May 23, 2018 By Zak Mehan
Social media channels have long been seen as a risky engagement by companies, brands and public figures. While there is almost consensus that the opportunities outweigh these risks, how to mitigate them is far from a hard science.
Last week we talked about Twitter’s latest tool for dealing with trolls – muting their accounts. Companies and individuals often apply their own tactics to dealing with vocal detractors as well, and these can (and often do) backfire.
One tactic that can backfire is to block the individual accounts. This can be effective but can also add fuel to a fire. Florida gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine is feeling the heat.
In his role as mayor of Miami Beach, Levine blocked a user criticizing him on Twitter. Levine was then sued and the incident opened up a conversation about government censorship and freedom of speech on social media.
Now, with hopes of residing in the governor’s mansion, these conversations are coming back to haunt him, with competitors calling into question his commitment to transparency, or in more dramatic cases, upholding the Constitution.
While most companies won’t stir up a Constitutional crisis by blocking their detractors on social media, the way the issue is following Levine is indicative of how ignoring stakeholders can turn into a protracted concern for companies. We urge companies to consider whether this adds fuel to any fires or acts at odds with proclaimed company values like transparency or community engagement.
Continuing on the topic of censorship, a new app utilizing blockchain technology is being billed as a way for journalists to avoid governments blocking their content. Inkrypt is the first company to allow journalists to store and distribute content on parent company Po.et’s blockchain.
To give you an unreasonably brief description of the way a blockchain works: a blockchain is basically a digital record-keeping system consisting of “blocks” of data that are stored across multiple servers. This is what is referred to as “decentralization”, where no one server (or, more accurately, entity that owns that server) completely controls data, in this case, news content. Think about it almost like a Horcrux for information.
The result is that journalists’ content can be protected from, for example, governments that want to ax a story or remove a deleterious image or video. One of Po.et’s original offerings was a protocol for content licensing that ensured proper attribution (and royalties) were given, and this technology will be leveraged on Inkrypt.
While we’re still a ways out in terms of blockchain becoming part of the mainstream media environment, it’s not completely pie-in-the-sky thinking to say initiatives like Inkrypt will revolutionize the media environment and, as a result, media relations practices.
For one, stories and content stored across decentralized ledgers are nearly impossible to take down without the original owner of the content agreeing to do so. And it’s also worth considering the fragmentation of the media in an age when trust in the media, governments and corporations is seriously in flux. Individual voices may carry much farther if decentralization becomes a trend in news.
What we would probably call the prime directive in communications and marketing is knowing your audience. So every once in a while, we’ll check in and give you some broad trends on how people are consuming content.
Axios describes the modern consumer as “impatient” and “distracted” and with good reason. Over 70 percent of people use another digital device while watching TV.
Two-thirds of viewers change the channel during commercials rather than sit through them. There are now nearly as many Netflix subscribers in the U.S. as cable subscribers.
This tells us some interesting things about consumers. First, that if you’re not thinking mobile, you’re guaranteed to miss out. While we often want to appeal to people’s “work brains”, social media and mobile devices give us an opportunity to hit target audiences around the clock, even when consuming other content.
They are also less likely to stick around if forced to watch a commercial on a TV or radio channel, but social media is a mixed bag. Users will be less likely to close an app if they see an ad than to just scroll by, meaning short, to-the-point content that appears natural in the environment of that specific social media channel can still be effective for getting (at least a little) information across.
And, if that isn’t a compelling enough case for being active on digital platforms, over half of all media time is spent in mobile apps. That’s a tremendous opportunity for reaching valuable audiences.
Siempo’s new app will break your smartphone addiction TechCrunch
YouTube TV adds Tastemade and The Young Turks as it expands its digital media content TechCrunch
The Obama Channel? Barack and Michelle Obama Sign Deal With Netflix WSJ
Britain introducing new laws on social media companies to tackle ‘Wild West elements’ The Hill
This girl doesn’t quite understand how (royal) wedding invitations work, adorableness ensues.