Foursquare’s Relaunch and Mobile-Social Data
The Story: Foursquare relaunches as a local business discovery and recommendation app, moving the “check-in” to its spin-off app, Swarm.
Why It Matters: Foursquare appears to be doubling down on the user data game in the hopes of generating a sustainable monetization plan. If things go well, Foursquare’s increased import of user data will create a robust and powerful ad tool through which brands and local businesses can hyper-target consumers based on location, behavior and interest.
The Social Web Flexes its Collective Muscle with #IfTheyGunnedMeDown
The Story: The shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen, spurred the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown movement, a hashtag campaign calling into question and ultimately influencing the media’s portrayal of the victim. Why It Matters: Like a virtual town hall, Twitter can quickly turn into a point of collective grief, dialogue and protest, but for many brands, it’s only seen as a one-way content amplification hub. When used best, Twitter’s not just a top-down funnel, but a tool for giving a voice - and influence - to the masses. Brands should be not just posting but listening.
The Story: Your potential matches on Tinder just got a little cuter. Ten rescued puppies from a New York City shelter made an appearance on Tinder in an effort to meet potential owners.
Why It Matters: Transforming a romantic matchmaking app into a pet matchmaking app is reminiscent of the early days of Facebook when brands would “hack” the intended user experience to create unique, native, branded experiences. In some cases, we’ve even seen social network hacks impact the style of advertising on the platform. Could this innocent stunt change the face and purpose of Tinder?
Your Facebook Friends Are Pouring Buckets Of Ice Water Over Their Heads
The Story: The “ice bucket challenge” has taken over Facebook, but has come under fire with critics claiming the messaging isn’t clear and people are missing the point, or that this is just narcissism masked as philanthropy.
Why It Matters: Haters are gonna hate. Despite any vague ALS messaging associated with the ice bucket challenge, millions of people are now aware of a movement and cause that they were otherwise unaware of previously. Success here should be judged on overall awareness and cultural buzz, not necessarily dollars raised – although the ALS Association raised $13.3 million in the first two weeks of August, compared to $1.7 million during the same period last year. Imagine if planking, Tebow-ing or the Harlem Shake were also connected to a charitable cause. How is this a failure for the ALS Association?
Kim Kardashian, Mobile Version
What’s the Story: Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, Kim K’s new app game in which users navigate a virtual world of celebrity, is just the latest waste of our collective time expected to earn $200 million by the end of the year.
Why It Matters: In case hanging out with Kris and Bruce vicariously via your television wasn’t enough, now you can literally become Kim Kardashian, managing your own pursuit of ultimate celebrity. The state of the collective American psyche is un unchartered territory – not only will you be able to smell like your favorite celebrity with their signature fragrance, you’ll be able to be him or her. Are celebrity apps the latest avenue for brands to attach themselves to celebrities? Or is this a one-off success for Kim? One question remains: When will the Honey Boo Boo game hit the market?
Facebook’s Like Algorithm: Exposed
The Story: This week, writer Mat Honan rendered Facebook’s algorithm useless by liking everything he saw in the Newsfeed for 48 hours, finding his feed populated with irrelevant media and brand posts as a result.
Why It Matters: Honan’s article calls attention to the darker side of personalization, the “filter bubble” issue. Netflix, Google, et al., predict what we want now based on our past clicks—and serve us only that—lessening the chance we’ll discover things unlike past likes. Meanwhile, with people moving to platforms offering more personal curation and content control (Snapchat, ask.fm), we’re wondering if Facebook’s algorithm needs an update to keep pace.