The Law and Business of Social Media
February 17, 2015 - Status Updates

Status Updates: Social media for minimalists; Pinterest’s plans; Super Bowl XLIX on social

Social media for minimalists. These days, the information flooding the news feeds on some social media platforms can feel overwhelming and redundant. Take Twitter, for example—a medium whose popularity has resulted in a user experience that technology futurist Nova Spivack compares to “a crowded room where everyone is shouting.” Explaining his theory behind the decline in Twitter’s user engagement, Spivack says that, for that platform’s users, the only solution to the avalanche of information “is to ignore it all. And that is what most people seem to be doing.” Enter This., a new social media platform seemingly designed to head off the very problem vexing today’s Twitter users. In the words of its creator, Andrew Golis, This. compels its users “to be spare and judicious in what they suggest others listen to, read and watch” by allowing them to post only one link a day. This. users can click on as many links posted by others as they’d like, however, and can express their appreciation for the content at those links by clicking “Thanks,” This.’s version of Twitter’s “Favorite” button. On weeknights, Golis sends This. members a newsletter highlighting the five stories he considers to be the crème de la crème. For now, membership is relatively exclusive; to join This., one must get an invitation from one of its 4,500 current users.

Big plans. Pinterest’s active user base grew in 2014 by 97%, more than any other social media platform. Now, the social bookmarking site is taking steps to monetize its impressive metrics by making itself more attractive to advertisers, who, so far, have only been able to target their ads based on basic information like Pinterest users’ locations, genders, and categories of interest. Beginning sometime this year, the company will leverage its unique ability to cull information about pinners’ future plans and purchases—intelligence that Pinterest’s head of operations, Don Faul, calls “intent data”—by providing advertisers with information about its users’ activities on the site. The content generated by the users of social media platforms like Facebook tends to concern the past, both recent and distant: pictures of a family’s winter holiday, for example, or vintage “throwback Thursday” photos of their 16-year-old daughter’s first birthday party. Social media enthusiasts most often use Pinterest, on the other hand, to keep track of what they want their futures to look like: goods they hope to acquire, designs they intend to replicate, destinations they hope to visit, and recipes they plan to prepare. That information is obviously infinitely valuable to marketers, and may help Pinterest to someday live up to its astronomical valuation.

Keeping score. Super Bowl XLIX scored a touchdown on social media, according the U.S. news outlets. The game broke records for U.S. sports events on both Facebook and Twitter, where it generated 265 million likes, posts and comments, and 28 million global tweets, respectively. Malcom Butler’s interception of Russell Wilson’s pass alone generated 395,000 tweets per minute, more than any other moment during the game. But, while those numbers are impressive, the 2014 World Cup caused significantly more social media buzz. Having generated 35.6 million tweets during the game, Brazil’s 7-1 defeat by Germany in the semi-finals still holds the record for the most tweeted-about sports event in history. And the 2014 World Cup final, which resulted in 618,725 tweets per minute, is still the winner in the tweets-per-minute category. The Facebook numbers are equally impressive: “By the end of the World Cup, social engagement on Facebook pushed the overall figure to three billion interactions, involving 350 million people,” the BBC reported.