Feedback’s Greatest Hits, week ending Oct. 24

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Feedback’s Greatest Hits, week of October 17th

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Feedback’s Greatest Hits, week of August 29

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Feedback’s Greatest Hits, week ending Aug. 22

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Feedback’s Greatest Hits for the week of July 22


Feedback’s Greatest Hits, week ending Aug. 8

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Feedback’s Greatest Hits, week ending July 25

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Feedback’s Greatest Hits, week ending July 18

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  • YouTube weighs funding efforts to boost premium content
  • On top of all of the ads promoting content that’s exclusively posted to YouTube from networks like Vice News and EpicRapBattles, it seems like YouTube management wants to continue cultivating their site as a haven for the best post-produced video on the web against the rise of live-streaming services and other big video library services getting into the original content mixup, such as Netflix.

  • Twitter Releases an Analytics Dashboard for Regular Tweets
  • It might not be on every Twitter user’s radar, but this particular public release has given the general user access to more information than Twitter used to give to its ad-buying customers. With the raw impressions data being added, it’s instantly become the go-to reference for Twitter effectiveness.

  • LinkedIn Acquires Newsle
  • The service primarily responsible for hosting professional profiles and practical resumes for millions of users has been slowly trying to turn that same network meant for advancing careers into a network that can also advance messages from its users. Adding this to their previous acquisition of mobile news reader Pulse, LinkedIn is proving that it wants its platform’s communication abilities to be taken seriously.

  • ScribbleLive Acquires CoveritLive, Will Still Operate Both Brands
  • This mainly applies to news blogs and reporting services that don’t have a custom solution or live-blogging in place, but the merging of these two services is a huge deal. They have both have loyal fan bases that have chosen one over the other or a particular reason. Operating the two brands separately is probably the best thing for the short term, but expect to see one of these two brands getting the axe in the future.

  • Snapchat Adds Geofilters For Quick Image Location Tags, And A New Revenue Possibility
  • The coy statement from the Snapchat spokesperson aside, this is a really smart play for the mobile photo/video messaging service. Then general feel of spontaneous content creation along with the discovery of a special filter that’s been tailored to the user’s location might lead to plenty of ‘free’ advertising as well as a potential call for user-submitted filters, in the same way that some messaging apps already have user-suitable stickers to add to messages.

  • Facebook To Provide Nielsen With Aggregated, Anonymized Data On TV Viewers
  • There’s not really a lot of new news here. The pipeline for data being sent to Nielsen has opened up a bit more, even though the data they’re getting is anonymized.

  • Google Plus No Longer Requires Real Names
  • YouTube trolls rejoice, your Google account’s name can be anything you want it to be… again.

  • Facebook Tests Buy Button To Let You Purchase Stuff Without Leaving Facebook
  • It’s App Install Ads tailored to the desktop browsing experience. Or something like that.

  • Under Pressure, Twitter Tries to Resize Itself
  • They’ve already done their good deed for the week when they released the analytics dashboard for all of its users, now they need to make a little bit of magic happen for their shareholders. Twitter hasn’t confirmed any new metrics that it will be unveiling after it’s Q2 earnings report on July 29, but there’s speculation that it has more to do with producing ad-buying customers with impression data from sources other than logged in Twitter users, such as hashtags included in TV ads or promoted posts embedded in other websites.


Squaring the Corners: How Well Snapchat and Foursquare Know Their Audiences

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It was one of those days, right out of the gate.

And by, “one of those days” I mean a day where declarations by a social media heavyweight undercut the actual value and behavior on their channel. It seems to happen a lot these days to digital properties of all sizes. Whether it’s Google’s wavering commitment to Google + (in the face of – um – most of the Internet’s wavering interest) to brilliant little communities that don’t seem to understand what they built when they first started like Path shoving stickers and private messages to a community that was already built on being private and NOT full of stickers. Heck even Microsoft updated Word and called the ability to print a, “requested feature” – uh, you think so? The single most basic ability for a word processor after the ability to process words? They needed someone to tell them about that? Have you been staring at yourself in the mirror so long you didn’t notice you weren’t wearing a belt?

So today it was Foursquare’s turn.

Squared and Jaded

It’s no secret that Foursquare has been antsy about the check-in business and wanting to slowly turn the ship towards geolocation tip-sharing and experiences over instances of, “here I am.” The problem is, that’s exactly why people started using Foursquare (even if it’s not why they continue to). And so today Foursquare announced that they will be splitting the entire concept of their Foursquare app into two different apps called Swarm and Foursquare. But there’s already one called Foursquare right? The check in app? Well that’s the one thing the app won’t do anymore in about a month. Swarm is what that’s for. It’s as confusing as it sounds. But it’s actually much worse than just confusing for the users in the impact to behavior.

(I’ll link to a pair of Verge articles you should read here  and here that sum up all of this.)

Let’s take what, for a behaviorist like me, is the most damning quote from the Verge piece on Foursquare: “We looked at the session analysis and saw that only 1 in 20 sessions had both social and discovery”. Right. And so what did they take from that? That because they themselves as the creators WANTED more social discovery, that this data meant there wasn’t enough of it going on. What they didn’t see when they looked at it was that they had 20 of 20 people using a geolocated social app – and that only 1 of them bothered to use the app for something else. They looked at a deficit and surmised: “What they aren’t doing is what they want to do.”

A long-lost relic of a forgotten age.

A long-lost relic of a forgotten age.

This is a classic way to try and read behavioral tea leaves on Foursquare’s part, confusing desired behavior with a deficit of behavior. And their decision to jettison the reason 19 of those 20 use the app into a new app places the bet for what it wants with the chips of what it has. They aren’t bisecting their app, they’re gutting it. And they’re making the most reliable data input portion the jettisoned one, now sequestered into a new app (named for one of their own terms of art that only a current Foursquare user would get – “Swarm”). Those days of fighting for the mayorship? If they aren’t long gone now, they’ve now asked us to forget about them. Is there a badge for how many times we’ve been disappointed in apps that undervalue what we value about them?

The problem is, what you would like people to be doing versus what they are doing will never win in a war in the social media app space – it must be about peace, about negotiations. If you want war you can certainly have it – and there is no better salvo than to beat your own users with the stick you gave them. And on top of that? You’re going to take the one thing Foursquare as a brand is currently known as a lever for and disassociate it. Now they would (and do) argue that they just, “don’t need” check-ins anymore – but what if the act of checking in was enjoyable for people? What makes them need YOU when you don’t need them?

But then there’s Snapchat.

Snapchat’s announcement was very different.


Their evolution has been one of the most entertaining: from one-trick pony to quite frankly innovating on the backs of behavior like no one else is. They announced the ability to text (with it disappearing right after) and a conceptually on-the-fly way to videochat that feels more like a high-five than a process worried about timing, lighting, bandwidth and technical achievement. I’m starting to get why their goofy ghost logo always has his or her arms out wistfully – it’s enjoying the flight.


Why does Snapchat’s announcement make me laugh to myself while the Foursquare one makes me wince? Because Snapchat is ALLOWING for behavior rather than trying to turn from it. They’re enabling what they see people doing elsewhere but implementing it in a way that services the concept engine of the app. Foursquare is doing the exact opposite.

Foursquare, and in fact geolocation apps in general, are incredibly and increasingly important. We use them all the time to help gauge and explore the behaviors of a community to get a sense of place, user content, sentiment, activity, and more. What Foursquare is taking for granted is what it already has and what it could build on. They can’t seem to understand that a want to check in and a want for more information doesn’t have to be separate – just ask Waze at it’s peak, marrying content broadcasters and content consumers (while basically making everyone a braodcaster as easily and commitment-lessly as possible for the good of the whole).

I am actually a big fan, personally, of Foursquare in its current form. I’ve been very curious to watch how Foursquare has been adopted and used in radically different ways all over the world. But I’m disappointed that they’ve found a way to disrespect both their actual base behavior and those they’d like to attract. I’ll give, “Swarm” a chance – but the very notion of taking two app slots on my Home screen might likely make me ditch one or both. (Paper did that for me, allowing me to hide the main Facebook app and Messenger.)


So Foursquare, I beg of you – as a traveler and a frequent user – stop staring in the mirror.




Feedback’s Greatest Hits 2014, Vol. 7

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Ellen Was On Stage At #Oscars With Samsung, Backstage With iPhone

An important lesson for those who are dependent on influencers: the best ones just do what they’re always doing – be sure you know what that is. In this case, Ellen’s own Tweets backstage could be seen (through the Tweet details) as being from her iPhone, as they usually are. Problem was – Samsung had her using a Note publicly on stage because they were the massive sponsors. Probably would be invisible except that Twitter will reveal the origin of the Tweet – not by hardware, but by software. Something to keep in mind. Part of why seeing something posted by “Hootsuite” tells us you maybe (probably) scheduled that post; or that too many devices over too many Tweets reveals your ID is probably managed by multiple people (think if you saw 5 different phone apps – you’re either one obsessive personality or a tag-team personality). Not that there’s any shame in using any of that, just be realistic about what it means to those looking in. Like those that see that when she isn’t playing Oscar host publicly, Ellen chooses her iPhone…

Facebook In Talks To Acquire Drone Maker Titan Aerospace

Oh – well, okay…

Facebook Paper Update Allows Sharing Via Messages, Text Messages, Email

Some important improvements have been added in a new update. Be sure to see our album of screenshots detailing how your Pages look in the new Paper app!

Twitter Moves Beyond The Tweet, Shares First “Impressions” Metrics For Oscars

Twitter pulls the curtain back on impressions… Are we finally going to see Twitter “views” for all?

The world’s largest photo service just made its pictures free to use

Remember, this is for non-commercial use, but still very helpful!

An Updated News Feed

Important changes to the News Feed. Definitely worth reviewing.

Caterina Fake’s Findery finally launches its travel app

“Findery […] aims to connect travelers by giving them a mobile platform to post and find virtual notes of historical or personal interest. People choose whether they want their notes to be private or public. They can also create “Notemaps,” which are a way for people to curate information around themes, topics, or locations.”


Feedback’s Greatest Hits 2014, Vol 6

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What We Learned From an International Survey of… Selfies

To thine own selfie be true…

Facebook retires its troubled @facebook.com email service

Remember when Facebook wanted to be your complete Inbox? In some ways, they succeeded – except that part where our Inboxes are full of spam and we don’t WANT that mixed in-between real messages from our friends.

In June 2012, Facebook highlighted @facebook.com email addresses on profiles while hiding other email addresses. The move was intended to return user profiles to a blank slate where email addresses were private, but the outcome was that people thought Facebook was favoring its own email services over others.

With Box, Yelp and Palantir On Board, Piazza Lands $8M From Khosla To Bring Recruiting To Its Social Q&A Platform for Students

An interesting application for the students and the “socialization of learning.”

Facebook to launch new Campaign Structure on March 4

Helpful new “Campaign, Ad Set, then Ad” structure should help organize goals and results.

Google Redesigns Hangouts For iOS, Adds Video Messages And Animated Stickers

Slick new Google Hangouts app for iOS (now universal) – you’d never know they were an Apple competitor with apps like this!