Quick Takes: 2/13/13

tumblr-logoUniversities are using Tumblr as a way to reach and communicate with prospective and current students. It’s an interesting example of not just using the right platform to go out and meet your target audience but also using the right content mix to appeal to them in their own way.

I’m intrigued by this Shareholder Letter from betaworks, the company behind the revamped digg, more for its form and structure than for its actual contents. I love the way the material is presented either in one big helping or in smaller chunks for easier navigation and being able to surf to what’s most relevant to you personally.

youtube-logoYouTube is reported to be exploring introducing paid subscriptions for select content partners. This could be an interesting experiment as we see what producers are able to make micro-payments (the reported price for a subscription would be $1-5 a month, which would then be split with YouTube) work on a sustainable level. I’m not sure this is the right model but it does show YouTube is getting more and more serious about being a home for professional-grade video material.

While I instinctively don’t like the idea of short-term social media executions that have end dates at which point they’re abandoned, the story of why the NYT launched an app that specifically for the 2012 elections and which is now defunct is an interesting one and I actually can’t fault their logic.

I’m not surprised by the finding that more people follow brands’ social media updates than actively visit the social profiles of those brands. After all, it’s so much easier to scan whatever shows up in news feeds than it is to actually visit the profile unless the reader feels like they’re missing out on too much. So, as is almost always the case, it’s up to the brand publisher to optimize for that news feed in whatever way they can.

A good overview of the current state of the social enterprise solutions over at RWW that makes it clear there’s still a long way to go to get social media baked into the organizational communication structure. As it states, directives don’t really work and there will likely be some belligerent hold-outs. It has to happen organically. We’ve been hearing for years now that as young people enter the work world they’ll bring the social tools they have grown up using with them. But that’s still a ways off as they can’t just come in and change right off the bat but instead find themselves stifled by existing infrastructures.

Twitter_512x512Regional definitions of hate speech are just one of the issues Twitter (and Facebook, and YouTube and all the other companies who would like to pretend they operate as dumb networks people can do with as they will while the company turns a blind eye) is going to have to deal with in the very near future.

If you ask me the very premise behind this particular bit of advice is flawed: It’s not that you need to start thinking about your social media postings in the same way that you think about longer, more substantive content. It’s that if you’re not already doing so you’re in a lot of trouble.That story also says you should respond to every question that comes in via Twitter or Facebook or blog comments within 24 hours. That’s great advice if you’re not talking about any sort of scale or if you have a team of a dozen or more members who can do so.

There’s a fantastic story at PBS MediaShift that I’ve been pouring over, extracting one good insight after another, about copyright law as it applies to images published to social media platforms and how that law does, on occasion, come into conflict with the terms of service of those platforms themselves. David Holmes at PandoDaily points out, though, that nature of how people share images not just on one platform but across many – Tumblr posts that are then linked to on Twitter and so on – the conflicting terms of service have the potential to make issues of copyright even messier.

Young people and old people are going to see movies in theaters pretty regularly but those in the middle, aged 25-54, aren’t doing so as often according to a recent Nielsen study of American’s movie-going habits. Gender differences aren’t all that pronounced but there are some interesting numbers in the study on race and ethnicity.

imagesFoursquare has become the latest social media service/platform to launch an app that’s specifically designed for business usage. It joins Facebook (there are likely others but I can’t think of them) as a social network that allows business owners or managers to access a completely unique experience that’s separate from what the end user sees. This, I think, is going to only become more common as more apps/networks realize that the corporate managers they are trying to attract the attention of – especially when it comes to managing some sort of paid promotion or ad.

EveryBlock-logoI think the most shocking thing to me about the closing of Everyblock by MSNBC is the suddenness of it. There was no one month, week or day notice that this was coming, something that smacks of the kind of corporate decision making that is antithetical to community-focused ventures.

There’s a lot of hay being made about a study that seems to show Facebook’s grip on the population and their free time is starting to slip. Personally I don’t think this is as much a leading indicator as much as I think it’s a reflection of the desire to see Facebook slip from its current pedestal. That’s not to say some of the behavior and thinking cited in the study isn’t real – Tumblr and some other platforms are definitely taking its audience – but I don’t think the “need to take a break” emotion is one that needs to be overly analyzed.

Let’s be clear that the reason Twitter is buying Bluefin is that the status update platform is in desperate need of an analytics package and obviously decided to buy their way into one rather than build one out itself. As it looks to rely more and more on its ad and other promoted products to power financial growth it’s going to need to provide numbers that people can bank on. Even outside of paid promotions if Twitter wants to attract more and more attention from major media companies it’s going to need to show those companies what the value of that attention has been and is going to be.

about-me-app-logo-225x225Interesting that about.me has severed ties with Aol and is once again an independent company. I love it when a company likes this gets back to its roots. Not that corporate ownership can’t be a good thing in a lot of ways but it sometimes can stifle innovation and distract  a company from its core goal, which is to make a good product that people find useful.

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