Social Pulse, Week of 12-23

Snapchat Scan Makes Logos Come Alive: Snap just launched new functionality where users can scan logos (e.g., Coca-Cola) to unlock exclusive content. It may seem trivial to train a machine learning algorithm to identify their logos on various products with high precision just to unlock AR polar bears, but this is a big step in mainstreaming the behavior of looking to “brands” to unlock brands.  

Nieman Lab’s 2020 Predictions: The Nieman Journalism Lab published a comprehensive list of predictions expected to impact journalism worth skimming. For example, a slow-moving tech backlash among young people, podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show, lies get further normalized, and a big year for little newspapers.

Facebook in the Super Bowl: This will be Facebook’s first year advertising in the Super Bowl, with a continuation of its ‘More Together’ campaign focusing on Facebook Groups.

Insta of the Week: @DudeWithSign features a guy holding up hilarious cardboard box signs in NYC crowds, like “’See you next year’ isn’t a funny joke,” “Stop standing up when the plane lands” and “Stop having 1:1 convos in the group chat.”

Twitter of the Week: @Seinfeld2000 imagines that Seinfeld was never canceled and attempts to stay topical with modern trends like Cats, Apple Airpods and Old Town Road.

Podcast of the Week: Mobituaries S2E4 features The Rural Purge: Death of the Country Broadcasting System chronicles when CBS canceled its entire slate of country-themed programming in the early 1970s, including: The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, Hee Haw, Lassie and more. These rural versus urban forces at work 50 years ago still echo into today’s entertainment options.

The Next “The Dress” Social Event: Which way is this person swinging? Facing the building or the camera? Some people spent their entire holiday break working out the physics of the visual trick meme.


Nieman Journalism Lab: Designer or journalist – Who shapes the news you read?

When designers create a personalized news app, they aren’t just designing software. They are creating a platform that participates in constructing an idea of news. An app can give you exactly the type of stories you’re interested in soccer and marmots only, please or it can suggest and display stories that it suspects you should be reading. You can, if you want, design a personal service with a preference for positive news that also avoids negative terms, something which NPR reported Google was doing in its “experimental newsroom” during the World Cup.

A decision like this is significant, with wide-ranging and unanticipated effects, but it’s the latest moment in a long history of value driven news decisions. Newspaper publishers in the colonial United States were in a similar situation: “None of the early papers reached out to collect news; they printed what came to them.” Selection decisions gradually became norms of news production; they created expectations and responsibilities for journalists and publishers. Likewise, app designers are currently making choices that are reshaping our experience of everyday news reading.

via Designer or journalist: Who shapes the news you read in your favorite apps? » Nieman Journalism Lab.

Nieman Journalism Lab on the newsonomics of how and why

Explainer posts and “Top XX Reasons Why” posts are rooted in the notion that we want more than the 5w’s lede. Consumers desire more than the “”

And with the popularity of sites like Five Thirty Eight and Upworthy, it’s worthy studying a bit…

Try this: Make a list with two simple columns. On the left, write Who, What, When, and Where. On the right column, write How and Why. Then, go to any news site — local, national, or global — or even to a print newspaper and see which questions the stories you see answer.

At most news sites, the hashmarks will fill up quickly in the left column — slowly, if at all, in the right one. That’s the column for explanatory journalism — the new craze of the past year, but built on ideas as old as good journalism itself.

Explainer journalism derives from knowledge — and from ignorance. “Our authority comes from knowing what we do and don’t know,” Leonhardt says. It also lets readers know “we’re trying to think it through.”

Explainer journalism assumes a certain curiosity and appetite among intelligent readers — and that alone is worth understanding.

via The newsonomics of how and why » Nieman Journalism Lab.