Social Media Rundown: Facebook Data Privacy Saga; Giuliani Gets Pranked on Twitter; YouTube’s Story Feature Expands

As Trump’s cybersecurity adviser, you’d think he’d have some grasp of how the internet works.

The latest chapter in the Facebook data privacy saga reveals even more questionable business practices and leadership at the social media giant. I doubt anyone is surprised at this point, but I do find it fascinating how Facebook and its leaders keep digging themselves into an ever-deepening hole. Facebook continues to dominate the social media news cycle while companies like Snap and YouTube keep rolling out new features to try and stay relevant. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani seems to have no idea how the internet works, which is curious seeing as how he is Trump’s cybersecurity adviser.

In this week’s learn section, you can learn about the differences between Google Ads and Facebook Ads and also learn how to boost your Facebook ad relevancy score.

Social Media News:

  • Facebook Used People’s Data to Favor Certain Partners and Punish Rivals, Documents Show (The New York Times). The Facebook data privacy saga continues on. In this chapter, unredacted documents show Facebook used data it collected on users to favor certain partners and punish rivals. The documents further illustrate how Facebook executives treated data as the company’s most valuable resource. Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg “were intimately involved in decisions aimed at benefiting the social network above all else and keeping users as engaged as possible on the site, according to emails that were part of the document trove.” You can go deeper with this story with the Axios AM newsletter.
  • Rudy Giuliani Is Trump’s Cybersecurity Adviser. He Might Want a Refresher (The Washington Post). Always remember to double check your tweets for possible typos, or in the case of Giuliani, to make sure you’ve added spaces between all your sentences. When text is butted up against a period without a space, Twitter assumes it’s a link and well, hyperlinks it. Click through to see his tweets. Direct quote from Giuliani: “Twitter allowed someone to invade my text with a disgusting anti-President message.” He clearly doesn’t understand how the internet works.
  • YouTube Is Rolling out Its Instagram-Like Stories Feature to More Creators (The Verge). YouTube Stories last for seven days on the mobile app, appearing for both subscribers and non-subscribers, and they’ll show up in YouTube’s “Up Next” sidebar beside a video. “The focus for YouTube Stories, which was first announced in November 2017, seems to be on community engagement and channel promotion more than day-to-day life updates.”

Learn:

  • Demystifying Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads (Angelic Digital via Medium). It’s basically a difference between paid social and paid search, but this short blog post gives a nice breakdown of the key differences.
  • 6 Ways to Achieve High Relevance Scores in Facebook Ads (Socialnomics). Higher ad relevance scores will lead to lower costs and better ad visibility leading. This article breaks down what the Facebook ad relevance score is, how it’s calculated, and ways to achieve a higher score.

Chart of the Week:

Social Platforms: Active Global Accounts (From Hootsuite’s Social MediaTrends Report 2019).

Social Platforms: Active Global Accounts
Facebook continues to dominate in the global monthly active user category.
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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?

Social Media Rundown: Pivot to Video? Not So Fast; Facebook Hack; Russian Trolls Influence Brexit

Facebook thumbs up.
Even as Facebook executives were insisting that video consumption was skyrocketing, it was becoming clear that some of the metrics the company had used to calculate time spent on videos were wrong.

Not a lot happening in the world of social media this week; just the usual: shady Facebook news, data breaches, and more revelations on Russia’s influence on the Brexit referendum. For the learning section, I’ve stumbled upon two articles about using video to engage with your online audiences — check it out!

Social Media News:

  • Did Facebook’s Faulty Data Push News Publishers to Make Terrible Decisions on Video? (NiemanLab). Publishers’ “pivot to video” was driven largely by a belief that if Facebook was seeing users, in massive numbers, shift to video from text, the trend must be real. Perhaps we’re not actually in the midst of a video revolution.
  • Facebook’s Latest Hack Was by Spammers Who Just Wanted Money (Mashable). Facebook’s latest hack had the information of 29 million users scraped, but apparently by scammers wanting financial gain, rather than for political or ideological purposes.
  • Russian Trolls Sent Thousands of Pro-Leave Messages on Day of Brexit Referendum, Twitter Data Reveals (The Telegraph). The day of the Brexit vote, Russia mobilized an army of trolls, which at one stage included 3,800 accounts. The fake accounts Tweeted out 1,102 posts with the hashtag #ReasonsToLeaveEU. Now, how will Twitter prevent this from happening again?

Learn:

  • Twitter Has Renewed Its Live Video Push & Here’s What You Need to Know (TopRank Marketing). Once the dominate player in live video, Twitter fell to the likes of Facebook, YouTube, and even LinkedIn. This blog post has a few things to consider before jumping into live Twitter video.
  • 4 Ways to Use LinkedIn Video for Your Business (Social Media Examiner). Speaking of video, this article has some solid ideas on how you can use native LinkedIn video to engage with your audience.

Social Media Rundown: Teens Flee Facebook; Twitter Bans Teens; Use Instagram Stories Like a Teen

Not a whole lot of major social media news this week, but it’s definitely worth pointing out the recent Pew Research survey that shows just how quickly teens are fleeing Facebook for other social media platforms. I wonder, as these teens get older will they start using Facebook more frequently?

YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are the most popular online platforms among teens.
Facebook is losing the teen audience at a quicker than thought pace.

Also, Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel defends his platform and Twitter has started completely banning some of its youngest users.

This week’s learn section has some cool tips on using GIFs in Instagram Stories and how to be a real social media marketer using the power of Google Analytics. Read on to learn with me.

Social Media News:

  • Teens are Breaking Up with Facebook Faster Than We Thought, Says Study (Mashable). YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are now more popular among younger users than Facebook.
  • Snap Is No Facebook, and Spiegel Insists He Wants It That Way (Wired). Facebook’s Instagram is projected to surpass one billion users this year, while Snapchat has 191 million daily users. Its stock price is half what it was in February, when it redesigned the app. Further, Facebook seems to just wait for new Snapchat features to roll out and then copy them.
  • Why Twitter Started Banning Some of Its Youngest Users (Gizmodo). The minimum age to use Twitter is 13, though it doesn’t require users enter a birth date when signing up. If a user later enters a birthday indicating they were under 13 when they began tweeting, it presents a problem.

Learn:

  • 7 Creative Ways to Use GIFs on Instagram Stories (Later). Read this one if you’re on Instagram and want to use Stories like a pro (and impress all your teenage followers). In all seriousness, I’m on Instagram everyday (both personally and professionally) and I learned a few things from this helpful article. Did you know you can pin GIFs to appear at a certain point in a video? Or that you can actually create your own branded GIFs?
  • How to Use Google Analytics for Social Media: A Beginner’s Guide (Sprout Social). This article gets into the nitty gritty of how to use Google Analytics to create, optimize, and improve your social media marketing strategies.

Lastly, a little GDPR humor:

Tweet about GDPR.
A nice jab at all the companies sending emails regarding their updated privacy policies in light of GDPR.

The Social Media Rundown: Southwest for the PR Win, Zuck Confesses

Southwest Airlines has made a big splash through stellar customer service once again. Recently, when a customer paid for Wi-Fi only to find out she couldn’t get her game to stream, Southwest made it up to her in a big way. Instead of the typical “Sorry to hear you’re frustrated. Please DM us with details,” tweet coming from most any other airline, a guy named Mike at Southwest live-tweeted the second half of the Xavier vs. Florida State tourney game. Now perhaps Mike was just trying to work in some March Madness viewing into his work day, but either way, this landed Southwest some fantastic PR.

Southwest Airlines recently live-tweeted an NCAA Men's Tournament game.

Social Media News:

  • Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘open’ to testifying to Congress, fixes will cost ‘many millions’ and he ‘feels really bad’ (Recode). Zuckerberg admits Facebook may have made mistakes in opening up its network so much a decade ago. Also, here’s a nice summary of the whole Cambridge Analytica debacle.
  • The Atlantic’s new family section is built for the post-news feed era (Digiday). Another publisher creates a Facebook group. This is an indication of The Atlantic’s recent push to connect directly with readers as it looks to grow revenue by boosting subscriptions.
  • Another Social Network is Here. What Exactly Is It? (Marketing & Growth Hacking). I don’t normally share news of a new social networking site or app on the market as they’re usually unable to compete with Facebook. But this one is interesting because it’s entirely audio-based. Can you imagine people walking around sending voice memos to their public profiles all day? I can’t, but this aligns with the recent boom in podcasts. People would rather listen then read.
  • Instagram will show more recent posts due to algorithm backlash (TechCrunch). This should be a welcome change to anyone using the platform.

Learn:

  • Twitter Timeline Algorithm Explained. This post not only has a thorough breakdown of the Twitter algorithm, it’s also full of solid tips for increasing your reach. From using hashtags strategically to how to promote tweets, this post has it all.
  • 5 Instagram Pro Tips You Probably Didn’t Know About. I use Instagram everyday, and almost all of these tips were new to me. You can hide Stories from people, delete sent direct messages, and add gradient text coloring in Stories. The one I knew about is probably the most important: You can turn on post notifications from people and business accounts.

What’s the big news to you this week? What have you learned?

Introducing: The Weekly Social Media Rundown

It’s been a long, unnecessary hiatus from writing in my blog. And well, I guess I got tired of seeing Puppymonkeybaby as my most recent blog post. So here I present you with a few social media news items worthy of your precious time.

I share the following as part of a weekly social media newsletter I send out internally at NEJM Group, as part of my role as Content Engagement Manager. My goal with the newsletter is to share a few of the most important news items of the past week (the ‘Social Media News’ section) and to also provide a few educational items (the ‘Learn’ section) so we can all be better social media marketers. If you have thoughts on the listed items or if you know of some big news I may have missed, please let me know in the comments.

Read the full blog post on Buffer.
A practical quote from the Buffer App blog post, “The New Facebook Algorithm: Secrets Behind How It Works and What You Can Do To Succeed.”

Social Media News:

  • Twitter Is Experimenting With A Way To Show You Even More Breaking News Tweets (Buzzfeed News). A new, algorithmically curated timeline of news tweets may soon be shown at the top of your feed.
  • Snapchat Launches ‘True Crime/Uncovered’ Series From Condé Nast Entertainment (Variety). As much as I love Snapchat, I have my doubts that a five-minute long TV show in a vertical, mobile-only presentation will be successful. But then again, Snapchat’s numbers continue to surprise me. For example, NBC News’ “Stay Tuned” is apparently getting 33 million viewers per month.
  • After Facebook news-feed changes, publishers look hopefully to Pinterest (Digiday). The online scrapbooking platform represented nearly 8 percent of publishers’ social traffic in the second half of 2017, up from 4.5 percent in the first half of 2016.

Learn:

  • The New Facebook Algorithm: Secrets Behind How It Works and What You Can Do To Succeed (Buffer App). This blog post breaks down the recent news feed changes as explained in a recent webinar hosted by Facebook. The news feed algorithm is broken down into four main components: inventory, signals, predictions, and overall score.
  • How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Better Visibility (Social Media Examiner). If you need to spruce up your personal LinkedIn profile, this is a great rundown of everything you need to know to make it happen.

Is Peach the next big social networking app? Or is it already seeing a slow, painful death?

 

peach-app
“Peach is a refreshingly fun and simple way to keep up with friends and be yourself.” -Apple Store description.

 

Peach, the private social networking app loaded with innovative features, but lacking in usability and a large user base, may already be a thing of the past, according to recent headlines.

Peach officially launched eight days ago.

You read that right. Peach launched a mere eight days ago and its potential is already in question. Is the online world really that consumed (and satisfied) with only a handful of social networking mainstays (namely Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) that an innovative, exciting new app can’t penetrate the market? Sadly, it’s getting increasingly difficult for a new social networking service to compete with the big guys. Peach has my attention, and the potential contend with the heavy hitters, but can it rise to the challenge?

It’s been awhile since a new social networking site or app has really caught my eye. Draw Something was more of a mobile game than a social networking app, but it definitely roped me in due to its incredibly addictive attributes.

Path, the social networking app that set a limit of only 50 friends you could connect with, came and went before I even had a chance to write about it.

Pinterest definitely won me over, even triggering a blog post about the visual bookmarking tool being a ‘game changer.’

Ello was apparently all the rave for a few short months about a year ago. I was an early adopter of Ello, but never really saw its benefits. With nothing particularly innovative or unique about it, I stopped using Ello just about as soon as I signed up. It’s still in service, but is anyone talking about it? Have you Ello’d lately?

I never wrote about Snapchat, but we all know the success the disappearing messaging app has seen. Snapchat is so popular that it’s now entering its “mom moment” of social networking sites—when an app or service becomes so popular that even your mom starts using it.

Maybe I’m not too good at this whole trend-spotting thing. Of the services mentioned above, Pinterest is the only social networking site that has had real lasting power. Pinterest is growing, and I still find myself browsing through hundreds of pins nearly every day.

Starting a new online social networking service is a difficult task. Just barely into its second week of operation, Peach is already seeing a flood of naysayers. A recent blog post on Social Media Today suggests Peach won’t stick, but that existing social networking power houses should adopt some of its features. A Mashable article suggests the ‘week-old social network named Peach may already be over,’ and that Facebook should buy it up.

One thing most who have used Peach love is how innovative it is. Its ‘magic words’ feature allows you to type in certain words or phrases that prompts a special action to include in your post. It’s a fun addition and one that most people would love to see integrated with Facebook and Twitter. Magic words include typing things such as “gif” to search for an animated gif within the app to easily and seamlessly include in your post. Typing “draw” gives you the ability to make a quick sketch to include with your post. Typing “weather” brings up current conditions, “here” adds your location, “goodmorning” prompts the time of day along with a couple emojis, and so on.

Peach is getting a ton of coverage for such a young start up, but unless it finds a way to dramatically grow its user base and greatly improve its ease of use, it’ll end up as a mere footnote in social media history (or a social media ghost town of sorts). Lastly, Peach must continue to innovate. It’s what helped Peach make a splash in the first place and it will need to keep giving users more in order to stay alive and relevant.

What are your thoughts? Will Peach last? Are you on Peach? Add me! Peach username: @eric_wheeler

Further reading:

Eric Wheeler is a social media specialist based in Massachusetts. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and his Master of Science degree in Mass Communications from St. Cloud State University. He is currently taking Northwestern University’s Social Marketing Specialization MOOC offered by Coursera. Follow Eric on Twitter and Instagram.

#Infographic: Are you Suffering from Facebook Fatigue? Need a Break?

Image of an infographic about fatigue from Facebook.
Do you need a break from Facebook?

If you’re like most people, a Facebook vacation may be in your future…

Facebook now has more than 1 billion users. That’s a lot. And most of us are aware the social networking site is the largest in the world. Facebook has seemingly proliferated nearly every crevice of the ‘interwebs.’ Websites are using Facebook widgets in place of the ‘traditional’ comment section, the Facebook share button sits next to nearly every blog post and most people check their Facebook news feed several times a day.

For many of us, Facebook is such a huge part of our lives that it can be hard to get away from the daily dose of friend updates, brand pages marketing their products and news about the site itself. I get made fun of for my constant social media consumption–I’m always on the hunt for articles spanning a wide array of topics just so I can share it across my networks. All this Facebook usage and consumption of updates from our online social networks can be rather taxing. Even I take a break from time-to-time. According to the infographic from onlinecollegecourses.com below, I’m not alone–61 percent of current Facebook users have taken a break from Facebook for one week or longer.

The infographic states several reasons why people feel the need to take a brief hiatus from Facebook. For me, it’s just nice to ‘unplug’ for a day or two just to clear my mind a bit. Take a look at the infographic below and let me know if you’ve taken a break from Facebook or if you plan to soon.

Facebook Fatigue Infographic

My Top 5 Super Bowl Ads of 2013

It’s time for a breakdown of my top five spots from advertising’s biggest day. This was certainly a good year for Super Bowl advertising and an even bigger year for social media during the big game. Last year I ended up picking five funny spots and this year I have a more balanced list (as balanced as a top five list can get). Brands mostly went for heart-warming over hysterical this year and many of the comedic spots were really not that funny in my opinion or they were produced a little too over-the-top.

Social media played a role in this year’s brand bowl more so than ever before. If you’re a marketer reading this, I’m sure you’re well aware of the brilliant and timely posts delivered by the Oreo social media team. When the lights went out at the Superdome, Oreo pushed out the below image on Facebook and Twitter in a matter of minutes:

This was an image with real staying power. It picked up another thousand plus retweets the day after the big game, the Facebook post got over 20,000 ‘likes’ and close to 7,000 shares and the quick and witty post picked up tons of free press. Oreo is certainly on top of its game and made sure its ‘Cream Or Cookie’ Super Bowl spot was fully supported with social media build up and timely posts sent out before, during and even after the game. Social media activity like this can only be achieved with a command center and all hands on deck. The social media activity during the Super Bowl this year was certainly impressive, but it’s time to break down my favorite ads.

#5. Samsung Mobile USA – The Next Big Thing

I’m not usually one to fall for celebrity endorsements, but these two are hilarious. Not sure how much the ad will help in its epic battle for marketshare over Apple, but it can’t hurt.

#4. Viva Young – Taco Bell Game Day Commercial

This commercial is great. I can only wish I will be this cool when I’m sitting around in a retirement home a few decades from now. Only thing bad about it is now I have that Fun. song stuck in my head, which I spent most of 2012 trying to get rid of. At least it was in Spanish.

#3. OREO – Whisper Fight

A whisper fight in a library? Brilliant. Though I’m a little surprised it hadn’t been done before. Again, Oreo absolutely stole the show from a branding and marketing standpoint. They even took this moment to launch an Instagram account. Before the Super Bowl, Oreo had around 2,200 followers on Instagram and garnered around 35,000 followers by the end of Sunday night. Props to 360i and the Oreo social media command center.

#2. Budweiser Super Bowl Ad — The Clydesdales: “Brotherhood”

This ad literally brought tears to the eyes of some of my coworkers. With several terribly awful ads from Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch InBev totally redeemed itself with this tear-jerker of an ad.

#1. Ram Trucks Super Bowl Commercial “Farmer”

This one struck a chord with me from the first frame and had chills going through my spine by the end. Growing up in northwest Oklahoma and listening to farmers talk about the weather and wheat prices everyday definitely had an influence on this year’s pick. Paul Harvey had a big part in my life as well. Seemed like anytime I showed up at my grandparents house in Alva, Okla., Paul Harvey was delivering his famous “The Rest of the Story” segments on the kitchen radio. It also helped that the commercial was beautifully done with shots from a National Geographic photographer and a renowned documentary photographer. Nicely done, Dodge.

Bonus spots:

Because of my Oklahoma roots and because the Flaming Lips are just incredible in general: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe | Big Game Ad | “Epic Playdate

Because I love awkward moments: Unattended Laundry: You needed the machine. You got caught panty-handed (Speed Stick)

Because I love Amy Poehler: Best Buy – Asking Amy: Official 2013 Best Buy Game Day Commercial

My Personal Top 10 Instagram Photos of 2012

My nine best on Instagram from 2012.
My nine best on Instagram from 2012.

Another year has gone by. I’ve been through some fairly major life changes. New city. New job. New friends. New experiences.

Instagram has gone through some major changes as well. The photo-sharing app with vintage filters opened its doors to Android users and a few days later was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in early April. A few Instagram users freaked out about the availability on the Android Market and even more freaked out after the news of Facebook’s purchase. Of course, this did nothing to slow its growth. In fact, during this 10 day period, the app saw explosive growth and ended up adding another 10 million users–1 million new users a day.

Then Instagram changed its privacy policy and people freaked out again–this time with the idea that Facebook was going to start selling users’ photos. This would all come to a close soon enough after Instagram apologized to its users and vowed to remove language that suggests they have the right to sell users’ photos. Oh, and a new version with a new filter was recently launched. Nice timing.

Now that you’re all caught up on the latest happenings of Instagram; let’s take a look at some of my personal top photos. For the second consecutive year, I have combed through my hundreds of photos and picked my top 10 of the year. I posted a good number of images shot with my Nikon D90, but this list is comprised of only photos shot and edited with my iPhone. You can take a look back at my top 10 photos of 2011 to see I have continued to grow as a photographer and get more creative with my shots. To view all my best photos from 2012, follow my on Instagram (@eric_wheeler) and view my hashtag #wheelers_best_of_2012. Take a look at my top 10 and let me know what you think!