Facebook As The Dominant Media And News Platform?

Facebook Community Update - Facebook 2016
Facebook Community Update – Facebook 2016

In its Q1 2016 earnings report, Facebook stated a user base of 1,65 billion monthly users with accelerating growth. This does not even include the 1 billion WhatsApp and 900 Million Facebook Messenger or the 400 Million Instagram users. Undoubtably it is the largest ecosystem of social communities to date. Not only does everyone use Facebook, everyone consumes media content and news through Facebook’s social media channels.

Ever since the emergence of web 2.0 and social networks the focus around content shifted towards communication about the content rather than anything else. Content needs to be social, meaning likeable, shareable and discussable. All these elements add large portions of user generated content to the mix. Since most of this is happening in the social network space, it further degrades the reach of classical digital media and news outlets. Since most people are “using” the content within a social context, most of the usage is happening within social networks. It is very doubtful that any news outlet (or any other social network such as twitter) will be able to keep up with the pace of development at Facebook.

This is probably why Facebook Instant Articles is such a success. It basically allows written content to be viewed in its entirety without even leaving Facebook. Not only does this add to the already immense lock-in effect of the Facebook platform, it feels more natural to users than to disrupt the Facebook experience and load a new website with tons of ads and.

Legacy media had to deal with an increasing variety of new outlets that aggregate and distribute content across all available platforms with blurry lines between them for quite some time now. Before, most of these services linked back to the publisher’s source for the content. With Facebook Articles these days are numbered. And since this feels very natural for the user, it can be expected to become the dominant way to consume news. So once again, publishers need to figure out how to monetise their work within this new format since their web traffic is unlikely to increase.

Only when considering video, there might be a way around Facebook for the time being. Youtube is still the largest video site and also the second largest search engine after Google. But Facebook is working on that as well. Just recently they launched Live Video, a service comparable to Twitter’s Periscope or Youtube’s live streaming service, and they continue to improve their overall video capabilities. And as we all know by now, Facebook is definitely pioneering the VR space with Oculus Rift, wherever it might lead for the media and news industry.

 DISCLAIMER: This post has been written for the seminar “Online and Mobile Media” during an international research exchange at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia, within the “Next Media” master program at the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg (HAW Hamburg) in 2016. For more information or any questions please contact me at mail@moritzrecke.com.

The I-1 Analog Instant Camera by The Impossible Project

I-1 Analog Instant Camera

In April 2016 The Impossible Project announced their first analog instant camera for Polaroid instant film. The company has been around for a few years and basically saved Polaroid instant film from getting extinct. They started out by repairing and selling used Polaroid cameras and old film material and eventually bought an old Polaroid factory and started to produce their own instant film. As you may know, I followed the company quite closely and tried out their Impossible Instant Lab among many other things to create Polaroid images from digital photographs. I also keep using my Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera with the Impossible SX-70 film and am quite satisfied with the quality of the film material they provide.

They worked on creating their own instant camera for many years, so here it finally is. The I-1 Analog Instant Camera will be available from May 10 2016 for $ 299 and looks like a very decent package. It allows for Impossible 600 film cartridges to be used (Impossible’s Polaroid 600 replacement film), features a LED ring flash and can be connected to a smartphone app via bluetooth. Not being to modest, The Impossible Project’s CEO Oskar Smolokowski calls it “The Original Instant Camera. Reinvented.”.

I am not sure wether I would buy one, since I am quite happy with my Polaroid SX-70. Still, I am curious about the features of the smartphone app and can’t wait to find out, wether this will be enough to convince me to buy an I-1 Analog Instant Camera. Nevertheless, I am quite happy that the camera is finally here, since it hopefully will provide further foundation for Polaroid instant film being around for a bright future.

Impressions From Sydney

In February 2016 I moved to Sydney to do entrepreneurial research at the Business School of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) while working on some projects in Germany remotely. With mostly sunny days, awesome beaches and so much to explore, it turns out to be quite a challenge to focus on the work at hand. I didn’t travel that much yet, since I am still amazed by the feel of living here. I rented a waterfront place in Elizabeth Bay with an amazing view and can’t wait to look outside every time I wake up.

The city reminds me of both San Francisco and Los Angeles in many ways. The hills, architecture, harbour settings and vibes are very similar to San Francisco but still the city is very much spread out in huge suburbs which often resemble my memories of Los Angeles (but with an abundance of sidewalks as a contrast).

Australia just reached a population of just over 24 million, in fact on the exact same day I arrived, 15 February 2016. The vast majority of people live in cities ( 89.2% to be precise) and on the coast. Among many things, this calls for a sophisticated and working public transport system… something Sydney is certainly underperforming at.

Still I managed to explore the city and took some photos while at it:

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