The Return of Niche Communities

Long before trying to connect billions of people, the social Internet started small. Beginning with bulletin board systems, then Usenet and finally forums, niche online communities were largely forgotten during the rise of massive social platforms. Venture-backed companies raced to exploit network effects and focused on acquiring every user in the world at the cost of quality interaction. While these social networks created massive company value, as many are beginning to see, they came at a cost.

As ideological battles escalate and backlash against the mega social platforms mount, many wonder what is next for the social Internet. The answer has been waiting in the corners like an old friend. Niche communities on forums, subReddits and apps are being repackaged and rethought for today’s modern audience. For consumers, there has never been a better time to find their own corner on the Internet. For brands, marketers and creators, understanding niche communities is a critical opportunity to deliver value through meaningful interaction and build an important business foundation. Social media is changing for the smaller, and that’s good for everyone online.

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Introducing Feedback Loop

A key element in all that I do is continuous growth. That isn’t just looking into the future, but looking into yourself. One problem I have noticed is how few people receive actionable feedback from friends and peers. It can be hard to ask for feedback outside a structured work environment. The Digital Future / RLTYCHK team set out to fix that.

Enter Feedback Loop.

Feedback Loop is an iOS app that democratizes the personal and professional feedback process. If you’ve ever experienced a 360 work review, or participated in a Johari Window assessment, you know how valuable feedback can be. Now anyone can receive candid feedback from the people who know them the best: friends and peers. 

Feedback Loop is an easy-to-use app that helps you discover and unlock the great things that others see in you, and eliminates blind spots that hold back your development in life and at work.  

Feedback Loop is simple, secure and anonymous. The iOS app is now available for free in private beta. DFF readers get early access to sign up, just click here.

Should Kids Take Internet Ed?

Your driver license. A symbol of freedom. A quintessential moment in a teenager’s development and one of the few remaining rites of passage. The automobile is also one of the most deadly things mankind has ever invented. It’s no surprise that a test is required to operat a multi-ton projectile. The internet, it turns out, is surprisingly similar to the automobile, with one obvious exception: anyone can drive on the information highway.

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When Food Knows Your Face

This part 2 of my Future of Food series. See part 1 here.

If software is eating the world, its final meal is… food. The food we eat and the way it is discovered has been experiencing a decade’s long technological transformation. While slower than tech transformations seen in other categories, the food transformation is the most personal and will ultimately be the most profound.

Three simultaneous changes are happening related to the availability, personalization, and niche focus of food. Don’t believe me? Kroger has partnered with an autonomous car company, McDonalds recently acquired an AI startup, and an eSports megastar will soon appear on cans of Red Bull. These give us just a glimpse of the future of food.

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Digital Future Friday: Do Aliens Have Computers? – Double Agents – Green Tech S Curve

This week we swerve past knee jerk reactions and get back to our roots.

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Digital Double Agents: Is the Troll Hunter a Troll Herself?

Traditional media was very critical of social media’s involvement in election interference during the 2016 presidential campaign. While there are plenty of worthy criticisms, the forest has been lost for the trees when it comes to state sponsored disinformation campaigns. For some reason, the traditional media acts as if it is immune. But when words are weapons, anyone can be a soldier.

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Digital Future Friday: Warren E Regulates – A Very Bad Week at Facebook – Why the MAX Fell

It is becoming increasingly clear how the decisions being made today are actively shaping our future. Regulation, scandals and outrage reign supreme as society grapples with the changes that race toward us. Part of our job at Digital Future Friday is to raise awareness about these changes, and spend time thoughtfully considering their potential impact. This week is no different! Put Warren G’s ‘Regulators’ on repeat, and let’s get to it.

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Digital Future Friday: TikTok, Sex and Dancing – Weaponized Videos – Zuckerberg vs. Dorsey

The future continues to race toward us more quickly, so we have lots to cover. This week, you’ll watch a video that is a weapon, unpack the complexities of social status and hear from two social platform CEOs. Let’s go!

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Human Nature as a Service

Chances are, Eugene Wei’s epic tome, Status as a Service, found its way to you this week. At 74 pages, it’s a long read that most people may, unfortunately, abandon ten minutes in. So, having read it, allow me to convey status by exploring Wei’s article and how it relates to human nature.

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