All Articles Tagged "social media"

Hackers Not Behind Facebook, Instagram Outage, Says Facebook

January 27th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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Social media users were in for a surprise on Monday evening when social networking giant Facebook and its photo-sharing platform Instagram experienced a temporary outage that left millions of users unable to access their accounts.

For roughly 40 minutes, users across the globe had issues accessing Facebook and Instagram. Instagram said it was aware of the outage in a tweet, which was later deleted:

“We’re aware of an outage affecting Instagram and are working on a fix. Thank you for your patience.”

Other sites reportedly affected during the outage include dating app Tinder and instant messaging app HipChat.

If you were attempting to refresh your favorite platforms and didn’t have much luck, this was the reason. Of course, there was no shortage of commentary on the outage since many took to Twitter to weigh in on the issue.

So, what was behind the service breach? While hacker group Lizard Squad, which has been connected with other high-profile attacks, tweeted messages implying they’d been behind the outages, Facebook denies those claims.

“This was not the result of a third-party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems,” Facebook said in a statement. “We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100 per cent for everyone.”


Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

#BringBackOurGirls, Ice Bucket Challenge, And More Selfies: The Social Roundup of 2014

December 22nd, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Each year the social media waves become flooded with important news and things we wish didn’t make headlines. Here’s a look at look at some of the top stories from 2014 that made us take notice.

Can you think of any that were memorable to you?

Embracing Your Talent, Ignoring Your Vanity

December 10th, 2014 - By Kendra Koger
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My mind sometimes wonders about how some of my favorite people from the past would fit into this current world; a world that seems to value controversy over talent.  The thought of some of my favorite writers, painters, activists, and leaders stopping what they were doing to take a selfie, or hashtagging pictures of their meals with the caption “#foodporn” is funny, but also sad to me.

In this world of popcorn fame that seems to value looks over substance, with actual guides of how to be “Instagram Famous” it can make you feel a little poorly about yourself, society, just everything.

There was a time when personality based reality television were seen as the lowest form of entertainment (right after dog racing).  People would relegate these “stars” to the d-list and lower.  However, something changed.  Maybe it was the shift  from dating reality shows to life-based ones.  Once people stopped vying for the affections of rappers and rockers and people’s glamorous lives were being shown, reality television was a haven for people to be discovered.

People who were initially brought on “Bad Girls Club” to change their ways were now being offered a few thousand to do appearances, calenders, photo shoots.  The need to be an upstanding person paled in comparison to the profitable road of tomfoolery.   Heck, some of your favorite reality stars have multiple degrees, and aren’t doing a blankity-blank thing with them.

But with the advent of Instagram and Vine, everyday people are finding their way to getting their names out there.  A few pictures or short videos can allow a person to become a lucrative presence and gain followers, and if they’re lucky, endorsements.

However, if you’re considering following this path, can I encourage you to pursue a talent?  Something that coincides with your desire to be known for something, instead of being known for your looks?  The reason why I say this is because that fame is incredibly fleeting.  Why?  Because once you get older no one is going to care.  Or better yet, when someone younger comes in, they’re gonna replace you.

Why do you think some reality stars keep on doing more reality shows?  Or the exact same reality show when they enter into their 30s… Just sayin’.

There are some Instagram people who are famous off of talent, along with their media personalities, like my favorites Mankofit, Maria KangTameikaG and others.  People who were able to use their love of fitness, coupled with Instagram to inspire and help people.

This post isn’t meant to down anyone, especially reality stars. It takes a lot to make yourself vulnerable to criticism, even if your behavior is completely abhorrent.

However, nurture your talent while you’re also nurturing your ego, because at the end of the day that’s what’s going to essentially nurture you.  That’s what’s going to allow you have longevity and a career, rather than just a name.

Now that I think about it, there have always been attention-seeking people.  Along with the invention of the printing press and photography, the early age of tabloids featured people who were so popular at their time, but we don’t really remember their names now.  We do, however, remember the names of the people who put in work and used their talents to made an impact in one way or another.  You have more to offer the world than how you look, make sure the world knows that about you.


Need To Add Social Media Items To Your Work Email? IBM Launches ‘Verse’

November 20th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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International Business Machine (IBM) announced this week it’s launching a new email application for businesses that merges social media, file sharing and analytics to learn a user’s behavior and predict interactions with co-workers.

IBM Verse comes equipped with a personal assistant that learns from a user’s behavior and drafts responses to emails based on previous interactions. Also, users have the option of turning email content into threads for blogs and social media. Verse users will reportedly be able to view relationships between different employees in an email, mute a chain and look through attachments.

Sounds good? For easy access, the interface pins your most frequent contacts, schedule and assignment lists to a dashboard.

“We came at this from the perspective that this is about changing the game, not just incremental improvements in email,” Jeff Schick, IBM’s general manager of social solutions, told Reuters.

IBM’s enterprise mail service, known as Notes, is used by 25,000 companies worldwide, and more than 50,000 use IBM’s social platform for businesses, IBM Connections, reports Reuters. The company hopes IBM Verse will eventually replace Window’s popular Outlook.

The newly launched service is exciting to some and a bit scary for others. How will it impact privacy within the office?

I’m all for streamlining emails and managing my inbox efficiently, but can’t help but wonder if a mistaken response made by Verse’s personal assistant will result in the mishandling of a sensitive situation, or if I’ll have to spend time editing responses? Most people don’t have time to edit emails under a time crunch, especially since it can take more than 10 minutes hovering over one as is.

What’s your take? Would you use IBM Verse? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

5 Facebook At Work Features That’ll Make the Platform Worthwhile

November 19th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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If you’ve been minimizing your window thanks to your “Facebook at work habit,” you may not have to do that anymore. The social media powerhouse is reportedly working on its own version of a professional site, Facebook at Work.

Rumors about the service surfaced in June when TechCrunch reporter Ingrid Lunden revealed that Facebook was working on a “business collaboration product called ‘Facebook at Work.’” Then, the murmur heightened on Monday when sources close to the company confirmed the news and told Business Insider that companies are testing the product, which is in pilot mode, and could be available as soon as January for companies that sign up for the service. We know that the enterprise-focused platform reflects what Facebook employees use the social site for, everything from collaborating on documents and IM to Facebook Groups and reporting maintenance issues.

While “Facebook at Work” will compete with Google’s and Microsoft’s workplace products, Facebook’s workplace version can work if it meets the following criteria:

Optimum security

Facebook is known to switch up its privacy policy and aggregate data, which is problematic for businesses that vow to keep employee information under lock and key. Products like Google Apps for Work, Microsoft’s Yammer and Office 360 and’s Chatter keep internal data and communications secure, so Facebook at Work will have to do the same.

No Ad Zone

With Facebook making the majority of its revenue from advertising (a reported 62 percent in mobile advertising), many wonder if they’d place ads within their new platform. Our vote is, NO!

Separate from personal page

Most people keep their co-workers at bay when it comes to their social media life, especially Facebook. The reports indicate that users will be able to keep their personal and professional pages separate, which may be a draw for those (such as myself) unwilling to have both linked. My status update has nothing to do with the meeting proposal/update due? You get my drift.

Simple and easy collaboration

If I’m already familiar with how to use Facebook, having to use it to connect on team projects company wide and to share documents with colleagues won’t be hard. For many, there won’t be a learning curve since 864 million people use Facebook on average daily. “If I were to use it [Facebook at Work], real-time collaboration for projects and a live chat feature would be nice,” says Ariel Lopez, tech enthusiast and founder of 2020Shift.

Ability to publish articles

Some are referring to this yet-to-be-released platform as a LinkedIn killer. Doubt it. One thing LinkedIn has implemented, and Facebook should include with its new site, is the ability to publish long-form posts. You can publish using Note on Facebook, but how cool would it be to share creative idea posts or even reflections on company events on this platform? It’ll not only allow employees to share their thoughts and ideas, but an opportunity for company execs to review for ideas to implement within the company.

What features would you like to see on Facebook at Work? Let us know in the comments section below. 

On Owning Your Partner And Why I Had To Unfollow Him On Instagram

November 18th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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I know people generally regard the Smith family as weird. And I know the recent interview Willow and Jaden just did with the New York Times, won’t make things any better. But I can’t help but dig them. Yeah, Willow and Jaden are certainly different. There’s no denying that. But they also have a freedom that most teenagers–and hell even most adults–will never know. And while people are always pointing at Will and Jada as if they’ve screwed up, I think some of their philosophies have actually been rather helpful.

And not just for their children either, I know they’ve helped me.

Last year, as is always the case, the issue of Will and Jada’s presumably open marriage came up once again. And finally, in a statement Jada said, “Will can do whatever he wants…” 

It didn’t help quell the rumors. Instead, for the people who believed the two had an open marriage, it confirmed it. And in an attempt to clarify, Jada took to her Facebook page, (which is full of gems by the way), to expound.

Do we believe loving someone means owning them? Do we believe that ownership is the reason someone should “behave”? Do we believe that all the expectations, conditions, and underlying threats of “you better act right or else” keep one honest and true? Do we believe that we can have meaningful relationships with people who have not defined nor live by the integrity of his or her higher self? What of unconditional love? Or does love look like, feel like, and operate as enslavement? Do we believe that the more control we put on someone the safer we are? What of TRUST and LOVE?

Should we be married to individuals who can not be responsible for themselves and their families within their freedom? Should we be in relationships with individuals who we can not entrust to their own values, integrity, and LOVE…for us???

Here is how I will change my statement…Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship…this means we have a GROWN one.

I read this last year. And even though I didn’t think it was a lesson I needed to learn at the time, it stuck with me. Because, unbeknownst to me, I would need it later.

For years I’d been in a situationship. Everything kept us from being together in an official capacity. I mean everything: age, timing, distance, lack of trust, immaturity (on his part), dishonesty (on my part) and then eventually brokenness (on both of our parts). And so, after many years, the situationship ended…again. And though there was friendly-ish communication on social media afterward, this time the permanency felt more real.

But you know, matters of the heart. You can know something is over and still care and still want to know how that person is doing, what’s going on in their life. So even though I knew it was over, I decided I would be mature enough to continue following him on social media, or the one social media outlet I still followed him on: Instagram.

I could write a whole anthology on the ways in which social media can bring madness and mayhem into the very palm of your hand.

And that’s exactly what happened.

At first it was all good, I’d like the comical posts, pictures of his adorable niece, inspirational messages, life goal progress. All of that. I was so mature I had to commend myself.

And then the new boo started making appearances. At first I was lying to myself. ‘Oh, maybe she’s a friend.’  But it wasn’t long before there was a picture that was just to obvious to ignore. And when I saw it, I was shocked. Not at the relationship or the declaration of the relationship but my response to it.

I happen to know of the new boo. I went to high school with her. And though we were far from close, I always assumed she was a nice person. She always had a smile on her face and struck me as having a positive spirit.

But seeing that same smiling face on his page, I could literally feel the bile in my stomach rising up, my skin heating up and my lips turning up in both disgust and to keep any vomit from seeping out.

Just as my head was about to start spinning in Exorcist fashion, Jada’s words came back to me, with an explicit instruction from God:

“Veronica, you don’t own him. She’s a nice girl and he has every right to move on with his life. And if you can’t be happy for him, then you need to unfollow his page.” 

I am one of thee nosiest people in the world; and it pained me to do so, but I started unfollowing him instantly.

That was real maturity.

So Jada’s words resonate with me. So many times in marriages, relationships and even situationships we feel, even if we don’t admit it to ourselves, that we own the person. We like to put pretend stipulations on what they can and can’t do, forgetting the very real fact that we all have our own autonomy and can all do whatever we want.

I know some of you will read Jada’s comments and interpret them to mean that she allows Will to sleep with other women.

I don’t see it that way.

Jada acknowledges that in her mortality, she is not enough to stop Will from doing whatever he wants to do. He’s a grown man, with free will…and in his profession, plenty of access. People say it all the time, if a man is going to cheat on you, he’ll find a way.

But being that she truly knows Will and subsequently married him because she knows him, she trusts that he won’t do certain things. And it’s not because she wields any power or control over him. It’s because she trusts and believes in his own integrity and the decisions he’s made for his own life.

I’ll say that again. Decisions he made for himself, not because she’ll leave him or divorce him or step out too, but because these are the principals that are important to him as an individual, principals which she just so happens to benefit from as his wife and mother of his children.

All that relationship advice we consume about how to keep a man and how to make sure he stays faithful, have all been simplified by Jada’s words.

Instead of playing power games, learning a new move in the bedroom, giving ultimatums, sneaking through his stuff, or asking to smell his dick, choose to be with, surround yourself and even have children with men, women, people who not only possess their own sense of integrity and accountability but can actually prove they live by it. You and your relationship will be happier for it.

The Types Of Instagram Friends Every Black Woman Has

October 28th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Scroll down your feed for 30 seconds and you’ll find most of these Instagram friends filling up you’re page. They get on our nerves, make us laugh and they’re the reason we check our feed even before we get out of bed.

A photo posted by Oreal Flores (@ore0319) on

Your Single-est Friend

Who gives daily hints to her single male followers helpful lessons on “how to be a good woman.” Because apparently she’s an expert.

Are You Addicted To Social Media?

October 27th, 2014 - By Ezinne Ukoha
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Okay, I know two days doesn’t sound like that much of a victory, but when you eat, breathe and sleep what populates on your timeline, it can be quite a feat to be able to dismiss Facebook , Twitter and Instagram for an extended period of time.

It was something I had to do in order to rescue myself from myself. I was losing my mind because of my crippling dependency and obsession with updating my status as well as responding to those who are equally as active. There are so many benefits that come with being able to attain instant gratification just by clicking a button. I am not sure how I survived a time when that was inconceivable, but I am darn grateful that I lived long enough to now partake in all the action.

To be honest, I used to be a skeptic when it came to social media. I just didn’t want to buy into the idea that a mere tweet has the potential to change the course of your life, or a random posting on FB could activate a dormant relationship. But once I gave in, it didn’t take very long for me to succumb to the media tools of my choice. Twitter was my first love, and I nurtured that relationship to the hilt, and then I finally transferred some of it to Facebook and Instagram. Once I began receiving feedback, I became irrevocably hooked. At first I convinced myself that I was in control, but it soon became clear that I was swiftly losing my grip. My phone became my most valuable possession, and as a result, it always had to be within reach.

The crazy part is that I used to tease my friends for doing the exact same thing. I used to get irritated whenever we would hang out and they absolutely could not complete a sentence or carry out a conversation without checking their phones. I would accuse them of being rude and explain how pathetic it was that they had allowed themselves to be “technologically whipped.” But alas, I have become that person, I might actually be worse than they ever were. Sometimes in the middle of the night, instead of getting up to use the bathroom like normal people do, I reach out for my phone to see what My FB friends in London are up to and then I quickly scan my Twitter feed. My habit unfortunately extends to my office hours and I still don’t know how I am able to prevent it from interfering with my job duties. I guess years of forced multi-tasking pays off.

So, needless to say, I had gotten to the point where I needed to prove to myself that I wasn’t a lost soul. Could I neglect the pangs of social media, no matter how hungry I get? So I chose the weekend because that is usually when things heat up. Saturday morning was hard, because just like clockwork, I reached for my phone. But then once I realized I was on probation, I put it down and closed my eyes. I started meditating, which is something I rarely do, but should be doing more often. It felt good to release all the stress and to welcome a lighter temperament. The rest of the day was spent indulging in activities that were not influenced by FB friends or Twit pals. I didn’t care if anyone liked anything I had posted days before, and I wasn’t anxious to see what hilarity was erupting on Instagram.

Basically, my experiment assured me that I am not a lost cause after all. I enjoy utilizing social media because I can and even though it has gradually become a big part of my life, I am not an addict. I take advantage and indulge more than I should but if I need to extract myself – I can. I wonder how many others are like me. Would you classify yourself as a social media addict?


#TGITea: Why Was Everyone Lying On “Scandal”?

October 24th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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This week on #TGITea, the Ladies discuss all the lies told to Olivia on “Scandal” and all the dysfunctional relationships on “How To Get Away With Murder”.


Why I Had To Quit Social Media

October 9th, 2014 - By Opal Stacie
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Business woman on phone in bathroom


I deactivated all of my social media accounts two days ago with a heavy heart.

I was a part of the generation that ushered social media in. I was getting my catfish on in AOL Black Voices chat rooms when I was a teen, back when Mark Zuckerberg was still in junior high school. It feels like just yesterday that I was spending hours designing and re-designing my Angelfire web page, packing it full of cute dolls and glittery quotes. Of course, you still had trolls spreading their hate and larger than life personalities in chat rooms on AOL and Blackplanet, but it was still easy to enjoy the anonymity the Internet provided. There is no doubt in my mind that social media is an addiction for some of us and it’s important to note that quitting social media can be the equivalent of an old-school smoker trying to quit cigarettes. Yes, social media is an ideal way to connect with friends and family that live outside of your immediate area, and to make friends too, but there are some major downsides to being so thoroughly connected.

Social media used to be a place where you could be exactly who you really are without feeling pressured to be anything else. If you decided to take on a new persona, there were no consequences because the people you interacted with were strangers. I can admit to being overly cynical, but it’s difficult not to get annoyed with the people on your feed whose lifestyle online is completely different from the life they lead offline. I’m not asking anybody to expose all of their struggles for the Internet to dissect, but I have a big problem with being unable to recognize the authentic parts of the people I follow on the Internet, but know in real life.

Social media has also become chock full of women exposing themselves for the attention of just about anybody so they can obtain more ‘likes’ and follows. Of course, some of these women look really good, and in some cases, I’m inspired by their pictures to work on my fitness, but I still can’t help but question the self-esteem of a woman who posts mostly naked pictures of herself on the Internet, frequently, just because.

Then there are unqualified people giving out poor love advice via Twitter, corrupting the impressionable minds of their young followers. Since we’re talking about the downside of social media, we have to mention the users that never log off and feel it necessary to burden your timeline with their nonsense and attention-seeking tweets and posts on Facebook and Instagram.

I’ve been contemplating a departure from social media for over a year now. I’ve quit and then relapsed for fear that I was missing out on something. Hey, what can I say? I find myself easily distracted by the pretty filtered pictures and subliminal messages from the people I’m connected to via social media.

But I knew my time with social media, my too many hours on the Internet, and even more mindless hours of television had to come to an end when I noticed my children were behaving like little technology junkies. My kids are too small to be involved with Facebook and Instagram, but they were being groomed to navigate other applications on our iPads and iPhones.

One evening after dinner, we were sitting in our den for all of two hours when I realized that we really hadn’t said a single word to one another. We were all comfortably perusing our own devices. My fiancé was on his iPhone playing endless rounds of pool, my 4-year-old was playing a Ninja Turtles app on his latest iPad, and my 1-year-old was swiping endlessly at my iPhone. I looked up from my Macbook and I was disheartened at the sight of us. Although we were all together, this wasn’t what I imagined our family time would be like. We could be spending the last two hours of our night playing a game with our kids, teaching them a new skill, working on an art project together or simply just talking about our day. Not to say that we don’t do these things already, I just wish we did that sort of thing as much as we spend time immersed in technology.

Without the distraction of the Internet and social media (don’t get me wrong, I still use my Internet to write), I hope to have more time to focus on my own endeavors. I hope to be free to create a life for myself and my family without the constant banter of the Internet telling me I’m doing it wrong. Without the distraction of the Internet, I’ll have time to improve myself with a good book by a person qualified to give their advice. Instead of having my kids zombied out in front of the television watching fake families live scripted lives, we’ll spend time outside of the house making real memories. Without the television and the Internet to depend on for entertainment, we will have to entertain ourselves. I’m hoping that in doing so for the next 120 days or more, we will learn to curb our appetite for a thriving virtual reality and channel that energy into actually thriving in real life.