Five great reads from the online content mines
Plus some jobs, a tip, and Lagerfeld’s iPods. Yes, really.
All the best people — and you, my friends, are clearly the best people — like to spend their weekends catching up on digital cultural trends.
So, here's some exquisitely curated links from the last few weeks to deepen your understanding of the cultural zeitgeist this fine weekend.
People doing serious things on TikTok shocker
So, gasp, TikTok is being used for serious things. Yes, people are doing actual useful, in-depth content there. Gosh, this is so surprising, isn't it?
No, of course it's not. This always happens. Twitter was just for people talking about their lunch, Instagram was for photos of people's lunch… We start off trivialising a social media service, and end up accusing it of destroying democracy. TikTok is just on the same trajectory as every other service over the past two decades.
Facebook kills its podcasting support
This is also so unsurprising that it almost hurts. Podcasting becomes big, Facebook adds some half-hearted support, just in case it turns out to be a threat. It doesn't meaningfully build engagement, and podcasting generally hasn't proved a threat to Meta's business.
The plug gets pulled.
This is the future awaiting Facebook's newsletter initiative Bulletin, too.
Some nuance on YouTube radicalisation
Interesting piece from a NYT email, pointing out that the YouTube radicalisation spiral has been exaggerated. If you start searching for extremist content, you'll get shown more of it. If you're just watching cute cat videos, you're unlikely to ever see it.
So, it tends to push people already on a radicalisation journey further along the path, but it doesn't start them on that journey.
Never underestimate the trades
Remember the huge Post Office IT scandal? (If the answer's “no”, the BBC has a good explainer for you.) The story was actually broken years before it came to wider notice. It was in the pages of Computer Weekly, and the young journalist who broke it was Rebecca Thompson. And the nationals completely failed to pick it up until years later.
There's a horrible snobbery in journalism about anything that doesn't come from the nationals — or, at a pinch, the consumer mags — but sometimes B2B titles do some of the most important reporting. This Times profile of Rebecca (whom I was working with back when she broke the story) is a reminder that there's talent and great stories in all parts of journalism:
The sweet seduction of SEO myths
This is here as a reminder to myself more than anything. There are so many SEO myths sloshing around out there, with little or no evidence to back them up, and no clear source, but endless SEO blog linking to the same few unsourced, unproven statements.
I'm deep in a couple of SEO consulting projects right now: this is a great warning to make sure what I do is based on experimentation and evidence.
A whole bunch of jobs at Thomson Reuters — and the deadline is Sunday 8 May. If you left reading this newsletter until Monday, you're too late…
Tip of the Day
How to use Google Trends in your story or blog post in a more useful way than just grabbing a screenie:
And finally: Karl Lagerfeld's dated iPods
Nearly 11 years ago, I was at the long-gone LeWeb conference in Paris. I live-blogged a talk by, of all people, Karl Lagerfeld, who talked about his use of iPads in his work:
But there was one interesting little revelation:
He has hundreds of iPods with different compilations of music he creates, and he annotates them with the date so he can go back to a particular period.
Well, Lagerfeld has since passed away, and now those iPods are up for auction. And, sure enough, they're dated:
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