Social Media and Psychological Health

Major social media companies now extend beyond apps and platforms, taking on the status of infrastructures and institutions. [As such, they] ought to consult with trained social researchers to design interfaces, implement policies, and understand the implications of their products. Social media are not just things people use, places they go to, or activities they do. Social media shape the flows of social life, structure civic engagement, and integrate with affect, identity and selfhood.

Source: Jenny Davis (Cyborgology) via The Society Pages

The Scary Hidden World of Dark Social

We’d like to think that what we choose to share is a reflection of who we are, but the data suggests there’s a discrepancy between the persona we present to the world on open social versus our deeper desires and interests reserved for private sharing.

The rise of chat apps has led to more social sharing between individuals and small groups. There are different types of dark data, which has made engagement harder to track. There are two main ways for readers to share content online: use a share button or copy/paste the link. The first one is easy to track; the second isn’t. In 2012, The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal came up with the term “dark social” to describe the “vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs.” Per RadiumOne, 84 percent of sharing from publisher and marketing websites now takes place via private dark social channels such as email and IM.

Publishers and marketers could cut back on content if they only see a few shares per story. But they may want to rethink that. It could help to make sharing as easy as possible so readers don’t have to go dark. For example, you could create private sharing buttons on your websites for email, SMS, and chat platforms like WhatsApp.

Source: Contently

For ‘Smart’ Apps, Context Is King, or at Least It Should Be

Hours after posting his memorial, he got an email letting him know how his post was doing, and telling him that three people had recommended it. Inserted in that email was the headline he had written for his post, “In Remembrance of Elizabeth,” followed by a string of copy: “Fun fact: Shakespeare only got 2 recommends on his first Medium story.” It’s meant to be humorous — a light, cheery joke, a bit of throwaway text to brighten your day. If you’re not grieving a friend, that is.

Source: Wired

The Lost Infrastructure of Social Media

Core capabilities in the early era of blogging acted as open features for any site, and helped popularize social media itself, regardless of where the content appeared. Many have either disappeared or exist only in proprietary versions on closed platforms, so they only work between sites that use the same tools to publish.

As social networks grew in popularity and influence, the old decentralized blogosphere fell and those early services consolidated, leaving all the power in the hands of a few private companies. That’s left publishers and independent voices even more vulnerable to the control points of a few social networks and search engines.

My hope is that those who are building tools today will see what’s come before and use it as inspiration to help give voice to people on the web in ways that are a bit more open-ended and a little less corporate-controlled than the platforms we have today.

Source: Anil Dash via Medium

View at Medium.com

This 2017 Design Trend Needs To Die

In the United States, smartphone users have an average of 90 apps and use about 30 on a regular basis. Yet, tech companies are developing more spin-off messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct) even though the apps already have messaging capabilities. This is not in the user’s best interest. The trend needs to die.

Source: Fast Company

Facebook’s Disinformation Infatuation

These days, Facebook and Fake News are synonymous. I get Wikipedia’s stringent rules for what is or isn’t legit. If the almighty wiki overlords sanction a button to rid the world of disinformation, then bring it. Question is, where will it go? Facebook is riddled with tap-traps. Try tapping a pic and instead you’ve opened pandora’s box of pop-ups. Tags, filters, emojis — everything but the kitchen sink. Adding Wikipedia to the FB clutter grenade without pulling the pin will take focus. That’s a problem for Facebook because focus is the one thing Facebook doesn’t have.