Tag Archive | Facebook

Facebook causes depression

Do you ever feel depressed after scrolling down your Facebook-timeline for the fourth time in 2 minutes during an uninteresting lecture? (Not an Information Strategy lecture of course). Anyway, you are certainly not the only one with such a feeling. We all have those ‘friends’ on Facebook who are for the third time in two weeks on vacation and definitely do not have any doubts to share these lovely moments by posting all the nice pictures of these trips (including the food pictures). Or have you ever felt jealous after scrolling down on your timeline and seeing that everyone has great times with their loved ones, while you are sitting on the couch and watching some Netflix on your own with a pizza and a beer? You are again certainly not the only one with this feeling.

A majority of the Facebook users post something that looks more beautiful than it really is in reality. This can also happen unconsciously, however, do not forget that a bulky part of the posts give a false picture of the reality. On the other hand, who wants to post some boring stuff where no one is waiting for? Better make something beautiful of it and receive some more likes. Everything for the likes!

However, can Facebook really cause depressions? Not so much that, but it can certainly cause depressed or worse feelings. A new study finds not only a link between Facebook and despressive symptoms, there is also a link between Facebook and the well-established psychological phenomenon ‘Social comparison.’ This is the cause of the depressive symptoms, as you are comparing your ‘normal life’ to the extremely happy posts on your timeline. A study from University of Houston shows that people who used Facebook are tended to have more depressive symptoms.

I am not telling you to immediately delete your Facebook account, I am telling you to be aware of this phenomenon and do not take all the ‘happy’ Facebook posts too seriously. As the Dutch saying goes: ‘Neem het met een korreltje zout.’ (Take it with a grain of salt.)

Enjoy this video and think about it. Is this the truth?

Author: Jesse van Hofwegen (375283jh)


Walton,  A. G., (2015). New Study Links Facebook To Depression: But Now We Actually Understand Why. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/04/08/new-study-links-facebook-to-depression-but-now-we-actually-understand-why/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2015].

Sorokanich, R. (2014). This is why you shouldn’t take people’s Facebook lives seriously. [online] Sploid. Available at: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/this-is-why-you-shouldnt-take-peoples-lives-in-facebook-1595563358 [Accessed 11 Oct. 2015].

Thanks UN, but you are too late. Facebook’s already handling it!

If you still believe that governmental bodies will be the drivers of societal and infrastructural change, your perception might not be up to date. In the past, several organizations such as local governments or supra-national bodies such as the UN have been seen as responsible to intervene in global issues. However businesses are nowadays proving to be entities driving important societal and infrastructural changes, both at a local and international level. Businesses are increasingly “fixing” institutional voids in emerging economies where public bodies have not tackled these problems efficiently. An example of this would be Facebook’s initiative to make world-wide internet access available.

Through its initiative Internet.org, the idea is to enable collaboration within the tech industry through partnership focused on challenging the great barriers developing countries face in terms of internet access, which Zuckerberg himself has outlined as a human right.  Their offering pursues to make this access a 100 times more affordable, through a twofold strategy: reducing both the cost and the amount of data, two pillars in which Facebook believes it is able to successfully perform. Moreover, the task will not be addressed by Facebook alone; by collaborating with important players in today’s tech industry, the Internet.org partnership aids to get the best knowledge for the task possible. Additional partners participating in the initiative include Sony-Ericsson, Samsung, MediaTek, Qualcomm, Samsung and Eutelsat.

Whether Facebook’s intentions are altruistic, or it merely aims to give 5 billion people access to its internet jewel, the end result is the same. While in the first world we constantly praise the wonders and progress brought about by the internet, the truth is that two thirds of the world are still not connected to it. As our economic focus switches from resource-based to knowledge-based, the internet provides the backbone allowing global sharing of ideas and information. And the simple truth is that no public body is as able as one of today’s tech giants to tackle this issue. Facebook has the tools, the means, and more importantly the knowledge necessary to undertake this task. Earlier this month, for instance, Zuckerberg stated that for the past year, Facbeook has been looking into aircrafts and satellite technology to develop solutions which would enable “beaming access down to communities from the sky”. In addition, 100 million users (mostly in developing countries) already benefit from its “Facebook Zero: Facebook for every phone” initiative. If this is its reach independently, what they will be able to achieve through a partnership surely looks promising.

It seems that the new heroes of today’s societies may not be in the public, but in the private sector. In an era where knowledge and information sharing are drivers of economic growth, Facebook and other partners in the Internet.org initiative have certainly undertaken a highly relevant yet challenging task. Will they succeed in switching the two offline thirds of the world online?

(Representation of Global Internet usage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Internet_usage)


Finley, K 2015, Facebook looks to space to bring the internet everywhere, Wired, 05 October, viewed 6 October 2015, <http://www.wired.com/2015/10/facebook-looks-space-bring-internet-everywhere/&gt;.

Internet.org by facebook n.d., Internet.org, viewed 6 October 2015, <https://internet.org/&gt;.

Russel, J 2015, Facebook and telecom partners launch Internet.org to drive universal, global internet access, The Next Web News, 21 August, viewed 6 October 2015, <http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2013/08/21/facebook-and-telecom-partners-launch-internet-org-to-drive-universal-global-internet-access/&gt;.

Your phone got hacked by a ‘Nosey Smurf’.


Not so long ago, iPhone users all over the world were exposed to a bug able to shut down their phone by one simple text message[1]. I too received such a message as a prank, but did not consider the security implications that come with phones reaction on text commands. Later this year an android vulnerability “Stagefright” came to light, allowing hackers access full access to every Android phone with just a phone number[2]. Luckily both bugs have been fixed by the companies right after, but the security risk remains. There is no guarantee every bug has been revealed instead of being exploited by hobbyists, hackers, or governments.

The latter is now expected to be the case. Edward Snowden explains in an interview by the BBC how UK intelligence agency GCHQ is able to control your phone by text messages, completely hidden from the knowledge of the owner[3]. It does so by sending an encrypted text message to gain access.


Snowden talks about a “Smurf Suite”, a collection of phone control tools of GCHQ named after various smurfs. “Dreamy Smurf” is able to shut down and boot up the phone, “Nosey Smurf” can turn on your microphone and listen to your conversations, and “Tracker Smurf” is a tool able to track your geo-location with greater precision than normal triangulation of cellphone towers. And they can do even more, like taking pictures without your knowing, viewing your mails, texts and browsing history, and even

Snowden explains how NSA is understood to have a similar program, and are suspected of providing the technology. “GCHQ is to all intents and purposes a subsidiary of the NSA.” he tells the BBC, where GCHQ receives tasking and directions to go after. These projects are aimed to catch suspected involvement in terrorism, pedophilia or other serious crimes, but in order to do so, they have to collect mass data. Your data.

What now?

Snowden makes a valid point by stating you don’t own your phone, but “whoever controls the software owns the phone”. We see this increasing risk in software and privacy issues, and users are becoming more aware of this. The Windows 10 release has been highly critiqued by its security statement[4] and Europe’s highest court just rejected the ‘safe harbor’ agreement after Max Schrems started a case against Facebook[5]. It is clear that the battle for privacy has just begun.



[1] http://www.engadget.com/2015/05/27/apple-fixing-ios-text-crash-bug/

[2] http://fortune.com/2015/07/27/stagefright-android-vulnerability-text/

[3] http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-34444233

[4] http://www.wired.com/2015/08/windows-10-security-settings-need-know/

[5] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/24/business/international/adviser-to-europes-top-court-calls-data-transfer-pact-insufficient.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1

The success of King’s “Candy”

Nowadays there’s many more ways to make money on the internet than a simple webshop. As discussed in class, you can adopt a subscription model, an advertising model, a utility model (the cloud, like Dropbox), or one of many other options. Often the combination of several models is what leads to the biggest successes.

Since a decade, the ‘freemium’ model is the dominant business model among internet start-ups and app developers (Kumar, 2014). The term is mostly used to describe the combination of advertising and subscription models. Think of Spotify, which is free as long as you listen to the ads, or is without adds as long as you pay. LinkedIn is another company that offers additional benefits when the customer pays (a ‘premium’  membership). In the world of game applications, a successful app is not where one hás to pay, but where one cán pay. This refers to the in-app purchases, which is responsible for over 65% of iOs and Android appstores’ revenue (Valadares, 2011)!

So why are not all games that offer this model successful? When looking at my own mobile gaming behaviour, most apps are deleted within one month. I get tired of them or I have to pay for the next level and for these kind of reasons I just stop playing. Accept for one app that has been on my phone for over two years now: Candy Crush Saga. I would not usually describe myself as an addict, so that raised questions about my own behaviour: why is Candy Crush Saga so addictive – especially on the long term?

Many psychologists name several factors that contribute to Candy Crush’s success. First, people are responsive to the ‘sweetness’ of the game. Second, the fact that a user can only play for about half an hour, makes sure the user is still fond of the game on the long term (Dockterman, 2013).

But the success is not just about psychological factors. The integration with Facebook is probably the key factor of the game. First of all, this set up provides a cross-platform usage of the application, as this account can be opened on phone, tablet and computer. Another advantage is the communication to other Facebook friends, using Facebook’s network effects. The technology in the app shows users at what level their friends are. As competitive as people are, this makes them even want to play more. As it turns out, it might be a part psychological factor after all.

Another smart move of King, yet other developers do this too, is to increase switching costs for users. The in-app purchases can only be done with ‘golden bars’, Candy Crush’s currency. When users still have golden bars on their account, the human urge (yet another psychological flavour to this) is to continue playing, and so a virtual circle begins.

Many other factors can be described about this success within the mobile gaming industry, but I decided to stick to these few to stress my point. The IT departments are important, but not solely responsible for making a good social game. Users are people, and marketing and psychology need to be integrated into the information strategy to make sure the game is successful on the long term.


Dockterman, E. (2013) ‘Candy Crush Saga: The science behind our addiction’. Accessed at 27 September 2015 through http://business.time.com/2013/11/15/candy-crush-saga-the-science-behind-our-addiction/

Kumar, V. (2014) ‘Making Freemium Work’, Harvard Business Review, Mei 2014: 27-29

Valadares, J. (2011) ‘Mobile Freemium Games: Women Thrifty, Men Binge’. Accessed at 27 September 2015 through http://www.flurry.com/bid/72755/Mobile-Freemium-Games-Women-Thrifty-Men-Binge#.VPWucvmG-So

A Facebook ‘Like’, what is the value of it?

Last week I went fencing with some friends and we got a discount of €300,-. This because we promised to like their Facebookpage. We were with a group of 30 people, thus it would mean that every person got a discount of €10,- each. Afterwards I thought by myself, was this discount reasonable or could we have asked for more discount?

You post a photo on Facebook to show your friends what you did that day or maybe to make them jealous. Your friends see your post and like it or not: How many likes do you get on average?facebook_statistics_by_sedj-d3dw2uc

Because of the growing use of Social Media nowadays, companies must have marketing strategies and it is important to look for the social engagement for their brand. The more likes, the more credible it is for their customers and the better a company would perform.

I started researching the internet about the value of a page like and post likes. A page like is in my point a view very valuable for companies, it says something about the reliability of the brand’s content. If you look at the Facebook page of a company with lots of likes you automatically trust the brand more than a unknown company Facebook page. According to the research of Syncapse, one like was $174.17worth in 2013 (what would be about €130). This is concluded after a research in which they looked at two thousand Facebook users, who liked a certain brand, how much money they would spend on this brand, if they would recommend it and if they would purchase at the competition(Lobosco, 2013).

So if this would be true, you could calculate the  total company value if you multiply the number of likes by the value of one like? Sadly there are more factors who influence the value of one like. Pages are liked in more than 35 percent of the cases for participate in a contest,  to win all sorts of prices. Thus by setting out a contest, companies try to get as many people likes on their page. These kinds of contests calls not loyal ‘fans’ to like a page, they just want to win and are not real customers who are engaged to a brand.

In my opinion the value of one like really depends on in which stage the company is, the size and the interaction. The likers must be active and engaged to your company to be valuble. If a company operates locally and just started it is important to collect ‘likes’ and  publicity in their operating segment. Furthermore, because of the importance of social media in our life, and the average time spend on social media we should not underestimate the power of Socail Media and the ‘likes’. I think the discount was too big for the effort and our engagement to like the Fencing page.

‘What is your opinion about the value of likes? And when Facebook would include a ‘Dislike’ button on their site, what do you think will happen’?



Technology of the Week “B2C e-commerce”: The future of shopping


Since the rise of the internet in our everyday life, a lot has changed. Firms had to revolutionise their product strategies, adapt to a whole new 4Ps conception, and serve a whole new platform of markets, namely e-markets. The trend of e-shopping was then introduced in order for firms to increase sales via the e-commerce channel. This lead to further innovations in order to contrast the vicious competitive environment of e-markets, while trying to transfer the in-store shopping experience directly online. With that being said, this article will introduce two new emerging technologies that are involved in the realistic transition between in-store and online shopping through Augmented Reality (AR).

Social Shopping

Social shopping is an e-commerce methodology bridging social media and online shopping together. Social media impacts the shopping behaviour in a way in which other people like friends, family, bloggers and celebrities recommend and suggest certain products and services to the consumers. The idea behind a social shopping website is that it provides the potential customer with blogs and virtual communities to help him in his decision in buying consumer goods and services. This is achieved by the average consumer share his shopping ideas, exchanging opinions on products, and recommending one another on what to buy and what not to buy.

A research on social shopping in 2010 found out that consumers’ trust in product recommendations had not only a direct and significant positive effect on their purchase intentions, but also a strong indirect positive effect on buying the product from that specific website where the information was originally found. The intention of a consumer to purchase a good directly from the website could in that case directly be affected by the trust in the website, thus creating an incentive to build a online shopping platform (Yu, 2010).

To better understand this, we used Shopcade as an example to analyse the technology further, and base conclusions.


Shopcade is a website and mobile app that creates a community of fashionistas and allows anyone to easily purchase the items that they see posted. The site has two main sections: the trending section and the feed section.

The trending feed is curated by the app itself. This means that it is a section with content posted only by the Shopcade team. This content comes usually in the form of blog posts regarding different fashion trends, whether it is for clothing, accessories or other items (for example, one post gave the most recent trends in duvet covers). Being a content provider as well as a service provider definitely adds value for the customers of the company. On the other hand, the feed section contains content created exclusively by bloggers and members of the community. This adds even more to the social aspect of Shopcade, giving a very Instagram-like feel to the whole social experience. This is what Shopcade does successfully. It actually created a situation where online shopping offers an experience that would be awkward to achieve in the store.

Below, the SWOT analysis of Social Shopping can be observed. It is directly applicable to the case of Shopcade.

Schermata 2015-09-24 alle 18.43.52

When it comes to their revenue model, Shopcade offers nothing new. As can be expected from such a business, they make money from affiliate marketing and sales. This means that they receive commission for all the purchases made from their website. In addition, some brands want more exposure, which requires them to pay more money to Shopcade.

Virtual Fitting Room (VRF)


VRFs are the online substitution of in-store fitting rooms. It is available on PC-laptop and mobile devices. VFRs rely heavily on Augmented Reality (AR), which employs specialized software and hardware to merge the digital and the physical worlds by immersing digital information into real video to generate persuasive looking scenes in real-time. Personal measurements can be included online to allow the framework to build a 3-D avatar of the customer fitting the item. It’s built on a three-step algorithm: it builds/scan the user body through data measurements (size, width, length…), reference points (i.e face and figure) via AR, and finally, it builds the avatar incorporating the clothes on a superimposed 3D image.

Software companies such as Virtusize, Fits.me and Clothes Horse have all adapted this new technology providing it to big retail companies, attempting to tackle the fit challenge with a range of technology-based solutions, from “morphing mannequins” to size recommendation engines, all with the goal to simulate the physical fit and sizing experience (G. Randall, 2015).

Often enough shoppers complain about long waiting lines in shops and poorly set up fitting rooms. Conditions such as terrible lighting and a lack of space in the room tend to dominate the endless list of complaints. The slow but steady introduction of VFR has revolutionised the shopping industry, specifically the e-commerce aspect of it.

Using VRFs could actually increase the pleasure of shopping in many ways. Firstly, there is no hassle of having to physically put on several different clothes. The ability to take pictures whilst “trying on” these clothes means that customers can easily compare outfits. Furthermore, many side-menus can be added into the technology, this would be up to a firm to research what sort of features its customers need when trying on clothes. Some great features that many shoppers and experts posted include the ability to like and dislike garments, save pictures of outfits for later, see reviews and prices of products, as well as the ability to call in real-time service (LinkedIn, 2015).

Below, the SWOT analysis of Social Shopping can be observed, applicable to every aspect of the VRFs. As it can be observed, it is filled with opportunities leaving thoughts and space for improvement.

Schermata 2015-09-24 alle 18.53.09

Future perspectives

With the VFR component only, the customers missed the social element of shopping. On the other side, the current social shopping services do not offer a developed VFR experience yet, making a visit to the store easily a necessity. We believe these technologies will merge together as the result will provide an improved customer experience. In the future those various digital resources – VFR and Social Shopping included- will be combined in an overall bigger market. Indeed, as someone will be shopping from his home -trying out clothes through the VFR system-, the person will be able to ask the opinion of a friend or a shopping assistant; involving social shopping (IBM, 2010).

The combination of those two technologies presses the question whether physical retail shops will exist in the future. It seems not to be a question of “If” but “When” physical stores will become obsolete. The reader should ask himself in how much time this change would have taken place: 5, 10, 20 years? It is difficult to say. Humans tend to think linearly, however the rate at which technology imposes itself on the world rather corresponds to an exponential curve as Ray Kurzweil and the institution of Singularity University (2012) are professing.


Yu, K.-L. H.-C.-Y.-P. (2010). Antecedents and consequences of trust in online product recommendations”, Online Information Review.
Randall, G. (2015). Fashion ecommerce: are virtual fitting rooms the silver bullet?. [online] Econsultancy. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/blog/66058-fashion-ecommerce- are-virtual-fitting-rooms-the-silver-bullet/ [Accessed 18 Sep. 2015].
LinkedIn (2015). Virtual changing rooms will revolutionize fashion retail [online] Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/virtual-changing-rooms- revolutionize-fashion-retail-moles-mba

Team 13:
Claudio Corti
Maximilian Wiedmaier
Alex Furnica
Maxim Gggurevic
Paul Grandjouan

Technology of the week – Group 12

B2B eCommerce

Never before have humans been able to interact in such a manner with businesses as is offered online. The sheer magnitude of sales performed on the Internet is demonstrative of the way in which B2C e-commerce has become a cornerstone of modern day commerce. With 1.2 trillion dollars of B2C e-commerce sales in 2013 one can observe the rapid growth and scale of B2C e-commerce, thus, we decided to focus on two of the largest companies for our analysis, namely; Amazon and Facebook.

Amazon Dash

The Dash Button is the latest attempt of Amazon to facilitate the ordering process and make online spending an everyday occurrence. They allow for the replenishment of convenience products under the form of “one-touch” shopping. Some have aptly described the experience of using Dash Buttons as the “end of dashing to the supermarket” (Smith, 2015). The Dash Button was initially unveiled for 18 brands and cost $4.99 per unit, which is refunded once a purchase has been made via the button. The underlying mechanism behind the Dash Buttons relies on Wi-Fi pairing of customers’ Amazon accounts and the Buttons.

Facebook M

Unlike traditional personal assistant, such as Siri, which are fully technology based, Facebook M is partly Artificial Intelligence (AI) and partly human (Hempel, 2015). The concept is that by assisting the AI with a team of so called “M trainers”, which help it with dealing with unknown cases, “M” would be able to perform tasks based on its previous experiences in the long term (Hempel, 2015). Building on case-based reasoning and AI, the application has the potential to perform a wide array of tasks for Facebook users and is truly disruptive to the way consumers could purchase online. The way “M” is integrated into the Messenger interface is through a small Button which would allow users to text Messenger with their requests. Once complete, the user receives notification of fulfillment (Metz, 2015). The simplification of the purchase process is so tremendous that it has the potential to entirely disrupt how B2C e-commerce is conducted.


Amazon Dash and Facebook M both offer a reduction in time the consumer must take when making an order through a device. Yet, they differ in their approach as to how they provide a time-saving feature to customers. Both technologies are incredibly convenient with orders and reservations available from the touch of a button. Although Facebook M runs the risk of not being adopted seen as it might require users to disclose more amounts of personal information than already. Despite their potential to face resistance, one this is certain: they both have the potential to disrupt the e-commerce industry.


Hempel, 2015. Facebook launches M, its bold answer to Siri and Cortana. [Online] Available at: http://www.wired.com/2015/08/facebook-launches-m-new-kindvirtual-assistant/

Metz, C., 2015. Get a peek at someone using Facebook’s new assistan, M. [Online] Available at: http://www.wired.com/2015/09/get-peek-someone-usingfacebooks-new-assistant-m/

Smith, M., 2015. Hack Amazon’s Dash buttons to do things other than buying stuff. [Online] Available at: https://fresh.amazon.com/dash/

Tom Hendry – 366163th

Dennis Huisman – 369919dh

Micaela Arizpe – 368389ma

Theo Fromentin – 371049tf

Dylan Greenfield – 365747dg

The future of B2C e-commerce: Facebook

Facebook has been ever-growing every year, introducing always surprising news. An infinite number of retailers already have their own confirmed official Facebook page, allowing to be able to market their products, stay in touch with customers, build a Word of Mouth chain reaction and store recommendations for others to see. But what if Facebook and retail could merge together enhancing e-commerce in social media as well? If you were not up to date with Facebook’s latest move to use Shopify’s platform allowing companies and individuals to sell their products directly on Facebook. For those unfamiliar with Shopify, it’s an all-in-one platform used for e-commerce with over hundred-thousands of users already. Shopify and Facebook have been tendering, and working along-side since approximately one year. This year, they’ve announced that Facebook is currently testing the new “buy” button (F. Vendrame, 2015).

This move from Facebook to close up to the eCom world is part of its new strategy to enhance its platform to online selling. Most likely, a strategy to both attract new users as well as to attract new firms willing to sell and post their products inside to the social network. In other words, with this move Facebook is allowing for e-retailers to evolve from simply being advertising sections to incorporated eShops (F. Vendrame, 2015).

Regardless of the benefits, it’s a change that uses Shopify’s Facebook store only: it hasn’t given any benefit to brands uniquely on their personal Facebook pages. More specifically, these products are not openly seen in a major e-retailer’s official certified Facebook page, resulting in little improvement or increase in sales via social media.

Furthermore, research has shown that the average population still prefers to shop in-store rather than online. Nearly 40 percent of consumers make purchases inside a physical store at least once a week, compared to just 27 percent who do the same online, according to PwC’s annual consumer survey (C. Brooks, 2015). Usually, the main reasons why this is still the case, it’s because they want to avoid delivery costs, it’s more fun, and you get to see the item directly (C. Brooks, 2015). Another article states that: “Although e-commerce seems to get all the media attention these days, in reality, the Omnichannel Shopping Preferences study notes, 90 percent of all U.S. retail sales still happen in stores. Just 5 percent occur via online-only channels such as Amazon.com, and another 5 percent occur on the e-commerce sites of companies that also have brick-and-mortar locations”. Therefore, Facebook needs to do something more than just to amplify with Shopify if it wants to enhance the game of e-commerce in its platform. However, one solution might have found it’s light recently.

Given that on average, the 1.44 billion users spend about 20 minutes on Facebook on average, and describe Facebook as a good way to stay in touch with the world (Youtube: Facebook-Good or Bad, what’s your opinion, 2012), if both concepts of e-commerce and Facebook were to be mixed together I believe it will increase the percentage of online-shopping. In fact, Facebook has recently announced a new innovation that portrays the social network closer to e-commerce. For instance, the social network will open up two new sections: Shopping and services, which allows businesses to feature their products and services directly from their Facebook pages (Mashable, 2015). Facebook possesses over 45 million pages, and with this new features for pages, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Samberg believes that it will allow for corporations, firms, small flower shops or non-profit organisations to further  house the information people are really looking for. FB-services-ecommerce-640x580

From a personal perspective, I am very pleased with this innovation from Facebook’s standpoint. It leads to a mixture of virtual social interaction, and getting update on friends’ life whilst “scrolling” for what product to buy on the same platform. This will save up a lot of time for consumers, as well as for e-retailers. I am personally a big user of Facebook, and I have used online company pages to be directed to their products on their website. I have worked behind online marketing via Social Media before, and I know that it’s hard to generate traffic on a major brand or retailer’s web shops from social media. Henceforth, I am excited to see where this could lead to, and whether this could be the very next step of Facebook.

What’s your opinion on Facebook merging with e-commerce?

Used sources:



Study Shows Consumers Prefer Shopping in a Store, Not Online



Tech success through diversity – the beginning of a long story

Ever since Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg published, her book Lean it has always been in the spotlight that tech companies are not as inclusive and diverse when it comes to their employees or leadership body as about their customers. In the last couple of years diversity in tech has gone from “nice to have”, to “need to have”, to “desperately urgently need to have” and many companies (especially the ones in Silicone Valley) are putting huge efforts in growing their “diversity indicators”.

But how and why did diversity become so important? McKinsey’s ‘Why diversity matters’ report from January of 2015 shows that gender diverse companies perform 15% better financially, and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform the less diverse ones. Their research found that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. Companies in the bottom quartile in these dimensions are statistically less likely to achieve above-average returns. A similar research by Gallup outlines that more gender diverse business units have 14% to 19% higher average comparable revenue than less gender diverse units. And with these figures in mind both gender and ethnical diversity turns from a nice socially responsible goal to a change needed driven by business goals. Especially for companies that depend on innovation and build products for a diverse customer base, diversity should be understood as a business priority that leads to understand the needs of existing and potential customers better and thus perform better.

For most tech companies there is a long way to go until they can put the “diverse” stamp next to their brand’s name. Even just looking at the big players we can see that tech is still white man dominated. At Google, blacks and Hispanics each accounted for just 4 percent of Google’s non-technical workforce last year. In Facebook, blacks made up 3 percent of its non-tech workforce in May, while Hispanics were at 7 percent. Despite some of their effort to promote diversity – Apple’s gender diversity has moved just 1 percent, and the number of non-white employees also only moved 1 percent compared to last year. If we talk about leadership positions the picture is even more “monochrome” so to say.

Diversity in Tech
(source: TechCrunch)

On the positive side though many companies are already taking initiatives to tackle this issue, here mentioned are some of the most common or innovative ones:
  1. Diversity Reports: although tech companies are completely data driven when it comes to their business up until super recently we didn’t even had the data about how diverse (or non-divrese) company workforces are. We all know that you will never achieve what you don’t measure so Tracy Chou, engineer at Pinterest started a movement to collect more data about diversity in a call for tech companies to be more transparent. Growing from this initiative last week Slack became the fourth unicorn publishing it’s diversity report after AirBnB, Pinterest and Dropbox. With these reports potentially published every year in the future we will be able to see how companies progress in this question.
  2. Hiring Heads of Diversity: some companies like Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Square already have a responsible for diversity within the company, others like Asana, AirBnB, Autodesk and Dropbox are currently looking for one. This shows that transforming a companies workforce, mindset and attitude towards multiculturalism is not a side-job although C-level involvement is also an irreplaceably important factor in achieving success.
  3. Working with companies specialised in diversification like Paradigm or Culture Shift Lab: Pinterest recently announced it’s new initiative Inclusion Lab initiative created in cooperation with Paradigm. This start up helps innovative companies attract, select, develop and retain a more diverse workforce.
  4. Building awareness about unconscious bias in hiring and promoting women and people of colour and explore how could this be decreased
  5. Focusing on retention: “It’s not just about hiring diverse candidates; it’s about keeping them. If companies don’t foster a welcoming environment, diverse candidates will be out the door just as quickly as they walked in”. For example there should be surveys to ask employees things like how long they plan to be at the company, how they perceive diversity and inclusion in the company, and if they are aware of opportunities for advancement
  6. Support initiatives aiming at creating diverse pipeline: Often times companies complain that they would hire people from more diverse background if there would be sufficient “supply”, a solution for this problem could be supporting girls and minorities to learn to code and get more involved with technology. There are already many initiatives of this kind like Black Girls Code, Code2040, Hack the Hood or Skool and many others.
With so many opportunities out there to improve gender and ethnical diversity I hope that the “diversity gap” will become visibly smaller and smaller year by year. And on a personal finish note this hope of mine is not just because all of the potential financial benefits but because I experienced the most creativity, the best output and most success when working with people from 18 different nationalities from all colours and background and I wish everyone can have such an experience.

Author: Gabriella Pimpao

Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg

Twitter Beating Facebook in Race to E-Payment

Twitter users in France can now tweet money to their followers. This effectively means that Twitter has beaten Facebook by being the first to introduce P2P transfer of money over their own platform.

Social networks have been in a race to implement integrated e-commerce solutions on their website. Facebook was the first to introduce e-commerce solutions (e.g. Shopify), but the possibility to transfer money is still missing. However, Facebook is rumored to already have applied for the relevant licenses for the ability to transfer money. An interesting addition to this is that Facebook has hired former CEO of PayPal to head their messaging division, which hints that in the future e-payments might be included in the functions of the Facebook Messenger.

BPCE (the second largest French bank by number of customers) has teamed up with Twitter to enable anyone with a bank account in France and a Twitter account to make use of the service. It is not yet clear if the transfer would remain private or if it would be shared with followers, as it is done on Venmo (owned by PayPal). Further details should be available after the company’s press conference in Paris on Tuesday, 14 October 2014.

This initiative is following Twitter’s introduction of a „Buy” button last month, which was the platform’s first direct step into e-commerce. Nathan Hubbard, head of e-commerce at Twitter stated, that conversations between brands and other users were mostly transactional, thus the enabling of selling directly through the platform was an obvious next step.

As S-Money, the subsidiary of BPCE coordinating the payments through Twitter mentions on their website, the payment mode should be simple, free, quick and most importantly, secure. As payments through social networks should be gaining importance in upcoming times, banks are faced with new challenges, including their decision whether to be included in this trend.

Would you use such systems to transfer money through? And do you think all banks should move in line with these developments?







Audience Network – A Step in Facebook’s Bid to Dethrone Google in Digital Ad Sales

The recent launch of Facebook’s Audience Network puts the firm in direct competition with a number of established cross-platform ad providers such as Google’s AdMob and Yahoo’s Flurry. Audience Network allows advertisers to buy ad space within Facebook apps using the same targeting and measurement tools available to general Facebook advertisers. The ads come in three standardized formatas: banner, interstitial and native. With Facebook’s focus on being a cross-platform platform, the Audience Network aims to deliver, “relevancy for people, yield for publishers and results for advertisers”.

Facebook Cross-Platform Platform

Facebook’s Concept of a Cross-Platform Platform

Audience Network is only one of the ventures Facebook has launched in its quest to broaden the scope of application for its trove of targeting data. Facebook’s earlier launch of Atlas, which allows for the placement of ads within third-party websites, is in direct competition with Google’s Doubleclick and represents a significant increase in the potential avenues for Facebook ads. Atlas differs from Audience Network insofar as the former does not require an existing Facebook Ad Campaign, and the latter acts only as an extension of an existing Ad Campaign.

Last week Facebook also unleashed the like button on Android and iOS developers, allowing them to customize and integrate the Facebook like button into their websites and apps. This move will only increase the amount of targeting data Facebook has at its disposal, which has become more valuable as Facebook finds more and more applications for its use.

Google has three main avenues for digital ad sales on third-party platforms, they are:

  • AdSense – A publisher network anyone can sign up to, the biggest customer is currently Adwords (Adwords campaigns can be set on ‘Display’ mode which would then be passed to Adsense) Where you make monetize your blog or website
  • Doubleclick – A Google subsidiary which functions as a platform to display advertisement on third-party sites. As such its offerings consist of DFA (Doubleclick for Advertisers) and DFP (Doubleclick for Publishers). Where the big publishers and advertisers go
  • Admob – Mobile ad network which allows app-developers to monetize and promote their apps Mobile developers can sell ad space within apps
us mobile ad revenue share by company emarketer december 2013

The Trend That Falls Short of the Mark

Facebook is creating platforms which mirror Google’s offerings to publishers and advertisers, though with more valuable data. Interestingly Facebook’s first target was not Doubleclick nor Admob, but Adsense. In 2012 there was a lot of hype around the proposed launch of FaceSense which ultimately came to nothing. As such, the latest wave of third-party ad platforms Facebook has launched represent the second attempt to compete with Google directly in this segment, albeit with a noticeable increase in resources, determination and scope.

Challenging Google in this domain will be an uphill struggle for Facebook, whose market share in the digital ad segment currently stands at 7.8% as opposed to Google’s dominant 31%. The positive trend in terms of Facebook’s market share is insufficient to carry the firm to the top. Facebook’s primary concern at the moment should be to pursue Google’s broad base of media partners and get advertisers and app-developers onto the network.

Digital Ad Revenue by Company

Ultimately Facebook and Google have taken different paths on their long-term strategy. Google has released an operating system, Android, and hopes to create a carve out a defensible position in the mobile OS segment. Facebook, on the other hand, has opted to avoid fixing itself to one operating system and plans to take the role of the cross-platform platform, providing its network on all while making bets on none. It is this key difference in future outlook that will determine which company eventually wins out.

Sources not linked in the article:


Today Facebook launched its Audience Network

In May, Facebook already announced that they would come up with their own advertising network. Today, Facebook launched its new mobile advertising network called Facebook Audience Network. The application enables app developers to make money without having to sell their own advertisement, do their own targeting, handle measurement or route payments. Audience Network enables developers to integrate a tiny bit of code to run Audience Network in banned ads, or they can work directly with Facebook to create native ad units that feel like a natural part of their use experience.

With this service, Facebook started to compete directly with Apple, Google and Yahoo, who also have their own mobile advertising platform, as well as other smaller ad networks that sell the ad inventory in publisher’s apps on their behalf. Facebook hopes app publishers and advertisers will see Audience Network as superior to other networks as it already has a list of 1.5 million active advertisers on its books and has a wealth of data about a user’s likes, dislikes, location and so on from their social networking habits.

How does it work?
Advertisers have to select an extra option if they want to show their advertisement also in other apps. Facebook is promising their advertisers the same targeting method as on Facebook, but it is still not clear if Facebook also uses the information gathered from Facebook-accounts for its new service. Thanks to the unique identifiers of Android and iOS phones, the company is capable of doing this, although it is easy to block this function on an iOs device. Advertisers will be able to serve app install ads, traditional mobile banners, and interstitial creative formats in Facebook’s new network. They will also be able to target Facebook users via Custom Audiences, Core Audiences, and Look-Alike Audiences.

I think this new service further bridges the gaps between channels, and moves Facebook beyond ‘social’ as a mobile advertising leader. It is a big move for Facebook because they are moving outside of its walls and they will be able to make more money and at the same time show fewer ads in the newsfeed on their own website. What do you think of Facebook Audience Network?


Constine, J. (2014). Facebook Audience Network Mobile Ad Network Launches At f8 | TechCrunch. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/30/facebook-audience-network-mobile-ad-network-launches-at-f8/ [Accessed 7 Oct. 2014].

Morris, D. (2014). Understanding the Facebook Audience Network. [online] ClickZ. Available at: http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2343825/understanding-the-facebook-audience-network [Accessed 7 Oct. 2014].

O’Reilly, L. (2014). Facebook Is Now In Direct Competition With Google As It Opens Its Mobile Ad Network To Everyone. [online] Business Insider. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-audience-network-available-to-all-advertisers-2014-10#ixzz3FU34I68O [Accessed 7 Oct. 2014].



A Google Engineer Explains Why Google+ Sucks: Platforms vs. Products

You probably remember the guest lecture on platform-mediated networks by Prof. Marshall van Alstyne, right? He also shared some slides, and this one on Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos caught my attention:

I googled this so-called “Bezos Platform Mandate” to learn more about it. I expected it to be part of an article Bezos published, or maybe a presentation he did.

As it turns out, the quote is part of an infamous rant by Google engineer Steve Yegge, that was accidentally made public. It was meant as an internal memo, highlighting some key differences between Amazon and Google. It provides an honest, uncensored and at times hilarious insight into the differences between these companies in terms of culture.

Read More…

Referrals? Why should we use them?

Referrals are already very powerful to use; according to some; but why are they useful for a company? Nowadays people can refer a product or service to other people by social media. Most of the times you buy a product and you can refer it to friends, family, colleagues and others. In this way companies try to use word-of-mouth in the online environment. Word-of-mouth is a very powerful tool, because people are more likely to buy products when they hear from friends or experts that it is a good product. So it is likely that referrals are powerful for companies.


The article A. Green (2013) suggests that companies should use referrals, because they are a powerful tool to convince people to buy the product. But companies do not know how they should use it. Most companies stimulate referrals at every social media platform where the companies should look which platform has the most interaction and referrals. For some companies it might be useful to use Google+ where visual companies could make better use of Pinterest and Instagram. The article states that 60% of the social media traffic comes from referrals and that the conversion is the highest among people that were referred to the website.


The table at the right shows he different kind of visits to a website by different kind of contact points. Most people got to the website by an organic search engine like Google or go to the website directly. After this the highest way people got to the website were referrals. But even though organic search got more visitors to the website, referrals has an conversion rate of almost 4 times higher than organic search. This means that people that go the website by a referral are more valuable customers for the company than customers that go to the website in any other way. Referrals are part of the social media platforms, but this research separated them. The table shows that more people go to the site by referral than social media. This implicates that it is more useful to make interesting posts than to redirect customers to a new product on you website by making a Facebook post.

Referrals also benefit the brand awareness of the company. Referrals increase the exposure of a post, because people send it to people they know who will get a positive view of the company. Because when your friend likes it, it must be a good company right? In this way companies should not focus their social media strategy on promotions or other type of commercial activities. Companies should focus their social media strategy on producing interesting posts that make people enthusiastic, exited and people need to find it interesting to share the post to other people they know. In this way referrals themselves can be more powerful than social media posts.





When Big Data meets Psychology.

Research on personality has always been quite time-consuming: looking for participants who are willing to fill out an extensive questionnaire can be very difficult. The following study provides next to interesting insights, and a great basis for further research on personality.

A group of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania conducted one of the largest studies on language and personality ever. They analyzed the Facebook status updates of 75,000 participating volunteers, resulting in more than 700 million words, phrases and topics.

All the participants completed a personality questionnaire through an application and made their updates available for this study. This way, the researches could look for linguistic patterns and match them to character traits. They found amazing correlations between personalities and language used in social media and were able to built models that predicted the individual’s age, gender and result of the personality questionnaire based on their online communication.

The researchers created word clouds with words, expressions and symbols that were common to the ‘psychological’ world of people with a certain trait. The word clouds provided insights into the relationship between personality or traits and language. For instance, participants that scored well on emotional stability in the questionnaire turned out to refer to sports much more than did others. This could be a great opportunity to explore; neurotic people could become more emotionally stable if they would engage more in sports.

The researchers are quite font of this new research method: they state that ‘’these word clouds come much closer to the heart of the matter than do all the questionnaires in existence.’’ Moreover, ”traditional studies have found interesting connections with pre-chosen categories of words such as ‘positive emotion’ or ‘function words.’ However, the billions of word instances available in social media allow us to find patterns at a much richer level.”
This research method could be much more efficient, as participants in future studies could just make their social media updates available, instead of filling in surveys and questionnaires. This could lead to an enormous increase in participants willing to volunteer for research purposes.

These are the word clouds that the study made available. Take a look at your own status updates and compare: do you fit in your profile?









Pay-as-you-go Personal Assistants

After reading the articles about electronic market places and auctions for the upcoming session and thinking about the business solution we have to come up with for Designing Business Applications, I started to think about how we make and create business around us. ‘Apps’ are entering the market place on a daily basis; people manage to come up with ‘solutions’ where some people did not even know a ‘problem’ existed. Thus, we are not always using information (i.e. disgruntled people) to come up with solutions. As technology is within reach for most of the developed world, many of the proposed solutions are technical in nature.

However one can also create a business by letting people tell them about their problems, instead of making them up ourselves. Fetchamsterdam.nl is an example of such a business. This Dutch company basically acts as a temporary employment agency. Or, put in terms of the upcoming lecture: Fetch has created an electronic marketplace for personal assistants. People can come up with the most bizarre requests; Fetch will scour its pool of PAs and find someone to do the job. Look at the request of the week below:


For non-Dutch speakers: someone lost his/her keys in a drain in front of their house while in a hurry. They requested Fetch to send someone to dig for the keys, lock the bike and leave the keys on a table as the person in question had to go to work.

This way, Fetch simply sits back and waits whilst people inform them about their hitch. Customers mention in detail what they wish Fetch to do and the company selects someone from their pool able to do the job (they also have people skilled in plumbing, (house) repair work or willing to book your concert or flight tickets). Using social media and word-of-mouth, Fetch manages to use technology to create a very low threshold for people to approach them with their (often bizarre – check out the other “request of the weeks” on their Facebook) problems. Besides, having an actual PA is simply too posh in the down-to-earth Dutch culture. Also, people know exactly what they want Fetch to do and thus provide the firm with detailed information, leaving less room for errors.  So, would you pay someone to FETCH your problem?

F-commerce: What can we do to improve Facebook’s turnover in the Netherlands?

Dear BIM bloggers,

We have all heard about the concept of F-Commerce by now, if not, you probably skipped last week’s lecture and should definitely start reading about it. The question is how can retailer profit from this new trend? Has it ever happened to you that you clicked on an advertisement on facebook and actually bought it? How well does this form of advertising work? These are all questions that are yet to be answered. In the lecture of Michael Zhang, he argued that Facebook’s business model is not good enough. They have all this information about millions of customers, but they don’t use it well enough. Facebook only generated a turnover of 860,901 euros in the Netherlands. How is this possible? Are there ways to improve their business model or ways to generate more turnover from advertisement in the form of F-commerce? Let me know how you think Facebook can start growing in the Netherlands!

Robert Loth

Source: http://www.marketingfacts.nl/berichten/facebook-nederland-draait-860.000-euro-omzet