Crowd Journalism, The Social Times, And Happy Ed Balls Day! In This Week’s Friday Download
April 28, 2017
By FTI Consulting
First things first, happy Ed Balls Day! It’s been six years since former Shadow Chancellor accidentally tweeted his own name, and Twitter has spent the day rejoicing in the madness of the internet gaffe. Even big companies were keen to spread the Ed Balls love – check out Virgin Atlantic’s #EdBallsDay Twitter ad.
The name Jimmy Wales may not ring a bell, but you’ll have heard of his most famous creation – namely Wikipedia, the crowdsourced encyclopedia which is now home to more than 40 million articles. The improbable success of the platform explains the flurry of excitement this week after Wales announced his latest project – an attempt to build a not-for-profit, crowd-powered journalism site called Wikitribune.
By teaming up professional journalists and community contributors to produce fact-checked, global news stories, the project intends to combat the increasing proliferation of online fake news. Whilst this is a topic of increasing interest to journalists and communications professionals, who see the rise of fake news as a serious social problem, we’re not convinced non-journalists worry about it so much.
Similar sites (Spot.us, anyone?) have seen little traction or have been shut down, so there’s reason for scepticism. That said, previous projects didn’t have the kind of influence Wales brings, so perhaps his time has come…again.
A New Approach
In a bid to reach a younger audience, The New York Times is joining Snapchat Discover, with plans to share articles and news in a digestible daily update. The publisher, which already uses Snapchat stories to share photos and videos, will be able to share a wider variety of content, from investigative journalism and international exclusives to crosswords and cartoons.
The Times is one of many publishers (most notably The Economist and The Washington Post) moving away from branded apps and committing to the Snapchat platform instead, and on the face of it the case is open-shut. Publishers have access to 158 million daily active users, who open the app an average of 18 times a day – but there remain question marks over the practicalities of Snapchat when it comes to corporate communications. Snapchat’s demographic profile is very singular (45% of users are 18-24, and 30% of teens rank it as their most important network), but perhaps more important is queries over how robust measurement and insight is on the platform.
While the platform does provide certain metrics, from unique views and story completion to total screenshots or open rate, how corporate communications teams are able to demonstrate ROI on Snapchat activity will be crucial to the development of Snapchat within the corporate communications mix.
A Milestone Week
Less than a year after Microsoft acquired the platform for $26.2 billion, LinkedIn has reached the half a billion member milestone, meaning close to 7% of the world’s population is tied into its network. This actually implies relatively flat member growth since the end of 2016, but that’s not surprising as Microsoft’s so far been focused on improving the user experience (thank you, Microsoft!). When the gas pedal’s pushed on membership acquisition, maybe the platform will begin to close the gap on Instagram, who this week reached the 700 million user mark.
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting LLP, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals, members or employees.
FTI’s digital practice in EMEA operates as a centre of excellence for digital communications within the firm and is staffed by a team of practitioners with industry experience of consumer, corporate and financial communications. The team runs an active portfolio of multi-sector brands and partners with FTI’s teams and clients to provide a wide range of online reputation management services.