July 4, 2020

Yahoo’s Tumblr Deal Is a Bet on a Shift in Social Media

It also heralds a larger shift in social media. Facebook arguably invented modern social networking, and is still the king. But increasingly its approach is seen as passive and outdated as people flock to sites like Tumblr where they can be more actively engaged in creating personal, expressive content to share — and which could potentially translate to advertising dollars.

“People love a stage or a pulpit from which they can broadcast,” S. Shyam Sundar, a director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University, explained. “The genie is out of the bottle. Everyone loves it and it’s very seductive for users to get online and be a source of content, rather than just consuming passively.”

This is behind the appeal of sites like Tumblr, where millions have created signature blogs; or Reddit, the news aggregator, which is encouraging users to make and upload video content to share; or video sites like YouTube. Also, Vine, a Twitter app that allows people to easily make and post six-second videos has been wildly popular since its debut in January. One of Vine’s creators, Dom Hofmann, said its initial success was “rooted in the simplicity of the tool.”

Snapchat, the messaging application, which lets people add text or draw cartoons on top of photos and videos, is processing upward of 150 million images each day. And Instagram, which Facebook acquired last year, has attracted more than 100 million users in its short life span — letting people add vintage effects and other filters to their photos.

The more services like Vine and Tumblr can “come up with ways to let people control and generate content and project identity,” Mr. Sundar predicted, the more successful they will be.

Still, these newer sites have not yet proved they are moneymakers, which makes Yahoo’s move a big bet. And as much as Tumblr’s sale can be seen as a success story for the small company, it also hints at the darker struggles of a social media service that is rich in users and nothing else.

Plus, Facebook is still a force to be reckoned with. The company has a billion-plus users and generated $5 billion in revenue last year. But except for the Instagram acquisition, Facebook has been slow to introduce tools to let members make and create interesting content beyond uploading photos and videos.

The result is that it has evolved more into a social directory, a kind of yellow pages of the Internet, where people spend time tending to their public image and endlessly tweaking security settings to keep their party pictures private. And signs have begun to emerge that users are becoming bored and disenchanted with the site.

A recent report by Piper Jaffray that surveyed 5,200 American teenagers on their online use found that while Facebook was still the most important media destination for teenagers, its popularity slipped by 9 percent from spring of 2012.

Gene Munster, one of the lead analysts on the survey, said that if anything, the results showed that the taste and interest of Web users, particularly younger ones, was fickle and fleeting.

“It’s not a question of whether or not Facebook will stay relevant,” Mr. Munster said. “On the margin, they will still be relevant. It’s about the potential for declining engagement and what that impact is over the longer-term for making money.”

People have so many news feeds, sites, apps and in-boxes competing for their time, said Kim Celestre, an analyst with Forrester Research, that the sites and services where they are active participants are more likely to hold their attention for longer, attracting advertising dollars. Tumblr says its members spend 24 billion minutes on the site each month.

“Big marketing campaigns are looking to bring people into their brand and immerse them,” she said.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/technology/social-media-is-moving-into-creativity-like-tumblr.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: Magazine Cover Draws Claims of Racism

A Bloomberg Businessweek magazine cover published Feb. 25 about the housing rebound in the United States — featuring cartoonish minorities holding fistfuls of money — has drawn intense criticism from readers and media critics, some of whom have described the cover as racist.

The Feb. 25 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.The Feb. 25 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek. Enlarge Image »

“Our cover illustration last week got strong reactions, which we regret,” Josh Tyrangiel, the magazine’s editor, said in a statement on Thursday. “Our intention was not to incite or offend. If we had to do it over again we’d do it differently.”

But his statement came too late to head off pointed criticism online. Some posts on Twitter called it a “non-apology,” and by Thursday afternoon, a handful of people had signed an online petition urging the company to pull the cover. (A new issue, however, is already on newsstands.)

Matthew Yglesias, a business correspondent at Slate, prompted much of the online commentary after questioning the cover in a post on the Web site Thursday morning. While praising the publication for being “a genuinely great magazine that does an amazing job of making business and economics news accessible and interesting,” he said Bloomberg Businessweek “ought to be ashamed” for its cover choice.

Ryan Chittum, at the Columbia Journalism Review, said the cover was “clearly a mistake” because of “its cast of black and Hispanic caricatures with exaggerated features reminiscent of early 20th-century race cartoons.” What made it even more offensive, Mr. Chittum wrote, “is the fact that race has been a key backdrop to the subprime crisis.”

In a statement, Andres Guzman, the illustrator who created the cover, said, “The assignment was an illustration about housing. I simply drew the family like that because those are the kind of families I know. I am Latino and grew up around plenty of mixed families.” According to Mr. Guzman’s Tumblr page, he was born in Lima, Peru and lives in Minneapolis.

In an interview, Hugo Balta, the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, said the cover “continues to speak to the insensitivity of how minorities, and in this case Latinos, are being portrayed in media.”

“I think it oversimplifies an issue that obviously has tremendous financial impact to the country, and it also puts a face to a community that is too often vulnerable to those types of attacks,” Mr. Balta said. “If we go with the old saying that a picture is worth a thousands words, the message in this picture is that it’s the minority’s fault.”

Mr. Balta said he planned to contact Bloomberg Businessweek to discuss the issue.

Gregory Lee Jr., the president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said in a statement, “The image that was published by Bloomberg Businessweek is just a microcosm of a bigger problem in the magazine industry — the lack of diversity.”

“The last presidential election demonstrated that our nation’s demographics are changing rapidly and it is essential that media companies should make the appropriate changes to welcome diversity in their newsrooms, specifically in managerial positions,” Mr. Lee said.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/magazine-cover-draws-claims-of-racism/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Economix Blog: 99 Percenters and 53 Percenters Face Off

Welfare. Food stamps. Bankruptcy and minimum wage. Those are a few of the complaints of those in We Are the 99 Percent, a Tumblr blog recording the stories of those who sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street protests.

But wait. Those are also the complaints in We Are the 53%, a counterblog that is meant as a conservative retort to the protestors. The site, which mimics the 99 Percenters by having people write out their stories and hold them up to be photographed, says it is by “Those of us who pay for those of you who whine about all of that.”

What’s with all the percentages? The 99 Percenters are objecting to the fact that 1 percent of Americans control about a third of the country’s wealth. The 53 Percenters are portraying themselves as the responsible citizens who pay federal income tax, as opposed to the 47 percent of Americans who don’t. (Most who don’t are exempt because their incomes are too low or they get tax breaks aimed at low-income working families and other groups.) At The Washington Post Wonkblog, Ezra Klein pointed out that that many people paid no taxes because of conservative pressure to lower them.

The 99 Percenters, who have given a voice to the decentralized protests, tell of accumulated student debt, unaffordable health insurance and a sense of despair. “I followed the rules … now here I am,” wrote a 30-year-old unemployed woman who said she could not afford marriage or children.

The 53 Percenters, on the other hand, say things like, “My faith in God has always helped me weather the storms of life, not a government hand out.”

But the 53 Percent do not seem, by and large, to be doing much better than the 99 Percent. “I work 60+ hours a week with no guarantee of a paycheck,” wrote one contributor. “I didn’t blame Wall Street when I couldn’t find a living wage job or make it as a musician.”

Another self-employed man wrote, “I don’t get vacations, sick leave or comp time.”

The 53 Percent site was the brainchild of Erick Erickson, a CNN commentator and editor of RedState, Josh Treviño, a co-founder of RedState who is now at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Mike Wilson, the filmmaker behind “Michael Moore Hates America,” who started the Tumblr site after #iamthe53 became a popular Twitter hash tag for critics of the Wall Street protests.

“The distinction is that the people on the 99 side are saying, ‘We need to change it so that my life is easier,’ and the people on the 53 side say, ‘My life may not be easy, but it’s mine,’” Mr. Wilson said

Do the 53 percent find no fault with the banks? “A friend of mine said is best — he’s a conservative,” Mr. Wilson said. “He said, ‘They’re mad because these corporations got bailed out. We’re mad because our government bailed out the corporations.’”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=248bdcc54f476306da76cf3944f9e58f