Sam Harrelson

Walking Away from $850 Million

Fascinating story of morals, standing up for your beliefs, and watching others ruin what you created…

Under pressure from Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to monetize WhatsApp, he pushed back as Facebook questioned the encryption he’d helped build and laid the groundwork to show targeted ads and facilitate commercial messaging. Acton also walked away from Facebook a year before his final tranche of stock grants vested. “It was like, okay, well, you want to do these things I don’t want to do,” Acton says. “It’s better if I get out of your way. And I did.” It was perhaps the most expensive moral stand in history. Acton took a screenshot of the stock price on his way out the door—the decision cost him $850 million.

— Read on www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2018/09/26/exclusive-whatsapp-cofounder-brian-acton-gives-the-inside-story-on-deletefacebook-and-why-he-left-850-million-behind/amp/




Instagram is Dead

For starters, this is the end of Instagram as we know it. Systrom and Krieger were deeply involved in day-to-day product decisions, and retained an unusual degree of autonomy over the company. For years, they were careful to the point of being obstinate. Even as they began to expand Instagram’s suite of offerings, they remained deeply cautious. (Features for creating groups of “favorites” and a standalone messaging app have been in testing for 15 months and 10 months, respectively.)

— Read on www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2018/9/25/17903556/instagram-founders-quit-kevin-systrom-mike-krieger-facebook




74% of Facebook users say they have changed their usage in the past year

Wow, these are astonishing numbers…

Around four-in-ten (42%) say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter (26%) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone. All told, some 74% of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year.

Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook – Pew Research Center




Do Facebook Ads Really Work?

Within the advertising industry, the debate about whether advertising works on Facebook is not new. A survey last year showed over 60 percent of small business owners felt advertising on Facebook was ineffective. The lawsuit takes it a step further, saying Facebook is misleading advertisers.

Source: Does Facebook Really Work? People Question Effectiveness Of Ads : NPR

Like anything else, you do need some expertise to make Facebook or Instagram or Snap or Google or Pinterest ads work. We are finishing a period where these advertising companies have held that “ANYONE CAN DO IT! IT’S SO EASY! JUST SIGN UP AND TELL US WHO YOU WANT TO TARGET!” with regards to their ads and effectiveness.

But that’s simply not true. I could probably re-roof our home. But I’m not going to spend the time, effort, and money trying to do that job myself. I’m going to hire someone who knows what they are doing.

Same with social media advertising and marketing. That’s how I pay our mortgage (and for our new roof) every month!




“There is tremendous strength in independence and decentralization.”

“There is tremendous strength in independence and decentralization.”

Daring Fireball: Medium Deprecates Custom Domains Service

— Read on daringfireball.net/linked/2018/09/04/medium-domain-name

Shouldn’t be surprised but John makes a great point about the long term value of owning your own domain name and links. We freely give away too much content and work to commercial companies like Medium or Twitter or Facebook in small and innocuous amounts that do build great value to them over time.

Build your contents and thoughts on your own space that you can reference and leverage in the future.




The reason Twitter will ultimately fail

I still firmly believe we’ll see a reckoning of sorts for social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter (and even Instagram and its lovely filters) where the network effect takes a backseat to quality interactions and we move away from hegemonic one-size-fits-all walled gardens towards decentralized and specified communities based on our preferences. Reddit is already pointing the way on this (partly):

The internet of old — composed largely of thousands of scattered communities populated by people who shared interests, identities, causes or hatreds — has been mostly paved over by the social-media giants. In this new landscape, basic intelligible concepts of community become alien: The member becomes the user; the peer becomes the follower; and the ban becomes not exile, but death. It is not surprising that the angriest spirits of the old web occasionally manifest in the new one. But what’s striking is how effectively they can haunt it, and how ill-equipped it is to deal with them.

Source: Twitter’s Misguided Quest to Become a Forum for Everything – The New York Times




Go Start Your Blog and Find a Newsreader

I’ve been using RSS as my primary way to read news, blogs, thoughts, and ideas since 2005 or so (I currently use a mix of Feedly and NewsBlur as my RSS readers, and both are excellent in their own ways).

There’s a growing rumbling going on in the tech-thinkers space I follow (mostly through my RSS readers). Twitter is great for quick fleeting thoughts that you write on the back of a leaf and watch float away down the river. Facebook is great for sharing pictures and updates with those who you are close with in real life. RSS and feed readers serve a much different purpose and I have no doubt they’ll be back in the mainstream soon enough given the current tensions around walled gardens, security, and advertising…

Now fight against the machine and go start your blog. You’ll be glad you did.

The tension between walled gardens (or lock-in, or whatever you want to call it) and a decentralized web will likely never end. But, it feels like we are in for another significant turn of the crank on how all of this works, and that means lots of innovation is coming.

— Read on www.feld.com/archives/2018/08/rss-the-persistent-protocol.html




Should social media be regulated?

Interesting numbers From the Knight Foundation and Gallup that, if enacted, would have huge ramifications for the advertising and marketing industries (especially for nonprofits)…

A new survey says yes — almost eight in 10 Americans agree that these companies should be subject to the same rules and regulations as newspapers and television networks that are responsible for the content they publish. The survey is part of a series of reports released by Knight Foundation and Gallup over the course of the year exploring American perceptions of trust, media and democracy.

— Read on medium.com/trust-media-and-democracy/should-platforms-be-regulated-a-new-survey-says-yes-2f3f4d0d1f00




Churches and nonprofits shouldn’t focus on attribution as a social media goal

For years, marketers have tried to attribute social directly to sales, but industry standards and consumer data reveal that their true focus should be expanding awareness and consideration.Think long-term, not quick fix. Think relationships, not attribution.

Source: The 2018 Sprout Social Index | Sprout Social

The biggest mistake I see churches and nonprofits make when engaging in an intentional “social media campaign” is counting the likes and hearts on Facebook, Twitter, or Twitter rather than measuring the engagement factor of relationships.

Only 14% of marketers polled say that they can attribute any revenue from social media. The same is true when a church or nonprofit creates a social campaign… focus on long-term relational signals, not short-term likes and favs.




What to do about the end of auto-sharing to Facebook profiles and creating episodic social media content

If you auto-share items from your site to Facebook (blog posts for example), you’ll want to take note of the big changes coming this week.

Many people, nonprofits, small businesses, churches etc use the built-in social media auto-sharing features on platforms such as WordPress or Squarespace or Wix or Weebly etc to share content to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles without much fuss.

However, Facebook is removing that ability for posting to a profile on August 1. This particularly impacts smaller businesses or a nonprofit that are smaller since it’s affecting Profiles, not Pages. But if you have been using auto-share to a WordPress profile, you’re going to have to do that manually now.

Here’s part of WordPress’ notice about it:

Starting August 1, 2018, Facebook is making a change to their platform: third-party tools can no longer automatically share posts to Facebook Profiles. This includes Publicize. If you’ve connected a Facebook Profile to your site, then Publicize will no longer be able to share your new posts to Facebook automatically. Sharing to Facebook Pages will continue to work as before.

Source: Publicize — Support — WordPress.com

Note that if you are auto-sharing to a Facebook Page (rather than a Profile… usually Pages are associated with businesses or groups and Profiles are individuals), you’ll still be able to continue to do that after August 1.

There are good security reasons why Facebook is making this change in light of the Cambridge Analytica fallout as well as the general cultural perception that Facebook is overrun with “fake news”. However, there’s also a clear self-serving reason for making this change as this post from Buffer points out:

Facebook seems very keen to encourage more users to share content and counter the decline of user-generated posts.

For example, its recent focus on Stories and Groups could be seen as a way to encourage more unique content. This, coupled with the “meaningful interactions” update, shows that Facebook might be hoping that more unique content shared by users, reaching more of their closest friends and family will help to spark more conversation and interaction on the platform.

Source: How Facebook Marketing is Changing (And How to Be Prepared) – Buffer

Buffer is a leading service in the social media sharing space. They allow for easy scheduling of posts to a variety of networks and are used frequently by businesses and nonprofits of all shapes and sizes. We’ve used them extensively with clients over the years as well.

However, the social media landscape continues to evolve since it became a major part of most people’s “online” lives over the last decade as well as a viable marketing and advertising channel.

I’ve always been hesitant about overusing auto-sharing services and blasting out the same content to every network as if they were all the same. Twitter, when used well, generates a very unique “culture” around a brand, business, or church. Facebook also has a unique community around content that will take even more of a front seat with the renewed push on “personal sharing” from the company. The same can be said about Instagram. The trick is to know your audience and be aware of the particularities of each of the social networks you’re pushing content to. You can’t treat a Facebook Live video the same as an Instagram Story or a Twitter Moment.

Additionally, Facebook Pages have taken a number of algorithmic hits over the last few years and I’ve personally had clients walk away from the platform because the ROI just wasn’t there. It’s not as simple as pushing “Publish” and walking away to let the magic happen these days.

Whether you’re using a Page or your own Profile to promote your cause, now is a good time to step back and re-examine how and why you share content and how you share content on any social network. I like to create social media calendars for our clients to help keep a more scheduled approach to content generation and sharing and to keep us from falling into the easy trap of blasting out the same content to every network at once.

Along with the calendar and schedule, I like to promote the idea of generating social media content in an episodic nature. The Netflix example is often used here to explain that people go to the service over and over to watch content they have become connected to in some way. “Binge watching” is not just about devouring a season of a TV show in one sitting, but is a psychological relationship that a person establishes with a certain brand of a show. Netflix doesn’t make its money from people passively watching movies or shows that are rolled out in a pre-programmed schedule with advertisements every 4-6 minutes. Instead, Netflix understands the psychology behind creating a connection between a person and their very interest-specific content.

In the same way, I like to promote the notion that social media content from a business, church, or nonprofit can and should tap into that same “episodic” mindset. Get your fans (no matter the size of your audience) on a regular schedule of Facebook Live events, Twitter AMA’s, Instagram Live Q/A’s, Facebook Page Pics of the Week etc… and don’t forget your weekly email newsletters on Tuesday or Thursday and your new podcast episodes every Monday.