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Meta Provides an End-of-Year Update on the Growth of its ‘Bulletin’ Newsletter Platform



Meta has provided an end-of-year update on its Bulletin newsletter platform, which it first launched back in April as part of a push to facilitate more connection between creators and subscribers by using the company’s massive reach to scale newsletter growth.

And while it hasn’t become a key competitor for Substack and other newsletter providers as yet, Meta has been making steady progress, and it could yet become a key consideration for writers in various niches.

As explained by Meta:

“When we launched Bulletin, we began with a small group of voices to learn how to best support their work. Six months later, we have more than 115 publications on Bulletin, and we’re energized by all the ways this first group has made meaningful connections with their audiences. This is the start of our overall effort to connect people in a more significant way to content from a broader set of sources and experts.

In terms of growth specifics, Meta says that more than half of the creators on Bulletin now have over 1,000 free email subscribers, ‘with many having more than 5,000 or 10,000’. Which is reasonably solid – but then again, for a platform that connects almost 3 billion people, you would think that the growth rates would have significant potential for far higher reach than this. That’s essentially the promise of the option, and by comparison, these numbers would also suggest that around half of Bulletin writers have fewer that 1k subscribers. Which is not amazing, but is still early days for the option.

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One of the most interesting use cases for the Bulletin platform is facilitating local news, and providing an outlet for local news providers, many of whom have been shut down or otherwise significantly impacted by the COVID downturn. If Bulletin can provide a more equitable pathway for local journalists and updates, that could make it an essential tool for many users, and Meta does highlight the ways in which local news providers are utilizing its suite of engagement tools to maximize connection.

“Experimentation with engagement tools across Facebook and Instagram have led to subscriber growth and deepened reader connections, particularly in places where appetite for relevant coverage is high. The Kerr County Lead, a local news publication in Kerr County, Texas, hosts Facebook Live videos every weekday to engage its local community of readers.”

Meta added 25 local news journalists to its stable of Bulletin writers back in August, whom it’s funding through the initial period of their establishment. And again, with so many local newsrooms being forced to shut down in recent years, there could be major opportunity for the platform to become a key hub for such, if it can provide a viable pathway for local news writers to make money from their coverage, while also highlighting relevant news content to Facebook users in feeds.

Which seems like the most viable pathway for Bulletin’s growth. Other newsletter platforms offer similar revenue and connection capacity, but no other platform has the reach that Facebook does, especially when you consider the usage of The Social Network for local community groups and local news discussion.

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Bulletin could essentially become the replacement for your local news publication – though it does still seem a way off from this being a significant, viable element.

So what’s next for the platform? Meta says that, over the coming year, it will ‘thoughtfully increase’ the number of creators on Bulletin as it improves the experience ahead of future expansion.

“This will include a number of different topics and types of content, from video-first and audio-focused creators to long- and short-form writers, and more.

Meta’s also adding in new tools and third-party integrations to enable more creative and research options (including a partnership with LexisNexis for data insights), while it’s also providing free educational opportunities for Bulletin creators to help them build their own newsletter businesses.

Tying your opportunities to Meta does come with a level of risk, with Meta changing the rules on creators and businesses in the past to limit their post reach, and shift their incentives based on its own engagement focus at any given time. But it could still be a viable pathway to building a newsletter business, with the reach and connection afforded by Meta’s networks opening up significant opportunity – if it can get the Bulletin offering right.

You can read Bulletin’s end of year review here.

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TikTok’s Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile



TikTok's Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile

I’m not entirely sure what value this might bring, but TikTok is reportedly working on bringing back the option to see who viewed your profile in the app over the preceding 30 days, which would provide more transparency over user interest.

As you can see in these screenshots, uncovered by app researcher Kev Adriano (and shared by Matt Navarra), TikTok looks to be testing an opt-in functionality that would enable you to see who’s checking out your TikTok profile, while users would also be able to see when you’ve checked out their profile as well when this feature is switched on.

Which TikTok used to have, as a means to increase connections in the app.

TikTok profile views notification

As you can see here, TikTok used to provide a listing of people who’d checked out your profile, with a view to helping you find others to follow who may have similar, shared interests. TikTok removed the functionality early last year, amid various investigations into its data sharing processes, and with several high-profile cases of TikTok stalkers causing real-world problems for platform stars, it made sense that it might not want to share this information anymore, as it likely only increases anxiety for those who may have concerns.

But I guess, if stalkers wanted to check out your profile they wouldn’t turn the feature on, so maybe, by making it opt-in, that reduces that element? Maybe.

I don’t know, I don’t see a heap of value here, and while I can understand, when an app is starting out, how this sort of awareness might help to increase network connections, I’m not sure that it serves any real value for TikTok, other than providing insight into who’s poking around, and likely increasing concerns about certain people who keep coming back to check out your profile again and again.

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Maybe there’s a value for aspiring influencers, in reaching out to potential collaborators who’ve checked out their stuff, or maybe it works for hook-ups, if that’s what you want to use TikTok for, which is why the opt-in element is important.

But much like the same feature on LinkedIn, mostly, it seems pretty useless. I mean, it’s somewhat interesting to know that somebody from a company that you’d like to work for checked out your profile, but if they did, and they didn’t feel compelled to get in touch, who really cares?

There is a limited value proposition here, in that getting in touch with those who did check out your profile could result in a business relationship, similar to the above note on potential collaborators on TikTok. But I’d be interested to see the actual percentage of successful contacts made is as a result of these insights.

I can’t imagine it’s very high – but maybe, if you give users the choice, and they explicitly opt-in, there is some value there.

Seems like stalker tracking to me, and potential angst and conflict as a result.

There’s no official word from TikTok as to whether this option will ever be released at this stage.

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‘Flurona’ is a great example of how misinformation can circulate



'Flurona' is a great example of how misinformation can circulate

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.
Source – NIAID, CC SA 2.0.

In early January, Israel confirmed its first case of an individual infected with both the seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time, authorities reported. The two infections were found in an unvaccinated pregnant woman who had mild symptoms.

At the rime, the Times of Israel said, “Some reports suggested this marked the first such dual case in the world, but reports of patients with both flu and COVID-19 surfaced in the US as early as spring 2020.”

And it was the Times of Israel that helped the story to go viral by using a catchy, made-up name – “flurona” – and reporting that this is the “first” such case in the country, which some people read as the first case ever.

One news outlet went about amplifying the anecdotal report into “a new nightmare to keep us awake at night.” All the hype over this supposedly new and nightmarish disease did nothing more than fuel the amount of misinformation already bogging down social media platforms.

Scientific American suggests that physicians and scientists just don’t seem to be able to get the right message across to the public about what is real, what is treatable, and what is downright false.

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Yes, you can catch the flu and Covid

Let’s look back a bit to the start of the pandemic. In March 2020, hospitals were being overrun with patients. At that time, COVID testing was still rather sluggish and expensive. So doctors often ordered several tests for patients, trying to identify — or eliminate from suspicion — other possible infections.   

And yes, any number of patients were found to have not only COVID-19 but nearly 5 percent of patients tested had another viral respiratory infection, too. At first, doctors worried more for these patients, whose immune systems were fighting two battles at once. 

“What we found was actually that patients who had Covid plus another infection — they had lower rates of inflammation in their body and were less likely to be admitted to the hospital,” said Dr. Sarah Baron, a physician who helped author a study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy to describe the findings.

While the study was small in the number of patients involved, it may offer an intriguing look at how one virus suppresses the effects of another – something called viral interference.

Researchers have known about viral interference since the 1960s when a group of scientists noticed that a live vaccine against polio and other enteroviruses also seemed to protect against unrelated viral respiratory diseases like influenza.  

For the week ending December 25, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 6.2 percent of people tested for flu were positive, and 1,825 people were admitted to U.S. hospitals with flu that week.

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So I would suggest to everyone that first – remember there are many reliable news sources on the Internet. Secondly, if a story you read sounds outrageous, take a few minutes to research it. You may just find out how inaccurate it may be.

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12 Helpful SEO Tools for Your Brand in 2022 [Infographic]



12 Helpful SEO Tools for Your Brand in 2022 [Infographic]

Search engine optimization can be a complicated process, but every year, more tools and options are added to help simplify and streamline your efforts, which can provide you with valuable insights and guidance that hasn’t previously been available so easily.

The right tools can transform your strategy, and as such, it’s worth keeping track of the latest tool additions as you look to learn more about what people are searching for, and how you can create content and offers to align with those behaviors.

Which is where this new listing from PageTraffic comes in. The below infographic outlines 12 newer SEO tools that are worth a look in 2022.

More insight is always better, and these apps may just become a key pipeline to better understanding for your business.

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