It’s been a busy week in the PR/marketing/social world!

On Monday, Facebook bought Instagram for $1B. That’s billion. With a “B.”

On Tuesday, LinkedIn announced they’re rolling out some new features.

And yesterday, Google+ launched a new design that looks scarily similar to Facebook.

All three changes are exciting for marketers, but are driving fear in the hearts of most users. Is it because we truly don’t like change or is all of this really bad?

Let’s take a look at each and you can decide.

Facebook Buys Instagram

The fears from loyal Instagram users (31 million users at the time of purchase) is their privacy will be invaded because Facebook will harvest their information, their streams will be full of ads, or – worse – the company will be shuttered.

I, personally, don’t get why everyone is in an uproar about this. Facebook says they’re going to let Instagram continue running independently. We have nothing to go on, but that. The Zuck has never given anyone any reason to think he’ll go back on his word. And, unlike the CEO of Groupon, the Facebook founder seems to know what he’s doing. If he says he’s going to let it be, I believe him.

But let’s be real. Anything you put online is being harvested. If you don’t want your personal information used in Big Data, don’t use the Internet.

As for ads, I can see that happening. We all have to make money. It’s great we get to use Instagram for free so, if you don’t want ads, you’d better be ready to pony up a monthly fee to use the app. It’s ridiculous to think we can have it for free.

LinkedIn Features

LinkedIn is launching two new features, which are of particular interest to marketers: Targeted updates and follower statistics.

Targeted updates allow companies to segment their followers, just like you can do both on Facebook and Google+.

Now you can create lists by industry, job function, company size, and geography. Then you’ll be able to set updates and discussions to specific groups.

Follower statistics is an analytics dashboard that allows companies to see how effective their updates have been.

Right now, the features are available only to handful of companies, but will be rolling out to the rest of us in coming months.

I can’t see why anyone would be upset by these changes. They sound good to me. Sign me up!

Google+ Design

I like the new design, but I also think they used no internal creativity and, instead, turned to their biggest rival to create it.

It’s nice, don’t get me wrong. I like it a lot better. I’d just like to see Google do something innovative, rather than trying to catch Facebook all the time.

Other than the navigation being on the side (it’s on the top for Facebook) and there being a lot of clean, white space, it could very well be Facebook. There is a sidebar with “people you may know,” friend chatting (messaging on Facebook), trending topics, and people I might like.

I think I like it better. It’ll be interesting to see if it creates an opportunity for more engagement.

What do you think about all of these changes?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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