The unending Sony saga, Time goes all-in with digital, Spanish publishers get exactly what they bargained for, marketing skills, companies and trends to watch in 2015, Instagram makes some changes, the future of Secret and Medium, Serial is over, how to get data to make your PR program better, a growing and pervasive lack of trust in the media and more, it's This Week in Digital.
A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.
Each week, I compose a newsletter that includes a series of links about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, business, digital communications and marketing in order to keep leaders up to date on changes, newsworthy items and content that might be useful in your job. And now you have the option of subscribing just to this newsletter if you wish.
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[Note: this is the last issue for 2014; while you wait for the return in 2015, we'll still be bookmarking in Flipboard.]
- As you've undoubtedly seen, the Sony Entertainment soap opera rolls on. From damaging emails to financial data and even personal information that was part of the data breach, the film giant's secrets and intellectual property has been laid bare. It hired a high-priced lawyer to order a cease and desist, and then the final nail in the coffin came when the hackers made a reference to September 11, causing Sony to cancel the film's release entirely.
- Some are calling the reaction to the hack overblown, citing that this was a cyber attack - not war, not terrorism, but a breach of data (albeit on a massive scale). (Motherboard)
- George Clooney, in a staunchly worded letter and an even more remarkable interview called for his peers to support Sony to not further cave into the hackers' demands - a request that was completely ignored by the rest of his peers in Hollywood. (Deadline Hollywood)
- Time Inc.'s chief content officer is meeting the challenges of the digital age with an ultimatum to reporters; Norm Pearlstine says that he has "the right to choose to keep the reporter that is generating a lot of traffic," and presumably to fire those who don't. (Washington Post)
- Let's hope Time doesn't pursue Google the way European publishers did. After objecting to Google News providing headlines and snippets of content, a Spanish court ruled that Google could no longer do so; as of Monday, the search giant removed all Spanish publishers from its Google News index. The result: traffic to Spanish news sites plummeted. You can't say they didn't see this coming. (GigaOm)
- Here are 15 social media companies to watch in 2015. (Forbes)
- Five global PR trends to watch in 2015 include focusing on micro-networks and seeing more east-meets-west scenarios. (The Holmes Report)
- And as we round out the year, Google sums up what we searched for in 2014.
- Facebook knows photos better than you. At least that's what their photo auto-enhancing algorithm seems to indicate. (TechCrunch)
- As part of the document leak related to Sony, Facebook's offer to buy Snapchat was confirmed to have been for about $3 billion. (CNET)
- Twitter is considering adding auto-play to its videos. Based on the expected consumer reaction, they haven't yet pulled the trigger on that. (Adweek)
- Foursquare is teaming up with Twitter to provide better location-based details in tweets. (Business Insider)
- A major update to Instagram included five new filters and the ability to hide filters you don't use. (Mashable)
- Instagram issued a warning (and followed through) that it would begin deleting spam accounts this week. More sensitive users were quite upset that they would be losing followers - even if those followers were bots and spam accounts. Ah, the logic of the passionate. (Business Insider)
- Anonymish app Secret, which flew to the top of the charts in March with its ability to post commentaries anonymously, has seen a decline in usage. Now Secret is set to relaunch as a social network with chat capabilities. (The Verge)
- With over 17 million users, Medium is anything but rare; Ev Williams discusses his plans to make Medium more well done as it has content with deeper meaning that adds to the conversation in more of a monologue form. (USA Today)
- Not content with storm surge pricing last week, Uber decided that the Sydney hostage crisis made a great opportunity to charge surge prices to downtown customers. While some blamed the algorithm, it was clear that the promotions team knew exactly what it was doing. (Mashable)
- Following news of a rape by an Uber driver in New Delhi last week, we now have a report of an Uber driver in Boston raping a passenger in the back seat. (Huffington Post)
- Uber has a head of global safety. Phil Cardenas joined recently after having implemented a safety program at Airbnb. He penned a blog post outlining Uber's safety roadmap for 2015 which includes: better technology, new screening methodologies for background checks, a 24/7 customer service and support system, and advisory and training partnerships.
- There are at least three major car-hailing apps available in China. Last week, Uber and Baidu announced a partnership. Here's why Uber needs Baidu. (Fast Company)
- Could the continued rise of car-sharing apps begin to dent auto companies' revenues? (Reuters)
- While the consumer-facing sharing economy companies continue to get a good deal of press, there are peer-to-peer enterprise exchanges that are sprouting up in the B2B space. (strategy+business)
- Some of the best podcasts for communicators include For Immediate Release, Six Pixels of Separation and The Friday Five, among others. (PR Daily)
- Serial is just he beginning. PodcastOne is building an entire podcast network. (Forbes)
- But the Serial podcast was popular enough to earn a parody. (Funny or Die)
Metrics / Measurement / Big Data
- Want better PR results? Get your marketing department to share its data with the communications department. (SHIFT Communications)
- Related: if you want to position yourself (and your career) for success, take a look at the hottest marketing job skills of 2015. (Awaken Your Superhero)
Legal / HR
- Sony's woes continued, with more data being released on its executives, their productions and some of their stars. Sony's reaction: hire a high-priced lawyer to demand media companies to take down the information and to "arrange for and supervise the destruction of all copies" (Krebs on Security)
- As you might imagine, some of the most powerful ideas are conveyed through TED Talks. Enjoy the best of the best in The Year in Ideas: TED Talks in 2014. (TED)
When You Have Time: Essential Reading / Listening / WatchingThere seems to be some trust issues in the media of late. Issues that cause us to question the integrity of some journalists and publications. It seems to be some combination of laziness (perhaps beholden to tight timing?) and lack of ethics. Here are some of the more recent cases:
- Rolling Stone published the earth-shattering "A Rape on Campus," detailing the sexual assault of a female student at the hands of some fraternity brothers. The magazine published "A Note to our Readers" (never a good sign) in which the editors admitted that they couldn't verify the sources. (Rolling Stone)
- Actress/activist (actrivist?) Lena Dunham wrote a book that described a forced sexual situation with a college associate named "Barry," who turned out to be unidentifiable. Other details of her story didn't line up either, making some question her tale overall. (Washington Post)
- The publishers at Penguin claimed that a new book by vlogging star Zoella was debuting with better results than JK Rowling's first Harry Potter book. After extensive publicity about Zoella's first book, the publisher was forced to admit that the singer "did not write the book on her own." (Daily Mail)
- Earlier this week, a high school student said that he earned over $72 million by making investments through his investment club. He later came clean, admitting that he made it all up. (New York Observer)