Thank God for The Onion, which writes the “state of the media industry” piece the rest of the industry is afraid to.

Publishers are having a hell of a time trying to figure out why their Snapchat traffic, engagement and other metrics are all over the place as a result of the app’s redesign and a new way news and other media updates are displayed.

I haven’t had to do anything quite as extensive as what’s outlined here by the Columbia Journalism Review, but I can tell you that the “edit tests” I’ve been part of have been borderline ridiculous in a number of cases. There have been a few instances where the tests assigned to me have taken several hours to complete – without any form of compensation – and zero follow-up. For all I know those publications have used my ideas or work on their own.

Wow, Sinclair, way to not even try to hide how you’ll be flouting media ownership rules.

Hip, young news brand ATTN is the latest to get a cable show, this one coming soon to Showtime.

Facebook continues to try and lure more media from Twitter by expanding the number of publishers with access to its “Breaking News” tag, something that’s supposed to help the platform be seen as more timely, which it isn’t. No word on how “use Facebook for breaking news” and “see less news on Facebook” will be reconciled as contradictory goals.

Rotten Tomatoes will use SXSW to roll out a new brand identity while Funny or Die is moving over to the Vox Media site platform.

Great question here on how Rolling Stone, under new management, can reinvent itself for a new generation that has zero emotional ties to the culture – particularly the identity that’s tied to the rock scene of the 1970s – the magazine used to represent.

Marketing / Advertising

Oh look, gender-based double standards in what ads Facebook approves or rejects.

NBC is hoping a commitment to reducing advertising volume across the board will not only make the ads it does run more valuable but appeal to an audience that is increasingly choosing ad-free environments like Netflix. Fox is making a similar declaration.

Two things: 1) SXSW events and sponsorships have always been iffy propositions for brands because no one really cares where they get their free beer, BBQ or Wi-fi from, they just want it and 2) Just because you’re talking about SXSW events and sponsorships doesn’t mean you have to use the word “activations.”

The “Brand Safety Officer” could be the next marketing title to become all the rage as agencies, companies and others look for solutions to the various problems that lead to ads and other content being placed alongside undesirable material. Maybe those BSOs will be anxious to take advantage of the premium price (of course) being affixed to Facebook’s offering verified safe placement of ads on its site and app.

Everything old is new again as brands embrace live stunt ads on TV to break through the clutter and create a talkable moment for the audience.

Twitter is reportedly testing a system that would open up its ad-buying system to programmatic networks to make the process as seamless as possible.

The number of companies who are buying Snapchat Discover ads is ridiculously low, which does not bode well for the company’s continued monetization plans.

Techmeme has launched a podcast, which makes so much sense.

Social Media

Based on what some people have dug up in its code, Instagram may be planning to add voice and video calling to its app because sure, why not.

If you’re a social media manager at an international corporation there’s a new cautionary tale out there: A Marriott employee was fired for liking, as the brand, a post regarding Tibet that angered the Chinese government.

Yep, Reddit and Tumblr were both part of Russia’s social media-based manipulation of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

A survey that was interpreted by many as slightly condoning pedophelia has gotten Facebook in a whole new batch of hot water.

There’s some new data showing people are actually more comfortable leaving their ideological social media bubble than may be expected, though I wonder how much of this is inaccurate self-reporting as people want to look better than they actually are.


Snap may try again to enter the hardware market as a report claims the company has two new versions of its failed Spectacles in the works.

Congratulations to Uber, which has managed to invent paratransit, a service that’s existed for a long while, but without the “medically qualified individual” behind the wheel. In fact, according to a recent study, many of those drivers will likely be making less than minimum wage. I will recommend you visit this Twitter thread for many of the reasons that this is a bad idea that will only get worse the longer it goes on.

30 percent of the web is now powered by WordPress and that can only be good news.

Not surprising that liquor companies would be among those most excited for the rise in adoption of autonomous vehicles since it would free people up to drink more.

I’m just saying that in a moment where we’re starting to realize the potential of technology to create realistic, believable fake videos it may not be the best time for YouTube to introduce a pseudo-greenscreen tool allowing you to change your background.

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.