Bots and Buds: Remaining Authentic Online

No one likes a fake friend, or worse: fake news. In an online world of uncertainty and second-guessing sources, it can be almost too easy to retreat to the warm embrace of your comfort zone. Comfort zones prevent change. Social media amplifies social change, but it isn’t the root cause. There remains a lot of work to be done, but how?

When we’re creating networks that reflect the state of our own lives, how can we branch out to places that are unfamiliar, be more civically engaged, generate solidarity ALL whilst staying true to our own identity and staying safe?

When Bogdana Butnar, Head of Strategy at Poke, Jimmy Tidey and Alex Hogan took the stage at Social Media Week London 2018, they explained how they’d achieve this.

Give social media a makeover

Butnar asked us to imagine what social media would look like if we started it from scratch today. Would we still have the same platforms, features, and tools? On a separate note: would we be able to share dogs (doggos) the way we do? The team at Poke noted how social media’s breaking down democracy and interfering with relationships, self-esteem, and society, so asked: is there a way in which a redesign can address these problems?

Subtract the adds

They concluded that getting rid of ads was the foundation layer to this media makeover: the base coat. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have the tendency to drive unmeaningful interactions because of them.

DO more DO and LESS SAY

When it comes to friends, the amount we have online aren’t necessarily reflective of that in real life. Butnar made an insightful point on how we can’t make friends by solely consuming stuff. We need to partake in activities and conversation; movements. If you want an authentic and real brand then the key is interact: less talk more action isn’t just a useful phrase to get kids to shut up. It works when it comes to branding too.

Spend it well

Time, that is. Not money. “Social media has more power when it gives people the ability to decide what they want to do,” explained Alex Hogan. He encouraged sharing real-life stories and goes on to advise how to spot a bot, “there’s something fundamentally wrong when a bot tries to recruit you.” Hogan’s right. There’s something that feels forced about an automated message, whether it’s with a political stance or not, and it’s important to use intuition.

It’s clear we’re engaged in an evolving capitalised truth with an abundance of tools and information at our fingertips, yet one theme and way to navigate them remains the same: be authentic. When you next find yourself questioning motives, it helps to feel confident and comfortable with your own. Authenticity reassures personal ideas and solidifies truths. It’s exactly what we need right now.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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How Facebook Improves Communities and Drives Business Growth

For a platform that has gathered 2.6 real people online, what impact is it making, and what responsibilities come with that power?

It all comes down to having an attitude and an ambition that asks how do we maximize the good while minimizing the bad, according to Ian Edwards, Facebook’s Planning Director.

At Social Media Week London 2018, Edwards reflected on the challenges and opportunities technological innovations brings to our industry and discussed Facebook’s and Instagram’s role in enabling communities and driving business growth.

The power and belief in building a community

Birthday Fundraiser, a recently launched new Facebook feature, together with Facebook Group, continue to be tools that Facebook takes pride in. According to Edwards, these are the tools that can help community drive huge value at a broad level.

Take Birthday Fundraiser as an example. This year, Facebook launched this tool so that users can, on their birthdays, ask friends and family to donate to a charity or a course that matter to them. So far, the tool has raised more than 250 million pounds for various charities, according to Edwards.

He also cited research showing that interacting with your community, either online or offline, in a meaningful way, has many benefits, and Facebook Groups has made that a core mission since its founding days.

“You can find a group in pretty much every single interest you can imagine,” said Edwards.

A year of making technological progress

Edwards also highlighted in this session the progress that Facebook has made in four areas.

Brand safety

Facebook is now working closely with brand safety management partners, like DoubleVerify, to provide transparency in the area.

Minimizing bad content

“Removing content that does not meet our community standard has been a huge focus for 2018,” said Edwards. In May, Facebook published their enforcement number for the very first time.

In Q1 alone they took down 837 million pieces of spam, and nearly 100 percent of that was identified by themselves before they were flagged by users, according to Edwards.

Increasing accountability and transparency in advertising

In August, Facebook announced that they were giving users more information about every business that runs an ad on the platform. Now, when users click on “Why am I seeing this ad,” they will see the reason why they were being targeted for a specific ad and how Facebook was using their data.

“I think this is right at the forefront of ad transparency,” said Edwards.

Election integrity

This is a time when tech giants like Facebook are taking up the responsibility they share in political integrity. According to Edwards, Facebook is sharing with users information of each and every campaign ad and who is paying for that. They’ve also created an online archive for all the ads that’s been run.

“The majority of ad works at a glance”

Mr. Edwards brought forward the idea of “two-second advertising” during the session.

“As an industry, I believe we are often found guilty of making a fundamental mistake — we kind of intuitively believe that advertising works at a much deeper level than it really is,” said Edwards. “But this is not how advertising works. The majority of ad works at a glance.”

However, he thinks that this short attention length shouldn’t be preventing businesses from having ambitious ideas. One of the examples that he brought up was NIKE’s Just Do It campaign ad with Colin Kaepernick, with a short line, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” This ad has attracted anger alongside cheers on social media, but following that was a huge marketing success — NIKE’s sales went up to the highest level it has ever been, according to Edwards.

“When you have a big idea, it can be delivered quickly. It will travel and it will have impact,” said Edwards.

At the end of the session, Edwards encouraged social media professionals to stay motivated and believe in what they do.

“I want people to be proud of working in social media,” said Edwards. “It is and it continues to be a force of our time, and will continue to be a place to build meaningful connection with customers.”

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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Get “Closer” to Social Media Week Manila

Social Media Week comes to Manila this November to explore the relationship between technology and humanity.

Reflecting on our global theme, “Closer,” #SMWmanila aims to bring industry leaders and professionals together in an effort to exchange innovative ideas and strengthen communities so that we can all effectively reconnect with our humanity in this world dominated by digital connections.

We spoke with the organizers of SMW Manila about the upcoming event, what brands they are most excited about partnering with, and what local trends they are picking up in the market.

What do you think will be the most important attendee takeaways from your city’s SMW conference?

Despite the emergence of tech innovations like A.I., #SMWmanila thinks that social media and the internet are still powered by real human connections.

We will be sharing valuable perspectives on the best ways to lead digital innovations, improve digital experiences, and ultimately, bringing communities closer.

How do your overall agenda tie into this year’s global theme?

Social Media Week Manila’s local theme, “The Missing Link,” is an extension of our global theme, “Closer.” Both themes seek to discuss the conflict between our sense of community and individualism in a digital age. We will be focusing on rediscovering our lost human connectivity amidst an era of artificial and automated technologies — a reminder that even when tech gets more advanced, our online connection is still powered by human efforts and values.

Which partners or brands are you most excited to be working with this year?

One of SMW Manila’s esteemed media partners is Rappler, a popular social news network in the Philippines. Rappler’s very own CEO, Maria Ressa, will be sharing insights on Uniqlo, a clothing brand from Japan.

Social Media Week Manila is also proud to be working with Endgame, a events company that helps to put together our conference.

Where can potential attendees get news and updates about your conference?

Social Media Week Manila can be found through our social media channels:

  • Twitter:
  • Facebook:
  • Instagram:
  • Website:

What are some local trends you are seeing in your market?

The Philippines is reputed as the ‘Social Media Capital of the World’ by Universal McCann. On average, a Filipino spends four hours on social media and nine hours on the internet. Our country currently has 67 million Facebook users and 10 million on Instagram.

Filipinos’ love for the internet gave rise to a great number of influencers, content creators and digital marketers. With the country’s digital landscape getting richer, it’s becoming more and more difficult for digital brands to stand out.

Luckily, Social Media Week is finally coming to our capital city Manila. Through this three-day conference, industry leaders and professionals now have a chance to come together to exchange thoughts and discuss the way forward in this ever-changing media landscape.

What are some of the key questions that will be addressed during your edition of SMW?

  • How to create a viral phenomenon?
  • How do we combine on- and off-line marketing?
  • How to use social media for social good?
  • How to amplify your social influence?
  • How to identify, evaluate, and benchmark socal influencers?
  • How to discover and fulfill your ambitions?
  • How to make an impact in social media without it impacting you?
  • How has the digital age made it easier to start a business?
  • Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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