A dozen great reads from January 2017


Here we go again, starting another round of monthly good read round-ups – despite being a month in, I’m still not used to writing 2017 but hey, at least January is done and out of sight.

As always with these lists, do take the time to click through and read the full piece – they all offer something very worthy of your attention.

Why Facebook Live Audio is just the beginning of its bid for audio domination (by Esther Kezia Harding, The Media Briefing)

Any regular readers of my posts will know how much I love audio – I’m a podcast creator and consumer and I firmly believe that a boom in brands using serialised audio for their storytelling is not far away. So, with that in mind, it’s fascinating to see Facebook making moves into audio too. You heard it here (boom, boom), audio’s big day is coming soon!

Key quote:

The potential of Facebook offering real audio support should (as with all things Facebook do) concern and excite in equal measures. For bands and musicians with a strong following, being able to demo music straight into newsfeeds would offer both tantalising potential reach and worries about revenue. Soundcloud would be finished – and Spotify’s decision to back out of talks to acquire them looks like an increasingly wise decision.

Read the full article

A lawyer rewrote Instagram’s privacy policy so kids and parents can have a meaningful talk about privacy (by Jenny Anderson, Quartz)

In a month where the Guardian has reported just how easily children in England are signing over their digital rights just to get involved with social media, this is really timely. Jenny Afia, a privacy law expert, rewrote Instagram’s terms of service in child-friendly language, so kids – heck, ALL of us – can get their heads round exactly what they’re signing up to. It’s powerful stuff.

Key quote:

The rewritten privacy policy in the report is a good starting point for parents to be able to talk to their kids about what they are signing away. Instagram created [a] parents’ guide, produced with ConnectSafely.org, a nonprofit. A spokeswoman said the company offers parents and kids plenty of help.

Read the full article

Harry Arter: Non-league player ‘ashamed’ over tweets to Bournemouth midfielder (BBC Sport)

Footballers and social media are rarely the best combination, and this case of a non-league player tweeting some quite sick statements about a Bournemouth midfielder whose baby was stillborn in 2015. The tweeting player in question is now without a club and will probably struggle to find another one soon. If ever you needed an example of thinking before you press send, this is it.

Key quote:

Seventh-tier Hitchin issued a statement saying: “In the light of the player’s irresponsible and anti-social behaviour, we are terminating Alfie Barker’s registration and relationship with the club with immediate effect.”

Speaking to BBC Sport before the statement was released, Hitchin boss Mark Burke said: “I’ve seen the tweets and I’m disgusted with them. They’re vile and I can’t condone them in any way.”

Read the full article

Shadows of the dead: social media and our changing relationships with the departed (Discover Society)

This is one of the most arresting and fascinating pieces I’ve read in some time, and has nothing to do with the fact that it’s written by a PhD student studying here at Warwick. We’re living so much of our lives online these days that it’s no surprise that social media is having an effect on how things pan out when we die. Whether it’s how people show their condolence or even accumulating digital memories of our lost loved ones – texts, voicemails, WhatsApp messages etc – and using them to help us cope, this article is a really great read. A little morbid I guess, but great nonetheless.

Key quote:

For some, digital immortality is creating “empty mantles” and isolation, whilst for many it provides solace in dark times. Social network sites ensure the dead remain part of our everyday lives because they are accessible on our everyday devises. The Internet is offering our digital society a chance to avoid a second death, thereby changing not only how we socialise with the living, but also how we socialise with the dead.

Read the full article

Why you should stop posting your content and start posting theirs (by Joe Field, Social Media @ Hallam blog)

I love the work Joe and his Hallam colleagues are doing to blog their journey through the creation of their social media strategies – if you haven’t already checked out their posts then you’re missing out on some great content. This particular post looks at user-generated content and why Hallam will be using a lot more of it on their Facebook page in the future.

Key quote:

But, as always, don’t let the cart lead the horse. User-generated content isn’t a silver bullet, and it shouldn’t be the only type of content university posts. But it’s a key part of the mix.

Read the full article

Where Weird Facebook is King: How a College Kid Does Social (by Andrew Watts, Backchannel)

This is actually a follow-up to a previously viral article from early 2015, where an actual, living, real-life young person went through the major social networks and explained what the ‘youth’ thought of them. This piece is the same thing, but updated a couple of years on and is no less useful or insightful. Why spend time guessing what young people might be up to on social media when you have a real one telling you here?

Key quote:

But for my friends and me, Facebook is still not the dominant social network many people see it as. If people meet at a party, they’re more likely to add each other on Snapchat or Instagram. That isn’t to say people don’t friend one another on Facebook anymore — they definitely do — but rather that other networks dominate the conversation. Facebook is seen as a fairly formal means of connecting.

Read the full article

Instagram Stories is stealing Snapchat’s users (by Josh Constine, TechCrunch)

It appears that Instagram’s clone of Snapchat stories isn’t the only thing they’ve stolen; users are jumping ship at a rate of knots too. This piece of research from TechCrunch breaks it down, covering the amount of users, how often people are posting and other changes Snapchat has made that has irked its userbase. Some particularly useful stuff if you’re still trying to decide whether to pick one of the channels to go all in on.

Key quote:

Snapchat lovers are exporting and syndicating their Stories to Instagram for extra reach. Those who’d only recently gotten into posting Snapchat Stories are finding it easier to watch and share on Instagram where they already spend time and have built a social graph. And people who’d never tried Snapchat but were intrigued by Stories are finding Instagram is good enough that there’s no need to sign-up for Snapchat.

Read the full article

This Team Runs Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Page (by Sarah Frier, Bloomberg)

Now, this is fascinating. An in-depth look at how Facebook founder has a team of people around him to document his life and help control his digital image – something that has noticeably shifted over the past couple of years. What’s really interesting is just how many people Zuckerberg has on hand to help him out – he has twice as many people deleting spam and harassing comments from his page than make up the entire digital marketing team where I work!

Key quote:

While plenty of chief executive officers have image managers, the scale of this team is something different. So is its conflation of Zuckerberg’s personal image with that of his company, the diaper-changing photos next to the user growth stats. “I don’t know that there are a lot of other business leaders that would find the same level of comfort sharing their personal and business stuff in the way that he does,” says Fred Cook, director of the University of Southern California Center for Public Relations, who has worked with Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs.

Read the full article

Live streaming has no impact or reach, but marketers will do it anyway (by Mark Ritson, Marketing Week)

If life is getting you down, take a few minutes to lap up what happens when the brilliant Mark Ritson takes aim at live video. Regular readers of my posts will know I’m not a fan, but I must admit I have often felt like the only person who wasn’t clamoring to shout from the rooftops about what live video might offer, so it’s nice to have an actual industry expert articulate my thoughts on it all – albeit in a swearier, louder way than I’d probably go about it. Also, I especially enjoyed the use of my place of birth to help make an already gloomy image seem even gloomier.

Key quote:

According to Salesforce.com, Facebook is managing to get about 15% of people who get to the three-second mark of a digital video to watch through to the end. And that’s usually a 30-second clip of highly polished, professionally shot stuff with celebrities and models in it. Imagine what will happen to those numbers when a bloke from customer service delivers his 20-minute soliloquy about the latest flavours of his edible crayon brand from a dimly lit warehouse in Nuneaton.

Read the full article

Instagram Hacks: 44 Tricks and Features You Probably Didn’t Know About (by Kendall Walters, Hootsuite)

I know what you’re thinking – you’ve probably read that title and thought, ‘yeah, whatever’ because these types of posts pop up all over the place and very often tell you absolutely nothing new. This piece from Hootsuite actually has some pretty cool tips that were new to me (and I was once nearly someone on Instagram don’t you know!). For example, saving posts where only you can see them to go and revisit at a later date, applying more than filter to your image, recording stories hands free or even reducing the intensity of a filter – actually, I did know how to this, but not everyone does. In short, loads of useful tips that will either be new to you or will serve as a timely reminder of something you’d forgotten.

Key quote:

It’s no secret that Instagram is a power player in the world of social, but with a whopping 600 million active monthly users and 150 million daily users on Stories alone, it’s clear that businesses can’t afford to ignore the photo-and video-sharing app. Get your business a bigger piece of the action—and make the most of your efforts—with these little-known features, tricks, and straight-up Instagram hacks.

Read the full article

How has Edurank changed? Our Analytics, Insights & Research Manager reveals all (EduRank blog)

I love using EduRank – the brilliant free benchmarking tool from Net Natives – and not just because I’ve been a guest blogger for them over the past few months. It’s a fantastic tool that offers a tonne of insight and has recently been made even better with a new look and a tonne of new features. This blog post explains the changes and should be more than enough to convince you to give EduRank a go, if you haven’t already done so.

Key quote:

In a highly competitive market it’s really important for institutions to measure their social and digital activity; a great way to identify areas for improvement. You need to see whether or not your content is resonating well with your audience – and if it’s not, then it might be time to think about the type of content you are publishing on social media. We can now show this detailed data, on each social media platform. This is going to be a massive benefit when evaluating your performance.

Read the full article

Hucknall (by Andy Kelly)

Something fun and somewhat random to finish this round up – a fascinating look into the psyche of Mick Hucknall. Yes, Mick Hucknall, him from Simply Red. It turns out the fiery red head is quite active at blocking people on Twitter who say nasty things about his band. Now, consider his band is Simply Red – who make music that is so bad even torturers would flinch and pick something else – and that means he must spend plenty of time pressing block. One such person who has felt the wrath of Hucknall is Andy Kelly, despite having not really tweeted anything unpleasant about Simply Red at all, other than quoting Alan Partridge. Andy dug deeper and found he is not alone on Mick’s naughty list.

Weirdly, I retweeted a link to this article with an accompanying few words underlining my opinions on his band, and to this day remain unblocked by the big H – it’s almost as if he’s not blocked me just to prove a point.

I doubt it though, I’m not that important. Still…I might try again next time I’m really bored.

Key quote:

I had proven, without a doubt, that either Ham Huck or someone on his team has a Twitter search for ‘Simply Red’ set up, and possibly a combination of other words like ‘shite’ and ‘pube golem’. And it seems personal insults are grounds for a blocking too, which suggests an even more complex search.

Read the full article

That’s your lot! Got a great link from January you want to share? Let me know in the comments!

Follow me on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn – it’d be great to say hi!


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