March 9, 2016

Losers and gainers on social media : Oscars, Chinese baron, Sam Smith...


Oscar gets DiCaprio and more social shares

This year's Oscar awards night had much more social media engagement than that last year. If you think, huge expectation about Leonardo DiCaprio's  finally getting the award was the reason, you might not be totally correct. If that were the reason, television viewing should have risen too, but it was lower than last year. 

Perhaps the spurt in online engagements primarily happened due to other common-sensical factors - that social media is becoming more commonplace every year and that it is interactive and shareable as compared to TV. Yes, it always helps social sharing if there is an added element of intrigue and surprise.

When a domestic capitalist challenges Chinese Communist Party on social media

China is not the home of press freedom and so the spirit of this fighter against power in this country is worth taking notice.

On his vastly popular social account on Weibo (Chinese micro-blogging site, like Twitter), with over 37 million followers, Ren Zhiqiang, a real estate biggie, has been critical of the Communist Party - the all powerful state machinery of China. The latest trigger is the recent visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to state controlled media outfits and then his advise to the media to support party line.

Ren's sharp criticism has let the state machinery come into actions that range from shutting down Ren's social accounts to threats and guided social trolling. He has been called a western stooge, a betrayer capitalist and what not. We are not confident that state action would stop here.

Singer falls silent on Twitter... after singing a wrong tune

Sam Smith, singer, has announced a break from social media. 

Celebrities who bask in the social glory don't take a break for unwinding, spiritual rejuvenation or such other reasons. They are forced to, and Sam is no exception.

When in his acceptance speech, Sam claimed to be (perhaps) the first open gay to have received an Oscar, it generated sharp comments from fans and openly gay people who'd received Oscar before. 

Sam's Twitter page
On his Twitter account, Sam argued his point, then apologized for the slip, and then hung up, saying this: I'm logging off for a while. Some Martinis shaken not stirred are definitely in order.

Unraveling Facebook's Instant Articles

Come April and Facebook will roll out Instant Articles. It is already accepting requests for it and reviewing requests. This latest offer is directed towards brands rather than individuals.

Instant Articles, Facebook claims, would be up to ten times faster than normal webpages on smartphones. That promise is something like the AMP project, isn't it? In that respect, yes, but it is much more restricted in who can create Instant Articles and where these articles can be seen.

What Instant Articles really are: are these something like publishing posts on a blog OR rendering FB posts faster on mobiles

Instant Articles are fast loading versions of articles/ posts available elsewhere on the web. These are specially created in HTML5 and specifically for FB apps on Android devices or iPhones (as of now).

FB is acting smart. As Instant Articles will get part of the traffic that would have gone to the original webpage, it is making it easier for publishers to opt for these. It has rolled out a plugin for WordPress CMS, the most popular free software to create blogs.

Wildlife Trafficking using social media

Monitoring by wildlife trade monitoring network, Traffic, shows that in Malaysia, Facebook's closed groups and chats are being used to sell wildlife articles by evading law. The illegal wildlife trade mostly consists of selling wild animals as pets.  This has led to some arrests and a collaboration offer from Facebook for checking such trade. However, this appears to be tip of the iceberg in terms of both - the size of trade and the variety of platforms used. 

The report says:

Traders, especially those intending to conduct their business illegally, are therefore predisposed to seek other, non-conventional methods of sale, such as social media, which provides efficient and private communication channels. The ease and convenience the internet offers benefits traders and buyers alike, particularly because of its minimal outlay for business. They also potentially avoid taxes and the need to undergo any form of scrutiny by complying with regulations, such as  applications for permits and licences.

We keep a watch on developments in social media, and occasionally bring you a gist of major ones. If you like to be updated, do subscribe to our posts by email. You can see here our earlier posts on social media.