Tag: humanity

3 Ways Facebook is Supporting Mental Health

2020 has been ripe with change, uncertainty, and endless efforts to manage the uncertain outcomes of our decisions as best we can. Beyond the fear of contracting the virus are the new realities of working from home, virtual schooling, and lack of physical interaction with colleagues, family, and friends. While mask-wearing, frequent handwashing and social distancing have become the norm as a way of avoiding physical illness, ongoing worry and stress continue to exacerbate mental health challenges.

For the one in five who already have mental health conditions – or the one in two who are at risk of developing them – this issue is an important one, arguably as crucial as physical safety. Organizations and platforms continue to show their dedication to this growing issue in a variety of updates. Most recently, as part of this year’s WWorld Suicide Prevention Day, Facebook announced the rollout of several new mental health support updates. Specifically, the platform is introducing new parameters on self-harm related content, utilizing mobile messaging to offer expert support in real-time, and promoting digital literacy on the topic of suicide prevention.

New parameters around self-harm related content

In a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half (53%) of adults in the U.S. reported their mental health has been negatively impacted due to the coronavirus, up from 32 percent in March. Specifically, respondents reported difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance abuse (12%) and worsening chronic conditions (12%) due to increased stress and anxiety.

A separate report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, conducted this past June, found that one in four young adults between 18 and 24 said they considered suicide in the 30 days prior to the study citing the pandemic as the leading factor. This topic involves a delicate balance by the part of platforms and poses new questions and obstacles that must be carefully considered, specifically what constitutes “harmful” and where to draw the line between what is in violation of platform guidelines or not.

Last year Instagram expanded its ban on images of self-harm and now Facebook is looking to expand upon its already-existing rules regarding self-harm related content. While some content may not technically be in violation of the rules, the platform is working closely with experts to implement restrictions on content including “depressing quotes or memes” to protect those particularly vulnerable during these times. This is a difficult line to walk however, as for some who may not feel comfortable sharing their struggles, quotes or memes may be a useful coping mechanism.

Chat as a vehicle for crisis support

The proliferation of mobile messaging offers brands and platforms a number of opportunities to connect with communities in unprecedented ways.

Recent data from eMarketer shows that in 2020 there are around 2.7 billion mobile phone messaging app users worldwide, and this number is projected to grow to 3.1 billion by 2023. For context, this equates to roughly 40 percent of the global population. During an age of social distancing, the time is now to turn to this trend as an integral way to share resources, insights, and foster connection. In this vein, as part of its recent push to support mental health Facebook is introducing a new, real-time assistance option via Messenger chat.

“Getting people help in real-time is especially important when they are in distress. In the coming months, we’ll make it easier for people to talk in real-time with trained crisis and mental health support volunteers over Messenger,” the company shared in its News blog.

With 1.3 billion people using Messenger to date and with plans officially underway to merge WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger into a single app, this could be a seamless and non-intrusive way for those seeking help to get access to the resources they need.

Wellness guides and digital literacy resources

In May Instagram announced its ‘Guides’ options for profiles, enabling users to more easily discover content including tips on how to look after your well-being, maintaining connection with others or managing anxiety or grief from their favorite creators and brands.

Building on this, Facebook is launching localized guides offering targeted ways to support those who are struggling. The company pointed to The Suicide Prevention of India’s guide, which emphasizes fostering social connectedness, Mentally Aware Nigeria’s guide catered to having safe conversations about suicide, and Samaritans HK of Hong Kong guide to simple but effective ways to check on your friends and loved ones as examples it seeks to emulate.

Beyond wellness guides, Facebook is doubling down on digital literacy by incorporating Orygen’s #chatsafe guidelines to its Safety Center — the primary aim of the move being to help educators better navigate mental health conversations with their students. In addition, Facebook unveiled its ‘Get Digital’ digital citizenship and wellbeing program featuring a microsite of courses spanning key themes of connection, empowerment, and engagement.

In tandem with the new program, Facebook will host a series of live events throughout this month September tackling a variety of key concerns in the midst of an abnormal academic year — the first of which will leverage insights from the JED Foundation to address mental health.

Mental health has been a prominent and recurring topic in recent months but one worth keeping at the front of our messaging and stories. As marketers, we play an instrumental role in helping remove the stigma and making the practice of digital empathy more mainstream. Creating shared understanding and experiences in an age of social distancing has its challenges, but there are also tremendous opportunities for how can we use the power of technology to address these issues.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/09/3-ways-facebook-is-supporting-mental-health/

How Social Media is Driving the Accessibility of Meditation

Having to practice social distancing can make people feel isolated and lonely, which can fuel spikes in stress and anxiety levels. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With easy and accessible ways to cope with stress, you, your loved ones, and your community can become stronger and prevail on the other side.

Social platforms continue to offer ways to practice mindfulness amidst the uncertainty — a welcomed digital respite for many. Here’s a look at some of the latest efforts building on this trend.

Snapchat’s ‘Headspace Minis’

Back in June, at its 2020 Partner Summit, Snapchat previewed ‘Snapchat Minis’, micro-versions of full apps built within the Snapchat itself. This opportunity essentially allows developers to engage within the platform directly rather than prompt users externally to download their own apps.

The first Snapchat Mini to go live? The “Headspace Mini” featuring a mindfulness and meditation tool. In an interesting take on the practice of meditation, typically done solo, the app is looking to use this opportunity to encourage friends to engage in the activity together — stripping it of the fear and discomfort that can sometimes present itself when trying something new. As an added perk – you don’t have to separately install the Headspace app nor be a Headspace subscriber to take advantage.

To access the Mini, toggle to your chat and click on the rocket icon towards the bottom of your screen. This will trigger a Headspace session within the app that the person you’re chatting with can also access. Once they join, you can choose from up to six bite-size meditations ranging from three to four minutes in length to participate in including “Just Breathe,” “Get Out of a Funk,” “Kick the Panic,” “Be Nice to You,” “Pressure to Succeed,” and “Me Time.” All of the sessions are narrated by Hedspace’s co-founder Andy Puddicombe and emphasize the basics of being mindful: abstaining from passing judgment, staying in tune with how you’re feeling, and coming back to your breath.

The chat function is accessible throughout the sessions, but using it will temporarily pause the meditation. There is also a Bitmoji presence in which you will have a friendly avatar in the bottom corner reminding you in the process that you’re not alone.

Share your experiences

Also within the Minis, Snapchat is bringing visual communication to the forefront with fun and interactive “vice check?” and “Snaphow your feel” stickers. Aligned with the mission of a recent campaign by Holler and Ad Council, the goal is to reach a younger demographic and normalize these often complex and difficult conversations.

For meditations specifically, users have the option to share a meditation directly in a Snap via a clickable filter overlaying a selfie. Again, the mission is to facilitate a seamless and shareable experience that makes these practices and dialogues feel more natural. For people who may opt to do a meditation solo, they can simply search for Headspace Minis in the search bar or within the Here for You portal — Snapchat’s hub for mental health education and resources.

Calm x HBO Max: Guided Imageries

Headspace isn’t the only meditation in the game looking to forge meaningful partnerships with platforms or brands. HBO Max recently revealed its effort to build upon its collaboration with the Calm app and the creators of Nutopia in the form of a 10-part series called “A World of Calm” Each half-hour episode will be narrated by A-list stars – including Mahershala Ali, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Lucy Liu, Cillian Murphy, and Keanu Reeves.

“We are delighted to bring the magic behind our audio Sleep Stories to the screen for the first time. These experiences are visual Valium and will help people relax and unwind during these stressful times,” shared Calm Co-Founder and Co-CEO Michael Acton Smith.

Building on Calm’s Sleep Stories, these guided imageries are targeted to enhance how you feel through tranquil music, soothing narratives, and stunning visuals provided by the producers of National Geographic’s One Strange Rock documentary series.

“..This series has been entirely created during quarantine using Nutopia’s worldwide network of award-winning cinematographers and filmmakers. We hope this series of serene stories will bring a sense of much needed calm to audiences,” added Nutopia’s CEO and Founder Jane Root.

As more platforms utilize their communities, partners and technologies to prioritize mental health, we as marketers have a greater ability to play an integral role in de-stigmatizing mental health. In particular, by demonstrating that with a little bit of a practice, we can all be more empathetic listeners even without face-to-face contact.

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The post How Social Media is Driving the Accessibility of Meditation appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/07/how-social-media-is-driving-the-accessibility-of-meditation/

How Holler and Ad Council are Supporting Mental Health Dialogues

2020 has been a particularly tough year for mental wellness and online conversations. Now more than ever we know a simple “how are you doing?” goes a long way, but starting a candid conversation about mental health is not easy for everyone. In light of the past few months, Holler and Ad Council teamed up to pursue opportunities targeted towards making online conversations more fluid, authentic, and supportive.

Seize the Awkward

Specifically, the two teamed up with the JED Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for the launch of the Seize the Awkward campaign. The mission of the project is an important one: to bring light to the important but often uncomfortable mental health check-ins with loved ones and, above all, offer a solution to make these conversations as comfortable and normal as possible: conversational content. A core component of the push includes a new sticker pack that helps friends and family check-in with each other about mental health during times of crisis and uncertainty.

As part of the campaign and to celebrate World Emoji Day this past Friday, Holler and Ad Council introduced Goldie & Mo — a new messaging sticker pack to help people stay connected through more expressive, empathetic digital conversations. Goldie & Mo are best friends who are committed to opening up to one another and supporting each other through their ups and downs but, like many of us, have trouble sometimes broaching the topic of mental health and knowing how to start an open dialogue. With people texting nonstop, Goldie & Mo are here to lead the way and help people find the right words across messaging platforms.

“Digital communication is evolving to help us express ourselves better, allowing us to be a genuine support for someone in need. Visual content, like messaging stickers, can fill in the gap when words alone are not enough. Along with the AdCouncil and Natalia Seth, we’re excited to launch Goldie & Mo to help people start a conversation and use visuals when they’re not sure what words to say.”

Branding yourself as empathetic

As part of the campaign, the organizations are collaborating with Gen Z artist and influencer Natalia Seth and creating new phone cases with a charitable component.

Seth’s designs are being made into shoppable phone cases on caseable.com, so that people can brand themselves as an available and empathetic listener directly on their device. Proceeds from the phone cases will go to the JED Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in direct support of their continued work in prioritizing mental health, solidarity, and peer-to-peer support.

“As young people everywhere grapple with continued uncertainty, checking in on their friends’ mental health is more important than ever,” said Heidi Arthur, Chief Campaign Development Officer at the Ad Council. In collaboration with Holler, we’re excited to encourage them to do so in such a dynamic way across chat messaging apps, iMessage, and more.”

Expanding emoji utility

A whopping 92 percent of the online population uses emojis daily and platforms including Google have reported a 40 percent uptick in emoji use during quarantine. Whether we feel indifferent about them or not, they’re here to say and undoubtedly ingrained in our modern communication practices and habits.

In this vein, on World Emoji Day Apple, Google and Facebook also released a series of updates to their own emoji lineups. Facebook leaned in on the animation while Google emphasized diversity. For iOS14 Apple unveiled mask and headwear options to its MeMoji characters.

As marketers it is crucial we find opportunities to normalize these often difficult conversations and leverage our platforms to make them easier to navigate. Conversations are increasingly digital, but that doesn’t mean they inevitably will be stripped of emotion and meaning. With efforts like these, we can progress in how we practice empathy online and enhance our relationships both digitally and in-person.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/07/how-holler-and-ad-council-are-supporting-mental-health-dialogues/

How Major Platforms are Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community

For roughly 10 days Americans have gathered to protest the issues of systemic racism, violence, and brutality that our POC communities have suffered at the hands of the authorities. Protests have erupted in virtually every American state, in small towns and major cities alike, and even overseas in Europe and New Zealand.

Social media platforms have also taken action spanning financial support to organizations fighting against racial inequality and promoting education so we can create a pathway towards better education and understanding of how we can support the cause with empathy.

Here’s what we’ve seen from each of the major companies:

Twitter #Allyship Overview

Beyond updating its main profile to reflect its support for the protests, Twitter is also leveraging its #StartSmall initiative to allocate several grants to support organizations designed to address racial inequality. This includes Colin Kaepernick‘s “Know Your Rights Camp” aimed to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, and mass-mobilization.

Most importantly, the platform shared its top insights around how people can improve how they respond to racial inequality in a new guide for allyship. In order to respond, people first need to “understand the historical and structural contexts that have led to racism and discrimination…At Twitter, our principles of allyship are simple: Learn, Ask, Show up, and Speak up,” Marium R. Qureshi and Jade Williams explained in a recent blog post. By this definition, allyship is not about who you are but a commitment to be authentic and consistent in your education around these critical topics.

When you ask questions of friends and colleagues, do so empathetically and avoid coming from a place of disbelief. A couple of example questions following these best practices include “If you have the time/energy, do you feel comfortable sharing your experience with me?” and This week is heavy. How are you feeling/coping?” As far as speaking up and showing up, consider donating to organizations fighting for racial justice and police reform to help further the cause and exercise your voice and right to vote. Conduct a self-audit of whose in your circle and who you interact with online.

LinkedIn Learning: A Pathway to Inclusivity

We must invest our time to become better informed and develop a deeper understanding and awareness that will allow us to properly empathize with black communities who are suffering. This is key in gaining true perspective on the current movement, and the more people are educated, the better equipped we’ll be to enact effective, long-term change.

In this vein, LinkedIn has released several free courses within a “Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for All” track, covering key topics spanning unconscious bias, addressing culturally sensitive issues, how to hire and retain diverse talent, and more. “Investing in our own learning to understand and confront bias, communicate about topics of difference, and create change can help us individually contribute to building a better workplace and society,” said Hari Srinivasan, Vice President of Product for LinkedIn Learning.

Beyond this, the platform also acknowledges that being a strong ally begins with listening, so it is utilizing its social channels to share stories that amplify perspectives from the Black community. Pathways to better understand are integral to success and LinkedIn is positioned well to bring the awareness needed at the moment via its widespread access to professional and educational insights that can help underscore gaps needing to be addressed.

Pinterest: Elevating Content on Racial Justice

Pinterest is taking a broad approach to its efforts starting with its platform and internal team and extending to external audiences directly supporting the movement.

More specifically, within the app content on racial justice is being elevated as a means to help people stay informed. This includes tips for assessing and adjusting your own mentality and how to approach younger children on the subject. There will also be content guiding users to organizations to support and various resources to learn more about the history of systemic racism in the country. Generally, the platform is committed to growing the diversity of content on the platform and avoiding distraction from serving as a hub to support and learn. In this regard, the platform is not serving ads on Black Lives Matter results.

The company is also donating 25,000 shares of stock to “organizations committed to racial justice and promoting tolerance” and investing $250,000 to help rebuild local businesses damaged in the protests. It is also providing $750,000 in paid media to organizations that support racial justice.

TikTok’s Creator Diversity Council

June is Black Music Month and to celebrate TikTok announced it will offer dedicated programming to celebrate Black artists on the platform who “bring new music, shape culture, and help build the community.”

The platform is also doubling down on technology and strategies around addressing potentially harmful content and creating a more user-friendly appeals process. Along these lines, TikTok plans to develop a creator diversity council to lead impact-driven programs led by the voices driving culture, creativity, and conversations necessary in making an even bigger impact on the problem.

Outside of its team and community, TikTok is donating $3 million from its “Community Relief Fund” to non-profits that help the Black community and an additional $1 million toward fighting racial injustice and inequality that we are witnessing in this country. Also in the music space, YouTube is financially stepping up by offering $1 million to organizations seeking to address injustice.

Leading with Empathy

Finally, the leaders behind Snapchat, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram have all taken a personal approach to their response leading with emotion-driven memos.

Facebook is committing $10 million to racial injustice and lifting Black voices in addition to partnering with civil rights advisors in its efforts. Along with Instagram, it has also switched all profiles to black and white colors in support of recent events. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri uploaded a personal IGTV response on his own profile underscoring his eagerness and drive to channel frustration, hurt, and anger into positive change.

Similarly, Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel in his own statement called for the creation of an American commission to address racial injustice, and comprehensive tax reform as the way forward. Taking even more drastic measures, Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian has resigned from his position urging the board to replace him with a Black candidate and will use future gains on his Reddit stock to serve the black community, beginning with a $1 million donation to Kaepernick’s ‘Know Your Rights’ initiative.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/06/how-major-platforms-are-standing-in-solidarity-with-the-black-community/

How Do We Respond?

The death of George Floyd, the issues of systemic racism, violence, and brutality that our POC communities have suffered at the hands of the authorities, together with the protests around the world has been truly horrifying. This week I needed to address what was happening with my team and come up with a plan for how we as a company should respond.

We have POCs on our team and are a core part of our community here in the US and around the world. We’ve led numerous programs that are aimed at supporting D&I initiatives and consider our role in the fight against inequality and injustice to be one of our most important responsibilities, but we don’t always get it right. I don’t always get it right. I know we need to do better.

The first thing I did this week was apologized to my team for not addressing what is happening sooner and more directly. On Monday morning, I tried to write something with the aim of publishing something publicly, but I couldn’t find the right words and became paralyzed by a fear of getting it wrong tonally. This is how many of us feel in the business world, but of course, this is wrong. As many have said, to be silent is to be complicit and that is not who we are. Black Lives Matter. This movement matters. Taking bold action matters. Doing something that feels scary and risky matters.

It is imperative that we use this moment to fight harder than ever before against violence and racism. We must work together as a team and with our community to amplify the voices and stories of the people impacted and affected by what is happening. Now more than ever we need to lead with empathy and support the Black community in this fight for justice.

Yes, we should post messages of support and our willingness to join the fight for equality and justice. Yes, we should identify the ways in which we can use our platform and influence to impact the issue in the biggest way we can. But there is so much more we can and should do.

Here are three areas that we are particularly focused on and I encourage you to do the same. This list is by no means exhaustive, so I am asking you to let me know if you have additional ideas around how we can be more effective and have an even bigger impact on the problem.

Donate

It is imperative for us to support those most impacted by the protests, especially those people who have been incarcerated and cannot make bail. You can lend support by making a donation to The National Bail Fund Network, which has a full directory of bail funds by state. ActBlue has also set up a secure donation link that will let you simultaneously send money to up to 37 nationwide bail funds. For every dollar an employee donates, Crowdcentric will match. Rolling Stone also shared a helpful breakdown of suggested causes and campaigns that you can support at this time.

Another area that is of great interest to me personally is funding police reform and ways policies can be adjusted to combat police violence.

The Police Use of Force Project has reviewed the rules governing police use of force in America’s largest city police departments to determine whether they include meaningful protections against police violence. They compared police department use of force policies with police killings data for these police departments to see if there was a relationship between the two. They ultimately found that police departments with policies that place clear restrictions on, when, and how officers use force had significantly fewer killings than those that did not have these restrictions in place.

You can learn more about their approach, analysis, and findings here. Please also take the opportunity to donate to support their work going forward.

Vote

Exercising our civic responsibility is, above all, critical to ensuring long-standing solutions that will get at the core of these issues. This begins with voting out officials who do not represent our core values and voting in those that will defend black people’s human rights and end systemic racism and police violence and brutality.

To address the issue we have to change the system. According to a piece President Obama wrote recently, this starts with the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.

“If we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.”

Voting is not just about being registered and about you fulfilling your personal responsibilities, it is essential that we get as many people to vote as possible. We’ve compiled a number of ideas and resources below that will help promote the importance of voting in any future election:

  • Verify you are registered to vote: Visit “Vote Save America” and confirm your voter status. You can check here.
  • Adopt a Battleground State: Just because you don’t live in a battleground state doesn’t mean you can’t have a huge impact on helping voters in those states make their decision and get to the polls on Election Day.
  • Vote by Mail: Vote by mail is one essential way to ensure the 2020 election can go on safely, securely, and on time. Get your absentee ballot here. It takes only two minutes.

Educate

I wholeheartedly believe that as a nation we are uneducated around the history and impact of systemic racism in this country and around the world. We must invest our time to become better informed and develop a deeper understanding and awareness that will allow us to properly empathize with black communities who are suffering at the hands of racists and bigots.

As a good place to start, our friends at Tribeca Film Festival put together this fantastic list of films and books that are designed to help us educate ourselves about systemic racism, police brutality, and unconscious bias. We’ve also added a few of our own:

As I said, this is by no means all we can do, but it’s a start and represents a path forward and an opportunity for us to take action, not just now, but for as long as it takes for real change to happen.

We are proud to be in this fight and hope you will join us and other leaders and organizations in our industry and do everything we can to not let this moment go to waste.

Thank you to my team for their support and input into this piece and for holding me accountable in my role as CEO.

The post How Do We Respond? appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/06/how-do-we-respond/

Why TikTok is Partnering with Brands to Promote Gift Giving During COVID-19

During this continued period of social distancing technology fulfills an extraordinarily important role. It’s helped us adapt our lifestyles around remote work and finding the balance of personal and professional lives that comes with this, how to self organize to help those in need, and most importantly, letting loved ones know you’re thinking of them while the coronavirus pandemic keeps us apart.

“SMALL GESTURES”

TikTok is embracing this through a new collaboration with its brand partnerships, a program titled “Small Gestures.” Small Gestures offers the connectivity in demand through the small act of sending a gift to someone who may need a simple boost whether that be creative inspiration for a video, exercise ideas and ways to support their mental health during this time of crisis.

TikTokers can use the Small Gestures feature up to three times apiece to send gifts to loved ones and friends free-of-charge.

HOW IT WORKS

  1. Search for ‘Small Gestures’ on the Discover Page
  2. Click on the purple banner at the top of the page
  3. Browse through several partner offerings and select the one you want to send
  4. Tap on the offer and send it via message

The gifts available in the app cater to a wide variety of interests and passion from food to podcasts, to fitness to learning new languages and how to make videos, and more. Here are the highlights:

  • A 90-day subscription to Adobe Premiere Rush
  • A 1-month free DashPass subscription from DoorDash
  • A 90-day trial for Pandora
  • A two-month premium membership for Skillshare with unlimited access
  • A $120 credit towards Talkspace’s online and mobile therapy sessions
  • A 30-day trial to Alo Moves’ on-demand yoga, fitness and mindfulness classes
  • A 90-day trial to for the elite personal training platform Fitplan
  • A free 90-day subscription to the language-fluency app Fluent Forever
  • A $30 discount off any purchase from The Bouqs Co. for any flower arrangement or plant
  • A code for 15 percent off online purchases of any Rebbi coconut-milk-based beverages
  • A limited offering of game tiles including Lara Croft Go, Hitman Go, and Deus Ex Go from publisher Square Enix

THE NEXT PHASE: E-COMMERCE

Per TikTok, the stated aim of the Small Gestures is to “provide comfort and “thinking of you” reminders to friends and family while we’re apart.” However it’s worth noting that another significant element at play here is a push into the e-commerce space. Recently, the platform unveiled a set of tools and external linking options within bios and uploaded videos in order to provide more revenue generation options for creators. In tandem, TikTok also launched an influencer marketplace.

YouTube is carving its space in the territory with ‘Shorts‘ its own take on short-form to exist inside the current YouTube app. Details remain scarce but the platform shared it will allow creators to take advantage of YouTube’s catalog of licensed music and create clips similar to those seen on TikTok.

Much like Pinterest, TikTok amidst COVID-19 is eager to expand on the activities that users can undertake within the app — more specifically be a destination for shopping and discovery. The hurdle is, of course, starting virtually then transitioning to a shopping experience that feels more like ”real life.” Making this seamless will translate into habitual behaviors that will feel genuine and provide context to time spent within the app itself.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/why-tiktok-is-partnering-with-brands-to-promote-gift-giving-during-covid-19/

How Facebook is Driving Digital Empathy During COVID-19

As we continue to stay indoors and practice social distancing, social platforms including Facebook have seen a significant increase in usage across the globe. According to The Verge, total messaging on the platform has increased by 50 percent and video calling has doubled in some markets.

“Much of the increased traffic is happening on our messaging services, but we’ve also seen more people using our feed and stories products to get updates from their family and friends,” the company shared in a recent blog post.

Building off of these behaviors, the company is expanding its reactions package with a “Care” reaction featuring an emoji face hugging a heart for the native Facebook app, and a purple pulsing heart for Messenger. The latter will appear alongside the familiar “thumbs up,” the standard heart, and the laughing, shock, sadness, and anger emojis. You can see the new heart by pressing on an existing reaction to change it, or by creating a new reaction to a chat.

EXPANDED “CARE” REACTIONS

What began in testing late last month, the impetus behind these new reactions was simple: facilitating more ways to empathize and sympathize with one another. Helping people show their support is an important way to help normalize this challenging and uncertain situation, a critical element in dealing with the numerous emotions stemming from COVID-19.

“This idea of a hug reaction came back consistently as one of the emotions and feelings that were missing from Reactions, so that’s something that was always on our minds. And with the crisis that we’re going through right now, there’s no doubt that people need more compassion, more support.”

Here’s a visual of what the updates look like in action:

Aside from helping its users stay positive and productive in their relationships during this time, the platform is hopeful these new reactions will shed light into how people are using them, the value they attribute to them, and whether these types of reactions are most useful in the moment or more evergreen. Based on this information, the platform will make decisions around whether they remain live after COVID-19 and if subsequent reactions will take the same approach in response to future crises.

WHATSAPP & WHO STICKER PACKS

Designed to help people accurately reflect how they’re feeling and stay connected while complying with quarantine mandates, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is deepening its partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced a sticker pack, called “Together At Home,” aimed to convey the moments and emotions that people are going through each day.

The stickers are currently offered to the platform’s 2 billion+ users in 10 languages including Arabic, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

Shown above, the stickers are aimed to not only help you check in on friends and family but remind them to wash their hands, maintain proper distance, stay active, and celebrate the medical heroes on the front lines.

Beyond this update, the platform is currently testing group video and audio call with up to eight users, a 2x increase from the four the platform supports currently which would position it to compete with the likes of Houseparty and Zoom as people are eager to stay connected despite being apart.

Facebook has introduced a wide body of work throughout the pandemic such as providing grants to small businesses, supporting public health initiatives to get important messages out and combating misinformation through dedicated hubs and search capabilities allowing users to verify the accuracy of what they’re seeing. While these updates around reactions and stickers may seem minor in comparison, there’s no denying the significance of platforms being tuned into the kind of empathy the world needs at this moment.

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The post How Facebook is Driving Digital Empathy During COVID-19 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/how-facebook-is-driving-digital-empathy-during-covid-19/

Netflix and Instagram Join Forces to Promote Mental Health with New Weekly Live Series

How do we stay connected during social distancing? How do we manage anxiety and overwhelming thoughts introduced by these uncertain times? What does self care actually mean in the context of a global pandemic?

These are just a few of the questions that Netflix and Instagram are looking to tackle in a new partnership aimed to help their viewers address some of the concerns they may have amid the current health crisis. In a conversational, social-friendly setting, users can voice their struggles with sleeping, anxiety, and self-care, feel heard, and get answers during a time when feeling stuck is commonplace.

Wanna Talk About It?

COVID-19 has upended the lives of younger generations and adults in numerous ways from disrupting major life milestones including graduations, to presenting newfound concerns around financial stability and mental health, relationships, and job security. Navigating our new normal of social distancing and self-quarantining is an obstacle in itself, but added with a reorientation of how we routinely connect and relieve stress, many are in search of alternative sources for sharing what’s on their mind.

Starting today at 4pm PT/7 pm ET, the two are launching a weekly live series titled Wanna Talk About It? Featuring interviews with Netflix talent and mental health experts from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America, The Trevor Project, Crisis Text Line and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the episodes will aim to raise awareness and create a safe space for people seeking to address the challenges and questions streaming from these confusing and extraordinary times.

Participating in the effort are stars including Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), Joey King (The Kissing Booth), Ross Butler and Aisha Boe (13 Reasons Why), Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things), Lana Condor (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), and Jerry Harris (Cheer). The first episode will include Centineo and Dr. Ken Duckworth, Chief Medical Officer, NAMI, and discuss ways we can practice self-care to stay mentally as well as physically healthy amid the pandemic.

Fueling Empathy & Community

Sixty-five percent of Instagram‘s audience is under 34 years of age, while Netflix is ranked the most popular video channel among teen users, even etching out YouTube in a recent study conducted by Piper Sandler.

With these stats in mind, the collaboration between the streaming and social giants makes a lot of sense, especially when considering Instagram’s latest focus on taking care of its users through experiments to hide total like counts, adding prompts on potentially offensive comments, and its ‘Restrict’ feature allowing usings to control who interacts with them and how.

From Facebook’s ‘Community Help’ update to Snapchat’s early release of ‘Here For You’ to Instagram’s release of a ‘Co-Watching’ feature and tease of allowing multiple participants to join an Instagram Live, platforms are showing a growing interest in helping contribute to positive mental health. In a pivotal moment for the industry, emphasis on creating shared understanding and experiences will continue to rise in importance and wield tremendous power in how younger generations on-ramp to social media.

Wanna Talk About It? will run every Thursday until May 14 on the @Netflix Instagram account.

The post Netflix and Instagram Join Forces to Promote Mental Health with New Weekly Live Series appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/netflix-and-instagram-join-forces-to-promote-mental-health-with-new-weekly-live-series/

How Facebook is Using Community Help to Fuel COVID-19 Relief

In 2017 Facebook introduced its Community Help feature providing users with a central source for searching and receiving help during times of crisis including natural and man-made disasters. To further lend its support to COVID-19 relief efforts, the company is expanding the feature marking the first time Community Help will go global and its first use case for a health pandemic.

Prior to an official rollout, Facebook tested Community Help for a select group of U.S. cities. Those included in the test group shared requests for extra medical supplies for local hospitals while others offered free assistance including donating their time to provide meals or leading virtual workouts as people try to reshape their fitness routines while gyms remain closed.

NAVIGATING THE PLATFORM

The Community Help section can be accessed directly, existing as its own destination with the broader release. It is also accessible through the pre-existing COVID-19 Information Center sitting on top of the news feed. Since its release, more than 1 billion users have relied on the Information Center for updates shared by government and health authorities as well as curated content from politicians, journalists, and other public figures.

Posts can be filtered by either those requesting or offering help. A nice perk? You can get as granular as you need. Facebook incorporated specific categories including baby supplies, food, toiletries, business support, or transport. You can also post, comment, or reply to threads either as an individual or a Facebook Group and have the option of replying privately. More specifically, you can set a preferred contact method — either Messenger or WhatsApp — or share the update more broadly with a regular Facebook post to your timeline.

FUELING FUNDRAISERS

As part of the Community Help hub, Facebook is looking to amplify fundraising efforts by matching donations up to $10 million for fundraisers. The company is working with two particular groups — the UNF/WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Fund Facebook Fundraiser and the Combat Coronavirus with the CDC Foundation Facebook Fundraiser. Down the line, Facebook hopes to open this allowing people to seek out and donate to nonprofit fundraisers central to their communities.

HELP MAP VS. COMMUNITY HELP

On the heels of this news, an evolving question becomes how does Facebook’s update stack up with its competition including neighborhood social network Nextdoor?

Two weeks ago Nextdoor unveiled its ‘Help Map.’ Similarly to Facebook’s Community Help, the core functionality allows people to list themselves as being able to provide assistance to someone in need. However, Facebook’s hub takes this notion to the next level by giving people the chance to input requests as well as post when they’re looking to help. It also takes into account deeper technology integration as it builds on Facebook’s earlier efforts with Crisis Response, which connected multiple tools in one place.

‘HOW CAN I HELP?’

Following the lead of its parent company, Instagram is also acting on opportunities to make it easier for people to request or offer Help in their communities.

The platform introduced a new sticker question for Stories called ‘How can I help?’ stemming from a Twitter request shared by Musa Tariq, Global Head of Marketing, Airbnb Experiences. Originally, the question sticker on Instagram Stories defaulted to “Ask me a question”, but is now being replaced with the new text in the hopes that it will enable more people to stay connected and support one another in these difficult times.

If you’re looking to use the new sticker yourself you can access it in the app’s Stories section. A second way to access the sticker is by tapping ‘Create’ located at the bottom of the screen once you start a new Stories post. One caveat, however, you’ll have to manually change the text to ‘How can I help’ by tapping on the sticker itself. Once you push your post live, anyone can respond to the question by tapping on the text box and you can choose to post the responses to your Stories feed.

In these uncertain times, we have an opportunity to use social media to engage people in profound and meaningful ways when face-to-face interaction is no longer an option. Platforms have a fundamental role in helping us navigate these situations and find opportunities to help when we can in the moments that matter.

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The post How Facebook is Using Community Help to Fuel COVID-19 Relief appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/how-facebook-is-using-community-help-to-fuel-covid-19-relief/

6 LinkedIn Courses to Boost Mindfulness and Productivity

In these extraordinary times, building your self-care toolbox is equally if not more important than boosting your skills for working remotely and maintaining productivity.

The boundaries between work life and personal life are more blurred than ever and the loss of our most basic avenues for stress relief and recharging including fitness classes, churches or other places of worship, and coffee shops present their own unique challenges to the situation we face.

Managing Mental Health and Reducing Stress

As we look to navigate this new normal, LinkedIn turned to its task force specializing in mental health to create six courses professionals can use to build mindfulness and manage stress.

At a high-level, these will offer insights into increasing your focus, helping you remain grounded amidst the change and ambiguity, manage emotional triggers, and get ‘unstuck’ when you’re feeling overwhelmed. They’ll also help you better understand the impact of a mindful physical workspace and the actionable steps you can take to create one if you haven’t.

Finally, offerings will share tips for building your energy reserves so even when practicing social distancing, you can still have meaningful relationships with your colleagues, friends, and family.

Let’s break these down a bit more.

Shifting out of ‘flight or fight’ mode

Understanding the importance of mindfulness especially during times of uncertainty is imperative in keeping our nervous systems in check and training our brains to healthy manage those moments of ‘flight or flight’ activity.

The first of LinkedIn’s mindfulness courses, ‘Mindfulness Practices’ takes a close look at the benefits and power of this skill to fundamentally change the course of your work and personal lives. Across several expert-led guided exercises, you can expect to evolve your mind to better respond to stressors in a variety of ways. More specifically, by growing your emotional intelligence, boosting your confidence, finding resiliency in the face of failure, and improving your focus and creativity even when change and uncertainty are serving as distractions.

Staying focused and grounded

Staying connected and focused without being physically present can be challenging, but there are a number of ways to ensure your time is spent wisely and your meetings are as successful and collaborative than those taking place in the conference rooms. A few practices highlighted in the ‘The Mindful Workday’ session worth noting include using daily breaks positively so you come back to your desk recharged and knowing when to unplug so you have time each day to check in with yourself.

Lastly, ‘Mindful Meditations for Work and Life’ aims to help people incorporate practical and easy approaches to meditation including visualization, adapting body language, and breathing exercises. The audio course led by Scott Shute, Head of the Mindfulness and Compassion program at LinkedIn, will also unpack the meaning of brain-body connection and insights for making whatever practices feel best for your stick so they can be part of your regular routine.

Getting unstuck and managing overwhelming thoughts

Managing Stress for Positive Change’ challenges the agenda that stress is purely negative and can only detract from quality work. Led by Heidi Hanna, PhD, define stress in concrete terms and tips for assessing and adjusting it so it can be used constructively. She’ll also offer ways managers and members of the C-suite can create an environment and communication style that limits stressors in the workplace and keeps efforts focused on the bigger picture during challenging times.

In a separate course led by Heidi titled ‘How to Manage Feeling Overwhelmed,’ learn the best practices for helping your brain disrupt your stress circuits and cultivate calm and positive energy that will put you on the path to resolution and that the obstacles that once felt unmanageable feel manageable again. By training your brain to get unstuck in these moments you can feel more in control and prepared the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Balance is a key term when it comes to stress management. One of the primary reasons people struggle in this area is because often the warning signs of imbalance aren’t as obvious. ‘Balancing Work and Life’ led by author and business coach Dave Crenshaw grapples with this question and more, including how we can keep balance once it is established. A big takeaway? It is possible to juggle it all — work, family, a social life — with proper time management and prioritization.

In addition to these courses, LinkedIn also unveiled over 16 additional lessons that target how to boost your productivity when working remotely, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools (Microsoft Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, Cisco Webex and Zoom), and more.

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The post 6 LinkedIn Courses to Boost Mindfulness and Productivity appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/6-linkedin-courses-to-boost-mindfulness-and-productivity/

How Platforms are Helping Brands and Users Navigate COVID-19

COVID-19 has undoubtedly become the dominant focus of our day-to-day lives. Keeping pace with the data, insights, and behavioral shifts can feel dizzying and cumbersome. Several major platforms have stepped up to play fundamental roles in helping marketers and people at various levels navigate through the uncertainty and changes we currently face and will continue to face after the pandemic is behind us.

Let’s break down what these efforts look like in action:

FACEBOOK

It’s no secret that as the COVID-19 pandemic expands, we face a circulation of various misinformation campaigns including rumored government decisions and ‘cures.’ Messaging apps are playing a key tool in spreading these amongst users.

In response to this trend, Facebook is spearheading new ways to stem the flow of messaging misinformation. One way it’s addressing this is through its instant messaging platform WhatsApp, which is testing a feature that would allow users to search for additional context on a message they encounter via a Google search prompt in-stream. WhatsApp also introduced a WHO chatbot, offering yet another stream to access critical information paired with a COVID-19 research hub.

Separately, Facebook, on its own platform, has taken numerous steps throughout the past few weeks that include:

  • Embedding informational prompts to relevant search queries to guide users to trustworthy information about COVID-19
  • Expanding access to local alerts so specific communities can stay in touch about what is going on around them
  • Providing free ad credits for organizations looking to deliver critical virus-related information and data tracking tools so users can keep tabs on evolving stories
  • Introducing a new set of learning resources for kids and parents to help them safely navigate the internet in addition to a set of tips for remote workers
  • Allocating over $100 million in funding to small businesses, fact-checkers, and local newsrooms

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is banking on the positive coming out of COVID-19 and an era of social distancing by offering ways to take an otherwise isolating and passive experience and transforming it into one that is more social and active.

Specifically, the platform launched “Co-Watching,” which allows users to on a video chat or group video browse through feed posts either Liked or Saved by an individual, or one that Instagram suggests. The goal is to give users the opportunity to have more meaningful conversations about what they’re encountering, incentivize them to use video calls more regularly, and spend more time in the app.

This release is one of several responses by the part of Instagram, including a dedicated Story spotlighting posts from your network that are using the “Stay Home” sticker and all of their quarantine activities. Additional stickers that have surfaced on the app include ones reminding of proper handwashing and keeping a six-foot distance from others if you have to be outside, and donation stickers so users across the world can give back.

SNAPCHAT

To support its audience in a time of need, Snapchat is stepping up through a diverse set of efforts. The platform rolled out several creative tools so people can creatively share information from the WHO with friends and family including Bitmoji stickers with common-sense health tips and a worldwide AR filter with tips for staying safe. Users can also visit the WHO and CDC’s official accounts for updates and browse custom content from the organizations.

Taking the information-sharing a step further, the platform announced an addition to its “Discover” tab: “Coronavirus: The Latest,” where access to high-quality news and information can be easily accessed. More generally, Snapchat is working with over three dozen content partners to provide reliable information.

COVID-19 also prompted Snapchat to speed up the debut of its “Here for You” feature, which went live in February and appears when a user conducts searches for topics related to anxiety, depression, stress, grief, suicidal thoughts, and bullying. A new section was added to incorporate content from the Ad Council, CDC, Crisis Text Line and WHO on anxiety related to the coronavirus.

TIKTOK

TikTok is using COVID-19 to identify meaningful opportunities to emphasize its growth and demonstrate its ability to serve as a connective tool for its community. In this vein, it announced a content partnership with the WHO. As part of the collaboration, the platform unveiled a comprehensive COVID-19 resource hub that can be accessed through the “Discover” tab in the app. It also appears amongst the top results when someone enters search criteria pertaining to the virus.

Additionally, on the dedicated page with videos related to the subject, the platform is adding links to serve as a reminder to only rely on credible sources for trustworthy information. The WHO is also using its own verified TikTok account to engage with younger audiences.

Beyond content, TikTok is supporting the WHO financially by donating $10 million to its Solidarity Response Fund used to help get supplies to those on the frontline. “In this time of global distress and concern about the impact of Covid-19, we’ve been inspired by people in towns and cities everywhere whose fundamental humanity is shining through when we need it most,” shared TikTok President Alex Zhu.

TWITTER

During the first month COVID-19 emerged, more than 15 million tweets were sent across Twitter mentioning the virus. The platform has since acted swiftly in ensuring fact-checked and authoritative content was discoverable above the noise and false claims by reawakening its profile verification.

Twitter is also increasing its use of machine learning and automation to take a wide range of actions on “potentially abusive and manipulative content.” This includes detecting spread of false stats and other information, accounts being used to deny or advise against following official advice and promoting treatments or cures that have not been proven. At the same time, the company is being careful to strike an appropriate balance between applying AI as a tool and the role of the human review in these special cases.

BuzzFeed News recently reported that the news media could see an impact “worse than the 2008 financial crisis, which saw newspapers experience a 19 percent decline in revenue.” To support the sector in the absence of some of the smaller, local companies that fuel these publications, Twitter announced a $1 million funding program to be split between The Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation.

PINTEREST

Pinterest is doubling down on its effort to combat misinformation by removing inaccurate information and guiding its users to authentic insights through custom search results.

When searching for information about COVID-19, users are directed to a curated Pinterest page from the World Health Organization (WHO) detailing timely and useful details around how to protect yourself, friends, and family from getting sick. This includes hand-washing best practices, when to use a nose or face mask, and more.

In a statement to The Verge, Pinterest said the custom search results is a way to “connect Pinners with facts and myth-bust what’s not true with authoritative information from the [World Health Organization].” The platform also urges users and brands to follow the WHO’s account as a frictionless way to stay updated while they post and engage with others.

This approach has resulted in a significantly lower volume of pandemic-tied posts compared to other major platforms and spurred creative ideas from Pinners. Pins are showcasing products like COVID-19 notebooks for journaling about your experience, while a “coronavirus vibes” board is dedicated to ways to relax and use this time to practice self-care.

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The post How Platforms are Helping Brands and Users Navigate COVID-19 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/03/how-platforms-are-helping-brands-and-users-navigate-covid-19/

Here’s How Reddit’s Technology and New Partnership are Supporting Mental Health

Today’s teens spend nearly seven and a half hours on their phones each day per a recent report by Common Sense Media, a non-profit dedicated to promoting safe technology and media use for children. Those in the tween category (ages 8 to 12) don’t fall far behind in comparison spending roughly four hours and 45 minutes daily.

As these stats have evolved, there has been a lot of research and discussion around the correlation between this screen time and the mental health and wellbeing of younger demographics. While some argue the linkage is clear and direct, others push back and advocate the connection is more nuanced — that it is about the quality of use that determines whether the relationship to the platforms is healthy and productive or if it’s simply a distraction from larger issues and there isn’t enough adequate mental health services at their disposal.

Younger users are becoming increasingly aware of the negative implications of their social media use and are turning to the platforms to help them take the steps to mitigate these appropriately.

PROVIDING AN OFF-RAMP TO KEY RESOURCES

A growing number of platforms including Snapchat and Pinterest are innovating around opportunities to meet their users where they are and connect them with the communities and tools they can take offline. Reddit is yet another example recently unveiling a slew of suicide prevention tools created in partnership with the Crisis Text Line. Specifically, the update includes a feature that allows Redditors to report those who are encountered and felt to be at risk.

Users can flag someone through reporting a comment or piece of content or by using a button on the individual’s user profile. To report directly from a post, simply select the option that reads, “Someone is considering suicide or serious self-harm.” Alternatively, if you’re on the person’s profile, tap the prompt that says “get them help and support.” A note: if you’re accessing Reddit from your computer on a web browser this will fall under the “more options” section.

When a user is flagged, the platform will send a private message including details to access mental health resources and a suggestion to text the phrase ‘CHAT’ to the number for the Crisis Text Line, 741741. They will then be connected to a trained counselor with whom they can text for as long as they need to have someone to actively empathize with them and help them get to the root of their thoughts and feelings.

EMPLOYING GOOD AI: FUELING NEW APPROACHES TO PUBLIC HEALTH

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is leveraging artificial intelligence from Reddit and Twitter to improve the forecasting of suicide rates. Its current figures, according to a spokesperson, are currently delayed up to two years, negatively influencing policy updates the allocation of resources. This is a significant problem given suicide rates have surged 40 percent in less than two decades.

Without the most up-to-date numbers, the agency can’t properly respond and improve how it’s directing its efforts so it’s relying on platforms to help whittle down publicly available data and address the question: how can signals from various real-time sources be leveraged in order to offset this one to two-year lag?

A helpful source has been reports that break down keyword use across platforms related to suicide. When combined with other CDC data including crisis text and call lines and previous suicide rates from the National Vital Statistics program, newer algorithms can be trained to forecast the actual rate.

“We can now estimate these rates of suicide up to a year in advance of when death records become available,” said Munmun de Choudhury, a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing who is working with the CDC on this project, in a statement to Recode. What does this say for future projections? Data collected until December 2019 can be employed to predict the suicide rate for every week of 2021. She added that the initial phase of the research had an error rate of less than 1 percent.

Social media can be a force for deeper and more empathetic human connection. But, as brands and platforms, we need to put our creative energy behind the programs, partnerships, and technology at our disposal if we are to make a dent in the problem. We have a moral obligation to ensure we’re creating safe and meaningful spaces in which today’s youth can interact and grow and understand the importance of empathy as a foundational skill.

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WATCH THE SMWNYC 2019 RECAP

The post Here’s How Reddit’s Technology and New Partnership are Supporting Mental Health appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/03/heres-how-reddits-technology-and-new-partnership-are-supporting-mental-health/

How Platforms are Promoting Safety and Mental Health

A growing number of platforms are publicizing their dedication to make good on a fundamental responsibility to prioritize and invest in the health and wellness of its users.

Pinterest recently introduced a series of emotional wellness activities including deep breathing exercises for users searching for solutions to better manage their stress and anxiety. Instagram has also made strides in this regard, releasing a tool, Restrict and expanding its suicide and self-harm content ban.

Additional apps are taking cues from these efforts including Snapchat, TikTok, and Facebook. Here’s a look at the latest and why they matter in the grand scheme of our industry.

Snapchat: ‘Here For You’

Ninety-percent of all 13- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat to engage with their friends. This particular demographic is especially vulnerable and internal company research has proven this by showing feelings of stress, depression and anxiety to be the top mental health issues reported by users and their close friends.

Similarly to Pinterest’s mission, ‘Here For You’ is geared more toward offering resources and starting important conversations that resolve these feelings and issues and less about uprooting the product. Specifically, the process works by linking users to a “special section within Snapchat’s search results” when they search criteria indicating they’re in need of support around issues such as anxiety, depression, stress, grief, suicidal thoughts, and bullying.

Illustrated below, if a user were to type in the word “anxiety” they’d be given a selection of short shows to pick from including the series “Chill Pill.” A mixture of original programming made with support from local experts will also be available targeted to topics of suicide, depression, and eating disorders.

According to the announcement, proactive in-app support is just one step towards “what will be a bigger health and wellness push from Snapchat” to be rolled out over the next few months.

“We feel a real responsibility to try to make a positive impact with some of our youngest, sometimes most vulnerable users on our platform,” said Vice President of Global Policy, Jen Stout in a statement to Fast Company. “We know this is the first step of a lot of work we want to do to provide the right resources to our users.”

‘TikTok Tips’: An Influencer-Led Safety and Well-Being Advice Account

Last month, TikTok updated its Community Guidelines to address potential issues with misinformation and expanded its rule around acceptable in-app behavior. Today, the company is taken yet another stand towards helping users make better decisions that are safer and better for their mental health and wellbeing through a new influencer led account dubbed TikTok Tips.

The premise is to use familiar TikTokers to run the feed and dish out fun and friendly reminders to fellow users around how to manage their privacy settings and to take a break from the app. Messages encompass simply getting some added rest while others reinforce the benefit of participating in IRL activities with family and friends to as crucial for building memories.

“We’re on a mission to promote privacy, safety, and positive vibes!” states the account’s description — one that aligns with the platform’s broader mission to serve as an environment of a positive, safe space free of judgment.

While it’s too early to make any declarations on how effective it will be in getting people to re-check their usage and take mental breaks from their constant scrolling, initial video uploads show promising engagement. Two, in particular, have garnered 16.9 million views and 17.2 million views respectively.

‘Facebook’s ‘Hobbi’: An App Dedicated to Tracking Your Personal Progress

In a nod to Pinterest, Facebook is looking to help users focus on their personal growth and development in a new app, Hobbi, via its New Product Experimentation (NPE) team.

As you may guess from its name, Hobbi is dedicated towards giving users an outlet to collect images of their hobbies and interests and sort them into boards so they can easily map their progress. Themed collections can include gardening, cooking, DIY arts and crafts, and more. Outside of the ability to create video highlight reels of your work to share externally on other platforms, Hobbi is not a social networking app, rather an editor and organizer. The editing options and controls are limited, a stark contrast compared to the likes of Instagram. It’s unique in that rather than serving as an outlet to broadcast, its intended use is as a personal log for your achievements, a resource for personal reflection and a compass for growth.

“You might just surprise yourself with how much you have done,” the app description states, encouraging people to push the boundaries and meaningfully engage in the activities that bring them joy, relief, and happiness.

If you’re a company that caters to younger demographics, especially Gen Z, you’ll want to keep tabs on these initiatives and fundamental shifts. Why? Because they are at the heart of what these audiences care about, are interested in, and expect when establishing their loyalty to the brands they purchase from, and the apps they spend their time on.

Learn more about Empathy Economics as part of our 2020 global theme: HUMAN.X and help us establish a human-first, experience-driven approach to digital marketing. Read the official announcement here and secure your early-bird discount today to save 10% on your full-conference pass to #SMWNYC (May 5-7, 2020).

WATCH THE SMWNYC 2019 RECAP

WATCH THE SMWNYC 2019 RECAP

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That’s a Wrap on Empathy Week!

“When you give teens a chance to share their voices and you listen (really listen) to what they’re saying, you learn a lot about what we can do to support them and help them thrive.”

This quote from Katie Hurley, leading expert on empathy and adolescent psychotherapist, summarizes the mission that drove the first-ever Empathy Week hosted by The 404, Social Media Week, Facebook, and a coalition of over 40 industry partners.

Bringing together students, influencers and industry leaders

From December 2-6, we brought together more than 100 high-school students, hundreds of industry leaders, influencers and brands, including P&G, GSK, GE and Samsung to brainstorm ideas for how we can address the fact that empathy is in decline among young people using

Check out our video recap from Empathy Week:

Video by Kindred Minds Productions

Events were hosted at Edelman, Adobe, Grey Group, and Code and Theory’s offices. Dan Gardner, Code and Theory’s CEO said, “We decided to participate in Empathy Week because we feel that as the digital and social media landscape matures so quickly, there’s a growing gap in understanding both the effects it has on a younger generation, as well as the advancements in digital tools and human approaches to mental health. Quite simply, we want people to care about their words and choices online, and understand how they can affect other people. Imagine how different the world would be if everyone who used social media cared about other people’s feelings?”

The week culminated at Facebook’s Partner Center where The 404 hosted a discussion on the role that the marketing industry can play in scaling the program that included leaders from Adobe, Code and Theory, Acoustic (an IBM Watson company), and Holler.

Led by Katie, students explored the different types of empathy and how they differ from sympathy, examples of empathetic behavior online, and ways they can manage their inner judge to become better listeners and communicate understanding.

Scaling the impact of empathy

As part of the workshop, students were also asked to complete a self-assessment quiz, before and after participating, to determine to extent of their understanding of empathy. The results showed that through a ninety-minute program, we increased students levels of empathy as a foundational skill by more than 10 percent.

“Imagine the impact we could make in addressing this issue with more time and more resources at our disposal? The appetite to learn and engage on this topic was voracious, both among students and teachers. This is our biggest opportunity to influence the next generation of Internet users,” said SMW Founder and Executive Directory, Toby Daniels reflecting on the week.

Here is what one of our industry leaders and a participating teacher from one of the schools, Khalil Gibran, had to share:

“Thank you so much for providing this workshop to our students. The workshop topic of empathy is an important topic that needs to be bridged and taught to everyone across the United States to ensure that our country moves in a more positive direction. My students really enjoyed being able to address the issue of lack of empathy by discussing issues faced in school and generating ideas on how to use empathy as a tool for change,” said Carrie Lynch, a high school teacher at Khalil Gibran.

#ActsofEmpathy Campaign

In conjunction with Empathy Week, The 404 also launched the #ActsOfEmpathy campaign with support from Instagram influencers Arielle Calderon (@ariellesays), KhrystyAna K. (@Khrystyana), Cameron Rogers (@freckledfoodie) and Katie Duke (@thekatieduke). #actsofempathy encourages them and the larger community to share their stories of empathy on Instagram and other social media sites and then tag friends who have stood by them during a difficult time or has elevated them in other ways.

What’s Next?

The 404, with over 40 active members, including Salesforce, Microsoft, Attention Capital, Refinery29, GroupM, TBWA, Droga5, and Accenture will convene at Facebook’s Partner Center in early January to explore ways to scale the program and its impact in 2020. Coming off the success of the first Empathy Week, The Department of Education has expressed interest in making the program available to hundreds of their New York City-based high schools.

About the 404

Lead by SMW, we are a community of multi-disciplined, digital thought-leaders brought together to take necessary steps toward solving problems and capitalizing on opportunities that exist as a product of how we use social media. 404 members include leaders from Facebook, Grey Group, Adobe, Code and Theory, Edelman, Whalar, IBM Watson, Salesforce, Microsoft, Attention Capital, Refinery29, GroupM, TBWA, Droga5, and Accenture.

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The post That’s a Wrap on Empathy Week! appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/12/thats-a-wrap-on-empathy-week/

Why Instagram is Pushing for Safe Use of Its App With Guides for Parents & Teens

In conjunction with the Jed Foundation (JED) — a nonprofit which works to promote measures protecting the emotional health of young adults and teens — Instagram published a new toolkit titled Pressure to be Perfect addressing the pressure to be perfect fueled by the digital age.

“We want to encourage you to be mindful of how time online impacts your emotional well-being, share some tips and tools that can improve your experience, and connect you with resources for further thought and discussion,” the toolkit states.

The Pressure to Be Perfect

Parsed out into separate guides, one dedicated towards teens and the other towards parents, the aim is to foster a better understanding of how to navigate the app. Specifically, how you can enhance your experience through awareness of the potential psychological impacts of having a profile.

The overarching theme with this initiative is to help users recognize that what they see on the platform is only one piece of someone’s life that they willingly chose to share. When we acknowledge this, we can move from a place where we feel obligated to present ourselves in ways that are often distorted and driven by the need to conform to one of more thoughtful sharing that is accurate to who we are.

“A big part of Pressure to be Perfect is making sure you have a strong sense of what you want to share and when, keeping a good perspective on the role the platform plays in your life, and knowing how to help others who seem to be struggling.”

The Teen Guide

Looking at the guide for teens, the interactive toolkit features quizzes, essays, how-to’s and tips to boost greater self-awareness when using the platform. Rather than serve as a rule book, the education comes from testing what you already know and encouraging conversations on this important topic based on the individual’s results.

Quizzes feature topics including sharing with sensitivity, maintaining perspective, and responding with kindness. Important insights gleaned upon taking each include the importance of thinking about where you’ll share your content and who will see it, being mindful of your emotions during online interactions, and finding opportunities to help someone who is experiencing distress.

General recommendations shared by the guide include performing routine maintenance on your account – are you following people who connect you to existing interests and make you feel good about yourself? IF not, it may be time for a trim so you can free up some space for more of these people. For inspiration when adding to your followers, a great way to start is by browsing hashtags with keywords aligning with your interests and hobbies.

Beyond unfollowing, other ways to separate yourself from accounts that breed negativity, according to the guide, include muting and restricting. Comments from people you restrict will only be visible to them unless you approve them. Restricted people also won’t be able to see when you’re online or when you’ve read their messages. If this feels too extreme, you can opt to mute

To mute someone, tap the “…” menu in the corner of one of their posts. You can mute feed posts, story posts, or both from an account. You can also mute someone by pressing and holding their story.

The Parent Guide

“One of the most important things we can do for the teens in our lives is to help them focus on their strengths and qualities beyond their physical selves.”

In the spirit of this statement, the parents’ guide emphasizes tips for indicating when a child may be suffering from depression as a result of their social media engagement, what they can do to help improve their kid’s online experiences, and highlights of the tools of the platform available to help.

Key themes of the guidance span enhancing media literacy, the ability to critically analyze and evaluate media messaging, managing the pitfalls of social media, taking control, and counteracting negativity by filling feeds with positivity.

The important takeaway here: the more young people are encouraged to take control of their engagement versus be passive consumers, the greater the likelihood the content will reflect the true sense of who they are. Platforms and adults should, therefore, encourage teens to challenge the ideals and evolve into conscious consumers.

This isn’t the first case of Instagram making a push to protect at-risk users. Most recently, the platform announced the removal of total Like counts, also targeted to reduce the pressure to compare.

Designing feed control in favor of consumers and encouraging them to learn more about the kinds of unhealthy triggers they are regularly served will help them define their own definition of a ‘healthy information diet,” an effort that can and will continue to be good for businesses but also will advance us as a society.

Learn more about Empathy Economics as part of our 2020 global theme: HUMAN.X and help us establish a human-first, experience-driven approach to digital marketing. Read the official announcement here and secure your early-bird discount today to save 30% on your full-conference pass to #SMWNYC (May 5-7, 2020).

WATCH THE SMWNYC 2019 RECAP

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Help Us Spread #ActsOfEmpathy During Empathy Week

This week is Empathy Week, brought to you by The 404, Social Media Week, Facebook and a coalition of over 40 industry partners.

On the heels of a successful pilot event in London, this week (December 2-6) 404 member companies Grey Group, Edelman, Code and Theory, Adobe will host a series of workshops with industry executives, influencers, and high school students targeted to inspire action around the power and importance of being empathetic online. The activities will culminate in a wrap-up event at Facebook’s Partner Centre on Friday.

“Facebook is proud to support The 404’s Empathy Week program in New York City and host the culmination event at our Partner Center on 2/12. Facebook’s Partner Centers were built with the intention of global communities gathering together to foster conversations that help create positive change and move the industry forward.” said Shauna Sweeney, Head of Global Industry Marketing at Facebook.

Reflecting on the week ahead, Daniel Bennett, Worldwide Chief Innovation Officer, Grey Group, underscored that addressing the issue begins with education and facilitating meaningful conversations.

“To be as effective as possible in this endeavor, it starts with supporting the education of the next generation to help mitigate the societal problems that social media helps exacerbate. Fostering empathetic digital citizens of the future is critical to the health and longevity of these communities.”

Andrew Foote, Managing Director at Edelman US, shared the excitement for his company to help push a new agenda that prioritizes individuals who are exemplars of empathetic actions and behavior on social media.

“We need to address the fact that empathy is in decline among young people head-on in partnership with authority figures in the lives of our young people. Reinforce a consistent message on all fronts and shine a light on the youth who are demonstrating empathy well. Leverage those youth as ‘influencers’ to inspire and instruct the masses.”

At the same time, he believes messaging alone isn’t a viable solution. “We, as a society can’t PSA our way out of the empathy deficit. As an industry, the most meaningful thing we can do is create or support programs that bring people together and promote the power of kindness, compassion, and fighting negativity with positivity.”

Closely aligning with Adobe’s mission to empower the next generation of creatives and craft compelling, memorable experiences, Rani Mani, Head of Social Influencer Enablement said, “Empathy is a critical component of both of these things and it is something we need to be intentional about cultivating. Our hope is that The 404’s Empathy Week will become a global effort that transcends industries and verticals and becomes a unifying force for good.”

“As the digital and social media landscape matures so quickly, there’s a growing gap in understanding both the effects it has on a younger generation, as well as the advancements in digital tools and human approaches to mental health. Quite simply, we want people to care about their words and choices online, and understand how they can affect other people,” said Dan Gardner, CEO of Code and Theory.

CEO and Founder of Whalar, Neil Waller, agreed that addressing the decline in empathy is a moral obligation by the entire industry. “With several of our Whalar creators facilitating workshops, we are pleased to join forces with other leading industry voices to foster more empathy, community, and most importantly, action in order to tackle these critical issues facing us today.”

In addition to Empathy Week, the 404 is also launching an influencer campaign called #actsofempathy to further fuel the movement through encouraging people to share stories of empathy. The group invites the entire industry to support Empathy Week by spreading the word around the pilot program, the campaign and registering their interest to host Empathy Day events in 2020.

“Empathy Day and the forthcoming Empathy Week events and campaign are a product of more than six months of this incredible group working together to create and implement an idea that we are deeply committed to scaling in a big way in 2020,” said Toby Daniels, Founder and Executive Director of Social Media Week.

#ActsOfEmpathy Campaign

How do you make the world a bit better? You start by making someone’s day a bit better. A tiny act of empathy from one person can lead to a huge impact in another.

With Cyber Monday in our rearview mirror and as we move into the season of goodwill and giving back, we are excited to launch Empathy Week, an opportunity for us to show the people who are most important to us that we see them and that we understand what they are going through.

Help us make the world a bit better by sharing #actsofempathy!

Share your Story on Instagram and then tag two friends who have stood by you during a difficult time and challenge them to share their own personal #actsofempathy story.

Other hashtags to use: #empathyweek, #actsofempathy, #createdonthate, #yourenotalone.

About the 404

Lead by SMW, we are a community of multi-disciplined, digital thought-leaders brought together to take necessary steps toward solving problems and capitalizing on opportunities that exist as a product of how we use social media.

404 members include leaders from Facebook, Grey Group, Adobe, Code and Theory, Edelman, Whalar, IBM Watson, Salesforce, Microsoft, Attention Capital, Refinery29, GroupM, TBWA, Droga5, and Accenture.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

Watch the London Empathy Day recap below

The post Help Us Spread #ActsOfEmpathy During Empathy Week appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/12/help-us-spread-actsofempathy-during-empathy-week/

SMW Partners with Facebook to Host First-Ever Empathy Day

Why is empathy important in the context of how we interact and engage with social media?

This was the question that drove the conversation during the inaugural Empathy Day event hosted by Social Media Week and The 404 at the Facebook Partner Centre in London.

This past Wednesday, a group of high school students came together for an inspiring conversation around ways we can drive empathy online. They were joined by two Instagram influencers, 23-year-old Imii Mace and 19-year-old Anisa Farah, who collectively have tens of thousands followers across Instagram and Twitter. They shared their journeys in addressing negative comments and how they’re encouraging their followers and the larger Instagram community to pay it forward with positivity.

Defining empathy and getting to the root of the problem

Led by Dr. Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, the group also participated in a variety of exercises that challenged them to differentiate sympathy from empathy and address key questions including what are the key barriers to empathy and why is the decline of empathetic behavior on social media such a pressing issue?

After becoming more familiarized with the problem throughout the workshop, students were tasked with brainstorming their own ideas for boosting empathy in their communities as part of the #youarenotalone challenge.

Examples included community pages where people could seek help and accomplishments of peers could be celebrated, and empathy assemblies where students could experience the effect of their words face-to-face. The larger takeaway of what was shared was two-fold: we need to emphasize rewarding good behavior and remove the interactions from behind the screens.

Insights from students

The students were also put to test through polls that revealed more about their personal experiences such as whether or not they’ve witnessed cyberbullying and how social media platform companies can help make our online world a more empathetic one. A few important insights gleaned from their responses included:

  • More than 80% of students defined empathy as connecting with someone to understand their perspective
  • 75% reported they attempted to stand up for a peer in-person while 55% tried to stand up for someone online
  • More than half (56.5%) felt that increased education is needed on why this is an issue

What’s Next

This is the first of several Empathy Day events SMW and The 404 will be hosting this year with several more workshops confirmed for December across our Global Partner Centres including Grey Group, Adobe, Edelman, and Code and Theory.

Our goal is to create a safe and enjoyable experience online are fully committed to preventing cyberbullying across them. We look forward to showing everyone how they too can make a positive difference when we all come together on social media to make a change for good!

About The 404

The 404 is a community of multi-disciplined, digital thought-leaders brought together to take necessary steps toward solving problems that exist as a product of how we use social media. Functioning as a coalition and working in collaboration, The 404 is made up of over 40 member companies, including Facebook, who has provided support by offering up its Global Partner Centers to host 404 events and meetings.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH THE SMWNYC 2019 RECAP

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4 Major Platforms Pushing to Overhaul Vanity Metrics and What This Means for Marketers

The internet was founded on the promise of a digital utopia that would enable a natural flow of information sharing and connectivity. Today, however, we face an inflection point in which there are growing concerns that we’ve squandered this opportunity in lieu of chasing reach and scale and prioritizing content that distracts and interrupts, in turn promoting divisiveness and narcissism.

When a post doesn’t perform with big numbers, people instantly feel bad. Conversely, when they see a high volume of interaction they are triggered with an instant feeling of satisfaction equivalent to a hit of dopamine.

Several platforms are hoping to make radical changes addressing this issue. Let’s take a look at some of the latest updates making headlines and what they mean for marketers:

Instagram

Image via Instagram

Following the recent F8 developer conference this past April, Instagram announced that it would be conducting tests for a new feature that would hide users’ public like counts on videos and photos. Kicking off the process with Canada, likes would be hidden in the Feed, permalinked pages, and on profiles.

In a quote shared by The Verge, Instagram stated the motive behind the decision was that it wants followers to “focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”

Initially, the test was met with uncertainty regarding how it would impact how it would influence the way the platform was used, particularly by influencers who heavily rely on such metrics as a measure of how their content is performing. After a few months of testing, however, sentiments have seemed to shift with people acknowledging the benefits of the feature.

One user, Matt Dusenbury, shared, “Without seeing the likes count on feed posts now, I find myself more clearly focused on the actual quality of the content being posted.”

Instagram has yet to officially publish data around how effective hiding likes has been on people’s posting habits, but last week, as of May the test has expanded to six more countries: Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.

Individuals who are part of this test group can still the number on their own content as long as they tap through it, but must opt-out in order to show the likes publicly.

Facebook

— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) September 2, 2019

Fast-forward to this month, Instagram’s parent company is taking a few notes and confirmed to TechCrunch the platform is contemplating hiding the Like Counter on News Feeds posts in an effort to dissuade censorship and inhibit sentiments of envy. In other words, there is a desire to take away the popularity contest that comes with engaging on the social platform.

The test was first reported by Jane Manchun Wong who took to Twitter to reveal that she had spotted Facebook prototyping the hidden Like counts within its Android app.

No further details have been shared by the platform regarding exact motives, or any schedule for starting testing but one can assume it would be gradual to allow for implications with respect to response and ad revenue from brands to be identified.

USA Today recently shared some feedback that has already surfaced on the Internet regarding the potential move.

“Bad thing,” said Facebook user Phil Leigh, “Likes give the poster a way to measure whether her content is useful to others, especially as it is tracked over time.”

On Twitter, reviews were mixed, some claiming they have since stopped using Facebook, others pointing to a reduction in scalability. Monica Reddy, however, is an advocate for pushing back against the notion that dominant the social landscape of ‘keeping score.’

YouTube

Per a recent Marketing Land report, as of this month, YouTube will begin showing abbreviated subscriber counts for channels with 1,000 or more subscribers.

“Beyond creating more consistency, ​this addresses creator concerns about ​stress and ​wellbeing, specifically around tracking public subscriber counts in real-time.​ ​We hope this helps all creators focus on telling their story, and​ experience less pressure​ about the numbers,” explained a YouTube team member on the site’s Community Forum Blog.

Creators and Developers instantly had questions and expressed a desire for more details about how the YouTube Data API Service would change. The platform clarified describing that Creators will still be able to see their exact subscriber numbers in YouTube Studio and YouTube analytics. Examples outlined how public-facing subscribers counts would now appear. For instance, channels with 12,345 subscribers would show a subscriber count of 12.3K, channels with 1,234,567 would show 1.23M, and channels with 123,456,789 subscribers would display a subscriber count of 123M.

As far as reactions, one individual, Martyn Littlewood pointed to the impact this would have on brand partnerships and their accuracy stating on the forum thread, “Business partners could go elsewhere if they believe their quota can’t be met — alternatively it could low ball initial offers from them and undermine brand deal opportunities. Sure, you could argue that they [brands] will get in touch, then you can send accurate information, but what if they never call at all?”

Another, Terry Ghast, raised similar concerns about authenticity claiming, “If this is to discourage ‘cancel culture,’ make this an optional setting that is defaulted to abbreviation but still allow viewers the ability to turn it off so they can track sub count to celebrate milestones together…Showing full sub count would be a badge of authenticity, and more believable than abbreviated. Please listen to the community and not be caught in your echo chamber.”

LinkedIn

This past Spring LinkedIn rolled out a new assortment of reactions targeted to provide ‘more expression ways to respond to the variety of posts you see in your feed.” Added options including Love, Celebrate, Insightful and Curious also serve the purpose of helping users better understand the impact your posts are having and additional insight into why someone is engaging with the piece of content.

“We took a thoughtful approach to designing these reactions, centered around understanding which ones would be most valuable to the types of conversations members have on LinkedIn,” said LinkedIn’s Cissy Chen in the official announcement. She pointed to examples as to how each could be used for instance using Celebrate to praise an accomplishment or work milestone, Love to express deep support around topics of work/life balance and mentorship, and Insightful or Curious when you encounter a thought-provoking idea.

What does it all mean?

Now that we’ve broken down the latest proposed and existing changes across these major platforms, let’s dissect what this means in the grand scheme of marketing.

Influencer content specifically will pivot to more higher quality content as metrics they’re accustomed to leaning on won’t carry as much weight as they previously did. What the hope is with this transition is that we will ultimately see cases of deeper, more meaningful engagement through incentivizing users to focus more on the content and not on the competition. For instance, it may pave the way to a spike in commenting behavior which arguably is more productive than a simple ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down.’

On the flip side, without such easily trackable metrics, influencers inevitably become harder to scout.

For brands, hiding the number of likes makes it more challenging to legitimize their partnerships and in fact, may discourage them from working with influencers and instead lean on targeted ads as guaranteed drivers of the results they’re after. If they do decide to collaborate with an influencer, they’re more likely to put paid media support behind their influencer posts, and also opt for ephemeral content that has a finite lifespan before it disappears.

Ultimately, there are pros and cons to this movement but one thing remains clear: it has the potential to radically change the social media system we’ve come to know over the past decade.

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The post 4 Major Platforms Pushing to Overhaul Vanity Metrics and What This Means for Marketers appeared first on Social Media Week.

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PODCAST: The Neuroscience of Storytelling with Aoife McGuinness, Neuroscience Consultant at HeyHuman

This week’s episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast features Aoife McGuinness, Neuroscience Consultant at HeyHuman.

During the conversation, Aoife discussed:

  • Her time as part of the Innovation team at HeyHuman where she began her research into multi-sensory overload and its effect on marketing
  • Some of the mistakes that brands are making in regards to their approach to storytelling
  • Common misconceptions that people have when looking to understand what’s really going on in our brains when we engage on social media.

Aoife also provided a preview of her upcoming Social Media Week London session where she will reveal new insights and neuroscience-focused research findings into the future for storytelling. Specifically, learn how to apply storytelling techniques to different social media platforms, how to create content for the demands of always-on but want to switch-off audiences, and much more. Secure your pass today and take advantage of our current discount before it expires!

Listen to the full episode below:

Subscribe to Leads2Scale on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, Castbox, Overcast, or Stitcher.

If you have suggestions for who we should interview or what topics you would like us to cover, please reach out to us at leads2scale@socialmediaweek.org.

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Would Senator Hawley’s New SMART Act Cure Our Digital Addiction?

“It basically treats anything where people talk to each other on the internet as an evil time-suck.”

These were the words The Verge correspondent Adi Robertson used to describe one of the latest bills proposed in the Senate to curb growing concerns about social media addiction, the SMART Act. Crafted by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), it seeks to combat the idea that “the biggest tech companies have embraced a business model of addiction.”

And while The Verge’s Casey Newton is skeptical that the bill will pass in full as currently written, it’s worthwhile to consider the impact of even one of its parts being passed into law in some way. Here, we’ll explore some of the proposed parts of the bill—and pose questions that need to be addressed before a bill like this is considered for passage into law including whether banning infinite scroll would actually cure our addiction?

Infinite Scroll Could Meet Its End

Within three months of such a bill (or component of a bill) passing, social media companies would be required to halt content auto-loading and displaying content without conscious opting in by the user. This would apply to the content itself (say goodbye to being startled by auto-playing video), but would also apply to the delivery mechanism. Put another way, infinite scroll would be no more.

In its place would be the system that presumably preceded it: opting in on additional posts by clicking a “Load More” or “See More” option. For my part, I wonder at what point something is considered auto-playing. It might seem silly, but if audio clips or videos can be classified as auto-playing…what about GIFs? Moreover, could users do a kind of “lifetime opt-in” for a site that they want to be able to scroll infinitely through, like Instagram?

30-Minute Warning

In many ways, this feels like the most cumbersome piece of the proposed legislation. In Hawley’s words, “too much of the innovation in this space is designed not to create better products, but to capture more attention by using psychological tricks that make it difficult to look away.” His solution? A native time limit, enforced by the platform and set automatically: 30 minutes. Users could potentially increase the time limit, but it would reset to half an hour at the start of each month. There has also been conversations about a pop-up greeting those who increase their limit, to inform them of how long they’ve been on the site.

Ignoring for a moment that there are a number of third-party applications that are capable of providing this service (including ones to block access to sites altogether), there are a number of instances where I can see this being annoying at best, and actively detrimental at worst. For marketers who use these spaces as part of well crafted digital strategy, content creators who rely on these sites to do their work, journalists who cover these platforms to inform the public, and researchers who need continuous access to these sites to assess their effects and impact…life could get a lot harder. And from a logistical perspective, do third-party posting and monitoring platforms such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Hubspot also have to comply with these rules?

While there’s likely some truth to the idea that a number of these platforms have the potential to “manipulate users in a way that undermines their wellbeing,” a hard time limit such as this may not be the way to rectify that.

Banished Badges?

In addition to concerning itself with how long we’re on sites each day, Hawley is also concerned about how often we’re on these sites over time, which is why the bill also seeks to ban in-app badges or awards, “if such award does not substantially increase access to new or additional services, content, or functionality.” Snapstreaks, the continuous communication metric native to Snapchat, has been frequently cited as an example of this principle. Were this bill (or this section of the bill) to be enacted, these incentives for daily use would be no more.

This may not seem drastic, but this falls under what The Verge’s Newton calls “common growth and engagement features, some of which are arguably the lifeblood of the targeted products.” As an example, Untapped (a badging app that allows users to connect over beer recommendations) would cease to exist in its current form. But I wonder what considerations would be made for sites that use this technique in service of wellness – like Lose It!, which uses badging to incentivize wellness and weight loss; or Chase, whose app uses streaks to encourage users to check in with their spending habits.

Is it likely that a bill this drastic manages to get passed through the House and Senate, intact and with these and several other transformative measures unchallenged? Honestly, no. But if our engagement strategies depend on certain native features to succeed, it’s a worthy exercise to think about how our work could change if any of these bills popping up with increasing frequency, take hold. It’s been done before with GDPR, but are we ready for what could be next?

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The post Would Senator Hawley’s New SMART Act Cure Our Digital Addiction? appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/08/would-senator-hawleys-new-smart-act-cure-our-digital-addiction/

PODCAST: How to Will Your Ideas into Existence with Ultra-Marathoner Charlie Engle

This week’s episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast features author and author and Ultra-marathon runner storyteller, Charlie Engle.

A thrill-seeker, Charlie Engle has run, cycled, and climbed his way across various terrains around the globe. His 5,000-mile journey across the entire Sahara Desert, where he ran two marathons per day for 111 consecutive days, led to the film Running the Sahara and subsequent work with Matt Damon.

During the conversation, Charlie discussed:

  • How he went from the idea of running across the Sahara desert to willing it into existence.
  • The transformative power of storytelling and why telling his story has been so important to his journey
  • What he’s planning for his next big adventure

Listen to the full episode below:

Subscribe to Leads2Scale on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, Castbox, Overcast, or Stitcher.

If you have suggestions for who we should interview or what topics you would like us to cover, please reach out to us at leads2scale@socialmediaweek.org.

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The post PODCAST: How to Will Your Ideas into Existence with Ultra-Marathoner Charlie Engle appeared first on Social Media Week.

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4 Tips for Accessible Branded Experiences, Inspired by Google’s Transit Updates

Earlier this month, Google Maps added a crucial update to its transit maps for six major cities: the ability to isolate wheelchair accessible routes. For travelers seeking out routes that could accommodate their need for elevators, easy entrance on buses and trains, and reliable curb cuts, these insights are invaluable. Currently, the routes are available for Boston, London, Mexico City, New York City, Sydney, and Tokyo, but Google isn’t stopping there.

“We’re looking forward to working with additional transit agencies in the coming months to bring more wheelchair accessible routes to Google Maps,” Maps product manager Rio Akasaka said in the feature announcement.

Why should this announcement matter to marketers? As customers pivot toward experiences as a way to spend their time, energy, and money, branded experiences will have an opportunity to captivate users and prospective consumers. Some of those consumers will need accommodations and instructions like those with Google’s wheelchair accessible routes will provide. As you plan your next talk, installation, or event, here are a few tips to ensure that the final product is accessible to as many people as possible.

Proactively mention accessibility details in pre-event communications.

For many organizations, the default means to ensure that attendees have reasonable accommodation for accessibility is to list a contact where those in need can get in touch. This is a viable strategy, but it places the burden of identifying the need on the individual. A more welcoming touch is to preemptively mention key points of accessibility when a participant confirms.

Include a labeled link for these instructions if your city has them. Link to a parking map where wheelchair accessible parking is clearly marked. If elevators or a wheelchair lift are present at the venue, say so. Even if you’re never contacted for additional accommodations, you’re demonstrating attention to the issue- and participants at all levels of ability can appreciate that.

Appoint someone to monitor transit conditions day of, sharing information on delays or construction as needed.

In acknowledging Google’s announcement of the new feature, London advocacy group Transport for All voiced an important caveat: “the success of this new […] option will depend on accurate data to prevent disabled people from being stranded on the network by broken lifts or inaccessible routes.”

They’re absolutely correct. A sign for an out of order elevator (or lift, in London and Sydney) may escape our consciousness if our mobility doesn’t depend on it. But for an attendee hoping for a smooth commute, these inconveniences are actually far more serious. Pay attention to the state of transit routes in the days leading up to your event or experience. If things change (e.g. an elevator is taken out of service, a parking lot is being repaved), let your attendees know in advance, providing alternatives when possible. These attentive touches will help more people than you know, and endear people to you and your brand as a result.

Don’t rely on ridesharing to fill the gap.

The advent of ridesharing has, for some cities, slowed the progress on accessibility for public transit. For example, Boston announced earlier this year that it would be collaborating with Uber and Lyft to supplement existing services for accessible rides. However, assuming that companies like Uber or Lyft are sufficiently equipped to fill this gap is a nice idea, but a dangerous assumption—even in major cities.

In a report released late last year, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest revealed that despite advertising the capacity to accommodate riders in wheelchairs, these vehicles (called WAVs by the companies) were unavailable 70% of the time for rideshare users in New York. When they were available, wait times were considerably longer than they would be for non-accessible vehicles. And not a single accessible vehicle was available at NYC’s two major airports. What does all of this mean? Where possible, acknowledge the fact that there will need to be more options available to your experience, conference, or event participants. Consult with local agencies on how to best address this need, and make this information easy to locate once it’s collected.

Use this cue to make other elements of your event—location, setup, even menu—accessible.

Google recognizes that getting to a venue is only one part of making an event or experience accessible. What good does it do a wheelchair user to have a smooth ride to an event only to realize that there’s not a curb cut to the entrance, or that the space between set tables is too narrow for her to easily navigate the aisles? The company has filled in some of those gaps with the help of Local Guides, who “gathered at 200 meet-ups around the world to answer accessibility questions – like whether a place has a step-free entrance or an accessible restroom – for more than 12 million places.”

It’s worthwhile for you and your teams to ask similar questions of the experience you’re creating. How can someone who uses a wheelchair easily enter and exit the building? Will the setup be easy for them to traverse? Remember, many of these thoughts are useful not just for wheelchair users, but also for individuals with limited mobility, with temporary injuries or impairments, or even attendees using strollers to bring along children. These thoughts can even impact a menu: are food allergies and intolerances considered? Access can mean a number of things, and your attention to making an event an enjoyable and worry-free experience for as many people as possible can impact how they see you and your brand long-term.

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The post 4 Tips for Accessible Branded Experiences, Inspired by Google’s Transit Updates appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/06/4-tips-for-accessible-branded-experiences-inspired-by-googles-transit-updates/

3 Tips for Staying Social When Social Is Down

The struggle was real yesterday, as outages plagued users of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. And that struggle impacted not just typical users, but brands as well; Recode estimates that $189 million of revenue were lost as a result of fewer eyeballs on ad content. We all (predictably) made it through alive, but it brought about some stark observations. Lots of communication, and business, is disrupted when these sites are down. Lots of users will flock to Twitter as a seeming last resort for broadcasting their thoughts. And lots of brands missed an opportunity to reach out through other forms of media:

Trish is right. We saw the blockbuster moment that Oreo had on Twitter, addressing a different type of outage—the 2017 Super Bowl power outage—with a beautifully timed tweet. But where were these moments on other platforms during the Facebook outage?

This has happened before, and it will happen again. How will your brand take advantage of the time to reach customers in other ways? We’ve got a few ideas to share:

Email

Cultivating a strong email list is a major cornerstone of strategy; consumers who purchase products through email spend 138% more than those that don’t receive email offers. And yet, like Trish, I saw regrettably few emails acknowledging the outage or creating engagement opportunities that would have otherwise taken place on social. A flash deal or coupon with a joke about the situation could go a long way in endearing you to your customer base (“we, too, are struggling without it!”) and keeps your efforts to stay present in customers’ minds current.

What offer could you present to your email list in a pinch? Keep a few options in your drafts, and when the directive comes down (or goes down, as the case may be), you’ll be ready to capture attention in another way.

Phone (yes, really!)

When was the last time you talked to your customers? Really talked? Sometimes we feel like we’re getting all the information we need from our social channels. And customers tend to feel the same, which is why social media is increasingly important to the resolution of customer complaints. But odds are, we’ll hear different details when we connect with people in new ways. It could be valuable to take advantage of this platform downtime to seek out these different details- to reach out, rather than waiting to hear from them.

No need to make it a long call, think of it as a “just checking in” opportunity designed to solicit quick feedback. Particularly if you have a segment of clients you’re curious about—power users, lapsed customers, etc.—it could be a good way to ask questions that you may not usually think, or make time, to ask.

Go With What You Know

As you post and engage on a regular basis, you accumulate data. And these records provide a wealth of information. Why not take advantage of an otherwise inconvenient break in the action to go through it all?

Check in with your team: what challenges are being reported en masse in their online interactions? Conversely, are there any comments or reactions to content that stand out? Even if you can’t see the interactions themselves for any reason, spending the time to take stock on what you’re seeing and how your strategy moving forward should be impacted by those observations. That way, when the platforms are back in action, you can be too- with refreshed insight and new ideas.

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The post 3 Tips for Staying Social When Social Is Down appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/03/3-tips-for-staying-social-when-social-is-down/

YouTube Promises “Blunt Actions” to Secure Child Safety and Soothe Advertisers

A 2018 Cheq and IPG Media survey revealed that most consumers believe that ad placement is intentional; further, they are 2.8 times less willing to associate with a brand when its ads are displayed in environments that are unsafe or unsavory. Given that tidbit, it’s no surprise to see the exodus of advertisers from YouTube in the wake of parallel scandals over sexually inappropriate and anti-vaccination content.

This week, the platform hastened a number of measures in the works to combat this content, and addressed its advertisers in the most comprehensive way yet.

A copy of the letter obtained by AdWeek revealed a combination of contrition and concentration, as the company works to crack down on offenders and demonetize content that presents danger to their users. “Because of the importance of getting child safety right,” they wrote, “we announced a series of blunt actions to sharpen our ability to act more precisely.

Among the measures swiftly undertaken this week:

  • The disabling of comments on “tens of millions of videos” that could attract predatory behavior
  • “Reducing the discoverability” of content that has been flagged (a strategy that Pinterest has used with some success)
  • Terminating offending accounts
  • “Increasing accountability” within the community of creators on the site, a community that uploads a staggering 400 hours of video to the site each second
  • “A more unforgiving stance” for creators who post inappropriate children’s content
  • The hastening of development on a machine learning powered “comments classifier,” which will ultimately be able to flag and remove twice as many comments as the existing system, a combination of algorithms and manual reviewers.

These measures have been deployed in hopes of stopping YouTube’s proverbial bleeding of advertisers, which in recent days has included AT&T, Disney, Nestle, McDonalds, Epic Games, and several others. AT&T reportedly told the New York Times, “until Google (YouTube’s parent company) can protect our brand from offensive content of any kind, we are removing all advertising from YouTube.” A similar exodus of advertisers took place back in 2017, when AT&T ads, along with those of Johnson & Johnson and Verizon were placed alongside racist content and videos posted by terrorist groups. This time, the company’s countermeasures have been swift and public.

The problem is a complicated one, as one executive (speaking anonymously) shared with FastCompany.

“There is no such thing as 100% safety when it comes to user-generated content, and marketers need to know that although there can be a zero-tolerance effort, there’s no such thing as 100% brand safety or 0% risk.”

The measures above, along with demonetizing videos in certain categories, can move a platform toward being a safer place. The 10,000 content reviewers that YouTube brought on in the wake of their 2017 scandal can also make a dent in the problem. But it still may not be enough.

In a statement, YouTube acknowledged, “there’s more to be done, and we continue to work to improve and catch abuse more quickly.” With any luck, this aggressive and comprehensive attention to addressing these concerns – for the sake of advertisers, and the viewing public using the platform – will continue long after the media firestorm dies down.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

The post YouTube Promises “Blunt Actions” to Secure Child Safety and Soothe Advertisers appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/03/youtube-promises-blunt-actions-to-secure-child-safety-and-soothe-advertisers/

YouTube Promises “Blunt Actions” to Secure Child Safety and Soothe Advertisers

A 2018 Cheq and IPG Media survey revealed that most consumers believe that ad placement is intentional; further, they are 2.8 times less willing to associate with a brand when its ads are displayed in environments that are unsafe or unsavory. Given that tidbit, it’s no surprise to see the exodus of advertisers from YouTube in the wake of parallel scandals over sexually inappropriate and anti-vaccination content.

This week, the platform hastened a number of measures in the works to combat this content, and addressed its advertisers in the most comprehensive way yet.

A copy of the letter obtained by AdWeek revealed a combination of contrition and concentration, as the company works to crack down on offenders and demonetize content that presents danger to their users. “Because of the importance of getting child safety right,” they wrote, “we announced a series of blunt actions to sharpen our ability to act more precisely.

Among the measures swiftly undertaken this week:

  • The disabling of comments on “tens of millions of videos” that could attract predatory behavior
  • “Reducing the discoverability” of content that has been flagged (a strategy that Pinterest has used with some success)
  • Terminating offending accounts
  • “Increasing accountability” within the community of creators on the site, a community that uploads a staggering 400 hours of video to the site each second
  • “A more unforgiving stance” for creators who post inappropriate children’s content
  • The hastening of development on a machine learning powered “comments classifier,” which will ultimately be able to flag and remove twice as many comments as the existing system, a combination of algorithms and manual reviewers.

These measures have been deployed in hopes of stopping YouTube’s proverbial bleeding of advertisers, which in recent days has included AT&T, Disney, Nestle, McDonalds, Epic Games, and several others. AT&T reportedly told the New York Times, “until Google (YouTube’s parent company) can protect our brand from offensive content of any kind, we are removing all advertising from YouTube.” A similar exodus of advertisers took place back in 2017, when AT&T ads, along with those of Johnson & Johnson and Verizon were placed alongside racist content and videos posted by terrorist groups. This time, the company’s countermeasures have been swift and public.

The problem is a complicated one, as one executive (speaking anonymously) shared with FastCompany.

“There is no such thing as 100% safety when it comes to user-generated content, and marketers need to know that although there can be a zero-tolerance effort, there’s no such thing as 100% brand safety or 0% risk.”

The measures above, along with demonetizing videos in certain categories, can move a platform toward being a safer place. The 10,000 content reviewers that YouTube brought on in the wake of their 2017 scandal can also make a dent in the problem. But it still may not be enough.

In a statement, YouTube acknowledged, “there’s more to be done, and we continue to work to improve and catch abuse more quickly.” With any luck, this aggressive and comprehensive attention to addressing these concerns – for the sake of advertisers, and the viewing public using the platform – will continue long after the media firestorm dies down.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

The post YouTube Promises “Blunt Actions” to Secure Child Safety and Soothe Advertisers appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/03/youtube-promises-blunt-actions-to-secure-child-safety-and-soothe-advertisers/