This season on Big Brother
Big Brother is a popular reality television show where a group of people live together in a house filled with cameras, isolated from the outside world, continuously filmed through their entire visit, and each week, the cast competes for prizes, and players are voted off as they all race to be the single player left standing to win $500,000.
Let’s be frank, the show is amazing. To be completely biased, I believe it is the only thing good about summer television, and I love it so much that we pay for Showtime channels just so we can see the “After Dark” live feed at night. In other words, I’m a fanatic, so let that color the following opinions as you will.
Adding a social stream
This year, the show added “Big Brother Connect,” which aggregates live social streams which is supposed to enrich viewers’ experiences by adding a community of other Big Brother fans, and allowing fans to see their tweets live during Thursday night broadcasts. Genius. Interactivity at its finest.
The idea is great, but the execution is terrible. The design works, the aesthetics are fine, the function is great, the page loads quickly, and everything is in order, but there is something peculiar about the tweets being featured.
Take a look at a screenshot from the day of the premier, and the next from this morning, and tell me what is odd to you:
The show has been hailed for embracing social media, but wait, what’s that? Did you read those tweets closely? In the first screenshot, the first two tweets are about deceased siblings, and the third was a sibling asking you to follow his brother on Twitter. Another random screenshot, the second, highlights sibling violence, then some horribly spelled sentiment about someone feeling like a brother, a pregnancy announcement, then something about big brother watching you which does not appear to be related to the reality series.
What do these tweets all have in common?
What do these seven tweets have in common that have been aggregated automatically as part of the “Big Brother Connect” campaign to show how the show has their arms wrapped around social media like a sexy, warm hug? What they all have in common is that they have absolutely nothing to do with the actual show, yet next to host Julie Chen’s face, it says clearly that this is the “conversation around Big Brother.” Nope.
Social stream aggregation is not new, it’s been around for years, so with a company with a budget of this size, it is shocking that CBS would screw up their social campaign so badly, and inadvertently highlight tweets about dead siblings or pushing siblings down the stairs. I know you’re looking more closely now, saying, “wait, just click around,” and you’re right – if someone were to look much more closely (rather than skim, which social media users are wont to do), they would see that this stream is the “All” stream, which has aggregated any mention of “big brother” as a term, whereas next to it, users could click on “#BB14,” “bbtwist,” and the like:
How the campaign could improve instantly
The show needs to move the “All” button as the last option on the bar above, and when the page opens, it should default to “#BB14.” These aggregated streams are simply done by searching Twitter for a designated term, then displaying all tweets with that term, so “#BB14,” the official hashtag of the show, which is featured on the screen during the series, is a much more clear term that will nearly guarantee that when someone opens Big Brother Connect, they will see big brother related content, rather than defaulting to tweets about dead or injured brothers.
Businesses that try to highlight overarching information are usually one of two things – ignorant, or taking an educated risk by trying to get as many tweets as possible featured so people will feel included, and possibly talk about how included they are, thus branding the aggregated stream and community. In your own aggregation efforts, remember the implications of the potential search terms you include.
I lost my little brother and only sibling to a car crash, and I can’t tell you how it pains me to open the Big Brother Connect page, get excited to see something about my favorite show, and have that “oh” moment when I see a tweet about a dead brother. That can’t possibly be what CBS was going for.
Why Trump’s lawsuit against social media still matters
(SOCIAL MEDIA) Former President Trump snagged headlines for suing every large social media platform, and it has gone quiet, but it still deeply matters.
It was splashed across headlines everywhere in July: Former President Trump filed a lawsuit against social media platforms that he claims unrightfully banned him during and after the fallout of the January 6th capitol riots. The headlines ran for about a week or so and then fell off the radar as other, fresher, just-as-juicy news headlines captured the media’s eye.
Many of us were left wondering what that was all about and if anything ever became of it. For even more of us, it probably passed out of our minds completely. Lack of public awareness for these things is common after the initial media blitz fades.
Lawsuits like these in the US can take months, if not years between newsworthy milestones. The most recent news I could find as of this publishing is from August 24, 2021, on Yahoo! News from the Washington Examiner discussing the Trump camp’s request for a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit.
This particular suit shouldn’t be left to fade from memory in the shadows though, and here’s why:
In the past few years, world powers have been reigning in regulations on social media and internet commerce. The US is actually a little behind the curve. Trump may have unwittingly given us a source of momentum to get with the times.
In the European Union, they have the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), widely acknowledged to be one of the toughest and most thorough privacy laws in the world, a bold title. China just passed its own pair of laws in the past four months: The Data Security Law, which took effect on Sept. 1, and The Personal Information Law, set to take effect November 1st. The pair is poised to give the GDPR a run for its money for that title.
Meanwhile, in the US, Congress has been occupied with other things and, while there are five bills that took aim at tech monopoly currently on the table and a few CEOs had to answer some questions, little actual movement or progress has been made on making similar privacy protections a thing in the United States.
Trump’s lawsuit, while labeled by many as a toothless public relations move, may actually create momentum needed to push regulation of tech and social media forward in the US. The merits of the case are weak and ultimately the legislation that would give it teeth doesn’t exist yet.
You can’t hold tech companies accountable to a standard that doesn’t properly exist in law.
However, high profile attention and someone willing to continue to make noise and bring attention back to the subject, one of Trump’s strongest talents, could be “just what the doctor ordered” to inspire Congress to make internet user rights and data privacy a priority in the US, finally.
Even solopreneurs are doing live commerce online – it’s not just QVC’s game anymore
(SOCIAL MEDIA) When you think of watching a show and buying things in real time, it invokes thoughts of QVC, but social media video has changed all that.
After the year everyone has had, one wouldn’t be remiss in thinking that humanity wants a break from live streaming. They would, however, be wrong: Live online commerce – a method of conversion first normalized in China – is the next evolution of the ubiquitous e-commerce experience, which means it’s something you’ll want on your radar.
Chinese company, Alibaba first live streamed on an e-commerce site in 2016, allowing buyers to watch, interact with, and buy from sellers from the comfort of their homes. In 2020, that same strategy netted Alibaba $7.5 billion in presale revenue – and it only took 30 minutes, according to McKinsey Digital.
But, though western audiences have proven a desire to be just as involved with sellers during the buying process, live commerce hasn’t taken off here the way it has elsewhere. If e-commerce merchants want to maximize their returns in the next few years, that needs to change.
McKinsey Digital points out a couple of different benefits for organizations using live commerce, the main one being an influx in traffic. Live streaming events break the buying experience mold, and consumers love being surprised. You can expect that prospective buyers who wouldn’t necessarily visit your store under normal circumstances would find value in attending a live event.
Live events also keep people on your site for longer, resulting in richer conversion opportunities.
The sense of urgency inherent in in-person shopping doesn’t always translate to online markets, but having a stream showing decreasing inventory or limited-availability items being sold inspires people to act expeditiously rather than sitting on a loaded cart–something that can kill an e-commerce conversion as quickly as it starts one.
There are a ton of different ways to incorporate live events into your e-commerce campaigns. Virtual auctions are popular, as are markets in which individual sellers take buyers through inventory. However, the live event could be tangentially related–or even just something impressive running in parallel with the sale–and still bring in a swell of revenue.
Screen fatigue is real, and there isn’t a true substitute for a brick-and-mortar experience when done correctly. But if you have an e-commerce shop that isn’t utilizing some form of live entertainment–even just to bring in new buyers–you’re going to want to try this strategy soon.
LinkedIn is nixing Stories this month (LinkedIn had Stories!?)
(SOCIAL MEDIA) LinkedIn tried to be like the cool kids and launched “Stories,” but the video feature is being shelved and “reimagined.” Ok.
Creating the next big thing is essential for social networks to stay relevant, continue growing, and avoid shutting down. Sometimes, this leads to businesses trying to ride along with the success of another app’s latest feature and creating their cloned version. While the logic of recreating something already working makes sense, the results aren’t universal.
This time around, LinkedIn is saying goodbye to its short-lived Snapchat-like video product, Stories. In a company post, LinkedIn says it’s removing its Stories experience by the end of September.
Why is LinkedIn retiring Stories?
According to a post by Senior Director of Product at LinkedIn Liz Li, “[LinkedIn] introduced Stories last year as a fun and casual way to share quick video updates.”
After some testing and feedback, they learned this is not what users wanted. Seems like they could have beta tested with users and heard the same thing, but I digress.
“In developing Stories, we assumed people wouldn’t want informal videos attached to their profile, and that ephemerality would reduce barriers that people feel about posting. Turns out, you want to create lasting videos that tell your professional story in a more personal way and that showcase both your personality and expertise,” said Li.
What does this mean for users?
Starting on September 30, 2021, users will no longer be able to create Stories for Pages. If you’ve already planned to have an image or video ads run in-between Stories, they will now appear on the LinkedIn feed instead. For those who used Campaign Manager to promote or sponsor a Story directly from your Page, the company says “these paid Stories will not appear in the LinkedIn feed”, and the user will need to recreate the ad in Campaign Manager.
What’s next for LinkedIn?
According to Li, LinkedIn is taking what it learned from its finding to “evolve the Stories format into a reimagined video experience across LinkedIn that’s even richer and more conversational.” It plans on doing so by using mixed media and the creative tools of Stories.
“As we reimagine what is next, we’re focusing on how we can provide you with a short-form, rich interactive video format that is unique to our platform and that better helps you reach and engage your audiences on LinkedIn. We’re always excited to try out new things and learn as we go, and will continue to share updates along the way,” the company said.
Although Stories didn’t work well for LinkedIn as they hoped, one thing is for sure. LinkedIn isn’t giving up on some form of interactive video, and we can only hope they “reimagine” something unique that keeps users coming back for more.
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