What's Trending? [Content Made Simple]

Issue #210: Also, the network effects of TikTok and Facebook changing the rules.


The world is changing. Fast. But how fast? And where is it all going?



Data tells us that the most culturally relevant brands perform the best. So we analyzed billions of Tweets from the last two years to get a better understanding of the evolving cultural trends and conversations shaping our future. It wasn’t a job for the faint of heart. But read on and we think you’ll agree, it was worth it.


Twitter published a report recently about some of the most common trends on the platform. It seems that the purpose of publishing the report is to generate email leads for potential ads business, so I am a little skeptical about the actual insight of this report. BUT, it was as fascinating read nonetheless. Worth a bit of your time.


The Challenges of Fact Checking on Social Media

Fact checking continues to be a challenge for social networks due to the spread of disinformation. But not only is the information an issue, so are the methods and personal bias in checking facts. Today we discuss these challenges and more.


Link #1: American Idle (Analysis of TikTok)

This is, by far, the best piece of writing and analysis I have read on TikTok yet. And I’ve read a lot, so that’s saying something.

By network effects of creativity, I mean that every additional user on TikTok makes every other user more creative.

This exists in a weak form on every social network and on the internet at large. The connected age means we are exposed to so much from so many more people than at any point in human history. That can't help but compound creativity.

Various memes and trends pass around on networks like Instagram and Twitter. But there, you still have to create your own version of a meme from scratch, even if, on Twitter, it's as simple as copying and pasting.

Link #2: "Mark Changed The Rules": How Facebook Went Easy On Alex Jones And Other Right-Wing Figures

This is an interesting read about how powerful Zuckerberg is within his own organization.

In April 2019, Facebook was preparing to ban one of the internet’s most notorious spreaders of misinformation and hate, Infowars founder Alex Jones. Then CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally intervened.

Jones had gained infamy for claiming that the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre was a “giant hoax,” and that the teenage survivors of the 2018 Parkland shooting were “crisis actors.” But Facebook had found that he was also relentlessly spreading hate against various groups, including Muslims and trans people. That behavior qualified him for expulsion from the social network under the company's policies for "dangerous individuals and organizations," which required Facebook to also remove any content that expressed “praise or support” for them.

Link #3: The anti-social media social network

I am increasingly interested in and concerned by the connection between social media use and mental health. This is an interesting Substack piece in that space.

The last two decades have been engineered through our connections between the online world and the offline world. Sitting here, in 2021, in the 11th month of a pandemic, we are the product of almost twenty years of the promise of connectivity and communication. 

The social platforms, the most dominating social tools on the planet, have created a world that turns people into “users.” We need to tell the world what we’re doing; we need to tell the world how we’re feeling; we need to tell the world that we want to be heard. We are addicted. 


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