Three Facebooks: One Future

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They announced a lot of interesting stuff at F8 2016. Interesting, exciting stuff. I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to get into the details on that fromFacebook’s F8 Day 1 post.

But after a day I spent focused primarily on the “Media” track of the conference, it’s now pretty obvious to me that there are three “Facebooks”, unwinding and evolving over the next 12–18 months. Here’s why that matters.

#1. News Feed + Instant Articles
Will continue to be designed for people sharing anything with anyone else, and for media publishing content to the masses using Instant Articles to allow for content loading speed on even the slowest of devices (and thus de facto internationalization).

After a shaky start, Facebook has made huge in-roads into monetization on Instant Articles to placate the needs of modern media organizations. But, nonetheless, Instant Articles is another closed system — mobile first, and optimized as Facebook sees fit.

Prediction: Use of IA will eventually be mandatory for content to rank anywhere in News Feed. This will reduce the spammers and gamers over time (How? Simple. Facebook needs to approve your IA application to turn it on).

This SHOULD make the News Feed experience better for most people, but could present ethical questions about controlling of the news by a single source.

#2. Messenger
Designed first for human to human interactions (you know, like chat), but increasingly for human to robot interactions for organizations to display when humans are too expensive for the tasks they are asked to do. And, make no mistake, Messenger is growing fast.

Prediction: People will build lots of bad robots before they build good ones.For isolated cases of tasks that are largely mundane and repetitive, Bots will be effective. But, as we saw with Tay and Microsoft, Bots have long way to go to inspire absolute confidence in critical tasks (especially customer centric ones) with little human control (other than what your developers can dream up). Key here — trust and ethics are more important than ever.

#3. Video
It will develop into entire new ecosystem of Facebook. Video becomes the solution for three big problems Facebook is now facing:

1. The regular News Feed is so jammed, it’s starting to fail regular users of Facebook, who just want to connect with content and have stopped sharing personal details about themselves (the hook for many people to keep coming back to Facebook at all) and even leaving less likes and comments on other friend’s content.

2. Video monetization is much higher for everyone involved — publishers, creators and Facebook themselves. Video ads fit the bill of many TV spends in creative, and (at least) it’s a more measurable equivalent(especially when it comes to concurrency of users).

3. They are free to explore more typical ways of content discovery(a new Video News Feed tab, video search, and topic level subscriptions), and build them on a clean slate not tied to the News Feed discovery mechanisms of the past.

The Live API allows an ecosystem of broadcasters, software companies and direct publishers to broadcast at scale to audiences they’ve already built on Facebook (something that brands have largely failed to build other places – see Google+ Hangouts, and using YouTube — clearly “influencers” have done much better in this regard.)

But with that, becomes the reality that everyone becomes a TV network of sorts, and a lot of publishers just aren’t ready for that. And a lot of the hardware that’s available now, or in the long term will not be adequate for professional level broadcasters to do professional level broadcasts (Facebook will claim the unedited, ad hoc nature of FB Live now allows it to be more personal. But there are limits to that.)

But let’s be clear, Facebook has placed its biggest bet since the original Desktop App platform here, and they will not go lightly into the night if it struggles. Too many people have vested interest in its success. Video will evolve over time, but it will take a few years for it to make complete sense for everyone.

Prediction: Video will work in the short-term for people who are particularly good at storytelling, and willing to think outside the box. But like every other content type before it, the implicit News Feed benefits of Video now will go away, so building beachheads within the Video tab will be critical. Having a long term plan to do that will be key.

The way forward

If you’re not a developer or someone accustomed to making videos; I’m sorry to say, it’s time to learn at least the basics of this. Cross-functional content teams, which already exist in many newsrooms, will continue to expand. You’ll need on this team subject matter experts on:

  • Video
  • Branded content
  • Editorial
  • Analytics
  • Development
  • Monetization

As a publisher, developers will need to be your best friend and you will need to build good relationships with them because with Bots, ethics and trust will matter. Your video team will evolve to make videos based off of data and topics that matter to audiences. Your analytics lead will need to translate stats to less technical folks. Editorial and creative folks will need to evolve to understand data, and make sure that data isn’t the only consideration in good content.

If this isn’t how your social / audience development team is structured and you’re a media company, I’d be concerned.

In summary, the most exciting and horrifying thing about digital media is that it continues to evolve. There’s one prediction that will never go away — a year from now, things will look completely different then they do today.


This post originally appeared on Medium.  Follow me there

December 6, 2008

Author’s note: 20×2 is sort of like The Moth in 2 minutes. It’s an opportunity for an eclectic mix of people to answer a question in 2 minutes, using whatever medium they like. I chose to tell a story about a night that shaped me, and still shapes me today. The full text (with some small changes on stage) and video of that performance are below.

It was early December 2008 in New York City and birthday was fast approaching. And this one would be my 30th.

To me, turning 30 meant it was time to be an adult, and when it came to adulting, my mom was my inspiration. She was kind, thoughtful, and dedicated her life to so that my brother and I would have more than she did. When I was too nerdy to have many friends, she was was there for me. When other kids picked on me, she made me feel special. I looked up to her for her kindness and generosity, and I share those same qualities today because of her.

She loved the winter, and as a SoCal girl by birth, the novelty of snow never got old. She loved it like nothing else. I was really looking forward to celebrating the holiday season with her. I always tried to make her Christmases special, and this year was going to be no different. She had been very sick the last three Christmases, but now she was finally doing better.

After an evening of holiday fun with some friends, my girlfriend and I drove back to our apartment in Queens. As we were driving up into the garage, a call came in on my cell phone. An ambulance had come to my mom’s house. She was not responsive. She was off to the hospital and it didn’t look good.

We immediately drove to the hospital, and on the way, it started to snow — the first snowfall of the season. They were these beautiful, small, white flakes. It was like right out of a movie. It was at that moment I knew she was gone. 2 weeks before my birthday. 3 weeks before Christmas. The snow was her goodbye to us. It was her way of telling me that it would be ok. The snow calmed me. But, suddenly turning 30 didn’t seem to matter anymore.

There’s a point where you realize that your parents have done all they can for you, and you’re really on your own for the rest of your life. But you don’t ever see it coming. And you don’t really know what to do when it happens. And it was happening to me, 12 days before my 30th birthday.

My friends and family helped me to move forward. But, to this day, the loss still shapes me. But I know I’ll be ok because I am her son.

This post originally appeared on Medium.  Follow me there! 

So, you want to be big on social media…

Recently, someone asked me for some advice on how to grow audience on social media. Here’s what I told them.

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(Photo by Anthony Quintano)

Recently, someone asked me for some advice on how to grow audience on social media. In truth, these days, the power of celebrity or brand is the most guaranteed thing to gain new fans, and paid social advertising, (when executed well) can certainly fit the bill as well for people with the budgets.

So, what about everyone else? The real truth — social media audience development is hard work, and many people just don’t realize this.

With that in mind, I offered these five pieces of advice to help get them started:

  1. Be active. Consistently. Especially on Twitter, but increasingly on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. The volume of content you create for people has to be enough to where they find you when they are scrolling around on their news feed. I’d suggest at minimum 5 tweets, 1 or 2 Facebook or Instagram posts per day, or 5 Pins in a week just so that people see that you’re active and can understand what you are about. It’s hard enough to get people to care — even harder if you’re not around.
  2. Be relevant. You have a set of interests that you can represent, and offer trusted advice on. People will connect with you on these interests. If they like what you’re into, they’re more likely to want to hear from you as a person.
  3. Be slightly obnoxious. You need to get involved with everything that your interest represents. Look for blogs on your topics and comment on them. Search for Twitter accounts posting around the same things. Reach out to them if they are open top it. Follow them. Join in Twitter Chats, and Facebook Groups. Follow Pinterest boards. Be an active participant. But, be mindful of trolling. No one likes a troll. And it’s perfectly ok not to respond to people you are not comfortable responding to.
  4. Be you. Your unique perspective on life should be the number one thing that’s appealing to people. Understand who you are and stick by it. Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it. Even if it brings out the haters, which, eventually it will, it means you’re being heard. And this also means picking platforms you are comfortable expressing yourself on. You absolutely do not need to be everywhere, but you should be where you can share your best.
  5. Become ok with failure. Social media is largely content testing — “fishing”, if you will. You will be making things about things (different topics) in different formats (text, links, images, graphics) and seeing what people respond to. Keeping an eye on your analytics and seeing what people engage with can give you a good idea of the types of things you make that people like most.

Good social media is hard work. But if you put in the time, and follow this advice, you can grow your audience to help spread your message, share updates about your life, or, maybe make a few new friends!

This post originally appeared on Medium.  Follow me there! 

Some personal news…

Petey! Excited to share that my role at About.com is changing a bit to include more of the things I love doing most, talking to smart people about social media technology and building great partnerships! So with that, my title is evolving too! My new title is VP of Social Media and Platform Partnerships, and I will be looking for interesting ways to work together with social media platforms, content platforms, and great brands!

Interested in being a part? Get in touch!

A busy autumn, indeed.

The end of summer brings longer nights, cooler temperatures, and a return to conference season! This year, I’ve been lucky enough to be invited  to share some stories with social media and digital marketers around America in September and October! Here’s where I will be:

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SocialFresh Conference – September 23-25, Tampa, FL

On September 23 and 24, I’ll be at Social Fresh Conference in Tampa! This year’s speaker list is outstanding! Featuring Jay Baer, Scott Monty, Chris Brogan, Twitter, HP, Patron, Priceline, Buffer, The Today Show, American Eagle and more. Social Fresh is one track, with no fluff — filled with highly actionable and practical content.  I’ll be one-third of the Power of Community Building workshop with Savannah Peterson of Speck Design, and Matt Singley of Singley + Mackie on the 23rd, so come hang out!

SocialFresh is one of my favorite conferences and I always get something useful out of it – both from the networking and the content! Register here!

OrlandoiX

OrlandoIX – October 2-6, Orlando, FL

Sort of a “super-conference” for the city Orlando, OrlandoiX features five power-packed days of dynamic keynotes, panels, exhibits, and entertainment that showcases leading advancements in entertainment technology, interactive media, and digital arts.  I’ll be keynoting the conference on as part of the Digital Expo on the last day, October 6.  Register here!

LIFT conference=LIFT, Simply Measured Conference, October 22, Seattle, WA

A new conference, from the team that brings you the Simply Measured suite of social reporting tools, their first conference is aiming to be practical too. It’ll be my first time in Seattle, so I’m excited about that!

From their website:

“We will have no celebrity speakers with fluff content, no vendor pitches of any kind, no “advance” sessions that feel like 101, and no “best practices” from five years ago. Everything shared will be high utility and up-to-date. You will learn things you can put to use as soon as you get back to your desk.”

Sounds good to me.  I’ll be speaking on October 22 in the afternoon.  Get your tickets here!

And if you’re coming to one of these conference and want to network (and talk like humans, without selling each other things 😉 ), feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @matthewknell!

One of the best things about conferences is networking and I hope to see you at one of these great events!

 

SXSW 2015: A recap

Day made. #mophierescue

A photo posted by Matthew Knell (@matthewknell) on

Another year of SXSW has come and gone, and it’s pretty obvious that the business of content and branding has continued to change.  With that in mind, I’m sharing some livetweet recaps from some of the top content panels. Hope you enjoy!

  • The Art and Science of Shareability” with Dao Nguyen, BuzzFeed’s publisher  (good nuggets about their CMS, how they test, and how they use data, and their push towards “impact” as a metric)
  • The Future Of Distributed Media with BuzzFeed’s Summer Anne Burton (focus on how BuzzFeed views distributed content, and some learnings about their BFF team)
  • Simple Ways to Massively Increase Your Content” – with NBC Sports’ Lyndsay Signor and Oracle’s Kaila Garrison (interesting points on content curation / creation for a social audience)
  • A Happy Marriage: How To Integrate Experts and UGC” with Arabella Bowen of Fodor’s Travel, Matt Atchity of Rotten Tomatoes and Stacey Rivera of Bon Appetit  (interesting examples of UGC / Pro content, but maybe a bit biased since all came from Pro content side first)

Listen to me on the Social Toolkit Podcast!

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I was honored to be one of the first 10 guests on the new Social Media podcast, “The Social Toolkit” from the makers of Social Fresh Conference.  It was a lot of fun to record with Jason Keath and Jason Yarborough.  Check it out on iTunes if you want to here me ramble someone coherently about content marketing, tools and process, and even my love of baseball caps.  (Psst, I’m episode 9!)