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Why Is It So Difficult to Stop Fake News?

Why Is It So Difficult to Stop Fake News?

Ever since the significant emotional effect of the U.S. presidential election, “fake” news is thought to have influenced the outcome by possibly skewing public opinion regarding the candidates with a variety of stories ranging from somewhat believable to completely outrageous. In the aftermath of all this, Facebook, Google, and other search engines and social media platforms are promising to prevent fake news stories from bombarding the public.

However, it will probably be a bigger challenge to “fix” the fake news problem than these online platforms think. It’s easy enough use the label “fake news”, but what about sites like The Onion which are intended to be funny, not factual. Satirical sites are not intended to deceive people, but to entertain them. While these types of sites often bury the fact that they are providing satire, not real news within their about me page, the fact remains that they are not real news sites.

An example of how one satirical news site created a problem involved a New Zealand satire website called Spinner. This site published a satirical news story entitled “Bush to invade Kiribati islands”, which created widespread panic in the country because people who read the story feared an invasion by America.

The Onion doesn’t have an obvious disclaimer on their published content, but they do claim to have a readership of 4.3 trillion people, which is well over the world’s population. That should at least spark enough doubt to look it up on Wikipedia or Google.

The real problem is how often these stories are shared and how many people read the headline, overreact and share them like they are real news. Most people who “read” the story never get past the first paragraph, which means they also aren’t likely to do any real research.

The other side of the spectrum relates to the malicious clickbait sites designed specifically to generate click-throughs, and sales. They make sites that look like real mainstream sites so they seem credible, while they are just money-making sites. Google and Facebook already have initiatives in place to ban such sites.

Then there are gossip magazines that focus on stories about celebrities that may or may not be true. Some of celebrity news sites adhere to basic journalism, using multiple sources, and other kinds of evidence to support their stories. However, some of their stories may still be less than factual. They at least try to vet their stories, so perhaps they shouldn’t be labeled as fake news sites. Not all gossip, rumor, or satirical sites are used for deception.

There should be a way to categorize and flag these sites so people know they are rumor/gossip sites, satirical sites, or fake news sites so people have a clearer picture of what they are looking at before they believe it or even share it as real news.

What about news that people think is fake, but later turns out to be true? It happens with politics, government data, medical data, scientific data, and religious data. Consider Galileo in his day when his scientific findings were dismissed as false that were found to be true later.

Promising to ban fake news from social media and search engines is essentially a false promise. It isn’t possible to differentiate between fake news, bots (e.g. fiction, satire, gossip, rumors and truth. They can label click-bait sites, but defining “fake” news is another issue. A broader labeling scheme is needed to help people ascertain the difference between these sites because of the gray areas between them all.


Marketing Trends for Startups You Need to Be Ready for in 2017

Marketing Trends for Startups You Need to Be Ready for in 2017

Startups face challenges in marketing that create a scalable business. It’s important to be informed and learn as much as possible before building your marketing plan for a startup. The initial goal is to make an impression with customers in the early stages of startups because that one factor can make or break your startup.

PR experts say that one way to lower your risk is to know and understand the essentials of the marketing landscape and how it’s changing. The following will discuss five primary marketing trends startups need to know for 2017.

Essential Video Marketing
It cannot be stressed enough. Video marketing is an essential strategy you need to include in your marketing toolbox. It’s as essential to marketers as hammer and nails are to carpenters. Video marketing is already trending, but it will continue to grow in the future. Many brands have reported a 300 percent click-through rate from marketing emails using video. Videos allow you to say more in a shorter amount of time than reading content.

Millennials and Experience-Based Marketing
Now that Millennials are the largest portion of today’s workforce, it’s important to be market to them. Millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences over getting a good deal. They are less interested in saving money for retirement than they are about taking a trip around the world. The best way to find out what your customer base wants to ask them. Take the time to ask.

Think Long-Term Over Short-Term Marketing
Marketers have been making the mistake of focusing on the short-term successes instead of the long-term in recent years. The whole idea of short-term success has fallen to the wayside to make way for long-term marketing and success. Don’t fail to market for future success. Invest in building trust with consumers to be successful for the long haul.

Personalize Your Customer Experience in Marketing
Unless you’ve not been paying attention, you have seen how Amazon and Google have created personalized experiences for users. They are garnering a whole new world of loyalty with their personalization. It’s a good example to follow for your startup in the coming year.

Social Media Engagement Over Content Blasts Marketing
Social media marketing is no longer aligned with quick content blasts. Instead, users expect to engage with brands. If you’re sharing and forgetting on social media, you’re not going to boost your brand. You’re not going to make sales. For instance, if you share a post and a follower comments or asks a question, you must respond to it in a thoughtful and personal way. It’s a basic essential of marketing that has fallen away until this new digital marketing age. Ask questions. Ask for comments. Engage with your followers and fans regularly.

Consider these five trends for your startup between now and 2017. They will benefit your brand beyond the year as you think long-term engagement and marketing. Forget about thinking only about the next six months and start thinking about the next two years when you’re developing your marketing strategies.

A look at the future of marketing in 2020

A look at the future of marketing in 2020

The future. While the average person lives mostly in the present, marketers are always thinking about the future. They study, research, and watch the current trends in order to try to predict future trends.

Marketers and PR firms become preoccupied with wondering what the next campaign will be available for their clients and what newest trend will fit with their campaigns. They keep their clients in the loop and let them in on the next big thing. In other words, they have their fingers on the pulse of current and up-and-coming trends.

Now, if you’re new to marketing, it’s harder to suddenly get into the same mode as an expert, veteran marketer like Jeff Beer, who shared 25 future trends that he believes will change the face of marketing over the next five years. Based off what Jeff said, here are 10 trends that are likely to make a splash in the future of marketing.

  1. Mobile-friendly devices will become the focus of marketing. It’s pretty obvious from watching how smart watches, smartphones, tablets, and general wearable technology grow in the current marketplace that this will become the primary focus for marketing. That means it’s time to ramp up strategies for mobile marketing that will fit on those smaller screens.
  2. Social media will be the primary venue for marketing. The Internet made its big splash only a few decades ago, but social media is still a relatively new marketing arena. However, in the next five years, social media marketing will be the primary focus for brand-building, selling, and garnering interest for your clients.
  3. Genuine brands and honest relationships. We live in an era where people are too smart to be taken in by certain kinds of old-school marketing tactics. They want to know a brand is real, genuine, honest, and transparent about their products. Transparency and honesty is the future of marketing brands.
  4. User-generated content will make a bit splash. You’re already seeing this on social media channels now. People comment, blog, share, chat, and go live with videos with brand reviews. It’s this kind of content that will start to drive brand marketing. These are the people you want to engage with as this happens.
  5. Good quality content will always be king. It’s been said that content is king, and that concept will never change. Over the next five years, the need for good content will continue to grow. There is nothing to slow it down. It will be the most amazing content that will create successful campaigns.
  6. Brands will claim their audiences. The future of marketing will embrace the cultivation of community and conversation between brands and their customers. This will give brands the edge in creating loyal customers and brand advocates. In essence, they will own their audience. They will pay more attention to what customers are saying, commenting, reviewing, chatting, video sharing, and blogging in an effort to build a sense of community for happy, satisfied customers.
  7. Metrics accuracy will emerge in the marketing arena. Vanity metrics include social media metrics like tweets, shares, and likes. Marketers use these metrics to measure how well their marketing strategies are working; or not. While this is okay for now, the future holds a new set of metrics that we can use to analyze and gauge campaign success.
  8. Millennial-focused marketing will fade away. This is a trend that is easily predicted because as generations evolve, they change, which means marketing has to change with generations. Right now, we see millennials as today’s youth, but in the next five years, there will be a new generation that will require that you change your marketing strategies to stay in the game.
  9. Data-driven marketing will be more precise. Since the future of marketing will embrace relationships between brands and audiences, personalized data-driven marketing must be precise. Salesy, pushy marketing will become passé and be replaced with data-driven, transparent marketing. Marketers that fail to get into this mode of marketing will get forced out.
  10. To be a good brand you will have to act like a product, not a service based company. What? Service companies tend to cater to customer satisfaction and happiness. It’s how they retain them and get referrals. However, in the future, that personal touch and customer satisfaction won’t be enough. It will never go out of style, but companies will have to be as innovative in what they offer as how they cater to their customers.

These are the 10 trends that are most likely to make an impact on future marketing strategies and brands. Let this soak in, study it, and start thinking of ways to use this information to the benefit of your current clients. Have a Hangout or Skype meeting and discuss this with them. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the signs of the future.