The buzz in digital media from Atlantic 57.
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Let’s get loud
Voice: too big to ignore? Almost half of all Americans use digital voice assistants, but few publishers have shared their strategies for standing out on voice platforms. “Understanding the potential—and pitfalls—of this technology is an area that brands and publishers need to be exploring, if they aren’t already,” writes Damian Radcliffe, a journalism professor at the University of Oregon and a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism. The most important—and easiest—strategy is to tailor content for voice search. He recommends that publishers create conversational-sounding content and explore existing voice search formats like Actions on Google.  

Playing through the midfield
Opening audiences to new perspectives. It’s impossible to advance the narrative around an issue when all parties are mired in conflict, but good writing and reporting doesn’t shy away from this conflict, writes Amanda Ripley, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, for Solutions Journalism Network. She spent three months interviewing mediators and other professionals “who know conflict intimately” to understand how writers can accurately represent disagreements while opening audiences to other perspectives. She recommends:

  • Explaining the intricacies of positions instead of simplifying them.
  • Reframing an issue around a larger question when two sides become entrenched.
  • Using language and tactics that remove confirmation bias rather than accidentally reinforce it.

The full list of tips can be found here.

Stoppage time
Finding the right video length. As online video engagement is predicted to increase, content creators and platforms are exploring ways to customize content to reach new audiences. A recent analysis by NewsWhip found that long videos perform best on YouTube, while shorter, viral videos perform best on Facebook and Twitter. Seasoned video creators are already adapting to these trends, posting videos between 10 and 30 minutes long on YouTube and sharing previews of 30 seconds or less on Twitter. Meanwhile, platforms are developing new ways for creators to engage with audiences through video. Both Instagram and Facebook have announced new live Q&A formats in recent weeks and Twitter has launched a tool that allows users to share specific segments of a video.

Faking out the defender
Dark patterns in social. A recent analysis of the privacy settings offered by Facebook, Google, and Windows 10 found that all three use subtle design cues to limit how users control and interact with their personal data. The Norwegian Consumer Council studied the three services and found “dark patterns,” or instances where designers “mislead users into making choices that are not in their interest, and deprive them of their agency,” write the report’s authors. For example, across Facebook and Google, accessing the full suite of privacy settings is designed to be unwieldy and difficult, and some privacy settings are disabled by default. To maintain users’ trust, it’s important for organizations to be wary of these patterns and to avoid implementing them wherever possible.

The Golden Boot
Best platforms for newsletters. If you’re starting a newsletter—or moving an existing newsletter to a new platform—Associations Now has a roundup of the pros and cons of several new email platforms. The post compares open-source platforms, revenue-generating platforms, and large-enterprise platforms, among others, providing useful background on several popular platforms. “Even if you’re not looking to switch, a quick look at what’s out there couldn’t hurt,” says reporter Ernie Smith.

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