Nicolas Magand on the internet

Critique enthusiast, semi-colons dilettante, and lists aficionado.

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.

Focus, avoid social clutter, get your time back

In Hagakure, there is a saying: “The more the water, the higher the boat.” I love it because it makes sense for a lot of things in life. Except for one: information overload.

Unfollowing is the new black. It has been a few weeks now that I’ve decided to clean my news feeds. RSS feeds, Twitter followings, Facebook likes, etc. Everything had to go through some heavy cleaning for me to breathe a little.

Don’t have time to watch the Instagram Stories that matter most to you? Unfollow the accounts you always skip.

Your Twitter feed is a mess of links, pictures and retweets? Unfollow those who tweet too much, mute them, disable retweets. Keep only those you cherish, only those you want to read every time.

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Apps and services I like and use

When it comes to apps, you can say that I am a nerd. I like to find the perfect app for a specific task, and I don’t mind buying a few just to try them out. I often juggle between “all-web-apps” and “all-native-apps” but lately, I tend to privilege the latter.

These are the apps I use today; three months from now, there will be changes. I am not mentioning the obvious apps that I use (Safari, Facebook, YouTube, music apps, etc.), I am only listing those that you might not know, or forgot about. If there is no mention of a particular kind of app, assume that I use the basic stuff.

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Is Twitter at risk of becoming irrelevant?

Joshua Topolsky, on The New Yorker – The End of Twitter:

We live in the Age of the Upgrade, and the generation raised on the Internet is the most fickle of brand champions: they love something passionately, until they don’t. Then they move on.

Topolsky summarized the Twitter situation very well: what makes people stick to Twitter today may not be the same tomorrow, and Twitter need to figure what it is to avoid a mass exile to a shinier space, let it be Snapchat, Facebook or something completely new.

I will apply Betteridge’s law of headlines on my title: I don’t believe Twitter will become irrelevant anytime soon, but they need to choose a destination and wash the windshield so the passengers – the users – can have a vague idea of where the car is going (yes in this metaphor Twitter is a car).

Like I said here before, I am worried. Worried that Twitter will lose some of its best users first, and what makes it great starts to erode slowly. As a longtime user, I hope this won’t happen.

How Twitter might change without the 140 characters limit

Must-read article by John Hermann, writing for The Awl:

But a feed in which you can already tap “play” or open a grid of photos into a slideshow or open a link into an internal browser is a feed in which tapping a text preview to see more text will feel natural.

I get why people are afraid of change. It has always been the case with social media (remember when people got angry at the new profile pages on Facebook?) But this particular change – even if it might become the biggest change of all – probably won't annoy me as much as some of the previous changes Twitter made (I am looking at you heart-shaped buttons).

I've said this before on this very blog: the 140 characters limit is not what defines Twitter. What defines Twitter is its network of users, its affinity-based social graph. I don't see why a well designed button to "read more" would ruin the experience more than opening a link into a new tab, or a screenshort.

Five social media trends for brands in 2016

Another great post by Jerry Daykin. I'm really curious about what brands will do with IM apps outside of China. IM seems tricky since it is a real personal space, way more than a Twitter or Facebook feed, and advertisers or brands can face a huge obstacle there.

My favorite part of Daykin's post:

Producing just one or two great posts a month removes the need to churn out thoughts of the day and reactive nonsense, and allows you to focus resources on producing something genuinely memorable.

I usually compare brand strategies on social media to the r/K selection theory in biology: Either you produce a lot of simple posts and hope that at the end, some of them will stick to the reader's mind; Or you create a few quality pieces, more refined and with better personalisation. Of course, each strategy's success will depend on who your main target audience is.