Nathaniel Gaynor

Changes Big and Small: Innovating for a Digital Tomorrow

Innovation in the media happens every day. Look at Snapchat. A year or so ago, it was an app where you could send videos and selfies to your friends, and not much else. Over the course of this past year or two, Snapchat has added group stories where you can post your Snapchats under a common theme for all to watch. They’ve added facial recognition filters, the ability to adjust the speed of videos, news publication stories and Snapchat texting. Just this week, Snapchat has added video and voice calling, as well as, autoplay stories. Snapchat is constantly innovating. Every single day.

The Big Idea

My one big idea does not feel entirely fleshed out because I genuinely do not know how I would bring it into existence. According to Gallup in 2015, American’s trust in the media is at a historical low. If a publication could take that fear of trustworthiness and somehow turned its on its head, they could be at the forefront of the future of journalism. Somehow the publication would need to be more transparent than current publications are with the American public. For example, said publication could show live Periscope broadcasts of their morning meetings. They could do once a month live chats with the public and their reporters (something that Vox does sometimes currently do).

The crazy idea, though, would be to partner with a company like Politifact and have their major stories fact-checked by an outside source before being published. While stories are obviously fact-checked in-house, that does not necessarily guarantee transparency, as working with an outside group would. The publication could have fact-check ratings next to every one of their stories. Obviously, there are some likely problems with this idea, but it would be a start towards earning back the trust of the public.

The Smaller  Ideas

Relatively consistently, I find things that I would like to be innovated on social media. Here are a few minor changes and innovations that would make every day use of social media a whole lot better. I will look at three social media platforms that can use a few updates or innovations

  1. Twitter: The number one problem that I have with Twitter – and that some of my friends have expressed to me as well – is the inability to edit tweets. It is so easy to make a small error on Twitter and as soon as someone likes or retweets it, the user does not want to delete. I understand that for news media it likely isn’t okay for them to edit without acknowledging the correction, but for the average user, it is a frustrating problem with an otherwise intuitive social platform. Instagram and Facebook both allow users to edit posts AND comments, so Twitter should really make this feature available.
  2. Youtube: As a college student, the main use of Youtube for me is listening to music, especially some of the more obscure music that cannot be found on iTunes. As a college student, I like to play music off of my Youtube app. However, frustratingly, it is impossible to close the Youtube app and still hear the audio. If you’re the DJ and playing music off Youtube and want to check a text without shutting off the music it is impossible. This is such a simple feature. Soundcloud and Spotify and Apple Music and even Twitch all have it. Why does Youtube make it so challenging. Additionally, Youtube should allow you to organize videos into playlists that you can play in order. This would work for both listening to music and listening to audio stories like podcasts.
  3. Facebook: One of the things that frustrates me most on Facebook is that my feed always defaults to “top stories” when I prefer for feeds to be in sequential order. It makes less viewed or interacted with posts go to the bottom of my feed. I’d like to see all the posts not just a few. It also makes me feel like only a handful of the same people are actually using Facebook in my friends list. I wish I could set the default to recent but it always bounces back to “top” like it is forcing the user to like it that way.

The big idea is simply an idea that one day might become a reality in some form. These smaller changes though, are things that matter most right now and they’d create better experiences for users. I look forward to seeing these minor changes soon.

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