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Facebook has become one of the most influential organizations in the entire world. Founded in 2004 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the website grew from a college social networking service to a global leader in advertising, media, and so much more. Though Facebook has certainly come under scrutiny for account privacy, "fake news," and company governance, they still have upwards of 2.3 billion monthly active users.

Facebook isn't going anywhere.

According to Venture Beat, Facebook has announced numerous new updates that will improve the user experience for both personal and professional accounts.

Ahead of its annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, California, Facebook announced Project LightSpeed, which is a completely rebuilt Messenger app that will be more than two-thirds smaller than the existing program -- with the ability to launch in less than two seconds.

These new updates are great for the average user, but marketers will be able to use to interact with their employees, network, and engage with customers. Since up to 20% of the population moves each year, companies have 20% new customers to attract via local and digital advertising.

Currently, there are 40 million active businesses and 300,000 developers on Facebook's Messenger app, up from 200,000 developers a year ago. The revamped version will allow users to book appointments, collect information through lead generation chatbot templates, and provide customer service to verified customers. The ability to offer quality customer service is crucial since 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.

"We believe you can build practically any utility on top of messaging," said Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook's head of Messenger. "All of the engineering behind it is has been redone. Utilities will be more powerful, more functional and more desired if built on top of a system that’s interoperable and end-to-end encrypted."

Additionally, since video sharing is vital to Facebook's success, the new app will feature improved video services for users. In a 2017 report, 81% of marketers said they optimize social videos for mobile. The new Messenger will enable video co-watching, meaning users can select videos to watch at the same time with friends, coworkers, customers, and influencers.

"We are working to be world class for our community for the primary things that people expect in a messaging app," added Asha Sharma, director for Messenger consumer products. "We will make Messenger fast, private, interoperable, and a space for close friends and family."

The company hasn't given a specific launch date for Project LightSpeed but users can expect this new messaging program sometime in 2019.

Published in Tech

Update - 8/27/2018, 8:02pm - “The safety of our customers and associates is a top priority. We take this seriously and work closely with law enforcement whenever these claims arise, however this particular claim is unsubstantiated. If any customer feels unsafe or uncomfortable while at our store, we encourage them to contact police or an associate so they can assist as appropriate.” -- Tara Aston, Walmart spokesperson.

Original story: Earlier this morning, I woke up to a notification that my mom had tagged me in a Facebook post, as she sometimes does when something might be interesting. The post was a share from Sandy Davis (Dankmeyer), a woman in northern Wisconsin. She claimed that while visiting Wisconsin Dells on Wednesday, August 22, 2018,  she and her children were put firmly into the sights of would-be abductors or human traffickers while shopping at the Wisconsin Dells Walmart store. In her post, published at 1:12am on August 23, Davis claimed to have been "beeped at" by a white van in the parking lot, after which she was approached by a Walmart Associate who informed her that this is how abductors are signalling their accomplices. She goes on to mention being followed by "2 black guys" and discussing this situation with a member of store management. Davis' post has already garnered more than 6.6K shares as of this writing, but the thing is... her rambling account sounds eerily similar to a number of other recent Walmart abduction stories that turned out to be hoaxes. I immediately reached out to local law enforcement along with the Walmart Corporate Communications team to learn more about the situation.

Published in James' Journal

The "micro collectible" trend continues to grow of late with numerous new entries into a realm dominated by Shopkins. One of the latest entrants is Splashlings - "An Ocean Full of Friends" - a new line from Australian toymaker TPF Toys, available in the U.S. as a Toys "R" Us Exclusive. With over 100 seas-dwelling friends to collect, the folks at TPF sent one of their starter packs, along with five blind bags here to Rock Father HQ for review, and The Rock Daughters™ and I took to Facebook Live for a "Live Unboxing" (in this case, an unbagging). Now, despite the fact that our kids - and many friends and readers of this site - love the blind bags, capsules and boxes... I'm "Old Crankypants" since we tend to get so many duplicates. How did this assortment work out? Check out the video below!

Facebook has just rolled out 360 Video in their newsfeed (like THE ROCK FATHER so that I show up in your newsfeed, cool?), and publishers including STAR WARSDiscoveryGoProLeBron James & Uninterrupted, NBC's Saturday Night Live and Vice are on-board for the day one launch. In the case of STAR WARS, fans can get a 360° view of Jakku from the back of Rey's speeder - straight from STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. You're probably gonna have to watch this one a few times, as there's some additional characters, creatures, and even another speeder (one that Hasbro already released as a toy) that show up in the immersive, minute-long clip. Take a look...

Published in Movies, TV and More

PenelopeThis Friday, September 19th, is the Annual TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY, and for 2014 you can actually talk WITH a pirate. At 5:30pm PST, join my friend Melissa Northway (part of the PBS KIDS VIP Crew) and her creation, PENELOPE THE PURPLE PIRATE for a very special Facebook Party. There will be prizes (a full-on pirate's booty, you could say) and fun, all worked around the adventures of Penelope - whose book will be available on iTunes for FREE (in regular or HD), but just for one day.

Published in Books, Mags, Comics

prostheticlogoThe crew over at PROSTHETIC RECORDS hit The Rock Father with news that their 2013 Summer Sampler is now available as a FREE DOWNLOAD. This 13-track collection of new metal is available now via the Prosthetic Records Facebook Page.

Check out the artists and tracklisting below...

Published in Music for Grownups
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