Well, not that last bit of the headline. This is an interesting essay on social media as a whole in the light of Meta and Twitter’s turbulent few months. I don’t necessarily agree with it – for one thing I think we needed those experiments to get to where we’re going. Even if they did go on too long.
Ian Bogost argues that, from a sociological point of view, we have become addicted to social media: “At a cultural level, we didn’t stop smoking just because the habit was unpleasant or uncool or even because it might kill us. We did so slowly and over time, by forcing social life to suffocate the practice. That process must now begin in earnest for social media.”
I disagree with the assertion that social media is inherently dangerous, and I think the smoking analogy is disingenuous and overly emotive. But he’s right that quitting or even amending social will be a society-wide shift, not one that any individual can affect on their own. And maybe then we’ll see news publications move away from publishing hyperbolic news to chase those endorphins. Maybe.
In our recent episode about broadcast models in 2022, we spoke about why audiences might sign up to Netflix etc. only to cancel the next month. Now, with the cost of living crisis coming down the pipe, we’ve got some data points that it might be occurring with news and magazines, too.
Gaurav Sachdeva, CPO for SPH Media, has a few stark words for publishers looking to emulate that company’s success – or at least for their senior teams: “Many times senior leaders get stuck in ivory towers. I advise you to listen effectively to your teams and be approachable.”
In BuzzFeed’s Q3 earnings, the one-time darling of the digital publishing world reported a few less than sterling stats. Probably the most concerning is that user engagement dropped by 19 percent. Considering that news isn’t as big a part of its strategy any more, you can’t even blame that on news avoidance.
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