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Twitter Shares New Insights into Key Trends During COVID-19

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twitter shares new insights into key trends during covid 19

It’s difficult to contemplate the various ways in which 2020 has changed the way we live, the way we think, and the way we might approach life moving forward.

Of course, the most likely, long-term outcome will be much the same – people will eventually go back to doing things the way they always have, and that’ll become the norm once again. Eventually, we’re likely to move on, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and continue on with regular life. But there will be impacts, and those impacts could be significant, especially among younger, more impressionable people, for whom the virus has changed their perspective on the world and how they want to live in it.

Given this, it’s interesting to note the latest conversational shifts and topics gaining momentum among social media users at the moment – and this week, Twitter has provided some insight into key topics of focus among its users, and where people are paying more attention as a result of the pandemic. 

The insights could help you get a better understanding of these key shifts, and how they relate to your marketing communications – here’s a look at some of the key trends Twitter has identified in its analysis.

First off, parenting has changed in 2020, with kids spending more time at home, and parents engaging more with their children amid the lockdowns.

Twitter trends 2020

That’s lead to more challenges, and more perspective on how kids spend their time – but it could also lead to new understanding of how young people adapt, and what parents can do to engage their kids in new projects, topics and ideas.

Mental health has also, understandably, become a bigger focus, with the isolation and stress of the pandemic impacting many.

Twitter trends 2020

The lockdowns will affect people in different ways, while the direct impacts of the virus itself come with their own mental health implications and concerns.

The lockdowns have also pushed people towards new hobbies in replacement of their regular social activities.

Twitter trends 2020

There’s a lot of opportunity there for holiday promotions and tie-ins – with more people seeking creative inspiration, there are various ways that brands can link into these trends to boost their holiday campaigns.

Those trends also relate to this element:

Twitter trends 2020

Things that many have taken for granted, like travel and social activity, have now become a bigger focus as a result of the pandemic, and while the economic impacts are also significant, we may well see a big increase in activity around adventure holidays and the like as the lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted.  

And an important note for brands:

Twitter trends 2020

As has already been well-documented in various studies, the next generation of consumers are increasingly attuned to social causes, and brands which link into them. That’s been further underlined by the pandemic – and as this stat shows, consumers want to feel like they’re contributing, and helping where they can, which is not only good for them and the businesses they’re frequenting, but also for society in general.

These are some interesting insights, which could provide guidance for your strategic approach. And as we head into the final stretch of the year (Christmas is now only 83 days away), and businesses look to recoup what they can through their holidays sales, considerations like these could be key in maximizing performance, and connecting with consumers on a deeper level in 2020.

You can read all of Twitter’s latest trend insights here.

Socialmediatoday.com

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An Overview of the Evolving Data Landscape Powering AI, VR, and More [Infographic]

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An Overview of the Evolving Data Landscape Powering AI, VR, and More [Infographic]

While AI and large language models (LLMs) become more commonplace, it’s worth considering the amount of computational power, and data storage, that these systems require to operate. 

Demand for high-grade GPUs, for example, is still exceeding demand, as more tech companies and investors look to muscle in, while the big players continue to build on their data center capacity, in order to beat smaller systems out of the market.

That, inevitably, means that control over many of these new processes will eventually fall to those with the most money, and even if you have concerns about next-level computational power being governed by CEOs and corporations, there’s not a heap that you can do about it, as they need an established holding to even get in.

Well, unless a government steps in and seeks to build its own infrastructure in order to facilitate AI development, though that seems unlikely.

And it’s not just AI, with crypto processes, complex analysis, and advanced scientific discovery now largely reliant on a few key providers that have available capacity.

It’s a concern, but essentially, you can expect to see a lot more investment in big data centers and processing facilities over the coming years.

This new overview from Visual Capitalist (for Hive Digital) provides some additional context. Here, the VC team have broken down the current data center landscape, and what we’re going to need to facilitate next-level AI, VR, the metaverse, and more.

It’s an eye-opening summary. You can check out Visual Capitalists’ full overview here.

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30 Quick Ways to Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rate [Infographic]

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30 Quick Ways to Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rate [Infographic]

Looking to drive more direct conversions from your website listings this holiday season?

The team from Red Website Design share 30 ways to improve your website conversion rate in this infographic.

Here’s the top five from the list:

  • Include as few fields as possible on forms
  • Use testimonials
  • Clearly state product/service benefits
  • Include subscriber and social media follower counts
  • Write clear, compelling copy

Check out the infographic for more detail.

A version of this post was first published on the Red Website Design blog.

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With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor

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With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

Platform policies and government regulations have proved capricious or neglectful. Meanwhile, creators’ bottom-up initiatives to collectively organize have sputtered.

Living on the edge

Industry estimates regarding the size and scale of the creator economy vary. But Citibank estimates there are over 120 million creators, and an April 2023 Goldman Sachs report predicted that the creator economy would double in size, from US$250 billion to $500 billion, by 2027.

According to Forbes, the “Top 50 Creators” altogether have 2.6 billion followers and have hauled in an estimated $700 million in earnings. The list includes MrBeast, who performs stunts and records giveaways, and makeup artist-cum-true crime podcaster Bailey Sarian.

The windfalls earned by these social media stars are the exception, not the norm.

The venture capitalist firm SignalFire estimates that less than 4% of creators make over $100,000 a year, although YouTube-funded research points to a rising middle class of creators who are able to sustain careers with relatively modest followings.

These are the users who find themselves most vulnerable to opaque changes to platform policies and algorithms.

Platforms like to “move fast and break things,” to use Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s infamous expression. And since the creator economy relies on social media platforms to reach audiences, creators’ livelihoods are subject to rapid, iterative changes in platforms’ features, services and agreements.

Yes, various platforms have introduced business opportunities for creators, such as YouTube’s advertising partnership feature or Twitch’s virtual goods store. However, the platforms’ terms of use can flip on a switch. For example, in September 2022, Twitch changed its fee structure. Some streamers who were retaining 70% of all subscription revenue generated from their accounts saw this proportion drop to 50%.

In 2020, TikTok, facing rising competition from YouTube Shorts and Instagram reels, launched its billion-dollar Creator Fund. The fund was supposed to allow creators to get directly paid for their content. Instead, creators complained that every 1,000 views only translated to a few cents. TikTok suspended the fund in November 2023.

Bias as a feature, not a bug

The livelihoods of many fashion, beauty, fitness and food creators depend on deals brokered with brands that want these influencers to promote goods or services to their followers.

Yet throughout the creator economy, people of color and those identifying as LGBTQ+ have encountered bias. Unequal and unfair compensation from brands is a recurring issue, with one 2021 report revealing a pay gap of roughly 30% between white creators and creators of color.

Along with brand biases, platforms can exacerbate systemic bias. Creator scholar Sophie Bishop has demonstrated how nontransparent algorithms can categorize “desirability” among influencers along lines of race, gender, class and sexual orientation.

Then there’s what creator scholar Zoë Glatt calls the “intimacy triple bind”: Marginalized creators are at higher risk of trolling and harassment, they secure lower fees for advertising, and they are expected to divulge more personal details to generate more engagement and revenue.

Couple these precarious conditions with the whims and caprices of volatile online communities that can turn beloved creators into villains in the blink of a text or post, and even the world’s most successful creators live on a precipice of losing their livelihoods.

Food influencer Larry Mcleod, 47, better known on social media as Big Schlim, reviews the restaurant Shellfish Market in Washington, D.C.
Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rumblings of solidarity

Unlike their counterparts in the legacy media industries, creators have neither taken easily nor well to collective action as they operate from their bedrooms and fight for more eyeballs.

Yet some members of this creator class recognize that the bedroom-boardroom power imbalance is a bottom line matter that requires bottom-up initiative.

The Creators Guild of America, or CGA, which launched in August 2023, is but one of many successors to the original Internet Creators’ Guild, which folded in 2019. Paradoxically, CGA describes itself as a “professional service organization,” not a labor union, yet claims to offer benefits “similar to those offered by unions.”

There are other movements afoot: A group of TikTok creators formed a Discord group in September 2022 to discuss unionizing. There’s also the Twitch Unity Guild, a program launched in December 2022 for networking, development and celebration and includes a dedicated Discord space. In response to the rampant bias in influencer marketing, creator-led firms like “F–k You Pay Me ” are demanding greater fairness, transparency and accountability from brands and advertisers.

Twitch streamers are already seeing some of their organizing efforts pay off. In June 2023, after a year of repeated changes in streamer fees and brand deals, the company capitulated in response to the backlash of their top streamers threatening to leave.

None of these initiatives has yet attained the legal status of unions such as the Writers Guild of America. Meanwhile, efforts by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to recruit creators have proved limited. Legal scholar Sara Shiffman has written about how SAG-AFTRA provides creators with health and retirement benefits, but offers no resources to ensure fair and equitable compensation from platforms or advertisers. Nonetheless, while on strike, SAG-AFTRA threatened creators that partnered with studios with a lifetime ban from joining the union.

And despite these bottom-up efforts, the tech behemoths refuse to recognize creators’ fledgling organizations. When a union for YouTubers formed in Germany in 2018, YouTube refused to negotiate with it. Nonetheless, you’ll see companies trot out their biggest stars when they find themselves under regulatory scrutiny. That’s what happened when TikTok sponsored creators to lobby politicians who were debating banning the platform.

People of all races and ages pose holding signs that read 'Keep TikTok' and 'My small business thrives on TikTok.'
TikTok creators gather outside the U.S. Capitol to voice their opposition to a potential ban on the app, highlighting the platform’s impact on their livelihoods.
Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

An invisible class of labor

Meanwhile, most governments have failed to provide support for – or even recognition of – creator rights.

Within the U.S., creators “barely exist” in official records, as technology reporters Drew Harwell and Taylor Lorenz recently pointed out in The Washington Post. The U.S. Census Bureau makes no mention of social media as a profession; it is invisible as a distinctive class of labor.

To date, the Federal Trade Commission is the only U.S. agency to introduce regulation tied to the work of creators, and it’s limited to disclosure guidelines for advertising and sponsored content.

Even as the European Union has operated at the forefront of tech and platform policy, creators rate scant mention in the body’s laws. Writing about the EU’s 2022 Digital Services Act, legal scholars Bram Duivendvoorde and Catalina Goanta criticize the EU for leaving “influencer marketing out of the material scope of its specific rules,” a blind spot that they describe as “one of its main pitfalls.”

The success of the 2023 Hollywood strikes could be just the beginning of a larger global movement for creator rights. But in order for this new class of creators to access the full breadth of their economic and human rights – to borrow from the movie “Jaws” – we’re gonna need a bigger boat.

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