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Digital Publishing Innovation Summit, Part 4

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Emerging trends, behavior and takeaways for social media use

Emerging trends, behavior and takeaways for social media use

On day two of the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit, I missed the initial session “Data & Technology Influencing Corporate Culture” by Charlie Weiss. So I started off the day listening to the very entertaining Cindy Jeffers from Salon presentation “Reaching the Next Generation of Content Consumers.” Jeffers stated that younger people are moving to anonymous and ephemeral sharing platforms rather than using FaceBook or Twitter. She discussed the rising use of Whisper and Secret – social networks that disassociate from public identity in which messages tend to be raw, present catharsis and negative emotions. She also noted that news tips and corporate leaks are common on these anonymous sharing applications. Since anonymous sharing presents a rapidly growing sector because one isn’t tied to her/his identity, it requires greater vetting.

Amongst 18 to 22 year olds, expiring or ephemeral content through Slingshot or Snapshot is becoming very popular. Users can have fun sharing funny things and selfies without worrying about future consequences. These applications are even built to not allow screen capture to ensure the ephemerality of the content. Research shows that the vast majority of content is light-hearted and a superfluous way to connect with friends. Although sexting has been in the media, users that were polled showed very little sexting. These tools represent an outlet without lasting consequences due to archived content.

Apps that Are Gaining Steam

Apps that Are Gaining Steam


So the summit specific question is how can brands use these anonymous and ephemeral sharing applications? Jeffers believes that companies are already using these social tools for research. Brands can use these applications to ask questions that generate discussion and gather feedback on products, advertising, branding…

Laura Wind of Macmillan Education followed Jeffers with a presentation titled “The Future of Educational Publishing.” I’ll quote Wind’s description of her presentation to set her premise:

Higher Education in the US is in dire trouble. Between degree mills, low retention rates, and unemployment rates for degree holders, there is an obvious disconnect between the amount of money we spend in higher education and the return on the investment. Yet, the high price tag of education clearly doesn’t paint the full picture. Despite a surge in MOOCs a couple of years ago, their development and usage is currently at a rapid decline. To boot, while ebooks are beginning to surpass print books in trade, that same trend has still not transitioned to the classroom. This is largely because the education system has not kept up with technology and buzzwords such as “flipping the classroom” are often used in place of action. How do we bring about more rapid change so that the education system keeps up with the rapidly changing world? Where will educational publishing in the next, 5, 10, and 20 years? What role do publishers play in improving the higher education system and ensuring the success of our students and, thus, our future?

Wind went on to point out the enduring power of a college degree – it puts the stamp of approval from recognized universities on the successful student. The degree demonstrates that the individual is employable. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) do not do this and the target audience – those who do not have access to education are not the primary users. 80% of MOOC users already have degrees, so the common use appears to be people seeking to expand their knowledge (however, the vast majority register and do not return).

Wind stresses the need for schools to act on the phrase “flipping the classroom” and not merely use it as a buzz term. She feels that the future of higher education is not the tradition of in-class lecture and then the student goes home to do homework. Instead, the lectures are watched at home and the projects are executed in the classroom with the professor there to direct and assist. Passive learning does not translate to the workforce. However, actually “flipping the classroom raises the bar on teaching, because there are likely to be unexpected questions, moments that when the faculty’s knowledge is tested, because the classroom experience will not merely be a prepared lecture.

Wind briefly discussed the ramification of education through the use of badges and analytics. Analytics may be used to make adjustments during the semester. Analytics should also be used after the student graduates to track where they are going.

Jorge Urrutia of Fusion stressed the need for greater research on Millennials to understand more deeply a gigantic consumer base. Millennials or Gen Y born in the 1980s and 90s will be over 50% of the labor force by 1916. Over 5000 brand messages pass by Millennials on a daily basis and yet they are hard to reach. This is because Millennials are misunderstood. Urrutia broke down common myths about Millennials:

  • They are homogenous
  • They have different values
  • They don’t care about career and workplace
  • They are narcissistic and therefore the “Me Generation”

One example regarding the homogeneity myth is the popular show “Girls” in which the main characters are all white, don’t receive help from their parents and are not worried about money. One third of Millennials get money from their parents.

Urrutia pointed out that grouped into Millennials are people in different life stages. Younger Millennials between 18-24 that have an 11% unemployment and an average salary of 30K, and older Millennials between 24-35 who have families and spending power. Fusion maintains a 500 person panel of Millennials to query. Through this panel, they have found that Millennials social priorities are education, poverty and public safety and their concerns are the environment, mental health and LGBT rights. Whereas older adults social priorities are education, poverty and physical health and concerns are veterans/military, the environment and public safety. He pointed out that regarding mental health, Millennials are a high stress generation that have grown up on opioids and stimulants.

Another factoid that Urrutia shared is that the average mid-20s employee stays at a job 16 months. These are young adults searching for a passion and who desire collaboration and team work. What the media has popularly labeled the “Me Generation,” Fusion call the “We Generation.” 47% of Millennials in the U.S. donated to a cause in the past month. 87% donated to a non-profit over the past year.

Urrutia confirmed Jeffers belief that brands are already using anonymous sharing apps. Fusion uses Whisper to get data at a granual level. Recently they wanted samples from college students on what drugs they use, what celebrities they follow. Data was gathered from colleges based on zip code.

Urrutia wrapped up with an example of Millennial media intake through the success of a microsite revolving around people at the World Cup. Every evening a different topic was investigated through streaming video from a World Cup location in Brazil.

Written by ricardo

July 22nd, 2014 at 1:07 pm