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Author Archive for Carter Breazeale

Are We Nearing the End of the Age of Likes?

Fresh off of my return from vacation, I’d be remiss if I didn’t immediately issue a massive ‘thank you’ to Russell for filling in in my stead. He did quite a bang-up job manning the blog for three weeks—I think he’s got a handle on this whole blogging thing. So thanks, Russell, for providing some top shelf content while I was away.

Now any time you leave for a trip, a common refrain from your peers is, “Take lots of pictures!” Back in the aughts, the result of this was heading to the local grocery store to develop film from your travels to physically share with friends and family. Seems weird now, right?

Of course things have shifted mightily since the genesis of social media, and for most, that’s now where our memories live—in digital photo albums across the internet. An important component to sharing photos on social media is the engagement factor—likes, reactions, comments. Well, one major photo-centric platform may be getting rid of that altogether.

If you’ve been following the news and the maelstrom of negative headlines following social media companies like ominous storm clouds, you’re aware of some changes that have been proposed to make the environment a more “friendly” place. Instagram is flirting with a massive adjustment to its app in that light, testing the removal of public “likes” and story views. These, of course, form the basis of the platform’s algorithm (High levels of engagement with specific photos will push them higher into your feed), and also provide the user with a shot of digital MSG when they see the likes start rolling in.

That’s why you’ll hear conversations about “How many likes I got on that photo.” Positive interaction naturally makes people feel good, and their accumulation of likes plastered on their photos turns into a social media bragging point.

But it also fosters an extremely competitive environment where the memory becomes less about the photo and more about how popular it is. For that reason, Instagram has begun testing hiding these likes from everyone but the user.

So does this signal the end to the Age of Likes? Not necessarily. The all-important algorithm will still boost highly-engaged posts to the top of feeds, so you’ll of course be able to glean the popularity of a certain image by where it resides. Should Instagram go all-in on hiding likes, it will also create a dividing line of sorts—those who simply value their own content for what it is, and those who key in on the number of those clicking on it.

Essentially, screenshots of user likes will become a “thing” on Instagram. I can think of nothing less engaging.

It’s good news that social media platforms are tinkering with methods to make them friendlier, less competitive places. But with the mental and monetary value many people derive from levels of likes, views, and comments, there’s simply no way they’ll be able to eliminate that aspect from the platforms they created.   

The World Mourns Notre Dame

Notre Dame is a global symbol of Catholicism, Christendom, culture, history, and architecture. Today it stands in Paris, France, a stone façade with its interior filled with ashes. A fire yesterday threatened to raze the entire structure to the ground, but it was thankfully spared due to the tireless efforts of French first responders. Its spire and roof collapsed in the blaze, but the bulwark of Notre Dame still stands this morning.

This cathedral, a marvel of gothic architectural achievement, has stood on its foundation since 1345. It has seen The Crusades, The Black Death, World War I and World War II—its rooms and chambers and sanctuaries the ever-seeing eyes of the rolling boil of history. It withstood all of these events with a strength that mirrors its architectural immensity; yet on one random Monday evening in Paris it was threatened with complete and total destruction.

Regardless of any particular religious beliefs or affiliation, Notre Dame is an absolute wonder. Even among the ruins of its roof and spire and the charred remains of its interior, it remains a wonder. Ingenuity, imagination, and perseverance will guide its rebuild, and its spire will once again grace the Parisian skyline and greet tourists from around the globe.

I will be one of those this week, as I’ll be in Paris on Friday. I’m going to make my way to that grand cathedral that’s stood, and still stands, for nearly 700 years. The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris has endured all that humanity has thrown its way over the centuries, and it will endure and overcome this as well.    

Heading Overseas!

I’ve been blessed to work for PR/PR Public Relations for nearly eight years, and my time spent with this company has afforded me the privilege of working with some incredible people every day. It’s also opened up the opportunity to travel, explore, and grow.

Over the last few years I’ve found myself sipping rocket fuel coffee in a square in Bosnia, walking around glacier lagoons in Iceland, and watching sunsets from Dalmatian cliff sides in Croatia. My travels will continue next week, as I’ll be heading to the Iberian Peninsula to spend some time in Portugal and Spain.

Most of my destinations tend to be on the colder, gloomier side, so experiencing the Mediterranean will be a nice change of pace.

My flight departs next Thursday, April 18th, and I will be returning stateside (and back to the office) on Monday, May 13th. During this time, Russell will be rolling up his sleeves and personally shepherding all of my clients’ campaigns in my absence. Should you have any questions, concerns, or simply want to chat, feel free to reach out directly to my email (or give the office a call) as normal, as Russell will be keeping up with all communication to my email address.

I want to extend a sincere “thank you” to each and every one of my clients for your trust and support, and I look forward to continuing our work upon my return.      

Meatless Whoppers Are On the Menu

In what’s definitely a sign of the times, Burger King is announced that it’s testing a meatless Whopper at 59 of its locations in St. Louis. Featuring a plant-based patty from Impossible Foods (one that actually “bleeds”), Burger King is banking on the not-so-recent trend of meatless diets.

It’s a 21st Century iteration of Burger King’s flagship sandwich, and one they’re hoping to ride all the way to the bank.

Burger King made the announcement of “The Impossible Whopper” yesterday—April Fool’s Day—leading to the immediate question of if it was real or just another prank on April 1st. Nope: It’s real, and should the initial market test in St. Louis go well, the company plans to roll out the product nationally.

That means meatless Whoppers could soon be appearing at your local Burger King.

Silicon Valley has been pumping money into Impossible Foods, the producer of the Impossible Burger, with eyes on an IPO in the future. If a deal is secured to introduce their plant-based patty to all of Burger King’s 7,200 locations, they will become the de-facto standard for readily available meatless burgers.

It should also make them a real player on the market.

If you’re a little confused by a fast food joint incorporating a meatless option to its brand-bearing burger, you’re not alone. The Whopper holds a certain nostalgia for me, as it was the go-to meal after childhood soccer and baseball games; and at that time, there was definitely not a vegetarian or vegan option on the menu.

Times they are a’changin’, and Burger King is betting on its future by teaming up with Impossible Foods to bring the Impossible Whopper to the masses. We’ll see how it all plays out.

Apple Unveils Apple Card

Last week we focused on Apple’s upcoming event where they were primed to announce a foray into original content video streaming. They did that yesterday, but we also received an announcement of some new “hardware”, if you will. Apple unveiled the Apple Card, a no-fee, low interest rate credit card.

The minimalist design, par for the course with Apple products, is without a signature, numbers, security code, or expiration date.

As outlined in the event, the new Apple credit card will connect directly to Apple Pay. The card will allow the user to track all of their purchases through the Apple Wallet, and the card itself will begin to compile data on the bulk of your spending—which is a fantastic tool for future budgeting.

Apple released Apple Pay a few years back, and it’s become a popular option for iPhone users instead of whipping out the plastic to pay for goods. They’re now honing in on that feature and potentially replacing your card on file with one of Apple’s shiny new ones.

And they do look pretty awesome, as well. One of the cornerstones of the company brand is style and status, so the Apple card seems slightly like a quick way to let people know that “you’re in the club.”

Kind of like an AMEX Black card, without needing a massive disposable income.

The card will also feature a unique way to recoup rewards, as well. Instead of a running tally of cash back or miles, the card will deposit daily rewards back into your Apple Wallet for immediate availability.

Another day, another Apple headline. The company that changed the world keeps changing it, and you can bet there are more innovations on deck.