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The Era of Antisocial Social Media – Harvard Business Review



HBR Staff/Jorg Greuel/Getty Images

Social platforms are still reporting robust growth — yes, even Facebook — despite a growing chorus of opposition. Social conversation continues to shape everything from culture to the media cycle to our most intimate relationships. And we now spend more time than ever on our phones, with endless scrolling through our social feeds being a chief reason why.

But dig a little deeper, and a more nuanced picture emerges about social media users today that has important implications for the ways in which brands reach customers. Specifically, when you look at who is — and more importantly, who is not — driving the growth and popularity of social platforms, a key demographic appears to be somewhat in retreat: young people.

For example, 2019 findings from Edison Research and Triton Digital show social media usage overall among Americans 12 to 34 years old across several platforms has either leveled off or is waning, while 2019 research from Global Web Index suggests that the amount of time millennial and Gen Z audiences spend on many social platforms is either flat, declining, or not rising as greatly as it has in years’ past.

To understand what’s driving this shift, you need only talk to young people. They’re saying that after years spent constructing carefully curated online identities and accumulating heaps of online “friends,” they want to be themselves and make real friends based on shared interests. They’re also craving privacy, safety, and a respite from the throngs of people on social platforms — throngs that now usually include their parents.

To reach these younger audiences on social, marketers are going to have to re-think their approach. The first step is to understand the distinct characteristics of these more closed, and often more private and interactive online spaces. Since I believe that naming a trend helps provide a framework for understanding it, I have dubbed these spaces “digital campfires.”

If social media can feel like a crowded airport terminal where everyone is allowed, but no one feels particularly excited to be there, digital campfires offer a more intimate oasis where smaller groups of people are excited to gather around shared interests.

I’ve identified three categories of digital campfires: private messaging, micro-communities, and shared experiences. Some digital campfires are a combination of all three.

Let’s examine the characteristics of each, as well as how brands are successfully navigating the challenges of reaching the audiences in these environments.

Private Messaging Campfires

Private or small-group messaging — usually but not always with one’s real-life friends — is the primary purpose for gathering. 

In a 2019 survey from ZAK, a youth-focused creative agency, nearly two thirds of the 1,000 people polled, all under 30, said they prefer to talk in private message threads rather than on open forums and feeds. Sixty percent of respondents stated that talking in private groups means they can “share more openly.”

Private messaging campfires often exist on traditional social platforms. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are among the most well-known examples. According to the ZAK survey, 38% of people under 30 only use Facebook for the private messenger function. Instagram, the rare platform showing an upward usage trend among younger Americans, recently launched a new, standalone app, called Threads, designed expressly for quick-fire messaging with close friends via the camera and text.

For the most part, brands aren’t invited into these private chats. Some have responded by adapting similar technologies, like texting (whether with actual humans or human-seeming chatbots), to mimic the intimacy of personal conversations with friends.

For example, there’s Text Rex, a members-only, text message-based, personalized restaurant recommendation service from the dining review site The Infatuation (a favorite among millennial foodies). Users can text questions like “Where should I take my date in midtown Manhattan?” or “What’s the best midday sushi in Santa Monica?” and receive answers from actual humans (Infatuation staffers).

Similarly, there’s Community — another text-based service that launched last year to help corporations, stars and high-profile individuals facilitate direct conversations with their fans via text messaging “without getting buried by social feeds and algorithms.” Community’s primary users are celebrities (among them: Kerry Washington, Amy Schumer, and Paul McCartney). But some fashion and lifestyle brands like MadHappy, APL, and Beautycon have already signed on, and the opportunity for brands to speak more directly to their customers via a channel they’re already using is a promising development.

Tip: This is the hardest campfire for marketers to penetrate. Get to know your audience intimately in ways that go way beyond simple demographics. Specifically, work to understand their habits — especially how they consume content and communicate across multiple platforms — and use this to inform the channels on which you communicate with them. Think about how you can reach customers by mimicking their behavior.

Micro-Community Campfires

Primarily interactive private or semi-private forums where people gather around interests, beliefs, or passions.

Like the private messaging campfires, micro-community campfires often live on traditional social platforms. Facebook Groups are probably the best-known example. The “close friends” feature within Instagram Stories has become a tool some influencers are using to share exclusive content and interact with small groups of their followers, for a fee. Slack, best known as a workplace messaging tool, is also a place where micro communities are connecting, often around shared professional interests.

YouTube has long been a hub for hyper-specific communities and that’s still the case today, especially among teens. Sure, anyone can watch or engage with a YouTube video, but the cornucopia of channels means there’s something for every conceivable niche interest. For a user, the effect of wading through a vast sea of content to stumble upon something meaningful — combined with the intimacy engendered by the direct-to-camera style of videos on the platform, and the loyalty that comes from subscribing to creator channels — can feel revelatory. (The same cannot be said of the Chinese-owned app TikTok, which, while growing at a phenomenal clip, is largely oriented around the consumption of a seemingly endless feed of entertaining videos served up by an algorithm. It does not allow the user to intentionally connect to specific interest communities).

Micro-community campfires can also spark in unexpected places. Young people are gathering, for example, on Discord — a voice and text chat platform designed for gamers, which has become something of an under-the-radar hub for beauty obsessives, with multiple servers devoted to topics like advice about makeup or cruelty-free products.

Brands can tap into existing micro-community campfires by partnering with influencers, or they can invest time and resources to build their own campfires from scratch — a heavier lift, of course, but if the brands doing it well are any indication, it’s an effort that is well worth it.

One example is Sprite, which spearheaded a campaign for the Latin American market last year called “No Estás Solo” (“You Are Not Alone”). Working with an agency, the company used data from Google to determine personal pain points that young people were searching. It then set up Reddit forums, each helmed by an influencer who had personal experience with issues such as feeling like you’re in the wrong body. The outcome: poignant personal discussions about loneliness, all led by Sprite.

Another example is the private Slack group created by beauty brand Glossier, often called one of millennials’ most trusted brands. Created exclusively for its best customers to talk about all things beauty, organize meet-ups and discuss products, the brand credits the group with helping to co-create one of its now-top-selling products, Milky Jelly Cleanser. At one time, this type of forum might have been dubbed “market research.” Today, it also serves as an engine for fandom, while simultaneously allowing the company to be nimble and responsive to anything that is discussed there.

Tip: These campfires are not indexed by Google or advertised on the platforms themselves, so they’re hard to find by traditional means. Study your audience to find breadcrumbs that will lead you to their micro-community campfires. Then, partner with an existing campfire or create your own.

Shared Experience Campfires

Private or public forums where participating in a shared experience — often around a specific shared interest — with a like-minded community is the primary purpose for gathering.

Perhaps the best example of this type of campfire is Fortnite, a multiplayer video game that has more than 200 million users, up to 8 million of whom are online at any given time. The game has been called a de facto social network thanks to the role it occupies in the lives of its players: Indeed, half of teens say they use it to keep up with their friends — some of whom they’ve never actually met in person — with most spending six to 10 hours each week on the platform). Last year, the EDM artist Marshmello staged a virtual concert inside the game that 10.7 million people “attended.” Fortnite is a form of entertainment, but more than that, it’s a catalyst for bringing together like-minded people for a shared experience. And the game’s steep learning curve lends it an aura of exclusivity.

The live broadcasting and viewing platform Twitch serves a similar function. Live streamers, primarily gamers, broadcast their own gameplay, usually with audio commentary, for fans who can watch and interact via chat. Twitch users consumed 592 billion minutes of live-stream content last year, and Twitch has recently pushed into non-gaming categories like music and sports. As with Fortnite, the primary draw to Twitch is its entertainment value, but the “stickiness” comes from the community and sense of excitement that forms around a shared interest or individual.

So how can marketers zero in on the right shared experience campfires for their audience? As with the other campfires, they must first identify the communities and parts of the culture that their brand fits into. Then, determine the online experiences these audiences seek. Brands like the NFL, Marvel, and Nike have done just that, leveraging Fortnite, for example, to reach their audiences by selling skins (stylized weapons and outfits for players’ in-game avatars), creating branded mash-up game modes, and doing limited-edition product drops inside the game.

Tip: Customization is key. Don’t simply replicate what you’re doing on other platforms — it will come across as ham-fisted. Instead, pay close attention to the behavior of the people in the campfire you want to reach, think about what value you can bring to them, then get creative about the products and messaging you’ll use to engage them.

Without question, the digital campfire trend is firmly on the radar of the big social platforms. “Today we already see that private messaging, ephemeral stories, and small groups are by far the fastest growing areas of online communication,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a March 2019 public post, announcing a strategic shift toward more closed, private modes of communication.

Zuckerberg is paying attention to this shift not only because the data shows that Facebook is losing young audiences, but because the re-direction of attention to more private modes of communication represents a major challenge for the company. About 98% of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising, and people in smaller, more closed forums are much harder for advertisers to reach at scale.

It is neither simple nor straightforward to reach audiences gathered around digital campfires. But as traditional social platforms grow, they become more crowded, and it becomes more difficult and expensive to reach people there anyway. In light of this, digital campfires become a much more attractive alternative — one that requires more groundwork and more careful tending, but one that could potentially have big payoffs for brands in terms of loyalty, retention, and long-term love.

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Local media highlight Coyote media day – University of South Dakota Athletics




Bryan Boettcher, USD Sports Information

South Dakota football held its annual media day Thursday which included a morning practice, 1-on-1 interviews with players and coaches, and a press conference featuring Coyote team captains and head coach Bob Nielson.
The Coyotes are fortunate to have several talented journalists throughout the region who cover the team on a regular basis. Links to the work they provided during media day are listed below:
Nielson Excited About ’22 Coyotes – Eric Bean, Yankton Press & Dakotan
South Dakota football braces for tough start to 2022 season – Bailey Zupke, Sioux City Journal
Camp’s experience leads hopeful Coyotes – Zech Lambert, Mitchell Republic
USD football ready for bigger and better year in 2022 – Mark Ovenden & Zach Borg, Dakota News Now
Coyotes eager to get rolling for 2022 football season – Alex Northcutt, KMEG
Yotes host football media day – Austin Tanner & Jayson Moeller, KTIV
Coyotes motivated to bounce back after last season’s playoff loss, Anthony Mitchell, KCAU
In addition to his coverage yesterday, Michael McCleary of the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls continues to post position previews on the team. His most recent posts are listed below:
South Dakota tight ends group trying to replace Brett Samson in receiving game
South Dakota’s offensive line returns four starters and looks to build on last season
South Dakota football will have new faces in wide receiver group, but should have a similar feel
South Dakota football’s running back room still strong despite breakout star’s injury
USD football enters 2022 with perhaps best quarterback room in MVFC
John Thayer, the voice of Coyote football, has posted recent interviews with Travis Theis and Carson Camp.


And check out this article from Randy Dockendorf of the Yankton Press & Dakotan featuring Sara Wieseler, who has been with the program since 2007 and was recently promoted to director of athletic facilities.

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Women-owned NU Media marketing agency's founder attributes her business success to the passionate women of her team – Net Newsledger



“As the digital space continues to grow, so does the need for companies to have a strong digital marketing strategy. With billions of active digital media users, it’s more important than ever for businesses to have a plan to connect with their target audience online,” says Ada Hu, CEO and founder of NU Media.

Known for revolutionising the way companies do business online, Ada and her partner have built NU Media, New York, into one of the most successful digital marketing firms in the country. Born in 1998 in Hangzhou, China and hailing from humble beginnings, excelling in entrepreneurship as a young female was not always easy. She often had to go through workplace biases, gender pay gaps and other common challenges faced by most females, even today.

While dedicating all her years of learning to all-girls education at Forest Ridge School of The Sacred Heart, followed by Parsons School of Design college, Ada experienced the power of a women-only network. She says, “Having an all-female education definitely made me who I am today. It instilled a lot of confidence in me to take on any challenge and never give up.”

This is evident in the way she operates NU Media. The company stands upright on the pillars of an all-female team that is led by creativity, innovation and a strong work ethic.

The company has been a driving force in contributing to the ever-changing landscape of digital services and technology. While most marketing companies rely on standard practices, Ada believes in always being one step ahead of the curve. This means always keeping the employees amped up, and keep looking out for new platforms, software and strategies to stay ahead of the competition.

A typical day at NU Media is adorned by diverse languages, young people with new ideas and an open mind to change. “Having a great team is essential to any company’s success, but it’s especially important in the digital space. Technology changes so quickly, and if you’re not constantly innovating and evolving, you’ll be left behind,” Ada says of her team.

Today, businesses and brands face more challenges than ever. The digital age has forced companies to change the way they operate and market themselves. With new platforms and strategies emerging every day, it can be difficult to keep up. The team’s marketing efforts are aligned to meet the business goals and the strategies are continuously being monitored and improved to make sure they’re still relevant. “I contribute a big chunk of NU Media’s success to our team’s willingness to always learn and try new things. We’re constantly experimenting and testing different marketing strategies to see what works best for our clients,” Ada explains.

While marketing companies focus on the businesses’ core product or service to retrieve profits, Ada believes in bringing customers close to the businesses. “It’s not just about making a quick sale, it’s about building a relationship with your customers and providing them with value,” she says. This philosophy has led NU Media to develop unique services such as their social media management system, which helps businesses save time and money by automating their digital communications.

And the company is definitely on an upwards trajectory. NU Media has grown rapidly since its inception in 2019, and now boasts a client roster that includes some of the biggest names in the business. The company’s vision to help brands and businesses connect with their target audiences in the digital space has resonated with clients, and Ada shows no signs of slowing down. “I’m so proud of how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time,” Ada says, “It’s been an incredible journey, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for NU Media.”

While she has been inspiring many women to stretch the conventional boundaries at workplaces, including her own company, her only advice to young women would be – “There is no substitute for hard work. Be passionate about your dreams and go after them with everything you’ve got.”

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August 12, 2022 – Media Release – Winnipeg Police Service – City of Winnipeg



2022 Winnipeg Police Service Public Opinion Survey

Every two years, a public opinion telephone survey is conducted through an independent agency to ask citizens about their view of the Winnipeg Police Service and their opinions about crime and public safety in Winnipeg. This year, on behalf of the Winnipeg Police Board, interviewers from PRA Inc, an independent market research firm, will randomly call individuals in all areas of Winnipeg beginning August 15th, 2022 to complete the 15 minute survey. 

Citizens can be assured the survey is legitimate. Interviewers will ask for general demographic information (age, gender, postal code), but will never request personal identifiers such as banking information, street address, or Social Insurance Number.

Once complete, the results of the survey will be made public and posted on both the Winnipeg Police Board and Winnipeg Police Service websites.
On behalf of the Board, the Winnipeg Police Service thanks all those who take the time to participate in the survey.

“Grandparent Scam” – Arrests: C22-161861

On July 28, 2022, the Winnipeg Police Service issued a public advisory in response to an increase in “grandparent scams” targeting the elderly.
The Financial Crimes Unit continued its investigation and identified two female suspects believed to be involved. On July 29, assisted by officers of the East District Community Support Unit, investigators arrested both suspects in the 1100 block of Sommerville Avenue without incident.
Investigators executed a search warrant at a residence in the 1100 block of Somerville Avenue and located evicence linking the suspects of the offences. During ten days, the suspects defrauded nine seniors for approximately $100,000.
Vanessa Fatima ALVES DASILVA, 18, of North York, Ontario, has been charged with the following offences:
– Fraud Over $5,000 x 6
– Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence
– Possession of Proceeds of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5,000
– Forgery
– Use a Forged Document
Gabriella Edith Marie PARADIS, 25, of Walpole Island, Ontario, has been charged with the following offences:
– Fraud Over $5,000 x 2
– Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence
– Possession of Proceeds of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5,000
The victims and the suspects were not previously known to one another.
The Financial Crimes Unit is continuing the investigation.
As previously released:
The Winnipeg Police Service has recently seen a significant increase in local “grandparent scam” (also known as “emergency scam”) reports – including 15 incidents over the past six days, with about $100,000 in losses.
The Financial Crime Unit is investigating these incidents.
The “grandparent scam” often involves an actor calling an elderly person and claiming to be a grandchild who is in serious legal trouble and needs money immediately. The caller sometimes cries, and there is often urgency and secrecy around the demands.
In October 2021, the Winnipeg Police Service issued a cautionary media release in response to an increase in “grandparent scams” targeting the elderly.
This release was followed up in March 2022, when it was discovered that the scam had escalated to the point where couriers or rideshare drivers were physically attending the victim’s residence to collect funds – rather than relying on an online transfer.  
An example of the scam, as seen in recent local incidents, occurs as follows:
A caller will claim to be a nephew, niece or grandchild – and sometimes provides the first name. They then claim to have been involved in an accident (such as a collision with a vehicle).
They then claim to have been arrested and jailed. The phone is passed to another actor who claims to be a lawyer and can come off as very professional.
The victim is told that money is needed for bail; otherwise, the family member will continue to be jailed. They are also told that a “gag order” has been put in place by a judge and that they cannot discuss the matter with anyone, including other family members or the bank.
Instructions are given to the victim to inform the bank that the money will be used for home repairs or something similar.
The victim is given a phone number to call, or the fraudster calls back soon after.
Once the money is obtained, the victim is told a bondsperson will attend their home. This fictitious bondsperson will attend the residence and take the cash – completing the scam.
There may be additional attempts to retrieve money from the victim over the following days.
Warning signs – How to protect yourself:
Knowledge is critical when it comes to preventing these frauds.
– The police and courts will never send someone to your house to collect money.
– The police and courts, including lawyers, will never tell you to lie to the bank about the purpose of obtaining money.
– These scammers will pressure people to act quickly before they have time to consider what they are doing or agreeing to. Always talk to a trusted person before providing personal information or funds, especially if it is an unsolicited call.
– We urge people to converse with their elderly relatives regarding this fraud.
– If you receive a call like this, please contact the police immediately.
If you have been victimized by the “grandparent scam”:
If you have been a victim of fraud, document all the information you can recall about your fraudulent transaction, e.g. receipts, copies of emails, text messages and courier companies.
It is also crucial that you report the fraud – doing so can help you possibly recover any loss, and it helps protect the community from future frauds and scams.
Information on how to report the “grandparent scam” can be found here:
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Drug Trafficking Investigation – Arrests: C22-118564

Beginning in August 2022, the Winnipeg Police Service’s Guns & Gangs Unit conducted an investigation involving the trafficking of methamphetamine within the City of Winnipeg.

On August 11, 2022, the Guns & Gangs Unit observed four suspects operating a stolen 2014 Cadillac ATS in the 400 block of Marion Street. Officers placed four adults under arrest and seized the following items from the vehicle:

– 53 grams of Methamphetamine (Estimated Street Value = $2,100 to $2,650
– 2 grams of Fentanyl (Estimated Street Value = $360 – $400)
– 2 grams of Cocaine (Estimated Street Value = $160 – $200)
– Digital Scales
– Score Sheets
– Cell Phones

With the assistance of the Tactical Support Team and officers from the East District, the Guns and Gangs Unit executed a search warrant at a residence in the 300 Block of Marion Street and seized the following items:

–  2.8 grams of Methamphetamine (Estimated Street Value = $112 – $140)
– Unused Packaging Materials
– 12 Guage double barrel shotgun
– Digital Scales
– Score Sheets

Bryden Joel JONASSON, 28, of Winnipeg, has been charged with the following offences:

– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine
– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Methamphetamine
– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking
– Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5,000
– Fail to Comply with Condition of Release Order x 2
– Possession of Firearm, Restricted/Prohibited Weapon or Ammunition Contrary to Prohibition Order
– Warrant x 2 (RCMP)

He was detained in custody.

A 25-year-old female from Winnipeg is facing the following charges:

– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine
– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Methamphetamine
– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking
– Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5,000
– Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000
– Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
– Store Firearm or Restricted Weapon Contrary to Regulations

She was released on an Undertaking as mandated by the Criminal Code.

A 25-year-old male from Winnipeg is facing the following charges:

– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine
– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Methamphetamine
– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking
– Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5,000
– Operate of a Conveyance While Prohibited by Order Under Criminal Code

He was released on an Undertaking as mandated by the Criminal Code.

A 35-year-old female from Winnipeg is facing the following charges:

– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine
– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking – Methamphetamine
– Possession of a Scheduled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking
– Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5,000
– Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000
– Store Firearm or Restricted Weapon Contrary to Regulations
– Possession of a Firearm Knowing its Possession is Unauthorized
– Possession of Firearm, Restricted/Prohibited Weapon or Ammunition Contrary to Prohibition Order x 2

She was released on an Undertaking as mandated by the Criminal Code.

Weapons – Arrest: C22-181351

On August 11, 2022, at approximately 2:30 p.m., members of the North District Community Support Unit observed an adult male operating a bicycle in breach of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) in the 500 block of Pritchard Avenue.

Officers attempted to stop the male; however he fled on foot. After a short foot pursuit, officers arrested the uncooperative male and placed him in custody.

The male was found to be in possession of the following items:

– Loaded Taurus G2C 9 mm Handgun with obliterated serial number
– Magazine containing several rounds
– Drug Paraphernalia
– Approximately $3,200 in currency

A  21-year-old male from Winnipeg has been charged with the following offences:

– Possession of a Prohibited or Restricted Firearm with Ammunition
– Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
– Tampering with Serial Number of a Firearm
– Possession of Proceeds of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5,000
– Resist Peace Officer

He was released on an Undertaking as mandated by the Criminal Code.

Weapons – Arrest: C22-181032

On August 11, 2022, at approximately 8:00 a.m., officers from the North District observed a wanted male at the intersection of Andrews Street and Flora Avenue. The adult male suspect was also believed to have a rifle in his possession.

Officers attempted to make contact with the suspect; however, he promptly fled on his bicycle. After a short distance, the strap from the duffle bag he was carrying became entangled in his front bicycle wheel, causing him to crash to the ground when the bicycle abruptly stopped.

Officers safely placed him under arrest on the strength of the Warrant and, as they did so,  observed a sawed-off rifle in plain view protruding from the duffle bag the suspect had been carrying.

Clinton WIRFFEL, 37, of Winnipeg, is charged with the following offences:

– Possession of a Firearm Knowing its Possession is Unauthorized
– Carrying Concealed Weapon Prohibited Device or Ammunition
– Possession of Firearm, Restricted/Prohibited Weapon or Ammunition Contrary to Prohibition Order x 4
– Fail to Comply with Probation Order
– Warrant – Fail to Comply with Probation Order

He has been detained in custody.

Constable Jay Murray, Public Information Officer
Constable Dani McKinnon, Public Information Officer
Constable Claude Chancy, Public Information Officer
Kelly Dehn, Manager of Public Affairs

Office: 204-986-3061

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