In January: @Kquesen Social Media Advice, @FManjoo About Facebook & @Snapchat’s Data


cookies broccoli NYTimes

Happy new year to all my readers! I wish you a joyfull, fulfilling, stimulating and healthy year 2018. A propos healthy… one of my favorite January reads is a NY Times article that compares Facebook’s news feed to food (cookies or broccoli). Farhad Manjoo writes that no food is toxic in itself – and no feed is either – what counts is how much of it we consume and how relevant is it to our lives. Other articles I found worthwhile sharing are Campbell Flakemore’s testimonial about stopping his pro cycling career – food is part of it – and an article about Snapchat’s user data… and corporate culture.

Keith Quesenberry, Assistant Professor at Messiah College and author of a book about Social Media Strategy, discusses the perception of social media by marketers. “There are a few common mistakes that marketers make with social media. The first is to start with social media objectives. Marketers take a channel such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and then set goals for raising their numbers,he writes.

Guess what? My team’s social media KPIs were exactly these! “How much is that like, comment, or share actually worth to your business? Unless you connect your social media actions to broader business goals from the beginning, ROI can be elusive, and social media becomes an end unto itself.” I’ll rethink our 2018 social media KPIs…

What were the French man’s words, those that rang in Flakemore’s ears, that the tweet quotes? He writes: “The night of the opening prologue of the 2014 Tour de l’Avenir [we enjoyed] crepes with ice-cream and maple syrup. I remember a French man, who was part of the race organisation, coming to our table and looking at us. [Looking] down at us in disbelief, he said: “You’re eating that the night before the race? Ha, good luck tomorrow”.

The Australian went on to win the prologue, taking the yellow jersey on the world’s most prestigious youth race (“I hope the French man saw me standing up on the podium that day, a smile on my face and crepe in my guts“). He then turned pro but decided to quit a couple of years later. A testimonial to remind us that pleasure & fun is essential in life, more than money & status.

Mark Zuckerberg announced that as part of his effort to turn the social network into a force for good, the company would make a significant change to its News Feed. The feed [will] prioritize posts [from] friends and family, and will downgrade things like links to articles and videos,Manjoo writes.

The tech journalist questions Zuckerberg’s real intentions, saying that its is more “the kale cookie of Facebook” (greenwashing, of sorts) than a genuine effort to “effort to turn the social network into a force for good.” Of course it is! In the long term, Facebook has to keep people on its platform, because its business relies on it. Zuckerberg is just being very pragmatic.

This article lets you dive into the small cryptocurrency world, at least the one part around San Francisco. “The cryptocurrency community is centered around a tightknit group of friends — developers, libertarians, Redditors and cypherpunks — who have known each other for years [and] talk about how cryptocurrency will decentralize power and wealth, changing the world order,Nellie Bowles writes.

The goal may be decentralization, but the money is extremely concentrated,” she continues. What struck me most is the part about the “Cryptomoms” like Maria Lomeli, 56, a housekeeper from Pacifica, California: “She invested $1,000. It went up. So she put in $10,000 more, she said, along with $1,000 in a currency called Litecoin. Both her children have discouraged this.” Is this called optimism?

This NY Times Magazine article is a very interesting, big-picture article, as one of the commenters notes. First, the introduction is written in such a way that everyone can understand what we’re talking about. Then, Steven Johnson discusses the crypto craze, but more interestingly, he highlights the underlying system, which is based on decentralization like the internet and open source structures.

Imagine the banking system being or a communication platform like Facebook being “open sourced” (it hasn’t worked for Twitter). That’s what blockchain could enable. Despite being very long, the article is worth being read. Conclusion: “The beautiful thing about open protocols is that they can be steered in surprising new directions by the people who discover and champion them. […] You can’t change the system through think-pieces and F.C.C. regulations alone. You need new code.

Aside from an elite group of engineers and those in Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel’s inner circle, most employees aren’t given access to [its] newest features,Taylor Lorenz writes. An employee explains: “I find out about new products mostly through the news.” Now… of course it’s impossible to involve every employee in each feature development cycle. The headline is another indication for the slightly sensationalized angle of this article.

Yet the content is interesting, as it shows that Snapchat struggles to grow its user base and that its latest redesign didn’t deliver great results. But that happens, too. What is more interesting is the seemingly secretive & opaque corporate culture. Is it failing leadership? Whatever it is, shrouding a company that is supposed to be fun & open into mystery may not be the best way to inspire confidence.

Last, here is another long read from the NY Times. For me, it shines not only because of its content (thoroughly researched, interesting data, hard facts) but also because of the way it is illustrated. The reader is taken by the hand, discovering interactive illustration as she/he reads, and these worked perfectly on my good old entry-level Samsung phone. Icing on the cake: this piece had impact.

Also: Happy birthday Dad ❤

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