Tag: Culture

3 Ways COVID-19 is Shaping Consumer Behavior

In just a matter of weeks, the novel coronavirus introduced radical changes to our way of life — fundamentally reshaping notions of humanity and of our industries. We’ve seen it disrupt the way we work, the way we think, and the way we buy. As the pandemic continues, these patterns will further unfold. While the ultimate impact is still largely unknown, it is important we make strides to begin our understanding as to how we can navigate today and prepare for the future.

Foursquare, set out to determine some of these transitions. In the most recent report, ‘How COVID-19 Is Influencing Real World Behaviors.’ unpacked some of the data behind what we’re seeing and the impetus driving these shifts. Emerging from the findings are three major themes where behavioral changes fall including shopping habits, travel, and entertainment. Let’s unpack these a bit further against some of the data:

SHOPPING HABITS

People turned away from brick and mortar stores well before they were instructed to close and a state of emergency was declared by the government. This was underscored by a sharp decline in mall visits going back to the middle of February. These were down 61 percent nationally per the report from the week ending February 13 to the week ending March 27.

Quick service restaurants (QSRs) are also reporting less foot traffic — unsurprisingly — for many of the same reasons. On a national scale, visits to casual, sit-down dining places recently dropped over 73 percent while fast-food restaurants reported an 18 percent decline.

When people are popping in to pick up food, they’re spending fewer than 15 minutes. This applies to 63 percent of visits as recorded in late March compared to mid-February where 57 percent of pick-ups took 15 minutes on average. When it comes to choosing a QSR, most aim to stay closer to home traveling 5 miles or less from their homes. They’re also opting to place their orders upon arrival versus ahead of time.

ENTERTAINMENT

The steep fall of visits to QSRs and casual dining spots coincides with more traffic for grocery stores. While urged to practice social distancing, more people are eager to use free time not spent shopping, dining out, visiting friends or family, to put efforts in honing their cooking skills.

As liquor stories are still deemed ‘essential’ sales shot up 55 percent nationally in the third week of March compared to the same time a year ago, according to Nielsen. This was the same timeframe states including New York were ordered to ‘shelter in place.’ The week ending on March 21 saw a decline, however, indicating most are turning to consume what they’ve already stockpiled.

Movie theatres and banks are also reporting declining foot traffic with more people streaming shows and films from their homes and conducting their banking online when possible. Nationally, theaters saw a drop of 75 percent from the week ending February 19 to March 27 and banks saw a 13 percent dip as of late March.

TRAVEL

With travel advisories in place across the country, gas stations including Exxon and BP are showing declines of 7 to 8 percent.

Instead, people are using Zoom to catch up with friends and family. The company has added over 2.22 million monthly active users so far in 2020. For comparison, in 2019 1.99 million users were welcomed, according to new estimates from Berstein. When they’re not video conferencing, they’re finding new fitness routines with visits to gyms down 64 percent as a result of COVID-19 and are eager to stay fit while practicing social distancing.

A good number are also using this downtime at home to roll up their sleeves and tackle their spring cleaning and household projects. Foursquare reports that trips to well-known hardware stores like The Home Depot and Lowe’s are up 27 percent nationally.

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The post 3 Ways COVID-19 is Shaping Consumer Behavior appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/3-ways-covid-19-is-shaping-consumer-behavior/

3 Ways Platforms are Tackling Cyberbulling

The decline of empathetic behavior on social media is a growing issue. Our industry has the opportunity to push for an agenda that offers teens and young adults the ability to understand the choices they’re making behind their devices. Platforms are exploring ways they can play a role in this process and create productive interactions through shared experiences and understanding.

Here are a few recent examples unpacked:

Collaborating with Suicide Prevention Programs

On the heels of its test to remove “likes” from posts and a feature called ‘Restrict’ that allows users to seamlessly shadow-ban others posting harmful or offensive comments, Instagram is continuing its effort to support the fight against cyberbullying.

The photo-sharing platform recently unveiled a new AI-powered feature that notifies users when their captions on photos and videos could be considered offensive and gives them the opportunity to edit their post before it’s live.

Beyond aiming to limit the reach of bullying, a key goal of the tool is to provide education around proper Instagram etiquette and what violates the platform’s community guidelines. In order to create the new system, Instagram partnered with suicide prevention programs.

“Earlier this year, we launched a feature that notifies people when their comments may be considered offensive before they’re posted. Results have been promising, and we’ve found that these types of nudges can encourage people to reconsider their words when given a chance,” the company shared in the announcement.

The stance is an important one that prioritizes limiting the reach of bullying but, more importantly, is one primed to foster more education. The app hopes to inspire people to care about their words and choices online, and understand how they can affect other people negatively and deter from the growth of a positive, diverse community.

Expanding Definitions of Harmful Misinformation

Yet another app putting education at the center of its decisions to combat bullying and harmful misinformation is TikTok.

The video-sharing app recently overhauled its Community Guidelines to incorporate a specific section dedicated to the sharing of misinformation within the app intended to add transparency to how harmful or unsafe content is defined and regulated on the platform. “It’s important that users have insight into the philosophy behind our moderation decisions and the framework for making such judgements,” the announcement stressed.

At its core, the updates outline how violations are grouped into 10 distinct categories, each of which contains an explanation of the rationale and several detailed bullet points to clarify what type of misbehavior would fall into that category. While TikTok’s rules against misleading content have been in place for a while, until this expansion the focus had primarily been around scams and barring the creation of fake profiles.

Here’s a quick outline as to the additional types of content the app is targeting:

  • Content that incites fear, hate, or prejudice
  • Content that could cause harm to an individual’s health – such as misleading information about medical treatment
  • Content that proliferates hoaxes, phishing attempts, or “manipulated content meant to cause harm”
  • Content that misleads community members about elections or other civic processesOne critique that has surfaced since the announcement is that the expanded guidelines don’t explain how TikTok will decipher harmful, “misleading” content and appear to be open for interpretation regarding enforcement decisions.

“Our global guidelines are the basis of the moderation policies TikTok’s regional and country teams localize and implement in accordance with local laws and norms.​”

It will be interesting to see if there are further iterations based on this feedback and how the language and structure of these guidelines will evolve as the community continues to grow.

Letting users define the audience of their content

As part of a broader discussion about the rise of ephemeral messaging and its potential for Twitter, the platform is looking to specific dimensions, such as control around who can see or participate in tweet conversations.

During CES 2020, Suzanne Xie, Director of Product Management, outlined several key changes that are in the works aimed to address these issues and promote a more healthy, positive user experience.

Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour articulated the rationale in an interview with WIRED’s Editor in Chief Nick Thompson. “We’re exploring ways for people to control proactively, not reactively hiding a reply…The philosophical approach we took here is, when you start a conversation, as the author of a tweet you should have a little more control over the replies to that tweet.”

During the presentation, Xie showed the below images illustrating the new process in development. Fundamentally, it allows users to define the audience for each of their tweets, directly from the composer window.

The four core audience settings are as follows:

  • Global: Anyone can reply to the tweet
  • Group: Only people you follow or mention would be able to reply
  • Panel: Only people you directly mention within the tweet text itself would be able to reply
  • Statement: No tweet replies would be allowed

Let’s break down a couple of pros and cons with this move.

Primarily, it seems to go against the idea of Twitter serving as a larger, public square where everyone is given a say. Contrarily, it could pave the way for easier facilitated interview-style conversations or live chats featuring celebrities or influencers that often are overwhelmed by spam. In this way, the conversations can feel more familiar and authentic without all of the secondary noise.

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The post 3 Ways Platforms are Tackling Cyberbulling appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/01/3-ways-platforms-are-tackling-cyberbulling/

Here Are GIPHY’s 25 Most Popular GIFs Of 2019

As 2019 comes to a close we reflect with a healthy dose of annual recaps including GIPHY‘s roundup of the top 25 GIFs that took the Internet by storm. What did these tell us about how we exactly felt about the year? “Plenty of joy, a healthy amount of frustration, a dash of indifference, and a LOT of OOP.”

Check out the full list below, feel free to repost on social media, and tell us what is your favorite GIF of the year!

#1: “And I Oop” by Jasmine Masters — 419.1 million views

via GIPHY

“And I Oop” is the best meme of 2019, period. Jasmine Masters, the iconic drag queen from the seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is to thank for this perfect GIF.

#2: “Angry” by Shameless — 382.1 million views

via GIPHY

The most popular GIFs of the year are typically reactions and this GIF from Showtime’s “Shameless” is no exception. There’s no better way to express your anger, disgust, or disapproval to someone than by sharing this GIF with them!

#3: “Say Hello” by Nick Jonas — 289.1 million views

via GIPHY

Nick Jonas GIFs are always popular, but this one he made with us at GIPHY resonated the most. It is easy to see why, it’s a great GIF to send to simply say, “sup.”

#4: “Happy” by Samm Henshaw — 261.6 million views

via GIPHY

This popular Samm Henshaw GIF has such positive energy, it’s no wonder why it’s so popular. It comes from the fantastic video for his song, “Church.”

“Wake up and get yourself to church Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah”

#5: “Great Job” by Bounce TV — 259.6 million views

via GIPHY

“Thumbs up” consistently ranks high as a term users are searching for on GIPHY and Carl Payne’s (from Bounce TV’s Last Call) is a great one!

#6: “Happy Cheering” by Bluesbear — 197.3 million views

via GIPHY

What’s not to love about this animated GIF?! This cutie wholesomely and happily cheering you on is the exact motivation a friend needs to keep going.

#7: Keanu Reeves “Thank You” by Netflix — 195.4 million views

via GIPHY

Keanu’s role in Always Be My Maybe was VERY much loved by fans. The movie was super popular and seeing Keanu let his hair down and show his sillier side made everyone love him even more than they already did… if that was possible

#8: “I Love You” by Mia Page — 181.6 million views

via GIPHY

“Love” is far and away the most popular emotion searched and shared on GIPHY. So it’s no surprise that this sweet animated GIF is included in this list. Our GIPHY Artist community is huge and with GIF artist Mia Page creating these characters to be actual hearts themselves — it’s a perfect and creative way to express love.

#9: “No Way SMH” by Desus & Mero — 179 million views

via GIPHY

The Kid Mero — one half of the Bodega Boys, who host a popular podcast and the “Number 1 Show in Late Night” (self-proclaimed by them) — is always good for a great reaction GIF, whether you want to express Bronx Pride, Dominican Pride, New York City Pride, or just a plain old “No.” This popular one from their Showtime show is no exception.

#10: “Happy Excited Dance” by Khalid — 169.7 million views

via GIPHY

Khalid had a fantastic 2019 and is only growing in popularity, but this is just a great “having a good time so don’t bother me I just want to vibe” GIF from his music video “Young Dumb and Broke.”

#11: “Whatever” by Friends — 168.5 million views

via GIPHY

FRIENDS had quite a year in 2019! Not only did the show celebrate its 25th anniversary, but an official FRIENDS library channel launched on GIPHY! It’s no shock that this funny reaction GIF of Phoebe really blew up, as it’s something that could appeal to both FRIENDS fans and general GIPHY users alike!

#12: “Jack Nicholson ‘Yes’” by Nick Kroll — 162.3 million views

via GIPHY

Nick Kroll’s version of the classic Jack Nicholson nodding GIF is spot on. This year he stopped by GIPHY to recreate a bunch of classic GIFs, including his own take on this year’s top GIF (“And I Oop”).

#13: “Dog Yes” by TikTok — 158.9 million views

via GIPHY

2019 was the year of TikTok (which includes our partnership with them!) and, to be honest, every year is the year of a good dog! This good boy popping up with a solid nod “YES” is exactly what the users want — a surprise, a super cute dog, and a definite reaction. Did someone say, “Treats?!”

#14: “Awkward” by Jonas Brothers — 151.5 million views

via GIPHY

In need of a GIF for that cringeworthy moment? Did you text someone the wrong thing? Are you getting roasted in a group chat? You can’t go wrong with this GIF from GIPHY’s shoot with the Jonas Brothers.

#15: “Kit Harington Wink” by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon — 146.5 million views

via GIPHY

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon topped our list in 2018, and it made the cut again this year! This time it’s for a GIF of Kit Harington winking into the camera. We have a feeling Game of Thrones fans may be responsible for its popularity!

#16: “Meme Scroll” by 2019 MTV Video Music Awards — 146.3 milllion views

via GIPHY

This funny GIF of Lil Nas X accepting the award for Song of the Year at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards is ripe for meme-ability. It immediately went viral on Twitter, with people adding their own funny captions like “Me leaving CVS” and “Me opening The Cheesecake Factory Menu.”

#17: “Killing Eve Popcorn” by BBC America — 144.3 million views

via GIPHY

GIPHY loves drama and OH MY did Sandra Oh deliver. The Killing Eve star gives us a flawless piece of content all of us can use while meddling in other peoples’ business.

#18: “Xavier Woods ‘Nope’” by WWE — 140.7 million views

via GIPHY

Not sure a stank-face can get much better than this. Everyone should take a moment to thank Xavier Woods and The New Day for this epic expression.

#19: “Drake ‘Unimpressed’” by Apple Music — 136 million views

via GIPHY

Almost everything Drake does goes viral at this point, and this reaction from the “No Guidance” music video was no different. It’s the perfect sarcastic reaction GIF.

#20: “Fun Love” by pigx3–135.1 million views

via GIPHY

This GIF from artist pigx3 is the definition of cute! Characters such as this dominate messaging platforms because of their ability to connect with people… Who wouldn’t relate to this GIF when eating something delicious?!

#21: “Excited” by Preity G Zinta — 134.4 million views

via GIPHY

Preity G Zinta is a beloved actress in the Bollywood industry (for the past 20 years!) and she was the FIRST Bollywood actress to launch a custom GIPHY reaction pack. Her expression and the high-quality animation combined makes this a great GIF for celebrities to express themselves.

#22: “Happy High Heels” by Hilbrand Bos Illustrator — 133.9 million views

via GIPHY

We all mope around from Monday to Friday just waiting for the weekend to roll around. Good thing we have lifestyle and fashion illustrator, Hilbrand Bos, to remind us when the week is finally over and the party begins!

#23: “Lizzo ‘Whatever’” by MTV Movie & TV Awards — 133.4 million views

via GIPHY

2019 was essentially the Year of Lizzo, and a lot of that was due to her presence at the Video Music Awards. She gave an epic performance and won viewers over with her hilarious audience reaction shots — case in point, this GIF!

#24: “Disgusted” by HiHo Kids — 133 million views

via GIPHY

We all know that kids do and say the darndest things with absolutely no filter, so do yourself a favor and visit HiHo Kids’ GIPHY page for more reactions like this absolutely perfect “disgusted” GIF.

#25: “Excited Ilana Glazer” by Broad City — 130.7 million views

via GIPHY

Broad City is one of the most GIFable shows ever thanks to its hysterical and expressive co-stars, and this GIF of an excited Ilana is a perfect example of that. The show may have ended in 2019, but it will forever live on in our hearts — and GIFs!

This article originally appeared on Medium via Giphy

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The post Here Are GIPHY’s 25 Most Popular GIFs Of 2019 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/12/here-are-the-25-most-popular-gifs-of-2019/

Burning Man, Barack Obama and the Founding Story of Social Media Week with Grey Matter, a New Podcast from Grey Group

“How Did You Think of Your Great Idea?” is the single focus for the weekly episodes of the newly announced Grey Matter podcast by the leading creative agency.

In the episodes, Grey experts explore how the most interesting, provocative, and entertaining ideas in the world are conceived through conversations with thinkers, entrepreneurs, activists, inventors, performers, and more. The goal in sharing these stories is to explore the creative process that leads to culture-changing ideas, how individual experiences can shape that process, and identify key themes and learnings to help others in the business looking to come up with better ideas themselves.

In the most recent episode – Toby Daniels, Executive Director and Founder of Social Media Week – talks with Grey Worldwide Chief Innovation Officer, Dan Bennett, about how he devised then developed the idea for the industry’s foremost social media insights platform.

During the conversation, he underscored his passion for unlocking the potential of self-organization around the creation of an experience stemming from his attendance to the 2008 Burning Man event. He also shared how the catalyst for his idea was underpinned by a mission to create an event not only around the tools, technology, and platforms behind social media, but what social media means for businesses, society, and the human experience.

In discussing his encounter of skeptics both back in 2009 when SMW was launched and today, he shared one piece of important advice: “If you can turn someone who is important from a critic into an ally, then that’s worth the time and effort.” Put simply, there will be people who aren’t worth your time and it’s objectively identifying this difference when scrutinizing feedback that is most critical when scaling a business.

When asked how he continues to obtain inspiration for new ideas, Toby emphasized the word ‘conversation.’ “Every problem I’ve ever solved, every idea I’ve ever had, every meaningful collaboration that has happened occurred as a result of my enthusiasm for connecting through conversation.”

“Great ideas are only worth what you’re willing to put behind them in terms of effort and execution.”

Finally, in sharing where he hopes his business will be in five years time, Toby reiterated that he strives to continue to impact and change the world by leveraging SMW events as a platform for driving the necessary — yet sometimes difficult — conversations and movements that fuel positive social impact. “We exist to ask the difficult questions and to move the conversation forward and hopefully provide some leadership to the industry in terms of getting to a place in the future where we feel better about our relationship with technology.”

Check out the full podcast below:

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/08/burning-man-barack-obama-and-the-founding-story-of-social-media-week-with-grey-matter-a-new-podcast-from-grey-group/

Why Banning Infinite Scrolling Would Fail to Solve Our Overuse of Social Media

Earlier this week, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) unveiled the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act targeted to combat the idea that “the biggest tech companies have embraced a business model of addiction,” and I wholeheartedly believe it fails to get to the heart of the matter, nor does it offer sensible ideas for how social media needs to be regulated.

Here’s a quick high-level overview of the key proposals in this latest bill (including, you guessed it, the banning of infinite scrolling):

  • Infinite scroll, auto refill, and in-app badges or awards, “if such award does not substantially increase access to new or additional services, content, or functionality” would be banned
  • 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
  • A neutral process for users to either accept or deny consent terms — meaning accept and decline boxes would have to be designed to look the same
  • A process for users to more easily track the amount of time they’re spending on their platforms

While the bill wouldn’t kill off social media platforms altogether, it presents an outline for a process through which they’d be forced to change the core ways their products function, one I’d argue represents the wrong approach to how social media platforms should be regulated and the importance of individual responsibility.

The dangers of labeling our overuse of social media an addiction

Regarding individual responsibility, I find it problematic to call our overuse of social media an addiction and would claim that it is even dangerous to use these terms to the frequency they are used today.

In seeking out a more appropriate term to use, I spoke with former Stanford lecturer, and behavioral design expert, and author, Nir Eyal, whose books Hooked and Indistractable looks at how we can get the best from technology without letting it get the best of us, in an age of ever-increasing demands on our attention.

“Addiction is a pathology and when we use the word to describe everything two bad things happen: one, we disrespect and diminish the importance of thinking of addiction as a pathology, and the second bad thing that happens is that the rest of us, everyone who is not addicted, learns that this is something that is powerless to resist. Overuse is much less sinister. It places much more responsibility on the user to do something on the problem versus just blaming pusher/dealer aka the ‘big tech companies,’” he said.

Rather than continuing to operate on the passive assumption and knowledge that the geniuses behind the curtain of Silicon Valley are hijacking our brains and we are simply unable to do anything about it, we need to begin by correcting calling the issue by what it is: overuse.

As far as the regulation itself, I feel it is attempting to address the problem from the wrong perspective for this reason.

Addressing the right problem from the wrong perspective

This bill unduly discriminates against one form of media, while not getting specific enough about each case where you see this problem occurring.

“When we make these generalizations that the techniques are somehow mind-controlling and addicting people, we don’t get specific about exactly what we’re talking about. Are we talking about infinite scroll? Are we talking about streaks on Duolingo? It’s not about the technique, it’s to what ends it is used,” said Eyal.

The bill stipulates that within three months of its 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, in addition to the delivery mechanism. In lieu would be a process for opting in on additional posts by clicking a “Load More” or “See More” option. It wants to mandate that Netflix and YouTube stop using autoplay, but not news outlets like FOX or CNN.

“Why are we discriminating against one form of media, which is a conversation that people are having online with each other via a platform, as opposed to a unidirectional channel like Fox News or CNN that plays all day long?” asked Eyal. The truth is, people can get just as unhealthily addicted to those forms of media as well.

How social media platforms should be regulated: the use and abuse approach

If the SMART Act is not broad enough in its tactics to address the problem, then the question that rises to the surface becomes, what should lawmakers be discussing to effectively safeguard people from the dangers of social media? Eyal has thought about this question for years and personally advocates for a use and abuse policy.

“One of the silver linings of tech companies collecting so much data about us is that they know how much we use these products on an individual level. What I’ve been advocating for is for these companies to have a policy around how many hours per week..whatever this number is..and should publicize this in their terms and services…they’re going to reach out and say ‘you have used this product to a degree that may indicate you are struggling with an addiction. Can we help?’ Mathematically speaking, this figure should lie somewhere within the top 1% of users.

Following conversations with representatives from Reddit, Facebook, and Snapchat, on the subject, Eyal has learned that these people live up to a hundred miles or more of miles from communities. In this case, their ‘overuse’ is simply them utilizing a tool to meet people they otherwise couldn’t. Would this classify as an addiction? Of course not.

So as we think about the individual responsibility we have as users of social media, and the influence lawmakers should have, let’s choose to focus efforts on helping those who truly need it versus propagating a false narrative that we are somehow all addicted.

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The post Why Banning Infinite Scrolling Would Fail to Solve Our Overuse of Social Media appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/08/why-banning-infinite-scrolling-would-fail-to-solve-our-overuse-of-social-media/

This AI-Boosted Survey Tool Helps You “Gauge” Your Brand’s Potential Fallout

The fallout of an ineffective or offensive ad campaign—think Pepsi, Dove, or H&M—can cost brands huge sums of money, as well as hard-earned customer trust. In the eyes of Gauge, a DC-based research startup, a key reason for these gaffes: “they’re talking with the wrong people.” Their app wants to change these conversations, centering the populations who often end up most affected.

Gauge’s cofounders Brandon Andrews and Joshua DuBois met at the firm Values Partnerships, which worked with nonprofit organizations, foundations, and religious leaders to “tackle the intersections of race, politics, media, and faith.” It is frequently at these intersections where brands and marketers are often at a loss- simply because their expertise lies elsewhere. Andrews and DuBois developed a deep understanding of how to listen to these populations and implement their wishes in a smart, sensitive, and effective way. Now they’re bringing this sensibility to the companies that need it most.

Afrotech lays out the approach of the app simply:

Gauge uses focus groups to help companies make decisions and gives surveys to tastemakers and industry experts. Surveyees can download the app and are compensated with gift cards and cash for every questionnaire they complete.

Artificial intelligence is then deployed to analyze the responses given, yielding detailed insight on the potential impact of a brand’s choices. With tastemakers that include Ferguson activist DeRay McKesson, #oscarssowhite founder April Reign, actress and LGBT activist Trace Lysette, YouTuber Brendan Jordan, and many others, the bench of individuals – and populations – consulted on a company’s potential moves is deeper than most tend to consider.

Gauge has already played a major role in Google’s Titan Generator Hackathon earlier this year, deployed to provide user feedback during the event that was supported by March for Our Lives, Color of Change, United We Dream, and the International Indigenous Youth Council.

The event and its resulting solutions “aim[ed] to be a catalyst for a broader coalition of support and action”; Gauge hopes to do the same in a larger marketplace, with the goal of catching potentially disastrous faux pas (often the result of too little diverse input) earlier. “With technology,” Andrews said, “we could create a better, cheaper, and faster way for brands to engage with diverse customers.”

Gauge is available now for desktop, iOs and Android.

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The post This AI-Boosted Survey Tool Helps You “Gauge” Your Brand’s Potential Fallout appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/07/this-ai-boosted-survey-tool-helps-you-gauge-your-brands-potential-fallout/

PODCAST: Brands, Creators and How to Change the World with Ian Schafer, Co-Founder & CEO, Kindred

This week’s episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast features Ian Schafer, Co-Founder & CEO of Kindred, a company that aims to bring together communities of influential creators, platforms, and purpose-driven brands and accelerate the next generation of social movements.

Ian has been at the forefront of media, content, advertising, and marketing for the better half of two decades. In 2002, he started and ran one of the first social media agencies, Deep Focus, which earned him a spot in AAF’s Advertising Hall of Achievement in 2015, and he was also named one of the 100 people “Making Advertising Great” by the 4As.

During the conversation, Ian discussed:

  • What led him to go the events route with regards to achieving Kindred’s mission
  • The emerging group of online entrepreneurs dubbed “creators with a purpose” and why so many brands are now flocking to work with them
  • Kindred’s approach in facilitating conversations between creators who deeply care about missions and purpose and the brands who share that same passion
  • The ways in which we need to evolve so we can better harness our influence and assume our responsibility as storytellers

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: Brands, Creators and How to Change the World with Ian Schafer, Co-Founder & CEO, Kindred appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/07/podcast-brands-creators-and-how-to-change-the-world-with-ian-schafer-co-founder-ceo-kindred/

Google’s Latest Social Experiment Wants to “Loop” You In With Local Events

Google’s next foray into social networking won’t be undertaken with a goal of taking on giants like Facebook or Twitter. Their latest experiment, called Shoelace, is designed to connect people offline- and testing is taking place in New York City right now.

Developed in Google’s Area 120, their in-house incubator, Shoelace connects individuals local to an area based on common interest. As Engadget describes it, “you pick your interests, and the creators help you hook up with like-minded people for various activities” (called loops) “whether they’re custom-created or hand-picked.” The mechanism sounds similar to tools like Meetup or Eventbrite, allowing users to create events and then invite friends or publicize them to general users. But unlike Meetup or Eventbrite, or even Facebook Events, these “loops” can be shared with friends, colleagues or acquaintances whether they use Shoelace or not.

The smaller scope of the project seems smart, and is also being reflected in its rollout; at present, Shoelace is only being tested in NYC. iOS or Android users in the area interested in applying to test the product can do so here; depending on its early performance, testing may expand to other cities or even nationwide.

Despite being the product of an incubator, some have recognized that Shoelace bears a striking resemblance to a departed Google product, Schemer, which had a short-lived run helping users to organize offline events from 2011-2014. Time will tell if this app will outlive its predecessor, or evolve into a new form in the months to come.

Google’s last product that was tested in this fashion, Pigeon, never moved beyond the NYC-centric testing; however, its purpose (to help navigate the subway) lives on through key updates to Google Maps. Absorption into an existing Google Product (perhaps Hangouts or Drive) is also a viable future for the project. But in the meantime, we’ll await the opportunity to “loop” our friends in on upcoming plans through the new app.

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Google’s Latest Social Experiment Wants to “Loop” You In With Local Events

Google’s next foray into social networking won’t be undertaken with a goal of taking on giants like Facebook or Twitter. Their latest experiment, called Shoelace, is designed to connect people offline- and testing is taking place in New York City right now.

Developed in Google’s Area 120, their in-house incubator, Shoelace connects individuals local to an area based on common interest. As Engadget describes it, “you pick your interests, and the creators help you hook up with like-minded people for various activities” (called loops) “whether they’re custom-created or hand-picked.” The mechanism sounds similar to tools like Meetup or Eventbrite, allowing users to create events and then invite friends or publicize them to general users. But unlike Meetup or Eventbrite, or even Facebook Events, these “loops” can be shared with friends, colleagues or acquaintances whether they use Shoelace or not.

The smaller scope of the project seems smart, and is also being reflected in its rollout; at present, Shoelace is only being tested in NYC. iOS or Android users in the area interested in applying to test the product can do so here; depending on its early performance, testing may expand to other cities or even nationwide.

Despite being the product of an incubator, some have recognized that Shoelace bears a striking resemblance to a departed Google product, Schemer, which had a short-lived run helping users to organize offline events from 2011-2014. Time will tell if this app will outlive its predecessor, or evolve into a new form in the months to come.

Google’s last product that was tested in this fashion, Pigeon, never moved beyond the NYC-centric testing; however, its purpose (to help navigate the subway) lives on through key updates to Google Maps. Absorption into an existing Google Product (perhaps Hangouts or Drive) is also a viable future for the project. But in the meantime, we’ll await the opportunity to “loop” our friends in on upcoming plans through the new app.

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PODCAST: From FYRE Fiasco to Force for Good: How Andy King is Embracing Virality

This week’s episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast features Andy King.

You might recognize the name as Andy became an internet celebrity thanks to his infamous appearance on Netflix’s FYRE Festival documentary, “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.”

This was recorded live during a Social Media Week Los Angeles fireside chat titled, “Keeping the Fyre Alive: A Conversation with Andy King.”

During the conversation, Andy discussed:

  • His career before FYRE and how he first got involved with the organizers
  • How he embraced becoming an overnight viral celebrity
  • His impression of the Influencer space and how it is changing culture
  • And how he is using his new found celebrity for good

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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Men Are Outnumbering Women in News Photos – Here’s How You Can Combat It

Who’s in the news? According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, we’re seeing far more men in the spotlight on news stories than women. In their analysis of news stories shared on Facebook between April 1 and June 30, 2018, “men comprised more than half of the faces in photos accompanying links from news outlets, with as many as 2/3 of the faces pictured.”

Why does it matter on Facebook? Pew elected to analyze photos as they appear on that platform’s news feed because “the site standardizes the presentation of news image and text across outlets” in a way that Twitter and LinkedIn don’t always consistently do.

Further, “in contrast to other formats such as print media, the photograph in a Facebook post occupies more screen space than the accompanying text and is the main object that Facebook users see when they scroll through.” And in a culture that increasingly finds people assessing a story’s contents on headline and picture alone, this first impression holds a great deal of weight.

Some hard numbers on the phenomenon:

  • 44,056 images were analyzed from 17 different news outlets, including ones associated with the major news networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox), publications with print counterparts (Newsweek, Washington Post, USA Today), and online-only publications (Buzzfeed, Vox).
  • Across the 22,342 posts with photos featuring identifiable human faces, 53% only featured men. Less than 22% showed only women. The remainder showed a combination of men and women.
  • According to Pew, across all photos with identifiable human faces, “men’s faces took up more space […] with the average male face being 10% larger than the average female face.”

Could this disparity be attributed to the nature of the news being shared? It could; for example, Nieman Lab points out that 1/4 of the US Congress is female, which likely contributes to a male-heavy compendium of photos in political stories.

But this deep disparity isn’t always the case. And in a world where we’ve repeatedly proven that representation matters, the faces that show up on Facebook matter as well. Social media as a whole has outpaced print media as a major source of news for adults in America, and 43% of US adults report that they get their news from Facebook specifically.

So as content creators and prospective news authors, what can we do to combat this disparity in the face of news?

Diversify Photo Sources

It has not escaped my attention that this report largely ignores individuals who identify as nonbinary, and—while not explicitly stated—likely also largely excludes trans* individuals. Recognizing this severe dearth of representation, Broadly’s Gender Spectrum stock photo collection wrote frankly about correcting this frequent oversight. Their words ring true for gender representation, but also for many other areas of representation or marginalization:

Stock photos that accompany articles do more than illustrate subject matter. They have the power to shape perceptions of entire communities. When used critically, they can chip away at harmful stereotypes, pushing more accurate perceptions and understandings to the fore. This is why, over the last several years, initiatives have emerged to increase diversity in stock photos across race, gender, body size, ability and more.

Unsure of where to start? We shared a trio of sources for diverse stock photos to allow new images into your collections. But there are many more collections to discover; search further and wider to craft a visual narrative that includes people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and genders.

Rethink Citations and Stories

In response to this study, Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne noted, “the study results most likely reflect the gender gap in business, politics, sports, and other areas that the media covers. Ultimately, news editors choose which images to include and which stories they post to Facebook.” To Osborne’s credit, this statement is correct. And the gender gap in media likely contributes to the disparity revealed in its photos; despite outnumbering men in journalism programs and in college overall, women represent just 41.7% of employees working in newsrooms today. The 2018 diversity survey conducted by the American Society of News Editors laments this fact, with Nieman Labs literally calling the results “f’ing abysmal.”

With that said, those who craft these stories can play a role in how editors select accompanying photos. Who are you citing as you research your stories? Who are you interviewing? “Gender gaps” in citations on multiple fronts often mean that articles, blogs, and other pieces skew male in their support. Taking care to cite across gender, as well as other points and parameters of difference, can in turn provide additional cues to inform the match between piece and photograph.

Push Past the First Assumption

Google ran into trouble last year for repeated AI mistakes in the realm of gender; after multiple attempts to correct assumptions about the gender of certain professions or individuals, these autofill options were wholly removed. It’s instructive to remember that these AI characteristics are “learned,” and that people provide the cues that “teach.”

Writing a story about scientists or engineers? Why can’t the default image be of women? If a story doesn’t specify the gender associated with a trend, phenomenon, or story, female characteristics can serve in that default capacity. It is only by challenging these assumptions openly, regularly, and in highly visible spaces—like the news and on social media—that we can start to create concrete societal change around them. Having a wider swath of stock photos to choose from can help with this, but so can consulting a variety of people in a workplace.

The news, when reported fairly and from a perspective in a way that seeks to widen our perspective, can include more people than we might imagine. Let’s do what it takes to move toward that version of our world.

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The Equation for Effective and Efficient Marketing, According to Bond’s Internet Trends Report

The definitive report has arrived. Mary Meeker, general partner at Bond Capital and referred to in some circles as “Queen of the Internet” delivered a stunningly comprehensive 333-slide report at Code Conference 2019.

In it, she shared key data points designed to uncover the state of the internet today. And within the report lay an equation for effective and efficient marketing. We’ve broken that equation down here, along with examples from the report and supporting stats. But don’t let this be a substitute- we still recommend exploring the full slide deck in all its stunning detail.

Who Are We Dealing With, Exactly?

First, a definition of scope. When we’re talking about internet users, as is often the case in Meeker’s deck, at its broadest point we’re talking about half the globe. “Some 51 percent of the world — 3.8 billion people — were internet users last year, up from 49 percent (3.6 billion) in 2017,” Vox shared in their summary of the deck. With that said, “growth slowed to about 6 percent in 2018 because so many people have come online that new users are harder to come by.”

This slow growth of internet users mirrors the slowing growth in internet advertising. Early in the report, Meeker and the report’s other authors share, “While E-Commerce continues to gain share vs. physical retail, growth rates are slowing. While Internet advertising growth is solid & innovation is healthy, there are areas where customer acquisition costs may be rising to unsustainable levels.”

For this reason, the report spends a good bit of time highlighting its equation for effective and efficient marketing—strategies that can mitigate the high cost of customer acquisition:

Effective and Efficient Marketing = One’s Own Product + Happy Customers + Recommendations

One’s Own Product

It should be no surprise to anyone that a solid product is key to effective and efficient marketing. Especially in a world so hyperconnected as ours, a poor product or a poor experience will be quickly exposed. Meeker bears this out with the help of a 2BrightCove and YouGov survey that indicated a free trial or tier for a product was the most commonly cited reason for trying a new service (42% of participants). Claims of excellence aren’t enough; they need to see it for themselves on a consistent and common-use basis.

And this model can bolster the rest of the business if deployed correctly. Spotify CEO Barry McCarthy, cited in the report, says of Spotify’s freemium tier, “Our freemium model accounts for about 60% of our gross added premium subscribers.” This combination of ad support and subscription has worked wonders for the leaders in streaming music: “the ad-supported service is a subsidy program that offsets the cost of new customer acquisition.” When people can see the product or service and incorporate it into their daily lives before paying, business can soar.

Happy Customers

Another service with a freemium model, Zoom, has harnessed the power of creating an experience that users love so much, they’re happy to pay for it…and evangelize for it in the process. Videoconferencing’s occasionally shaky reputation means that people want to try a service and have a good experience before investing. Founder Eric Yuan understands this, and built the experience accordingly: “We really want to get our customers to test our product…it’s really hard to get customers to try Zoom without a freemium product.”

If Zoom’s valuation and subsequent debut as a publicly traded company is any indication, the strategy works. Says Yuan, “we make our freemium product work so well…if they like our product, very soon they are going to pay for the subscription.” He and his team understand the cost of generating new leads can be offset by ensuring existing customers are happy, and so they conduct themselves in a way that ensures this.

Recommendations

Another key element of Zoom’s happy customer strategy? Recommendations. People who had good experiences with the product, who then in turn evangelized about their experiences. Stitch Fix founder Katrina Lake was cited in this report about the power of recommendations to their business: “What’s really special for Stitch Fix is that 100% of what we sell [through the utilization of stylists] os based on recommendations.”

Even absent a system of professional consultants, recommendations have been key in the proliferation and success of subscription boxes; a McKinsey report on E-commerce consumers reveals that recommendations are the most popular way (23%) people opt-in to these experiences. What makes your product or service recommendable? Do you have mechanisms to make that process easy? Considering these questions as an integral part of your marketing strategy can make it more sustainable and less costly.

The Known Unknowns

And speaking of questions: despite the extraordinary wealth of information contained in Meeker’s substantial deck, the report acknowledges two variables that could impact the future of effective and efficient marketing. The first, which we’re talking about with increasing regularity, is the impact privacy changes will have on ad targeting. As high-profile data breaches make consumers wary about trusting companies with their data, and as legislation changes the level of access companies have to data, the ability to target may change. And yet, I sense that the ability to enact this formula will remain largely unchanged. Finding the customers who need what you’re making may be different from what we’ve grown accustomed to, but building a strong product for people who like it and are willing to share their experience will remain intact.

An additional question exists for Meeker and Bond about digital TV-based ads for smart televisions, and the impact of second-screen viewing, on ad targeting. Given that 88% of TV watchers are utilizing a phone or tablet to interact during their TV watching, and 71% are looking up things related to what they’re watching, how can marketers capitalize on this new reality? There’s clearly strong potential for adept brands and organizations to get their good products in front of people, forge connections that endear them to new customers, and drive recommendations. And with any luck, strong examples of these strategies will be within the slides of Meeker’s huge—and hugely influential—report next year.

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4 Powerful Lessons in Instagram Storytelling, Inspired by Mental Health Awareness Month

As you know, at Social Media Week we’re tremendous proponents of storytelling. Sharing our stories can endear us to one another, highlight experiences that seem remote or uncommon, and teach lessons that could otherwise seem too complicated or esoteric to explain. It’s especially attractive to share stories of challenge that feature a happy ending. But for millions of people across the United States and the United Kingdom, Mental Health Awareness Month (celebrated each May) means accessing and thinking about stories that are in progress—and often filled with challenge, pain, and shame.

Often a place where difficult stories are glossed over in favor of highlight reels and inspirational quotes, Instagram has come to life in an unexpected way over the last few Mays in a more real, vulnerable, and communal way. There are lessons to be learned from how individuals, brands, and social movements use this space to tell their stories during such an impactful time.

Here, we shine a light on a few of our favorites, as well as the lessons they could offer to our storytelling year round.

From Notes from Your Therapist: Small and simple can win out over polished and produced.

Teacher and therapist Allyson Dinneen has amassed a following of over 100,000 Instagrammers with her teachings about emotions, emotional intelligence, and counsel on relationships. But unlike so many other mental health “meme” accounts, her advice isn’t emblazoned on photos of flowers or vast sky landscapes. She has garnered considerable success, attention, and acknowledgment of breakthrough with something far simpler: brief, handwritten notes.

The notes carry power because followers can imagine themselves coming across her counsel on a coffee table at home, or in a wallet where the mantra was stashed for safekeeping. Seeing these tips and reminders in human handwriting somehow drives home the message: these challenges are real. You are human because, and not despite, having them. And another human being has them or understands them too.

From Talkspace: Brands can and should have real conversations about mental health.

While most accounts on mental health tend to share mantras and generalized tips for challenges surrounding depression, anxiety, panic, and grief, few are equipped to offer counsel. Talkspace, the text-based therapy app, can operate differently in this space thanks to their collective of licensed therapists. And this month, their use of Instagram Stories to engage those in need of help has been a shining example of user-generated content.

Urging their followers and users to use #MyMentalHealthLooksLike, Talkspace has used its stories in two key ways. First, they allow their current subscribers to share their go-to coping strategies through photos and videos, and share this content on their Stories feed. Second, they periodically open their Stories up to anonymous questions from followers and users, dispatching 2-3 Talkspace therapists to offer counsel on submitted mental health challenges. What results is a rich, accepting, and communal space for anyone in search of support. Particularly for users of the app, who often interact with Talkspace in a solo capacity, seeing the community of others who benefit from their services can be powerful.

From I Weigh: Starpower and UGC can converge in moving and important ways.

Former TV presenter and current The Good Place star Jameela Jamil got fed up with the laser focus on thinness, body manipulation, and constant questions about her size after an interview one day. Taking to her Instagram page, she added to a photo of herself all the things she preferred to be known for: lovely relationship, financial independence, willingness to speak out on women’s rights, and other things of that nature that have so little to do with society’s views of appearance. Her I Weigh movement, sparked by followers all across the world responding in kind with their own sources of pride that went beyond their weight, has gone on to be a powerful community for those struggling with body image and those fighting for body positivity.

The account has garnered the attention of celebrities who buy strongly into the message, and Jamil has parlayed that into an interview series on IGTV featuring guests like Sam Smith, Lizzo, and Rose McGowan. In their conversations, they’ve explored how relationship with body can impact mental health and how it intersects with concepts like gender, fame, and physical health. Through it all, Jamil (who still runs the account unassisted) is allowing celebrities and regular people to speak powerfully alongside one another in favor of a world where people are valued for who they are, and not what they can be altered or airbrushed to look like.

From Matt Haig and Rachel Cargle: The circle of those affected is wider than you know.

Without realizing it, many of us may have formulated who lives with – and gets to talk about – mental illness in a public forum like social media. But the benefit of social platforms is getting to find others who struggle in the same ways as you do, building community and allowing what previously happened in murmurs to gain volume and evolve into shouts.

Matt Haig is an author and playwright who has gained fame for his frank talk on depression—a topic not often talked about publicly by men. Rachel Cargle is an educator and activist who gained prominence for, among other reasons, starting the Therapy for Black Girls Fund. Each has used their presence on Instagram and other platforms to encourage populations that otherwise might minimize a need to talk about mental health, or might experience elevated stigman when doing so, to speak up and speak out. And the stories we choose to tell should widen how our personas are developed and marketed to. How far can our influence reach? Can you evolve to share those stories that are frequently lesser heard, but often more widely needed?

From across the Internet: this kind of vulnerable storytelling can – and should – happen year round.

Although there are accounts that will, in some ways, return to “regular programming” come June, there are Instagram accounts telling these challenging but ultimately rewarding and important stories year round. And those who want to lift up stories as part of their strategy can learn from how they do this. If you share stories of individuals, and their circumstances change, provide updates like @ttfapodcast does on behalf of its partner show, American Public Media’s Terrible, Thanks for Asking. Mix up the medium you use to tell stories: @depressedcakeshop highlights people who bake to raise money for mental health awareness, and often features striking photos of delicious, but depression-themed desserts. And @33foreverinc, started by the family of a young woman who died at 33 after a longtime struggle with depression and anxiety, shares stories from multiple perspectives (parents, siblings, friends) about how her journey and their loss feels.

It’s undeniable that these stories have power, and they hold a special power during this “sanctioned” month of sharing and awareness. But we know good stories should know no season. So take a lesson from these vulnerable, sometimes messy, but always inspiring accounts as you ponder how to tell stories without a veneer of perfection—this May, and beyond.

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What Philip Morris’ Influencer Gaffe Can Teach Us about Responsible Storytelling

Influencers can be a powerful tool to craft and share stories that endear customers to a brand. But what happens when that influence isn’t used responsibly?

A recent gaffe by Philip Morris International can be highly instructive for brands hoping to create strong and responsible influencer relationships – and for Philip Morris’ US distributor Altria.

An Influencer Campaign, Suspended

A recent Reuters investigation has resulted in the suspension of PMI’s latest international influencer campaign, aiming to promote its iOQS product. The reason? Underage influencers.

The tool, designed to utilize “heated tobacco” (versus burned tobacco) is reportedly healthier and safer for its users. However, a major caveat to the tool’s approval in the United States was PMI’s word to the FDA, which “repeatedly assured the regulators that it would warn young people away from the product.” Part of that assurance included internal guidelines that no influencers under the age of 25 could work on behalf of the company. And in Reuters’ review of influencer accounts in Italy, Japan, Romania, Russia, and Switzerland, they discovered accounts affiliated with the brand whose owners were younger than that.

An International Brand, Embarrassed

In their statement announcing the suspension of the influencer program, PMI acceded to the criticism levied by Reuters: “Whilst the influencer in question is a legal age adult smoker, she is under 25 and our guidance called for influencers to be 25+ years of age. This was a clear breach of those guidelines.” They admitted to PR Week, “we are not proud that a mistake was made, but what really matters is outcomes.”

As the company’s US distributor Altria prepares to deploy what they call “a range of marketing, sales, and consumer engagement approaches” to raise awareness of this new product, what should they take away from this misstep?

How to Influence with Integrity

Influencer marketing works successfully when the individual’s target audience aligns positively with the brand’s outcomes. Age-restricted industries like alcohol, tobacco, and even some medications, may struggle to realistically restrict reach on social media—where age verification measures are far more challenging. In these instances, targeted advertising may be a safer and more tightly controlled bet. And in the event that influencers are the strategy you choose to use, ensure there are contractual measures in place for if these individuals misrepresent themselves.

In a larger sense, it’s important to anticipate pitfalls that may come with innovative ideas. When speaking about iOQS’ impending release in the US, PMI CEO André Calantzopoulos praised the company for evolving in a world where tobacco companies are quickly losing ground. He touted PMI’s efforts in “essentially disrupting our business from the inside out. I can’t think of any other business that has attempted such a transformation before. Certainly no other tobacco company.” Innovation can mean moving fast and breaking things, but how big should we allow the things we break to be?

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ president Matthew Myers managed to quantify the potential impact of this gaffe: 179 million views of the hashtag #ioqs across Instagram and Twitter. Without a way to determine the age of these viewers, how can PMI ensure that they’re not reaching underage social users? Add to this the fact that 13 states and over 450 localities have raised the smoking age from 18 to 21, and the ability to incidentally reach an unintended audience goes up considerably.

The bottom line in all this: influencer marketing requires far more supervision and control than some realize. PMI realized this fact the hard way, but your brand doesn’t have to. To do influencer marketing well, brands and influencers need to think critically about the message being shared and the potential audience it will reach—and concede when influencer marketing isn’t the best medium for your message. Doing otherwise violates that responsibility that so matters when we try to tell stories that matter.

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Wunderman Thompson’s Future100: Ten Social and Cultural Trends to Watch

The world we see now may be very different from the world we see this time next year. Here’s a list of what to expect.

Every year in October, the Future100 is published by Wunderman Thompson – one of the main subsidiaries of PR and marketing agency WPP. They try to predict which social trends are going to take off – and define our culture and the advertising and product market – in the next 365 days.

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Two representatives from Wunderman Thompson, Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director,  and Emily Safian-Demers, Trends Analyst, covered a vast array of trends during their chat at #SMWNYC. Here’s the pick of the bunch:

The anxiety economy

‘Anxiety drives trends,’ said Greene. It’s a despairing thought, but one that has to be capitalized upon. In fact, it already is. Take the recent UK protests on climate change – they’re driven for a fear of the earth being harmed so badly by pollution and waste. Hyundai recently unveiled their ambitions to roll out their new disaster tech – a walking car-cum-robot called ‘Elevate’, which will alleviate the need for manual human searches in natural and man-made disasters, amongst other things. It’s a design that seems to stem from a 1980 depiction of 2020 – and now it’s come to a dystopian reality. It’s sad, but it works – and according to WT, it’ll be products like these which take control of the market in the near future.

A change in lifestyle

The second trend that WT is focusing on this year is the so-called ‘purpose revolution’ – a redefinition of what humans are here for, what makes us happy, and, with millennials especially, what we’re spending our money on. A lighter note, definitely. The three pillars that undermine this belief are wellbeing, self-improvement, and experience. Wellbeing is ‘what millennials want’ in the age we live in. That means air purifiers, cotton that’s marketed as organic because it’s softer on the skin – anything that makes us healthier, and improves our lives.

Self-improvement is a big one. The phrase ‘living your best life’ took on a life of its own last year. Whether it’s through financial gain or education or enjoying the simple pleasures in life, self-improvement is what we’re looking for in 2019.

Experiences include everything from food, to travel, to events. It’s part of our ‘aspirational identity’ to want to experience these sorts of things, and goes hand in hand with social media, where we can view experiences through other people’s lenses on a minute-by-minute basis, which only fuels our desire to do it ourselves.

The well-being part of it links drastically to another point later in the show: social media and mental health. ‘There’s a rising awareness recently of how social media can affect mental health.’ Apps like Happy Not Perfect attempt to allow teenagers to monitor their social media usage youtube and facebook now both employ wellbeing teams. A 2018 study by Origin of over 1000 participants found that 34 percent of Gen Z are quitting social media permanently and 29 percent say it ‘tears apart their self-esteem.’

The purpose revolution

Brands are not just there to sell products anymore. Under the constant scrutinizing lens of social media, companies have to do more these days. How are they supporting the world? How are they combatting global warming? What are their ethical beliefs? How do they treat their supply chain? It’s become more important than just brand image. Whether a make-up brand tests on animals, or whether a company uses plastic in their straws now can draw the line between the younger generation buying or not buying.

This links to the two ladies’ points later in the talk about the rise of an ‘ethical internet’.

Amnesty International recently published its first report about the treatment of women on Twitter – finding it was ‘toxic.’ They used the term ‘digital violence.’ The Feminist Internet in the UK raises questions about the design of the internet and the design of new technologies, like Alexa and similar home assistants and ‘subservient devices’ all being named after women. Is it sexist? That’s the issue they’re trying to bring up. Companies are moving towards and moving with the times. Apple has recently launched a billboard campaign reiterating the privacy settings available on iPhones. ‘What happens on iPhones stays on iPhones,’ they say.

Mothers of Ambition

In the age of feminism, the #metoo movement, the breaking down of barriers and the quashing of social stereotypes, it’s no longer acceptable for brands to assume. While in the past, for example, it was commonplace for mothers to go on maternity leave and housewifery was still a common trend amongst young mothers, now there isn’t a place or need for that. That’s why there’s been a trend – and there will continue to be – in which mothers post pregnancy pictures on LinkedIn – expressing the fact they’re pregnant, but that they’re not any less ambitious.

It’s not just mothers though. Males are pushing back against toxic masculine stereotypes and single people are experiencing a revolution in the way they’re treated and the way they and other people view themselves. Teenagers pushing back against unrealistic body and skin expectations. This, in itself, has led to a movement called #freethepimple, as every teenager experiences acne. It’s defiance against negativity.

Virtual Influencers

Some people may be blind to it, some may not understand the concept. But one Instagram account, posting under the handle ‘lilmiquela’, has 1.5m followers – and is based around the life of a CGI avatar. The digital campaign and the success of the campaign has led to Miquela penning influencing deals with massive brands like Supreme and Diesel. ‘If influencing is fake, why not make it really fake?’ asked Greene.

Other new marketing techniques include augmented reality filters to advertise products, such as the Adidas Deerupt filter on Snapchat or the Candy Crush filter on Instagram. They raise awareness of brand just as much as a billboard ad does. It’s the 21st-century version.

Greene and Safian-Demers didn’t have time to cover the full 100 – and here we don’t have to cover all of their trends. If you’re interested, check out the live stream replay on InsiderLive.

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

WATCH OUR SMWLA 2019 PROMO

The post Wunderman Thompson’s Future100: Ten Social and Cultural Trends to Watch appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/05/wunderman-thompsons-future100-ten-social-and-cultural-trends-to-watch/

Wunderman Thompson’s Future100: Ten Social and Cultural Trends to Watch

The world we see now may be very different from the world we see this time next year. Here’s a list of what to expect.

Every year in October, the Future100 is published by Wunderman Thompson – one of the main subsidiaries of PR and marketing agency WPP. They try to predict which social trends are going to take off – and define our culture and the advertising and product market – in the next 365 days.

Join SMW Insider to watch this #SMWNYC session

Subscribe

Two representatives from Wunderman Thompson, Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director,  and Emily Safian-Demers, Trends Analyst, covered a vast array of trends during their chat at #SMWNYC. Here’s the pick of the bunch:

The anxiety economy

‘Anxiety drives trends,’ said Greene. It’s a despairing thought, but one that has to be capitalized upon. In fact, it already is. Take the recent UK protests on climate change – they’re driven for a fear of the earth being harmed so badly by pollution and waste. Hyundai recently unveiled their ambitions to roll out their new disaster tech – a walking car-cum-robot called ‘Elevate’, which will alleviate the need for manual human searches in natural and man-made disasters, amongst other things. It’s a design that seems to stem from a 1980 depiction of 2020 – and now it’s come to a dystopian reality. It’s sad, but it works – and according to WT, it’ll be products like these which take control of the market in the near future.

A change in lifestyle

The second trend that WT is focusing on this year is the so-called ‘purpose revolution’ – a redefinition of what humans are here for, what makes us happy, and, with millennials especially, what we’re spending our money on. A lighter note, definitely. The three pillars that undermine this belief are wellbeing, self-improvement, and experience. Wellbeing is ‘what millennials want’ in the age we live in. That means air purifiers, cotton that’s marketed as organic because it’s softer on the skin – anything that makes us healthier, and improves our lives.

Self-improvement is a big one. The phrase ‘living your best life’ took on a life of its own last year. Whether it’s through financial gain or education or enjoying the simple pleasures in life, self-improvement is what we’re looking for in 2019.

Experiences include everything from food, to travel, to events. It’s part of our ‘aspirational identity’ to want to experience these sorts of things, and goes hand in hand with social media, where we can view experiences through other people’s lenses on a minute-by-minute basis, which only fuels our desire to do it ourselves.

The well-being part of it links drastically to another point later in the show: social media and mental health. ‘There’s a rising awareness recently of how social media can affect mental health.’ Apps like Happy Not Perfect attempt to allow teenagers to monitor their social media usage youtube and facebook now both employ wellbeing teams. A 2018 study by Origin of over 1000 participants found that 34 percent of Gen Z are quitting social media permanently and 29 percent say it ‘tears apart their self-esteem.’

The purpose revolution

Brands are not just there to sell products anymore. Under the constant scrutinizing lens of social media, companies have to do more these days. How are they supporting the world? How are they combatting global warming? What are their ethical beliefs? How do they treat their supply chain? It’s become more important than just brand image. Whether a make-up brand tests on animals, or whether a company uses plastic in their straws now can draw the line between the younger generation buying or not buying.

This links to the two ladies’ points later in the talk about the rise of an ‘ethical internet’.

Amnesty International recently published its first report about the treatment of women on Twitter – finding it was ‘toxic.’ They used the term ‘digital violence.’ The Feminist Internet in the UK raises questions about the design of the internet and the design of new technologies, like Alexa and similar home assistants and ‘subservient devices’ all being named after women. Is it sexist? That’s the issue they’re trying to bring up. Companies are moving towards and moving with the times. Apple has recently launched a billboard campaign reiterating the privacy settings available on iPhones. ‘What happens on iPhones stays on iPhones,’ they say.

Mothers of Ambition

In the age of feminism, the #metoo movement, the breaking down of barriers and the quashing of social stereotypes, it’s no longer acceptable for brands to assume. While in the past, for example, it was commonplace for mothers to go on maternity leave and housewifery was still a common trend amongst young mothers, now there isn’t a place or need for that. That’s why there’s been a trend – and there will continue to be – in which mothers post pregnancy pictures on LinkedIn – expressing the fact they’re pregnant, but that they’re not any less ambitious.

It’s not just mothers though. Males are pushing back against toxic masculine stereotypes and single people are experiencing a revolution in the way they’re treated and the way they and other people view themselves. Teenagers pushing back against unrealistic body and skin expectations. This, in itself, has led to a movement called #freethepimple, as every teenager experiences acne. It’s defiance against negativity.

Virtual Influencers

Some people may be blind to it, some may not understand the concept. But one Instagram account, posting under the handle ‘lilmiquela’, has 1.5m followers – and is based around the life of a CGI avatar. The digital campaign and the success of the campaign has led to Miquela penning influencing deals with massive brands like Supreme and Diesel. ‘If influencing is fake, why not make it really fake?’ asked Greene.

Other new marketing techniques include augmented reality filters to advertise products, such as the Adidas Deerupt filter on Snapchat or the Candy Crush filter on Instagram. They raise awareness of brand just as much as a billboard ad does. It’s the 21st-century version.

Greene and Safian-Demers didn’t have time to cover the full 100 – and here we don’t have to cover all of their trends. If you’re interested, check out the live stream replay on InsiderLive.

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

WATCH OUR SMWLA 2019 PROMO

The post Wunderman Thompson’s Future100: Ten Social and Cultural Trends to Watch appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/05/wunderman-thompsons-future100-ten-social-and-cultural-trends-to-watch/

Wunderman Thompson’s Future100: Ten Social and Cultural Trends to Watch

The world we see now may be very different from the world we see this time next year. Here’s a list of what to expect.

Every year in October, the Future100 is published by Wunderman Thompson – one of the main subsidiaries of PR and marketing agency WPP. They try to predict which social trends are going to take off – and define our culture and the advertising and product market – in the next 365 days.

Join SMW Insider to watch this #SMWNYC session

Subscribe

Two representatives from Wunderman Thompson, Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director,  and Emily Safian-Demers, Trends Analyst, covered a vast array of trends during their chat at #SMWNYC. Here’s the pick of the bunch:

The anxiety economy

‘Anxiety drives trends,’ said Greene. It’s a despairing thought, but one that has to be capitalized upon. In fact, it already is. Take the recent UK protests on climate change – they’re driven for a fear of the earth being harmed so badly by pollution and waste. Hyundai recently unveiled their ambitions to roll out their new disaster tech – a walking car-cum-robot called ‘Elevate’, which will alleviate the need for manual human searches in natural and man-made disasters, amongst other things. It’s a design that seems to stem from a 1980 depiction of 2020 – and now it’s come to a dystopian reality. It’s sad, but it works – and according to WT, it’ll be products like these which take control of the market in the near future.

A change in lifestyle

The second trend that WT is focusing on this year is the so-called ‘purpose revolution’ – a redefinition of what humans are here for, what makes us happy, and, with millennials especially, what we’re spending our money on. A lighter note, definitely. The three pillars that undermine this belief are wellbeing, self-improvement, and experience. Wellbeing is ‘what millennials want’ in the age we live in. That means air purifiers, cotton that’s marketed as organic because it’s softer on the skin – anything that makes us healthier, and improves our lives.

Self-improvement is a big one. The phrase ‘living your best life’ took on a life of its own last year. Whether it’s through financial gain or education or enjoying the simple pleasures in life, self-improvement is what we’re looking for in 2019.

Experiences include everything from food, to travel, to events. It’s part of our ‘aspirational identity’ to want to experience these sorts of things, and goes hand in hand with social media, where we can view experiences through other people’s lenses on a minute-by-minute basis, which only fuels our desire to do it ourselves.

The well-being part of it links drastically to another point later in the show: social media and mental health. ‘There’s a rising awareness recently of how social media can affect mental health.’ Apps like Happy Not Perfect attempt to allow teenagers to monitor their social media usage youtube and facebook now both employ wellbeing teams. A 2018 study by Origin of over 1000 participants found that 34 percent of Gen Z are quitting social media permanently and 29 percent say it ‘tears apart their self-esteem.’

The purpose revolution

Brands are not just there to sell products anymore. Under the constant scrutinizing lens of social media, companies have to do more these days. How are they supporting the world? How are they combatting global warming? What are their ethical beliefs? How do they treat their supply chain? It’s become more important than just brand image. Whether a make-up brand tests on animals, or whether a company uses plastic in their straws now can draw the line between the younger generation buying or not buying.

This links to the two ladies’ points later in the talk about the rise of an ‘ethical internet’.

Amnesty International recently published its first report about the treatment of women on Twitter – finding it was ‘toxic.’ They used the term ‘digital violence.’ The Feminist Internet in the UK raises questions about the design of the internet and the design of new technologies, like Alexa and similar home assistants and ‘subservient devices’ all being named after women. Is it sexist? That’s the issue they’re trying to bring up. Companies are moving towards and moving with the times. Apple has recently launched a billboard campaign reiterating the privacy settings available on iPhones. ‘What happens on iPhones stays on iPhones,’ they say.

Mothers of Ambition

In the age of feminism, the #metoo movement, the breaking down of barriers and the quashing of social stereotypes, it’s no longer acceptable for brands to assume. While in the past, for example, it was commonplace for mothers to go on maternity leave and housewifery was still a common trend amongst young mothers, now there isn’t a place or need for that. That’s why there’s been a trend – and there will continue to be – in which mothers post pregnancy pictures on LinkedIn – expressing the fact they’re pregnant, but that they’re not any less ambitious.

It’s not just mothers though. Males are pushing back against toxic masculine stereotypes and single people are experiencing a revolution in the way they’re treated and the way they and other people view themselves. Teenagers pushing back against unrealistic body and skin expectations. This, in itself, has led to a movement called #freethepimple, as every teenager experiences acne. It’s defiance against negativity.

Virtual Influencers

Some people may be blind to it, some may not understand the concept. But one Instagram account, posting under the handle ‘lilmiquela’, has 1.5m followers – and is based around the life of a CGI avatar. The digital campaign and the success of the campaign has led to Miquela penning influencing deals with massive brands like Supreme and Diesel. ‘If influencing is fake, why not make it really fake?’ asked Greene.

Other new marketing techniques include augmented reality filters to advertise products, such as the Adidas Deerupt filter on Snapchat or the Candy Crush filter on Instagram. They raise awareness of brand just as much as a billboard ad does. It’s the 21st-century version.

Greene and Safian-Demers didn’t have time to cover the full 100 – and here we don’t have to cover all of their trends. If you’re interested, check out the live stream replay on InsiderLive.

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

WATCH OUR SMWLA 2019 PROMO

The post Wunderman Thompson’s Future100: Ten Social and Cultural Trends to Watch appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/05/wunderman-thompsons-future100-ten-social-and-cultural-trends-to-watch/

Wunderman Thompson’s Future100: Ten Social and Cultural Trends to Watch

The world we see now may be very different from the world we see this time next year. Here’s a list of what to expect.

Every year in October, the Future100 is published by Wunderman Thompson – one of the main subsidiaries of PR and marketing agency WPP. They try to predict which social trends are going to take off – and define our culture and the advertising and product market – in the next 365 days.

Join SMW Insider to watch this #SMWNYC session

Subscribe

Two representatives from Wunderman Thompson, Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director,  and Emily Safian-Demers, Trends Analyst, covered a vast array of trends during their chat at #SMWNYC. Here’s the pick of the bunch:

The anxiety economy

‘Anxiety drives trends,’ said Greene. It’s a despairing thought, but one that has to be capitalized upon. In fact, it already is. Take the recent UK protests on climate change – they’re driven for a fear of the earth being harmed so badly by pollution and waste. Hyundai recently unveiled their ambitions to roll out their new disaster tech – a walking car-cum-robot called ‘Elevate’, which will alleviate the need for manual human searches in natural and man-made disasters, amongst other things. It’s a design that seems to stem from a 1980 depiction of 2020 – and now it’s come to a dystopian reality. It’s sad, but it works – and according to WT, it’ll be products like these which take control of the market in the near future.

A change in lifestyle

The second trend that WT is focusing on this year is the so-called ‘purpose revolution’ – a redefinition of what humans are here for, what makes us happy, and, with millennials especially, what we’re spending our money on. A lighter note, definitely. The three pillars that undermine this belief are wellbeing, self-improvement, and experience. Wellbeing is ‘what millennials want’ in the age we live in. That means air purifiers, cotton that’s marketed as organic because it’s softer on the skin – anything that makes us healthier, and improves our lives.

Self-improvement is a big one. The phrase ‘living your best life’ took on a life of its own last year. Whether it’s through financial gain or education or enjoying the simple pleasures in life, self-improvement is what we’re looking for in 2019.

Experiences include everything from food, to travel, to events. It’s part of our ‘aspirational identity’ to want to experience these sorts of things, and goes hand in hand with social media, where we can view experiences through other people’s lenses on a minute-by-minute basis, which only fuels our desire to do it ourselves.

The well-being part of it links drastically to another point later in the show: social media and mental health. ‘There’s a rising awareness recently of how social media can affect mental health.’ Apps like Happy Not Perfect attempt to allow teenagers to monitor their social media usage youtube and facebook now both employ wellbeing teams. A 2018 study by Origin of over 1000 participants found that 34 percent of Gen Z are quitting social media permanently and 29 percent say it ‘tears apart their self-esteem.’

The purpose revolution

Brands are not just there to sell products anymore. Under the constant scrutinizing lens of social media, companies have to do more these days. How are they supporting the world? How are they combatting global warming? What are their ethical beliefs? How do they treat their supply chain? It’s become more important than just brand image. Whether a make-up brand tests on animals, or whether a company uses plastic in their straws now can draw the line between the younger generation buying or not buying.

This links to the two ladies’ points later in the talk about the rise of an ‘ethical internet’.

Amnesty International recently published its first report about the treatment of women on Twitter – finding it was ‘toxic.’ They used the term ‘digital violence.’ The Feminist Internet in the UK raises questions about the design of the internet and the design of new technologies, like Alexa and similar home assistants and ‘subservient devices’ all being named after women. Is it sexist? That’s the issue they’re trying to bring up. Companies are moving towards and moving with the times. Apple has recently launched a billboard campaign reiterating the privacy settings available on iPhones. ‘What happens on iPhones stays on iPhones,’ they say.

Mothers of Ambition

In the age of feminism, the #metoo movement, the breaking down of barriers and the quashing of social stereotypes, it’s no longer acceptable for brands to assume. While in the past, for example, it was commonplace for mothers to go on maternity leave and housewifery was still a common trend amongst young mothers, now there isn’t a place or need for that. That’s why there’s been a trend – and there will continue to be – in which mothers post pregnancy pictures on LinkedIn – expressing the fact they’re pregnant, but that they’re not any less ambitious.

It’s not just mothers though. Males are pushing back against toxic masculine stereotypes and single people are experiencing a revolution in the way they’re treated and the way they and other people view themselves. Teenagers pushing back against unrealistic body and skin expectations. This, in itself, has led to a movement called #freethepimple, as every teenager experiences acne. It’s defiance against negativity.

Virtual Influencers

Some people may be blind to it, some may not understand the concept. But one Instagram account, posting under the handle ‘lilmiquela’, has 1.5m followers – and is based around the life of a CGI avatar. The digital campaign and the success of the campaign has led to Miquela penning influencing deals with massive brands like Supreme and Diesel. ‘If influencing is fake, why not make it really fake?’ asked Greene.

Other new marketing techniques include augmented reality filters to advertise products, such as the Adidas Deerupt filter on Snapchat or the Candy Crush filter on Instagram. They raise awareness of brand just as much as a billboard ad does. It’s the 21st-century version.

Greene and Safian-Demers didn’t have time to cover the full 100 – and here we don’t have to cover all of their trends. If you’re interested, check out the live stream replay on InsiderLive.

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

WATCH OUR SMWLA 2019 PROMO

The post Wunderman Thompson’s Future100: Ten Social and Cultural Trends to Watch appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/05/wunderman-thompsons-future100-ten-social-and-cultural-trends-to-watch/

Move Over, News Feed: Facebook’s New Redesign Puts Groups Front and Center

Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported at the company’s annual F8 Conference that 100 million people were heavily active users of the platform’s Groups function. This year, he took the stage to report that 400 million people could be counted as that type of user. Given the massive growth and importance of these venues, a redesign toward these gatherings felt inevitable. And last week, we learned that the next iteration of Facebook – called FB5 inside the company – will do precisely this.

“There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook. When people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook,” the company wrote in a recent blog post. Given that fact, their latest aesthetic and algorithmic update puts these thriving and vital micro-communities “at the center” of their new strategy. It aligns with the company’s push for more privacy, a move in turn driven by user behavior that shows increasing prioritization of private conversations and less permanent content.

In addition to redesigning the platform, the company’s latest advertising push supports this all-in mindset on groups. Led by new Facebook CMO Antonio Lucio, the new brand campaign is called “More Together,” and aims to “focus on people coming together on Facebook Groups over shared interests and experiences, whether it’s tacos or sci-fi.” The pivot toward groups will also make Events more prominent, another move seemingly geared toward the most popular features of the current platform…and moving away from those which have been most problematic.

An added benefit to this strategy for Facebook executives and engineers, is a natural de-emphasis on the highly scrutinized News Feed. It was there that issues of misinformation and polarization thrived, and has been blamed for several of the company’s latest image challenges. Aiming to get ahead of these critiques as they pertain to groups, the company has already pledged “to take measures to ensure that it is not recommending users to join Groups made for the purpose of spreading misinformation.”

Ultimately, this significant realignment for the frequently embattled company serves two masters. The user, who frequently flocks to these spaces anyway, can now do so with ease of navigation and a means to find new groups of similar interest. In the redesign, the platform is “improving [Group] discovery, making it easier to share from groups, and introducing a slew of new features built specifically for group type, like an anonymous posting option for health-related groups.” And for the company, who faced increasing pressure around (among other things) the perils of their prominent News Feed, they can structure their pivot around a new look and structure for their flagship product.

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

WATCH OUR SMWLA 2019 PROMO

The post Move Over, News Feed: Facebook’s New Redesign Puts Groups Front and Center appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/05/farewell-news-feed-facebooks-new-redesign-puts-groups-front-and-center/

Pictures Can’t Tell the Whole Story: Your Guide to Making Visual Content Accessible

The boom of visual-centric platforms like Instagram and the highly-buzzed about IPO of Pinterest prove it: images are king on social media. However, as they rise in popularity, there is a similarly rising need to make this sort of content accessible. For the blind or visually impaired, adaptations must be made to ensure equitable access to content and information. Social media platforms are making this easier, but marketers and content creators must do their work with this sort of access in mind. Below, we share a few considerations for all that you make and share—along with shortcuts to major platforms’ tools.

Why Might Images Be Inaccessible?

The World Health Organization reports that 1.3 billion people globally live with some form of visual impairment, including 36 million individuals who are blind. This means that even though we often pour our time, energy and skill into crafting beautiful accompanying images for our content, some of that detail simply won’t be able to be appreciated by a percentage of our population.

However, these people shouldn’t be left out of the opportunity to be informed, entertained, or served by us. For this reason, the painstaking visuals we create should be paired with clarifying language, tagging, and tools that allow them to be understood by anyone who comes across them- no matter what they see (or hear) when they encounter it.

Adding Alt-Text to Images

One of the most common ways to address the gap between shared images and the information they convey is with alt-text. Absent this alt-text, the social media experience for the visually impaired is markedly different. By one account from the United Kingdom’s Thomas Pocklington Trust for the Blind, “people using screen readers would only hear the name of the person who shared the photo followed by the term ‘photo’ when they came up in the news feed.”

Thankfully, advocacy groups and vocal users have pushed these platforms to do better by their users, and have created tools that will make adding alt-text easier to include. This alt-text can be read by screen readers, illuminating the onscreen experience for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to interpret it.

Instagram

Instagram, the most heavily impacted by this gap between content and understanding, also added its tools for alt-text most recently. There are two options for adding alternative text to images: allowing AI tools to generate a custom image description, or accessing a posts “Advanced Settings” to write your own description. The latter is recommended, as the former will not be easily editable for some time—and is limited by what AI has been trained to recognize. If your images are particularly detailed, or feature highly specific items, it’s more useful for you to take on the task yourself.

Facebook

As would be expected, the options to add alt-text to an image are similar for Instagram’s parent company, Facebook. You have the option of allowing AI technology to produce an alt-text description, or crafting one of your own. To do this, navigate to “Edit Photo,” then click “Alt Text” once it’s been posted. The AI-generated text will appear; if you wish to replace it with your own description, select “Override generated alt text.” Once you hit save, that description will be shared with screen readers anytime that post is viewed.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn added support for alt text quietly, but as of February 2019 has not yet deployed the tool for mobile posting. Therefore, we encourage you to do as much posting to the platform from a desktop as possible.

As you post an image, you’ll see a prompt in the top right corner of the photo allowing you to “Add Description.” Once you select that option, you’ll have 120 characters to elaborate on what is in the image. When you’re satisfied with what you’ve written, click “save” and that text will be available to screen readers whenever needed.

Pinterest

Curiously, a great deal of the chatter about alt text as it pertains to Pinterest is less concerned about accessibility—and more concerned about SEO. And while there is a relationship between image accessibility and search engine ranking, we’re more concerned about it as a mechanism to make information available, than to make it popular.

An announced partnership with Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in 2018 has demonstrated the platform’s commitment to making its highly visual interface easy to navigate for all, but a concrete process to include alt text is sadly difficult to come by.

Twitter

For Twitter, one additional step must be taken to ensure that you have the option to make images posted from your account accessible. Navigate to your profile settings, click Accessibility, and then turn “on” the settings for “Compose Image Descriptions.” Once you do this, each picture you post will prompt you to include this description—which can then be read by screen readers.

What About Pictures with Text?

While all of these methods allow for the description of images to identify who or what is in them, it doesn’t help annotate “flat” images that contain more detailed information, statistics, or other tidbits that would be difficult to contain to as few as 120 characters (see LinkedIn).

Should you wish to use text in this way, favor sans serif fonts for ease of reading, and ensure it is as large or larger than the ADA compliant standard of 18 point font. But beyond that, or in the event that the content you’re sharing doesn’t allow for compliance with this standard, think about the story your post tells without the image, or the accompanying text, there.

For these instances, we strongly recommend captions that can retell the story in these images in a way that highlights what appears, without repeating it verbatim for those who can see both. Point out key details or points of information, ensuring that the caption or accompanying text can tell the story you wish to tell…as if the chart, infographic, or graph wasn’t present.

This note also applies to things like quotes overlaid on images, or even online chat questions that are posted in an image. How can the accompanying text supplement the story for those who can see the image, and tell it fully for those who can’t? This two-part question will help you focus your caption writing, making it more useful and compelling for all readers.

A Note on Color

Any time we talk about visual impairment, color blindness must be mentioned alongside other visual impairments. Individuals with color blindness may have challenges distinguishing colors from one another, or they might see without color at all (a far rarer condition). In either case, your design should be forgiving of this possibility, and images you create should be sensitive to the idea that they won’t be seen as you might see them.

A few tips that the University of Minnesota’s “Accessible U” design initiative provides to ensure that your graphics can be understood regardless of their color makeup:

  • Consider using texture as well as color to distinguish chart areas from one another. For graphs or charts, colors that are close to one another in saturation might be largely indistinguishable from one another for the colorblind. Color and pattern fill provides an additional distinguishing factor that can make your information easier to interpret.
  • Use typefaces over color-coding to separate text. It is common and tempting to distinguish key text by color, but it is more accessible to do so by typeface. Consider italicizing or bolding text that you’d like to stand out, rather than relying on a difference in color to make your point.
  • Use a color contrast checker as you plan your color scheme. WebAIM has an online tool that will allow you to input proposed colors for a color scheme, measuring their level of contrast. UMN shares the standard: “depending on the size and weight of the font text, 3:1 [is the ideal contrast ratio] for normal text less than 14 points, or 4.5:1 for 14-point bold or 18-point non-bold text.”

Does this seem like a lot of information to take into consideration as you craft your brand or organization’s message? It may. But for users who can easily navigate a page they can’t otherwise see, who can get the gist of your message without doubt or loss of fidelity, these overtures matter. We hope you’ll take these tips to heart – and into offices of decision makers and designers – with the goal of making your content available for all to enjoy.

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

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The post Pictures Can’t Tell the Whole Story: Your Guide to Making Visual Content Accessible appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/05/pictures-cant-tell-the-whole-story-your-guide-to-making-visual-content-accessible/

Easy Fundraising Comes to Instagram Stories with New “Donate” Sticker

Since 2015, Facebook has raised over $1 billion in charitable donations from 200 million users—and now the company is spreading that capability to popular photo app Instagram. The “Donate” sticker, first deployed for testing in February, is now live for all US users and will allow Storymakers to align themselves with nonprofits like Boys and Girls Club of America, Black Girls Code, No Kid Hungry, and other charitable causes.

Announced just ahead of Facebook’s F8 conference last week, Instagram head of product Adam Mosseri demonstrated the tool during the event, using Black Girls Code for the public demonstration. BGC founder Kimberly Bryant hailed the ease of the tool, calling it “a great addition to the platform and allows us the ability to move our supporters to action in a seamless and dynamic manner, as they are inspired by the stories of our tech divas.” To use the sticker, posters need only select their sticker from the menu, identify their cause of choice, and upload the story to post the campaign. The status of your fundraiser can be checked by swiping up; stats will appear alongside viewer stats.

Facebook appears to have learned from its prior challenges in the arena of fundraising, and deployed Donate with a key advantage over other competitors: a 100% donation rate. Unlike other platforms that have come under fire for the percentage of money they take from these funds (including Facebook, which has historically taken up to 5% of donated funds), Instagram will forgo all processing, transaction, and other associated fees to ensure that the nonprofits get the full amount of donated funds.

It’s worth noting that the Donate function is, at present, restricted to charitable causes and nonprofits that are registered as such. As you may recall, Facebook’s fundraising capabilities, as well as those of other fundraising sites like GoFundMe and Crowdrise, started with a similar restricting, before venturing into the world of personal fundraisers. So it’s possible that in time, the options for fund recipients will grow in size and scope. But for the time being, take advantage of this opportunity to pair a plea for your favorite charitable cause, with a compelling image, story, or music clip.

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

WATCH OUR SMWLA 2019 PROMO

The post Easy Fundraising Comes to Instagram Stories with New “Donate” Sticker appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/05/easy-fundraising-comes-to-instagram-stories-with-new-donate-sticker/

Facebook Announced Moves Toward Platform ‘Integrity’ – Here are 5 You May Have Missed

Since 2016 and the aftermath of Facebook’s many scandals around misinformation, the social media giant has maintained a mantra of what they call “reduce, remove, inform.” By their own word, they describe the practice as

[r]emoving content that violates our policies, reducing the spread of problematic content that does not violate our policies, and informing people with additional information so they can choose what to click, read, or share.

Last week, Facebook convened a gathering in Menlo Park with a number of journalists to outline the latest ways they’re enacting these principles. A few parts of the process have been heavily reported on, including the new “click gap” metric (lessening the impact of sites that are optimized to spread virally on Facebook); a Group Quality metric designed to de-prioritize groups that “repeatedly share misinformation”; and Trust Indicators, an initiative from The Trust Project dedicated to assessing the credibility of linked or cited news sources.

An overall benefit of the announced moves: in what seems to follow a lead set by Pinterest, “freedom of reach” is being limited for those who aim to use the site to sow discord and toxicity.

While these measures got several mentions in coverage of the summit, there are a number of additional measures that will also have an impact on the platform’s efforts to curb its debilitating misinformation and abuse. The full list is available in Facebook’s News Room, but here are five moves worth mentioning:

1. Applying Facebook’s Verified User badge to communications in Messenger

The Verified User badge on Facebook proper us designed to distinguish authenticated and highly visible users to post and participate on the site without fear of being impersonated by clone accounts. However, the badge didn’t “carry over” into Messenger. As a result, communications in the app were vulnerable to impersonators. But now that the badge applies in both places, the “tool will help people avoid scammers that pretend to be high-profile people by providing a visible indicator of a verified account.”

2. Expanding the Context Button to images

The Context Button debuted last year to provide additional details about publishers and article contents, in hopes that the information would help people decide whether or not to share a news item. In expanding this functionality to images, the platform hopes to prevent doctored or otherwise falsified images from similarly spreading misinformation.

3. Expanding the role of The Associated Press as part of the third-party fact-checking program

After Snopes’ departure from a partnership with Facebook over a need to examine “the ramifications and costs of providing third-party fact-checking services,” the platform has decided to work with a coalition of academics, journalists, and others to take up the charge of verifying as much content shared on the site as possible. Given the sheer volume of information being shared there, this is no easy task. But the reputation of a partner like the Associated Press will hopefully provide some sorely needed credibility to Facebook’s fight.

4. Transparent tracking of updates to Facebook’s Community Guidelines

Technically, users have had open access to the often-updated Community Guidelines since 2018. But in the spirit of transparency, this new version will make monthly notes of what has changed, making it easier to understand what moves are being legislated against, and why actions that hadn’t previously been taken, are now within the platform’s purview.

5. Forward Indicator and Context Button make the move from WhatsApp to Messenger

Despite its major challenges with misinformation, WhatsApp was curiously absent from Facebook’s list of advances to combat its truth challenges. However, one announcement that alluded to it was a measure that was originally deployed there. The Forward Indicator, a mechanism designed to track messages, lets someone know if a message they received was forwarded by the sender. The Context Button, which provides more background on shared articles, now also works in Messenger.

As The Verge’s Casey Newton correctly notes, these sorts of measures are a step in the right direction for any platform aiming to rein in misuse and regain the trust of its most vulnerable users, who have been burned by past inaction. But hopefully, these small steps will collectively move Facebook (and other websites struggling with similar challenges) toward an identifiable goalpost, one where success in these measures can be clearly articulated and its impact clearly measured. It’s perfectly valid to commend Facebook for this sweeping slate of changes, but it’s also okay to ponder the question: “to what end?”

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The post Facebook Announced Moves Toward Platform ‘Integrity’ – Here are 5 You May Have Missed appeared first on Social Media Week.

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What Will Facebook’s White Nationalism Ban Look Like in Action?

This week, Facebook’s landmark policy against white nationalism and white separatism will take effect across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. Announced last week in a company blog post and in a series of statements to the press, its stated goal is to enact “a ban on praise, support and representation” of these dangerous ideologies. So now that the policy is live and the sites have mobilized to enforce it, what will it mean for the user experience on these platforms?

What Content Will Be Impacted?

At present, Facebook seems to only have the ability to target and remove explicit expressions of white supremacy/nationalism/separatism. Statements that outwardly praise, support, or represent these ideologies will be removed. However, more coded or implicit expressions of these principles will likely evade detection and removal—at least initially. “Implicit and coded white nationalism and white separatism will not be banned immediately, in part because the company said it’s harder to detect and remove,” Vice’s Motherboard reported upon the statement’s release.

Buzzfeed News revealed an additional quirk of the policy as presently written: Holocaust denial, another hotly contested type of content that frequently proliferates on the site, will not be included in this policy. Rather, statements of this nature will be flagged as “misinformation” (noted, but ultimately permissible), as opposed to hate speech (which is expressly prohibited). The curiously selective methodology Facebook has employed to determine what language is and isn’t allowed has drawn the concern of Kristen Clarke, executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under law:

For too long, Facebook has maintained a policy that carved out an indefensible distinction between white supremacy and white nationalism and white separatism, and that carve-out allowed violent white supremacists to openly exploit the platform to incite violence across the country, and frankly across the globe.”

Why The Shift in Policy?

Clarke’s mention of the global level that such violence has reached, is likely related to scrutiny Facebook received in the wake of the Facebook Live footage of last month’s Christchurch mosque attack. In addition to prompting rumored reconsideration of live streaming regulations on the site, this major change in mentality on Facebook’s part is likely related to the extensive work COO Sheryl Sandberg and others in the organization are doing with civil rights organizations. Over the past three months, this work has yielded changes in the ad platform’s targeting measures; as this policy rolls out, we see how it will impact users on a larger scale.

It should be noted that white supremacy has been banned on the site for a few years now. Brian Fishman, Facebook’s Policy Director of Counterterrorism, spoke on a philosophical shift that also helped in moving this new rule forward: “we decided that the overlap between white nationalism, white separatism, and white supremacy is so extensive that we can’t really make a meaningful distinction between them.” Deferring to the civil rights groups and scholars they’ve collaborated with, the company’s blog post confirmed this revelation. “It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services.”

How Will Facebook Find Offending Content?

As mentioned above, Facebook’s systems are not yet advanced enough to remove all content that could likely be deemed objectionable under this policy. But according to AdWeek, the policy will be enforced with “a combination of machine-learning tools, artificial intelligence, and human review.” To their credit, Facebook seems to be using similar techniques to those that are used to scrub the site of content associated with ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups—a sign that, unlike other sites or entities, the company does see this threat as one which could be classified as terrorism.

Among the techniques cited is “content matching,” a process completed by algorithm that identifies images previously flagged as hateful or otherwise violating and then deletes it. User-flagged content can also be removed, presumably with an option to individual users to flag content as indicative or supportive of white supremacy.

Will It Work?

It looks good for Facebook to be able to make such sweeping declarations of intent, particularly on an issue that presents so much danger to its users and society as a whole. After all, they want to be better! They’re listening to their critics! Posters will be directed to anti-hate resources! But as Vice’s reporters rightfully point out, “a social media policy is only as good as its implementation and enforcement.”

To effectively eliminate this threat, Facebook must commit—in action as well as in word—to advancing its technology to a point where it can identify explicit and implicit threats. It must continue listening to its users, employees, and experts to get a fuller view of the issues at hand. Clarke said in a statement, “[they] also need to enforce those policies consistently, provide meaningful transparency around any AI techniques used to address the problem, and adequately train its personnel.” And crucially, they need to acknowledge the power that enacting a policy like this implies. Vera Eidelman, staff attorney for the ACLU, offers a caution even as she supports this landmark move on Facebook’s part: “every time Facebook makes the choice to remove content, a single company is exercising an unchecked power to silence individuals and remove them from what was become an indispensable platform.”

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The post What Will Facebook’s White Nationalism Ban Look Like in Action? appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/04/what-will-facebooks-white-nationalism-ban-look-like-in-action/

What Will Facebook’s White Nationalism Ban Look Like in Action?

This week, Facebook’s landmark policy against white nationalism and white separatism will take effect across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. Announced last week in a company blog post and in a series of statements to the press, its stated goal is to enact “a ban on praise, support and representation” of these dangerous ideologies. So now that the policy is live and the sites have mobilized to enforce it, what will it mean for the user experience on these platforms?

What Content Will Be Impacted?

At present, Facebook seems to only have the ability to target and remove explicit expressions of white supremacy/nationalism/separatism. Statements that outwardly praise, support, or represent these ideologies will be removed. However, more coded or implicit expressions of these principles will likely evade detection and removal—at least initially. “Implicit and coded white nationalism and white separatism will not be banned immediately, in part because the company said it’s harder to detect and remove,” Vice’s Motherboard reported upon the statement’s release.

Buzzfeed News revealed an additional quirk of the policy as presently written: Holocaust denial, another hotly contested type of content that frequently proliferates on the site, will not be included in this policy. Rather, statements of this nature will be flagged as “misinformation” (noted, but ultimately permissible), as opposed to hate speech (which is expressly prohibited). The curiously selective methodology Facebook has employed to determine what language is and isn’t allowed has drawn the concern of Kristen Clarke, executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under law:

For too long, Facebook has maintained a policy that carved out an indefensible distinction between white supremacy and white nationalism and white separatism, and that carve-out allowed violent white supremacists to openly exploit the platform to incite violence across the country, and frankly across the globe.”

Why The Shift in Policy?

Clarke’s mention of the global level that such violence has reached, is likely related to scrutiny Facebook received in the wake of the Facebook Live footage of last month’s Christchurch mosque attack. In addition to prompting rumored reconsideration of live streaming regulations on the site, this major change in mentality on Facebook’s part is likely related to the extensive work COO Sheryl Sandberg and others in the organization are doing with civil rights organizations. Over the past three months, this work has yielded changes in the ad platform’s targeting measures; as this policy rolls out, we see how it will impact users on a larger scale.

It should be noted that white supremacy has been banned on the site for a few years now. Brian Fishman, Facebook’s Policy Director of Counterterrorism, spoke on a philosophical shift that also helped in moving this new rule forward: “we decided that the overlap between white nationalism, white separatism, and white supremacy is so extensive that we can’t really make a meaningful distinction between them.” Deferring to the civil rights groups and scholars they’ve collaborated with, the company’s blog post confirmed this revelation. “It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services.”

How Will Facebook Find Offending Content?

As mentioned above, Facebook’s systems are not yet advanced enough to remove all content that could likely be deemed objectionable under this policy. But according to AdWeek, the policy will be enforced with “a combination of machine-learning tools, artificial intelligence, and human review.” To their credit, Facebook seems to be using similar techniques to those that are used to scrub the site of content associated with ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups—a sign that, unlike other sites or entities, the company does see this threat as one which could be classified as terrorism.

Among the techniques cited is “content matching,” a process completed by algorithm that identifies images previously flagged as hateful or otherwise violating and then deletes it. User-flagged content can also be removed, presumably with an option to individual users to flag content as indicative or supportive of white supremacy.

Will It Work?

It looks good for Facebook to be able to make such sweeping declarations of intent, particularly on an issue that presents so much danger to its users and society as a whole. After all, they want to be better! They’re listening to their critics! Posters will be directed to anti-hate resources! But as Vice’s reporters rightfully point out, “a social media policy is only as good as its implementation and enforcement.”

To effectively eliminate this threat, Facebook must commit—in action as well as in word—to advancing its technology to a point where it can identify explicit and implicit threats. It must continue listening to its users, employees, and experts to get a fuller view of the issues at hand. Clarke said in a statement, “[they] also need to enforce those policies consistently, provide meaningful transparency around any AI techniques used to address the problem, and adequately train its personnel.” And crucially, they need to acknowledge the power that enacting a policy like this implies. Vera Eidelman, staff attorney for the ACLU, offers a caution even as she supports this landmark move on Facebook’s part: “every time Facebook makes the choice to remove content, a single company is exercising an unchecked power to silence individuals and remove them from what was become an indispensable platform.”

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

WATCH OUR 2019 PROMO

The post What Will Facebook’s White Nationalism Ban Look Like in Action? appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/04/what-will-facebooks-white-nationalism-ban-look-like-in-action/

3 Stock Photo Collections Aiming to Widen Our View of the World

Stock photos are the go-to method to highlight the world as we see it. And these pictures should reflect the world around us. But for underrepresented or marginalized individuals, the reflection hasn’t historically been so accurate.

Why does this matter? As Broadly states in their usage guidelines for their stock collection,

Stock photos that accompany articles do more than illustrate subject matter. They have the power to shape perceptions of entire communities. When used critically, they can chip away at harmful stereotypes, pushing more accurate perceptions and understandings to the fore. This is why, over the last several years, initiatives have emerged to increase diversity in stock photos across race, gender, body size, ability and more.

In recent years, efforts to diversify the libraries of stock photos have moved slowly- but this trio of initiatives has hastened the process. As you put together your next slide deck, campaign, or blog post, consider pulling your default images from one of these sites.

Broadly’s The Gender Spectrum

Photo via Broadly’s The Gender Spectrum

If you’re searching through libraries of stock images in search of “man” doing something, or “woman” with anything, you’d be hard pressed to find yourself at a loss. But for trans* and nonbinary individuals, it’s far easier to feel overlooked or even invisible. Broadly’s The Gender Spectrum believes that should change.

Curated by Vice’s Broadly, the collection “aims to help media better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities—people with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and home lives.” The collection is vibrant, diverse and, as they say in their guidelines, “go beyond the clichés of putting on makeup and holding trans flags.”

The Jopwell Collection

Photo via The Jopwell Collection

Founded in 2015 by Porter Braswell and Ryan Williams, Jopwell is a platform dedicated to improving the employment prospects of historically underrepresented candidates. Fast Company cited them as one of the most innovative enterprise companies of 2017, and Entrepreneur included them on their list of the top 100 brilliant ideas of 2017.

In their commitment to changing the face of the workplace, Jopwell decided to create stock photo collections that offered a guide at what these diverse workplaces could look like. After debuting their initial collection, they later expanded their offerings with their “intern edition” and their “events edition,” in all cases providing a regrettably uncommon look inside a diverse workplace- by turning the camera toward their own employees, interns, and supporters.

Getty’s Project #ShowUs

Photo via Getty’s Project #ShowUs

Getty has long been a go-to source for gorgeous and easily usable images. And yet, there are images that even they are willing to concede have been overlooked in their years of collecting and curating photos. Their latest project, a collaboration with Dove and Girlgaze, is filling that gap- to the tune of over 5000 photos “devoted to shattering beauty stereotypes by showing female-identifying and non-binary individuals as they are, not as others believe they should be.”

In addition to being hugely representative of the many ways women and nonbinary individuals show up in the world, the project prides itself on its composition behind the camera as well. The photos were taken by 116 women from 39 countries, feature no airbrushing or digital distortion and, according to Dove, depict “self-defined beauty, with every woman deciding how she wants to be seen.”

To return to Broadly’s statement on the changing landscape of stock photography, images like these have wider use than many brands or companies might initially expect. They say it about trans* and nonbinary individuals, but it really is true of any population who doesn’t show up in stock photography often: “[these images] can be used to illustrate any topic, not just stories related directly to those communities. Consider accessing these photos for stories on topics like beauty, work, education, relationships, or wellness.” Doing so can change the way readers, viewers, clients, and followers look at the world.

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The post 3 Stock Photo Collections Aiming to Widen Our View of the World appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/04/3-stock-photo-collections-aiming-to-widen-our-view-of-the-world/