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Technology titans take issue with immigration order; Gen X is the heaviest user of social media; digital needs to grow up; redefining B2B marketing with GE; Twitter introduces Explore; Facebook is surfacing more relevant videos; Google eliminated more than 1.7 billion bad ads last year; Snap's IPO is expected this week; Airbnb, Uber and Lyft all develop immigration crisis responses; discovery and retention are an issue for voice-activated systems; the VR wars are on; a seven-part series on marketing trends to watch; why boredom may be good for you; and more in this week's edition of The Full Monty. And don't forget to check out The Full Monty podcast.
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Upcoming Speaking Engagements
- I'll be keynoting at Social Media Marketing World 2017 in San Diego, March 22-24, 2017. See you there.
- Keynote at the CEO Communications Summit at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business in Montreal, June 13-14, 2017.
- Can I speak for your organization? Drop me a line.
- Without a doubt, the biggest news story during President Trump's first week in office was the executive order concerning immigration. And as you might expect, technology companies took issue with it. Their responses, from the strongest to the weakest, are an object lesson in the range of communications strategies that companies are employing in this post-factual era.
- The post is being updated as additional company responses pour in (Jan. 30). Even Ford Motor Company, aligned with Trump on manufacturing and jobs, came out against the move.
- More below on the ripple effect of the first week on various platforms and technologies.
- We're in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution that is affecting the middle class the most. It's not jobs moving overseas that's impacting them, but rather technology: increasing automation, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology and other areas.
- In its 2016 Social Media Report, Nielsen finds that surprisingly, the heavy social media user group isn’t Millennials. In fact, Generation X (ages 35-49) spends the most time on social media: almost 7 hours per week versus Millennials, who come in second, spending just over 6 hours per week.
- A leaked report indicates how much revenue publishers are reaping from distributed content efforts on Facebook, Google, and Snapchat — and it's not as much as they were expecting.
- P&G's chief brand officer is calling for the maturation of digital, "The days of giving digital a pass are over," urging the rest of the ad industry to follow P&G's lead.
- Given that it is external-facing, has a unique customer experience, and deals with people, HR needs to start acting more like marketing.
- B2B marketing doesn't need to be staid or boring. Linda Boff, GE's CMO, is redefining marketing at the "pretty damn cool" brand. Disclosure: GE Digital is a Brain+Trust Partners client.
- Innovation can be had, right in front of your eyes — or ears in this case. Angus Nelson argues that innovation is primarily about listening.
- Dan Rather has started a new news gathering organization, News and Guts. He sat down with Richard Edelman to discuss trust in society's institutions.
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TWITTER / PERISCOPE / VINE
- With certain science-based federal agencies under gag orders regarding their social media accounts, a number of rogue accounts have popped up in their place, in a very creative use of Twitter. These include:
- Wait a Moment: Twitter replaced the Moments tab with Explore, which is tied in with the search function. It's actually a clever and subtle change in the user experience which may lead to better engagement.
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP
- Facebook announced a change to your News Feed: they'll be surfacing more relevant videos for you. In the past, video was ranked based on a few actions, like whether a video was live, if people bothered to turn on sound, or if you decided to open it to a full screen view. Last week's announcement adds another metric, ‘percent completion,’ to determine how to rank video and determine what’s worth inserting into your News Feed.
- Ads are coming to Facebook Messenger. Big ads. The testing phase will determine the maximum size before users get totally annoyed. Now if they could only shut off game invitations...
- If you're a MailChimp user, good news: the email provider is helping small businesses buy Facebook ads. Makes perfect sense, considering that the Custom Audiences feature requires an upload of your email database. It's a smart integrated move for MailChimp.
- In 2016, Google took down 1.7 billion ads that violated their advertising policies — more than double the amount of bad ads they took down in 2015. That's a lot of advertising spam.
- With the renewed push on voice-based computing, Google Voice finally received a makeover.
- YouTube may be the grandfather of online video, but it's not showing any signs of slowing down. YouTube is still the leading platform for video viewing online.
- Later this week, Snap is expected to file for its long-anticipated IPO. Great. Another Silicon Valley technology company whose strategy will be led by quarter-to-quarter earnings.
Collaborative/ Autonomous Economy
- Airbnb made a profile in the second half of 2016, but it still has a long way to go, with plenty of legal and regulatory headwinds in its future.
- Airbnb became one of the first companies to make an official response during the immigration ban, offering free lodgings to anyone affected by the executive order.
- A new book highlights how Uber and Airbnb, now worth a total of $99 billion, won customers, fought regulators, and figured out the sharing economy. From the book The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World.
- In order to take advantage of higher fares in other cities, some Uber drivers are sleeping in their cars overnight in store parking lots.
- Uber and Ola are about to feel the impact of local laws and regulations in India, where the state of Bengalaru threatened to halt ride sharing services.
- Lyft is getting aggressive in its battle with Uber, and its drivers may feel the impact with lower fares.
- The battle between Uber and Lyft has gotten political.
- One area where Lyft beat Uber was in response to the immigration ban, when Lyft announced it was pledging $1 million to the ACLU.
- Uber instead broke the taxi strike at JFK airport and that immediately led to a #DeleteUber trend online.
- Seeing the backlash against its questionable business practices, Uber then pledged to create a $3 million legal defense fund for drivers affected by the ban.
- Tesla's new head of Autopilot is a former Apple employee, and as a non-car guy, he's intent on accelerating the path of cars as appliances.
- Tesla is suing its former Autopilot head accusing him of stealing company secrets and using them for a new autonomous vehicle start-up. The race to dominate self-driving cars is real; stakes have never been higher.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE / BOTS / BLOCKCHAIN
- Apple is joining the Partnership on AI, a research group that includes Google, Amazon and Facebook. This is widely seen as an indication that Apple is becoming less secretive.
- Fake news is one thing, but when combined with social bots, the issues becomes magnified.
- One of the most significant issues plaguing AI leaders is one of discovery and retention: Alexa and Google Assistant users aren't sticking with the apps they try. In a non-visual environment, it's going to be tricky to attract and retain users for your apps. Humans simply don't work that way — something that should be eminently clear, as marketers have spent the better part of the last four years telling us that "visual communications" is the future.
Virtual Reality / Audio
- Facebook has a new head of Oculus, its VR division. Hugo Barra is a former executive at Google and Chinese phone maker Xiaomi. No word of whether he'll be located in Facebook's HQ or if he'll be a virtual employee.
- And Google just poached HTC's top Vive designer, who will work on Daydream. The virtual reality wars are real.
- Google Daydream has opened its doors to all developers. While any app can immediately be seen on a non-Google Play store, developers still need to opt-in to Google Daydream distribution program in order to be seen in the VR version of Google Play.
- Sprint bought 33% of Tidal, the streaming music service, for $200 million. Here's the good, the bad and the unknown.
- Want your podcast to stand out? Jay Acunzo has three hidden lessons from some top podcasts to help you make a better show and appeal to the right audiences.
- Program of the Week: Check out the top 8 presidential inauguration recap podcasts. Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts.
- And don't forget to subscribe to ours via email or on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spreaker or SoundCloud.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- Twitter made public two national security letters from the FBI it received in the last two years. The company had been under a gag order not to disclose them.
- As part of the immigration ban, border agents are now authorized to demand social media data and browsing history from citizens.
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- Thinking about the intersection of public relations and technology, why is PR so far behind marketing? One possible reason: budgets.
- Last week, we shared the first in a seven-part series on marketing trends for 2017 by Christopher Penn. Here then are the other Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017:
Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- If you're an entrepreneur, you're responsible for a wide variety of things: strategy, operations, personnel, marketing, etc. Here are six tools entrepreneurs must master in an accelerating world.
- Mozart would have turned 261 on Friday. What a perfect time to celebrate his remarkable, selfless, and enduring friendship with Haydn.
- "Bored out of your mind" may be a misnomer. It turns out that boredom may may actually make you more creative.
"Curiosity is the cure for boredom. There is no cure for curiosity."
— Dorothy Parker
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Photo credit: Zooey (Flickr)