Until 2016, Nextdoor had been entirely funded by venture capital firms including Benchmark, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tiger Global Management and others.Recently, we have begun testing sponsored content from a select group of businesses who we believe have valuable products and services to share with Nextdoor’s members. We are also testing allowing local real estate agents and brokerages to promote listings in their zip codes. –Nextdoor
I provided the original Instagram FAQ. Information in demand was missing from the internet and I enjoy researching technology and helping people. I wrote two posts in 2011 and 2012 about Instagram privacy which still rank in Google’s top 10 search results for related terms.
Six years and 700+ comments later, here’s what I’ve learned about human frailty, desire, shame, and searching.
In 2011, Instagram was growing in popularity but lacked a formal FAQ. Users desperately sought information about whether their accidental photo likes would be visible to their exes and frenemies.
I’ve answered hundreds of questions in the comments and continue to receive more each week. After six years of fielding queries about Instagram profile privacy, blocking, hiding likes, push notifications, and whether video views are public, I have concluded that we waste far too much time worrying about the visibility of our activity. We feel unnecessary shame. We want to hide what we consider shameful: voyeurism, the masochism of cyber stalking an ex, or simply our fascination with others’ lives. These are timeless human behaviors that have adapted to the available means. Look at songs like Don’t Come Around Here No More and On Every Street. Everyone can relate to these lyrics. Songs like these play in my head as I read through the comments on my Instagram posts. We’re nostalgic, we’re sentimental, we seek information and updates on lost loves, lost friends, lost places.
It’s clear that we use social media for many reasons. One is to satisfy our hunger for connection and validation. We do this less and less in person and increasingly online. So much is lost in this digital version of interacting.
I’ve seen the fear of being found out for behaviors that are common and understandable. We have been given tools to passively, secretly watch the highlight reels of each others’ lives. So naturally we watch. And we slip and click and immediately feel ashamed and self-conscious, exposed for engaging in the very behaviors that the creators of these apps and our fellow users expect and encourage.
Tom Petty asked his ex to “stop walking down my street”. She probably wouldn’t want to be seen but couldn’t help herself. Now she’d be embarrassed to be caught accidentally liking his two-year old photo. Mark Knopfler uses the metaphor of a detective looking for a missing person when writing about an ex he just can’t forget. Ani DiFranco captures the same sentiment in Gravel, still under her ex’s spell. We keep holding on to each other, to memories, to old flames, to friendships that dried up, and to places we’ve left behind. We seek connection and belonging, and we cling to the moments when we felt it. But we’re looking somewhere that can never meet our needs.
This Fourth of July, I had a memorable WTF moment with one of the rudest people I’ve ever met. What makes it noteworthy is that many consider his behavior normal. I tell the story in this interview with StandFor: Technology as an Escape Mechanism
…To put it in context with technology: the Like button came out in 2009, then Facebook’s first mobile app was released in 2010, but it was pretty awful. Smartphones outsold PCs for the first time in the last quarter of 2011. Facebook improved its app, and with every iteration, it became smoother and more addictive, fueling phubbing.
In the U.S., having and responding to work email on your phone at all hours became expected as smartphone use increased, encouraging the unhealthy always-on worker mentality. The pendulum swung further when Instagram hit a penetrative point, having 150 million MAUs by late 2013, three years after launch.
I’d say 2012-2013 is when phubbing became really noticeable.
These social apps are engineered to be highly addictive. It’s a business that profits off usage. I noticed people checking their phones not just for text messages (actual communication) but being addicted to refreshing their social feeds like slot machines (passive, receptive entertainment) because the apps for Facebook and Instagram became so addictive. Facebook became the internet for many people. These apps are designed to encourage addictive checking just like cigarettes and McDonald’s fries cause cravings. Smartphones with apps, messaging, and email provide what became a socially acceptable escape mechanism for the boring or awkward moments of daily life…
Photo credit: Heather Haberkern (Heather is a talented stylist, interior designer, and photographer who led the StandFor photo shoot)
I joined The Beancast again. This time the theme was how much bunk is out there in marketing study land.
What do YOU do on your phone during TV ads? We tackled Facebook’s assertion that TV viewers turn to Facebook during commercial breaks, the hurdles facing people-based marketing, overcoming voting blocs at Cannes, and the effectiveness of brand takeovers on Twitter (I say not effective at all). Also, why Canada at Cannes is like the 1988 Jamaican Olympic bobsled team in Cool Runnings, and Travis Kalanick is a narcissistic frat boy. (Not mentioned on the show but worth noting: Sarah Lacy at Pando has been calling out Uber‘s problematic culture with little notice since 2012).
June 12, 2017
Craig Hodges, Principal, Randwick End Consulting
Phones, Social, and TV Ads
The Hurdles for People-Based Marketing
Voting Blocs at Cannes
Brand Takeovers on Twitter
Google pissing off brands and consumers with their planned ad blocking stance
One fifth of UK web users now have an ad blocker
Leaked Uber memo from 2013 adds to the bad PR
Bulleit Bourbon sues Redemption Bourbon for stealing their bottle design
Breitbart hasn’t lost all of their advertisers yet
Adapted from original post by Bob Knorpp on thebeancast.com
- What date did I move to San Francisco?
- Who joined me at the Bruce Springsteen concert a few years ago?
- What was the name of that Portland, Maine dive bar on the water with the oysters we loved?
- When did I first buy raw maca powder?
- What did I wear to Blackdiamondskye?
- Which outfit should I wear today?
- What topics did I research after my first lunch with Sandra?
- How many calories have I really eaten today?
- When am I due for an oil change?
- Credit card purchase history
- Clothing/style analysis (with predictive capability)
- Mobile GPS data (location services) from apps like Google Maps
- Passbook (boarding passes, movie ticket stubs, event badges)
- Messaging app history (iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.)
- When was I happiest during the time I lived in New York?
- Which job offer suits me best?
- When did I know I was in love?
- Upside: wonderful for re-experiencing memories or pulling up information quickly.
- Downside: our memories will get even weaker because we will exercise that muscle less and less. Oh, and privacy.