Christmas crackers! 10 great articles I read in December

december-roundup

Well here we are, the final monthly round-up of 2016!

I know plenty of you will be glad to see the back of this year – there has been an awful lot of bad stuff happen (although we have also seen some of the best art, namely music, in years) but there has been plenty of good stuff to read online if you know where to look. Below are 10 excellent articles I’ve read this month – as always, take the time to read the full things, because they’re all terrific.

1. CHRIS HUSBANDS: WHY I BOTH LOVE AND HATE TWITTER (by CHris Husbands, Social Media @ Hallam blog)

I’m a big advocate of senior officers being active users of social media, so this summary from Sheffield Hallam’s tweeting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Husbands, on why he both loves and hates Twitter is really insightful and interesting. More tweeting VCs in 2017 please!

Key quote:

And I do engage in debate – although less so than I used to. I don’t like to see ideas which are ill-informed or misdirected go unchallenged. But this is, really, a mug’s game: I’ve learnt from Twitter that any idea, no matter how sensible and evidentially grounded, will attract the snorting derision of someone – and you can be pretty rude in 140 characters (you can be very rude in about eight characters, actually).

Read the full article

2. 3 Million Brexit Tweets Reveal Leave Voters Talked About Immigration More Than Anything Else (by James Ball & Chris Applegate, Buzzfeed)

Remember Brexit? Of course you do – it’s still depressing to think that it actually happened. Social media seemingly played a massive impact throughout the election campaign and Buzzfeed has gone deep in its analysis of what different voters posted about online. This is a bit of longer read, but well worth it.

Key quote:

Twitter alone cannot explain why the referendum result happened, or what fuelled it. But combined with other evidence such as exit polls, and research from NatCen showing economically deprived, anti-immigration voters were crucial for Leave’s victory, it builds a picture of what tens of thousands of enthusiastic supporters, rather than just political figureheads, discussed in the months before and after the vote.

Read the full article

3. More Coffee, Less Insurgency (by Eric Stoller, Inside Higher Ed)

Another contribution to my monthly roundup from my favourite person from Iowa who isn’t a member of Slipknot. If you don’t follow Eric Stoller’s blogs already then you really should, and this piece imploring people to actually meet with and talk with other human beings that you work with is a real cracker.

Key quote:

Getting to know people on your campus in a wide array of departments, units, and functional areas should be a mandatory occurrence. It should be an element of performance review. At the end of the year, your many coffees, teas, and conversations should be an aspect of your professional motivation.

Read the full article

4. A Q&A with creative minds behind the University of Salford’s Tinder campaign (by Steve Evans on LinkedIn Pulse)

The University of Salford’s Tinder-style matchmaking app that was rolled out for clearing in both 2015 and this year has certainly made plenty of headlines and was an incredibly creative way to appraoch one of the most challenging times of the year for student recruiters. As always with these kind of campaigns, it’s great to know more about they came about – step forward the guys at Net Natives, who compiled a Q+A with the brains behind the brilliance. I missed this blog the first time around, but Net Natives’ CEO Steve Evans reshared it on his LinkedIn Pulse page this month and I was very glad to read it!

Key quote:

We wanted something that gave the ‘wow factor.’ The idea was thrown about with some of Salford’s graduates and the expected questions were asked, such as: ‘Is this mad?’ – but we all collectively decided that it was a great idea and one that we wanted to test.

Read the full article

5. Instagram has doubled its monthly active user base in two years (by Natt Guran, The Verge)

This article is only three paragraphs long, but I’ve included it just to make you stop and notice that headline and take on board the fact that Instagram now has 600 million monthly active users – doubling its numbers from 2014. Wowzers!

Key quote:

Of that statistic, 100 million monthly active users were added in the past six months — Instagram’s last milestone announcement was back in June of this year. Since then, Instagram introduced one of its biggest feature to date: Instagram Stories, a near-carbon copy of Snapchat. It also added the ability to delete followers from your private account and filter out abusive words this month, alongside an ephemeral live video function to users in the US.

Read the full article

6. Digital and social media predictions for 2017 (by Gary Andrews, Gary’s blog)

It’s that time of year when people start making predictions for the twelve months that are just around the corner. The social media world is no different – I’ve made my social predictions on the Net Natives blog – and all the articles I’ve read so far, this piece from Gary Andrews is by far the best – and the most interesting.

Key quote:

Brands, though, are definitely getting smarter and with a growing proliferation of influencers, expect tougher questions at the outset of the relationship, especially around measurement and ROI. To that regard, the good talent houses will start standardising their prices and being a lot clearer as to what the brand is buying. This, in turn, will filter down to the micro-influencers. In short, brands will start to get a better idea of value for money. This is probably a good thing from both sides, as the social media celebrities who are growing their reach should also have a better idea of what they’re worth.

Read the full article

7. An Epic Guide For Creating Social Media Visuals (by Joanna Lu, Hootsuite)

We can’t escape the fact that every social media channel as we head into 2017 is dominated by visual media – you need good visuals to get your content noticed. With that in mind, this self-style epic guide to creating social media visual from Hootsuite is an absolute must – bookmark it now!

Key quote:

But, you’ve likely heard before that 65 percent of people are visual learners and 90 percent of the information we absorb is visual. Think about it, social media is now an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Visuals have become a vital component in engaging our audiences.

Read the full article

8. TeamRock: A wasted opportunity (by Peter Houston, The Media Briefing)

You might have read about the rubbish situation at TeamRock already but, for those of you aren’t aware, let me bring you up to speed. TeamRock is a media company that acquired the much-loved mgaazines Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog a few years ago. They also have TeamRock radio and a strong digital presence. Or, they did, until Monday of this week when they announced they were entering administration and all 72 of their staff were wihtout a job, with no severence pay, just days before Christmas. The rock community has rallied and raised thousands to help those poor staff – you can add your own donation right here. This excellent piece by Peter Houston examines the terrible wasted opportunity that was TeamRock and reminds us all of the importance of print products, good communication with your audience and not getting distracted by shiny new things. Regardless of whether you like rock and metal or not, this is a fascinating read.

Key quote:

TeamRock set out with serious financial backing. It had globally recognised magazine brands, passionate audiences and tier-one access to the artists they loved. The group was staffed by some the best music journalists in the business and a team of talented developers. Over time, the brand developed an aggregated social media reach of over 4 million. And still, it couldn’t turn a profit.

Read the full article

9. Facebook Live Audio makes talk radio social, starting with the BBC (by Josh Constine, Tech Crunch)

If you’re a regular reader of my blogs, you’ll know I’m a big fan of audio, so the idea of Facebook Live audio is very interesting indeed. I’m still not convinced by the long-term appeal of anything ‘live’, but this move from Facebook only strengthens my belief that audio is becoming hugely powerful. I’m fascinated to see how this pans out.

Key quote:

The first publishers with access will be BBC World Service (news radio), LBC (Leading Britain’s Conversation talk radio), Harper Collins (book publisher), and authors Adam Grant (Originals, pop psychology), and Britt Bennett (fiction addressing race). Facebook writes “Early next year, we plan to make this new format more broadly available to publishers and people.”

Read the full article

10. Facebook lurking makes you miserable, says study (by Sean Coughlan, BBC News)

Here we are, another study warning us that too much social media usage is making us feel fed up and ruining our lives. However, this one is particularly interesting as it highlights the dangers of being a lurker and not actually using these social technologies to be social. This is potentially huge – why? Well, as much as 90% of any social network are lurkers. So this study is potentially relevant to the vast majority of people who use social media – ie a lot of people! I particularly liked how this study has highlighted that being active on social media and engaging with people can make for a more positive experience – from my experience, I would definitely back this.

That, and it also recommends taking a week off from social media to make you feel better – what better time of year to do that than now!

Key quote:

Researchers warn of envy and a “deterioration of mood” from spending too long looking at other people’s social media stories, induced by “unrealistic social comparisons”. If this suggests a picture of long irritable hours over a screen, depressed by the boasts and posts of others, then the researchers say that it does not need to be this way. Actively engaging in conversation and connecting with people on social media seems to be a much more positive experience, suggests the study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking.

Read the full article

Thanks so much for reading my blogs this year – have a great Christmas, a brilliant New Year and I will see you again in 2017!

**Don’t forget, I’d love you to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and connect with me on LinkedIn too.

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