Delete the tweet

For the early 20-year-olds, Twitter used to be a means of communication among your extended friend group; Now it’s a place to share your thoughts among a group of professionals.  Twitter became the “cool new thing” when I was in high school, a time when my newsfeed comprised of complaining about class, expressing excitement of an upcoming event, or sharing funny pictures of friends.  Upon its introduction, I never thought that one day it would be used beyond the 14-22 age group and I failed to consider who would later be viewing my random thoughts.

My Twitter content was not necessarily inappropriate but honestly embarrassing to look back on.  The idea that future employers could go through my account and see what I deemed appropriate to tweet at age 16 made me seriously rethink my social media presence.  Although a span of 5 years is not necessarily a lifetime, in the social media world it makes a major difference.  My interests on social media have little in common with people just a few years younger than me and our uses of social media vary greatly as well.  While I still actively post pictures to Facebook, high schoolers tend to rely more on Instagram as their photo sharing source.  This slight age gap depicts how much can change in a few years, and supports my idea of the need to “refresh” your social media content.

After my blog post happened to end up on Nieman Lab (big thanks to Professor Robinson) with my Twitter handle tied to the post, I decided it was time to 1. begin actively using Twitter again and 2. erase my professionally inappropriate posts from high school.  While some might disagree with my decision, I am a firm believer that less is more.  I tend to delete people on Facebook who I have nothing in common with anymore and believe that by starting over on my Twitter account that I will also make it more relevant to my current interests.  As college students, we have left a major part of our life in the past and although I enjoy reflecting back, I feel that social media accounts should reflect your current self.


Go viral or go home?

The “going viral” mentality is being challenged by marketing analysts who say that viral videos do nothing for the brand in terms of long term success.  As social media users become more and more mainstream, the lifespan of viral videos decreases and therefore, so does their effectiveness.  Online we consume so much content that in the grand scheme of things, even viral videos becomes lost after only a few minutes.

“While the attention viral content received in the past may have been measured in months, the life-span has gone down to weeks, days, hours and, in some cases, minutes.”

Although proven a successful technique in the past, must marketers take this into account when moving forward?  In this rapidly changing digital age how is it possible to boost brand awareness efficiently and in a way that sticks with the audience for a long period of time?

In this article, Rezab proposes the idea of shareability versus virality.  He says that in order to successfully increase brand awareness, the brand must offer a constant stream of attractive content rather than a single “wow” video.

While I am not expert in the matter, I would like to challenge Rezab’s belief.  I agree with many of his arguments, specifically the one in which viral videos are lost amongst the masses of content.  In my opinion, an outstanding video that really wows the viewer seems to be far more effective than a stream of content with a repetitive message.  Everyone knows those few commercials or advertisements that they associate with a certain brand, most likely due to the concept of virality.  While shareability is important to increase brand awareness through different audiences, I am more likely to share a “viral” video that really wows my social media friends.

The most recent example of a viral video is Budweiser’s 2015 Super Bowl commercial, featuring a puppy and the Clydesdale horses.  Although Budweiser is an established brand and the concept of the commercial is replayed year after year (this commercial  being the sequel), this video has literally blown up my Facebook feed even in the past few hours.

I understand the differentiation Rezab was aiming to make between virality and shareability but I don’t necessarily agree that brands should stop focusing on “going viral.” Marketing may be moving in a new direction, but grabbing viewers’ attention through viral videos will never fail.

Discover the new Snapchat

We may be sad to see Snapchat’s “best friends” disappear, but the new Discover feature is sure to please its users.

Snapchat announced its newest version of the app with the introduction of Discover.  Discover is an addition to Snapchat that features outlets such as CNN, ESPN, People, Yahoo and more.  Besides expanding Snapchat’s brand by adding traditional outlets, nontraditional outlets, and opportunities for advertisements, is Snapchat attempting to avoid being just a fad?

Snapchat’s pull factor is as a goofy means of contacting peers by sending photos that “disappear” within a matter of seconds.  Although the question of their disappearance is another topic altogether, most users were originally attracted to the app solely from that idea.  As a three-year-old app Snapchat is booming with users, with an estimated 700 million snapchats sent per day.  In order to remain a relevant social media source, Snapchat knew they had to adapt to reach a wider audience and to hold onto their existing (and aging) users.

To me, the introduction of Discover is a way to merge Snapchat into more of an intellectual news realm.  While the majority of Snapchat’s users are under the age of 25, these users are growing up.  As noted in class, there comes a time as a professional where sending selfies behind your desk is generally frowned upon and left up to the younger crowd (of this already young user base).  By introducing news and entertainment sources, Snapchat is still proving itself useful to those who opt out of the selfies.

As with all updates, the next several weeks will determine the success of Discover.  Whether it is adapted and spreads into an older crowd, or is rejected as an unnecessary news source will be analyzed throughout the next few months.

Digits: the end to the password

Twitter announced this week its web version of Digits, the company’s tool to eliminate the password.  Digits is among Twitter Fabric’s suite of tools designed for developers.  It replaces passwords with your mobile phone number in hopes of reducing deterred users who want to skip the “tedious” sign up process.  Developers believe that the large portion of users who avoid the process of making a new account and password will appreciate the ease of Digits and therefore increase steady traffic to keep users on such services.

Ok, honestly, have we really reached an age where social media users are annoyed by the mere seconds it takes to enter the same information used for every one of their social media sites? Will Digits actually take off or will it be a security threat? While everyone is extremely reliant on their cellphones (and god forbid leaves it out of their site for more than a second), will users really resort to entering a confirmation code delivered via text rather than typing in a password that can easily be saved to your computer?

Maybe I’m missing the point here, but I for one would rather just use a password.  At this point I use a variation of the same password for all of my sites (maybe not the most secure decision but we all do it), have my computer save it to automatically log me in, and don’t see the issue with occasionally having to actually type it in.  Twitter may think that Digits is the next big thing, but I have yet to be convinced.

Facebook: change for the better?

We all love to hate on changes to social media, but maybe not this time.  On Tuesday, Facebook added new features to send users Amber Alerts, specifically targeting those in the area of the abduction.  The alert will send users a post with information on the child, including a photograph.  Users will not have to sign up for these alerts nor will there be a way to opt out of them.  This idea raises questions as to how social media will be improved on in the future.  Will other sites continue down this path to take advantage of social media addicts by flooding them with important information?

Facebook users don’t necessarily check every single post on their newsfeed, but receiving a notification is a literal red flag.  Its notification signifies a compulsive tendency to remove the red flag as quickly as possible.  In the instance of an Amber Alert, this behavior could be crucial when the life of a child is on the line.

“If you see an Amber Alert delivered, it means you are actually in a position to be able to help.”

Like other users, when I am working on my computer and hear the ding of a Facebook notification, I immediately open the page.  Although an addicting distraction, it is an extremely effective way to reach a wide audience.

While we all complain about the constant updates of our favorite social media sites (Facebook messenger becoming its own app… ugh), few Facebook users will be resistant to this change.  Congrats to Facebook for moving in the right direction and taking advantage of its readily available users.

Mindless procrastination?

After originally introduced as an assignment, I decided to dive deeper into the concept of a media diet.  In this age, information is constantly being thrown in our faces in various forms.  Phones, computers, TVs, iPods – each form of technology opens up a world of media platforms.  When was the last time you actually thought about how many types of media you come across on a daily basis? It’s a normal part of our culture, so much so that no one ever gives it a second thought.

I would say as a college-aged female with an interest in pop culture, my media diet results probably resemble many other people with similar tastes (Snapchat, Instagram, Netflix… the list goes on and on).  However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that my media diet is balanced. Should we think of our media diet in literal terms? We tend to focus our efforts on balancing our food diets in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle but is a balanced media diet also necessary?

An article in the Columbia Journalism Review asked the question: why am I consuming this news?

“Is it news I consume by falling into a click-hole, through mindless procrastination, or because I feel I should consume it, to be in the know or to boost my image?”

The key word here: MINDLESS

If I were to think of this media diet in literal terms as a food diet, I could categorize these media outlets based on how necessary they really are and what my purpose is for using them.  Sites such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook would be snack foods – sites that I don’t necessarily need to use and don’t necessarily actively engage in on a day to day basis.  I (and many people in our generation) have an unhealthy obsession with mindlessly checking the never-ending feeds on various forms of social networks simply to pass the time.  Although I visit these apps hourly, am I really gaining any useful information from them?

When I think of my parents’ generation I picture their media diet mainly consisting of the nightly news, morning newspapers, and leisure books.  Would their generation’s media usage be categorized as a more “healthy” media diet?  Although my social media obsessions are unlikely to change in the near future, I am more conscious of my habits.  Having an unbalanced media diet isn’t exactly harmful but maybe I will be able to balance my diet, for the sake of eliminating mindless procrastination.

No takebacks

Delete: a seemingly convenient button with the ability to erase mistakes.  Whether it be a misspelled Tweet, an unwanted photo, or even junk emails overtaking your inbox, we’re all too familiar with this one button.  The question is, is our information ever gone for good?

The evolving world of mass media is heavily reliant on social media networks, allowing information to be spread at an alarmingly high rate.  Despite my unexciting social media presence, I guarantee that in the two minutes I spend deciding whether to delete my Instagram post, atleast one person has already seen it.  Imagine this concept on a much wider level.

In the midst of the violence in Paris due to the Charlie Hebdo killings, one man experienced the shortcomings of deleting.  This witness, Jordi Mir, filmed the murder of a police officer and in his state of shock decided to upload it to Facebook.  After 15 short minutes Mir deleted his video; but it was too late.

“he posted the video out of fear and a “stupid reflex” fostered by years on social media”

Less than an hour after Mir uploaded the video to Facebook he was watching it on his TV.  The graphic video also made its way to YouTube and is now one of the most prominent images of the mass killings in France.

Although Mir has publicly issued an apology on behalf of his actions, he is still accountable.  Our society is too reliant on the idea that a decision can be reversed with the touch of a button.  The option to delete a post is always staring us in the eye, but it doesn’t come with any terms of agreement.  In this media age can we ever actually take back information we post online? Will we ever know how many people had access to our posts in the mere seconds they remained online? I’m a firm believer of holding online users accountable for their actions, with the understanding that anything you post is fair game for all.  The internet is a place of public knowledge – there are no takebacks.