Nicolas Magand on the internet

Comments about tech, media, nature, &c.

My name is Nicolas Magand and I live in Paris, France. I work as a social media and engagement editor at the Global Editors Network, a non-profit aimed at promoting innovation and sustainability in the news industry. Here I blog mostly about tech and media, but many other topics can face my enthusiasm.

Filtering by Category: Media and journalism

What happens to web traffic patterns when Facebook goes down

Chartbeat's Josh Schwartz, on the Nieman Journalism Lab, sharing what the web analytics company found when Facebook went down for 45 minutes in August 2018:

What did people do? According to our data, they went directly to publishers’ mobile apps and sites (as well as to search engines) to get their information fix.

Publishers must be happy about this : it means most users did not — after all — forget about them. It simply means they prefer to wait for their Facebook feeds to show them some news rather than visiting websites individually.

The users' blind trust or naïveté in the news feed is what has been problematic in the last couple of years: How accountable must algorithms be when it comes to news and informing the public, especially when we know that is how most people get their news?

This is a whole other debate, but then :

Google Chrome Suggestions, a personalized news feed built into Chrome’s mobile browser, is up 20×.

Facebook is the biggest fish in this pond and it — understandably — gets most of the attention but Google is right there, and this Chrome "personalized news feed" should also be questioned, along with YouTube, Google search results, and Google News.

Another interesting part:

Mobile traffic has seen double-digit growth and surpassed desktop, which saw double-digit declines.

Smartphones have definitely replaced PCs as the main — and sometimes only — computing device.

Reporters covering environmental issues are becoming more and more vulnerable

Eric Freedman, on the Nieman Journalism Lab, on the growing pressure surrounding environmental journalists:

Covering the environment is one of the most hazardous beats in journalism. According to one estimate, 40 reporters around the world died between 2005 and September 2016 because of their environmental reporting — more than were killed covering the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Environmental controversies often involve influential business and economic interests, political battles, criminal activities, anti-government insurgents or corruption. […] In both wealthy and developing countries, journalists covering these issues find themselves in the cross-hairs. Most survive, but many undergo severe trauma, with profound effects on their careers.

Sadly, not a surprise.

"What if viral content is not the best content?"

Interesting take from The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal, published a few months ago:

But what if viral content isn’t the best content? Two Wharton professors have found that anger tops the list of shareable emotions in the social-media world, and a study of the Chinese internet service Weibo found that rage spreads faster than joy, sadness, and disgust. In general, emotional appeals work well, as everyone in media has come to discover.

Of course popular, viral content is rarely the best content. Just like the most popular show on TV is rarely the best show.

I like Madrigal's take on retweets: turning them off to avoid these viral, spontaneous shares of content not worthy of your precious time. But it seems a bit too much: Not all retweets can be simply reduced to low-quality content.

I prefer my way of turning the noise down: Follow a limited number of people (100 in my case), and turn off retweets for about half of them, from time to time. I find it to be a good compromise.

One of the best Instagram accounts

Stefania Rousselle, a French-American journalist, came up with a brilliant idea: on an Instagram account, AMOUR, she collects stories from regular people, asking only one question : What is Love ?

Some of these stories will bring you to tears, some of them will make you smile and brighten your day. One of my favourites so far, from a man named Lucien, 81:

There are moments where I really get depressed, when I am really low. Oh la la, you can’t even imagine. I miss her. She was a good cook because she was from the Landes, where there are a lot of good cooks.

In the winter, we would watch television, then sit near the fire and fall asleep in our respective chairs. We were happy. I always hoped it would last forever. It didn’t.

Please forgive me if I cry.

Do yourself a favour and click on the follow button, you will not regret it.

Kara Swisher reigns supreme

One of my absolute role models, Kara Swisher, on Slate writing about her experiences of being a boss, and portraying the bosses she had during her career, including this one:

I’ve told this story before, but years later I ran into him, and he said, “Most people in this town stab you in the back, but you stabbed me in the front, and I appreciate that.” I said, “Anytime, you son of a bitch.” It was a great moment. I’m so glad he’s dead. Seriously, I’m glad he’s dead. He was a jackass. He deserved it.

After that, I had some great bosses at the Washington Post. I’ve mostly had male mentors and bosses, for some reason.

Unsurpringly, this article is a fantastic read, and — since it was published on October 11th — I took it as a great birthday present.