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Convosphere | Monthly Digest | July 2019

  1. Causing a storm in the social media world this month, the launch of Twitter’s new design saw some strong reactions. Users did not hold back their feelings as they took to the platform to express their opinions about the new-look interface, with one comparing it to a 90s Vtech toy. But the visual overhaul was inevitable, according to Twitter’s management team, who put it down to technological glitches caused by the old design. Nonetheless, some took it upon themselves to help users disable the new interface, whereas others saw the bright side and suggested people make the most of the redesign.
  2. YouTube often ends up in the firing line in debates about the impact of technology on kids. Considering a recent study by Pew Research Center found that YouTube videos aimed at, or featuring, children receive three times as many views as any other type of video on the platform, it’s no wonder why. Similar to what has been observed in other social media channels, the report also found that a small share of highly creative actors are behind the lion share of the content output, and that videos covering current events and politics account for as much as 16% of English-language videos.
  3. Shopee, a big e-commerce platform based in Singapore, just released their study of Vietnamese consumer trends with some interesting insights into online shopping behaviour. According to their findings, there has been an increase in purchases made during non-working hours as a result of a spike in smartphone usage before bedtime, and the share of male shoppers is steadily on the rise. In addition, the study also found ‘lipstick’, ‘shoes’ and ‘backpacks’ among the most searched for keywords. We’re intrigued. If you are too, you can find out more about the habits of Vietnamese e-commerce consumers in this article.
  4. China’s pop stars found themselves in the middle of a social media popularitydebate earlier this month. The contest was sparked by an internet user who, on the widely used media review site, Douban, questioned why tickets to Jay Chou’s concert were so hard to come by, bearing in mind the limited popularity of the traditional singer on Weibo. The comment started a fierce discussion with Chou’s fans, many of whom have been devotees since his breakthrough in 2000. They argued that, unlike mega influencers and pop stars popular with Gen Z, Chou doesn’t need to be backed up by social media stats to prove his worth. Ironically, in less than 24 hours after the comment was published, Chou had received so much online support that he snagged the ‘super topics’ list on Weibo from top ranker and Gen-Z favourite Cai Xukun, and was declared the winner of the social media battle. A great case to illustrate why raw social media data is rarely a reliable measure on its own but must be combined with qualitative insights and human expertise, something at which Convosphere’s team members are experts.
  5. Anyone who’s studied Finnish would likely say that it’s not an easy language to learn –especially in comparison with the more widely spoken Spanish and English. Now researchers appear to have discovered why the complexity varies so greatly between different languages. In dividing volunteers into small and large groups and asking each group to create their own language using only nonsensical words, the research team found that the bigger the group, the more systematic the language. Following the study, the team said: “In larger communities there are more versions for each word. This makes comprehension difficult and pushes the speakers to create a structure that would make communication easier. Having such a structure makes the language easier to learn.” Read more about the research, conducted by the Royal Holloway University of London and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands, in this article.

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