Snapchat: Putting the media back in social media

Today, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel announced in a CNBC interview that Snapchat has a plan to fact check political ads in an effort to curb misinformation problems currently plaguing many social media sites. Snap will not run ads that its fact checkers have determined are fake, and they’ve banned “political advertising that intends to mislead, deceive, or violate the company’s terms of service”. For those who have been following along, this represents a sharp departure from Facebook’s recently stated policy of allowing all political advertising to run without the hassle of fact checking, as a means of promoting what they say is free speech on the platform. And last week, Twitter announced a sort of middle ground political ad policy in which certain advertisers are banned and issue ads are strictly governed.

 

 

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Snapchat: Putting the media back in social media

#Elxn43: Welcome to the jungle

Canadian political parties have indicated that they intend to use new digital methods to reach potential voters in the upcoming election, including the use of text messaging campaigns.

“Jungle Cupcakes” by DixieBelleCupcakeCafe is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Great idea, I mean what could go wrong? New. Innovative Digital Campaigning – woo!

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#Elxn43: Welcome to the jungle

This Week In Tech News: Orwellian Doublethink

The last week has been filled with announcements from big tech firms:

Facebook tells us “the future is private“.

Google tells us they’re “here to help“.

Amazon tell us it’s a friend to small businesses.

"War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery Ignorance is Strength"  by Nney is licensed under  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery Ignorance is Strength” by Nney is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In developers’ conferences and earnings calls, the biggest of the big tech companies are trying to develop unique value propositions that paint them as friendly, responsive, and attuned to the needs of their customers. Then the mainstream technology media (often overworked, understaffed and reliant on the good graces of big tech for continued access to stories), generally reports these messages at face value. News in the last week focused on Facebook’s pivot toward community groups, Google’s exciting universal translator or Amazon’s claim that small and medium sized business partners made on average 90K last year through their platform.

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This Week In Tech News: Orwellian Doublethink

What if finding your online community hurts others?

The beauty of participatory and social media has always been its ability to connect people. That is also the great evil of these platforms.

Social media allows what Barry Wellman calls networked individualism. In contrast to geographic or familial communities where we are brought together through accidents of fate like where or with whom we were born, networked individuals are not forced to conform to community norms to fit in. Instead, they can use network technologies to maintain their individual quirks and find others who share their unique interests and ideals in online communities. This is a beautiful and terrifying vision.

Frankenstein
“Frankenstein” by Britta Frahm is licensed under CC by 2.0

A year ago today, 10 people were killed and 16 injured when a young man rented a van and drove it onto the sidewalk. The perpetrator engaged in this action, as part of an “incel” or “involuntarily celebate” rebellion. The incel group is a group of men online who openly express misogyny and claim that they should be “given” women to have sex with. The attack targeted women. Incel communities on the internet celebrated following the attack.

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What if finding your online community hurts others?

Women and Girls in Science – The Digital Communication Edition

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

Truly women and girls have made tremendous advances in the sciences, however the UN reports that women still only make up less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide. This means we must do more work to ensure that this type of work is welcoming to women, and doesn’t push them out. While many initiatives focus on growing the pipeline for women and girls in science by providing new opportunities to involve girls in science and STEM, and while this is certainly a laudable goal, there a fewer initiatives that address the stresses women face as women who enter traditionally male-dominated fields. This is what I’d like to address here.

Science Careers in Search of Women 2009
“Science Careers in Search of Women 2009” by Argonne National Laboratory is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0

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Women and Girls in Science – The Digital Communication Edition

What can sustainability communicators learn from social media marketers?

Recently, Ann Dale, Jamie Clifton-Ross and I wrote an article for the Journal of Digital and Social Media Marketing. In it, we detailed a case study about Canada Research Connections (@CRCResearch) and how we applied social media marketing concepts, specifically content curation strategies, to more broadly engage a broad audience with academic research on sustainability.

An image showing arrows between two word bubbles and the phrase social media marketing
“Social Media Marketing” by Jerry Nihen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Over two years, we took a deliberate approach grounded in best practices in social media strategy. We attempted to build a network of interested followers friends, we engaged in reciprocity, sharing the posts produced by others, and we deliberately used engaging visuals, narratives, and accessible language in our posting. Furthermore, we ensured that we were posting to social media platforms on a regular schedule, and posting according to the times that were most appropriate for each platform. Finally, we tailored our content to suit different platforms. Longer posts and videos for facebook, short bite-sized content and retweets with images on Twitter, Strong images and short videos on Instagram, and longer videos with animations on YouTube. Every approach we followed was well known in the social media marketing world, but interestingly was not broadly used in science or sustainability communication. Instead, these communication domains tend to rely primarily on a more just the facts style communication with an academic presentation and tone.

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What can sustainability communicators learn from social media marketers?

What is the Future of Local News?

We see it all across North America and the UK: small local news outlets are shutting down, or are bought out and amalgamated into much larger regional or national outlets. At first this doesn’t seem to be of much consequence. If local news outlets do not make money, perhaps the laws of the marketplace should dictate their demise. And without them, we can perhaps still share the information that is important to our communities using social media platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter, right?

A picture of a couple of local newspapers "The Sunday Times" and "The Sunday Business Post"
“Local Sunday News” by Bernard Goldbach is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Well maybe the local news situation is actually more complex than we might first think. Maybe there is some information that simply isn’t provided when local news outlets shut down. And maybe social media isn’t picking the slack in all cases, but rather exacerbating the problem. Well I, in partnership with a team of ace researchers from the Ryerson Journalism Research Centre wanted to find out the answers to these questions, so last year, we invited academics around the world to participate in a conference on the subject of local news and it’s future. Then we took the best submitted papers from that conference, along with some student journalism on the subject of Canadian local news, and we put together an interactive online publication: The Future of Local News: Research and Reflections.

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What is the Future of Local News?

New Article Out: The Instagram #Climate Change Community

Recently, Dr. Ann Dale, researcher Brigitte Petersen and I conducted a study in which we looked at the hashtag community formed by people who post using the tag #ClimateChange on Instagram. We wanted to see whether this community showed evidence of the potential for community agency, that is to say, do the posts related to this hashtag seem like content that could, under the right circumstances, inspire community action around the issue of global warming?

“Social change not climate change” by Global Justice Now is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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New Article Out: The Instagram #Climate Change Community

Communicating for social change

We know it happens, because it’s influenced elections.

We know it happens, because it’s impacted people’s careers.

We know it happens, because it’s spawned effective protest movements, and even encouraged people to take up knitting and crocheting.

Communication, via popular social media platforms CAN create social change.

But HOW?

#womensmarch by Rob Kall. Available from Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/23AMGwE

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Communicating for social change

Social Media Mindfulness Is Not Enough

A group of virtual reality avatars sitting in a circle engaging in meditation
“VR Meditation Guided by Jeremy Nickel” posted to Flickr by Sansar VR. Available at https://flic.kr/p/GBrspR CC-BY 2.0

It used to be only a few voices on the margin: Ian Bogost, Sherry Turkle, Geert Lovink, or Evgeny Morozov, for example, who urged people to think a little more about the time they were spending on social media. But soon the whisper grew and now the movement may be reaching the mainstream. With the rise to prevalence of former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris and his Center for Humane Technology, and with the Facebook Privacy/Cambridge Analytical scandal all over congress and the world news, people are starting to have conversations that were considered almost laughable before. Continue reading “Social Media Mindfulness Is Not Enough”

Social Media Mindfulness Is Not Enough