One of the longest-lived parts of the internet is going by the wayside as The Huffington Post has announced it’s doing away with its contributor network and replacing it with a more structured approach centered around Opinions and Personal categories. Those sections will feature material from freelancers and others, either solicited by editors or pitched by outsiders. That old contributor network has been used by many a writer to claim “HuffPost” in their LinkedIn bio and it’s been used by the site as a source of free content, vastly increasing its own ad inventory.


It’s not all that surprising that having easy, ready access to any kind of media and information you want at any time makes it harder to keep up to date on the news. There’s also some incredibly interesting data in there on trust in media, how that’s influenced by political affiliation and much more. Also, Twitter and Facebook are increasingly seen as not helpful in all this, which is problematic for those companies.

Speaking of which, Flipboard would like you to know you can trust the news you find on that platform.

Let’s not use vague terms like “market forces” in analyzing why publications – most recently The Awl and its sister site Hairpin – are shutting down. Facebook killed them by killing the ad market.

Interesting move by Buzzfeed to use Facebook’s recent changes as an opportunity to encourage people to use its app and not rely on site content coming to them via social media. That makes a bit of sense in that it’s more of an owned channel, but I still wish they weren’t focusing on a closed app but instead something more friendly to the open web like RSS.

Content Marketing

An agency is trying to rebrand what’s traditionally been referred to as “user experience” and term is “connected experiences,” with the focus being on creating a consistent look and feel for a brand across platforms and media.

It makes so much sense that podcasts can finally tap into the programmatic advertising market through platforms like Spotify since it changes the distribution game from one of downloads to streaming, which is much easier to insert dynamic content into. That comes at the same time the company has announced a new “visual podcast” format being used by a number of well-known creators that add photos and other elements to the presentation.

The planned Business app for WhatsApp has arrived, allowing brands to create fleshed-out profiles that include contact information and more. Additional features will be available to those willing to pay but current functionality will still be in place at no additional charge.

Social Media

YouTube is seeking to address concerns about ads being placed alongside offensive content by implementing stricter controls, but that new system draws a line at the kinds of creators who can even participate in the Partner program that will hurt smaller publishers, cutting them out of that monetization option.

A new post type being tested by Instagram is basically a blog post, so what the hell, none of this matters anyway. There are a number of other things being tested by the app, including a native regram function that’s been a big missing feature and various Stories-centric features, including a Giphy-powered GIF search feature. It’s also default activated a “now active” label that shows your followers when you’re online.

This is a great look at how someone who was positioned as a well-known creator on Vine has adjusted after that network was shut down.

Facebook is the latest network to jump on the “watch these videos as a group” trend that essentially takes the TV model and applies it to social networks.


All that talk earlier this week about “sonic branding” being the new emphasis for marketing and advertising agencies is because sales of smart speakers are skyrocketing as people find them to be useful for a variety of purposes, from music to search and more.

Nuzzel is using the data people have been feeding it as well as its own media monitoring capabilities to launch Intelligence, a media research tool that can be used by PR and marketing professionals as well as others to stay informed and up to date on topics relevant to them. Seems pretty slick.

If you’re a mobile publisher you’d best check your page loading speed because Google says those that lag the most are going to get hammered when it comes to mobile search rankings.

Want even more recommendations? Check out my Pocket Shared Items.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.