reflected matched query terms. Now, SERPs will report facts (and provide answers) that match query terms but for entities or concepts that the words describe. I’m excited to see how this evolves.