An announcement, Twitter's CEO flies the coop, Apple announcement is Music to many ears, hoping that unionizing at Gawker won't diminish its witty headlines, Facebook values time over likes, Twitter needs to figure out what it needs to be, Google searches nearly everywhere, 17 collaborative unicorns, Uber's Chinese expansion, the audio competition heats up, how different generations consume content, the need for security at all levels is serious, trademarking the "book," combating digital distration and more, it's This Week in Digital.
A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.
Each week, we 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. Please subscribe - either to the full feed or just to this newsletter to keep up to date on developments.
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Before we begin
- Last week, I made an announcement on the main feed; if you subscribe only to This Week in Digital, you may have missed it. I'm launching a consultancy to help brands and agencies with their corporate and digital acumen.
- The biggest news from the digital world this week was that Dick Costolo is stepping down as CEO of Twitter as of July 1, with former CEO Jack Dorsey taking over duties temporarily. The change comes amid multiple leadership changes in the last year, lagging revenue, slow growth and an uncertain product cadence.
- Analysts think Twitter is going to have a hard time finding a replacement.
- For sheer entertainment value, Gawker won the Internet with its headline Jack Off to Executive Suite, with Dick Out.
- Apple had its day in the sun at its annual WWDC. Among the myriad announcements:
- The new iOS is called El Capitan (have the naming convention moved from wild felines to Sousa marches?) and will include the ability for split screens on iPads.
- Apple Music is a streaming service that will cost $9.99 and includes DJ-selected playlists. This will give serious competition to Spotify.
- Its News app will give Flipboard a run for its money and will satisfy news junkies.
- Apple Watch got some attention, as developers will now have the ability to code native apps for the device.
- It didn't get much press, but the new iOS will allow users to block ads in Safari on iPhones and iPads.
- Of course, this doesn't mean no ads on Safari. Remember that Apple has its own iAds product, and you can bet it will derive a decent bit of revenue from advertisers who are desperate to reach the Macolytes.
- Gawker Media has voted to unionize, giving them representation through the Writers Guild of America. According to them, their next priority is "determining what we want to bargain for." What do we want? A union! Why do we want it? To do... union-y... stuff. Serious question, though: will such things as overtime provisions hamper Gawker's ability to cover news around the clock? (Gawker)
- Recently we shared GM's plan to integrate Apple and Android interfaces into some of its vehicles; this week, longtime rivals Ford and Toyota are teaming up to defend their dashboards against the tech leaders. (Fortune)
- Just what is the best strategy for connected cars? PwC says there are five elements: treat connectivity as integral to the experience; focus on safety first; ensure security; upend the traditional development cycle (easier said than done); adapt the vehicle operating model to accommodate connected vehicles (not the other way around).
- Chris Sacca, Twitter's single largest investor, wrote a thoughtful critique titled What Twitter Can Be, with tips for the platform to get back on track. The challenge is that in order to be successful, Twitter needs to focus on the mainstream, not its beloved power users.
- The inherent problem with Twitter is that it's a broadcast network, and not everyone is a broadcaster.
- Amid its identity crisis, Twitter is rolling out unlimited message length in its direct messaging feature, making it more like other messaging apps.
- Advertisers on the platform can now target you based on other apps you have installed on your phone.
- Announcing its latest change, Facebook said that the News feed algorithm will be based on time spent on certain content rather than actions taken. Probably not a a unique view into the ever-changing estimation of engagement; with time as our most valuable asset, it's a good indicator of interest.
- Four billion views a day. That's how many video views Facebook is logging every day, rivaling YouTube.
- Facebook Messenger opened its API up to developers earlier this year; it now has its first game, a doodling app.
- Focusing more on helping retailers generate revenue, Facebook is handing out beacons to stores. This is an integration with the company's Place Tips, designed to give relevant updates and suggestions based on geolocation and check-ins.
- Also in support of e-commerce, the platform is allowing more merchants to add buy buttons to their posts.
- Instagram is doing the same, offering Shop Now, Install Now and Sign Up buttons, along with opening its API to advertisers and their agencies who want to target ads based on who you follow or like.
- As is Pinterest.
- Sharing is big business. In fact, an estimated 17 billion-dollar companies have been formed because of the new practice of shared resources and services built upon them.
- Those so-called "unicorns" may be a figment of our imagination - there may be a technology bubble that is building once again.
- In an email unearthed by reporters, Uber internally reports that it is now logging some one million rides per day in China alone.
- Uber is recruiting new drivers via a snappy new video game called UberDrive, which gives players a view into a day in the life of an Uber driver.
- Alternatively, they could simply read about life as an undercover Uber driver.
- Spotify continues to grow: the streaming music service now has over 20 million paying subscribers and 55 million free users; this is up from 15 million in January.
- Not to be outdone by Apple's announcement, Spotify raised another $526 million, placing its value at over $8 billion - more than double that of Pandora.
- SoundCloud is moving closer to a paid subscription model as it adds licensed music from independent labels. This is in addition to the podcasting feature it added earlier this year.
- In terms of content consumption, Millennials and Gen Xers aren't that much different. Baby Boomers, on the other hand...
- Putting its two-year brand publishing experience to work, Coca-Cola's Journey site took advantage of the Mad Men finale by ensuring there was plenty of content related to its classic "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" ad.
- Writer Matthew Ingram wondered if BuzzFeed has a trust problem, given its dual nature of news and entertainment. In a civil debate on Twitter, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti explained how some of the research was outdated and that many traditional media entities have news bureaus and entertainment divisions.
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Metrics / Measurement / Data
- If you're into visual analytics, take a look as this animated visualization of World War II data, taken from a documentary.
- Twitter has rolled out its Audience Insight feature to all ad users. Learn how to use Twitter's Audience Insights for marketing.
- And while you're at it, check out Heron, Twitter's real-time analytics tool.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- Is digitized medicine the future? If it is, we'd better hope there are safeguards in the security of everything from record keeping to devices. Case in point: hackers can potentially deliver a fatal dose to hospital drug pumps.
- The federal government isn't immune either; Chinese hackers gained access to the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) system and made off with personal data of every single federal employee - including social security numbers and dates of birth. It's a huge deal - with the potential for blackmail, uncovering of foreign contacts, exposure of military background checks and more. The inadequate response of the OPM and the failure to initiate safeguards even when warned should be a huge red flag to anyone who puts faith in our government's security systems.
- And yet, the White House and Congress are stonewalling with regard to the details in the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement - so much so that Wikileaks has offered $100,000 to anyone who can unearth details on it. Expect details to be forthcoming.
- Evidently, if your business has "book" in its name, it's fair game for Facebook's lawyers. The social network giant is releasing its trademark lawyers on Designbook, a network for entrepreneurs to meet collaborators, investors and team members. Look out, yearbook publishers - you might be next!
|Facebook's trademark lawyers go to work|
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- Medium is moving away from being identified as a publishing tool and toward a social network. Evidently, the strategy is to drive more interaction and engagement - despite that it's been one of the best long-form content sites out there. Evidently, time spent is less important than likes and shares - a move in direct opposition to Facebook's algorithm change above.
- If you've made it this far, congratulations. Perhaps you don't need to read about how some psychologists are suggesting we deal with digital distraction. Then again, maybe you skimmed your way here; if so, try checking out some of their tips for putting some control back in your life.
Image credit: Duncan Hull (Flickr)