Welcome to The Watercooler, issue 58.
LMTD has picked out some of the most interesting digital and social media stories making waves around the web this week, to keep you up-to-date with developments in the world’s most exciting and fastest-growing industry. Something else you’d like to see?
Let us know at email@example.com.
Finally responding to several years’ worth of official complaints from users, Facebook announced this week that it would be testing a version of a Dislike button, to complement the Like tool that has become a cultural touchstone since its release in 2009.
In the announcement, perhaps putting himself in the shoes of a bullied tween, Mark Zuckerberg emphasized that the team doesn’t want to increase negativity on the site. So, to the chagrin of symmetry-loving Facebook users, the resulting tool will more likely take the form of a Sorry button or a Sympathize button.
The fact that some people might feel odd Liking a post about a relative’s death or the refugee crisis has been on Facebook’s radar for a while. A Facebook engineer actually built a Sympathize button at one of the company’s famous hackathons back in 2013. So why hasn’t it been implemented until now?
Well, from the perspective of this sophisticated and experienced editor, the phrase ‘Sympathy button’ just sounds clunky. But the problem goes deeper than wording: sympathy is a much more specific, complex emotion than the casual, noncommittal like. A feeling like sympathy (or envy, or nostalgia, for instance) is much more difficult to successfully translate into the click of a button. It runs the risk of cheapening the sentiment.
But Facebook doesn’t need us to tell them this when it has behavioral scientists from Yale and UC Berkeley sharing notes with its own researchers at regular Compassion Research Days. Meticulously calculating human emotion may seem clinical, but emotion is what Facebook trades on. Quantifying it is just good business. We’ll see if that can be rendered into something Facebook’s users feel good about using.
Snapchat turns four this month, as it announces a fundamental change to its service: users can now pay $0.99 to rewatch snaps three times.
Over 200 million users sign into the app every month, and the platform grew 57% in 2014. Impressive, sure, but there’s also the fact that Snapchat has yet to generate a single dollar in revenue. That leaves the app pretty far behind Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at their four-year marks, as shown in this infographic.
Snapchat probably won’t be changed forever by its new freemium model, but it also won’t get rich. Which path will the app take towards monetization? Is it only a matter of time before we see sponsored content on Snapchat too?
This week, our newest team member Stephanie d’Arc Taylor tells us how she manages her numbers – it’s our pick of the week.
“Numerous is a free app by a former Apple developer that tracks the most important numbers in your life, from Twitter followers, to credit card balance, to distance from home, to parts per million of atmospheric CO2 (if you’re a masochist).
With channels for Google, Facebook, Twitter, Nest, FitBit, Salesforce, Stripe and more, its new update allows you to program automatic responses when numbers reach a certain point. An example provided by the company is ‘If my Tesla’s battery charge goes below 25%, turn the lights in my garage red.’
A girl can dream, can’t she?”
For stats nuts, Numerous could be not only a new hobby, but a really useful life and business admin tool.