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.
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!
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.
Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?
(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?
Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.
You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).
Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.
The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.
This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.
Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.
Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.
So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?
That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:
“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”
“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”
“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”
“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”
“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”
For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.
This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.
Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?
(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.
U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.
TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as musical.ly in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.
According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.
TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.
Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.
A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.
ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.
The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.
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