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Sunday Social Roundup

  1. Chris Anderson’s “Long-Tail” theory argued that the mass of niches would collectively surpass the hits and the superstars. In other words, the world of Beyonces and Katy Perry’s would be over. That never came fully true. But it has meant that previously underground music genres like electronic dance music could emerge to become mainstream, if not the most popular.

    I never saw this coming but I think it says more about the culture the sound. Most of the popular electronic music is absolutely garbage. The best stuff is in here.

  2. Snapchat is the third most popular social network amongst Millennials. It’s private, it’s social, and it’s fun, unlike your typical messaging apps.

  3. The events in Ferguson demonstrate once again that Twitter is the default social networking for breaking and following live news.. Kudos to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey for broadcasting his own Ferguson experience in a thread of Tweeted Vines.

  4. There are officially more Internet subscribers than cable subscribers. Of course, this still leaves people in the hands of cable companies providing the Internet service. Technology changes but monopolies stay the same.

  5. Social networking is more popular than games, reading, and all other forms of distractible media. But you can’t possibly be checking it all the time; instead, designate time and use it in batches. I’m trying to get better at this as well.

Bonus: Vote for Marsel van Oosten’s picture ‘Facebook Update‘ as the image of the year in the Wildlife Photographer competition.

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Radio’s Answer to Spotify? Less Variety

The strategy is based on a growing amount of research that shows in increasingly granular detail what radio programmers have long believed—listeners tend to stay tuned when they hear a familiar song, and tune out when they hear music they don’t recognize.
The data, coupled with the ballooning number of music sources competing for listeners’ attention, are making radio stations more reluctant than ever to pull well-known hits from their rotations, extending the time artists must wait to introduce new songs.

This is why I ignore what’s popular. If you only listen to and consume what everyone else does, you never appreciate what’s next.

In other words, the long tail theory or ‘mass of niches’ that was apparently going to take over the digital space is dead wrong.

But it could be so right.

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Kelefa Sanneh: Why Blockbusters Still Rule the Entertainment Industry

“In fact, it’s probable that the Internet will lead to larger blockbusters, more concentration of brands.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the hoopla of a mass of niches (long-tail) instead of the traditional predominance of blockbusters.

The reality is that the hits today are even bigger and even more invasive. But we have a ton of niche selections that (when taken together) are popular too.

There’s room for both big and small artists but no one’s really making money of the recorded content. The album is virtually a marketing piece, an advertisement to promote both tours and merchandise.

Marketing budgets dictate online noise. But at least now the user has the option to discover new and upcoming brands more easily. More people are becoming curators and discoverers rather than lemming consumers waiting to be fed.

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Life as Instant Replay, Over and Over Again

The way we share, watch, read and otherwise consume content doesn’t happen on a linear timeline. It loops in on itself. And even when major events unfold online and social media sites broadcast happenings minutes, or even hours, before major news organizations cotton on to them, the discussions and dissections that bubble up in the aftermath are the most interesting parts.

The conversation happens in real-time and continues to be discussed thereafter. I actually ignore a ton of news and tweets in my feed because of this organic loop. I also ignore TV news altogether since it’s simply reactionary and ex post facto.

After I hear about something once, I generally skip over it unless someone can spin it in a new perspective or it gets reformatted in another discussion community like Reddit. Offering fresh content is generally the key to maintaining people’s attention online.

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‘More of More’

Variety works and keeps customers coming back only if the base is good, the choices are aplenty and equal in taste, and the experience is memorable.

This is the case for Valencia, a small Venezuelan restaurant in Norwalk, CT.  

They’ve mastered the art of the empanada, offering endless choices of fill ins including my favorites queso with chicken, guacemole, or melon.  You can even make a chocolate-banana empanada.

The prices per empanada are $2 – $4, enough to get two or maybe even three if you’re really hungry.  

Valencia has mastered the product long-tail, the benefit of unlimited choice that meets any niche taste. Eating there is the food equivalent of Amazon.com, endless array of products at reasonable prices and awesome and swift customer service you don’t forget.  

Had Valencia and Amazon just had one niche product, a slow customer experience, and a boring environment people would forget it and move on to find something else.

Valencia and Amazon are unique in that instead of selling less of more, they actually sell ‘more of more.’  A company can afford to expand its variety in a mass of niche desires.  There’s something for everybody.

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Undermining the 80/20 Rule

Pareto’s 80/20 principle is typically a good rule of thumb for everything, from the most popular revenue generating products to figuring out the most effective use of our time.

But in the ad driven and stumbleupon world, the 80/20 gets skewed; there’s tons of products that get heavily promoted combatted by tons of products that people randomly discover.  Both paid and organic media drive a lot of hits.  Youtube videos are the perfect example of this.

Chris Anderson’s long-tail theory empowers the mass of niches against the hit, especially for free stuff like videos on Youtube.  And Pareto’s theory is a good way to look at what’s actually driving revenue.

Make everything available and see what happens.