Here’s an update of our graph showing the number of Tweets sent by the federal government during the week of the shutdown.
The Atlantic’s Andrew Golis highlights a great insight from Upworthy’s Eli Pariser on why it’s so hard for organizations to sound “interesting:”
Eli Pariser defends Upworthy to On The Media, a captures perfectly the catch-22 of producing successful social media (emphasis mine):
PJ: […] It’s weird. Talking to you, I feel completely convinced that what Upworthy is doing makes a lot of sense, and that I am very silly to be agitated by it. And then, I’ll quietly tab over to the site itself, hit refresh, and be like, no! It’s the tone! The tone still bothers you, Vogt! Do not be seduced by Eli Pariser’s soothsaying.
I know that’s not a question. I guess the last thing I’m curious about — you said up top that the thinking behind these emotional appeals is that it’s the way to get people to focus on and share a story. Uh, is there some other way? Or is this just what works and I need to grow up and get used to the internet / human nature / social network psychology?
ELI: Haha. I know it doesn’t suit everyone. But I’d just so much rather be on the side of trying to make important stuff seem more fun and interesting — and maybe be a little over the top tone-wise — than the kind of Officially Boring headline-writing that mostly convinces people to skip over it entirely. Just think how many fewer people would watch that awesome John Green video if it was titled, like, U.S. Healthcare Costs In Context: A Report.
I do think this is one of the blessings and curses of social media. To fit in, you have to sound like a person, not an institution. And people can be so much more annoying than institutions. And also so much more interesting. I think that’s the trade-off.
We now have the dubious honor of being featured on the excellent Screenshots of Despair blog. This is my fault. This morning I mentioned Screenshots of Despair in response to one of our customers who tweeted the above photo and said that he felt like we were mocking his writer’s block.
As of this morning, if you opened the Ideas tab of a Measured Voice channel with no Ideas saved to it, we told you “You’ve got 0 ideas.” This is actually something that I’d noticed before and didn’t like, but never got around to fixing.
So we fixed it today.
We no longer tell our customers that they don’t have any ideas. Instead we tell them if no ideas have been saved on their channels. Now, if an idea has never been saved to their channel, we tell them “No ideas have been saved on this channel yet.” If they have previously saved ideas and turned them into messages or deleted them we tell them “No ideas are currently saved on this channel.”
These things make a difference. As a company obsessed with words, we wholeheartedly believe that copywriting is interface design. Software speaks to people. It guides people, nudges them and sometimes warns them. And, as we’ve demonstrated, it can mock them.
We’re sorry if we hurt anyone’s feelings. We didn’t mean it.
50 years ago today (August 28, 1963), hundreds of thousands of Americans of all colors, races, and creeds joined in a peaceful demonstration in Washington, D.C. The event reached its dramatic climax at the Lincoln Memorial with music, prayers, remarks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary “I Have A Dream” speech. This moment was a turning point in American history that set our nation on the path to full equality and justice under the law.
Here is one of our favorite photos of the exact spot Dr. King stood 50 years ago.
Photo: Brandon Kopp
King showed us that language has an astonishing ability to change hearts and alter the course of history. His words are immortal and have been a gift to the world for half a century. We thank him for them.
Watch Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech on YouTube.
The only thing I can directly control is what I say. My instincts aren’t always trustworthy in moments of intense anxiety, so I’ve tried to make myself a little list of what to do: ampify emergency relief information, pass along ways to volunteer; send brief words of comfort; do very little else.