Weekly Social Media Round-Up

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This week in social media was less about new features and more about the on-going content wars that are fundamentally changing the relationship between platforms and publishers…whether we like it or not.

Twitter & Facebook Are Turning Publishers Into Ghost Writers

While publishers have long taken advantage of the networks’ high engagement and massive reach, now they’re in danger of simply become unpaid content producers for social networks that no longer wish to act as gateways but almost as primary news sources themselves—without having to produce or paid for any of the content.

“Consuming a traditional article on the publisher’s site soaks you in its flavor and style, providing eye-catching suggestions of what else to read, sign-up forms for newsletters, or options to pay for a subscription. But on the sterile, yet fast-loading Instant Article pages, the temporal user experience is the focus of a clean, white canvas. Opportunities to fall in love with the publisher are few and far between. They’re just another ranch producing meat for Facebook’s sausage factory.” [Via TechCrunch]

Impact: The battle over content—who produces it, who controls it, and who displays it—will be one of the defining features of the Internet’s next generation.

New Video Features for Facebook

Facebook wants to rival YouTube as a place where people go to consume video content.

“The biggest thing that stands out when comparing the two is that YouTube is subscribers and Facebook is friends,” said Josh Kreitzman, vp of programming for Jukin Media, which buys and resells user-generated clips to publishers and brands. According to Kreitzman, the average number of YouTube channels people subscribe to is far lower than the number of Facebook friends they have. If Facebook’s new video features take hold and draw more people to seek out video content on the platform, that could mean trouble for YouTube.” [Via Digiday]

Impact: Could Facebook be a serious competitor to YouTube? All signs point to “yes.”

PepsiCo Exec Has Harsh Words for Ad Business

President of PepsiCo’s global beverage group thinks ad agencies haven’t kept up with the times, one reason companies tend to use a boutique approach rather than going with one agency. He claims that anything that we think of as an “advertisement” is just “polluting content” and it’s a model that is unsustainable in the 21st century. He urges agencies to start thinking more creatively and outside the “30 second TV spot” box.

“I am sick and tired as a client of sitting in agency meetings with a whole bunch of white straight males talking to me about how we are going to sell our brands that are bought 85% by women,” he said. “Innovation and disruption does not come from homogeneous groups of people.” [Via AdAge]

Impact: When a huge exec says he “hates” advertising, we listen. And then we adjust.

McSweeney’s Embracing Brand Partnerships

McSweeney’s is a quirky literary magazine that’s always attracted a highbrow audience. Despite a great reputation, they never really made much money. Now they are capitalizing on their reputation by partnering with brands to create funny “away message generators” and other cool interactive apps. [Via Digiday]

Impact: Is this a foreshadowing of a future where advertising is more editorial in nature? The fact that brands are partnering with McSweeney’s because of the access to good, clever writers is heartening for the content creators of the world!

Cinemagraphs: The Rich Man’s .Gif

Stock photo companies are rushing in to create cinemagraphs that can be used in advertising and on social media, where they are already very popular.

Cinemagraphs are basically stylish, glossy GIFs, where very slight motion is introduced to a portion of a still image. They’ve been around for years, but have become popular in advertising more recently because of places like Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, which have developed video products that are optimal for cinemagraphs. [Via Digiday]

Impact: These beautiful images are perfect for social media and especially for adding a subtle yet engaging element to newsletters.

Weekend Reading

Behind the Failure of Leap Transit’s Gentrified Buses in San Francisco

Leap was a start-up that replaced regular public transit in San Francisco with a private luxury bus service offering wi-fi, paleo snacks, and all the trimmings a techie in newly-gentrified San Francisco might want. It failed by being outwardly adversarial towards the city of SF (using MUNI stops without permission, operating without a license) and fufilling every “tech-bro” stereotype imaginable in a city that’s already dealing with cultural issues caused by gentrification. A must read.

“Its design and marketing — in its full-frontal embrace of the easily pilloried paleo-snack-bar techie lifestyle — Leap exuded a kind of bourgeoisie exceptionalism that fed into the city’s fears of gentrification and won it few fans. As I stood inside the abandoned buses, it became obvious why the start-up failed: Leap was created by and for techies. It was born inside the bubble, and it could never escape.” [Via New York Times]

Impact: So many of start-ups bottom out because the founders forget that perception is reality regardless of initial intentions. Thinking outside the box isn’t just about looking outside the bubble, it’s about realizing that you’re in a bubble to begin with.

Ermahgerd: The True Story of the Ermahgerd Girl

You’ve no doubt seen the image of the awkward teen holding up a bunch of “Goosebumps” books with a text overlay of pidgen English text in the Impact font. This meme has become known as “Ermahgerd.” Vanity Fair tracked the girl in the photo and interviewed her about her Internet fame.

Impact: So many “memes” out there feature actual people, frozen in time at a certain point in their development, replicated again and again across multiple channels, cultures and languages. And yet because their image has been duplicated so many times on the Internet, it’s hard to think of them as people instead of just another word in the visual lexicon of the Internet. What will become of these meme-people in the future?

But speaking of the future…

Tesla Introduces Self-Driving Cars

And away we go!

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