Instagram adds features for small business success

GP: Facebook Instagram logos on smartphone
Source: Getty Images

This month, Instagram added a new feature making it easier to small business to sell services through the app, including gift cards or food orders, through their company site.

In complement to this feature, Instagram added a sticker for users to add to their stories to encourage follower support of local small businesses.

Facebook also launched gift cards for small business, in support of these businesses as well as their own interest, as a large number of their customers are small businesses. 140 million businesses across the Facebook apps and 8 million of them are advertisers.

Small businesses generate a large portion of Facebook and Instagram’s revenue, so their promotion is not 100% from the goodness of their hearts. The businesses provide revenue as well as priceless content and entertainment for Instagram and Facebook’s consumers. Instagram COO Justin Osofsky says, We want to do our part in helping them stay open, keep in touch with customers, and be informed on how to navigate this crisis.”

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Consumer Behavior Forever Changed by Coronavirus

Top 5 Valuable Insights on Online Consumer Buying Behavior ...
Source: ComTec Information Systems

AT&T President John Stankey predicts that the coronavirus will alter consumer behavior permanently, beyond media companies like AT&T. He released a statement that he believes that coming out of this pandemic, we will not return to our previous notion of “normal”. He said, “We are going to return to a different economic environment, we are going to return to different business models.”

As for his own industry, Stankey stressed that connectivity is vital during this pandemic. Connectivity has allowed for the maintenance of some normalcy. He said that in a time of much uncertainty, “people are resonating with an opportunity to spend their time looking for great stories and emotional attention and distraction during some very difficult circumstances.” He did concede that there will be changes in digital and streaming industries as well.

He does not see a return to retail space and major movie theater screenings for many consumers. He predicts that there will have to be new innovations to present stories and entertainment to consumers without the help of the big screen.

While some industries will see a more drastic adaptation than others, it is inevitable that industries will have to adapt in a new economic and consumer landscape.

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Were the Photos of Jacksonville Beaches Fake?

Source: Getty Images

Snopes, an online fact-checking resource, examined a claim that many Floridians, and others made, that the photos used to show crowded Jacksonville beaches were in fact fake. They argued that photos from the past, before the pandemic were used to paint a false picture of the beaches, and illustrate what would happen to many public areas when reopened after the pandemic.

There is an extreme divide within the U.S. in beliefs of how to begin to reopen the country. One side urges the government to hold off on opening public areas, such as beaches, and allow social distancing to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. The other side of the argument is that individuals have a right to use outdoor space, for mental health as well as exercise. They argue that individuals are in more close contact in the grocery store, than on a beach, and therefore they should be allowed to use this public land.

Snopes concluded that while old photographs of Jacksonville beaches may have been used in the context of unrelated stories, the photos used to show the crowding of the beaches after reopening this month, are very real. Snopes also conceded to some arguments that the angles and photo choice make the beaches appear far more condensed than they actually are. However, the photos are real and current, and accurately portray the state of the beaches.

As systems like parks and beaches begin to open in the future, there will be inevitable disparity in opinions. In an unprecedented crisis, there is no way to know how the public, or the virus, will react, and therefore it is unfortunately nearly a guessing game at this time.

Presidential To-Do List: Tweet, then solve COVID Pandemic

Source: Poynter

On Tuesday, April 21st, President Donald Trump was up early, before 7 am to be precise. His first action, surprisingly, was to take to Twitter in a series of tweets attacking the media.

At 6:19 AM, Trump tweeted  “Watched the first 5 minutes of poorly rated Morning Psycho on MSDNC just to see if he is as ‘nuts’ as people are saying. He’s worse. Such hatred and contempt!” The next tweet came shortly after at 6:40 AM when he tweeted, “It is amazing that I became President of the United States with such a totally corrupt and dishonest Lamestream Media going after me all day, and all night. Either I’m really good, far better than the Fake News wants to admit, or they don’t have nearly the power as once thought!” The final early morning tweet was at 6:57 AM, and read, “I’ve had great ‘ratings’ my whole life, there’s nothing unusual about that for me. The White House News Conference ratings are ‘through the roof’(Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale, @nytimes) but I don’t care about that. I care about going around the Fake News to the PEOPLE!”.

While Trump’s preference for Twitter, and his less than eloquent tweets are no surprise, many had something to say about his decision to tweet during this time specifically. While at heart, false media coverage would be a large issue, in the face of a world wide pandemic claiming thousands of lives each day, it seems trivial and even insulting to be tweeting about one’s television ratings.

Trump’s frequent debriefings with the Coronavirus task force often result in clashing with journalists, when any of his statements are confronted or fact-checked. In times of great peril, we need to come together in the face of a common cause, not grab onto our exclusive beliefs and rally against others.

Shut Down or Shut Out? China closes the window to U.S. Media

President Trump at the daily coronavirus briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House last Tuesday.
Source: The New York Times

On March 2nd, following Trump’s travel ban from China, the State Department announced the expulsion of Chinese media outlets that worked within the U.S. While long-planned, this came in response to the Chinese government’s lack of information shard regarding the spread of the Coronavirus prior to the explosion of cases in the United States.

While the U.S. had waited for this opportunity to expel Chinese media from the U.S. this was reciprocated by the Communist Party in China, and China expelled reporters from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. These reporters had given the world a look into the mistakes China made in reporting on the outbreak of the coronavirus as well as the reality faced by the Chinese people. While expelling Chinese journalists from the U.S. was meant to reprimand China for their failure to disclose fully on the virus, it backfired greatly, “’Given the fact that it’s vital to have good information out of China right now because of coronavirus, the U.S. decision was pretty disastrous timing,’” said Megha Rajagopalan.

While both the Chinese and U.S. governments are playing the “blame game” and attributing the expulsions to even the playing field, both sides had long awaited the chance to regain their privacy from the other. This issue is particularly tenuous for the U.S. as access into China by U.S. media reporters has been an on again off again game. While there is hope to re-stabilize relations in order to allow a necessary look into how China is coping with the virus, the timing could not have been worse.

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How We Got Here: The Media’s Role in the Coronavirus

Source: NBC News

“The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment. It’s going to be our 9/11 moment. It’s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives.” We have likely all heard this quote by now, said by Surgeon General Jerome Adams in the airing of “Meet the Press”. Adams along with many other government officials have asked the American people to brace for our toughest week yet as we all attempt to flatten the infamous curve.

The media plays an interesting role within this all as all advances and good news are met with more warnings and increased cases. The article cites that the press’s role within this all is vital, “to hold the powerful to account, while being sure to produce the most reliable information based on facts and science”.

One of the major issues cited through the media was the denial and lack of forthcomingness about the Coronavirus in the United States. It took the Trump administration 70 days to acknowledge that the Coronavirus was more than a distant threat. The Daily Show’s clip showing major on and off air commentators downplaying and dismissing the virus and the need for people to take action to stop its spread. As an example, Tomi Lahren of FOX joked that “she would be more concerned stepping on a heroin needle than getting the coronavirus”. The blind trust that many people place on the opinions in media creates a major issue.

These missteps have opened up an examination of the media and the role it has to play in relating fully and truly. There is also an opportunity for different news platforms to step up to be a consistent source of unbiased, honest, and evidence based information during a time of so much uncertainty.

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TikTok and Twitter: The Destination for Coronavirus Information

Dr. Danielle Jones, a gynecologist at Baylor Scott and White Health in College Station, Tex., films videos for TikTok and YouTube about women’s health at home on her days off.
Source: New York Times

In light of the excess of information about the Coronavirus streaming out from every source possible, doctors are fighting back. While their jobs in the hospitals are vital during this time, misinformation surrounding the virus is proving to be a major issue for health care providers. This issue has been dubbed an “infodemic” and is part of a two-pronged fight against the virus.

Rick Pescatore, an emergency room doctor, says that “social media is disease, and also the cure”. Medical professionals have started posting their experiences with the virus as well as correct information on topics like hand washing, how the virus can be transmitted, and confronting other virus myths. A large proportion of this information has emerged on #MedTwitter.

Medical professionals have also turned to TikTok, making videos that are entertaining, but also intertwined with information. One nurse created a choreographed dance in the hospital while COVID-19 facts flashed across the screen, this video received over 400,000 views. While another woman’s account was originally geared towards educating children about health, her account now is used to debunk virus myths, and she has over half a million followers.

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NBA Uses Social Media for COVID-19 Education

Image result for nba logo

Following the positive COVID-19 test result for an NBA Player on the Utah Jazz, the NBA made the difficult decision to suspend their season.

While the league is not currently active, the teams and players are actively engaged on social media to educate fans about the Coronavirus. The campaign is called “NBA Together” and will serve two purposes; to educate fans about the virus, as well as provide tools for those coping with the effects of the pandemic. This campaign has inspired over 18 NBA and WNBA players to share informational videos on their social media accounts. These videos have earned over 37 million views across the league and players’ platforms.

Beyond providing information and educational resources, the NBA has gone a step further to commit over $30 million to help those effected by the virus and the pandemic.

As sports are a part of many fans everyday lives, the players are hoping to bridge this gap, by streaming replays of classic games through history as well as sitting down each weekday for individual live interviews.

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Coronavirus Abroad: ITV forecasts 10% drop in ad revenues

An empty airport
Source: The Atlantic

ITV is a free to air public broadcasting network which serves the UK and acts as a trend leader in the market. Since the beginning of the spread of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, ITV has seen a significant decrease in advertising expenditures from travel-related companies. The company is forecasting a 10% decrease in ad revenue from travel companies, including airlines, travel agencies, and hotel companies. This slump will affect the overall projection for a 2% growth in revenue that ITV had previously predicted.

Additionally, shares in ITV dropped by 8.5%, a seven month low for the company. While the long term effects of the virus are unknown, many professionals project significant effects on the economy, as seen in this case. This does not mean the impacts will be long lasting or permanent, however, many industries may suffer by the loss of profit.

ITV is not the only company or area of the media industry facing the effects of the virus to say the least. Major impacts are expected from the postponement of the new James Bond film. Advertising campaigns surrounding to film as well as associated box office and pre-sale revenue will be delayed. This may inspire a trend throughout Hollywood and international film communities in an effort to follow the suggestion of many professionals to lessen large scale gatherings.

While the world watches to see how this virus will effect life from daily health to the world economy, the most important thing we can do is to prevent spread on a local level. Mass hysteria will only do harm on not only the individual level, but economic and international level.

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Bloomberg in the Black Media

From NBC News

Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent $3.5 Million to advertise his presidential campaign in the black media, despite his checkered past in relation to the black community.

Historically, Bloomberg supported a stop-and-frisk strategy in New York which specifically targeted minorities. This caused much discontent within the New York community and beyond, and Bloomberg has had to field many questions about his actions throughout his campaign thus far. Despite this, Andre Johnson of the Urban News Service which oversees many black owned publications, said that his efforts in advertisements have garnered a large amount of black support.

Bloomberg’s concerted effort to advertise to the black community has raised the question, how can other candidates compete? Despite the objections against Bloomberg’s past, many feel that it can be overlooked to support the common goal, elect a new president, one that isn’t Donald Trump. Due to the caliber of Trump’s connections and resources, many believe that Bloomberg is one of the only candidates who can produce the kind of funds needed to truly compete. One New Yorker summed up much of the sentiment of the nation, “We’re for anyone who can beat Trump. That’s where we are.”

According to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Bloomberg’s investment in advertising to the Black community is a record high for a presidential campaign. The impact of the ads is still up for debate “I truly don’t think you can buy the black vote by buying ads in the black print media, and anybody who thinks that is wrong” says Johnson of the Urban News Service.

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