The Great Twitter Purge of 2019 is On Hold: For the first time, Twitter announced it would be deleting EU accounts that have been inactive for more than 6 months. But after outcry about the lack of a memorialization process for deceased users, the purge has been put on hold. For brands, it would still be prudent to regularly log into any accounts you want to keep. This may include those you’ve reserved for brand protection or digital reputation strategy (e.g., brand mascot accounts, C-level executives or frequent misspelling accounts). Twitter sent out emails to users of accounts that would have been affected by the deletions, but it’s good practice to regularly log into “dormant on purpose” accounts to keep them active, especially if you want to avoid deletion if and when Twitter resumes its purge strategy.
Instagram Algorithm Insights: This week Instagram shared new details on how its app uses machine learning to surface content for users, stressing that its recommendation engine focuses on finding accounts it thinks people will enjoy, rather than individual posts.
Key quote: “To make its recommendations, the Explore system begins by looking at “seed accounts,” which are accounts that users have interacted with in the past by liking or saving their content. It identifies accounts similar to these, and from them, it selects 500 pieces of content. These candidates are filtered to remove spam, misinformation, and “likely policy-violating content,” and the remaining posts are ranked based on how likely a user is to interact with each one. Finally, the top 25 posts are sent to the first page of the user’s Explore tab.”
App of the Week: Loom is an “enterprise collaboration video messaging service” for work that lets you send quick clips of yourself so you can get your point across and get back to work. Talk through a problem, explain your solution, or narrate a screenshare. It’s like Flipgrid or Marco Polo, but for work. It will also feature a Team Library, which will serve as a long-term knowledge base of training and learnings that can be viewed by new employees — or your remaining coworkers after you win the lottery and leave the company. There’s an iOS app coming this month, but you can use the desktop version today.
Russian Meme Strategy: Rolling Stone has a fantastic long-read about professional Russian trolls who are engineering meme accounts and disinformation campaigns that are less noticeable than ever before (and more nefarious than simply disrupting Presidential elections).
Key quotes: “To appreciate the influence and potential of Russian disinformation, we need to view them less as Boris and Natasha and more like Don Draper. As good marketers, professional trolls manipulate our emotions subtly…”
“They existed well before Trump rode down that escalator and announced his candidacy, and we assume they will exist in some form well after he is gone. Russia’s goals are to further widen existing divisions in the American public and decrease our faith and trust in institutions that help maintain a strong democracy. If we focus only on the past or future, we will not be prepared for the present. It’s not about election 2016 or 2020.”
Spotify Awards: Move over Billboard Music Awards, Spotify has set plans for its first-ever music awards — with the winners based entirely on user-generated data. During the third quarter of 2019, Spotify’s total monthly active users grew 30%, to 248 million. The first Spotify Awards will be held next March in Mexico City and will be streamed live around the world.
Touchbar Pet: The Macbook Pro Touch Bar sits the top of your keyboard and adapts to what you’re doing to give you intuitive shortcuts and app controls when you need them. Or, you can turn it into the Tamagotchi-style Touchbar Pet, that you need to feed, help sleep and clean up after. It’s like an extra job while you’re doing your job. Finally.
Disappointed Alexa is Disappointed: Virtual assistants aren’t relatable. They don’t understand us sometimes. And they give us our answers with a monotone affect that reeks of robot. But that’s changing. This week Amazon released “Alexa emotions,” featuring three levels of intensity for developers to build into their Alexa Skills. Here’s a short clip of “high disappointment” from Alexa. Sigh…
Baby Yoda Wins the Internet: The Mandalorian on Disney+ introduced a new character to the Star Wars universe: Baby Yoda. In only a couple weeks, Baby Yoda has become an “generation-spanning meme,” inspiring a No Context Baby Yoda Twitter Account, and a wealth of take-down notices, showing how media corporations often misunderstand fans. Key quote: “When fans use media IP — when they post and reblog and retweet GIF sets, when they publish fan fiction and commentary and remixes online… — they are promoting that media content, not harming its owners.” Sorry, Baby Yoda!
Cameo Breakups? Cameo is a platform where fans can book personalized video shoutouts from celebrities, athletes, and influencers. This week one particular Cameo video was making the rounds – a customized breakup video from Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath. It turns out it’s probably fake, but perhaps a window into the future of breakups facilitated by forgotten D-list celebs.
Tweets of the Week: People Dancing to Steely Dan (@steelydance)
YouTube of the Week: 11 Minutes Of Screaming Frogs Compilation