• 2019

  • Facebook is Rebranding Their Apps, Add Its Name to Instagram

  • From The Information:

    In a big shift, Facebook plans to signal its control of Instagram and WhatsApp by adding its name to both apps, according to three people familiar with the matter. The social network will rebrand the apps to “Instagram from Facebook” and “WhatsApp from Facebook,” the people said.

    Employees for the apps were recently notified about the changes, which come as antitrust regulators are examining Facebook’s acquisitions of both apps. The app rebranding is a major departure for Facebook, which until recently had allowed the apps to operate and be branded independently. 

    Well, I guess it’s official. Instagram has jumped the shark. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time, so I can’t say I’m surprised. But this, is the icing on the cake for me. Back when Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left Facebook, I had grave concerns for the future of Instagram. But it’s now crystal clear — Facebook doesn’t (nor has it ever) give a shit about what their users want. Nor does Facebook care about how a healthy network of users should look like. It’s been obvious for a long time that Instagram is detrimental to your mental health, and they’ve done nothing but exacerbate the problem.

    So, I guess I’m leaving Instagram soon. Good thing Tim Smith is building Bokeh soon. Can’t wait to migrate.

  • What of the Tumblelogs?

  • Wasn’t Tumblr remarkable?

    I don’t travel to Tumblr’s realm anymore. But, I know plenty who still do. Even with their bullshit adult-content ban — it’s still a great resource for artists, designers and those who crave visual stimulation. Hell, it’s a neat place to get your toes wet in blogging. The adult-content ban was probably predetermined to happen anyways. Now that it operates at the behest of the Verizon/Yahoo!/AOL mega-corp. It’s a bummer — a wet blanket on creativity, social-sharing and generally just not a good idea to mimic the tightly manicured faux-reality of censored nipples and porcelain skin of Instagram.

    Frankly, I’m worried for Tumblr. I’m also deeply concerned for the web.

    But let’s back up for a bit. What even is Tumblr? Tumblr, the word — comes from tumblelogs. One could call it a sub-culture of blogging, but really that’s affording it too much. It’s really just an approach to blogging that was born out of the quick-and-dirty modus operandi many of us have. I mean, look at Instagram (or even Snapchat) stories. That quick-and-dirty framework is what catalyzes content to virility. It’s what draws people to the next big thing. Be it MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or even Ello (remember that one?). Anyways, Tumbling as it came to be known, is now colloquially synonymous with blogging. Thanks to Tumblr, blogging was truly born.

    From a 2005 post from kottke.org:

    A tumblelog is a quick and dirty stream of consciousness, a bit like a remaindered linksstyle linklog but with more than just links. They remind me of an older style of blogging, back when people did sites by hand, before Movable Type made post titles all but mandatory, blog entries turned into short magazine articles, and posts belonged to a conversation distributed throughout the entire blogosphere. Robot Wisdom and Bifurcated Rivets are two older style weblogs that feel very much like these tumblelogs with minimal commentary, little cross-blog chatter, the barest whiff of a finished published work, almost pure editing…really just a way to quickly publish the “stuff” that you run across every day on the web.

    I like this description because it gets right to the point (RIP to the 404s). Now that I think about it, my blog is basically a tumblelog of links, videos and highly-opinionated posts on technology. But the other half of my life is chronicled elsewhere on Twitter and Instagram. Frankly, I’m comfortable with that for now. But I would love for all of my content to live here on this blog. The quickly diminishing youth market of Tumblr knows that too.

    I can guarantee Zuckerberg understands that too. He literally wants to merge as many of Facebook’s services into one. I think that’s a really bad idea. I don’t think it’s inherently dumb or evil to use Facebook to connect with your friends or family. But I do think it’s dumb to have Facebook be at the center of your life.

    Your blog, website or tumblelog should be at the center of your digital footprint. Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr are just the appendages. Your blog or website is the body. So protect your body.

    Step one: buy a domain name. Step two: start a blog with WordPress. It’s never been cheaper to self-host a website or blog. This is not to be confused with WordPress.com. Which, is also a blogging service (not unlike Tumblr) that has its own merits. However, self-hosting with WordPress(dot org) the past several years has opened my eyes, it’s been pretty inexpensive, and very reliable. For what it’s worth, I have hosted my blog at DigitalOcean since day one. Here’s a free $100 credit if you’re interested. DigitalOcean has a one-click install option for WordPress, read more about that here.

    Blogs (as I have frequently been writing about lately), or tumblelogs — pick your poison. They’re here to stay, even if the social network appendages in your life disappear.

  • 2017

  • E-mail is the Biggest Social Network

  • E-mail is making a come-back apparently. Inside, claims that their e-mail newsletter network is growing at a break-neck rate. With open-rates just above 40%, and click-through-rates at 10% — it's something to ponder.

    There will be 4.1 billion e-mail users by 2020. For scale, compare that to Facebook's active users count: 2 billion.

    I believe newsletter networks will see huge growth in the coming years. It's going to be the next big thing. This is potential huge signal for other companies to bootstrap together a newsletter product.

    We've already seen companies trying to get some skin in the news aggregation game. Two notable players are Twitter and Google. They already have your e-mail. They know what you read. Why not deliver a curated newsletter of news/moments you may have missed?

    Thought Experiment #1:

    If I'm a non-Twitter user and visit Twitter Moments….

    1. Instead of convincing me to be a user here, offer a newsletter to follow Moments
    2. Show me news I may have missed
    3. E-mail is forward-able, and thus shareable
    4. Try to convert me into a Twitter user later

    Thought Experiment #2:

    If I'm a Yahoo! e-mail user, and visit Google News…

    1. Instead of convincing me to be a user here, offer a newsletter to follow Google News headlines
    2. Show me news I may have missed
    3. E-mail is forward-able, and thus shareable
    4. Try to convince me into a Google user later

    Thought Experiment #3:

    If I'm already a user at *Twitter or Google*…

    1. Send me newsletters to catch news I may have missed today
    2. Periodically send me posts from users I follow
    3. Recommend me to engage on a story my followers engaged with
    4. Remind me to check in on Moments or Google News as breaking news comes in

    Newsletters are very powerful tools plainly because they're a direct line between me and a service I chose to join. I wish Twitter would take advantage of e-mail more. It's highly underutilized, and it's one strategy Twitter has never taken. If they ever did, it could grow their user base and could be very rewarding long-term with user-growth.