Today’s Rallyverse Roundup has the scoop on what Apple may be up to in 2014, why Facebook’s users won’t let it become the newspaper it wants to be, why some companies are awful at spotting amazing ideas, why everyone thinks they’re so “responsible” on LinkedIn, and what Twitter’s new DM update means.
In a major update, Twitter has placed Direct Messages at the center of its mobile app, with large images and an icon in the main navigation bar. In the process, it has created a true backchannel where there was barely one before.
Earlier this year, Facebook users rejected a redesign that Zuckerberg announced with much fanfare. Now Facebook is adjusting its algorithms to emphasize content that it thinks readers should see, which will push down some of the stuff that’s currently popular.
Apple is no longer the company of Steve Jobs, this we know. Apple innovation isn’t dead but it has become more conservative, not to mention, the showmanship has pretty much evaporated. Apple’s hits are, with few exceptions, refreshes and significant updates to existing products. Only the Mac Pro stands out as an utterly new design, if not a fresh category in itself.
The company is releasing its list of the most overused buzzwords in 2013, based on the words that appear most frequently on the professional networking site’s profiles. In 2011 and 2012, the most overused word was “creative”, but this year “creative” was beaten by “responsible.”
“There are situational variables that are very subtle and transitory that can shift your ability to determine what’s creative,” Mueller tells Co.Design. These seemingly random factors — such as a manager’s mindset during an idea pitch — can bias people against creativity without them knowing it.
Today’s Rallyverse Roundup covers it all, from government spies hanging out deep within video games, Facebook’s next-level use of artificial intelligence, breakthrough ideas to watch for in digital advertising, and the notion that it’s OK to tell your boss “NO.” (But don’t blame it on us if you get fired for it!)
If Facebook can use deep learning to recognize faces in your photos, it can automatically share those pics with others who may enjoy them. If it can use AI to reliably predict your behavior on its social network, it can serve you ads you’re more likely to click on.
Gamers represent a massive, increasingly organized body that, in the eyes of advertisers and spymasters alike, resemble a social network.
Sequential messaging is digital advertising’s next act, and software, device and ad tech firms are scrambling to build the infrastructure to make it happen. The concept is simple enough, but execution requires powerful technology and perfect coordination.
The lesson in all of this, according to the gospel of Twitter engineering: Incremental changes eventually win. And “failure is always an option.”
Pushing back on a request from your boss can be intimidating (especially if you work for someone who’s, let’s say, not the most receptive to answers outside the realm of “Of course! When would you like it completed?”), but the truth is, it’s significantly better than setting yourself up to fail.
To GIF or not to GIF, that is the question.
When we talk to marketers, one of the topics that comes up all the time is the role of long-form versus short-form content. That is, what sort of mix should a marketer seek between creating long-form content (lengthy blog posts, essays and whitepapers) and short-form content (social media posts, images, charts, GIFs and quick FYIs)? What works best for the audience? And what works best for the marketer?
While there should be some room in your marketing strategy for content of all sizes (I mean, we did write this all up in a blogpost, for example), we’re firm believers that you should optimize your attention and spending for snackable short-form content.
Here are five reasons why:
1. Everything Is Visual (At Least Everything Digital)
Both in presentation and in consumer behavior, folks are migrating to consuming and communicating in images: on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat and whatever else the kids are doing by the time you read this. Why use words to communicate when you can use Emoji? We’ll stop somewhere short of categorically declaring that “People hate reading,” but we will note that image posts almost always do best on Twitter and Facebook. You can fight it or you can embrace it. We recommend embracing.
2. It’s A Mobile World, Which Means GIFs > Whitepapers
If you’re consuming content on your phone (and with each passing month, more and more of your audience is), then you want short, snackable content. Sure, a lot of us will read in-depth articles, even books, on our phones, but more of us are reading Twitter, BuzzFeed, ESPN sports tickers or Snapchat messages. If it’s on your phone, you don’t have time for loading and scrolling. And mobile isn’t getting any smaller any time soon. Plan accordingly.
Even when we’re not on our phones, we see too much media in too little time. Truthfully, a lot of us are media-obsessed, leaving Twitter, Facebook and email tabs open at all times. When do folks have the time or will power to press pause read and dig in on longer content? Not as often as we’d like. (Maybe we’ll save the psychology behind this for another blog post; oh, and please don’t abandon this post! Not yet at least! We swear, not much more!)
4. Shorter, Better, Faster, Stronger
While think-piece factories like The Daily Beast, Slate and Salon make efforts to churn out responses to timely issues and events with long-form content on the fly, it’s not easy; the longer reactionary pieces that typically stand the test of fact-checking and additional thought are the ones that appear a day or week later. On the other hand, you can fire up a bare-bones and to-the-point tweet, image, meme or brief blog comment in minutes — and connect to what’s important to your audience right now.
5. Long-Form Ain’t Cheap
Sometimes it just comes down to simple logistics. Even if you wanted to ignore all the compelling reasons that your audience prefers short-form content, the reality is that long-form content is more expensive to produce, and extremely difficult to scale. You can shake your fist at these young kids and their short-form tweets and memes all day long, but these methods are simply easier and cheaper – and can be just as effective.
(The answer: To GIF!)