Decouple success from scale

To succeed, local media have to abandon scale and refocus on community. Advertising remains part of the equation, but reader revenue, donations, foundation funding — yard sales if necessary — are all in the mix.”

Audience scales, community does not. (Local News Lab)

You can thrive by decoupling success from scale. Related:

“As the Passion Economy grows, more people are monetizing what they love. The global adoption of social platforms like Facebook and YouTube, the mainstreaming of the influencer model, and the rise of new creator tools has shifted the threshold for success. I believe that creators need to amass only 100 True Fans—not 1,000—paying them $1,000 a year, not $100. Today, creators can effectively make more money off fewer fans.”

1,000 True Fans? Try 100 (Li Jin via a16z)

I tweet, therefore I am

“I tweet, therefore I am? Internet participation can feel like being on tour in perpetuity, and the feedback loops can feel like a noose, one that you tighten yourself.”

How Everyone IPO’d in the 21st Century (Eugene Wei)

I read somewhere recently — can’t remember the source — that when you hit “peak social” on Twitter, everything you write sounds like something you’d pull out of a fortune cookie. Truisms to amplify and outrage to stoke. Hell, I’m guilty of it. So how do we keep it in check and not lose ourselves to the game of scoring internet points?

Micro-sized communities

” Micro-sized communities are the key for modern businesses as smaller channels allow them to connect with highly engaged audiences. Influencers provide one way to access organic, tight-knit communities, but marketers are now moving beyond the digital world and building these communities in the real world.”

How brands can build micro-communities (AdAge)

Lead a community of purpose that aligns with your brand’s mission. Bring people together around in-person shared experiences. Share knowledge while acting as a catalyst for new connections. Keep the energy going through persistent community activities and back-channels.

Marketers need to zoom out

“By sweating and optimizing the small stuff, the [marketing] profession and its supportive industries have narrowed their focus too much and led many in marketing to work primarily on lower-funnel advertising (or digital advertising). And they’ve done this at the expense of building deep and long-term relationships with their customers using the full range of tools available.”

Long live the chief marketing officer (The Drum)

Strong customer relationships last longer than a campaign budget.

The next era of Instagram

“Forbes and a handful of social-media-marketing websites echo that appetites are changing. People are sick of unrealistic lifestyles and picture-perfect aesthetics, they say. The next era of Instagram is all about the “relatable influencer,” with trends like #nomakeup, #nofilter, #mentalhealth, #bodyimage, and “Instagram vs. Reality” memes. I now realize that in this essay, I’ve hit five out of five.”

— Who Would I Be Without Instagram? An investigation (The Cut)

Instagram started with snapshots of personal moments in filtered splendor. Then it swung towards influencers peddling products via over-produced photo shoots. Now it’s swinging back to something more real. (Hopefully.)

Online advertising comes full circle

As we look beyond a sort of a digital programmatic world that’s underpinned by cookies, it’s become really about audience. How do we reclaim some of the value that has always traditionally resided with publishers, which is about quality, context and trust? Once you begin to think of good advertising in those terms, it seemed to align our commercial interests and our values, and then it became almost unarguable that this was a commitment and a statement that we should make.”

The Guardian’s historic ban on fossil fuel ads (Heated)

Snipped from an interview with The Guardian’s interim CEO Anna Bateson in the latest Heated newsletter.

The line re: moving away from programmatic advertising resonated with me. I agree with it. I’d love to see a resurgence in direct relationships between publishers and advertisers; placement based on context, audience, and alignment.

Nothing can replace in-person community

Perhaps one of the most detrimental consequences of digital technology is the illusion of connection. We think that if we can tweet, post, text, e-mail, or even call someone, we’re good. After all, digital relationships save us the time and coordination of meeting in person, which in turn allows us to be überproductive—or so we tell ourselves. But here’s the thing: nothing can replace in-person community, and our failed attempts to do so come at a grave cost.

It’s Okay to Be Good and Not Great (Outside)

I owe a lot to the web. It opened the door to opportunities I never would’ve had otherwise.

As a kid growing up in central Ontario, I was able to make new friends around the world and pour my time into hobbies that eventually led to a fulfilling life and career.

But none of that would’ve happened if I didn’t go from URL to IRL.

It’s the difference between RSVP’ing and showing up. Intent doesn’t equal action.

I’m an introvert by default. In my early 20’s I was notorious for flaking on parties. Even now, a decade after my first meetup, I still feel an urge to bail before an event.

Despite that, I’ll still show up, because I know the benefit is worth the discomfort.

In-person experiences are the catalyst for strong relationships. Everything we do otherwise is a watered-down alternative. Video puts a face to the name. In-person experiences put the whole being of a person to the name.

So, if you really want to connect with your community, bring them together offline.