Friday Wrap #3: Rebirth of long-form content, a Bat Signal for the Net and social spam2012-06-01
A weekly review of some of the more interesting stories that have crossed my feeds in the last week.
Long-form content is thriving
Conventional wisdom says the days of long-form content are over. Between the character limit on tweets, the brevity of most Facebook status updates, the quick-scroll through Instagram photos, the disdain for YouTube videos that exceed four or five minutes and the scan-it nature of Pinterest, most communicators are working to produce a lot of short content. But, according to Emma Bazilian, writing for Adweek, we are actually in a golden age of long-form content, and we have social media to thank. Bazilian quotes BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith: “There’s been a massive shift from an Internet organized around portals to search engines to social, and social favors great content.” Buzzfeed, which once served as a haven for quick-hit lists and content, now hosts 2,000-word articles that are getting substantial page views. Tablets, smartphones and tools that let you save online content for offline reading have also contributed to a revived taste for substance. The lesson here is that good content rises to the top, regardless of length.
Cultivating talent through internal social media
Communicators are well-informed about the communication dimensions of internal social media. We don’t spend a lot of time, however, with Human Resources issues like succession planning and talent grooming. An article in Training Magazine by Srinivas Kandula points out that “companies need to create social platforms for current employees to share collective knowledge, generating innovation organically among the employee base”—not just for engagement and communication, but for training and development, as well. “We found the majority of participants were looking to better their development, so the two-way feedback and response tool generated longer discussions and more knowledge gleaned from the portal. As we enriched the tools on the portal, we added surveys and suggestion areas for current and future content. This increased the value the portal had to its readership. If you work in internal communications, Kandula’s case study is worth a look.
A Bat Signal for the Net?
Most of the commentary following the unprecedented display of unity websites demonstrated in their effort to defeat ACTA and CISPA suggested it was unlikely to happen again. But Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian doesn’t see it that way. Reddit was one of the sites leading the ACTA/CISPA effort, and Ohanian is increasingly using the site for advocacy purposes. Now, he has partnered with an online advocacy group, Fight for the Future, to create the “Internet Defense League.” Any website owner can sign on, adding a small bit of code to his or her site “that can be triggered in the case of a political crisis like SOPA, adding an activist call-to-action to all the sites involved, such as a widget or banner asking users to sign petitions, call lawmakers, or boycott companies.” He calls it a kind of Bat Signal for the Web. The article is at Forbes.
Spammers shift from email to social channels
Email used to excite people. In the earliest days, AOL users delighted in hearing, “You’ve got mail!” In short order, though, getting mail meant getting spam. No matter how strong a defense you mounted, spammers strategized new ways to get their sleazy messages to you. They were motivated by the fact that enough people actually succumbed to the come-on generating income that kept the spam machine flowing. Email today, though, has evolved into something different—more newsletters and updates and bulletins than one-on-one contact, which has migrated to social channels. It should come as no surprise that the spammers have followed. According to BusinessWeek, citing Mark Risher of anti-spam company Impermium, spammers are responsible for 40% of the accounts on social sites. “About 8 percent of messages sent via social pages are spam, approximately twice the volume of six months ago…Spammers use the sharing features on social sites to spread their messages. Click on a spammer’s link on Facebook, and it may ask you to ‘like’ or ‘share’ a page, or to allow an app to gain access to your profile.” The BusinessWeek article reports on efforts by social services to combat the rising tide of social spam.