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Big Revolution - Hide the numbers

Welcome to Tuesday's Big Revolution. In yesterday's edition, I threw doubt on Facebook's commitment t
November 20 · Issue #268 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s Big Revolution. In yesterday’s edition, I threw doubt on Facebook’s commitment to improving local news. But a couple of hours later we got word that they’re doing more than just training journalists to use Facebook. More on that below…

Big things you need to know today
  • Facebook is to spend £4.5m funding 80 UK local newspaper jobs for two years. It’s a drop in the ocean when it comes the total potential for supporting local news, but it at least shows the company is willing to help an industry whose work it has done much to undermine.
  • Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has a long-term focus at the expense of short-term concerns, The Information reports. He apparently “spends most board meetings looking at his phone and messaging people on Snapchat.”
The big thought
Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash
Hide the numbers
A tweet doing the rounds at the moment shares screenshots from Instagram of a woman expressing concern that photos she posts of her young son don’t get enough likes. She worries what this will do to his self-esteem when he’s older. “I know one day he will see the numbers,” she says.
This sad story is validation for a couple of news stories from yesterday. Instagram is threatening accounts that use specialist apps to gain fake followers, and Twitter is reducing the font size of the follower count on user profiles.
The Verge reports:
“By emphasizing an account’s number of followers, (Twitter CEO, Jack) Dorsey believes it incentivizes individuals to post more polarizing content that has the potential to go viral and attract more followers, creating a more divisive and toxic discourse on the platform.”
Damn right. And there’s a strong argument for removing visible metrics from public view entirely. If you know people have liked and shared your post, that’s enough.
Turning everyone’s small utterance into a popularity contest is bad for us. It leads us to measure our worth through something totally beyond our own control – how many people arbitrarily decide to click a button next to things we share.
There’s plenty of talk about how we should cut down on social media use for the good of our mental health, but that doesn’t mean some of the staples of social media can’t be rethought too.
Sure, let advertisers use these metrics to target messages at us – that’s essential to Twitter and Facebook’s business models. But other than that, let’s just focus on what we want to share, and what people say in response.
Anika Saigal put it well on Twitter: “Let the post exist as a human expression without the fickle signalling of its worth.”
One big read
Read the mud-slinging pitches Facebook’s PR firm sent us Read the mud-slinging pitches Facebook’s PR firm sent us
It’s interesting to see how the controversial PR firm at the centre of Facebook’s latest crisis tried to influence the team at TechCrunch to look beyond its own client’s misdeeds.
One big tweet
The feature stack for remote teams is nowhere near complete, as demonstrated by Product Hunt’s Ryan Hoover here, trying to be a considerate manager.
Ryan Hoover
Request for @SlackHQ feature:

Ability to schedule a message in the future

Why: We have a distributed team at PH so I’m often working when it’s midnight or later for other teammates. I want to send them a message or question w/o implying any pressure to respond so late.
10:29 PM - 19 Nov 2018
That’s all for today...
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