As the primary circus gears up in Michigan, it’s instructive to look at how the debates are being reported on social media. Convenience and news snacking is key. We’re seeing lots of instant takes – quotes, video clips, story cards, charts and illustrations – as well as a masterful use of gifs.
At the moment, Bernie Sanders seems to be the King of Social Media.
On Instagram, Sanders saw the greatest overall gain in followers, adding a whopping 85,580 new followers, according to the photo sharing app. He also overcame Clinton to become the most followed Democratic candidate, and second overall to Donald Trump’s 1.11 million followers. Sanders now has 927,240 followers compared to Clinton’s 896,980.
And Democratic millennials are more likely to learn about the election from social media than Republican ones, according to Pew. The candidates are also making ample use of social media to express their discontent with traditional media, and give close-up glimpses of their days.
I’m stealing this headline from Techcrunch, writing on Facebook’s emoticon upgrade, known as Reactions. Facebook’s explanation says the new Reactions will change the algorithm for what you see in your Newsfeed, but at this point it’s not clear how that will work.
Initially, just as we do when someone likes a post, if someone uses a Reaction, we will infer they want to see more of that type of post. In the beginning, it won’t matter if someone likes, “wows” or “sads” a post — we will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content. Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.
The immediate response already shows that Reactions are already making a difference. Rest assured, the advertisers are poised to crunch the data from your Facebook feed, according to Forbes,
Users who have ”Reactions” have already been responding more frequently to posts than users without them. A bump in Facebook’sFB -1.04% already strong engagement would be well received by investors, as well as by advertisers, who can learn more about users through data on their emotional response to content.
In another piece on unrelated Facebook news, Mark Zuckerberg is working on an Artificial Intelligence Butler to help run his life at home and work. And apropos of nothing, I promised to post a gummy-bear-visualisation of the Iowa caucus, so here it is.
Finally, one more link, this time in case you want to look at a historic map of Ann Arbor. Yes, that historic map.
“This is the future of mobile news, as Quartz envisons it.” That’s how Wired is plugging Quartz’s new chat app. If you use it, “you don’t read the news; you chat with it.” And when you’ve read some stories, the add repackages news as quizzes in order to keep you entertained. Meanwhile, a fascinating piece on Buzzfeed’s attempts to “re-anchor” has some telling insights. According to Fortune, “close to 75% of the company’s content never actually appears on its website but is created for and consumed on networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.” Distributed content seems to mean that websites are becoming the ‘front pages’ of yesteryear – fading in significance as a means of discovery. The future of engagement, it appears, means finding new ways of measuring it aside from pageviews, “For a video, it might be time spent, for other content it might be sharing, and in some cases, it might be whether a user signs up for an email newsletter or downloads an app.”
Thank you to Uri Blau for coming to talk to our class. It was fascinating to hear him discuss his cross-platform social media policy in action with the use of instagram, twitter, and tumblr, as well as the newspaper website.
But don’t forget: content is key. One of the most important takeaways from Blau’s session was his mission. “You can’t hide from the truth and you shouldn’t,” as he put it. “This is our role as journalists.” As for #settlementdollars, there are some interesting follow-ups on Twitter.
Don’t forget that Monday’s class is a data visualization workshop in the Shapiro Library Room 4041. As an assignment, do start work on your Midterm presentations (rubric here) which need to be ready for the class of March 7th.
In the third year of what likely will be a nine-year trek across four continents, I am struck by the persistence of a single question from readers, students, walking partners, barkeeps, shepherds, fellow reporters, baffled police officers in nine countries and, yes, evenlong-suffering editors demanding my copy: What keeps me motived on a slow foot journey that, at times, seems to have no end?
The answer depends on the day of the week—and the hour of the day—you’re asking.
But at least one reason has grown ever clearer: You.
I’ve described the “Out of Eden Walk” as a 21,000-mile-long conversation with complete strangers, stretching from Africa to Tierra del Fuego. The random people I meet along the trail, from farmers to artists, from refugees to royalty, are this walk’s true destinations. These human encounters offer the thrill of first contact, of a new story, of a new beginning. Each of us has unique lessons and insights to share on this collective ramble that we’re all taking into the 21st century.
Today is the closing date for a crowd-sourced community photo project, Built to Walk, that has grown out of his walk, asking why humans need to move. It’s fascinating how Salopek has used social media to build a community around his walk, leveraging it for educational projects, using Google hangout to talk to classes and inspiring students to use their own creativity. Every hundred miles, Salopek has posted a milestone showing where he is. This one is the most recent on his website, from Gabala, Azerbaijan.
Is livestreaming the future of news? That headline has become a cliche since the launch of Meerkat in February 2015 and the subsequent arrival of Periscope one month afterwards. Periscope has since moved in on the market, wooing adrenalin junkies with a new deal to add Gopro livestreams and celeb followers as Oscars’ sponsor Kohl vows to Periscope the red carpet. But it’s making less positive headlines too: among them the chilling news that man in Tampa, Florida may have been the first person to broadcast his own murder live via Periscope.
In a Tampa strip club early Saturday morning, Marvin Lancaster III shared a video on live streaming app Periscope of his time out. Lancaster let his friends know he had been pulled over by a Tampa police officer and was given a warning for a traffic violation. He let his friends know he was inside Club Rayne. He let them know the music was pulsing, the lights were flashing and a dancer came off the stage to yell at him about fighting. Seconds later, shots rang out. The phone and the live stream dropped to the floor.
There was also the story that a convicted murder has begun periscoping from his own prison cell, asking his 3000 followers to send money to a Gofundme account. So when is Periscope usage appropriate? What are the possible pitfalls of livestreaming. Here are some (very) recent examples for discussion.
Meerkat was dead three weeks after it launched and Peach is dead four days after its debut. Peach’s download chart performance is spectacularly atrocious for a product that hit No. 1 on New York’s Twitter trending topics on Friday night. The only question is when the carcass will start to stink – and whether the company can bag $14 million before it does.
The author blames credulous, clueless tech writers for hyping a “derivative” and “hollow” app.
The cluelessness of old media is rivaled only by the credulousness of new media when it comes to revaluating viability of new apps.
ASSIGNMENT: Write a 400-word blogpost on a data visualization project on your beat. Why is it effective? What kinds of visual tools are used to present ideas and how different is it from traditional journalism? Are there any shortcomings and if so, what? (For Feb 14 8pm)
This was how Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey reacted to #RIPTwitter. The twitterverse was in uproar over reports that Twitter is planning to tweak its algorithm to make it more like Facebook, rather than in reverse chronological order as they are now.
At the Sydney Morning Herald, Sarah Frier wrote, “The problem with the crowd: They seem to agree Twitter is flawed, but they don’t have a solution, and they don’t like change.” So now Jack Dorsey is promising change without change, which pretty tough to finesse.
I *love* real-time. We love the live stream. It's us. And we're going to continue to refine it to make Twitter feel more, not less, live!
“Experimenting with new forms of journalism and presentation has sparked tremendous creativity in the newsroom,” he wrote. “But in trying to balance the new and the old, reporters and editors are sometimes left exhausted and confused. Simply put, we keep turning things on — greater visual journalism, live news blogs, faster enterprise, podcasting, racing against an ever-growing list of new competitors on an expanding list of stories – without ever turning things off.”
There’s an interesting piece in Poynter about how the New York Times is resurfacing unused images in its archives to tell new stories. It’s the perfect example of how evergreen content can be brought back to life again, and is being used at the Unpublished Black History project this month. The picture below is one example, from the Newark riots, which cost 23 lives in 1967.