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TikTok Leads Christmas Day Download Charts, New Markers of the Coming Metaverse Shift



TikTok Leads Christmas Day Download Charts, New Markers of the Coming Metaverse Shift

TikTok looks set to continue its growth momentum well into 2022, with the short-form video app topping the download charts on Christmas Day, while VR and the broader metaverse shift also saw some important consumer indicators in the latest data from app tracking company App Annie.

First off, on overall downloads – as you can see in the below chart, globally, TikTok lead the way on Christmas, ahead of Instagram and Facebook.

Snapchat also remained popular, along with the top messaging apps, while Shopee, a key eCommerce platform in Southeast Asia, also gained momentum among consumers.

TikTok editing app CapCut also made the top 10, further underlining the popularity of the app, and with projections that TikTok will reach 1.5 billion users sometime in 2022, it’s pretty clear that it’s now the main app of choice, especially for young users, which is an important shift for all social media marketers to note.

If you don’t have a TikTok strategy now, whether just for listening in and monitoring the latest trends, or for broader advertising and outreach, it’s clearly time to give it some extra consideration.

But maybe even more interesting are the trends reflected in the region-specific download charts, especially the US:

App Annie Christmas download charts

As per App Annie:

In the US, Oculus was #1 by downloads on Christmas Day as Americans unwrapped new Oculus Virtual Reality (VR) headsets under the tree. This builds off the growing trend for metaverses and immersive experiences.”

The broader metaverse shift, as envisioned by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will likely take place in VR, so it’s important, then, that Meta sees increased take-up of its VR headsets, in order to usher in the next stage of digital connection. If Meta can own the VR space, it can effectively own the metaverse itself, and become the key hosting platform which other developers will then need to align with in order to connect with users in this expanding new world of opportunities.

We’re not there yet, and what the metaverse will be, exactly, is not defined, as such. But the broader take-up of Meta’s VR tools is a significant indicator of growing interest.

And as one market analyst recently noted:

One great, functional, viral trend-sparking VR app, and you’re going to see the VR momentum accelerate rapidly, leaving the current metaverse discussion around NFTs and similar early-adopter trends in the dust.

Could Grand Theft Auto VR be that killer app?

Another key point of note in the US chart is the popularity of MMO game Roblox, which, much like Minecraft, has become an enduring platform for young gamers.

A particularly important trend to note in the case of Roblox, however, is that it’s also become a key social connector for young users, who’ve been deprived of face-to-face interaction over the past two years due to the pandemic. That could make it an even more embedded, and critical social tool, in addition to a gaming and recreational platform, which effectively sets the foundation for what the future metaverse structure will be.

In-game spending on character skins and digital products is also high on Roblox (Roblox was the top game for consumer spend on Christmas Day globally), and for the next generation of consumers, this is already a normal, habitual behavior, which points to where the trend is headed in the next decade or so, as these youngsters move into adulthood.

If you want to get a sense of what the metaverse will be, in a basic framework, Roblox is the best indicator, with a broad range of user-generated and creator-contributed elements building into the broader in-game world, which users then inhabit for hours and hours each day.

The pandemic has boosted this, and it’s now a key platform to watch. And while I would expect the broader metaverse to be a lot more advanced, the platforms and providers that will win out are those looking to create tools that connect into the larger metaverse structure, not those that offer one-off profile pictures or 2D digital art that has no direct connection into the space.

In this respect, apps like ‘Ready Player Me’, which is focused on building multi-platform enabled avatars, and hosting platforms like Meta’s VR space, are where people should really be looking. If next-gen developers don’t have a plan, or a roadmap that involves building for the protocols of the bigger hosts and networks, then they don’t have a metaverse plan at all. And even then, it’s too early to know what the universal schemas and requirements will be to be truly ‘metaverse-ready’.

In other words, if you want to understand the next stage of digital connection, don’t look to pictures of Bored Apes and pixelated characters, look to platforms like Roblox, where young users are already establishing the new norms of the future space.

You can check out App Annie’s full Christmas download overview here.

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These Guys Are Stupid, And I'm Being Charitable



These Guys Are Stupid, And I'm Being Charitable

Why do some organizations still solicit funds the way they did in the 1960s? You need to take a smarter marketing approach, or you’ll waste money like they do. I’m still getting about two bucks a month in cash from stupid, misguided charities that insist on sending me actual money in the mail. I get …

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Internal Documents Reveal That the New Twitter Blue Has Fewer Than 300k Subscribers at Present



Internal Documents Reveal That the New Twitter Blue Has Fewer Than 300k Subscribers at Present

Look, I know people have strong opinions about Elon Musk, and I realize that any criticism is going to be viewed as political commentary, even if it’s not (because I’m not American, I can’t vote, I don’t care about Hunter Biden, etc.). But Elon’s paid verification program is dumb, the dumbest move that he’s made at Twitter to date.

And I understand the logic – Elon says that when he came on, the company was losing $4 million per day, which lead to mass lay-offs, and a scramble for revenue generation options.

Paid verification, then, makes sense, while Elon also extrapolated the need for immediate cash into a pathway to combat bots, by using verification as a means to ‘verify all the real humans’ – i.e. bots won’t pay, and bot peddlers won’t be able to afford such at scale.

I get all the moving parts, and optimistically, they may sense.

But realistically, which is the more important ‘ally’ of the two, it just doesn’t.

Because most people won’t pay, especially when you’re offering nothing much in return, other than a graphic of a tick next to their username, while the very act of selling verification ticks erases their only perceptual value, that being exclusivity.

Now, everyone can buy one, so the tick is meaningless, at least as a status marker of some form.

My perspective on this been vindicated, at this early stage at least, by a new report from The Information, which says that, according to internal documents:

Around 180,000 people in the US were paying for subscriptions to Twitter, including Twitter Blue, as of mid-January, or less than 0.2% of monthly active users […] The U.S. number is about 62% of Twitter’s global subscriber total, the document says, which implies Twitter has 290,000 global subscribers.”

That’s consistent with the findings of researcher Travis Brown, who’s been posting regular updates on Twitter Blue subscriber numbers, based on searches of users that show up as ‘blue_verified’ in the back-end.

At present, based on Brown’s figures, the new Twitter Blue program looks to have around 300,000 subscribers, very close to the data The Information has seen.

That would mean that Twitter’s currently bringing in an extra $2.4 million per month via the program, or $7.2 million per quarter. Which is pretty good, that’s extra income at a time when Twitter desperately needs it. But it’s still way, way off from where Twitter wants its subscription revenue intake to be.

To reiterate, when initially outlining his Twitter 2.0 reformation plans, Elon said that he wants to make subscription revenue around 50% of Twitter’s overall intake. That would align somewhat with the aforementioned revenue and bot-battling potential – but in order to do this, Twitter needs to increase Twitter Blue take-up 81x its current state.

300k sign-ups is also only 0.12% of Twitter’s active user base – so to reiterate, revenue-wise, it’s not close to meeting goals, and as a bot disincentive, it’s nowhere near meeting its aims. And while Twitter has just this weekend rolled out Twitter Blue to more regions, there’s just no way that it’s ever going to reach the levels required to make it a viable consideration in either respect.

Which means that all the mucking around, all the impersonation issues, all the gold checks and gray ticks and square profile images and brand logos. All of this has, on balance, been a waste of time.

It’s not nothing – again, Twitter needs all the extra money it can get right now, and a $29 million annual boost in intake will help. But functionally, it’s been a series of blunders and missteps, one after the other.

And now, Twitter wants brands to pay $1,000 a month for a gold tick?

Yeah, safe to say that’s not going to be a roaring success either. And while Twitter will likely get a few more Twitter Blue sign-ups when it removes legacy blue checks sometime in future, that’s still only 420k extra subscribers, max.

The churn rate will also be high – because again, a blue tick isn’t valuable anymore if everyone can buy one – and unless Elon and Co. have some magic updates to build into Twitter Blue in future, beyond Blue-only polls or paying to qualify for monetization, I don’t see how this becomes a significant element of Twitter’s overall intake or process.

But maybe I’m missing something. Maybe, because it’s Elon Musk, we’ve missed the point, or the process, and there is actually another pathway to winning on this front that’s not been revealed as yet.

I don’t see it, but I can’t imagine the logistics of flying to Mars either, so maybe there’s more to come.

But I doubt it.

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Housebound Jordanian football fan a social media star



Amer Abu Nawas was born with osteogenesis, or brittle bone disease, a genetic condition hindering normal bone growth that has meant he rarely leaves his home

Amer Abu Nawas was born with osteogenesis, or brittle bone disease, a genetic condition hindering normal bone growth that has meant he rarely leaves his home – Copyright AFP Khalil MAZRAAWI

Kamal Taha

Having spent most of his life housebound due to a medical condition, Jordanian Amer Abu Nawas’s love of football has propelled him to social media stardom.

Offering analysis of matches from the leading European football leagues to almost a quarter of a million followers, his Facebook page — “HouseAnalyzer” in Arabic — has grown into what he describes as a “big family”.

The 27-year-old was born with osteogenesis, or brittle bone disease, a genetic condition hindering normal bone growth that has meant he rarely leaves his home in Zarqa, 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Jordan’s capital Amman.

“It is true that I have never played football in my life, and have never attended any match, but for me football is everything,” Abu Nawas told AFP.

With no schools in the country catering to his needs, Abu Nawas grew up spending much of his time watching football matches, analysing the teams and playing football video games.

“This always made me feel like it is taking me from this world to a different one,” he said.

His relatives noticed his passion and encouraged him to publish his match analyses online.

In 2017, he launched his Facebook account, which now counts more than 243,000 followers.

– ‘Reach people’ –

Filmed on a phone in his bedroom, Abu Nawas’s videos usually feature him wearing a football jersey, excitedly commenting on matches and news from the world of football.

Discussing leagues from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, he sometimes uses a football pitch-shaped board to explain tactical nuances.

One of Abu Nawas’s latest videos reached more than 1.4 million viewers and he has started posting on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

He said he was grateful for modern technology allowing him to connect with so many people.

“From this room, from this small place isolated from the world, I was able to cross these walls, reach people, communicate with them, create content, and become what I am today,” he said.

He expressed sadness at sometimes seeing people attack each other in comments to his posts, and said his relationship with his followers was “like a family”.

“This family is growing day by day, and I hope it will reach as many followers as possible,” he added.

Abu Nawas’s own family do their best to provide him with a comfortable life.

He is the youngest of three brothers and his father is a doctor and his mother a pharmacist.

Inside his room are shelves with a PlayStation, a computer and plastic baskets keeping items he might need.

On his bed are phones, remote controls, headphones and a long stick used to reach distant items.

– ‘Not an obstacle’ –

“He has his own world, in a room with a temperature of 27 degrees to avoid cold and pneumonia. He can operate anything using the remote control,” his father Yussef told AFP.

He said his son has friends who occasionally visit.

“When he feels bad, they take him out for a tour in a minibus,” he said.

Abu Nawas lamented that in Jordan “nobody cares” about people with diseases like his, and said he wished he had had the opportunity to attend school.

“The conditions for people with special needs are catastrophic,” he said.

“I could not learn because there are no special schools for people like me.”

Last year, the organisers of the football World Cup invited him to attend the tournament in Qatar.

But due to travel difficulties linked to his condition, he arrived late and missed the matches he was scheduled to attend.

Even so, Abu Nawas said it was “the best 10 days of my life”.

“I know my condition, I learned to be content, and I will remain so,” he said.

“Disability need not be an obstacle to success.”

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