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Facebook's focus on 'private content' pays off, holds lessons for CIOs

In Searchlight: Facebook earnings put the spotlight on 'private content,' Obama plays soccer with a robot and Apple ponders environmental sensors.

First quarter Facebook earnings are out and the social giant has -- once again – dazzled. The company reported $2.5 billion in revenue in the first quarter, up 72% from the same time a year ago.  As stellar: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg made good on his promise to meet customers on mobile ground.  Of the $2.27 billion in advertising revenue, mobile accounted for 59% of sales – nearly twice the 30% in mobile ad sales a year ago. According to the social networking site, 1.28 billion people use the service monthly, 63% of which use it on a daily basis. What's more eye-opening is the 34% year-over-year increase in users on mobile devices.

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How can CIOs take Facebook's success and turn it into enterprise business gains? Consider the social giant's recent moves in the mobile realm. If you're a Facebook-user, you may have noticed the chat functionality has been removed from the main iOS app, forcing users to download a separate "Messenger" app in order to converse with Facebook friends. This move is part of Facebook's effort to grab a bigger share of its users' personal conversations -- something Mark Zuckerberg calls "private content."

ATTENTION CIOs: There are certain ways your users prefer to engage and your IT organization would be dumb to ignore the cold, hard trends. Facebook's move to better enable users' private content creation -- i.e., Messenger app, Instagram direct share and WhatsApp acquisition -- is a direct response to users' predilection for sharing different content with different people.

At the Chief Digital Officer Summit in New York this week, panelists on stage during "Content and Storytelling: Is the PR Landscape Shifting?" urged the audience to first figure out how their customers like to talk to the company and use their interactions with products and their feedback as a new public relations tool.

Content is king, whether public or private. Facebook gets it, does your IT organization?

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  • Heartbleed isn't over yet, judging from the actions of some of the biggest names in tech.  Facebook, Google, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and other tech titans have banded together to prevent comparable security breaches by each ponying up $100,000 per year to the Core Infrastructure Initiative -- for the next three years.
  • Smartphones seem to do it all, but for those with a need to accurately detect humidity, atmospheric pressure, temperature and sound, Apple has good news. Could environmental sensors make their way onto the next iteration of the iPhone?
  • While on a state visit to Japan, President Obama met with Honda's humanoid robot, Asimo, for a friendly soccer match. Also on his trip, Obama consumed beautifully handcrafted sushi at Sukiyabashi Jiro. Note: This is completely unrelated to technology; we're just over here dreaming of Jiro Ono's sushi.
  • Retailers who think they have the whole online and mobile customer experience figured out, might want to take a look at this HBR blog by Google marketing guru Jason Spero. Personal service has never been so complicated.
  • Have four minutes and eight seconds to spare? Listen to the NPR version of the cloud computing price wars. Here's hoping the race to rock bottom prices doesn't end soon.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Emily McLaughlin, associate site editor.

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How is your organization turning user preferences into business gains?