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A new generation of content consumers The year 2000 to some may seem to be perpetually 10 years ago, but time, in those immortal words, keeps on slipping. As such, Millenials are old news when it comes to digital media. Gen Z—those who were born around and after the turn of the millenium—are coming into their own as a generation. According to a report by Contently, they're poised to be the largest generation as well. Having grown up with information readily at their fingertips, they also consume a lot of media, making the write-up a must-read for those who want to understand this new class of consumers.

Facebook turned 15 this week, and its presence is still pervasive. Four in ten U.S. adults turn to Facebook for news.

Percent of U.S. adults who get news on each social media site:

Source: Pew Research Center

Podcasts drive growth, and Spotify notices This week Spotify made a big bet on podcasts as it acquired Gimlet Media. Gimlet, which chronicled the launch of its company with its podcast Startup, has grown into a cultural powerhouse with hits like Reply All and Homecoming. This comes on the heels of news of other podcast-first media organizations doing well. The Ringer, for instance, has grown into an empire of its own, with the majority of its revenue being driven by podcast ad sales. In an era of diversification and with tens of millions of listeners (pdf), it seems like producing more audio is an increasingly safe decision.

Taking diversity seriously The lack of diversity in workplaces is a significant problem across both media and tech: A recent survey of tech startup leadership found that 78 percent of respondents had no policies aimed at increasing diversity, and a recent Pew Research Center survey of newsrooms in the U.S. found them to be less diverse than the broader workforce. The key to improve, write Lars Schmidt and George Larocque in Fast Company, is to view diversity less as a compliance issue. Their recommendations include:

  • Diversifying the teams that are tasked with making hiring decisions
  • Getting executive buy-in early on and involving senior leadership in the design of diversity and inclusion policies
  • Exploring their list of helpful technological tools, such as Gender Decoder, a free Google Chrome plugin meant to reduce gender bias in job listings

How many people really use Twitter? On Thursday, Twitter revealed—for the first time ever—how many daily active users it has. In a presentation for investors, Twitter defined that metric, which it calls monetizable daily active users, as “Twitter users who logged in or were otherwise authenticated and accessed Twitter on any given day through or Twitter applications that are able to show ads.” How does Twitter fare relative to other social platforms? And are these kinds of comparisons fair? Can metrics tell an accurate story at all?

  • “Twitter said that it has 126 million daily active users, a figure that is dwarfed by Facebook’s 1.2 billion daily users and that falls short of Snapchat’s daily users by 60 million.” - Hamza Shaban, The Washington Post
  • “Twitter will tell you that it’s not fair to compare directly to Snapchat. That’s because Twitter says it is only counting users who could be exposed to ads—what it’s referring to as its ‘monetizable’ audience. Snapchat, Twitter would argue, counts users who open the app, send a message, and leave without ever getting to the part of the app where Snapchat serves ads. … It’s not a super-compelling argument, but if you want to find a defense for Twitter, at least its audience is still growing. Snapchat’s user base didn’t grow at all in 2018.” - Kurt Wagner, Recode
  • “In a 16-month study of 1.5 billion tweets, Zubair Shafiq, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa, and his graduate student Shehroze Farooqi, identified more than 167,000 apps using Twitter's API to automate bot accounts that spread tens of millions of tweets pushing spam, links to malware, and astroturfing campaigns.” - Andy Greenberg, WIRED

Two productive days at The Atlantic global sales meeting were capped off with a tour at the National Portrait Gallery. There, we nerded out over portraits of writers featured in The Atlantic—including Gertrude Stein and Ralph Waldo Emerson—and world visionaries like Henrietta Lacks and Michelle Obama. 

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