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After Permanently Suspending Trump’s Account, Twitter Needs to Establish Clearer Guidance on Rules

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It’s amazing how quickly the tide can shift on social media.

Following the initial restrictions placed on US President Donald Trump’s accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, in the wake of this week’s Capitol riots, Twitter has now aligned with Facebook in permanently suspending Trump’s account.

At the same time, free-speech aligned platform Parler has been threatened with removal from both The App Store och the Google Play store unless it updates its rules around content moderation, due to its failure to “take stronger action to remove posts which seek to incite ongoing violence in the US”.

In combination, the moves drastically reduce the President’s capacity to share his messaging. As a quick reminder:

  • Trump has more than 32 million followers on Facebook, and more than 88 million on Twitter
  • Trump has tweeted 23 times per day, on average, thus far in 2021, with around half of those comments also posted to his Facebook Page
  • While not directly impacted by the suspension of his personal account, the Trump campaign spent more than $89 million on Facebook ads between April and October last year, underlining the significance of the platform to Trump’s outreach efforts
  • Reports have indicated that Trump joined Parler on Thursday as a means to maintain connection with his followers

Indeed, Trump has repeatedly credited social media for playing a key role in helping him win office back in 2016, and for subsequently providing him with a platform to refute what he sees as false claims made by mainstream media outlets.

That recognition hasn’t stopped Trump from also calling for increased regulation of social platforms, and the removal of their powers to label or hide his messages. But it’s clear that social media has played a critical role in his presidency, and that he has gained significant benefit from having direct, largely unfiltered, connection with his supporters. 

But now that capacity is gone, or at least reduced. Trump did shift to the official @POTUS account instead to issue a response, though those tweets were also quickly removed.

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As noted in these comments, Trump and his team could look to create their own platform, which seems like a significant undertaking (Trump has also noted that he’s looking to develop his own TV network). It’s unclear, however, that negotiating with any of the existing players would improve the situation, given the breadth of the actions announced.

Trump could also look to share messages via staff and connections, so there are still options for Trump to keep in touch. But he did seem to be very partial to a late-night tweetstorm, and to creating media headlines via his short remarks. 

So what does Trump do next in response to these restrictions? 

In many ways, the damage has already been done – Trump was eventually forced to concede that Joe Biden did, in fact, win the election, and commit to an orderly transition of power to the next administration. Trump has also noted that he won’t be attending Biden’s inauguration, so it seems that, overall, Trump’s core push to hold on to the Presidency, has now been lost. Trump has vowed to fight on, but that fight would likely carry over to a 2024 campaign, so Trump does have time to take a break and re-group. And if he waits, maybe his personal accounts will be reinstated, and in three to six months, he looks to build once again, with his mighty social media presence back in full effect.

Trump could lay low and wait things out. But then again, that’s never been his style, and it’ll be interesting to see what action he does take in response for these latest rulings.

But while the discussion right now is around Trump and his personal use of social media, the latest restriction announcements do raise further queries as to the rules the platforms choose to apply, and when they choose to apply them, with respect to public safety.

Enligt Twitter, on the justification for suspended Trump’s account:

“Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open. However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things.”

Twitter says that Trump was warned about his tweets on the day of the Capitol riots, and asked to delete those which violated its policies. Trump complied, and his account was subsequently reinstated the following day. 

Two days later, Trump tweeted:

“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”

He then followed that up with:

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Twitter says that, taken in broader context, given the surrounding division in the US, these two tweets constituted a further violation of its rules, which is what lead to the permanent suspension of his account.

Many Trump critics have praised the move, and applauded Twitter for ‘finally’ canceling Trump entirely. But the justification here seems loose – while Twitter’s saying that these statements could be seen as a further undermining of the election result, and potentially even an incitement to more unrest, it does appear that Twitter has rapidly changed its rules around what it deems acceptable. Which you might think is fine if it works to your benefit, or your particular political leaning. But without clear, definitive guidelines on such, there are significant risks in reactionary approaches to enforcement like this moving forward.

Some have suggested that the social platforms are now emboldened by the political power shift – with the Republicans losing control of The White House and the Senate, there will also be a clear change in approach to social media regulation and enforcement. Right-wing politicians had pushed for the platforms to stop interfering with what people share, allowing them unfettered access to their constituents. But left-wing senators are more likely to call for increased restrictions and limits on what can be shared.

As such, the platforms moving to align with this new dynamic could be a preemptive move to make good with the coming political powers, which could help in coming battles over Section 230, regulation, data privacy, etc. Facebook, for example, is facing a new investigation by the FTC over anti-competitive behavior, and it will likely need all the political leverage it can muster to gain favor.

Maybe, by re-shaping their policies more in-line with the new administration, it can demonstrate a willingness to work with them on changes, as opposed to being forced into unwanted limits or changes.

Some have also suggested that this is PR puffery. Twitter and Facebook could have banned Trump at any time, like when he provoked racial tensions during the #BlackLivesMatter protests, or threatened nuclear war against North Korea via tweet. But now they say he’s gone too far, when he’s in his last days of office, and his electoral defeat has been made official. Much like the Trump staffers announcing their resignations in the last few days – now you can look virtuous, when the end is clearly in sight. But you were able to overlook every other issue along the way, when it was likely to your benefit. 

Does that also apply to Facebook and Twitter, which have clearly benefited from the millions of posts, Likes, comments and shares of Trump-related updates? All of that is engagement, which is what both Facebook and Twitter push for.

Without formal policies to protect against similar in future, developed as a result of the Trump era, it doesn’t yet seem like we’ve turned a corner, or learned a lesson as such. 

Which is the real crux of the issue here. While Twitter and Facebook will bask in the positive breeze of banning Trump, the policies around those actions are not clear. And they need to be. If the rules have changed, and the platforms are taking a tougher stance against provoking civil unrest, that should be spelled out, so we don’t allow this to escalate so far in future. If there are going to be more specific regulations around the growth of divisive groups, like QAnon, that should be formally established in the wake of this incident. 

That’s what we really need right now, not just account removals and suspensions, but an acknowledgment that, yes, we allowed this to go on for too long, which almost lead to the downfall of democracy in the US. 

How can we stop it? What are the rules that need to be established to avoid the same occurring again in future?

The way forward is not clear, but definitive clarity is what’s required.

   

  

Socialmediatoday.com

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Stand Out in a Crowded Market By Focusing on Organic Growth

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Stand Out in a Crowded Market By Focusing on Organic Growth

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

My partner and I have seen the power of organic growth, even in a significantly competitive market like fashion. Our company, named BJ Positive Wear, was able to create something captivating to our customers within the last two years. I saw a complete transformation of our business in that time, all due to organic growth and the philosophies that we used to succeed.

Even though we had no idea what to expect, we decided from the very start to go in with organic growth being the ultimate goal. We did not benefit from outside help, so we chose to do this. We knew it would take longer, but in the end, every action brought us one step closer to where we are today.

I believe everybody could benefit from focusing on organic growth in a competitive market. If you’re unsure where to start, I will share with you what we did to achieve our success today.

Related: How Thinking Like a Designer Can Unlock Organic Growth

Why organic growth matters

You might not think much of it, but organic growth is the ultimate powerhouse for success. Organic growth is an important area of focus because it encompasses various areas of outreach and focuses on genuinely connecting with the audience you want to reach with your business.

Back in the days before the internet, organic growth was increasingly difficult. People had to do traditional marketing, create posters, billboards and more. Today, my partner goes on social media and shares content.

Social media has so much power, and many people I see and talk to in the business world don’t even grasp the full potential of it. For our firm, social media was what ultimately made us powerful and gave us the organic growth we wanted. You can have the same, and it comes with a few specific steps that we took as we embarked on our journey to success.

Create conversation

One of the essential tips is to create conversation. Organic growth is about engaging with the audience and making them feel a part of what you are doing. Your customer is the ultimate source of direction as a business. Even if you start with an idea for a specific product, you need to listen to the customer and see if what you have to offer is going to benefit them or not.

Create these conversations, and focus on what they say. Even if it is entirely different than what you might have expected, your customer is the ultimate tool for you to spearhead any decision to allow you to further expand and experience growth as a business.

Present value and transparency

Transparency is one of the most valuable tools in any business. If you want to succeed and capture any audience demographic’s attention, you need clarity in your messaging. You must lay out the value for your specific product or service to the audience. Customers like honesty. This is something that I have come to appreciate as a co-founder.

People want to hear exactly what you have to offer. So, don’t leave a mystery. Instead, present your value and be transparent in your messaging. This is what ultimately creates organic growth, but it also leads to another essential aspect of how we were able to achieve our success.

Related: How Transparency In Business Leads to Customer Growth and Loyalty

Differentiate and remain competitive

One of the ultimate tools people often do not tap into is the potential for every social media user today to understand their competition. Everything is publicly available, and there are no surprises. If you find yourself in a position where you are genuinely struggling to remain competitive, point out where you think you can defeat your competition.

When we were focusing on creating our clothing business, we wanted to create something meaningful. Additionally, we wanted to create something that would ultimately stand out compared with every other company we’d seen in the industry. This eventually led me to differentiate and focus on innovating what was already in our market. If you want to succeed, take it from us: You need to determine and figure out what your competitor offers that you can beat and defeat.

Organic growth accelerates when you become a creator

Organic growth is ultimately the most meaningful because it allows you to create conversation and value while remaining competitive with your competition. But there’s something else that many people often forget.

There are multiple kinds of organic growth facilitators in this world. Some people stick to diversification, while others focus on offering something of value that is a necessary product to people. Finally, some people, like our business and myself, become creators.

Why creators stand out and defeat the competition

You can choose any path you’d like to accelerate organic growth, but ultimately, I see the most value in becoming a creator. As a creator, our business built something that truly did stand out compared to other competitors. We focused on innovation first, then differentiated and ensured that there would be immense value offered in whatever we did in the industry. As a startup, I can offer you so much advice, but this is ultimately one of the most important: If you want to see success, inspire people, and become a creator of your own.

You have the power to create value

Creators are essential and stand out because we build value with our products. We value each service we offer, and new business models will be created. We create a massive following and see our company take off in ways we never thought possible. Organic growth accelerates when you are a creator, and this is because you find a way to inspire people.

Be an underdog and stand out

People like a success story. Everybody wants to root for the underdog, and quite honestly, my business was the underdog, but we were also extreme innovators in what we were able to do. If you want to see success in the industry you are part of, then I urge you to consider what you can create to stand out.

Related: 4 Surprisingly Simple Ways To Stand Out From Your Competition

Revisit your ideas and improve them

If you have already begun a product, differentiate yourself and re-envision what you’ve already done. I guarantee you that when you think of something impactful and creative, others will see it and flock to you and your business. They will believe in your mission and see you as inspirational.

Focus your success on your organic growth

No matter your path, you need to consider certain factors if you are a startup. Remaining competitive and finding a way to differentiate yourself honestly is the ultimate goal of organic growth.

For us, especially with how significantly our business grew in such a short time, we don’t owe anybody anything, and it’s a risk we took. We chose to put everything into creating something nobody had ever done, and even in the end, it was far more tiring and more prolonged than we ever envisioned. Still, I promise you that the journey will be worth it in the end.

Hopefully, I provided you with the insight and inspiration needed to take that leap and take a risk. No matter what business you run, I hope you present something nobody has ever seen before, but also attempt to inspire people to follow you, no matter where your journey takes you.



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Elon Musk Says That Twitter Will Continue to Offer Free API Access to Good Bot Accounts

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

It’s honestly difficult to make any assessment of Elon Musk’s time in charge of Twitter as yet, because while he has made some bad decisions, he’s also reversed course on most of them, and while he continues to try things that seemingly have no chance of working out, he’s also not taking past precedent as definitive.

Which is maybe a good thing?

In the latest example of Musk’s shoot first, ask questions later management style, Elon has seemingly reversed the unpopular decision to charge for all usage of Twitter’s API, at least in some applications

As per Elon’s tweet, Twitter will continue to allow ‘bots providing good content’ to access Twitter’s API for free, which looked set to be one of the key losses of Twitter’s recent decision to paywall all API access.

Though much of the angst in this case came down to poor communication – last week, Twitter announced that, starting February 9th, it would be cutting off free access to its API, which is the key connector that many third party apps and Twitter’s bots use to function.

That triggered a strong response from the developer community, though a day later, Elon further explained that:

This wasn’t an official announcement, nor was it communicated via the Twitter Developers account. This was Elon, in an exchange with another user, randomly providing valuable context that would have avoided much of the angst and concern that came with the original Twitter Dev statement.

Now, the bigger question is whether $100 is any disincentive to spammers, who likely make way more than that from bot activity. But regardless, $100 is likely affordable for most of the third-party apps which looked set to lose the most from this update in policy, so it’s actually nowhere near as bad as the first announcement seemed.

It’s just bad communication, and given that Twitter no longer has a comms department, that makes sense.

But it’s also the perfect microcosm of the Elon experience, which he both benefits and suffers from, though maybe not in equal measure.

The key thing to note is that Elon loves attention. His one undisputable skill is that he knows how to make headlines, how to get people looking his way, which is why his main money maker, Tesla, has never needed a comms department either. They just let Elon say whatever he likes, good or bad, and the press comes running – and in this respect, you can see how his approach to such announcements at Twitter actually helps them get wider coverage and awareness, as opposed to them being outlined through regular channels.

But is that a good thing? Getting the developer community offside seems like unnecessary collateral damage, while the negativity this creates also seems less conducive to functional working arrangements with external partners and suppliers.

It seems like that could be harmful for his companies, long term – but then again, the more transparent nature of such, and his willingness to change course in a responsive way, could also be beneficial. Maybe?

Essentially, what we’re getting with Twitter 2.0 is a window into Elon Musk’s ‘hardcore’ management style, which is not entirely reliant on internal debate and decision-making, and also takes into account audience response, and factors that into its process.

Which is actually, probably, better, at least in some ways. I mean, Twitter, in times past, took months, even years to gain any traction on updates, before rolling them out, then it was forced to stick with them, even if they were unpopular, due to the amount of time invested.

With 70% fewer staff, Musk doesn’t have that luxury, but he has repeatedly shown a willingness to listen to the case for and against each update, and shift tack accordingly.

So while he has made some bad decisions, and will continue to do so, Twitter is moving fast. It’s breaking things too, but it’s still running, and Musk seems confident that he can convert it into a revenue positive business sometime soon.

And now, your weather bots, your system updates, your automated accounts that let you know what you want via tweet, will continue to operate. Unless Elon changes his mind again.



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The Drum | What Does The Growth Of Little Red Book Mean For Post-pandemic China?

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The Drum | What Does The Growth Of Little Red Book Mean For Post-pandemic China?

The shopping app proves that consumer confidence and community are key to a thriving business post-Covid, writes Michaela Zhu of Emerging Communications.

Little Red Book, aka Xiaohongshu, or more simply ‘Red’, is a leading Chinese social shopping app. With over 300 million users (and counting), western brands are taking notice – and with good reason.

Little Red Book first appeared in 2013. From modest beginnings focussing on female beauty products, the app expanded to help all kinds of global brands connect with Chinese consumers. Whether it’s holiday inspiration, university choices or luxury fashion, Little Red Book is now the go-to app for lifestyle content and shopping.

With a unique mix of social sharing, long-form articles, live-streaming and e-commerce, it’s a vital part of the Chinese social media landscape. What’s more: Little Red Book is the place for interacting with Chinese gen Z and millennial audiences. In July 2022, nearly 30% of Little Red Book’s active users were under 24 years. Another 40% of users fall into the 25-35 age bracket.

Discover how Little Red Book has transformed over the last few years, key trends, and how to integrate them into your China digital strategy.

How Little Red Book is changing post-Covid China

By 2019, Little Red Book attracted over 200 million users. Fast forward nearly four years, and the platform has maintained its grip on affluent Chinese consumers. It’s one of the few social media platforms where growth still exceeds 30% year-on-year. Little Red Book is here to stay, and in a big way.

This user growth has brought significant changes in content, especially as Chinese consumers adapt to post-pandemic life. Gone are the days when Little Red Book catered exclusively to beauty and fashion niches. Instead, people use the platform to make significant life decisions as well as day-to-day purchases. With content on entering high school, getting married and buying property (to name just a few), you’ll find almost every aspect of daily life up for discussion.

While the relaxing of Covid restrictions has brought drastic changes alongside feelings of liberation, there’s understandable uncertainty among Chinese Gen Z. Long-term lockdown life caused younger generations to pay close attention to their immediate environment. There’s a focus on simplifying their lives and recycling items, as well as yearning for distant places and global cuisines.

A related trend for Little Red Book is the growing Chinese travel industry. Unsurprisingly, the recent easing of travel restrictions resulted in a travel bonanza. For example, two billion trips are expected during this Lunar New Year period. These figures are nearly double the previous year’s and represent a 70% recovery on 2019 levels.

China branding: two essential trends

For content marketing in China, there are two major Little Red Book trends that any marketer needs to know. These are the recent surge in travel-related content and the shift toward new minimalism and ‘rational consumption’.

1. Exploring opportunities for the travel sector

With China’s international borders reopening, travel is no longer a far-away dream. Many Chinese visited their nation’s most popular cities during the pandemic years. Others opted for secluded opulence, spawning the growth of glamping as a trend. Indeed, this luxury camping culture saw ‘glamping’ searches on Little Red book increase by 746% during 2022.

In 2023, foreign countries are also a possibility. As a result, nearby destinations such as Tibet and Southeast Asia predict a strong rebound in the coming months.

Global brands such as Marriott Bonvoy are already capitalizing on these trends, hitting the mark with their China marketing campaigns. For instance, the 2021 Power of Travel campaign used 10 Chinese key opinion leaders to show how travel inspired their lives.

With influencers including Chinese gen Z creatives, families and business executives – the brand showed their relevance to the China market as well as inspiration for rediscovering ourselves through post-Covid travel.

2. Embracing minimalist and rational consumption

In the aftermath of an unprecedented pandemic and global economic downturns, people all over the world are simplifying and streamlining their daily lives.

China is no different, and its younger population has particularly embraced a minimalist mindset. This doesn’t mean stopping purchases completely, but instead shows a shift towards ‘rational consumption’.

Young people are especially shunning impulse purchase decisions, resulting in a decline in ‘hard selling’ and live broadcast sales events. This trend has worked in Little Red Book’s favor due to the platform’s focus on in-depth consumer reviews and trusted user-generated content. Put simply, it’s all about building confidence and community before purchases take place.

For more in-depth insights into Chinese social media trends, download our guide to getting started with Little Red Book.

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