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AdvertisingAge Insults the Intelligence of Social Medians

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Of Note

The following article has nothing to do with real estate, but I have long encouraged real estate agents to study marketing publication Advertising Age to improve their business, therefore, given today’s events, I have a need to distance myself from this type of blatant disregard for fact and for insulting religious bashing.

Twitter Socialism

Today’s Advertising Age article entitled “The Coming End of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook Socialism,” author Simon Dumenco reveals an offensive amount of ignorance and uses a misinformed point of view to make what could have been an incredible point.  Dumenco aims to convince readers that the millions of dollars pumped into revenue-less models like Twitter equates to socialism and I can’t say I disagree.

SO what’s the problem?

In an era of the informed consumer, journalistic disgrace is easier to spot and for years, columnists have gone unchecked, until now. Now, I can research anything a columnist says as fact or fiction and when fiction is expressed either as opinion or as fact, it is insulting to the social media audience who is not only well informed, but is prepared to talk about misinformation they are being force fed.

After reading Dumenco’s article for the seventh time, I couldn’t get past several of his assertions, let’s see if you can pin point the problem in this excerpt:

“Last week, according to the Times of London, Cardinal Sean Brady of Ireland told the country’s Catholics to ‘Make someone the gift of a prayer through text, Twitter or e-mail every day. Such a sea of prayer is sure to strengthen our sense of solidarity with one another.’

Oh, my. That’s a nice sentiment, but Twitter really doesn’t need more users around the world tweeting in ways that can never be monetized.”

Did you catch that last line? Users “tweeting in ways that can never be monetized” is a bad thing? Oh, forgive us all for using a social network to NETWORK SOCIALLY. I guess Dumenco’s Twitter timeline which consists of nothing more than links to what he’s reading at the moment is superior to being social (aka having a dialogue) in a social network.

It gets worse…

Dumenco opined with his last statement and that’s fine, we’re all entitled to our own opinion- he’s against non-monetized tweets (although I’m not clear how he has monetized his own). But he goes on to say:

Fortunately, given how retro-conservative Pope Benedict is, he seems more likely to issue a papal encyclical condemning Twitter. We all know it’s more likely to enable sin — pride! sloth! — than piety.

This is the point in the article where I was insulted. Forget the religious implications, this journalist clearly doesn’t know his facts and like I said- in the era of the informed consumer, that’s the cardinal sin of journalism.

Know your facts before you speak

The Vatican has always embraced technology, dating back to pamphlet distribution at early onset of print publication, to the Vatican Radio station launch in 1931 all the way to modern web technologies. The Pope publicly said in 2006 that technology should be embraced to “spread the good news” and has had live broadcasts of his addresses for years. SInce launching the Vatican YouTube channel in January, 159 videos are already uploaded and Pope Benedict encourages others to use social media to network around common human interests, to support others and to do good works through social networking.

In January, Pope Benedict said, “I am conscious of those who constitute the so-called digital generation and I would like to share with them, in particular, some ideas concerning the extraordinary potential of the new technologies, if they are used to promote human understanding and solidarity. These technologies are truly a gift to humanity and we must endeavour to ensure that the benefits they offer are put at the service of all human individuals and communities, especially those who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable.” That’s a far cry from condemnation.

Insulting our intelligence is never a good idea

This faux pas could have been equally offensive even if written about Budism, Hinduism, the Muslim faith, etc…. aside from the religious implications, as a columnist, Dumenco’s job is to know better than to shoot his mouth off without understanding the words being used or having any facts to back up his opinion. I’ve unsubscribed from Advertising Age which before today I believed to be one of the best resources available for marketing data and analysis.

The aforementioned article is extremely offensive, and a Cardinal’s words of hope was twisted into an ignorant, misinformed assumption that is unbecoming of a “journalist.” The Palin bashing was tolerable, but Dumenco could have skipped the entire anti-Catholic sentiment and made an excellent point without it.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Dennis Fassett

    May 4, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    You certainly touched a nerve with me on this one. Thanks for setting the record straight!

  2. Chris Bailey

    May 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t think Mr. Dumenco could ever be confused for a journalist. I’m not even sure he’d profess to be one. But where we seem to be going these days in media is to give loud-mouthed, over-opinionated individuals a very public soapbox in which to yell whatever they want. That’s likely to never change…and interesting that he has so many true-believers commenting on his post.

    Unfortunately, we live in a world where provocative claptrap beats out in-depth dialogue 5 to 1 in national taste-tests.

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    May 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    This one touches two separate nerves with me – one is the fact that Dumenco is getting link love and traffic and we know Trolls need to be ignored – the second is ignorance and assumptions (there is NO room for either in my book). I think opinion is fine, but he certainly crossed the line. Thanks for letting me know about Pope Benedit’s opinion on our digital genration, I had no clue.

  4. Clint Miller

    May 4, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Ive never followed this author or the publication itself…Nor do I intend to after reading this article.

    I dont find fault with opinion, but this is just way out of control. And, personally, this type of ignorance is repugnant.

  5. Ad Observer

    May 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    In the article, Dumenco does take the marketing of social media to a ridiculous extreme. But the fact is that Facebook, Twitter and the like were created in the hopes of making money, not as a “gift to humanity.” And while it isn’t up to individual users to “monetize” their posts, it is up to social media companies to figure out how to make a profit. If they don’t, eventually they will end up in financial straits just like newspapers. And unsubscribing from AdAge because of a perceived slight is cutting off your nose to spite your face. You don’t have to agree with the columnist, but unsubscribing will cut you off from “one of the best resources available for marketing data and analysis.”

  6. Lani Rosales

    May 4, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Ad Observer,

    I’ve already addressed your points in my article, but what I have not covered is (1) that I read a large number of trade publications for marketing and advertising, so I won’t be missing anything other than misinformation. (2) the only part of a slight that could be perception on my part is whether or not the author is coming from an anti-Catholic point of view but the fact remains that he misstated fact. Period. That has nothing to do with my perception.

  7. Matthew Rathbun

    May 4, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Go get ‘im!

    Look, the social media tools that many churches have begun utilizing has opened up a significant access portal to share with people.

    Creating personal relevance and connection should be the foundation of any group, especially faith-based groups.

    All that aside, taking shots at religious groups and assuming that social media interaction is designed to make the user money, just shows the irrelevance of his opinion to what we do.

    Just the narrative that you shared is cause enough for me to disqualify the magazine as relevant.

  8. BawldGuy

    May 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Lani — The fact you unsubscribed due to the piece in question is at best secondary to the post’s bottom line: Opinion is opinion, fact is fact, and dressin’ up the former to appear as the later is what got Dan Rather and company drummed out of the club.

    It’s OK to make a mistake, it’s OK to voice an opinion, even a moronic one. But when the main house you wish to construct is built upon a foundation of sand, all that flows from it is effluent by definition.

    The real offense, at least from where I sit, is when the point would’ve been of real intrinsic value to the reader/recipient, but is lost due to the effluent used in its delivery. Readers shouldn’t have to brave a long walk through sewage to get to the gold. Know what I mean, Verne?

  9. Missy Caulk

    May 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    In January, Pope Benedict said, “I am conscious of those who constitute the so-called digital generation and I would like to share with them, in particular, some ideas concerning the extraordinary potential of the new technologies, if they are used to promote human understanding and solidarity. These technologies are truly a gift to humanity and we must endeavour to ensure that the benefits they offer are put at the service of all human individuals and communities, especially those who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable.”

    Of course every generation has used whatever means of communicating the “Good New” in an appropriate culturally relevant manner.

    Must be anti-catholic or religious in general.

  10. Anonymous

    May 4, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    It’s clear that Simon Dumenco doesn’t “get” Twitter, and he is attacking it in the snooty way he is used to attacking everything from his perch as a columnist. I think readers have always called B.S. on shoddy reporting or unsupported opinions, but in the past, they were unable to spread the truth to the masses. What Dumenco doesn’t understand, at his peril, is that people will use Twitter, which he pretty much scoffs at, to spread the truth about his bigotry and falsehoods.
    Monetize that.

  11. Joe Loomer

    May 6, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Kudos to you Lani for taking this stand. Lost in his anti-religious sentiment is the simple fact that more religious channels have popped up online and via cable in the last four years than the sum of all channels prior to 2005. People want to hear the Good News in a format they enjoy.

    As a Christian (Methodist), I enjoy the contemporary service at my place of worship – and just two weeks ago our pastor led in to his sermon with a YouTube video of Susan Boyle’s amazing voice. If Dumbenco (sp?) choses to insult the monster under the bed, he does so at his peril.

  12. Pam Buda

    May 6, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I can fully appreciate the level of comments on Dumencos’ casting of aspersions on the Pope–it was more than truly unfortunate and poorly informed to say the least a very cheap shot. I remember hearing of the Pope’s comments at the time and finding them very interesting.

    But he raises very interesting questions in the rest of the article which are being discussed throughout the business world..namely the lack of a business model for Twitter and most social media sites.

    Right now these companies are surviving on venture capital investments as they pile up members but they lack a clear way to become self-sustaining businesses.

    They are not non-profits– their most likely path to survival in the long term is probably going to be to be acquired by Google, or Apple or someone else. It is the same problem being faced by the news media and entertainment worlds. People are finding value but not having to pay for the value they find. Just saying, something has to give at some point.

  13. Brandon

    May 6, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Just as Mr. Dumenco threw you off with his statements, you have done to me by quitting Ad Age. How you can praise the publication so strongly in one sentence, and then completely dump it in another is beyond me, and unfortunately makes me think you are not a level headed individual. If it’s no big loss to stop reading Ad Age, then don’t pretend it was a major factor in your life beforehand.

  14. Lani Rosales

    May 6, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Brandon, I’m sure you read the entire article, most notably where I explained that it’s important to me to distance myself from AdAge because I have publicly recommended and endorsed them. It’s unfortunate that a single writer can cause something like this, but it only takes one captain to sink a ship.

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Instagram makes IGTV videos more accessible with automatic closed captions

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This new feature for Instagram opens avenues for viewers who don’t or can’t use audio on IGTV videos, creating more accessibility for all.

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Instagram live being recorded will now feature auto captions.

In an effort to expand accessibility efforts, IGTV videos on Instagram will now include an auto captions option. While its parent company, Facebook, has included auto captions on uploaded videos since 2017, this new-for-Instagram feature is expected to widen audience viewership and increase potential viewing by those who prefer watching sans-audio.

In a statement by Facebook, the company states: “While there is no shortage of information, not everyone can access it. It needs to be available to the hundreds of millions of people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – have disabling hearing loss, and that is projected to increase to over 900 million by 2050.”

Current events have made the need for auto captions even more critical for inclusion. “The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in both the supply and demand of public health information. Several local and state governments, that were accustomed to holding live press conferences but didn’t have the resources, staff or technology to record, stream, and caption their live events, turned to Facebook Live. Several governments also discovered that video captioning was not just a nice-to-have, but imperative, especially in the absence of available sign language interpreters,” states the company.

Currently, Facebook provides auto captions for videos in 16 languages and has announced that Instagram’s IGTV will have access to the same features. The caption accuracy is determined by the video’s audio quality, although AI technology is constantly improving in both precision and speed.

Additionally, branded content ads are likely to see an increase in consumer interaction. Recently published data by Facebook shows ads visually designed for watching with the sound off have 48% more relevance to viewers and a 42% higher purchase intent. As auto captions normalize across social media, users can expect ad content to utilize this feature to the fullest.

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New tool organizes your Reddit feed (and makes it actually usable)

(Social Media) Reddit’s UI hasn’t always been super intuitive. ‘Deck for Reddit’ organizes your feed into themed columns, making it way more user-friendly.

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Deck for Reddit on display on laptop on desk.

Love it or hate it, the mass collection of forums on Reddit have some form of content for everyone. The simple UX design places content straight down the middle of the screen and the infinite scrolling feature allows you to view a limitless amount of content from cute puppy images to cringe-worthy videos. However, its simplicity isn’t very practical, and is something that I think should be voted down.

Yes, Reddit has come a long way from its previous text-heavy form, but there is still a lot to improve on. Charles Yang, a frustrated Reddit user, has created a web app that could change all that: Deck for Reddit, a desktop optimized, alternative way to browse your favorite forums.

“I built it to show as much content as possible at a glance, while respecting your screen real-estate,” writes Yang.

Currently, the web app is in open beta. With a very similar experience to Tweetdeck, this Reddit tool seems to hold some promise.

On the far left side of the website, there is a list of icons with all the subreddits you’ve subscribed to. Clicking on an icon will take you directly to that subreddit column. This is very convenient for users with a bunch of subscriptions. Additionally, by making several subreddits visible on the screen all at once, Yang succeeds in his goal of taking advantage of the vast empty white space that Reddit failed to use.

From this display, you can click on a post, and it instantly expands to show all the comments. Hit the back button, and the post collapses. Now, you are back to seeing all the posts related to that subreddit. And at the top of each subreddit, you can easily sort the content by what’s new, popular, and trendy. Engagement has never felt easier.

Along with everything else, this extension also adds another great feature in setting customizations. The theme can be switched from light to dark mode. Fonts, text size, and even the shape of the subreddit icons can all be adjusted. Preferences can be changed to hide viewed submissions and reduce animation motion. And if you’re slacking off at work or want to chill, you can set it to hide NSFW content.

Overall, Deck for Reddit makes the user experience smooth sailing, and it truly makes Reddit the “front page of the internet.”

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Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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