God Has Sent You A New Message
It's not everyday that the Pope weighs in on the debate about the role of social media in the world. Pope Francis recorded a special message for World Youth Day. "In the social media, we see faces of young people appearing in any number of pictures recounting more or less real events, but we don't know how much of all this is really 'history', an experience that can be communicated and endowed with purpose and meaning" said the Pope. He also recently used his worldly, long term vision to provide us with an insight into his opinion of excessive smartphone usage. "When there's no dialogue at home, when we're at the table and instead of talking everyone is on their phone... it's the start of war, because there is no dialogue." Smart man. Pope caricature by DonkeyHotey.
Twitter suspended more than 600,000 of it's accounts in the second half of 2016 for promoting terrorism. It's not much considering the prevalence of terrorism related accounts, and the frequency with which they return, but it is a move in the right direction and something the public and government will be happy to see. The majority of the suspended accounts were rooted out using proprietary spam-fighting software, with only 2% as a result of government terms of service requests.
We're tired of writing about Snapchat clones. You're probably tired of hearing about them. So let's focus on what differentiates Apple's not-a-social-network, Clips, from the competition. Rather than being just another way to send ephemeral photos and videos, this is Apple's way of differentiating itself from the competition. Having a native messaging 'network' that also plugs into existing social media networks could be the way to push ahead of Samsung. It has some pretty useful features, notably a well-designed subtitle additive that works just be speaking the words. This could be extremely useful for marketers. The video filters look special, and will find many fans, but the in-built background music options are likely to get very annoying, very quickly. Clips' ability to recognise faces and consequently suggest who to send video to is a great way for Apple to capture user data in a below the radar manner. Okay, no more about this, let's wait and see...
A Whole Heap Of Stories
A constant problem for both brands and the general public alike is keeping up with the increasing range of social media networks. Of course, not all are relevant to every industry, but occasionally it is a good idea to be everywhere possible. Bootstrapped startup Storyheap has created a (beta) way to create content that can be automatically shared across both Instagram stories and Snapchat. They're hoping to attract key influencers like self-marketer Gary Vaynerchuck, and erm, self-marketer DJ Khaled to really put the app through it's paces. Expect expansion to other top platforms, and a whole host of rivals and copy-cats to follow suit very soon.
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. The FBI are leading an investigation into the influence that a Russian-led social media campaign may have had on the proceedings and outcome of the US general election. There are claims that Russia used an automated system to flood social networks with opinions, pro-Trump articles, and most worryingly, fake news. These floods were timed to deflect attention from negative news surrounding the Trump camp, and to exacerbate Hilary's bad days in the same manner. The fact that much of the 'information' was false is particularly troublesome. Can a small group of motivated computer whizzes influence an entire nation? Has the general population lost the power of influence to algorithm hacks? Is social media really that powerful? This is truly the (mis)information age.