Privacy No More

People worry about it, companies obsess over it, conventions convene over it, but online privacy may become a non-issue in the near future. However, non-issue is meant in the worst possible way. In other words, by 2025, about the only way to ensure online privacy would be not to online at all. Actually, even that won’t work, people will be able to find your information whether you purposely put it online or not.

According to a Mashable article highlighting Pew Research Center findings, 55% of experts polled did not think we would finally reach the point where security would be created to protect all of our data. In fact, at least one respondent stated that the Internet of Things will know even more about us than the web, social media, and apps do right now.

Perhaps the only “privacy” we’ll have is the possible “anonymity” of being just one person out of billions on the web. Kind of like the way that you are much more anonymous in a large city than in a small town. It’s not much to go on but it the future; it may be all we have.

The Changing Nature of SEO

I’ve always wondered, when it comes to SEO, if everyone starts applying the well-known tricks of the trade, how will your brand rise above? Since that first Google page can only fit so many results, brands need to drill down even more to make sure that their keywords, their websites, and their content is just a little bit better than the others. It’s a game of inches.

SEO is vital. Even just from my own personal searching, I never get to the second page of Google results unless I am really digging for something. If I’m just casually looking, without and real concern for pinpointing and exact term or phrase, I’ll stick with what I find on the first page.

Earlier this year, PRNews reported on the 5 best techniques for enhancing your SEO strategy. Actually, they are relaying best practices from “TopRank Online Marketing.” Key highlights include making sure your main keyword is always in focus, incorporating influencers and thought leaders into your strategy, making sure your website is optimized, and more.

How’s Your Social Life?

Social media has literally affected the way people live their lives. They now have another life online which for some is more active than their offline life. Of course, we’ve all read stories about how people, especially teens and younger, have run into problems with bullying online in addition to attracting unwanted attention from others.

That all being said, some of us play out our lives online in such a way that seems innocuous but may rob us of living real lives. In an interesting article about how we keep and maintain “virtual shadows,” by posting our lives online, Author Damon Brown discusses why so many of us are obsessed with self-documentation.

He discusses how we can be so overcome with the need to capture and record every moment of our lives that we end up missing out on the actual event itself. This brings to mind a quote attributed to the movie Field of Dreams: “You know, we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening.”

Web = Mobile

Ok, not entirely yet, but that headline’s meaning and intent will soon be fulfilled. A very short time ago, there were websites and mobile sites, then mobile sites grew more sophisticated and responsive. Now, according to Google, more searches come from mobile than from desktops and laptops.

This news is a great thing from brands in at least one respect – marketing resource allocation. After all, it was assumed that mobile dominance would eventually happen, but now that it is finally here, brands know where to focus the bulk of their marketing and advertising dollars. This could also mean richer mobile sites, many of which still lag behind their desktop/laptop counterparts in terms of design.

In our increasingly mobile society, this also means that companies will need to think more about how consumers interact with their mobile devices and deliver content and purchasing opportunities that meet consumers where they are….quite literally.

Sofia Vergara presents another big step in social content delivery

In other posts I’ve discussed the online evolution of news delivery, with particular emphasis on Facebook and Snapchat. As mentioned, Snapchat is now offering more than disappearing messages, they are currently delivering lasting content, with respected news organizations like CNN and National Geographic.

However, unlike its competitors, Snapchat is now getting into the original content delivery game. In a move that seems more Netflix/Hulu than Facebook/Twitter, the social site is adding a short web/social-based series starring Sophia Vergara of Modern Family. The series will be a comedic look at her career through the eyes of her son.

Although this is the second series to debut on Snapchat (with others in the works), it is certainly the most high-profile show on the social site, with a star as famous as Vergara. It is possible that her star-power could generate enough interest to make users begin to take Snapchat seriously as a content delivery platform. Cable companies will have to take notice as they continue to lose ground to online, mobile, and social entities in the race to capture the loyalties of entertainment consumers.

The Evolution of Online News Continues

The evolution of online news delivery continues. In a previous post I mentioned how Facebook is working with top news organizations to add news content right on the Facebook site, enabling users to stay on Facebook and not have to navigate out to the a news organization website to read an article.

In a somewhat similar vein, Snapchat is now starting its own news division, to be headed by a former CNN political correspondent — Peter Hamby. The social media site, originally more of a messaging app, is becoming a full blown competitor to titans like Facebook and Twitter. Now, adding what are considered credible news organizations like CNN and National Geographic to its news content line-up, Snapchat is showing that they are a serious company with serious goals. What is different here is that Snapchat is also drawing from user-generated news content and blending it with more traditional news organizations.

Having a front-row seat for the evolution of online news is exciting. Seeing how it all plays out and who is left standing makes good theater for any self-professed news junkie like me. However, I keep coming back to the concern that if we all start to get our news from social media (many of us already are), is it good to have the dissemination of our news in the hands of just a few companies?  Snapchat is adding to the mix but how big will that mix be? Like all things in the ever-changing online world, we’ll have to wait and see.

Emerging News Media

As a self-confessed news junkie, I found a recent New York Times article very interesting. It had to do with Facebook and how they are trying to get prominent news organizations to host articles and features directly on Facebook, instead of having users click on a link to an outside web address (e.g., nytimes.com).

Will this be the new way people receive news? On the one hand it can help news organizations reach these audiences in a new way. On the other hand, it can hurt their advertising revenue by not having their readers access their own website, since they would never leave Facebook.

If Facebook does this, I assume Twitter will be quick to follow. I’ve already seen business stories hosted directly on LinkedIn.

Pew Research_Social Media News

One thing to be concerned about is if a handful of social sites begin to become the dominant sources of aggregate news (especially for convenience purposes), then that is a lot of power wielded by just a few companies. Presumably, we could always access the news directly from news websites but again, consolidating the power of news delivery within a few organizations could set the stage for abuses of that power.

On the flip side, the convenience factor is a big plus for receiving news this way. It provides sort of an “already there” experience. In other words, since you already have the website or the app open, why not have your news “delivered” there as well?