Social Media Rundown: Facebook’s Data Dilemma; the Rise of Instagram Stories; A Twitter Edit Button?

FRONTLINE: The Facebook Dilemma
Watch the two-part series “The Facebook Dilemma” on PBS.

The New York Times published a rather scathing look inside the ongoing crisis at Facebook driven by privacy issues and the spread of disinformation. Although I haven’t read the full piece yet (it is quite long), it’s clear it takes particular aim at CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg for their negligence in allowing the company to get into this mess in the first place. If you find the NYT story of interesting, be sure to also watch the two-part documentary from PBS’s Frontline “The Facebook Dilemma.”

Instagram Stories have not only grown at an incredible pace (see chart below), it has also shown success in other ways, like the million-dollar business of designing people’s Stories. Some surprising news came from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey regarding a possible edit button for tweets. What might such an edit button look like? How many times could you edit a tweet? And for how long after it’s sent? That’s what the folks at Twitter need to figure out as they decide whether or not to roll out such a feature.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the Learn section for tips on building thought leadership and how to maximize your videos shared on social media.

Social Media News:

  • Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis (The New York Times). This is a long read that I’m planning to take on this weekend, but the key point is that both CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg bear direct responsibility for the company’s woes: “Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.” On Sandberg: “While Mr. Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation.” So, Facebook is not exactly showing expertise in crisis communication. If you do read the full piece, be sure to also read Facebook’s response.
  • Facebook and “The Data Dilemma” (PBS Frontline). Speaking of Facebook, this is a nice video overview of what Facebook knows about you, and how it knows it – from the use of “shadow profiles,” to the main ways Facebook tracks you on the web, even when you’re not on Facebook. This is a companion video to the much longer two-part investigation of Facebook’s privacy controversy that you should definitely watch. It’s also on YouTube.
  • Designing People’s Instagram Stories Is Now a Million-Dollar Business (Fast Company). With 11 million users, at a rate of 100,000 app downloads per day, Unfold, the Instagram story template app, is set to bring in $2.6 million in revenue for 2018.
  • Dorsey Says Twitter Is Thinking About an Edit Button to Fix Typos in Tweets (The Next Web). Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the company has to carefully consider use cases for the edit button before making it a reality – and it could potentially be tooled to help fix typos. In my opinion, this would be the biggest change in the company’s history; even bigger than increasing the character count to 280.
  • LinkedIn Expects Media Biz to Bring in $2 Billion in 2018 (Axios). LinkedIn’s increased ad revenue can be attributed to higher user engagement on the site, driven by recent changes to pages and the LinkedIn news feed.

Learn:

  • How to Use Social Media to Build Thought Leadership (Social Media Today). From sharing quality content and knowing your audience to providing original research and building a professional profile, this is a nice listicle of how to position yourself or your brand as a thought leader.
  • How to Maximize the Exposure of Your Videos: A Strategic Plan (Social Media Examiner). This blog post has a list of five ways to post, promote, and distribute videos more effectively.

Chart of the Week:

We Analyzed 15,000 Instagram Stories from 200 of the World’s Top Brands (Buffer). 400 million people around the world use Instagram Stories on a daily basis (with that number rapidly growing). Click the image for more stats and strategic insight into Instagram Stories.

Growth of the Stories Format from 2014-2018.
As Snapchat’s growth has been nearly stagnant for the past three years, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp have seen explosive growth.

What are the top social media news stories and learnings that I missed this week?

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Social Media Crisis: The Case of Klout

Klout LogoIt’s been nearly a month since Klout infamously changed its scoring algorithm to “A More Accurate, Transparent Klout Score.” I’ll admit, I was a little disheartened when my score dropped 16 points after months of hard work tweeting my Klout score up to a cool 65. Nearly a month later now and I don’t even know what my score is. I’ve been tweeting less frequently and none of my other social networks ever seemed to matter in Klout’s scoring system anyway so I would imagine my score is somewhere in the low 40s. Fine. I don’t really care anymore. However, I do want to talk about how poorly Klout handled the social media firestorm that came immediately after the change.

For the most part, the dust has settled and users have put the issue to rest. However, the day Klout made the changes, the social media world erupted. When I noticed my score dropped it was already well into the evening. I went to Twitter to see what was going on and, sure enough, it seemed like everyone was complaining about the new changes.

I then went back to klout.com and read the blog post announcing its new scoring algorithm. It seemed comical to read an article titled “A More Accurate, Transparent Klout Score” that really said nothing about the actual breakdown of the new algorithm. At this point, there were already hundreds of comments on the blog post and people were starting to blog about it themselves. So, going back to Twitter, I checked out Klout’s Twitter stream and found this:

Klout changes algorithm
In a social media crisis, it's hard to reply to everyone, but replying with the same non-personal stock answer is not the way to go.

To Klout’s credit, they were trying their best to reply to everyone’s concerns. However, replying to everyone who has negative comments on the subject with the same stock answer will make your brand come off as inhuman and lazy. In my opinion, if a brand is hit with this many negative comments on the same issue, it is best to reply with personalized responses for each case. If there is not a way to respond in a personable, positive manner, then not responding at all might be the next best thing. Managing hundreds if not thousands of negative comments on one social media platform might prove to be a difficult if not impossible task.

Soon after Klout’s scoring algorithm changed, many ‘influencers’ suggested users delete their Klout profile altogether–the most notable being Rohn Jay Miller’s article on socialmediatoday.com. This is where Klout’s bigger crisis communication issue comes in to play–Klout has disabled the option to delete your profile! This is a huge issue regarding the integrity of a company and proves Klout is not concerned so much about actually helping people to understand their social influence as it is about getting a huge IPO. Klout has really dug their own hole on this one. I suggest Klout releases a public apology and once again enable users to easily delete their account.

There have been a number of social media crisis in the past from major brands–the most well known being Nestle’s Greenpeace video censorship, Dominoes viral video of employees violating health codes and the ever-popular United Airlines Breaks Guitars YouTube video (now over 11 million views). A company making a mistake is what keeps them human. How they handle negative sentiment after making a mistake is what keeps them human.

Additional resources: