I don’t have much to add to it but if you haven’t read this piece at Buzzfeed about the very real dangers we face from technology that allows reality to be manipulated in scary ways, you need to do so right damn now.

Similarly, Wired has a report on the upheaval within Facebook in the last two years as the site as it’s struggled with an identity now that “help people connect” isn’t enough of a goal and those in charge are actually being asked what good or bad purpose it solves and what it plans to do about the latter.


Disney’s streaming OTT plans have begun to come into focus and it’s more or less exactly what you would expect. There’s an emphasis on Star Wars as well as updates or new twists on established Disney properties like Lady & The Tramp and more. The question of what this means for the studio’s stake in Hulu is also answered as it will become the outlet for any R-rated or adult fare while the branded service remains all-ages friendly.

Along those same lines, Viacom will be launching its own branded streaming service with its own titles. In the same earnings call the company made it clear it has plans to turn around the ailing fortunes of Paramount, which has struggled as it sold off a number of films, had others flop and more. Also, the reactions to Viacom purchasing the VidCon conference are…yeah, just what I thought.

Digital media jobs in a number of sectors are growing in the Los Angeles area. That’s great for them, but not so great for anyone not there.

Given the anger directed at the media – anger that’s been fueled by powerful people who are unaccustomed to being held to account – it’s hard to argue that some sort of journalist protection law is necessary, thought its necessity doesn’t make the reality any less disappointing.

M.G. Siegler has some outstanding thoughts on why the movie theater-going experience is terrible. Notably, he hits a point I’ve made a couple times: The theater chains and the studios basically only want us to go to the theater for blockbusters, but when those blockbusters are terrible or simply fail to catch on, there’s literally no other model they’re willing and able to fall back on.

Content Marketing

Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed has said his company will pull back advertising from sites like Facebook and YouTube if they don’t do more to protect children and make other safety changes. I’d like to believe this but don’t see a hard line being drawn here as shareholders won’t long stand for the company not reaching that kind of audience. My cynical side says this is a lot of rhetoric that’s meant to get headlines but won’t amount to very much. That being said, the biggest – the only – thing that will affect real change is if the social network companies start feeling a pinch in their wallets.

Of course that may not matter at all because Facebook is more reliant on small advertisers than big ones.

David Cohn at Adweek has a really interesting piece on how Tumblr has fallen out of the spotlight when it comes to the attention received by advertisers and brand publishers, something that he ties to the platform’s mishandling by Yahoo after that purchase. The one caveat I would add is that while user growth isn’t expected to be massive and the marketing industry isn’t counting on it any longer there still *is* a vibrant community there that actually may get stronger without the interference of advertisers, one that’s much more about support than a toxic environment like reddit and others.

Social Media

Medium has tweaked its homepage, but it’s still not the RSS-like “here’s everything that’s new from the people/topics you follow” experience I really want, just more of the “recommended for you” approach.

Someone needs to start a single-serve site displaying whether or not Logan Paul is or isn’t suspended from YouTube’s monetization program. As of last Friday the status would have been “Suspended.” Along those lines, the video-sharing site has outlined the new rules for creators and the access they have to preferred partner status.

Facebook is testing a downvote button but just for comment moderation because “make the rest of the internet just like Digg 1.0 or reddit” was apparently someone’s idea of how things should go. It’s also changing the way it calculates post reach to only include when a post has been loaded on someone’s screen, not just when someone *could* have seen it. And there’s a new section coming specifically devoted to breaking news videos along with a new “Lists” post type which should make those “…your first eight concerts” memes that much more irritating.

The redesign of Snapchat – much-anticipated and heralded as the key to the platform finally catching on with older people – is so far doing a fantastic job of honking off the younger users who have made it so popular to date.

New numbers from eMarketer report that Facebook is losing young – under 25 – users faster than expected and the problem is only going to accelerate. As the story says, these numbers may not be 100% accurate but even if reality isn’t quite that bad, the *perception* that the site is quickly shedding hip, young users could mean advertisers start to abandon it.


Urrmmm…The live news app being added to Apple TVs isn’t really that, it’s just a portal to the apps for various media brands and it still requires you to have a cable subscription to access.

One element I haven’t seen completely explored in the news Amazon is testing its own delivery service is that it essentially used USPS, UPS and other services as a testing ground for over a decade, learning what worked and what didn’t before going out on its own.

Gen X and Millennial investors are tech-savvy themselves and are looking for financial advisors who use social media, apps and more as well.

A good op-ed in Variety about how those who rely on copyright protections for their livelihood and career desperately need the rules regarding infringement – specifically how it relates to the tech companies that serve as pathways to content – to be rewritten as part of a renegotiated NAFTA.

Virtual reality devices are still too expensive for people – particularly kids – to own themselves and so are flocking to VR arcades to get the immersive experience they expect. In case you’re not old like me, this is exactly the same reason kids went to video game arcades in the 70s and 80s, because the Atari 2600 we had at home wasn’t nearly as cool as the big games available elsewhere. Once PlayStation and Xbox brought higher game quality home, you didn’t need arcades. So as VR technology gets cheaper, expect the same pattern to unfold.

AMP Stories is a new format that’s been introduced by Google, allowing publishers to put together nifty little packages around a single topic, monetizing those stories with interstitial or other ads, though there still seem to be other issues needing to be worked or figured out. “AMP for Email” will let you do more all without leaving the Gmail environment because it’s now a universal belief among tech companies that letting people leave at all is a bad thing.

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