Instagram the popular social media photo sharing site with approximately 130 million monthly users will now be able to shoot and share videos.

The new video feature is available to all iOS and Android Instagram users as a free update to the existing Instagram app. The basic look of the app is the same, but a small movie icon has been added that takes you into video mode.

The  videos can be between three and 15 seconds long and include any number of individual video clips. After you shoot the video: 13 brand-new filters, created by an artist specifically for Instagram video. They do the usual tweaks to make video pop, like adding vignettes, upping the contrast and playing with color. There is also an image-stabilization feature to even out shaky videos shot on the go.

For now, videos can only be shot from within the Instagram app, and there is no way to upload existing video from your phone’s camera roll.

According to Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom  “It’s everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves.”

The video-sharing feature puts Instagram in direct competition with Vine, the popular Twitter-owned app that lets users share looping six-second video clips. Vine has skyrocketed in popularity in the six months since it launched, attracting more than 13 million users. Many of the six-second videos have a unique look and feel, employing fast cuts and stop-motion animations to tell quirky little stories.


Pinterest has introduced two new features to its popular social media sharing site.

Now in addition to posting images on a virtual inspiration board – you can send the image to friends.  If you see something on Pinterest that you know that one of your friends will like, you can hit the “send” button to share it. You will be able to send the pins to other Pinterest users, Facebook friends, or email contacts with a personal note. They will be able to see them in their Pinterest notifications or in their email inboxes.  If they reply or like the pins, you’ll get a notification as well. Previously, you could only send a pin to someone via email. The new feature works for both mobile and desktop versions of Pinterest.

In another addition, Pinterest is making its collection of images more informative with a new format for a select group of pins that show products, movies, and recipes. Instead of just showing a small, formless caption beneath the pin, the new format will include an additional space for details like ingredients and cook times on Recipe pins, prices and store locations for Product pins, and ratings and cast members for Movie pins. An icon beneath the picture will let users know when there’s more information. The details will appear when users click on the pin to enlarge it. Among the first to test it out are Target, eBay, Etsy, Sony,, Anthropologie, Whole Foods, Martha Stewart, Netflix, and Rotten Tomatoes. Pinterest will roll this feature out slowly. Users will find new pins from these merchants — and refreshed versions of their older ones — in their feeds.

These new additions are the latest in Pinterest’s quest to make the social media bulletin board even more social and informative.

Internet Marketing; News; SEO

LinkedIn, the popular professional and job networking site has added a new feature intended to make news links and slide shows easier to find.

This week the social media site launched “Channels” – its name for topics on LinkedIn today, its news hub. The “Channels”  include topics such as “social impact”, “the economy,” “your career”. Some of the channels, like “Things I Carry” and “My Best Career Mistake” are based on LinkedIn’s monthly content packages that incorporate themed essays from LinkedIn’s chosen “thought leaders.”

They “Channels”  allow LinkedIn members to customize the news they see based on their interests. Now members can browse, sort, and follow content by category.

LinkedIn is trying to help its members develop professionally and get better at their current jobs – not just find new ones.

In addition to offering more content of interest to users, “Channels” is an important way to get people to use the site more frequently.  This will in turn help LinkedIn build up its advertising business. It could also help LinkedIn build up its database of information about its members. Right now, LinkedIn mostly has data that members share, like their education and employment history. By tracking what news a member views on LinkedIn, it can develop insightful knowledge about them such as their interests outside their immediate professional field or new interests by knowing what articles they read. This information could be used by recruiters – a key customer base for LinkedIn, find not only people with a track record in a particular industry, but not so obvious candidates for jobs.

Previously, LinkedIn’s customization options were more limited: Members could follow companies or industries, as well as LinkedIn’s “influencers”,  high-profile business leaders who contribute articles to the site. The redesign of LinkedIn today adds emphasis on posts from these “influencers” as well.

Currently, there are around 20 channels. The company expects to add more in the future.

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