This Week’s Tech, Digital and Business News: 22 – 26 March

This week, we explore tech, digital and business news in addition to how to receive or offer help for those affected by the March 2021 NSW floods. Keep reading for our highlights of this week's news.

Top Tech, Digital & Business News from 22 – 26 March 2021

Monday, 22 March 2021

Have you been affected by the NSW floods? Here’s how to access government support

Who is eligible for the support package?

NSW residents who have experienced home damage or serious injuries from the floods can apply for a one-off payment of $1,000 for adults and $400 for children.

The package currently covers those affected in: Armidale, Bellingen, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury, Bankstown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Cumberland, Dungog Shire, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, The Hills, Hornsby, Inner West, Kempsey, Ku-ring-gai, Lake, Macquarie, Liverpool, Maitland, Mid-Coast, Nambucca, Newcastle, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Post Stephens, Sutherland, Tenterfield and Wollondilly.

How to apply for the payments:

The disaster relief payments can be claimed by calling Services Australia on 180 22 66.

Who to Call if You Are Stuck in Flood Waters

State SES Emergency Support

Phone: 132 500

When to call this number: The New South Wales State Emergency Service (SES) advises to call this number when seeking help during a flood or emergency.

If there is a life-threatening emergency, call 000.

Can you call 000 without service?

  • You may be able to call 000 without service if your landline is plugged directly into the socket.
  • If you are connected to NBN and there is a power outage, you will not be able to call 000.
  • If your service provider does not provide network coverage in your area, you can still call 000 from a mobile device (the call will be carried to another network provider with coverage in that area).

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Facebook Rolling Out Three New Monitisation Features

Facebook is rolling out three new video monetisation options, allowing pages to earn revenue through shorter videos, live streams and viewer contributions.

Pages with more than 600,000 total minutes viewed of uploaded videos within the last 60 days and more than 5 active videos will be able to utilise in-stream video ads. Videos must be 1 minute or longer to be able to place a 30-second ad.

For pages with 60,000 live minutes watched in 60 days, they may pass eligibility to monetise live streams. During live streams, pages may also be able to receive ‘stars’ from active live watchers, which is then paid to the page with real money.

Facebook has said they will be continuing to make eligibility easier for creators, expanding monetisation options for more creators, who will in turn, generate more content for advertisers.

Twitter’s Rumoured Undo Tweet Feature to be Exclusive to Paying Users

Twitter is rumoured to have a paid subscription plan in its near future, with the final features for paying users being locked in.

One of the potential features reportedly being given to paid users is the Undo Tweet button. The feature would allow users to discard a Tweet before it actually goes live on the platform. Currently, any user can delete a Tweet, but only after it’s already been published, which quick hands can always screenshot.

The platform is working on multiple new features, all at different stages of development, with profile badges, customisable elements, Super Follows and Spaces are a few of the other features currently in the works. Twitter is said to be optimising their platform to help bring more small businesses to the platform.

“Today, our ad revenue is 85% large businesses and 15% smaller businesses. Over time, we want that 85–15 mix to change and to be more focused on small businesses, but it’s going to be gradual as we have to do the work to make the case to them. That’s going to happen while large businesses continue to advertise on Twitter,” Twitter posted on 3 March 2021.

How You Can Help Those Affected By the 2021 NSW Floods

Provide support via the Flood Crisis Response Facebook Page.

Both those who are seeking and offering help in flooded areas have been posting in The Flooding in Mid North Coast New South Wales, Australia Facebook Page.

Mark yourself as safe and find loved ones through Red Cross.

You can register to let people know you are safe from the NSW March 2021 floods though Red Cross and find loved ones who have marked themselves as safe. By using websites like this before calling emergency services, it helps keep the lines open for people needing rescue or emergency services. Head to https://register.redcross.org.au/ to register.

Donate to individual GoFundMe flood fundraisers.

Searching for ‘NSW floods’ on GoFundMe will show you hundreds of people seeking funding to help them or other’s lives impacted by the March 2021 floods.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Facebook’s Update Aims to Reduce the Spread of Harmful Content

Facebook is rolling out a global update to help reduce and stop groups and individuals breaking official community standards. The update would see new restrictions and limits on reach, with the potential for breaching content to be removed.

Content under review with the update will include harmful information and hate speech, in addition to political groups from the United States.

Both private and public users will be subjected to the new guidelines, with strategies in place to make offending content hard to find. Some of the new targeting measures include demoting groups who violate community standards, warn users of these violations when requesting to join a problematic group, limiting group invite notifications and demoting group content in member’s news feeds.

Groups or individuals engaging in serious harmful activities will be removed immediately.

These updates will roll out globally over the next few months.

YouTube Testing New Automatically Generated Product Recommendations

YouTube is experimenting with product recommendations in videos. The video platform will detect items seen in videos and generate a list of similar products to buy. Users will also be able to identify the actual products in the video and browse related content on YouTube.

YouTube said the product detecting and suggesting feature aims to make it easier for users to access information about products they may be interested in.

“The goal is to help people explore more videos and information about those products on YouTube,” the platform announced.

This could be huge for advertisers, especially small businesses, who could make video content easier for business owners to upload, Founder of Brand Designer Studio LWD, Laura Weldon said.

“It will also mean that videos can be easily commercialised, which gives huge potential for small businesses as they can easily upload various videos of their products and then the viewer can buy.

This feature is still being tested in the U.S., but if all goes well we could see it roll out globally.

Google Trends Demonstrates Early Peak in Easter Searches

Australian digital marketing service Localsearch has revealed the benefit of marketing for seasonal trends early, following an increase in searches for Easter on Google.

Searches for Easter-related content on Google start to climb as early as late-December, early-January, data has shown. While grocery stores and large department stores start to carry Easter merchandise from late-December, it’s often not tapped into by small businesses until late-March, or even as late as April.

It’s recommended businesses with relevance to Easter or Easter product sales should start marketing as early into the year as possible. New campaigns on Facebook and Google need time to learn about the advertiser and their audience, so, for a seasonal campaign like Easter or Christmas, businesses will want to start the campaign at least three to four months out to be ready.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Government Offering $10,000* Sponsorships During QLD Small Business Month

Eligible small businesses will be able to receive *up to $10,000 during the Queensland Small Business Month in May as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s ‘Bounce Back Better’ Program.

The sponsorship initiative is aimed to give partners of the program the ability to connect with small businesses to provide more industry open days, disaster recovery, skill workshops and local events throughout the month of May.

In 2019, there were 270 events throughout the state, reaching more than 10,000 people, while 2020’s events were exclusively held online.
To find out more and to submit a partnership application, visit www.business.qld.gov.au/qsbm.

Facebook F8 Developer & Product Update Conference to Return in 2021 Online

Facebook has announced the return of F8, their developer and product update conference, to be live streamed worldwide on Wednesday, 2 June 2021.

The conference was cancelled in 2020 and has returned in 2021 with Facebook theming the event ‘Refresh’. While the event was created to help global developers keep up to date with platform changes, it’s often watched by Facebook advertisers to stay ahead of the curve and plan strategies for the next year.

Those interested can register for event notifications at developers.facebook.com/f8.

Global Study Finds 90% of Australians Would Prefer to Work Partially From Home

Business consultancy firm PwC has revealed three quarters of Australians would prefer a mix of working from home and the office, with 90% wanting to continue working from home in some capacity.

The study was the largest of the global workforce, looking into the preferences and habits of more than 32,500 workers, business owners, students, contract workers and unemployed people worldwide, including more than 2,000 Australians.

PwC also found 56% of Australian think few people have long-term, stable employment in the future, with nearly 32% saying they believe their job will be obsolete within five years. However, 75% of respondents said they were willing and ready to learn a new skill to stay employed.

It’s good news for businesses looking to up-skill their staff with government initiatives rolling out this year.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Good News for Music Industry with Further Government Grants on the Way

Yesterday, the Australian Government announced they will be injecting a further $125 million into its RISE Program, which provides grants to artists, tour promoters and festivals. This is following concerns for the wellbeing of the Australian music industry and its workers nearing the end of JobKeeper.

It’s estimated the Australian music industry is worth more than $15 billion, but due to the health crisis, has been crippled since March 2020. Funds will help music organisers, businesses and creators to get back on their feet and host more events.

Music industry leaders are also urging state and territory governments to confirm commitments for cross-border travel and increase capacity for live music venues.

NSW Government to Hand Out 200,000 x $100 Accommodation Vouchers

The New South Wales Government has announced up to 200,000 $100 Sydney CBD accommodation vouchers will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Sydney CBD accommodation providers will be able to register for the program soon, with those wishing to receive vouchers expected to be able to register in June.

With international travel still restricted, Sydney’s inner city is missing out on its normal 4+ million annual tourists. By supporting the accommodation, tourism, entertainment and other impacted industries, the vouchers aim to encourage inter-state travel back into the city.

More information is expected to be announced in the coming month.

Twitter Exploring New Ways for Users ‘To Express Themselves’

Twitter has been surveying users throughout March to gather input on emoji-style reactions and other ways to engage with content.

“We’re exploring additional ways for people to express themselves in conversations happening on Twitter,” said a Twitter spokesperson.

The micro-post social giant’s Chief Design Officer has Tweeted saying users can expect more reaction emojis to be coming soon.

“We’ll have something for you soon,” he simply said.

In the survey, Twitter also gauged the response to like or dislike engagement to posts, including a green or red indicator, green up arrows and red down arrows. It follows Twitter’s announcement of upcoming business profile features earlier this month, suggesting a shift in advertising focus for the platform.

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