Lighten Up; Wendy’s ‘Pepe’ Meme Was An Honest Mistake

A photo of a Wendy's sign.

Photo credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

On Wednesday, Wendy’s found itself in some serious trouble after posting a picture of Pepe the Frog on Twitter. It all started when a Twitter user by the name of MrRespek asked the company, “Got any memes?” Wendy’s replied with an image of Pepe the Frog dressed up as the Wendy’s mascot.

Little did Wendy’s know that Pepe was officially declared a symbol of hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL claims that because Pepe has been used in so many anti-Semitic and racist memes, the image itself represents bigotry.

I say give ‘em a break. Wendy’s wasn’t aware that it was a hate symbol and quite frankly, neither was I. It was an honest mistake. It was meant to be funny and lighthearted, not racist or offensive.

Amy Brown, Wendy’s social media manager, assured the public that the person who posted the meme was uninformed about its symbolic meaning.

“Our community manager was unaware of the recent political connotations associated with Pepe memes, and it has since been removed. Since this used to be purely an innocuous meme, he had this fan content saved from a year or two ago,” Brown stated.

The fast-food chain did the next best thing they could by deleting the meme immediately and then apologizing for it afterward. Trust me when I say that I would be the first person to lash out against a company that was being overtly racist or hateful. But that’s not the case, here.

Instead, we have a case of an honest mistake being made in a rather unforgiving realm: the Internet. People blew it way out of proportion and made it a much bigger deal than it was. The person who did this is already embarrassed enough as is, I really don’t find it necessary that we add to their humiliation.

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Happy 10th Birthday, Twitter!

Rather than be the center of discussion for global milestones, this year Twitter celebrates a milestone of its own: its tenth birthday. From a tiny IPO to a kind of leading newsroom, Twitter has seen a lot of news, a lot of changes, and a lot of headlines. Here’s a brief history of the service in honor of its anniversary as our favorite way to complain at companies and connect with one another.

Twitter is now worth more than $5 billion and climbing every day. The tweets we see today really started as a product that would turn messages into MP3s, a product which was then called Odeo. That company then became a podcasting platform, but Odeo also rose just as Apple announced that iTunes, a far more popular service, would also offer a podcasting service. Odeo’s founders began to see cracks in their foundation. So after a lot of conversation that current CEO involved Jack Dorsey, then an Odeo employee, something called “Twttr” was born. That product was honed and changed until it’s become the neat little tool we know today.

More things have happened in Twitter’s history than we can cover here, but part of why they’ve become so successful has a lot to do with how prepared they were to make an IPO, as Henry Kravis would advise. When Twitter offered its IPO in 2013, it put a lot of effort into how it moved forward: Twitter sold 70 million shares for $26 each. The IPO was generally a successful one because, compared to other IPOs like Facebook’s in 2012, Twitter’s was very small, and the IPO itself was blissfully free of technical issues. And while Twitter lost a lot of money in the months following its IPO, Twitter was ultimately able to meet investor expectations—and that’s always a good thing.

Twitter has become a key component of the social fabric not just of the United States but of the world. It’s what we use to connect to each other in times of joy and in sorrow: people were providing live updates about the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon, making that experience collective rather than localized. People have united in feminist hashtags like #YesAllWomen and shared amusing insights about media and art. The beauty of what Twitter has really done is that it’s opened up conversation all around the world, between every person.

Happy birthday, Twitter, and #thanksforthememories.

Twitter Says Goodbye to Five Executives

executives

Twitter has some serious turn-over coming up as five of their top executives are leaving the company. Product head Kevin Weil, media head Katie Jacobs Stanton, senior vice president of engineering Alex Roetter, vice president of human resources Brian Schipper, and Vine head Jason Toff are heading out, and Twitter will be covering their positions while they search for replacements. Rumor has is that vice president of business development Jana Messerschmidt might also be leaving in the near future.

Apparently, they will be appointing two new board members, one of whom is a “big media name,” while also bringing in a new hire who is a well-known executive and CMO. They don’t have replacements lined up for everybody though. Weil and Roetter, who have not been fired, apparently left as part of a decision by the company, while Toff is heading to Google to work on virtual reality.

All of this comes at a time when Twitter is struggling to keep their share prices up. After naming founder Jack Dorsey as CEO, those shares dropped to their lowest point. They then rebounded after a rumor dropped about a tie-in with News Corp that turns out to have been false. As the company fights to increase user growth though, their stock has been under pressure. Twitter growth seems to have hit a significant slowdown, as by this time, the people not using it seem to largely be set in that decision, leaving them waiting for ne users to age into the service, or for new markets to open up. The Internet being what it is though, unavailable markets tend to be in nations without significant access, or which are denied that access by their government.

The dropping value of Twitter stocks have begun to fuel speculation that they could become an acquisition target.

Tweets May Be Getting Longer as Twitter Seeks to Broaden Appeal

Since Twitter first launched, its 140 character limit has been a central feature of the service. This has been met with various opinions by different people, with more successful users embracing the limit and finding new ways to express themselves within that limit.

But now, Twitter seems to be moving in a new direction, and is considering expanding that limit. In June, they introduced two new features, namely a “retweet with comment” option that allows people to include their own thoughts on something they share to their feed, and by removing character limits from private messages. These features gave users a little more room to get their message out, but it seems like a few more options are up for consideration.

One is simply increasing the character limit beyond 140, which would allow for longer tweets by anyone. There are tricks to get around this, namely tweeting an image of text, but that’s clunky and requires the creation of an image in the first place. The other idea is to not have links or twitter handles count against the character limit, which would make direct interactions between users easier as you wouldn’t have to spend half your tweet on the other person’s name.

Interim CEO Jack Dorsey wants to see Twitter appealing to a broader, more mainstream audience. Exactly what that means remains to be seen though, as Twitter already has a pretty broad appeal. There is also the question of whether or not more character space will really make all that much of a difference. Twitter is predicated on giving you lots of bite-sized posts, which is what makes it stand out against Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media systems. Expanding character space too much could risk diluting the brand, as people will have to slog through huge tweets on their feed.

Twitter and Customer-to-Business Communication

Customer Service Professional

Twitter is a creature of many faces: humor, news, social commentary, and a booming base of customer service. The quick-and-easy direct communication the site offers means that users can take their gripes and complaints about a business right to its doorstep, and often in full view of the public. Currently, roughly 80% of interactions between consumers and businesses occur on Twitter, and for good reason: businesses are far likelier to respond to a complaint on social sites, especially Twitter, than they are by any other platform.

Chris Moody, Vice President of Data Strategy at Twitter, believes that Twitter is the way of the future for customer-to-business communication. He says the unique media site could become the primary way for businesses to work with customer service, adding that Twitter is “less expensive for businesses, and it has a greater impact.”

Recently, Facebook created Messenger Platform, an app that allows Facebook users to contact businesses directly instead of emailing or calling. Facebook has taken on third-party partners for the creation of this messenger service, including Zulily, and the messenger will allow people to modify, track, or return orders, as well as engage in standard customer service interactions. The new Messenger app offers a lot of other customer-based possibilities, including text updates, push notifications, and private company messaging.

It’s a smart idea for businesses to be more engaged on social media. More engagement means more real interaction with their customer bases, more brand mentions, and more visibility and promotion overall. As social creatures, people will talk about a business if it is bad—and if it is good, and some of the best exposure a company can receive is positive feedback via word of mouth. Customers like immediate responses and knowing that their problems and complaints are going to be resolved and addressed quickly, and smart social media usage is a great way to keep clients happy and companies current.

Twitter to Add a “Mute” Feature

Twitter Mute ButtonTwitter just announced it will be adding a mute feature for users to the website and app for iOS and Android. Unlike Facebook, Twitter didn’t allow users to follow someone but opt out of updates. Facebook allows users to unsubscribe from certain friends, meaning you will still be friends and you can see their profile – but their updates won’t be in your news feed.

This feature was first hinted at in May when some users starting seeing the feature pop up on their mobile Twitter apps.

“The muted user will still be able to fave, reply to, and retweet your Tweets; you just won’t see any of that activity in your timeline,” said Twitter product manager Paul Rosania in a blog post on the company’s website on Monday. The muted user will not know that you’ve muted them, and of course you can unmute at any time.”

This feature will be especially nice for people you feel obligated to follow like co-workes or family, or users who tweet way too often.

The concept of muting on Twitter isn’t totally new. TweetDeck, which is a third-party Twitter client Tweetbot offer ways to mute accounts as well.

According to Rosania, the feature will be rolled out over the course of the next few weeks. Instructions for how to get the mute feature working when it becomes available on your feed are on the newly updated Twitter support page.

What do you think of this new mute feature – will you be using it a lot?

Report Finds That 44% of Twitter Users Don’t Tweet

Twitter

Twitter may have a lot of registered users, but that doesn’t mean a lot of those users actually like to tweet.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a site that monitors website activity found that 44% of Twitter’s 974 million registered users have never tweeted. About 40% of Twitter accounts have sent 10 tweets or less. Twopcharts is not able to see how many users have logged in however, it is just based on their activity.

While these are valuable numbers, they don’t mean a whole lot. A lot of Twitter users create accounts to just read tweets, but don’t actually like to tweet themselves.

The report was released on Friday, and comes after Twitter reported in February that it had 244 million active monthly users in the last three months of 2013. This means that about 730 million people have created accounts on the site, but are not active on a monthly basis.

Twopcharts has previously reported that of the 284.4 million new accounts in 2013, only 12.9% were still tweeting in February 2014.

Twitter has learned that their interface can be confusing to navigate for some, so they have been slowly rolling out a new layout which looks a lot more like Facebook and includes pop-up notifications.

On Monday, Twitter opened at just over $40 a share, but the stock grew when the co-founders said they had no plans to sell shares when the post-IPO lock-up expires on May 5.

8 Tech Internships That Probably Pay More Than Your Job

Internships

IMG: via Shutterstock

Internships are very valuable to have in college. If I hadn’t had at least one, I’m not sure I would have been able to land a job so soon! Today, just having a college degree isn’t going to get you far; you need experience too. Of course this is not always true, but having that bit of experience helps you get a foot in the door and be ahead of the rest of your classmates who spent their free time drinking and binging on Netflix.

If you are working in the technology world, here are the top 5 internships that pay as much as a good paying job.

1) Palantir Technologies – $7,012

This computer software company is the highest paying technology internship out there. If you do the math, that is about a $84,000 salary, that’s more than a lot people years into their profession make.

“Work is motivated by a real mission. Very few people are there just for money,” an anonymous Palantir support engineer intern in Palo Alto, Calif., said.

2) VMWare – $6,966

VMWare is a cloud and virtualization software company second on the list. Their highest paying internship monthly rate is $6,966.

“Compensation is up to the mark and [the] company takes care of good bonuses and other perks,” a VMWare graduate intern in Palo Alto said.

3) Twitter – $6,791

Twitter is of course known as one of the biggest and popular social media companies out there. On average, interns make about $6,791 per month.

“You will ship code used in production, you can have a say in virtually all company decisions, you will be generously compensated [and] you will learn a ton,” a Twitter software engineering intern in New York said.

4) LinkedIn – $6,230

LinkedIn is the largest professional network out there. The average intern makes about $6,230 per month. An anonymous intern said it also offered “excellent benefits.”

5) Facebook – $6,213

Facebook likes to young and innovate people, and rewards them for it as well. Interns can make up to $6,213 per month.

“The benefits and pay are obviously great, and since it’s a well-known company it’s a good place to start if you’re looking to get recognized at other tech companies and startups,” a Facebook software engineering intern in Palo Alto said.

Study Finds that 1/3 of Women in the U.S. Use Pinterest

PinterestPinterest just keeps getting more popular in the United States. According to a survey of U.S. social networking habits from Pew Research, the website is now used by 21% of American adults, up from 15% last year. Those numbers put Pinterest slightly above Twitter and Instagram, but all three are still way behind Facebook in users.

The study shows that Pinterest has had strong growth among women in particular. One-third of U.S. women use Pinterest, which is up from 25% in a similar study in February. Currently 8% of men use the site, which is up from 5% previously.

The Pew statistics are based on surveys of 1,445 Internet users in the U.S., a relatively small sample size, though one that a Pew rep says is “quite sufficient” to be representative of trends in the country.

Social Media Usage Statistics

IMG: via Mashable

While Pinterest may be growing in the U.S., that doesn’t mean that people are leaving or spending less time on other social media platforms. Pew found that 42% of online adults in the U.S. use two or more social networks and almost one-fifth use three or more social networks.

“People are diversifying their portfolios when it comes to [social networks],” Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at Pew, told Mashable. “The addition of a Pinterest user is not necessarily taking away a Twitter user or a LinkedIn user.”

Unlike the other four social networks included in the survey, Pinterest is not public, which means it has not disclosed detailed user numbers. It has been reported that Pinterest is valued at almost $4 billion.

What do you think about Pinterest’s growth – do you use it?

Twitter Goes Public

Twitter Goes Public

1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

Twitter officially has gone public, and did very well on it’s first day of public training. The company raised billions for stocks, and social-networking stocks. The company and its underwriters, led by Goldman Sachs, whose CEO is Lloyd Blankfein, priced the shares at $26. This gives the company a value of $18.1 billion, including stock that the company will most likely give to employees.

According to The Huffington Post, trading was delayed for over an hour after the actor Patrick Stewart rang the NYSE opening bell at 9:30am while market specialists sorted out buy and sell orders for the stock.

This is good news for the company, who had over $300 million in losses in the last three years – they aren’t expected to show real profits till 2015. “One day Twitter will make money,” said Anup Srivastava, an assistant professor of accounting at Northwestern University. “But it’s not clear why anyone should pay this much for it today.”

Investors see the company becoming very profitable in the next couple of years, due to advertisers paying to reach customers. “The possibilities and opportunities afforded by the platform are limitless,” Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive, said in a company presentation to promote the offering.

A similar social networking site, Facebook, found ways to increase their advertising revenue but a lot. Many investors expect that Twitter will do the same.

“Consider a company that correctly claims it has a hundred million users, and that the rate of user growth is expected to continue to grow at double-digit rates,” said Mary Jo White, the chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “What if the bulk of the growth in the number of users is in an area where the company has not yet figured out how to turn those users into paying customers?”

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