July SM News
It’s been an exciting month in social, with a lot of new tools for work. Plus more Trump drama and further research on arguing more productively. So, let’s get stuck in.
New professional platform Polywork launched earlier this year, with a Twitter-style feed rather than a LinkedIn feel. Polywork blends the personal and the professional, allowing users to post updates on aspects of their work-life that integrates who they are as a person – swimmer, burrito enthusiast, consumer research expert, etc. Users are encouraged to bring out their personalities, side hustles, and unique specialisations, resulting in a more informal and even friendly professional social platform. In a gig economy world, Polywork may be the first platform to recognise that careers no longer follow strict progressions and to cater to the varied skillsets that that creates. Founder Peter Johnston said in a statement, “Existing professional social networks use the job titles we hold and schools we went to as the main way to identify who we are, and it’s flawed and outdated. They make it impossible to express who we are, what we do, and the impact we’ve had, both inside our 9-5 work and outside of it. We are the sum of our actions, both personal and professional, but up until now, we have had no way to express this.” Polywork is free to join, but the company has said they plan to offer premium templates in the future as part of their financial strategy.
TikTok has launched its new resume tool in the US in other work news, allowing users to upload a video resume to various listed hiring companies. The pilot program will run until the end of July and has partnered with 34 companies, including Shopify, Target, Nascar, Chipotle, and TikTok itself, which list job openings running the gamut from entry-level to more senior roles. Tiktok marketing exec Nick Tran said in a statement that TikTok resumes would help reimagine recruiting and the way people showcase their skills. The move hasn’t been greeted with enthusiasm by all players, though, with some recruitment experts worried video-based tools could reduce workplace diversity, as global talent management strategist told Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2021/07/09/tiktok-is-testing-a-new-gen-z-friendly-rsum-video-feature-will-gen-xers-and-baby-boomers-feel-excluded/?sh=4992924b6269 ) “They favour the tech-savvy extrovert, as do all video submissions and can have negative implications based on appearance, race, age and physical ability”
This month, Donald Trump is back in social media news after announcing his plans to sue Facebook, Twitter, and Google in what he’s calling a bid to defend his first amendment rights. Mr Trump filed three class-action lawsuits against the companies, and their CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai. If he were successful, the platforms would be forced to restore his social media accounts, which were banned following his support of the abortive attempt to overrun the Capitol in January, and pay damages. It would also set the stage for other users to contest bans in court.
The other sally by Team Trump into fighting social media ban has fallen flat this month. New app Gettr was lauded as the new ‘marketplace of ideas, the last bastion of free speech where political views primarily free flow without censorship. This month, the platform was launched by former Trump spokesperson Jason Miller after being endorsed by the former president’s team, if not directly by the man himself. Despite this, Miller has bragged that moderation AI is designed to prevent those political left-of-centre from joining. He has reportedly already been hacked several times, flooded with phishing accounts, and saturated with porn. Several Australian political figures, including Pauline Hanson, Peter Dutton, Andrew Bolt and Pete Evans, are fighting spoof accounts that have sprung up in their names. Hackers have already scraped the email addresses of 85,000 of the 500,000 Gettr users.
New research out of the University of Washington shows how social platforms encourage or discourage online arguments, how the layout can impact the quality of those arguments, and which companies do best and worst. While many people spend much time on social media without engaging in disagreements, some platforms make it much harder to avoid confrontation. PhD student Amanda Baughan, writing in The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/its-not-just-bad-behavior-why-social-media-design-makes-it-hard-to-have-constructive-disagreements-online-161337), reported Youtube users rarely find themselves arguing online, while on Facebook and WhatsApp, it becomes almost impossible to avoid. The team’s work reports that 76% of their WhatsApp respondents have argued online, followed by 70% of Facebook users and 46% of Messenger users. Many of the respondents on Facebook said it was difficult to admit failure or vulnerability because the audience for their comments is made up of their friends and family. In contrast, the WhatsApp group says the conversations’ privacy opens spaces for honest conversations, which often turn nasty. You can find the full report, including their recommendations for platform redesign, here (https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3449230 )
Chinese social media giant WeChat has come under fire for deleting accounts that feature LGBT+ content. WeChat reportedly sent rule violation notices to dozens of accounts, but with no details or explanation, before shutting them down, prompting concern that the Chinese government may be planning tighter controls over LGBT+ topics online. Homosexuality was only decriminalised in China in 1997, but many groups still face widespread discrimination. The accounts were run mainly by students and operated as safe spaces for LGBT+ youth in China. The move is part of what some call a growing intolerance towards the LGBT community, particularly online. Tencent, the company which owns WeChat, is yet to explain the takedowns.