Friday Wrap #151: No more Secret, Twitter’s bad decision, Periscope updates, VR journalism, and more

Friday Wrap #151
Flickr photo courtesy of Juhan Sonin.

The Friday Wrap is a review of news, posts, reports, and other items appearing in the last week that will help you stay on top of the forces shaping communication in this fast-paced, ever-changing environment. These are stories that may have been lost in the flood of headline news stories. I collect all of the items from which I choose the Wrap stories in my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow.


That’s it for Secret—Secret got a lot of buzz, but its lifespan didn’t measure up. After only about a year, the app is shutting down. Secret allowed people to share information anonymously, prompting fears it would be used to divulge company-confidential information. A week before he resigned from Google, Vic Gundotra’s plans were telegraphed in a Secret post, making headlines. The founder said Secret “does not represent the vision I had when starting the company.” Competitor Whisper lives on. Read more

Soundcloud opens its platform for podcasts—Not that you couldn’t post a podcast to Soundcloud before—I even tested the platform for my podcast, uploading an episode there at the same time I posted it to LibSyn, which hosts FIR’s audio files. But the audio sharing service has been beta testing features aimed at podcasters, and has just brought those features out of beta. To start a podcast, users just have to enable a “include in RSS feed” option. Read more

New BuzzFeed initiative shows how content is shared—A new BuzzFeed initiative dubbed Pound aims to show how your content really gets shared. According to a blog post by BuzzFeed publisher Dao Nguyen, Pound “follows propagations from one sharer to another, through all the downstream visits, even across social networks and one-to-one sharing platforms like Gchat and email.” Read more

Twitter gives native add critics more ammunition—The biggest complaint about native advertising is its deceptiveness: Readers can’t tell the difference between genuine editorial content and sponsored content. Clear labeling is the obvious answer, but Twitter is going the opposite direction. Faced with pressure over its disappointing earnings report, the company has removed the yellow badge from its promoted tweets—the badge that let everyone know at a glance that it was a paid ad—specifically to make it look more like just a part of the tweet stream. The “sponsored” label remains, but it’s far more subtle. Read more

Mobile and Wearables

Americans getting more and more news from their mobile devices—Thirty-nine of the top 50 news sites get more traffic from mobile devices than from desktop and laptop computers, according to the Pew Research Center’s 12th annual “State of the News Media” report. Meanwhile, the audience for TV cable news continued to shrink. Read more

Frito-Lay is the latest brand to try out Periscope—PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay is giving Periscope a shot. The snack company will use the nascent live video streaming app to as the channel for two game show-like giveaways. According to a marketing exec, “The viewers that are logged on to watch will be randomly chosen as contestants.” A gameshow host will spin a wheel to determine the prizes the contestant will win. Read more

Did you watch shows covering the NFL draft on Periscope?—The NFL held its annual player draft yesterday, and millions tuned in to TV to watch. Some, though, opted for Periscope. Sports publisher Scout used the live mobile video streaming app to deliver 15 broadcasts, each focusing on a different perspective of the draft, such as how it will affect fantasy league rankings. Read more

Snapchat hires CNN reporter—Once dismissed by marketers and mainstream press as a tool to enable sexting among teens, Snapchat is showing its real potential as a serious communication channel. “Discover,” which lets publishers deliver short news videos, is a runaway success. Brands are increasingly taking to Snapchat for marketing efforts. And now, Snapchat has hired star CNN political reporter Peter Hamby to head up its editorial operation, another sign that the app will invest heavily in relationships with existing media outlets. Read more

Messenger now lets you have a video chat—Facebook’s Messenger now includes a video calling feature, a direct assault on the one-to-way capabilities of Microsoft’s Skype. The easy-to-use feature is available to all 600 million Messenger users. Read more

Viber hits 40 million users in India—Mobile messaging app Viber has crossed the 40 million user mark in India, making it the app’s biggest market. Read more


New York Times eyes Virtual Reality Journalism—At its NewsFronts presentation on Monday, The New York Times released an example of the potential for virtual reality in journalism. The newspaper captured video of an artist’s installation in the heart of Manhattan that was dismantled after only 24 hours, making it available in virtual reality so those who missed it can see it as if it still existed in the real world. You can see “Walking New York” if you have Google Cardboard or another mobile VR product. The potential for this kind of reporting could be huge, with plenty of applications for brand journalism. Read more

LinkedIn is top choice for B2B product launches—LinkedIn is the top social media site for product launches from B2B companies, according to a poll from Regalix. Eighty-one percent of B2B marketers cited LinkedIn as their number one network for promoting a launch; Twitter came in second, is used by 71%, and Facebook and YouTube tied for third with 54% of B2B marketers saying they used the channels. Out of the running and barely registering in the poll were Google+, Pinterest, and Slideshare. Read more

Pulitzer winners are defecting to PR agencies—News reports that two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists have taken jobs in PR agencies shouldn’t be a surprise. One said he was barely making ends meet as a journalist, the other wanted a job more conducive to starting a family. Both worked for medium-sized outlets in an industry where reporters earn little and are expected to work grueling hours cranking out high volumes of content. Read more

Press releases and politics don’t mix—Business reporters may rely on press releases to stay up to date on what’s going on in the businesses they cover, but political reporters want none of it. Even as newsrooms continue to shed staff, political reporters remain dead-set against using press releases, according to research by a Georgia Southern University political scientist. While government officials send out the releases in droves, reporters prefer original reporting. While this doesn’t preclude the need for issuing a press release—they get spread around in other ways—getting earned media for a government official will require other tactics. Read more


Social media is a key channel for news delivery—Young people get much of their news from social media platforms, according to new research from Deloitte. For GenX, Boomers, and Millennials aged 26-31, TV remains the primary channel, but Millennials aged 14-25 far and away say social media is nearly as important as TV. Read more

How and when should you post on social media?—A study of 220,000 articles over six months revealed how and when to publish content in order to achieve the best results. The study’s conclusions are contained in an infographic. Among the findings: Hate them as you will, but lists perform better than any other kind of content overall, though in October last year, “what” posts (as opposed to why posts) did best. Variations over the six-month study showed some kinds of content (including videos and “why” posts) performed better during some months than others. Read more