It’s been two weeks of obsessions with surprising headlines and trends. How could we have predicted STAT News would focus on Clubhouse, 🤯, or that the New York Times would make us consider the responsibility of top influencers in educating communities on race, inclusion and bullying? Or that Grindr, the location-based social networking and online dating app for gay, bi, trans and queer people, appeared to violate GDPR rules by sharing third-party data in Norway. We thrive on weeks like these: from pivoting strategies, to examining the social community’s roles and responsibilities related to ethics, to applauding governments that enforce the protection of user data.
What the Future May Bring: Health Innovations at CES 2021
The first virtual Consumer Electronic Showcase Convention occurred in early January, with health innovations and gadgets taking center stage (or “center screen” in this instance). There was no shortage of products directly related to, or accelerated by, the COVID-19 pandemic. Futuristic face masks were showcased that made wearers feel like they were living in a sci-fi series. Panels about sustaining the innovation around telemedicine to fully realize the benefits of virtual healthcare emphasized the connection between patients’ data and their doctors, as well as its role in addressing healthcare disparities.
Recap: How Top Platforms Prepared for Inauguration Day
Following the events at the United States Capitol, social platforms quickly took action to introduce new safety measures leading up to inauguration day. Facebook prohibited events from being created near the U.S. Capitol, or any state capitol, blocked ex-U.S. pages and accounts from creating events in the U.S., restricted access to certain tools (such as live videos) for U.S. users with a history of platform policy violations, and banned ads for weapon accessories through January 22. Airbnb blocked and canceled all D.C. metro area reservations during inauguration week, and Apple, Google and Amazon all took steps to limit the social app Parler from their respective platforms, citing content moderation concerns.
How Social Platforms are Combating Vaccine Hesitancy
In response to an influx of COVID-19 misinformation on social media, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have taken proactive steps to ensure their users are being served with evidence-based information by attaching fact-checking labels to posts. And it seems those labels are working. A recent study measured the impact of the labels on vaccine hesitancy and found that users who were shown the labels on tweets were more likely to have a positive outlook on vaccines than those who saw misinformation alone. As vaccine hesitancy is an ongoing public health challenge, sharing accurate, fact-based information is crucial to improving understanding of vaccines, especially their importance in helping stop the spread of COVID-19. Hopefully, these labels will be a permanent feature across platforms to combat misinformation and improve confidence in vaccines.
NYC Taps Influencers to Promote COVID-19 Testing
With COVID-19 tests becoming easier to access in many states, public health officials are now turning to efforts to encourage the population to get tested and continue to follow safety guidelines. NYC Health + Hospitals has taken a unique approach, working with popular local influencers to create content about testing options and processes. Ballerina Misty Copeland, fitness influencer Trevor Bell and even some “petfluencers” are among the partnerships. While there hasn’t been a national announcement of plans to work with influencers around vaccination efforts, the approach may prove useful as the vaccine becomes more widely available. For example, Indonesia is prioritizing influencer campaigns in its vaccine rollout as part of a strategy to demonstrate vaccine safety. As with other campaigns, influencers can play a key role in reaching various audiences and speaking about serious topics from a relatable level.
The Shifting Social Media Landscape
With people spending more time at home due to COVID-19, gaming and streaming have risen sharply. The surge in user bases on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube mean that opportunities for advertisers have broadened, and streaming has opened more opportunities to reach audiences. Notably, these users are younger than those on other platforms, and brands that have seen success on Snapchat and TikTok are likely to be able to expand their reach and see successful campaigns. Gaming and streaming activity isn’t limited to platforms with younger audiences, however. In fact, Facebook Gaming saw a 238% YOY increase in hours watched in April 2020. As exciting as this appears, it’s important for advertisers to understand the way these platforms work so they can avoid backlash like that experienced by Burger King after advertising through Twitch’s donation feature.
In Other News…
Swipe right and swipe-up: LinkedIn adds Swipe-Up links to LinkedIn Stories.
To meme or not to meme: A guide to memetic media in 2021 and beyond.
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