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Rob Gould

Rob works as a digital marketing & public relations consultant to agencies, brands, and individuals. He has 20 years of marketing experience. He also currently serves in a volunteer capacity as director of pr/communications for TEDxDirigo. From 2005-2011, Rob served as director of social media & agency communications at The VIA Agency (Portland). Prior to VIA, Rob worked with several PR & advertising agencies in London & Boston. He is a graduate of The University of Vermont (UVM) and a Maine transplant (2002). Follow Rob on Twitter at @bobbbyg His real-life interests include art, travel, writing, design, psychology, the beach, & exercise (grudgingly at times).

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Posted: December 23, 2014

Social media in the news | The holiday edition | Social media self-loathing, the top brand tweets, and more!

Written by: Rob Gould
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

As Christmas and the new year approach I think it’s safe to say that social media is no stranger to the holiday season. From Santa apps to Vine gift swaps to 2014 round-ups you can’t make a move on social media without tripping over some piece of holiday-related news. The good news is, a lot of the news is actually pretty interesting. In any event, I thought it was appropriate to get in one last Social Media in the News before the ball drops on 2014.

I would be remiss if I didn’t put in a special plug for Bridget and her hostile Christmas cards (The Season for Social-Media Self-Loathing, New York Magazine). This has to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year. HILARIOUS. I highly recommend checking it out — unless you’re offended by the “f-word,” in which case please skip clicking on that link.

Anyway, enough of my babbling. Just one last thing before we get to the news. I love getting feedback about Social Social. If you have suggestions regarding topics, interview subjects or just what you’ve liked or disliked, please leave them here in the comments section, email me, or get me directly on Twitter at @bobbbyg. I’m always looking for story ideas, so I promise I’ll read your emails/comments/tweets and consider them seriously. Believe it or not, I can be serious at times. It’s rare, but it does happen.

Now I’ll leave you with the real news from the real journalists …

Condoms, Horse Heads, Handcuffs and 11 Other Things Amazon Will Now Deliver in an Hour, Garett Sloane, ADWEEK

Amazon’s whole mission is to get people what they want as fast as possible, a pledge the retailer took to an extreme new level with today’s debut of a one-hour delivery service.

Amazon Prime Now, a standalone app, currently only delivers to select parts of Manhattan, and it has a limited catalog ranging from groceries and office supplies to clothing and tools. So when you can’t wait more than an hour for, say, coffee filters, a dust buster, a pair of socks or a hole puncher, Amazon will quickly get it all to you.

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10 Times Social Media Made the World Worse in 2014, Erik Sass, The Social Graf

‘Tis the season for retrospectives! Time.com has posted a lovely roundup of feelgood social media stories from the last year, titled “10 Times Social Media Made the World Better in 2014.” The heartwarming look back on the year that was includes sweet stories about a woman reconnecting with her birth mother, the Ice Bucket Challenge to benefit ALS, and a three-year-old girl whose vision was saved.

There’s no question that social media is doing a lot of good in the world. However, because I am a Debbie Downer with some Scrooge-like tendencies, I feel I cannot let the Time.com cheerfest pass without a rebuttal, so without further ado here are 10 Times Social Media Made the World Worse in 2014 — the point being not so much that social media is actually bad, but rather that it is morally neutral, meaning that its worth depends entirely on how we use it.

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The Season for Social-Media Self-Loathing, Lisa Miller, New York Magazine

One of the funniest items to wash up on the shores of my social-media beaches over the last week was the case of Bridget and her hostile Christmas cards. “Bridget,” one of four sisters, used to appear regularly on her parents’ traditional holiday card — well into adulthood. But thenaccording to the accounts I read, her siblings got married, had children, and began producing offspring — and Christmas cards — of their own. Still single, Bridget became a holiday-card exile. “My parents decided it would be awkward to have a Christmas card with just one daughter in it, so they cut Bridget out,” wrote one of the sisters, who posted four years of Bridget’s cards online. Those cards were Bridget’s comic revenge on her family, on the entire merry, jolly business of Christmas, and indeed on the merry, jolly business of living out your life on social media. They completely exploded online.

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Old Navy gives the gift swap a new twist on Vine, Lucia Moses, Digiday

Love it or dread it, the holiday gift swap is a time-worn tradition at holiday parties. This year, Old Navy is using Vine to put a social media twist on what has traditionally been a more IRL affair.

Old Navy’s “White Elephant” Vine game works like this: The retailer is rolling out one Vine video per day for 12 days that reveals gifts it will give away. The gifts range from a trip to Hawaii and a Vespa on the high end all the way down to a Pogo stick at the low end. Old Navy’s Fair Isle sweater, which it’s making a big push for this year, serves as the backdrop, with a cross-stitched elephant demonstrating the gifts.

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Here Are the Top Brand Tweets of 2014, Mark Bergen, Advertising Age

If 2014 offered a lesson for brands on Twitter, it was this: See a gaffe, pounce on it. Among the most popular marketer tweets of the year were those that chimed in during high-profile mishaps — chomping at the World Cup, headware at the Grammy’s, glitches during Apple’s product launch. (Of course, plenty of brands continue to botch this strategy.)

That said, one of the top brand tweets — from Bud Light — simply took a favorite internet pastime, the emoji, and coupled it with a holiday. And the biggest Twitter brand splash of the year was an intentionally old-fashion marketing tactic: a sweepstake.

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Santa Apps Bring Fun and Order to the Holiday Season, Kit Eaton, The New York Times

WITH the right apps, your smartphone can get a little merrier and can even help you plan for the holidays.

Among the thousands of holiday apps, Santify stands out for its entertainment. It is one of many photo booth apps that take selfie photos and transform them to look more seasonal. Santify does an amazingly good job of turning your selfie into a Santa-like face. It can also create an animated video that can be shared through services like Twitter.

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Orkut, we hardly knew ye: 10 tech products we lost in 2014, Adario Strange, Mashable

Every year, the tech industry brings us unexpected surprises and long-predicted changes, and among those ups and downs are usually a few endings to some of our favorite technology products.

This year was no different, with some of the biggest names in tech shuttering products and services beloved by many, and even a few successful upstarts deciding to call it a career and close up shop.

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