My top 3 things to think about in 2016

My top 3 things to think about in 2016

For some reason a few folks have asked me what I think the year ahead will bring, we also did our annual look ahead review at work for which I submitted a few “things to watch” for 2016… I’m not calling this predictions, just things I think anyone working in social/digital need to think about next year:

1) Ad-mageddon – the continuing rise in ad-blockers (see previous ad-blocker post) will make the move from tech-savvy folks to the mass population – IAB research suggests the rate of growth is accelerating: from 15% in June to 18% in Nov.

As this continues, how will it affect your digital strategy going forward? Are you targeting the right people, given which demographics are more/less likely to block? How will the decline in advertising revenue affect news sites/blogs and others who rely on this source of income? Would your ads pass as “Acceptable Ads“?

2) Private messaging apps rule the world!

We’re already seeing WhatsApp and Snapchat dominate in younger markets, private/ephemeral messaging continues to be popular with news organisations already using it to share stories and gather content.

Are you using it personally and as a business? (most answer yes and no… that says a lot) Have you considered the safeguarding considerations of using a service like these, allowing for direct and possibly untraceable communication with your customers/supporters? How does this affect social listening if you can’t see it? If I was WhatsApp I’d launch paid-for corporate WhatsApp accounts (ie not dependent on a mobile number) with a tool to monitor/interact with your customers for support etc – that’d be the Twitter killer in some ways and a great revenue stream.

3) Facebook video – the YouTube Strikes Back!

Well I had to fit in a Star Wars reference somewhere…  with Facebook pushing hard to own social video content I think two things will happen soon:

1) We must be close to a crunch point of Facebook being sued by content creators who’s original work is copied and shared on Facebook. I frequently see the same thing, without attribution, being posted by different Facebook pages – if you make a living from views on YouTube and your views are disappearing, what would you do? What action would you take if your content was used in this way? Given that it often takes 2-3 days for take down requests to be actioned, which is too late for something that has gone viral – is it watermarked or has clear branding on it?

2) YouTube as a channel fights back – I’m not sure how this might happen or what they can do… if people are on FB, using FB video… but perhaps we’ll see new distribution partnerships or formats – will we see channels tied in to YouTube exclusives?

That’s it. Love to know your thoughts and things you’re keeping a close eye on – Happy New Year y’all!

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Reply and hide comments on Facebook pages

Reply and hide comments on Facebook pages

Given that in 99.9% of cases I’d always recommend leaving not so favourable comments in place, with your replies if required. A sanitised page achieves very little and will slowly decline – people have a right to their own opinions!

That said… once in a blue moon you might feel that you want to reply to someone but not have that visible to other fans… well you can.

If you reply to a comment (as the page) inline, and then hide the original comment it hides both.


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My thoughts on Bitcoin – part 1

My thoughts on Bitcoin – part 1

Interest in bitcoin is at an all time high, with stories of people throwing away £4 milllion on hard disks, to it topping $1000 per bitcoin (up from $100 earlier this year), reaching parity with gold (for about an hour), crashing 30% in a day and media interviews like: ‘The Winklevoss twins talk bitcoin’ bringing it to mainstream attention.

A few people have asked so here are my thoughts on bitcoin.

I’m not going to write an explanation of bitcoin <– I’d suggest this one from coindesk if you’re looking for that.

Read that, then come back.

We’re in the early adopter phase where bitcoin is volatile, risky, hard to use, buy and trade but what follows is very exciting.

I don’t see bitcoin as just a new currency, an investment opportunity* or the route to some sort of worldwide financial anarchy – I see it as an interesting evolution in financial technology as both a currency and a method for transferring money.

There are regulatory issues to overcome as well as important questions of definition: will governments view it as currency, vouchers (as HMRC did until recently) or something else?

I also think of it in a similar way to my early thoughts on twitter (short format, easily shareable content was the trend, twitter was the main player that could have been superseded) – Bitcoin itself might be a fad, that is replaced by another form of virtual currency but there are lots of reasons that a digital cash system of some kind without ties to a specific country and allowing for easy, near instant transfer is inevitable.

Being open source, bitcoin has already branched off into lots of other variants (also known as altcoins) – I’m sure this isn’t its finally form – right now it’s just too complicated to reach critical mass of use in the population.

I can see a couple of likely scenarios:

1) Bitcoin crosses a critical mass of acceptance (some would say it has, I don’t think so, yet) and become the de-facto internet currency, largely thanks to a company that emerges as the public brand of the currency (like eBay is to online auctions, YouTube is to video…) driving it fully into the mainstream – looking at some of the investments going into bitcoin related companies and funds, I don’t think I’m alone in that thought.

2) A large (publicly well known) company will launch an alt-coin that has the credibility bitcoin lacks, ticks all the legal and regulatory boxes but still operates in a way that maintains the transactional benefits of bitcoin as digital cash. It’ll be a bastardisation of bitcoin that the early adopters won’t like, perhaps lacking the mining element somehow but maintaining a public like ledger in the same way bitcoin does.

Whatever happens, I think we’re at the start of something big right now. A movement has started that will change the way we think about money, banking and much more – I can’t wait to see what happens next!

As ever your thoughts are more than welcome in the comments below.


*as an investment opportunity, buying bitcoins is a gamble – for that reason I’ve only bought using money I can afford to lose and it’s almost at the trigger price where I’ll sell some so my risk is zero – I’m a big believer in ‘put your money where your mouth is’.

Full disclosure: I do own some Bitcoin.. and some cash… probably a few euros… oh and a dollar bill I had left over from Vegas.

Disclaimer: In no way should any of this be seen as financial advice, investment advice etc… hell, don’t even listen to my music recommendations… 

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