VC Digital Bytes: April 12, 2019

Every two weeks, Vanguard distills hundreds of digital media headlines into the best “byte”- sized pieces of useful information. Each edition has news ranging from the latest Facebook algorithm changes to best practices for email marketing. Share Digital Bytes with your organization to keep your digital strategies ahead of the pack.

Digital Bytes

Issues around online privacy have been bubbling up for years. Some people think that giving up privacy is a necessary evil to enjoy the benefits of online life, others don’t find it an issue at all, and still others think any invasion of privacy is cause for alarm. This week, the New York Times launched a new series on privacy issues in the modern world, and it’s about time! One of the standout pieces is a visually engrossing article by Farhad Manjoo asking readers to “panic” about privacy.

In Other News …

  • Are we moving toward a post-engagement social media landscape? Facebook announced algorithm changes yesterday that will deprioritize content garnering sudden surges in traffic in an effort to combat misinformation and “fake news.” Slowly, social media platforms are realizing that engagement isn’t inherently a positive thing that means particular content should reach more people. YouTube is also reconsidering its metrics.
  • LinkedIn is hopping on the reaction bandwagon and rolling out Reactions to posts on the platform. I do appreciate the Insightful Reaction option and am glad they made more positive reactions than what Facebook uses — because really, I don’t think anyone on LinkedIn would care if you get “angry” at a post.
  • Instagram is cracking down on vaguely inappropriate content to combat spam and misinformation. As TechCrunch points out, “[T]here are sure to be complaints and debates about fair and consistent enforcement.”
  • Video content on YouTube intended for children has always been cause for concern. From the recent Momo controversies to a lack of oversight, it’s the Wild West out there for finding appropriate content for children. The Wall Street Journal pointed out this week that creators of video content for children are practically anonymous and create content with zero oversight.

Fun Resources

  • Keeping the privacy theme going, BuzzFeed shared how to find your advertising profile on Facebook, and oooooh boy, it’s a doozy! Take a look and let me know if hundreds of car dealerships have your data, because they sure have mine!
  • Raise your hand if you’ve seen a bad data visualization online. ? In a fascinating Medium article, a visual data journalist at The Economist breaks down some of the outlet’s data visualization errors.

Finally …

The media often forget that Twitter is a relatively small, insular platform. According to the Pew Research Center, only 24% of Americans use Twitter, but given its popularity among celebrities and journalists, its influence often breaks through to drive news coverage. This week, The New York Times cautions that Twitter shouldn’t be mistaken for representing the U.S. electorate and emphasizes that moderate opinions are rarely shared on the platform.