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RebelMouse vs. Storify – what’s the difference?

30 Nov, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

I’ve already blogged about RebelMouse, the self-proclaimed “social front page”, that pulls in user content from social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Until it was created,  social data had no central hub and tended to get drowned out and lost as soon as it was published. RebelMouse filled a gap in the market by providing one central location to capture a user’s online output. However, RebelMouse is no longer the only product in this space. Storify launched its redesign last week and many have commented on its similarities.


Mendeley/PLoS API Binary Battle – the finalists

18 Nov, 11 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

PLoS and Mendeley recently closed their Binary Battle contest to build the best apps that make science more open using PLoS and/or Mendeley’s APIs (Application Programming Interface). There are some big names on the judging panel, such as Tim O’Reilly (coined the term ‘Web 2.0’), James Powell (CTO of Thomson Reuters) and Werner Vogels (CTO of  The entries have been whittled down to 11 finalists and the winner will be announced on 30th November 2011. Read on for details of some of these finalists or go here a full list: more…

What do Facebook’s “new breed of apps” mean for publishers?

14 Oct, 11 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

The Guardian and Independent recently became the first UK newspapers to launch new style Facebook apps.  These are a “new class of apps”, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and “have the ability not only to change the way we think about news but have the ability to change the way the whole news industry works”. They encourage “frictionless experiences”, where users opt in once and avoid being repeatedly asked to agree to allow their friends to see which articles they are reading, enabling “realtime serendipity”, as Zuckerberg put it.

“As we worked with different news organisations there were two camps: people that wanted to bring the social experience onto their sites, like Yahoo [News] and the Independent; and those that wanted the social news experience on Facebook, like Guardian, the Washington Post and the Daily,” director of Facebook’s platform partnerships Christian Hernandez stated. more…

Widening the Social Web: Google +1 and Facebook ‘Like’

3 Jun, 11 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Google started rolling out the ‘+1’ recommend button across its own portfolio and third-party web sites just a day after Twitter unveiled its new ‘follow’ button. Both releases are being viewed as direct competitors to Facebook’s popular ‘like’ button.

Central to an effort by companies to stake out their claim in the social-networking domain and encourage ordinary ‘surfers’ to be more engaged with their products, the tools also facilitate the collection of detailed user behaviour data and have obvious benefits for online advertising. The suite of Web 2.0 buttons featured on most websites has grown steadily over the past few years (you may well have noticed) and sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit are long-term residents. But the success of Facebook’s ‘like’ button has spurred others to get in on the game. Afterall, it is said to appear on more than a third of the 1,000 most popular websites and apparently the average media site integrated with Facebook has seen a 300% increase in referral traffic. more…

Facebook and Google predict the future of internet marketing

4 Mar, 11 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

The annual Technology for Marketing and Advertising exhibition took place this week at London’s Earls Court, bringing together some of the UK’s leading Internet marketing innovators. Amongst more than 200 exhibitors, keynote speakers included Facebook’s UK commercial director, Stephen Haines, and Nic Cumisky, Google’s Senior Industry Manager.

Impressive statistics

The keynote speeches were dominated by startling statistics.

  • 124 years of Angry Birds are played every week.
  • 40 % of all Tweets are from mobile devices.
  • There were 2.4 billion UK internet visits to social networks in January 2011.
  • Facebook is now the second most visited site in UK (after Google) – every 6th page viewed in the UK is on Facebook.
  • On Christmas Day 2010, Facebook traffic exceeded Google traffic for the first time ever.
  • On average, we pass 3,254 pieces of personal information into databases each week.

Interesting trends

Microsoft and Experian teamed up to discuss a number of trends that are sweeping the online realm. Social networking users have now surpassed email users. Demographically, younger internet users often only use email when communicating with adults. When speaking with their peers, they prefer to use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Robin Goad from Experian Hitwise (a proprietary software that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use to analyse website logs created on their network) revealed clear profiling patterns in social media usage. By cross-referencing this information with Experian’s Mosaic consumer classification data, they were able to identify a trend for more affluent members of society to use Twitter, whereas Facebook is much more mainstream and skews towards the upper working class.

Emerging technologies to keep an eye on

  • NFC (Near Field Communication) chips were described by Google as ‘bluetooth on steroids’. NFC allows a device, usually a mobile phone, to collect data from another device or NFC tag at close range. In many ways, it’s like a contactless payment card that is integrated into a phone. In other ways, it’s similar to Bluetooth, except that instead of programming two devices to work together, they can simply touch to establish a connection.
  • QR codes can be scanned and read by anyone with a smartphone, just by clicking their camera. By scanning the codes, you can access images, websites and text. QR codes allow for more data than the standard 10-digit bar code and scanning requires less effort than typing a URL. Click here to view some novel uses of this technology.
  • i-Ads – AXA have recently released the first i-Ad, which integrates newspaper advertising with an iPhone. The video below explains the process in more detail, but the gist is that you come upon an engaging picture in print and are asked to place your iPhone on a blank space on the page which brings the story to life, and keeps eyeballs on the i-Ad for a full minute.

  • Third life – It is becoming increasingly hard to determine what is offline and online. Google and many others are in the process of seamlessly combining the real world and the online world into something entirely different. Industry experts predict that we will soon experience an indistinguishable mashing of our real physical first life and our second virtual life into a ‘Third Life’. Both General Motors and Ford are integrating augmented reality technology into their windshields so that GPS directions will be layered on to the road in front of you, along with directions to your local Burger King or HSBC branch. A car has even been released with voice-activated Facebook newsfeed updates: watch a demonstration in the advert below.

New style Facebook fan pages (and social media links on journal sites)

18 Feb, 11 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Facebook has once again been busy redesigning its site, this time focusing on the fan pages used by brands, organisations and specialist medical journals! The Facebook page makeover essentially makes Facebook’s public pages look more like personal profiles, which themselves were redesigned about two months ago .

So what’s new?

Facebook pages, like their profile counterparts, now show a line of photos at the top of their main wall (see screenshot below). For pages, these photos include any images posted by the page owner.

Aside from that, page elements are shifted around a bit: the navigation area, which allows you to toggle through different tabs, is now on the left-hand column of the page instead of the top. The other update Facebook is adding is an “Everyone” filter that brings the most interesting and engaging posts from a page’s community to the top of the page.

The posts displayed on the wall are now filtered through an algorithmic process similar to what’s done in the “Top News” option on the main Facebook stream. Previously, posts were shown in a purely chronological order.  This makes it easier for users and admins to easily find the most “liked” and commented-on conversations on a particular page. The new Facebook Pages are also smart enough to filter out posts that are not in a language you speak.

New social media links on our journal sites

By coincidence, new Facebook and Twitter links have also gone live on each of our journal websites. As mentioned in a previous post, each of our journals has a dedicated Twitter account and Facebook fan page, where users can keep up to date with the latest Editor’s choice and Unlocked articles, podcasts, blogs and mentions in the press. These accounts are now directly linked to from the right-hand column of each journal website (see below).

Users can either navigate to an individual journal website to access the Facebook and Twitter pages, or they can use this central list of all journal social media accounts:

Blog site launched for BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care

17 Dec, 10 | by BMJ

The BMJ Group’s first dedicated palliative and supportive care journal went live online this week, in preparation for the impending launch in April next year. Check out the new blog site here – and show your support by following the journal on Twitter and Facebook.

Introducing BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care

BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care is our newest, peer-reviewed journal with international reach. It aims to link many disciplines and specialties throughout the world; promoting an exchange of evidence based research and innovative practice by publishing high quality transitional research, clinical trials, epidemiology, behavioural sciences, health service research, reviews, and comment.

Following the launch in 2011, BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care will be published quarterly in print and continuously online. It will aim to target not only doctors, but different categories of clinician and healthcare workers associated with palliative medicine, specialist or generalist palliative care, supportive care, psychosocial-oncology and end-of-life care.

The journal’s broad scope makes it a relevant and important resource for palliative care specialists, as well as doctors and nurses in medical and surgical specialties including cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, oncology, paediatrics, primary care, psychiatry, psychology, renal medicine, respiratory medicine.

A world-class editorial team, which will be lead by Dr Bill Noble, Macmillan senior lecturer in palliative medicine at the University of Sheffield and honorary consultant physician in palliative medicine at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will ensure a high standard of practice-changing research and education.

The new BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care website – scheduled to coincide with the first edition – will play an important role in the overall journal and feature all content ahead of print, as well as offering regular news updates, podcasts, blogs, polls, and eventually, interactive educational features.

Look out for more posts and updates on the BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care blog in the build up to the official launch of the journal at COMPASS, April 2011.

New Facebook fan pages for all journals

5 Nov, 10 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

We’re pleased to announce that individual Facebook fan pages are now live for all our specialist journals. Click on the links below and become a fan of your favourite journal! Please scroll down the page for more information on the functionality and value that these pages offer.

What are Facebook fan pages?

In their own words, “Facebook created Pages when we noticed that people were trying to connect with brands and famous artists in ways that didn’t quite work on Facebook…Not only can you connect with your favourite artists and businesses, but now you also can show your friends what you care about and recommend by adding Pages to your personal profile.”

When a user becomes a fan of a particular brand, publication, film, or person, updates from that page will appear in their ‘News Feed’ and may be shared with their friends. It’s possible to see which pages a user is following via the ‘Info’ tab on their profile.

What are the value of these pages?

Facebook Pages can be thought of in much the same way as normal profiles on the site – they have the ability to have friends, add pictures, and contain walls that fans can post on. Pages communicate by ‘updates’ which show on the update tab or a person’s wall if they’re a fan and have allowed the page to show updates. Other key features for businesses include:

  • Pages don’t list the names of administrators, and are thought of as a person, almost like a corporate entity is considered a ‘person’ under the law.
  • Pages are indexed by external search engines such as Google, just like a public profile.
  • Pages can create content that comes from the Page itself, so that content doesn’t have to be linked to a particular person’s account.
  • Page admins can send updates to fans through the Page, and these updates will appear in the ‘Updates’ section of fans’ inboxes. There is no limit on how many fans you may send an update to, or how many total fans a Page can have.

Is Facebook suitable for business?

22 Oct, 10 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

The world has never been so connected as it is today. The internet has reduced the usual ‘six degrees of separation’ to just one or two. Colleagues can interact with friends and family, old friends get introduced to new friends, and family members can keep in touch with all of your associates. Nowhere does this kind of social activity occur more than on Facebook. After all, Facebook is not just for keeping tabs on friends and filling out quizzes – it can also be used as an effective business tool.

Facebook and networking

Facebook is what you make of it. It can be a serious professional tool, a place for fun and entertainment, or a combination of both. Ultimately, you have control over what you add to your profile and with whom you share it. As more and more ‘adult-users’ join Facebook, the possibility for connecting to others with similar professional interests increases.

Many professional and academic organisations have a presence on Facebook and the roles they play on the social networking platform are as varied as their types.  While some serve to organise individuals from a large geographic area (alumni groups), others are location specific (Association of Women Journalists in Chicago) or event specific (charity walks).

According to Facebook, 85% of college students use Facebook. Following the saying ‘meet them where they are’, database developers and other educators are creating academic and scholarly applications for Facebook. For example, PubMed Search allows users to search PubMed within Facebook, share articles with friends and save them to their account for future reference.

Is this really a suitable and sustainable source of business opportunities?

Social networks can be a great way to extend branding and create a community around an organisation.  Facebook groups and pages provide an identifiable canvas for users. They can be marketed with ease, and they can create a ‘human’ touch to a product. Taking a laid back or personal approach to a Facebook business profile could help generate unsolicited interest.

However, there are inherent dangers with taking a more relaxed approach to marketing. Organisations should always remember not to mix personal and professional views and to restrict the amount of data which is shared with external applications.

For those of you who are new to social networking and would like some background information, the video below provides a useful introduction:

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