Facebook's Endless Pivots Are Maddening [Content Made Simple]
Issue #268: New Twitter developments, TikTok for dating, and more.
TOP OF THE WEEK:
Facebook's plan to wind down its podcast platform is the latest in a long line of projects the social network has launched with fanfare and then unceremoniously scuttled.
Why it matters: "Launch, test, shut down" is a common pattern in tech's "fail fast" culture, but Facebook has a striking record of big product reversals — and now founder Mark Zuckerberg is betting the whole company on a vast metaverse project that it can't afford to see fail.
Driving the news: Facebook's podcast platform will stop taking new uploads on Friday and shut down for good next month, Bloomberg reported Monday.
Managing social media platforms (most of which were Facebook accounts) used to be 80% of what I did in a given day. These days, I probably spend about 10% of any given month managing social media accounts. That is to say, Facebook’s constant pivoting and changing of strategies/philosophies doesn’t impact me like it once did. But reading about yet another change from the biggest social media platform this week definitely triggered some PTSD in my mind from when this would have dramatically affected my work. Perhaps it affects you!
HITTING THE LINKS
Twitter has been talking about this feature for a while. I’m not sure how much it will be used, but it could be very helpful for people who maybe deal with a lot of trolls but need to maintain a Twitter presence for their work or something like that.
Communities enables users to segment their Twitter audience, so that you can share more specific discussions with specific groups, as opposed to broadcasting everything to all of your followers all the time, and that, ideally, will open up more opportunity for Twitter users to engage with a broader range of topics, as they won’t feel constrained to post only what they think their established audience will respond to and like.
But whether it works that way in practice remains to be seen. Part of the problem with Circles, as I see it at least, is that most users likely conduct the discussions that would fit into this offering within their DMs already, maintaining group chats with their close friends in a more private space. That privacy enables people to feel more comfortable sharing, and there doesn’t seem like much reason for them to switch those conversations to the potentially more exposed Circles option instead.
A former president at musical.ly (now known as TikTok), Alex Hofmann has already done something that seems impossible: He helped build an app that could compete with social giants like Meta, YouTube or Snapchat. After ByteDance acquired musical.ly for around $1 billion in 2018, Hofmann left the company to become an investor, but he soon decided he wanted to make apps again. So, Hofmann founded 9count, the parent company to apps like Everland, Helpline, Juju and the friendship-making app Wink, which has millions of users.
“There’s a trend that I observed in China that a lot of tech companies there don’t just build one product, but multiple products,” Hofmann told TechCrunch. He noted that a company like Meta grows by acquiring apps like Instagram and WhatsApp, while Twitter continues iterating on the same flagship app. “Having one product is super exciting, of course, but we do see the trend that there are more and more different interest groups. Serving them with just one product can work, but there is a higher chance that you can connect with more people with different products.”
This is about how I thought it would work! Could be good!
The bigger question, of course, is what happens afterward — how can readers tell if you messed with your tweets after the fact and what you messed with? That’s also fairly simple: there’s a little “Edited” button that’ll show up next to the timestamp, and you can click it to go to an Edit History page that should theoretically show all the previous versions of that tweet.
THE FUNNY PART
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