Friday Download – 5 August 2016

We might as well start this one with a quick thank you to Elon Musk. The visionary CEO and founder of Tesla, SpaceX and ‘real life Tony Stark’ has given us a lot to talk about over the years. We’ve referenced the impact of his tweets on Tesla’s share price. We’ve applauded his response to a potential crisis at one of Tesla’s factories. And now, he’s given us a little more to talk about.

This time, we want to visit his “Master Plan, Part Deux”, his dictum on the future of Tesla and the rest of his enterprises and the technologies on which he’ll be spending his energy. Sure, as this FT piece points out, not everybody was wild about his vision itself. But what the piece also aptly points out is how easily every reader came away with a clear picture of Musk’s vision. There’s a certain sense of irony in the fact that – and we can see this from time to time by leaders like Mark Zuckerberg, as well  – while working on some of the most complex and ground-breaking technologies, Musk’s communications are also and (relatively) jargon-free. A good note for business leaders and company communications departments generally. If you want people to get on board with your vision and plan for your company, you have to make sure they understand it first.


If Elon Musk’s text-heavy edicts don’t do it for you, we’ve looked at another alternative: video. Of course, of course, it’s nothing new to say that video has come to social media in a big way and leaders of social media companies have pushed hard (and paid the big bucks) to make sure this trend continues. But with such a strong trend and over half of publishers in the US and UK labelling video as a key revenue driver in 2017, it pays to keep thinking about how video is being used on social media.

One new avenue for videos is on LinkedIn. The platform announced this week that users can expect to see more videos in their newsfeeds and not just for quasi-innovative gadgets that all my connections seem to think they’ll look innovative by sharing. Anyway, more importantly, LinkedIn has invited its 500 Influencers – your Bransons, Huffingtons, etc. – to record and share 30-second videos on “trending professional topics or news” or in response to questions from the community put either to the Influencer specifically or the LinkedIn community at large. This could become a powerful internal communications and recruitment tool for leaders to literally put a human face on their business. It’s also one that bears watching to see whether, like Posts before it, the feature will roll out from Influencers to mainstream users.


As many of our clients know, we’re big fans of GIFs (repeating video loops, for the few of us who don’t spend nine hours a day online) here on the digital team, which is why we took considerable umbrage upon learning that the Olympic Committee has banned media organisations from releasing GIFs. Granted, sports broadcasters have long battled over this – what good are paying for the rights to be a sole broadcaster if anybody with a smartphone can show friends and followers all the action from an eyewitness perspective? Regardless, though, GIFs have become a critical part of internet language – conveying anything from a set of financial results to what it’s like to have a bad case of the Mondays. An effective approach to media in the digital age often involves ceding a little control, letting information flow as it will and conversations to shape themselves before trying to influence the outcome. In this case, chances are, a few GIFs going viral might attract the attention of people who hadn’t planned to tune in actually driving up viewership for broadcasters. Shame broadcasters may miss that opportunity, which is kind of weird considering even the Church of England is down with GIFs.


Google’s Instant Articles competitor is about to take over mobile search [The Verge]
Kik hits 20,000 bot apps four months after store launch [WIRED]
Reddit will soon let brands sponsor posts from ordinary users [The Drum]
Instagram will soon let you filter comments on your own account [The Washington Post]
‘We were wasting time churning out tweets’: The Economist guide to quality over quantity [Digiday]
Facebook’s new anti-clickbait algorithm buries bogus headlines [TechCrunch]


This week we thought we’d reserve this section to give a little tip of our cap to our colleagues in the US, who write a handy round up of what’s going on over on their side of the pond from the digital perspective. We suggest you check it out!

OK, OK. You can have your funny too. Here’s unending frustration, GIF edition.

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