Wait! What? 4/17: The Great Video-Streaming War of 2015 Continues

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It’s been a great week for television. Game of Thrones is back (our office was pretty excited), and we saw the return of our favorite nerds in Silicon Valley. HBO and Uber didn’t waste this opportunity to shamelessly exploit fan dedication to The Throne to promote the launch of HBO Now – we only wish they had brought some to San Francisco. Onto the rest of the tech news this week:

  • Reddit has gone legit, pushing its way into the publishing game by joining the likes of The New York Times with a weekly email newsletter of hand-selected content, Upvote. The hope is that this will help people better understand the “concept” of Reddit, so we’ll see about that.
  • Is Twitter cyberbullying celebs into using Periscope? According to TechCrunch, the answer is yes. Twitter’s influence in Hollywood may signal the end of Meerkat’s short-lived time in the spotlight.
  • Another day, another Snapchat scandal. The social media giant is allegedly using geotag filters to poach engineers from Uber. Where is Silicon Valley’s reality show? This is getting juicy.
  • If you’ve been living under a rock for the past two weeks, you might have missed Hillary Clinton announcing her presidential candidacy. If you’ve been off the Internet, you definitely missed the birth of “Hillvetica,” a font inspired by her campaign logo. #cringe
  • Tidal might actually be worth that $20 subscription fee. Apparently artists can log in and see who is listening to their music, and this is provoking them to make personal calls to subscribers. BRB, I think Jay Z is calling.

That’s all, folks – now go enjoy your weekend, and don’t do anything too foolish à la Twitter/Snapchat.

Wait! What? 3/13: This Friday the 13th brings the death of the Internet, a new tech frontier and more

The end is nigh... (Thinkstock)
The end is nigh… (Thinkstock)

What was going on in the tech world this week while you were caught up in all things Apple Watch? From the expected to the unexpected, we have this week’s top stories:

  • Dom Pérignon at the touch of a button…is this a dream? Nope. A new startup brings luxury to IoT!
  • From positive to negative, the Internet is abuzz with all things Apple Watch. But will Apple’s latest innovation mean the death of the Web?
  • Welcome to the billionaires club! Snapchat’s cofounders are each worth $1.5 billion. Not too shabby for a couple of twenty-somethings.
  • Hello Nebraska! From Silicon Valley to Silicon Prairie? Entrepreneurs are fleeing tech hotspots for greener pastures, but why?!
  • RIP. This week we had to say goodbye to one of the truly iconic tech blogs. Farewell, Gigaom…you will be missed (sigh).

Those were our favorite tech bites from this week – what were yours? Tweet us @BlancandOtus and let us know!

Wait! What? 2/27: Snapchat’s musical venture, Re/code’s high-profile interview, and … Nihilist Arby’s

Arby's: Accelerate your stomach ache. (Thinkstock)
Nihilist Arby’s: Accelerate your stomach ache. (Thinkstock)

Wait, what happened in tech media this week? For one, the FCC decided it will regulate broadband Internet as a public utility. But let’s skip the big picture stuff and dive into some random, less momentous stories:

  • Sometimes parody Twitter accounts do better than the brand’s official channels. Nihilist Arby’s totally gets capitalism and PR – consumers really only care about the BIG questions.
  • Speaking of solid social media campaigns, ever wondered what makes a truly baller PR campaign?
  • And once you’re done mulling over the meaning of PR and/or life, you should probably watch Slow Mo Lab’s video of a rubber ball exploding in slow motion. The company’s approach to online video content is not dumb.
  • Also, in case you were wondering about what is actually important in life, Hillary Clinton just did an interview on the future of the Internet with Re/code’s Kara Swisher.
  • Finally, Snapchat, possibly the newest media titan, is breaking into the music market. Jury’s still out about whether their newest endeavor will be as fleeting as their photos.

That covers it for this week’s top picks – thanks for stopping by. You’re free to return to House of Cards.

Publishing and Social Media: Could This [Finally] Be Love?

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Let’s take it back to a magical time when newspapers were newspapers and social media was MySpace. It was 2005, and people spent their Sundays poring over a dense print edition of their local newspaper, section by section, before later turning to their enormous desktop computer screen and carefully curating their Top 8.

For a while, traditional media scoffed at social as a source of real news, smacking it down as merely reactive to the hard stuff – not the core of anything concrete but instead a cacophony of regurgitated opinions against a backdrop of cat memes and brunch Instagrams. But as social media has matured, it has evolved two specific functions: publishing and messaging.

Enter 2015. To the untrained eye, it’s almost like both spaces are currently in the midst of an identity crisis. Is LinkedIn a professional networking site or a professional publishing site? Is Facebook a social media network or a media company? And is Snapchat just indulging millenials’ selfie obsession, or is it surreptitiously converting the Internet generation into news junkies?

What we’re seeing is the beginning of the tech and media industries collapsing into one another. It makes sense – every other industry has been disrupted and reshaped by tech. Publishing was just late to the party after some internal identity struggles. The rules are also different here – these two spaces have grown into each other through a natural evolution in reporting, storytelling and information sharing rather than a single disruptive blow from one to the other. Lines haven’t been drawn; they’ve been blurred.

Some are dubbing it a journalistic “third way”: a marriage of old news norms and standards with the transparency and openness of social media. What will the hybrid children look like? Think Quartz, the digitally native offspring of old-media stalwart The Atlantic, which categorizes articles under “Obsessions” – topics of current interest that have more in common with trending hashtags than traditional news sections. Or Medium, publishing’s love child with Twitter that elevates citizen journalists into something that actually resembles real journalists. Or even the infant Reported.ly, fresh out of a “baptism by fire” after putting its social-first reporting and publishing model to the test by jumping into real-time coverage of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy a mere 48 hours after launching.

Whether you’re for this shift or against it, one thing is certain: there are more stories being told by a larger range of voices and in a greater number of ways than ever before. I don’t know about you, PR colleagues, but that sounds an awful lot like opportunity to me.