BuzzFeed measures (whether editors should throw more social media resources behind the story to help promote it or just let it die) with something it calls social lift—an index of how a story spreads on social media, a quantification of its virality. This is subtly different from how many clicks it receives. Over the years, BuzzFeed has built a large core audience—readers who regularly come to its homepage, follow it on Facebook or Twitter, or use its app. They represent a valuable group, but BuzzFeed’s growth depends on finding new readers—people who read BuzzFeed stories that pop up in their Facebook or Twitter feeds. Social lift helps determine whether a story is merely popular with BuzzFeed’s core audience or if it is bringing in new readers. And it measures a story’s success based not on the absolute number of readers it receives but on what portion of its potential audience it reaches.

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BuzzFeed’s Social Lift Algorithm

– Wired

The whole mission of BuzzFeed is to get people to share. That is not the mission of The New York Times. The mission of The New York Times is about the best journalism in the world and giving people accurate, timely information. I don’t think that BuzzFeed is competing in that space. But the Times should be there when people search for a big news event.

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Audience Development at New York Times

– Alexandra Maccalum in DigiDay

A “premium publisher” is defined by the brand equity that a particular publisher offers. While so much discussion recently surrounds audience, we often forget that there is also an equity exchange between a publishing brand and an advertiser brand that can be very valuable. Properly executed alignment with a premium publisher should pay dividends for a brand beyond simple message reach.

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Premium in Publishing is About Brand Equity, Not Only Audiences

– Jon Anselmo in DigiDay.

Unlike web pages, mobile apps do not have links. They do not have web addresses. They live in worlds by themselves, largely cut off from one another and the broader Internet. And so it is much harder to share the information found on them.

In tech speak, the problem is known as “deep linking,” the technological hurdle of giving apps some sort of links.

Although deep linking is a worry for large tech companies (Facebook App Links, Twitter Cards, Google App Indexing), it is also a big opportunity for start-ups looking to unseat them (Branch Metrics, URX, Quixey).

If apps are so much trouble, why use them at all? This is the idea behind another kind of start-up: those trying to turn the link problem on its head by making websites work more like apps (

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Who Will Win the Battle for Deep Linking Mobile Apps?

– Conor Dougherty in New York Times

Picture how this can work for Facebook: A developer chooses to build her app using Parse. To get users to discover it, she’ll buy Facebook’s App Ads. When she hits a certain threshold, she’ll start to pay $100 a month for Parse’s services–and more as the app continues to grow. (“You don’t have to pay us until your app gets huge,” Parse’s Sukhar told the f8 crowd.) At this point, to generate revenue, the developer joins the Audience Network, where Facebook will get an unspecified cut of the ad revenue from the spots that run within her app. And finally, in an effort to get users to use her app more often, she takes advantage of deep linking or other tools Facebook might offer down the road. That’s at least four ways that Facebook could get paid off the same developer–and Facebook would garner the additional benefit of knowing which apps mobile users were excited about.

This challenge reveals a fascinating strategic shift for the social network: The greatest obstacle standing between Facebook and its ambitions has nothing to do with persuading any of us to log in to Facebook tomorrow or to spend more time using its features. It’s entirely dependent on outside app developers’ adopting these tools.

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Why Parse is Core to Facebook’s Plan to Own the Social-Mobile World

– Austin Carr in Fast Company

Pierre Omidyar, Chris Hughes, and Evan Williams all have one thing in common. They admit to hating conflict.

Aversion to conflict is a surprisingly common trait in “disruptive” tech moguls. I’ve always found it ironic that the people who pioneered social technologies that have connected more than a billion people around the world are some of the most un-social people on the planet. These moguls are happy to disrupt the world– from the other side of a screen, preferably via a “platform.” The platform defense is golden for these moguls, a get-out-of-jail-free excuse for taking any responsibility of things written or sold or bartered or happening on their multi-billion dollar properties.

Unfortunately, as these platform owners start fancying themselves as media moguls, they quickly discover that the news business doesn’t quite work that way.

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Why Tech Moguls Can’t Run Media Companies

– Sarah Lacy in Pando Daily

Whew. That is a long list of distinct uses of news: updates, followups, explanation, diversion, answers, recommendations, connection, instructions, discussion, service, sharing, action. Any of those uses can be mobile. None of them has to be. Isn’t that too much to expect of one site or one app? No wonder readers constantly complain of news sites: “It’s so hard to find what I want.” That’s because we are still trying to cram a big, old newspaper into a bottomless portal on a little, tiny screen and then add all kinds of new functions and different media. We hope it will be appealing and worth the bother because it carries our brand. Perhaps we can use mobile as an excuse to rethink the value of what we offer and as a means to unbundle our services into their useful bits — as Google and Facebook do. If we allow users to declare their own needs at a particular time or in a particular place or because of a particular mood, we can better serve those needs. Perhaps mobile will force us to get better at building profiles of our users as individuals so we can serve each of them better. Mobile can make us reorganize what we offer around our users rather than around our content. Mobile isn’t just another content-delivery mechanism. Don’t try to be mobile first. Be user first. Context over content, that’s the lesson of mobile.

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Don’t Be Mobile First, Be User First

– Jeff Jarvis in ‘Geeks Bearing Gifts’

Another misconception about mobile is that phone and tablet apps will recapture for media companies the control over experience, brand, and business model that the web and its links took from them… Newspaper publishers and TV and radio stations have tripped over themselves to make apps. But… that apps are frequently downloaded but rarely or never used.

Apps… have many limitations. They tend to cut content off from links out to other content and links in from outside recommendations. They are expensive to make. They require marketing to get users to find, download, and use them. Though they provide a clean and controlled environment for ads, apps on the whole have not been embraced by advertisers — mostly because the audience for each app remains small. When they began, apps gave designers and editors better tools to create sleek and responsive pages, but HTML5 and responsive design now make mobile web sites more appealing. On the whole, I believe making apps has proven to be a distraction for many news companies.

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Why Mobile Apps by Media Companies Often Fail

– Jeff Jarvis in ‘Geeks Bearing Gifts’)

Facebook, which is a weave of news encompassing both the self and the world, has become, for many, a de facto operating system on the web. And many of the people who aren’t busy on Facebook are up for grabs on the web but locked up on various messaging apps. What used to be called the audience is disappearing into apps, messaging and user-generated content. Media companies in search of significant traffic have to find a way into that stream.

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What Selfies and SnapChat Mean for the Future of Media

– David Carr in The New York Times

A decade ago, before Twitter and Instagram and when Facebook was still in its infancy, my university friends and I spent many hours lurking in Craigslist’s “missed connections” section, sipping cheap rosé while perusing posts and laughing at the desperate souls who loitered there…

Of course, I tried to look him up online but didn’t find anything. In those pre-social-media days, you often didn’t, other than where they worked or had gone to school…

Those rambunctious evenings of rosé and Craigslist stalking are long gone, but sometimes I type the name of my missed connection into Google and there he is, easily found now on nearly every social media platform… Everything I needed to know is right there, a decade too late.

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Finding Love: From Craiglist Missed Connections to Facebook

Rosemary Counter in The New York Times on being misled by a married man she met on Craigslist Missed...

The makers of habit-forming products have… found that training subjects by rewarding them in a variable, unpredictable way works best. These variable rewards come in three forms. The reward of the tribe: people who use Twitter or Pinterest are rewarded with social validation when their tweets are retweeted or their pictures are pinned. The reward of the hunt: users quickly scroll through their feeds in search of the latest gossip or funny cat pictures. And the reward of self-fulfilment: people are driven to achieve the next level on a video game, or an empty e-mail inbox.

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Three Types of Variable Rewards that Get You Hooked

Schumpeter in The Economist

Smart algorithms and Quantified Self apps give us more control and more transparency but when everything is standardised, measured and explicitly stated, when everyone is completely predictable… we (risk) engineering the romance out of our lives — the last luxury in a world of utilitarian products and happiness maximisers.

There are early signs, however, that we are witnessing a backlash against the quantification of everything — and the beginning of a new romantic movement. Life is not an algorithm; not a minimum viable product; not a problem seeking a solution. (We are) creating workplace and customer experiences that encourage devotion over data, serendipity over control, delight over satisfaction and love over like.

This is important because we are all romantics at heart. We’re secretly longing for the inexplicable, the little distortions of reality, the cracks of imperfection, the detours and digressions, our exuberant passions that vie for nothing but passion itself, the moments we lose control — in other words, the moments we begin to love.

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From Smart Algorithms to Serendipity

– Tim Leberecht in Wired UK

In case you missed it, the initials ICYMI stand for the first five words of this sentence. Individuals and outlets deploy it every few seconds to bring links to the attention of others who may not have seen them.

In an earlier time, the full verbal formulation meant that the recipient was supposed to see something of a certain degree of importance (a note, an email), and the sender was gently reminding you of its oversight.

Now, the very shortening of the phrase is a byproduct and acknowledgment of the velocity of information against which its attached link is racing. The implication is that you probably have not seen it, and it’s not necessary to your existence, but the sender would like to bring it to your attention anyway, please. It serves as a call of desperation as much as an announcement.

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In Case You Missed It: ICYMI

– Teddy Wayne on New York Times

Of course, the remaking of the contemporary tech office into a mixed work-cum-leisure space is not actually meant to promote leisure. Instead, the work/leisure mixing that takes place in the office mirrors what happens across digital, social and professional spaces. Work has seeped into our leisure hours, making the two tough to distinguish.

If the reward for participation in the highly lucrative tech economy is not increasing leisure but a kind of highly decorated, almost Disneyland vision of perpetual labour, what will be its endgame? As work continues to consume workers’ lives, tech offices might compete for increasingly unique and obscure toys and luxury perks to inhibit their employees’ awareness that they are always working.

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What Tech Offices Tell Us About the Future of Work

– Kate Losse in Aeon Magazine

It’s all about money. The e-commerce guys have money to experiment – I don’t have this kind of money to blow.

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E-Commerce to Leapfrog Organized Retail in India?

Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group via The Business of Fashion/ Reuters. According to Technopak, organized retail in India will grow 4 times from $46 billion in 2014 to $182 billion in 2020, while e-commerce will grow at 14 times from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $32...

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