Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Crisis hits Paris and technology companies swing into action, the relationship between Facebook and publishers gets complicated, IBM's global C-suite study, we notify you about Notify, video piracy on Facebook, Twitter gets less white and male, what happens when someone dies at an Airbnb rental, reliable channels to connect with customers, the first honest video about your cable company, Rolling Stone gets sued for $25M, the future of data sharing, Edward Snowden endorses ad blocking, plus our weekly trivia challenge, the podcast pick of the week and more in The Week in Digital, a roundup of relevant links affecting the industry.

Below is a series of links, analysis and commentary about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, business, digital communications and marketing, written to help leaders keep up to speed with changes, newsworthy items and content that might be useful in your job. A new issue is available every Monday morning. Please subscribe and get your own copy delivered to your inbox every week.

News items are in regular text; additional commentary has been added in italics.

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  • The Internet united on Friday evening, as news of the Paris attacks spread quickly over social media. Most notable was Facebook's activation of a Safety Check tool to determine whether friends were marked safe. This was the first non-natural disaster use of the application (it had previously been used for the Nepal earthquake in April of 2015, the Chile earthquake in September and Hurricane Patricia last month). 
  • Other technology companies joined Facebook in providing value during the crisis: 
    • Uber suspended surge pricing.
    • Airbnb urged Paris users to open their homes and activated a disaster response tool.
    • Twitter used the #PorteOuverte hashtag to signal help was needed or offered, used its Moments feature to curate the news, and became the definitive go-to source for up to date information on the crisis.
    • Google let users make free calls on Hangouts.
    • Reddit had a constantly updating thread of live updates.

  • If Facebook were to update the status of its relationship with publishers, they'd chose "It's Complicated." The landlord-tenant relationship (as in "rented media") has resulted in far less traffic being driven to publisher's websites — up to a 30% loss of traffic in some cases — which in turn is causing Facebook to reassess Instant Articles
    • Facebook isn't alone, as publishers are also pushing back against Apple News after seeing less than acceptable results.
    • We're at a critical time for the media, as Facebook is pushing to make its site and apps the only destinations that users consider, keeping the reading, watching and playing experience entirely within Facebook. This will understandably frustrate publishers and could hamper how we think about, receive and pay for news. See more below in the Further Reading section for a longer thought piece on this issue.
  • Meanwhile, Apple is working on person-to-person payment systems in conjunction with the banking industry. This is great for iPhone users, and it's likely that Android will follow suit at some point. Does this signal the end of cash? We still think cash will be needed, particularly in the service industry (for tips).
  • Hulu counts Disney, Fox and NBCUniversal among its investors. Time Warner might be a fourth investor.
  • T-Mobile followed in its #Uncarrier pattern (one that has previously included streaming music that doesn't count against subscribers' data plans) by announcing Binge On — free access to Netflix, HBO Go and other streaming providers — just not YouTube or Facebook. But some question whether the deal violates net neutrality rules.
  • Who should run corporate social media? We've heard the back-and-forth arguments for marketing versus communications. But this time, marketers and communicators agree.
  • Chief marketing officers are just as preoccupied with technology as CIOs. So it shouldn't be a surprise that the Internet of Things and mobile are at the top of their list of concerns, according to a recent IBM Global C-suite Study. They're also wary of competition from other industries.


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      Trivia question: T-Mobile CEO John Legere is legendary for speaking like a real customer. What did he have to say about Apple's #bendgate issue last year? *

      Collaborative Economy 


      • The YouTube Music app debuted this week. It's basically a music-focused YouTube. And it comes with a free YouTube Red subscription for 14 days. One of the features that's bundled with Music and Red is the ability to keep playing videos and music in the background, after you've opened other apps — something that would seem to be the price of entry for music apps these days. Just don't get too used to it; you'll need a paid subscription to keep that feature functioning.
      • Podcast Recommendation of the Week. This week, check out The Moth. It is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. Do you have a podcast recommendation for us? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts

      Content / Customer Experience

      [Note: this section has expanded to include customer experience-related material, as it reasonably represents the offline version of content marketing.]

      Metrics / Measurement / Data

      • What is the Future of Data Sharing? A report from Columbia Business School that breaks down consumer mindsets and the power of brands.
      • We you you watch TV. But did you know that TV may be watching you? If you have a Vizio Smart TV, it's so smart that it knows your behaviors and is sharing your habits with advertisers. 

      Privacy / Security / Legal

      * Answer to the trivia question above: 

      When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading 

      • With the tech industry absorbing so much of the publishing and news industry, what does the future between technology and media look like? From the editor of The Awl.
      • Media changes everything, drives our expectations, conversations, and our culture. And ads drive media. Seth Godin posits that pushing toward direct marketing could result in a less-than-desirable outcome.
      • As we ponder the terror attacks in Paris, it's a good time to revisit Theodore Roosevelt's "Citizenship in a Republic" speech given in Paris in 1910. 

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      I advise brands and agencies to help them improve their communications and digital acumen. Please get in touch if you'd like to put my experience and digital smarts to work on a project, to consult with your group, or to address an audience at your next corporate or industry event.