1. Good Monday Morning
It’s March 14th. Happy π day. Chances are good that you’re enjoying this morning more than the football memorabilia collector who paid $518,000 on Saturday for the football used for Tom Brady’s last career touchdown pass only to learn Sunday night that Brady had un-retired.
2. News To Know Now
Quoted:“The spread of biometric surveillance tools like palm scans and facial recognition now threatens to [transform] these spaces into hot spots for ICE raids, false arrests, police harassment, and stolen identities.“— An open letter signed by Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave’s Tom Morello to the parent company of Colorado’s Red Rocks. The iconic venue scrapped plans to use Amazon’s palm scanning technology.
a) Autonomous vehicles no longer need human controls such as a steering wheel, according to new regulations from the U.S. government. The request was made by GM subsidiary Cruise which argued that its Origin podlike vehicle going into production next year does not have human-centric operating features.
b) Google announced plans to purchase cybersecurity firm Mandiant for $5.4 billion. The acquisition of the Reston, Virginia, based company is Google’s second largest purchase ever and is expected to become part of the Google Cloud division. Google parent Alphabet began the year with more than $139 billion in cash on hand.
3. Search Engine News — Google & The Importance of Internal Links
No, more than that. Seriously. Build a strategy. Google search exec John Muller confirmed last week that internal linking is “super critical” for search purposes. And he says that your normal navigation linking is fine and all, but doesn’t replace an internal linking strategy.
Part of Mueller’s comments during SEO office hours last week:
“You should really have normal HTML links between the different parts of your website.
And ideally, you should not just have a basic set of links, but rather you should look at it in a strategic way and think about what do you care about the most and how can you highlight that with your internal linking.”
4. Spotlight Explainer — 2022 Social Media Trends
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
The short form social media channel is the world’s buzziest platform when you account for the fact that journalists hang out on Twitter. eMarketer summarized their 2022 social media video report this way, “The percentage of young US digital video viewers who watch video on Instagram and TikTok is within shouting distance of YouTube.”
In a broad sense, YouTube still owns the viewership crown for audiences over the age of 25 with 68% market share, but Instagram and TikTok are now watched by two-thirds of audiences between the ages of 18 and 24.
There is a huge generation gap
Only 6% of Boomers and 18% of Gen X are watching TikTok. More than 60% of Gen Z is on TikTok.
But that gap cuts both ways because half of kids 12 and under are on YouTube.
It’s not just TikTok. Instagram’s Reels was a hit and moved to Facebook even though Facebook truncates many of the videos there. Statista data for the 2022 social media landscape shows that YouTube remains a close second behind Facebook with 2.5 billion active users, but Instagram is 4th and TikTok is 6th with 1 billion monthly active users. That’s more than twice the monthly user base of Pinterest, Twitter, or Reddit. Business platform LinkedIn doesn’t even make the top 15.
From pariah to prestigious guest
The Trump administration detested TikTok’s presence. The former president signed a now-revoked Executive Order banning it from operating in the U.S. After the company’s assurances that U.S. data is only housed in the U.S., backed up in Singapore, and not shared with China, the company has been allowed to continue operating in America.
The importance of TikTok’s audience reach was highlighted last week when Biden administration officials shared an online video briefing with several dozen popular TikTok creators. This followed similar outreach last year around the administration’s vaccination drives.
Specialists are necessary
Social video is different from other social media. There’s a very different style and flow to those videos. The platforms are not interchangeable. A client last year didn’t budget for different versions of a video and found themselves having to use hastily re-edited video to advertise on TikTok and other video channels.
The TikTok audience is also not a casual one. U.S. Android users are on TikTok nearly 20 hours every month. That’s up from 13 hours per month just the year before. A brand trying to engage that audience should have experts who do the same.
Special resource: here’s a nifty Hootsuite report with optimal video specs updated for 2022 social media for each platform.
5. Did That Really Happen? — Little Girl With Lollipop and Gun
You may have seen an image of a young girl sitting in the window of a dilapidated building. Her clothes are neat. She has a lollipop in her mouth and a gun cradled in her arms. Her hair is tied back with ribbons and her jeans run into boots that nearly extend to her knee.
She looks like a model.
And she is. The photographer is her father, a hobbyist who staged this and other photos to draw attention to the then-impending war in Ukraine. You can read his statement here.
GMU Professor Shaun Dakin and I tried hard to find the origin of this image as it went viral. One tip-off: despite its virality with hundreds of shares on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, not one well known news organization ran the image.
Here’s the lesson: ignore the photographer and his family. As the image swept throughout the world and trended on many sites, prayers were offered and people were searching for places where a 9-year-old girl might reasonably be expected to defend a place with a gun more than half her own height.
None of those people meant any harm, but all were guilty of spreading wartime propaganda.
6. Following Up — The EU & UK Investigating Google and Facebook’s Jedi Blue
We’ve told you before about Jedi Blue, the Google and Facebook agreement to work together on advertising platforms in exchange for preferential rates. A consortium of U.S. states are suing Google over the agreement and now the EU and United Kingdom have announced parallel antitrust investigations into both companies.
7. Protip — Blurring Images Might Not Work Well
Some privacy advocates wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to un-redact an image. And now Unredacter software is available for anyone to download free. Read this to learn how to best remove information from files that you share.
8. Screening Room — Cheetos Hands Free
9. Science Fiction World — Tricorders for Cars
Who doesn’t dig watching Dr. McCoy wave a salt and pepper shaker over someone while gravely announcing a medical condition? Now Volvo is doing that for cars at U.S. dealerships. The camera-based AI system checks the underbody, tires, and creates 360-degree scans looking for body damage or rust.
10. Coffee Break — Rating Fictional Professors
Now that anyone can see how previous classes have rated instructors from the unofficial but popular Rate My Professor, perhaps we should check in on the creative writing of people who have rated their favorites from movie and TV history.