Blimey, we’ve now passed the halfway mark for 2016 – where has the time gone? It’ll be Christmas before we know it! Anyway, time for my monthly list of articles worth being put in front of your eyes.
June has been something of a huge month; I’ve moved house, got very muddy and wet at Download Festival, spoke at my first Discovering Futures conference, released my band’s first single and launched a record label with my pal Chris. Oh yeah, and there was that tiny matter of the EU referendum.
None of the articles I’ve picked out in this list tackle the referendum results and fallout – I don’t think I could take bringing that into my own space. Instead, This month’s list is just overwhelmingly useful (or, at least, I think it is).
Anyway, before we get into it, time for a quick guinea pig update. Both of them seem very happy with their new home and are looking forward to having a new lawn to help mow.
Right, onto the list…
You can’t move in social media circles right now for mentions of Snapchat. It’s becoming less of a ‘new’ network and more of a ‘standard’ each week, which means you’ll probably get asked about setting something up for your organisation at some point. With that in mind, this list of Snapchats from WeRSocial Media is a good one for your back pocket to help you make an informed decision about whether the ghost is for you.
“Apparently, ephemerality is very appealing. The fact that you can send a snap knowing that it will be lost in 24 hours, makes communication even more direct and authentic. Even brands now understand the new type of ephemeral marketing, creating content for just 24 hours, making users rush to check it before it disappears.”
While we’re talking Snapchat, news that it has passed Twitter in terms of daily usage also broke in June – pretty darned impressive.
That talented chap Eric Stoller is a regular in these monthly lists and not just because he’s a great guy and a friend of mine (although both are true); it’s because he writes great pieces! Here, Eric picks out five amazingly emotional and incredibly captivating University videos. Tissues at the ready!
“So much emotion. That’s what was going through my head (and heart?) when I watched the first video in this list. In fact, I was so captivated by the stories and emotional swell that I literally forgot how to write…that’s always a good sign in my book.”
I’ve barely been in the office this month, which means the emails have been stacking up (if I’m on leave I don’t do emails – it’s not healthy). So, seeing this helpful article pop up was very welcome – I especially liked the tip about ditching all bar the most recent email from a chain of the same subject line…very satisfying!
“First pass: Sort by Subject. Because often there will be an entire conversation containing several or more messages about the same subject. For multiple messages with the same subject line, delete everything but the most recent one, and then (after taking all your “passes”) read that one from the bottom up. This will likely eliminate dozens of messages in just a minute or two.”
On a similar theme, those awesome folk over at comms2point0 crowd-sourced a list of time management tips this month from their community – it’s ace. Read it and save it.
OK, this article was posted at the end of May but I only saw it in June and it gave me so much pleasure that I’ve had to include it here. It is a fabulous and scathing look at the story of the BBC’s world affairs editor John Simpson setting up a corporate consultancy to advise on crisis communications, which in itself caused a crisis. I struggle to pick out my absolute favourite bits, but his agent explaining that Mr Simpson is still ‘brand new to social media and still learning the ropes’ is definitely up there. New to social media you say? Just the person you’d want managing your reputation in a crisis then!
While a lot of this article indulges in plenty of schadenfreude, there is also plenty of great insight into what value ex-journlaists can offer a PR team. Whether you want or laugh, an intelligent argument, or a bit of both, this is well worth a look.
“Yes, absolutely ex-journalists have a role in PR teams as news nouse, media relations, writing, story telling, editorial judgment, investigation, fact checking and much more are all vital public relations skills. However, being part of the team isn’t the same as providing strategic PR leadership. Ex-journalists need to develop their professional PR skills by experience, training, academic qualifications and participating in continuous professional development. Many former journalists have become outstanding PR practitioners.”
My instagram feed finally got the algorithm treatment this week and I HATE it. I know that I need to use it a bit more first and start training the algorithm a bit more, but still, I’m not keen. As such, this piece from Alex Kirk got me nodding in agreement throughout – from being unclear to how it works, the fear of missing out factor or the fact it just looks plain weird, lots of nails are hit on the head here.
“As a user though, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that this algorithm kind of sucks. I follow over 1,000 accounts, and have never felt overwhelmed by content – today, I feel like I’m actually missing out on it. I didn’t realise it before, but the time ordered nature of Instagram was a HUGE part of my enjoyment of it, and I’m a bit sad that’s been taken away from me.”
In the spirit of balance, here’s a much happier algorithm consumer Tolgay Azman’s take on it. I disagree with pretty much the whole thing, but hey, you guys might find it interesting.
Hands up who has heard or read the phrase ‘digital transformation’ at some point over the past few years? Now, hands up who has actually seen said transformation happen. I thought as much. This cracking piece from HBR pulls apart why so many digital transformations are big on talk but small on action, and calls on leaders to do more.
“Digital transformation halts, or fails, for many reasons—but most often it’s because minor changes at the surface level do nothing to affect the fundamental operations of a company. Appointing a Chief Digital Officer, with no budget and no clear mandate, is not digital transformation. Increasing the social media marketing budget is not digital transformation. Even building an app is not digital transformation.”
As a natural introvert, I’d much rather not have to take part in creative brainstorming sessions. Like, ever. You know the sort of thing I mean – people gathered around a desk, struggling to make themselves heard over each other and just firing out any random shit because ‘there are no bad ideas’. For some people, these sessions are incredibly rewarding and supremely energising. I am not one of those types of people. I ended up in such a session last year that still brings me out in a tense, cold sweat if I think about it for too long. That’s why I really liked this article from Alive With Ideas. It reminds everyone that introverts can be just created as extroverts, they just take a different journey to get there.
“We’ve all been in that meeting where a ‘creative idea’ is required and all eyes turn to you, the communications professional. It’s a true fight or flight moment; an extrovert’s dream, an introvert’s nightmare. But does being able to come up with quick ideas and solutions make you more creative than someone who goes away and ponders all the options before coming to a conclusion? In popular culture, creative people are certainly characterised as extroverted, eccentric and spontaneous.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about introverts, this piece detailing the four types of introversion is very good.
I know I said I wasn’t going to mention anything to do with leaving Europe, but the England football team being beaten by Iceland was so funny I couldn’t resist. Not because I’m a gloating Welsh fan – ok, not ENTIRELY becuase I’m a gloating Welsh fan – but because it allowed the social media team for Iceland, the supermarket, to do some brilliant work – culminating in the bagging area pun. Excellent stuff!
“We only have 2-3% of the supermarket market, and during major championships all our competitors do go a bit mental. We thought: we’ll never outspend them, but we can out-engage them.”
If there’s one word that will define the social media landscape throughout 2016, that word is highly likely o be ‘algorithm’. Heck, it’s already featured in this list! This article by Dakota Shane Nunley is an excellent overview of who’s using an algorithm, why they’re using it and what you can do about it. It’s essential reading.
“One thing is for sure though, the algorithm is here to stay. With the algorithm, company’s monetization teams are happy, their customer success teams are happy, and the users are happy (debatable, I know). The only group who isn’t happy seems to be the content creators. Problem is, content creators are not in the position to complain here because social media companies will rebuttal with this: make better content. Any content creator knows it’s not that easy, but hey, they do have a point. Above all, great content is great content. If you have what it takes, a little savvy, and a lot of drive, you can certainly gain a following on any social media platform you choose to — with or without the algorithm.”
Arguably this month’s biggest piece of social media news came right at the end of the month, and it was to do with those pesky algorithms again.Facebook revealed that it was going to tweak its algorithm in favour of personal posts and to the detriment of publishers and brands. As always, the Buffer blog offers an excellent overview of what you need to know.
“This update is likely to affect all types of content posted by brands and publishers, including links, videos, live videos and photos. Facebook said it anticipates that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for many Pages who’s traffic comes directly through Page posts.
The update will have less of an impact, however, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it. Links or Page content shared by friends or content your friends interact with frequently will still appear higher in the feed.”
That’s your lot for this month from me – got any great articles I missed? let me know in the comments!