Snapchat is the fastest growing social network ever: Pay attention

As noted by this infographic at SocialTimes, Snapchat is, quite literally, the fastest growing social network of all time.  While it has yet to make money, that can (and probably will) change in the future.  In other words: Pay attention to it.  All of you.

By the numbers, as of today, Snapchat has:

  • 200 million Monthly Active Users
  • 400 millions snaps sent, per day
  • 57% growth in 2014.

Those are impressive numbers, and far ahead of where Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were at comparable times in their existence.

The issue for Snapchat, more than anything else, is it’s demographics, which trend younger than every other social network:

Social Networks By Age

That will present a long-term challenge for growth, if the network cannot, eventually, spread to older demographics.  Also, by design, Snapchat does not integrate with other social networks or the internet, thus potentially cutting off its access to a built in audience.

I suspect, in the long-run, that Snapchat will become less oriented around sending texts/pictures that self-destruct, and move towards a more “traditional” social network model, and behave less like a typical messenger service.

By the way – for elected officials who are looking to connect with younger, non-traditional demographics, Snapchat is the place to be: a majority of its audience younger than 34. If those demographics start to trend towards an older direction…look out, everyone else.  Particularly Twitter.

After helicopter scandal, Australian Speaker’s Facebook cover photo is taken…from a helicopter

Bronwyn Bishop is the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives.  She recently found herself in a bit of hot water when it was found that she spent roughly $5,000, in taxpayer dollars, to take a helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong in order to attend a political fundraiser.  After initially defending the move, the Speaker said that she would pay the money back.

Okay, fine.  But, as noted by Buzzfeed, the Speaker’s Facebook cover photo was, shall we say, a little tone deaf:

Bishop Cover Photo

The picture is of the Australian coast line…taken from a helicopter…of a golf course OH COME ON.

Well, at least some good memes have come out of this one.

According to the BuzzFeed article, the photograph has been Speaker Bishop’s cover photo since 2012, but someone on her staff should have realized that, in light of the scandal, the photo needed to be changed.  Would changing the photo be an “admission of guilt”?  Of course.  But, seeing how the Speaker herself already admitted guilt, that’s kind of a foregone conclusion.

Here’s the lesson: There are certain topics that every politician should never discuss or content you should never use.  For example, generally speaking, every elected official should avoid content which is racist, sexist, violent, offensive, etc.  However, each elected official should have a specific list of content which they avoid.  Speaker Bishop, for example, should never, ever, ever be seen near a helicopter.

In all fairness, it was probably a staffer who dropped the ball here, but this is certainly embarrassing.

Ed Gore

New Jersey Councilman uses Facebook to attack “Muslim scum”

It never fails: A tragedy occurs, and either the victim or the perpetrator is a member of a racial or religious minority.  Someone then makes broad generalizations about the entire race to which the victims or perpetrators belong.

Today’s fail comes to us via Ed Gore, a Councilman in Hamilton, New Jersey.  Councilman Gore, like millions of Americans, was deeply disturbed by the recent murder of five military men in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The murders were allegedly committed by Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez.

Councilman Gore then discussed the incident on Facebook in terms that were, shall we say…uhh, extremely stupid:

Ed Gore Facebook post

Yeah, that “Muslim Scum” comment isn’t helping anything.

Gore apologized for the remarks, though it was the standard half-apology: “Certainly I don’t mean all Muslims are scum. If I offended any Muslims, I am sorry. I would certainly hope all Muslims would join me in condemning the murder of innocent Americans anywhere in the world…I am not some type of anti-Muslim kook. I wish I would have clarified it more and am sorry if I offended anybody. I want to let people know it was the emotion of the time. You think with your head and not with your heart.”

Gore also posted an apology…kind of…on Facebook:

Councilman Gore’s remarks were, naturally, also condemned by other Council members, one of whom called the remarks a “shame” and “disappointing.”  His remarks were also condemned by the Islamic Council of Greater Trenton.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Gore is not a racist, and just made these posts because he was emotional.  That goes back to the classic rule: take a breath, and think before you post.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

Firefighter uses Facebook to say he’d delay treatment for African-Americans

As noted by a TV station in Texas, a Dallas firefighter is in trouble after a Facebook post in which he implied that he would delay treatment for African-Americans.

Chad Tyson is a firefighter in Dallas.  He was responding to a Facebook post that a friend of his had made.  The post shares a story about two firefighters in San Diego were stabbed by a black man.  Then the exchange below happened:

Chad Tyson racist Facebook comment

That last comment – “I will delay treatment for more of them as well” comes from Tyson, and what he is saying is pretty clear: He will delay treating African-Americans.  To say that this is not something anyone should say – let alone a firefighter – is an understatement.

Tyson’s comment is now under investigation by the Dallas Fire Department, which said, “We’re looking into it, with an idea towards discipline.”  The Dallas Fire Department does have a social media policy which limits comments like these.

As this blog has covered many times before, while public employees do not forfeit their first amendment rights, comments which could impact their job performance very clearly are inappropriate…to say nothing of comments which would imply that life saving treatment could be delayed because of the color of ones skin.

I suspect Mr. Tyson will find himself on the receiving end of discipline and training.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

John Douglas

Georgia County Commissioner responds to disgusting post with racism

As noted by 11Alive in Georgia, Newton County Commissioner John Douglas is in trouble responding to an abhorrent post with an abhorrent post of his own.

#NotMyFlag has been used by some to express their disgust for the United States.  Some have taken the trend to the point where they are literally taking pictures of themselves desecrating the American flag.  One such example is seen here:


Charming.  Good luck finding a job in the future.

Anyway, the picture above is obviously disgusting: the woman is pretending to wipe her rear with the American flag, while flipping the camera the bird.

The picture, by design, has people enraged, including Newton Commissioner John Douglas.  However, Douglas definitely went too far when he made the comment below:

John Douglas racist comment

And, we see the worst of humanity here.  One terrible post provokes even more.  Awful.

Anyway, when first confronted about his comment, Douglas actually tried to say it wasn’t him:  “I don’t know what happened, look at what she’s doing; I think that’s wrong.”

However, some time later, Douglas reversed course, saying:  “”My response is you need to go find out why she did that…If she apologizes for that, I’ll apologize for what I said.”

Other Commissioners blasted Douglas’ quote, with one saying, “Absolutely not [appropriate], I’m embarrassed by that frankly.”

Douglas later reversed course (again) and apologized, saying, “She baited me, and I took the bait. I made some very insensitive and derogatory comments…if anyone is offended, I am very, very sorry for using the wrong word in that posting. But having said that, I am not sorry for coming to the defense of our flag.”

A few closing points.  Posts like the #NotMyFlag picture, as seen above, are designed to rile us up.  It’s very difficult to not look at a picture like this and not become instantly enraged.  I think, however, that responding to a picture like this is beneath the dignity of a public official.  You give it credence and credibility by doing so.  I try to ignore posts like these.

Second, the response is obviously out of line.  It’s difficult to look more juvenile than the original poster here, but Commissioner Douglas found a way.

Third, if you do something like this, take responsibility.  As if Commissioner Douglass didn’t look stupid enough, he found a way to dig himself deeper by trying to deny that the comments were his, only to reverse course shortly afterwards.  If you’re going to be a racist, sexist putz, at least be brave enough to take responsibility for your words.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

Facebook and Twitter

The best time to post on Facebook and Twitter…doesn’t exist

This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while now: If I see one more post which claims to know, for certain, the best time to post on Facebook or Twitter, I’m worried my head my explode.

Why?  Because such a magical, mystical, uniform time does not exist.  In fact, experts” and studies have all drawn different conclusions about what times work best.

Check out these links.  In terms of Facebook, this infographic says that Thursday and Friday are the best days of the week to post, this one says go for Wednesday’s at 3pm, and this one says after work (which, incidentally, is the exact opposite of the previous two links).  Similar conflicting information exist for Twitter, Instagram, and pretty much every social network.

So, why is there such a disparity of information here?  Why do multiple studies not agree?

Well, because every audience is different, and different audiences obviously come complete with differing patterns of online activity and social media consumption.  As a result, no two audience is the same, and no two audience has a “best time.”

How do you then determine your best time for posting?  Well, you have to do the leg-work yourself.  Facebook and Twitter now each come complete with their own analytics, and using those analytics, you can determine when your audience is online, what time period is the best for making uploads, and what time your entries typically do the best.

In other words: You can’t go by a uniform study, because there’s no such thing.  Perhaps links like the one above can provide some insight about general trends, but there is no way you can read them as specific to you, your audience, or your needs.  For that, you have to do the leg work to determine what times work best for you.


Phone use and depression

I caught this story in the Washington Post, and I’ll be the first to admit it: I am not surprised by it.  Not even a little bit.

Here’s the summary: Using apps and a questionnaire, researchers were able to link depression with phone use.  In other words, the more time you spend using your phone, the more likely you are to be depressed.

This is, of course, not the first study to link depression with new technology.  Multiple past studies have shown a connection between Facebook and depression, and as the article notes, this is likely the first of many studies which will deal with the connection between tech and mental health.

An important disclaimer: There is no causation statement here, only correlation, though I have my own theory about that.  First, for those of you who know me in the real world, you likely know that I’ve been very public about my own battles with depression and anxiety:

In looking at my personal experiences with depression, I can tell you this much: When you are depressed, generally speaking, you want nothing to do with the world.  You just want to withdraw into a fake, safe universe, where thinking is not required and personal interaction is limited.  Of course, this is extremely dangerous and counter productive: When I’m depressed, I NEED to interact with people, distract myself with real work and make sure I don’t enter the fantasy land of my iPhone.  However, combine these urges with the natural tendency of many in my generation to spend too much time with their phones, and you get a recipe for disaster.

Here’s my point: We are barely scratching the surface of the connection between technology, social networking and mental health.  I was very excited to see this study, because it begins to shed some concrete answers on a real problem.  I’ll also add that, for those of you who, like me, suffer from mental health problems, the temptation to spend too much time in the land of social networking or on a mobile device can get way, way too tempting and too distracting.  It’s something that requires vigilance, and I hope studies like this can continue to shed the light on this problem.  And, as our society gets more technologically integrated, I think that digital technology – and safety – area areas which will have to be increasingly addressed by our schools.