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Facebook’s demise wouldn’t affect us much

Filed by Jack Yan/May 30, 2020/11.14

Like many other publications, Lucire sends updates to Facebook, Twitter and Mastodon. Occasionally we’ll Instagram an image to a story. However, we’ve had reservations about social media, especially Facebook, for over a decade. In November 2010, we wrote on our Facebook page, ‘We have stopped the automated importing of notes to this Facebook page. These stories receive around 200–400 views each, but that also means that our site loses 200–400 viewers per story.’ At that stage we probably had around 600 fans on the Lucire fan page, showing you just what cut-through pages were getting before Facebook intentionally broke its sharing algorithm to force people to pay to get the same reach. (Reach dropped 90 per cent overnight.) We didn’t feel any desire after that to build social media presences, because we spotted the con—as did this YouTuber:

   Back then, Facebook allowed the importing of articles via RSS, which meant everything from Lucire’s news pages automatically wound up on the social network. It was a crazy idea, when you look back: it wasn’t designed to drive traffic to our main site, it only made Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg rich as you spent more time in their walled garden.
   Even after we stopped, we still shared headlines to Facebook, thinking that these would entice fans sufficiently to click through. At one stage, we could see referrals from Facebook among our stats, but these days, there is no correlation between the Facebook reach numbers and the actual views of the story on our own site.
   In 2016, NPR posted a headline to its Facebook page, ‘Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?’ but the contents of the article read, ‘We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let’s see what people have to say about this “story.”’ You can predict what happened: the link got plenty of comments. Anyone who says that Americans don’t get irony is gravely mistaken.
   Even in the late 2000s I was saying we lived in a ‘headline culture’ where people might never read the article itself, and social media have exacerbated this phenomenon. Many social media today, including the largest sites, are little more than glorified Digg sites, places where links are shared, but not necessarily places which drive traffic.
   Of course there will be exceptions to the rule, but generally, social media do not mean engagement. A 2015 study by Parse.ly showed that social media-referred readers engage the least with a given article. Search engine-referred readers were slightly better. But the best came from those who were already loyal readers on the site.
   In an age of “fake news” I do not believe the statistics will have improved, particularly on websites whose businesses thrive on outrage. People are divided into tribes where they seem to derive some reward for posting more links that support that aims of those tribes: a situation rife for exploitation, if certain countries’ investigations are to be believed. Certainly as early as 2014 I was warning of a ‘bot epidemic’, something that only became mainstream news in 2018 with The Observer’s exposé about Cambridge Analytica.
   But none of that bad news broke the addictions many people have to these websites. On our ‘about’ page on Facebook, we note: ‘Fast forward to (nearly) the dawn of the 2020s. We won’t lie to you: we’re not fans of how Facebook says one thing and does another. In our pages, we’ve promoted based on merit, and Facebook wouldn’t actually pass muster if it was a fashion label.
   ‘We know Facebook is tracking you, often more than your settings have allowed. Therefore, we’re consciously trying to limit the time you spend on this website.
   ‘However, we also know that we should maintain a Facebook presence, as there are many of you who want that convenience.’
   Nonetheless, I regularly wonder if that convenience is even worth it if there is no correlation with readership.
   Twice this month I was locked out of Facebook, because, allegedly, there was unusual activity. If checking your Facebook on a far less regular basis—say a couple of times a week—is unusual, then I’ll expect to get locked out far more frequently. As the importing of our Tweets to Facebook is driven by another program (on IFTTT), and that is linked to my personal account (one that I haven’t updated since 2017), then each time Facebook blocks me, it breaks the process. It’s also a website that has bugs that were present when I was a regular user in the late 2000s through to the mid-2010s, including ones where we cannot even share Lucire links because the site automatically ruins the address, rendering the previews anywhere from inaccurate (claiming the page doesn’t exist) to useless (taking you to a 404). Only the text link will work.
   We get the occasional like and share from our Facebook, although these do not inform our editorial decisions.
   We won’t go so far as to proclaim the end of social media, regardless of how angry the US president gets with fact checks; but we’ve been sceptical about their worth for publishers for a long time, and there are increasing days where I wonder whether I’ll even bother reconnecting the sharing mechanism from Twitter to Facebook if Facebook breaks it again. The question I’m really asking is: does the presence of links to our articles matter much to you?
   Ultimately, I care about all our readers, including Facebook users, and that remains the overriding motive to reconnect things one more time after Facebook locks me out. And I suppose the lock-outs in 2020 are much better than the ones during most of the 2010s, where Facebook forced you to download a “malware scanner” on false pretences, planting hidden software with unclear purposes on to millions of computers around the world. Their record is truly appalling, and if Facebook vanished overnight, I wouldn’t shed a tear.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Instagram round-up, May 27: as some emerge from lockdown

Filed by Lucire staff/May 27, 2020/10.26

As some celebrities and models continue with lockdown, and others are starting to emerge from theirs, their Instagrams are a far more mixed bag than when we began peering into them again earlier this year.
   While a few months ago, there were express acknowledgements of the COVID-19 pandemic, this week there was no caption from Kylie Jenner as she posted a selfie of herself in a bra and jeans, love heart aside, with half-sister Kim Kardashian exclaiming ‘WOW’ with six flame emojis. And being Jenner the photo received 10·6 million likes, and Kardashian’s comment, at the time of writing, had 11,999—it’ll easily be over 12,000 by the time you read this.
   In Milano, where things are beginning to open up again, Chiara Ferragni showed off her pride capsule collection, sharing the link in her Instagram Stories. The home-shot top showcases its rainbow stripes proudly, with ‘Love fiercely’ emblazoned on the front.
   It’s outside for singer–model Hilde Osland modelling Bombshell Sportswear, showing off the red autumn leaves in Western Australia, as that country’s COVID-19 infections dwindle. German actress Franziska Knuppe went further afield, into the Baltic Sea on board a boat for a photo shoot, doing her own make-up (using Shiseido) and hair (using Schwarzkopf), but beyond that, it’s a ‘secret project’ and we’re to wait to see just what this is.
   Bar Refaeli had a far simpler, more relaxed post on her ’Gram, looking natural in Tel Aviv with the simple caption, ‘Favorite time of the day. ME TIME’, a sentiment which many of us would embrace. Just as blissful was a post from Marina Laswick to her one million followers, her husband Kev Dukes holding her up. They’re making a Q&A video to answer questions about their successful marriage, and among the comments is an admission that Kev is usually behind the lens of Laswick’s photographs.
   Silvana Araujo, with nearly a million followers as fans of her fitness advice, is the only one in our round-up who mentions her quarantine (in Bogotá) directly. Wearing a bikini, she’s alerting fans to her upcoming fitness videos.
   Finally, Lucire cover alumna, actress Violett Beane, who turned 24 earlier this month, showed off a new hair colour (‘Extremely-faded-dark-brown-box-dyed’) and ’do.

 


Instagram round-up, April 24: whatever you do, don’t mention the pandemic

Filed by Lucire staff/April 24, 2020/12.19

There’s a lot happening around this time of year, including the Orthodox Easter, Earth Day, the start of Ramadan, and ANZAC Day, and over the last week, celebrities have been Instagramming in a more positive way, even though the COVID-19 pandemic is very much with us.
   Natalia Vodianova (@natasupernova) showed off her dining table spread to commemorate the Orthodox Easter: the Orthodox Church never went with the Gregorian calendar and stuck with when they thought Easter should be, so there is a discrepancy between the two dates. They may well have a point: after all, can one Pope really declare a new starting-point for January 1? Religion aside, Vodianova had a colourful display to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ in her own way.
   American model Kara del Toro (@karajewelll) posed with her vintage Chanel sunglasses, which are arguably in vogue for 2020. Del Toro managed to keep up her high standard of photography on her Instagram—we’re guessing that it pays to have archives! Her most obvious COVID-19-related post was four weeks ago; since then her fans have been able to indulge in escapism through her Instagram account.
   It’s the same with Norwegian-born, Australian-based model and singer Hilde Osland (@hildeee), who gathered up her favourites of her in red, and put them into a single post of nine images. She’s a pro at Instagram: whenever we try to post nine, it crashes! She’s also becoming a pro at TikTok, where some of her content is reposted from.
   Our friend Panos Papadopoulos (@panosofficial) poses with sunnies and a black jacket, with a simple message, and comes close to acknowledging the pandemic: ‘Keep your best mood … the world is changing’, while hashtagging #positivevibes. We’ll gratefully accept!
   We completely admire Samantha Hoopes (@samanthahoopes) for being real and showing off bikini photos taken four months after the birth of her child. She notes, ‘7 months later my skin is still all stretched out! This is a reminder of how fucking awesome our bodies are & our journey into our new bodies is all about Self love & confidence is key! For me it has been a ride from loosing all my weight to figuring out ways to “bounce” back & in all of it I am proud of my new shape, new skin & new body!’ We love her positive attitude and it’s a wonderful message to have in these times.
   No stranger to Instagram, Viki Odintcova (@viki_odintcova) is staying at home in Moskva and playing with make-up, taking a selfie and keeping her message simple.
   Claire Rose Cliteur (@clairerose) poses for a selfie wearing eco-friendly, sustainable fashion brand Pangaia, which has its own material science R&D facility. The label, which was founded last year, may well be the first one that combines this level of research with its own collections.
   Finally, commemorating Earth Day is actress Alexandra Daddario (@alexandradaddario), with a million likes of her image in the forest. The earlier text caption has disappeared in favour of a simple Earth emoji, and maybe that’s all you need.

 


Anne Klein teams up with founder’s granddaughter in COVID-19 initiative

Filed by Lucire staff/April 20, 2020/15.49

The Anne Klein brand, part of WHP, has teamed up with its founder’s granddaughter, Hello There Collective CEO Jesse Gre Rubinstein, to distribute 100,000 face masks through the company’s supply chain to essential workers and community organizations in the US.
   Rubinstein’s agency, specializing in social media, will launch Annie Klein’s social series, featuring individuals who have made a difference and connected communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rubinstein will host the series on Facebook Live.
   ‘Uniting the brand Anne Klein with the founder’s family at this critical time and making a commitment to distribute 100,000 masks to those on the frontlines helping our communities, is a win–win,’ said WHP chairman and CEO Yehuda Shmidman, who added that the collaboration was just the beginning.
   ‘I am honoured to have the opportunity to play a role in supporting my grandmother’s legacy by highlighting inspiring individuals who even during this time of great uncertainty, embody the vision and strength to empower their community and uplift those around them,’ said Rubinstein. ‘My hope is that this initiative serves as the launch of a powerful network that can both support and inspire others to help not only in the present, but as we begin to rebuild.’

 


The lockdown continues: celebrity Instagram round-up, April 10

Filed by Lucire staff/April 10, 2020/10.00

As the COVID-19 lockdown continues in many parts of the world, many celebrities and models are keeping their spirits up, especially to their Instagram audiences.
   Winnie Harlow (@winnieharlow) showed photos of her on a New York rooftop with paints in the background, with a positive message: ‘If you can see the light over the horizon keep going’. It’s not too clear if these were taken during lockdown as they are particularly polished, and her captions do not suggest that they’re her present status.
   Clearer was Kaia Gerber (@kaiagerber), who kept things simple at home with a camisole and jeans, and earlier photos suggest she’s been indulging in books.
   Alexina Graham (@alexinagraham) has had immense fun during her self-quarantine in the UK, as she discovered with her sister that she can balance a glass on her head while wine is being poured into it. It’s her new party trick, and there’s a video on her Instagram.
   Lily-Rose Depp (@lilyrose_depp) wasn’t going to forget her little brother’s birthday: Jack Depp turned 18, and Lily-Rose posted strips of old photographs containing the siblings.
   In a sign of our times, actress and Lucire cover alumna Laura Vandervoort (@supervandie) posted a photograph of coloured rocks, each with a message of hope and positivity, saying that she added four to the row on a walk during her lockdown in Toronto.
   Showing that you can’t keep a good model down, Sara Sampaio (@sarasampaio) decided to dress up and put on her make-up for her at-home selfie during lockdown in Los Angeles.
   Meanwhile, Natalie Roser (@natalie_roser) offered a selfie in Rose & Bare nude underwear along with a coupon code for Easter.
   But it’s Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) who takes the prize here for making the most of the situation. She still managed to pose for Vogue Italia while quarantined. The magazine sent her a Chanel look, and she donned the outfit, photographed ‘home on the farm’ by fellow model and friend Leah McCarthy, with whom she’s self-isolating. The image appears in Vogue Italia’s April 2020 issue. •

 


March 28: an Instagram round-up during COVID-19

Filed by Lucire staff/March 28, 2020/11.44

It’s actually refreshing that we haven’t heard much from celebrities and influencers during the pandemic; instead, press coverage has been on doctors, nurses, other frontline health care personnel, and essential workers who are keeping our countries moving.
   Out of interest, we thought we’d take a look at a selection of Instagram accounts—something we haven’t done for years here at Lucire—to see just what a cross-section of “names” are sharing.
   New York model Imani (@champagnemani) shows that you can be stylish and comfortable while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, tagging the Working from Home Fits account (@wfhfits). Imani’s wearing items from NewTop Jewelry (@janes8103), Eckhaus Latta, and Ugg boots.
   Model Bree Kleintop (@breekleintop) is out dog-walking in Alo Yoga, though there’s no telling when the photo was actually taken. We know that Kleintop is self-isolating from an earlier post—don’t we all have several thousand photos on our phones?
   Actress Franziska Knuppe (@franziskaknuppe) reminds us not to lose our positive vibes during the pandemic, and for those who are at home, she has a new shoot and interview in the latest German edition of Gala. The magazine photo was taken by Frauke Fischer, with make-up by Melanie Schoene, using Shiseido.
   We couldn’t ignore one politician: New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern), possibly the only PM who has an infant at home toilet-training. New Zealand is in a four-week lockdown in the fight against COVID-19, and the PM is no exception: while still showing up for press conferences, she’s observing the 2 m physical distancing rule, while at Premier House in Wellington, she has a “bubble” with her fiancé and daughter. Ardern shared a Lego Duplo tower and reminded people they can get official information on the country’s COVID-19 fight at the government website, www.covid19.govt.nz. After all, no one wants to wind up like Boris.
   Rising model Tehya Elam (@precioustehya) wished a friend happy birthday with artwork of a sunflower, sending out a personal wish during these uncertain times. Earlier in her account she shared Psalm 91 in a call to others to have faith.
   Parisian model Mika Schneider (@mikaschndr) is staying at home, too, but managed to do a shoot. Considering the limited circumstances we’re all facing, the four shots are excellent, and shows that models are keeping themselves entertained—not to mention adding to their portfolios.
   Russian model Viki Odintcova (@viki_odintcova) used an earlier photo shot by Aleksander Mavrin while relaying a more personal message in Russian, lamenting the fact her diary is less packed during the pandemic. She had managed to get herself organized with a new system, before things came to a halt, her meetings now on Skype, and filming on hold. She’s looking forward to getting back into the swing of things again and travelling. Till then, it looks like Odintcova’s staying put, too.
   Finally, Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) says she misses being outside in her city and also walking her dog, sharing an older photo with her wearing Inamorata, her own label.

 


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