Engaged Reading Time - Issue #52
One of my core principles in thinking about audience engagement is that we have to get away from orbiting around Facebook as the central source of what we do. And that's why I've buried the Facebook stuff half way through today's newsletter.
However, with major elections coming up in both the UK and the US, Facebook's role in politics will come under ever-deeper scrutiny, so it'll probably be a recurring theme for the next year, at the very least.
But let's start with something a little more encouraging…
The business case for listening to your audience is still murky (but early results are promising)
"Newsrooms generally reported increased levels of engagement and higher-quality conversations with audiences. Nearly all of the grant reports we reviewed reported increased engagement." That (still) doesn't yet translate into money.
Hold onto your hats, I'm gonna get a bit geeky here. Let's talk about how a couple of social platforms are starting to use image recognition.
Learning a unified embedding for visual search at Pinterest
Visual search is critical to discovery on Pinterest. This is a description of how it uses machine learning to deliver that.
LinkedIn's AI automatically generates photo text descriptions
LinkedIn details an AI tool that automatically generates alternative photo captions using machine learning. A good accessibility move - that also provides data for the service.
Facebook and Politics
It's hard not to make these emails all about Facebook sometimes, as it's become such a centre of attention. However, here are three conceptually linked stories that explore how the platform is interacting with the outside world.
Inside Mark Zuckerberg's private meetings with conservative pundits
This starts building a rather worrying case - is Facebook going to start taking political sides, because one party in the US elections is in favour of regulating and possibly breaking-up the company?
In other words: is Facebook about to manipulate politics for its own ends?
Silicon Valley Cynicism in the Age of Trump and Zuckerberg
Some interesting insights here: does the tech world's abuse of its power for corporate gain colour its expectation of how journalists behave? And are we as blameless as we'd like to think we are?
Look for more on this on One Man & His Blog in the coming days.
$40 Million fine? Facebook will take it.
Good piece from the Social Status newsletter (worth a subscribe - it's very occasional, so won't trouble your inbox too much) looking at how these fines are so (relatively) low that Facebook can make a
The Athletic reverses course on podcasts and submits them to Apple Podcasts and Spotify
The Athletic has reversed its podcast strategy and now includes select episodes in Apple Podcasts and Spotify as a free download.
Attacker Used Eye Reflections in Pop Star's Photos to Locate Her Home
Creepy - but something to bear in mind if you're doing social media verification.
One of the boom jobs in journalism right now.
As ever, thanks for your attention. See you again later in the week.