Wow. 20 issues of Vanity Metrics. It’s a pretty considerable commitment to maintaining as my not-primary job for 8 months. But here we are! I’m still overwhelmed by the positive support received by my readers. Give this issue a heart (right up there under the title) if you open this one to show your support. Let’s get to it.
The Big Stuff
Photo: Elice Moore
Twitter Audio is here (hear?).
Just a few days ago, Twitter announced the rollout of Audio Tweets: which is kind of self-explanatory. The feature is currently available to iOS users and limited to 140 seconds (get it?). Product demo video time!
On the surface, this might look like a sort of ho-hum update, but I think this has the potential to bring a much much richer experience to your content:
Podcasts. Audio Tweets can provide a way to upload selected samples of your podcast for a deeper enticement to listen more. And Twitter will thread multiple audio clips that go over your time limit.
Album samples. Twitter has been working on audio for a while, and it’s clear that there’s going to be an iteration that allows for audio file uploads beyond on-the-fly capture. John Legend showed off what appears to be a high-quality audio file upload as part of the rollout:
Rich media for stories. Building a thread to tell a deeper story? It’s a common tactic used by media outlets, and now you can enrich that story with interview clips and more.
One feature that I think really sets this up for success is the dock. Allowing people to collapse the audio stream either into the corner of your Twitter feed or into a media dock while off the app will not only make users far more likely to use it while browsing but suggests longer clip limits are coming. I’d also expect to see a future player with a “screen off state” - similar to apps like Spotify that allow you to play audio while the phone is locked - further expand audio’s value on Twitter.
It’s not all rosy, however. Twitter has been quickly criticized for pushing out the new feature with no accessibility support (such as captions). After an initial statement that the feature was still in early development, they’ve acknowledged the oversight and have committed to integrating accessibility features as quickly as possible.
The Small Stuff
After near worldwide criticism, Facebook has finally taken action against a high-profile advertiser who frequently traffics in hate speech, conspiracy, and manipulated media. The company has been under fire repeatedly for employing what appears to be two standards for community guidelines: one for users and another for high-spending advertisers.
Facebook has also increased it’s recently announced support program for Black-owned businesses and Black content creators from 10M to 200M in the US.
Re-upping this because it’s still relevant: Toronto-based Social Media Lab continues to do great work tracking COVID-19 disinformation on social media. Have a look at their daily updated info visualizations here.
“Our various misinformation dashboards track and visualize debunked coronavirus claims (a.k.a. “fake news’) from an international network of trusted fact-checkers.”
WhatsApp is continuing to expand its tests for payments/money transfers, from India to Brazil. Facebook still hasn’t figured out how to monetize Whatsapp (especially since the idea of bringing in ads blew up badly), so this is a big deal for the company.
Facebook is testing the integration of “knowledge boxes” from Wikipedia into search results in Europe. The aim is to help link searches with more credible info.
I don’t know anyone who personally owns a Facebook Portal device, but if you do, you’ll be happy to know it now supports video and audio chats with up to 50 people via the new Messenger Rooms, a few more Facebook Live options and new books to its AR-enhanced StoryTime app for the hardware.
Bonus for your phonus
This week we’re highlighting a new podcast (to me), Thought Feeder, produced by Jon-Stephen Stansel and Joel Goodman. It’s a higher-ed focused podcast that focuses on Digital Marketing. While I haven’t had a chance to peruse the entire 14 episodes available, episode 13 stuck out for me. Check out their conversation with Ella Dawson on the challenges social media professionals face in their professional and personal lives. It probably rings true for a number of my readers. Click the image to jump to the podcast!
Ryan LaFlamme has worked in social media marketing and advertising for longer than the job had a title. He formed the independent social consultancy Hub and Spoke in 2016, and can be found hanging out on Twitter @ryanlaf Now accepting new clients and speaking engagements.