TikTok’s Ad Formats and Partnerships

It’s now been more than a year since TikTok launched in the US, and in that short period, the Chinese-owned video app has capitalized on the viral nature of its platform by partnering with a number of brands and slowly unveiling a slew of advertising capabilities. In the hopes of reaching a younger audience, TikTok announced a multiyear partnership in early September with the National Football League (NFL). Tom Brady, the six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the New England Patriots, posted for the first time on his TikTok account, sharing highlights from his first week of the season. Brady and the NFL join a host of other US brands that are hoping to reach younger consumers through TikTok. Below is a roundup of TikTok’s current ad offerings and some of its biggest brand partnerships to date.

Source: eMarketer

 

Now Facebook says it may remove Like counts

Facebook could soon start hiding the Like counter on News Feed posts to protect users’ from envy and dissuade them from self-censorship. Instagram is already testing this in 7 countries including Canada and Brazil, showing a post’s audience just a few names of mutual friends who’ve Liked it instead of the total number. The idea is to prevent users from destructively comparing themselves to others and possibly feeling inadequate if their posts don’t get as many Likes. It could also stop users from deleting posts they think aren’t getting enough Likes or not sharing in the first place.

Source: TechCrunch

Snap Deepens AR Push With Lens Studio Update, Including New Templates And Landmarkers

If there was any doubt before, Q3 2019 has made clear that Snap is betting heavily on Augmented Reality (AR). Earlier this month, Snap announced a $1B fundraise to invest in AR startups. A week later, the Snapchat parent company unveiled the third-generation of Spectacles, its AR sunglasses, which are now available for pre-order.  Snap is continuing its emphasis on the AR ecosystem in an announcement today: a major update to Lens Studio, the company’s desktop app for producing augmented reality “Lenses” on the Snapchat messaging platform.  The update includes 14 new Landmarker locations, six new templates, and an updated UX that highlights new offerings and provides step-by-step tutorialization for beginners.

Source: Forbes

The Definitive Tactical Guide to Quitting Facebook

For all its flaws, Facebook is still be an integral part of many people’s lives, acting as a lifeline to faraway relatives, a trove of professional opportunities, a connection to the neighborhood, or a digital map of experiences lived. Plus, with all the ancillary apps that require (or provide the convenience of) Facebook logins, like Spotify, Tinder, and Airbnb, quitting can feel like fighting your way out of an impossibly tangled web. If you truly want to leave the platform without a trace, you’ll need to put in some effort. Here’s how to do it.

Source:  OneZero

How Internet Slang Makes People Better Writers

In her new book, Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, Gretchen McCulloch challenges the idea that the rise of informal writing signals a trend toward global idiocy. Instead, she marks it as an inevitable and necessary “disruption” in the way human beings communicate. “We no longer accept that writing must be lifeless, that it can only convey our tone of voice roughly and imprecisely, or that nuanced writing is the exclusive domain of professionals,” McCulloch argues. “We’re creating new rules for typographical tone of voice. Not the kind of rules that are imposed from on high, but the kind of rules that emerge from the collective practice of a couple billion social monkeys — rules that enliven our social interactions.”

Souorce:  The Atlantic

In New Facebook Effort, Humans Will Help Curate Your News Stories

The Silicon Valley company said that journalists would help curate News Tab, a new section inside of the company’s mobile application that will surface the most recent and relevant stories for readers. Facebook said it planned to hire seasoned journalists from various outlets for the roles and would put up job postings on its employment board on Tuesday. News Tab is part of the company’s effort to highlight real-time journalism and news. It will exist outside of the News Feed, Facebook’s never-ending stream of status updates and friend requests.

Source: The New York Times

 

Hulu Documentary ‘Jawline’ Casts a Sharp, Sympathetic Eye on Gen Z’s Pretty-Boy Influencer Culture

If words like YouNow, Tanacon, Mikey Barone, or Musical.ly do not ring a bell, Hulu’s latest documentary offering, Jawline, will likely make you feel very, very old. But it will also make you glad you are no longer in high school. The film tracks the distinct breed of teen boy influencer who gains fame, particularly amongst the tween girl set, through livestreaming and niche platforms like Musical.ly (now called TikTok). In this post-YouTube era, these influencers need not have any marketable skills or preternatural talent to become stars. But they do all seem to fit a similar physical mold—pretty faces, toned but lithe physiques, gravity-defying coifs, and, as the title of the doc suggests, a chiseled jawline. And they all trade, like Beatlemania, in hysterical teenage girl lust.

Source: Daily Beast

Depop Is Gen Z’s Favorite Shopping App

Depop is a sales platform for the secondhand, an impossibly enormous international flea market in app form. If eBay is a bazaar and Instagram is a beauty pageant, Depop is both. Just about anything you can shoot with your iPhone camera you can sell on Depop, so there’s Polaroid film and skateboards and a 1978 Garfield alarm clock and God knows what else, but mostly there are secondhand clothes and accessories, a digital thrift haul exploding out of its users’ literal closets.

Source: The Cut

Snap’s redesigned Spectacles are here—and it doesn’t care if you buy them

Snap is thinking of the new Spectacles as a test run in the company’s push to bring augmented reality to the masses—a trajectory the company began with its popular face filters. By putting another camera on Spectacles 3, Snap opens up a new realm of AR effects that users can add to their videos and images. It’s not just phoenixes; users can also add colorful filters that morph throughout a video based on how far away objects are in the shot and animated hearts that float around a video but burst when they come into contact with a real-world object. Snap is also opening up the depth map’s features to content creators, enabling to make their own AR filters through its DIY filter maker, Lens Studio.

Source: Fast Company

How Dark Patterns Online Manipulate Shoppers

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Dark patterns are the often unseen web-design choices that trick users into handing over more time, money, or attention than they realize. A team of Princeton researchers is cataloging these deceptive techniques, using data pulled from 11,000 shopping sites, to identify 15 ways sites subtly game our cognition to control us. The research builds on the work of Harry Brignull, a London-based cognitive scientist who coined the term dark pattern in 2010, and the authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, whose work on “nudges” explores how default options influence behavior. Just over one in 10 websites contain at least one type of dark pattern, the Princeton research finds. The more popular the site, the more likely it has at least one.

Source: The Atlantic

The techlash has come to Stanford

The dream of starting a company in your dorm room to solve the world’s problems and make billions in the process is still thriving on campus. But a competing dream, perhaps just as old, appears to be growing in fervor now, too: to use technical skills as an insurance policy against dystopia. Students have not failed to notice the unflattering headlines that have dogged Silicon Valley over the past several years—the seemingly unending scandals in which the biggest technology companies in the world have mishandled user data, facilitated the spread of misinformation, and sold software to the agencies enforcing the Trump administration’s harsh immigration agenda. All of this has sparked new conversations inside and outside the classroom, and there are signs that the once-reliable pipeline between Stanford and Silicon Valley is narrowing—at least a tiny bit.

Source:  Slate

Why Aren’t We Talking About LinkedIn?

Considering its size and social footprint, LinkedIn has been a notably minor character in major narratives about the hazards of social media. The site hasn’t proved especially useful for mainstreaming disinformation, for example, nor is it an obvious staging ground for organized harassment campaigns. It is unique among its social media peers in that it has not spent the last five years in a state of wrenching crisis. And perhaps even more importantly, LinkedIn is not, in the popular imagination, a force for radicalization, a threat to democracy, a haven for predators, an environment that encourages mob behavior, or even a meeting place for pot stirrers.

Source: The New York Times

Netflix’s The Great Hack Brings Our Data Nightmare to Life

As a primer on the scandal, which dominated headlines around the world for two years after the election of President Donald Trump, the film is both succinct and thorough. It begins as news is breaking that Cambridge Analytica unethically scraped data from millions of Facebook users and used it to target vulnerable and impressionable voters in an effort to elect Trump and pass the Brexit resolution. Then it tracks the fallout. The film is bookended by professor David Carroll’s quest to get his own data back from Cambridge Analytica—a story WIRED told in depth—but focuses mainly on former CA employee Brittany Kaiser and her abrupt and somewhat baffling decision to turn against her employer.

Source: Wired

How TikTok Is Rewriting the World

TikTok can feel, to an American audience, a bit like a greatest hits compilation, featuring only the most engaging elements and experiences of its predecessors. This is true, to a point. But TikTok — known as Douyin in China, where its parent company is based — must also be understood as one of the most popular of many short-video-sharing apps in that country. This is a landscape that evolved both alongside and at arm’s length from the American tech industry — Instagram, for example, is banned in China.


Under the hood, TikTok is a fundamentally different app than American users have used before. It may look and feel like its friend-feed-centric peers, and you can follow and be followed; of course there are hugely popular “stars,” many cultivated by the company itself. There’s messaging. Users can and do use it like any other social app. But the various aesthetic and functional similarities to Vine or Snapchat or Instagram belie a core difference: TikTok is more machine than man. In this way, it’s from the future — or at least a future. And it has some messages for us.

Inside the luxury industry’s fight for millennials’ wallets

Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Hermès are battling for young consumers. Will their strategies—which include everything from podcasts to video games—pay off?

Source: Fast Company

Face It — You Want To Be Seen

As Taina Bucher explores in her book, If… Then: Algorithmic Power and Politics, we are generally in the dark when it comes to explaining the specific mechanics of the algorithms at the heart of our favorite apps, but what we do regularly guess at is how to make them notice us. As Bucher discovered in conversation with social media users, people tweak the content of their posts on Facebook, or even the time of day they post, in an attempt to catch the algorithm’s eye and ride the wave of its amplification. This is familiar to anyone who’s used social media, and it’s why news organizations repost old content when a topic is trending on Twitter, or why you see a million hashtags at the end of Instagram posts. Everyone is just trying to get noticed.

Source: OneZero

Most of the Google Walkout Organizers Have Left the Company

Four of the seven Google employees who organized a 20,000-person walkout in November have resigned from the company, including two women who claimed Google retaliated against them for their internal activism. The latest to leave is Meredith Whittaker, who ran Google Open Research and has emerged in the past couple of years as a prominent voice demanding increased accountability from tech companies around uses of artificial intelligence.

Source: Wired

On TikTok, Teens Meme Life360, the Safety App Ruining Their Summer

Spend enough time on the social media app TikTok, and you’re bound to see a Life360 meme. That’s because Life360, a location-sharing app aimed at families, is apparently ruining the lives of teenagers all across the United States. The service allows parents to track their kids’ whereabouts in real time, among other features. As one girl with long, blond hair jokes in a popular TikTok clip, it’s set her summer vacation on fire. Some of the videos have racked up hundreds of thousands of likes—in other words, they’re relatable.

Source: Wired

What if Being a YouTube Celebrity Is Actually Backbreaking Work?

Emma Chamberlain dropped out of school and changed the world of online video. Chamberlain invented the way people talk on YouTube now, particularly the way they communicate authenticity. Her editing tricks and her mannerisms are ubiquitous. There is an entire subgenre of videos that mimic her style, and a host of YouTubers who talk, or edit, just like her. The Atlantic recently noted this and declared she is “the most important YouTuber” working today.


Chamberlain edits each video she makes for between 20 and 30 hours, often at stretches of 10 or 15 hours at a time. Her goal is to be funny, to keep people watching. It’s as if the comic value of each video is inversely proportional to how little humor she experiences while making it. During her marathon editing sessions, she said, she laughs for “maybe, maybe 10 seconds max.”

Source:  New York Times

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