Twitter Cesspool, Meta Retail Store, People Hate Online Meetings

Twitter Cesspool, Meta Retail Store, People Hate Online Meetings
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

Twitter: The 'Cesspool' Cometh?

There's a frenzy of speculation going on about Twitter's future. The right is elated; the left is dejected. Pundits are full of conjecture. Will Twitter abandon content moderation and become a tool of disinformation (or hate)? Will China gain new influence over Twitter, (because of leverage over Musk)? Will Trump return? Will Musk "fix" Twitter? And maybe he has no idea what to do. Two informal (Twitter) polls I'm running suggest many people (30%) are concerned about Musk's impact, but a larger number (44%) think Twitter will improve. In the second poll, 50% think there will be "minimal" moderation; 21% say moderation disappears completely; 29% think nothing changes. Yet, the just-passed EU Digital Services Act will require Musk to observe Europe's new content moderation rules – at least in that jurisdiction.

Our take:

  • Twitter's acceptance of Musk's bid is something of an admission of its own lack of vision and the board's pessimism about the site's future.
  • According to a 2021 Pew survey the top complaints about Twitter are misleading/inaccurate information and harassment/abuse. According to Pew, about 25% of the most active users produce 97% of the content.  
  • If Twitter does descend into toxic territory, brands will be more reluctant to advertise and could leave. If Musk keeps an ad model, they will be a kind of check on his self-proclaimed "free speech absolutism."

Meta Retail Store Launch

Facebook announced that its first Meta store will open in Northern California on May 9. Its purpose is to get people to test out VR hardware and some of the company's other products, such as smart screen Portal and Ray-Ban Stories glasses. There's also a new online store (Shop tab) at Facebook says, "At the Meta [retail] Store, we want you to interact with everything. We want you to pick stuff up. We want you to feel it." The company seeks to "demystify" VR and generate excitement for its products. This is smart because a recent US GenZ survey – the generation most likely to be interested in VR – found that while 26% of teens own a VR device, just 5% use it daily. And nearly half (48%) have limited or no interest in the metaverse.

Source: Facebook/Meta

Our take:

  • Apple's success is the inspiration here, as well as Google and Microsoft. But Google has only one store. Microsoft mostly closed its stores.
  • Meta's store is obviously a prototype that will spawn others if successful.
  • Getting people to try VR will definitely boost adoption (how much is an open question). It could even help Facebook's/Meta's brand image.  

Fewer, Shorter Meetings

Led by former Foursquare CEO David Shim, seeks to measure video-conferencing engagement. The company uses facial recognition and language processing to understand meeting sentiment. Depending on your perspective this is either useful or creepy. This week Read released a benchmarking study based on analysis of "3 million meeting minutes." The main takeaway: there should be fewer meetings with fewer people. The report says "50% of meetings [are] either bad or just average." In meetings with more than seven people, "on average, 40% of attendees are not engaged." And hour-long meetings see high employee disengagement: "in meetings longer than 50 minutes there are 43.8% more disengaged." Finally, "31% of meetings start late."

Our take:

  • On one level, this is all common sense: long meetings with too many people are unproductive and boring. I've lived this reality (as have you).
  • Yet with hybrid work, video calls are a necessary evil. The Read report has some good recommendations supported by data.
  • Running meetings is an art (especially online). However heed this advice: have fewer, shorter meetings with only necessary attendees.

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