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Big Revolution - It’s time for slow-cial media

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Good morning, and welcome to another week of Big Revolution.  There's loads to dive into, so let's go
 
March 19 · Issue #22 · View online
Big Revolution
Good morning, and welcome to another week of Big Revolution. 
There’s loads to dive into, so let’s go…
Martin

Big things you need to know today
Credit: Tim Bennett on Unsplash
- The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica story continues to be the biggest story around (see yesterday’s edition for a primer on the whole thing). Lawmakers in the USA and UK have taken notice, and it’s emerged that Facebook may have violated an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission when it shared data without users’ express consent.
- Meanwhile, Facebook has suspended the account of the man who blew the whistle on the issue. That’s even though, CBS News reports, the company had “privately welcomed” his help.
- The whole affair is leaving many technologists and marketers scratching their heads. It was public knowledge that this was possible, but it’s only become a big deal because it was tied to a controversial political result – the Trump presidency. And data marketplaces that skirt user consent are a huge business anyway.
- Apple is developing its own screen technology, according to Bloomberg. Building the ‘MicroLED’ screens would further reduce the company’s dependence on third parties, including rivals like Samsung, although it would likely still require manufacturing partners to make them at scale. The screens are still “a few years” away from coming to market. 
The big thought
Credit: Nick Abrams on Unsplash
It’s time for slow-cial media
In a bid to fight online misinformation, BBC News has a concept called ‘slow news’ that prioritises, as Digiday described it last year, in-depth text pieces, and video explainers along with data visualization and statistics-led pieces that take longer to produce.
Quality over quantity; thinking before you publish – that’s the general idea. And it’s time tech companies take a similar approach to social media.
In the past couple of days alone, we’ve seen the Cambridge Analytica scandal and YouTube recommending conspiracy theories to children. Facebook alone has a catalogue of missteps when it comes to respecting users, and then there’s Twitter’s continuing failure to deal with abuse on its platform… you know the list, it goes on and on.
At the same time, users show an increasingly vocal distaste for algorithmic feeds, and now basically just assume they’re being surveilled even in ways that aren’t possible. And every now and then they flock to an app like Vero as a refreshing alternative – but quickly return to the apps all their friends continue to use that have embedded themselves in our lives. 
Switching to a new social app is hard, but I can’t help but wonder when someone will truly nail ‘slow-cial media.’ It would offer a calmer approach to sharing with, and staying in touch with, friends. It wouldn’t rely on algorithms that put commercial interests over friendships. And if it offers content to kids, it will be handpicked by humans rather than left to dumb, blunt automation.
Basically, it would be social media built from the ground up to be respectful to users over all else.
Such an enterprise would likely soon miss the advantages that automation and algorithms provide for managing communities at scale, and the commercial model would need to be different to what we see today. Still, there’s got something better than what we have now, and it needs more than a few tweaks to existing products.
One big read
Marques Brownlee, 'the best technology reviewer on the planet,' talks about the past four years and his plans beyond YouTube
Marques Brownlee, 'the best technology reviewer on the planet,' talks about the past four years and his plans beyond YouTube
When he started out four years ago, every tech site wanted to hire him. Huge respect to Marques Brownlee for doing things his own way and building his own empire.
This article looks at this gadget-focused YouTuber’s career so far.
One big tweet
Further thoughts related to ‘slow-cial media’. Different design priorities yield products that feel different to use.
Connie Chan
Can you imagine a newsfeed, instagram & twitter feed where the total # of likes and # of comments was HIDDEN, only shown to the content creator? That's what it's like scrolling through WeChat Moments.
It feels different.
6:01 AM - 19 Mar 2018
That’s all for today...
I’ll be trying something new with the newsletter tomorrow, so look out for that – although nothing will change about what you get from this email every day.
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