Published on Friday, November 9, 2012

Obama, Instagrams, and Pinterest privacy

Well, what a week! It's been a busy one here at Siren. World Travel Market (WTM) has been as big and as bustling as ever with stands from across the globe turning the Excel in London into a global marketplace. Around the world in 80 days? If you were quick you could do it in 80 minutes down at London's docklands!

This year also saw the second Social Travel Market (STM) running alongside WTM, providing attendees with insights and practical advice on how social media can work for the travel industry.

But with all this talk of WTM & STM, let us not forget that the world of social media continues to surprise, entertain and sometimes shock us - here are three stories we've picked up this week...

Barack wins two accolades in one week
Congratulations to Barack a, who this week won a second term in the White House, beating Mitt Romney in the race for the US presidency. It was a hard fought battle and the most expensive in US history. This year also saw a huge amount of campaigning via social media channels, report after report scrutinised the candidates' use of social media throughout the campaigns. But it was Barack Obama who came out on top, when, after sealing the presidency spot, laid claim to the most retweeted photo of all time. The question is, which victory is he most proud of?

Getting a bit of 'iPhone eye'?
We cannot claim that the above term is a true medical condition, but if you're like us and have started to feel the strain of staring at a tablet or iPhone, Instagram's new web-based profiles may just be the thing for you. The Facebook-owned mobile photo sharing platform is rolling out new web-based profiles, allowing users to access their shared images through a web browser. The profile will feature all photographs shared by users along with their bio and profile picture. As huge Instagram fans, this comes as a welcome advance in the functionality of the social platform and may save our eyesight from dwindling at its current rate...

Sometimes you just don't want the world to know
We live in a world where individuals are connected and able to communicate across multiple platforms at any time of day - social media by its very nature is about connecting and conversing with those who, just a few years ago, we may not have got in touch with. But as we continue to evolve as a digital society, is there still room for a social interaction that can't be seen by the world and his wife?

This week, Pinterest finally introduced a new "secret boards" feature which limits visibility to only the creator and any followers they invite. The social network has at long last followed in the footsteps of image sharing site, Instagram, and provided users with the option to impose some form of privacy. Pinterest has taken this one step further and given the user the option of switching privacy settings 'on' and 'off' as they choose, to reveal or hide a board whenever they like. Unfortunately, this new feature is not back dated - users will be unable to hide existing boards as images may have been re-pinned.

Evrhet Milam, a software engineer at Pinterest, commented on why this feature is so useful: "You can use secret boards to keep track of holiday gifts, plan a special event or work on a project you aren't yet ready to share with the rest of the world."

So it seems that even in this digital day and age, when social platforms rule communications and where 'retweets', 'likes' and 'shares' are the currency of conversation, there is still room for a little privacy.

Keep an eye out on our website for more information and insights on what we heard at this year's Social Travel Market.

Until next week...

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