DataDownload: Do you really know your audience?

DataDownload: Do you really know your audience? A weekly summary of all things Media, Data, Emerging Tech View this email in your browser

Got this newsletter forwarded to you? Click to subscribe

Our one-year lockdown anniversary is Tuesday. Hard to believe.

The word ‘quality’ seems to be under attack. Journalists are looking at data that tells them what audiences read, share, and like — but knowing that doesn’t change much, according to Slate. And there’s a new crop of social networks breaking out — making me wonder who’s the next My Space (because there will be one).

Immersive storytelling is having a moment. For sure. Maybe it’s covid. Maybe it’s just that the work is quickly becoming so darn good. But either way. the Media Lab is convening what promises to be an unforgettable day — next week — on a brand new immersive platform experience we’ve built with our partners at ohyay. Don’t know about it, then don’t miss it — it’s free. Signup here. (

Oh, and so much more. Twitter is waking up from a slumber. Tom Cruise is fakier than ever. We’re flying green. And we’re listening to a podcast about how Social Media is perilous, according to Wael Ghonim.

So get Vaccinated. Wear a mask. And get ready for a new chapter that’s going to be important and excited.

See you at the NYC Media Lab’s brand new exploratorium on Wednesday.


Steven Rosenbaum
Executive Director
The NYC Media Lab Must-Read Imagined Audiences: What Analytics Do — and Don’t — Tell Journalists.

“Now, journalists across the globe increasingly go through their daily routines while face-to-face with online measurement data that describe the audience’s reaction to their output as those reactions unfold. Perhaps the strangest thing about this development is how ineffective it appears to have been in improving journalism’s standing among the public”

Journalists have become impromptu data analysts over the last decade, if not picking up a bit of programming then at least using GUI-based analytics tools to better understand audience behavior. Instead of helping them get closer to their audience, however, trust for the media continues to erode. Journalism professor Jacob Nelson says metrics show behavior in granular detail, but not the reason behind that behavior. Why was that story a flub — was is it a boring headline, an uninterested public, or bad writing? Journalists can only guess — and second-guess their gut instinct.

“The perseverance of distinct, contradictory imagined audiences at a time when journalists within many newsrooms routinely receive detailed audience measurement reports indicates that no amount of audience data are likely to succeed in lifting the cloud of uncertainty that journalists face when it comes to interpreting audience behavior. Consequently, even if the world continues to shift toward one where such data are even more easily and readily available, there still will be lingering questions, such as who gets counted as ‘the audience,’ and who is left out.”

Slate / 6 min read Read More Social Networks Are Finally Competitive Again

“Social networks are competitive again.” That’s not something you hear every day. Actually, that’s not something you hear a lot in a decade. Casey Newton navigates the “weird new landscape” of social networking startups, where, for the first time in years, concepts aren’t just getting copied by Facebook and floundering. TikTok is at the front of the list — as Eugene Wei points out, the “sheer number of forces that have gone into TikTok’s success has made it difficult for Facebook (or YouTube) to clone.”

“To clone TikTok, you can’t just copy any single feature. It’s all of that, and not just the features, but how users deploy them and how the resultant videos interact with each other on the FYP feed. It’s replicating all the feedback loops that are built into TikTok’s ecosystem, all of which are interconnected.” Then, there are competitors that pose less of an existential threat — Clubhouse with its star power and Substack with its writers, both of which are copyable but still forces on their own.

The Verge / 10 min read

Read more Tech+Media NYC Media Lab to Unveil Innovative “Exploratorium”

The nature of storytelling is changing. The tools we use to tell them, the stories we tell, and the growing community of storytellers. On March 10th, the NYC Media Lab is bringing together almost one thousand creators and technologists to explore the fast-changing and often dazzling work being done across platforms and technologies.

And to make the event itself immersive and magical, the Media Lab is unveiling a brand new immersive space, the Exploratorium, to give attendees a space to connect and collaborate. The space is built on the ohyay platform, an includes a mainstage, a studio, eight hangout spaces and a wide mix of ways to share feedback, ask questions, and network.

Technology+Storytelling: Engaging The Immersive Future, will be held from 10 AM to 3 PM ET on March 10th and is presented in conjunction with The Mayors Office of Media and Entertainment. Panels will include a topical conversation titled ‘BLM, Immersive Film & Activism,’ a presentation from Epic Games’ Connie Kennedy, and a keynote: “How to Survive The Media Wars,” presented by Evan Shapiro.

NYC Media Lab / 2 min read Read More Twitter Shakes Off the Cobwebs With New Product Plans

If I ask you what Twitter’s biggest update was in the last five years, you’d probably say the 280 character limit — not much else comes to mind. The platform’s core feature has been tweets for 15 years. But Twitter has been on a roll as of late, launching an Android version of its Clubhouse clone Spaces before its competitor, acquiring newsletter platform Revue in January, and introducing Fleets in 2019–20, their version of ephemeral content. Jack Dorsey admitted the platform was “slow… not innovative and… not trusted.” But they’re moving faster now.

“Last year, Elliott Management, a hedge fund, quietly amassed a 4 percent stake in the company and then attempted to oust Mr. Dorsey, arguing that he was not focused enough on creating innovative new products at Twitter because he also oversees the financial company Square. Twitter made an agreement with Elliott Management to retain Mr. Dorsey. But the episode jolted the company into an acquisition spree. It snapped up a mobile advertising company, a social video app, a podcasting company, a design firm and a newsletter provider.”

NY Times / 5 min read Read More Deepfake Videos of Tom Cruise Show the Technology’s Threat to Society Is Very Real

Some of the best deepfakes we’ve seen to date have appeared under the deeptomcruise TikTok handle, which has already amassed over 390k followers in a week. In a tweet thread SocialProof Security CEO Rachel Tobac that ultra-realistic deepfakes like deeptomcruise “threaten to further erode public trust in a world where media literacy is poor and people already can’t agree on what’s true or false. Like the black and gold dress, where one person might notice giveaways that the Tom Cruise videos are synthesized, another might not know the signs of a fake and swear up and down that they’re real.”

Input Mag / 3 min read

Read More What We’re Watching Can Flying Go Green?

“Covid-19 has caused the worst crisis in aviation’s history. Is this the industry’s moment for a green reset — and which technologies offer the best hope?”

The Economist (YouTube) / 8 min watch

Watch Now What We’re Listening To Podcast: Arab Spring Leader Wael Ghonim on Modern Social Media’s Promise And Peril

“In 2011, Wael Ghonim created a Facebook page that sparked the overthrow of the Egyptian regime. Since then, the former Google marketing director has kept a close eye on social media’s evolution, and has plenty to say about where it’s gone wrong, and how it can get better.”

Spotify / 70 min listen

Listen Now Virtual Events Free Event: Leading Your Business toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Date: March 16, 12:30–1:30PM EDT
Join Keesa Schreane, ESG, Risk Global Partner Director at Refinitiv for a conversation about how corporations worldwide have failed when it comes to inclusion, gender, and racial equality. Register Here.

Paid Event: Venture Capital Pitch Night
Date: March 18, 6PM-8PM EDT
Panelists include Jacqueline Bennett, Managing Partner at Highlands Venture Partners, and Elena Gantvarg, Principal at Flint Capital. Register Here. A Deeper Look MIT Engineers Create Camera Lens That Focuses With No Moving Parts

MIT engineers have come up with a camera lens made of transparent “phase-changing” material, which can change the way light interacts with it by rearranging its atomic structure in the presence of heat. At room temperature, the “metalens” is able to generate a sharp image at a certain distance. When heated, the “metasurface redirects light to focus on a more distant object.” PetaPixel compares the absence of mechanical parts to adjust focus to an SSD… “but for lenses.”

PetaPixel / 2 min read

Read More


Forward this digest


Tweet it Out


Share on LinkedIn

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this? unsubscribe from this list update subscription preferences
NYC Media Lab · 370 Jay Street, 3rd floor · Brooklyn, New York 11201 · USA

NYC Media Lab connects university researchers and NYC’s media tech companies to create a new community of digital media & tech innovators in New York City.