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.
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.
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!
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.
This week, we dissect the complicated cultural issue plaguing our social platforms. In the wake of new bans and mad-dash policy updates from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, it’s critical to understand the root causes and externalities. And as luck has it, the most famous of the de-platformed made a return on Wednesday.
Is social media ripping apart the fabric of society? Fears of the fringe and “the other”have prompted some to demand social platforms remove uncomfortable ideas, hoping that the very algorithms that entrap us will protect us from ourselves. The idea of uniting humanity through a global network is turning out to be more dystopian than utopic. At the center, a tribal battle has erupted online, and it’s just getting started.
Tech entrepreneur Marc Andreessen famously said, “there are only two ways to make money in business: One is to bundle; the other is unbundle.”
This bundle/unbundle process most commonly appears in the digital media and technology space. Successful unbundling requires product innovation that makes it an obviously better choice than its predecessor. For example, the ability to instantly download a single song of your choice from iTunes, versus driving to Tower Records to buy a full CD, is clearly the better option.
Consumer packaged food (CPG) brands been able to avoid the unbundling disruption, because innovation in the CPG space was stagnant. Innovation usually meant introducing a minor variation to a product line, such as offering a family size version of an existing SKU. This limited “innovation” worked as long as all of the large CPGs were playing the same game. But, when technology set its sights on the food vertical, disruption was inevitable.
Reality is shifting, and no one understands what’s real anymore.
A new version of reality has emerged and it’s manifesting itself in strange phenomena such as Frye Fest, fake news and synthetic influencers. This version of reality – the synthetic layer – sits on top of our senses and language, and has emerged thanks to our powerful digital landscape: social media, television, video games and the interconnected global community. These digital networks alter our perception of what’s real, and reinforce that position through likes, comments and shares. Synthetic reality is rapidly shifting our culture, and it’s time for brands and consumers to understand what is happening to the world around them.