Friday Wrap #137: New Trust Barometer, reducing hoaxes, bad words, an anonymous app for employees

Venice wrappedf up in 2011
Flickr photo of Venice wrapped up in 2011 courtesyt of Kristina D.C. Hoeppner
Greetings from 39,000 feet. I have a jam-packed day Friday, so I’m taking advantage of in-flight WiFi to crank out this week’s Wrap. As always the Wrap is a summary of the last week’s news, posts, and other good stuff that has crossed my feeds that may not have gotten a lot of attention but is still useful for communicators to know. Feel free to follow my link blog, where I collect the content from which I select items for the Wrap (and for my podcast).


Edelman releases 2015 Trust Barometer—Upholding an annual tradition at the Davos economic forum, Edelman has unveiled the results of its latest global Trust Barometer study. Edelman is highlighting the connection between trust and innovation in this year’s report, noting a greater willingness to trust new business innovations. That may be burying the lead, which is the continued erosion of trust in business, media, and even NGOs; only government gained trust in the last year. As for my favorite nugget from the annual study, among employees, internal experts and “a person like yourself” are now twice as credible as CEOs when speaking for the organization, creating even more impetus for setting up internal ambassador programs. In fact, an internal subject matter expert is ranked number two among company spokespeople, behind only academic or industry experts. Read more

Facebook will reduce the spread of hoaxes—Facebook is cracking down on the hoaxes that are spread over the social network. Explaining that users want less fake news in their feeds, the company plans to hold back stories that have been flagged by users as “false news stories.” On the page where these stories are posted, the items will feature a message noting that a lot of people have reported that the story contains false information. The company has reassured users that satire and parody sites like The Onion shouldn’t be affected, but not everyone is happy about Facebook’s approach to the problem. Digiday reporter Josh McDermott worries that asking the people who spread the hoaxes to police Facebook for them could be problematic, and the lack of details about how the algorithm will work just makes the issue even murkier. Read more

YouTube challenger launches with some heavyweight advertisers—Vessel is streaming now, and the YouTube competitor from a couple Hulu execs has attracted some substantial brands for the pre-rolls on its first videos. Chevy, Corona Extra, Unilever’s Axe, Dove, and St. Ive’s are among the first companies to give the service a shot. The Vessel twist is that users can pay $2.99 a month to watch videos without ads, or access the content free with the ads. Pre-rolls are one of two approaches advertisers can take; the other is an interstitial. Read more

Google has no plans to epxand “right to be forgotten”—Even though Europe’s data protection authorities want Google to remove “right to be forgotten” links from its .com sites, the search giant has dug in its heels. We’ve made removals Europe-wide but not beyond,” said Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond, according to a Reuter’s report. Google has evaluated more than 733,000 URLs based on 202,000 individual requests and has removed 60% of them from its European sites. Read more


Stop telling us how passionate and motivated you are—What are the most overused, underwhelming words and phrases to avoid? According to LinkedIn (which has plenty of business content to analyze), “motivated” tops the list. The top 10 also include “passionate,” “creative,” “driven,” and “extensive experience.” Read the post to get the rest of the top 10 for 2014, and to ponder the advice about how to burnish your LinkedIn presence. Read more

When does real-time marketing cross the line into exploitation?—Brace yourself. The Super Bowl is coming, and with it the torrent of pointless, irrelevant tweets and other efforts by brands who seem to think being clever is the same as engaging customers. But before Super Bowl Sunday, we had Martin Luther King’s birthday, with a lot of brands used as an opportunity to try to inject themselves in the conversation. Even those that weren’t overtly promotional—instead offering tributes—leave a lot of people thinking the brands are pitching product on the civil rights icon’s back. Among the worse: The Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks, which had to tweet an apology after sending out the message, “We shall overcome.” Read more

Slack’s founder has no idea why it’s taking off—Slack—the app for employees to network with one another—is a real success story, with a $1 billion valuation, tons of downloads, and adoption rates that must make Yammer execs wonder where they’ve gone wrong. CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield isn’t sure what’s driving the app’s popularity, but he is laser-focused on improving it while not worrying about the competition (including the recently laun"ched Facebook at Work). Users are delighted with Slack’s user-friendly features, which Butterfield says is the result of actually caring about employees’ needs. Read more

Bots are evolving, learning to emulate our online behavior—If the bots that follow your social media accounts pollute your stream with crap (and you’re not inclined to spend the time to purge your account of those followers), you may grow less inclined to use that channel. The creators of bots are dealing with that by mimicking the way real people behave online so they won’t be detected. These bots employ flattery. As a result, users are more likely to stick with the service and continue engaging with the bot, many of which are now able to learn from our interactions. Read more

Mobile and Wearables

Kik has plans to take on Snapchat—If you’re still unconvinced that much of digital messaging is moving to mobile apps, consider the coverage Bloomberg has given to Kik, the Canada-based app that gets more downloads in the Apple App Store than Twitter and Pinterest. Despite less money to spend on customer acquisition than Snapchat (recently valued at $10 billion), or its cachet, CEO Ted Livingston has his sights set on users of Snapchat. Despite other competitors, like WhatsApp and WeChat, Snapchat is the only messaging app in Livingston’s crosshairs. He plans to “is to cater to people who have no brand alliances, such as teens, so you can train them to use services through the messaging application.” Read more

Promoted Items coming to Flipboard—Flipboard, the magazine app, was an early adopter of native advertising. The company announced a new addition to the program, Promoted Items. They’ll work just like Facebook’s promoted posts and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets. Companies will pay to have their items appear in users’ personalized feeds, labeled “Sponsored.” Read more

Google may have ended Glass sales, but marketers stick with it—Marketers for companies like Fidelity that developed apps for Google’s Glass wearable plan to continue to support their apps even though Google has withdrawn the product for purchase. Read more

If Slack doesn’t float your boat, how about Memo?—Slack may be burning up the enterprise networking world, but that hasn’t stopped the introduction of Memo, an an anonymous messaging app for the enterprise that “wants to elevate water-cooler talk so that good ideas and criticism of company practices are accessible to everyone.” Read more


Think social media is stressing you out? Think again—Not only don’t frequent users of social media not have higher levels of stress, but the opposite is true for women. There are times, though, when the social use of digital technologies can heighten awareness of stressful circumstances experienced by others, which can lead to more stress, especially among women. The Pew Internet & American Life Project study found that the relationship between social media and stress is indirect; it’s the actual problems others are having—conveyed by social media—that can induce stress. Read more

Forrester thinks Pinterest is a big fail for marketers—Most brands are struggling to produce results on Pinterest, according to a new Forrester report, which points to Coca-Cola, which has experienced wild success elsewhere in social media but has attracted only about 5,000 Pinterest followers. Another problem: The new advertising platform doesn’t provide marketers with adequate targeting data. (Never mind that participants in the Promoted Pins beta saw a 300% increase in the number of users who repinned a pin to their own boards. The Forrester report agrees that Pinterest holds huge potential for marketers, and believes it could trump most other social sites by next year. As for now, though, he says most marketers just find it frustrating. Read more

Agencies talk a big game, but do they deliver?—Marketers asked to list the most troubling trends among marketing agencies were all over the board in their responses, but there was one thing on which they seemed to agree: When it comes to tech, data, and social media, they make a lot of noise but don’t deliver deep insights. Meanwhile, agency respondents said clienbts may want data, but they aren’t willing to pay for it. The friction is more pronounced these days for a few reasons, incluidng the fact that “nobody is really sure exactly how to work their way through this maze of change that’s going on,” says the president of the company that conducted the survey. Read more

Millennials are loyal to brands that earn their loyalty—Despite being hard-hit by the economic downturn of recent years, Millennials are ready to spend on things like technology and cars (not so much homes), and they’re very loyal to brands that have delivered product quality and a great customer experience, and have demonstrated genuine corporate social responsibility. Product quality is more important than price, and 75% said it’s either fairly or very important to consider the company’s contribution to society, according to a survey from Elite Daily and Millennial Branding. Sixty-two percent said they’re more likely to become a loyal customer of a brand that engages them on social media.  Read more