Super Social - The Best of Social Media

Super Social - A regular feature about the best things we spot in the world of social media. #MeToo. It's likely you've seen someone share this hashtag, and if not, someone you know probably has. Facebook said that within 24 hours 4.7 million people around the world had joined the conversation, and more than 45% of people in the US are friends with someone in the conversation. We've seen it across our timelines, being posted by friends, models, celebrities and everyone in-between. Started in the real world by @taranaburke (Twitter) over ten years ago and popularised by Alyssa Milano recently, it has encouraged millions to speak about traumatic experiences - from lewd comments to rape. Social media's power to empower and unite these people has been tremendous, giving them courage and encouraging positivity. Raising awareness of the scale of the problem is key and wouldn't be possible in such an instantaneous, worldwide nature without social media.

Disappearing Act

Facebook is testing disappearing profile statuses. In a move to draw people back into sharing their daily life on the network, Facebook has gone remarkably retro. Should this work, we can expect to see far more text posts from friends and family in our timelines, rather than brands and news taking up the valuable space. What's more valuable to Facebook, daily usage or advertising revenue? Well, you can't have adverts without an engaged audience and the personal insights they provide. We'll be interested to see whether this makes it to mainstream Facebook. We don't imagine it working well until it's simpler to split your friends into separate audiences. Sharing your daily life and thoughts is not something you want to do with everyone.

Chinese Controversy

Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, an elite Chinese university has released plans that could dramatically alter the way researchers are evaluated, should it catch on. They intend on giving a researchers' social media posts a value that gives them the potential to usurp academic papers. There is a specific criteria set out for the posts. They need to be over 1000 words, must be shared widely, seen by over 100,000 people on WeChat, or at least 40,000 times on news aggregators. The clear problem with this is the ability for the Chinese government to influence the value of publications by disseminating information through their own channels. Official media outlets are ranked 1st, regional papers and magazines 2nd, and online news 3rd. Should the weighting not be quite right, you'd undervalue traditional publications which hold far greater importance to academics. The entire scheme was penned by the University's propaganda department, which is part of the Communist Party of China, adding further controversy!

Yang Maocai

An 89 year old Chinese grandmother has become a social media sensation after a 2 week road trip with her son around north-western China. Son, Duan who is 54 felt uneasy with his mother sitting at home all day and watching TV. 'People in my mother's generation suffered a lot when they were young, so they are not as fragile as we think' said Duan. The pair explored Inner Monglia's desert and forest, the satellite centre in the Gansu's Gebi desert, and the mountainous regions of Qinghai province. She garnered over 8000 likes on one post and has been applauded by friends, family, the local media and strangers far and wide.

Anti-Social - The Bad Side Of Social Media.

Anti-social: A regular feature on the not-so-great things we spot in the world of social media. Nivea have come under massive pressure worldwide to pull an advert for a skin-lightening lotion shown in countries across Africa. Selling skin-lightening lotions is a lucrative business around the world, and comes in response to consumer demand. However, the attitude towards skin-lightening amongst many around the world is extremely negative, to the extent of brands involved being called racist. There is a strong belief that beauty companies should be encouraging people to believe in and enhance their natural beauty, rather than trying to fulfil a 'grass is greener' ideal. In the past, global companies may have been able to split their markets finely. Globalisation isn't exactly new however, and it is surprising that companies like Nivea haven't already faced a greater publish backlash. Will the change begin with the consumer or the brands?