The 5 best candidates to host the 2017 Oscars

chris rock oscarsGetty

It’s a wrap on the 2016 Oscars, but it’s never too soon to think about next year. Just ask the Oscar producers themselves. 


Chris Rock redeemed his less-than-stellar first Oscar hosting gig in 2005 with a strong performance Sunday night, topped by a funny, incisive opening monologue that touched on #OscarsSoWhite.


But with the ceremony’s ratings getting the second-lowest on record, it’s not likely Rock will be asked to come back next year.


So here are five suggestions we have for the 2017 host. 



Key and Peele


Getty Images


Fans of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have been shouting for them to host the Oscars, or Golden Globes, or anything really, for some time now. 


Key and Peele (who had a popular Comedy Central show by the same name) have hit a high enough level now that taking the hosting duties for the Oscars wouldn’t be too big of a stage for them. And though your grandmother doesn’t know who they are, that’s not a bad thing. What the Academy needs to start doing is drawing young people back to the show.


Kevin Hart


Kevin Winter/Getty


If the Academy needs a marquee name, Kevin Hart is ready for the job (anyone else feel he was doing an audition for the host spot Sunday night?). 


He’s a major box-office draw, and you can’t question his abilities on the stage. 




Louis C.K.


Kevin Winter/Getty


One guy the Academy would kill for is Louis C.K., who got big laughs in a minor presenting spot Sunday night. But as much as we and they would love for him to host, it’s probably a long shot. 


Louis has never been one to take on a gig this big, though that would be the best thing about it. With his downer style, it would make for some funny material. 


Instead of asking the audience for money for Girl Scout cookies, like Rock did this year, he would probably ask for money to pay for a documentary filmmaker’s flight back home.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider


Wearable tech could be making exercise less fun




This is the moment of the quantified self.


Such a moment isn’t driven only by the Apple Watch, which the company markets for its self-tracking ability; nor is it entirely the doing of fancy pedometers like Fitbit and Jawbone, or  the dubious sleep-quality measuring apps. This moment is also the product of an age of corporate-enforced quantification, whether through metrics-obsessed journalism or employee biometric scanning programs that cost $4,000 to opt out of.


It’s not clear which parts of our measurement moment will prove faddish and which will stick.


But in the meantime, new evidence suggests that when we do measure things, we might not enjoy them as much. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research seems to indicate that measuring an activity, whatever it is, decreases people’s motivation to keep up with it.


In other words, it proposes that the more you quantify something that’s rewarding for its own sake, the less likely you are to enjoy it—and the less likely you are, too, to do more of it. Across a series of experiments, Jordan Etkin, a marketing professor at Duke University, found that people’s intrinsic motivation to do something—whether it be coloring, reading, or walking—declined once it was measured.


In one experiment, researchers had 105 undergrads color in shapes for a few minutes, then rate how much they enjoyed it. Those who got numerical feedback on their works in progress—“you have colored one shape,” etc.—colored more shapes but reported enjoying it less.


In two other experiments, researchers gave about 100 people pedometers to wear through the day. In the same pattern as the colorers, those wearing the pedometers walked more than their peers without pedometers but enjoyed it less, even when they didn’t have access to the device’s step count. And in the final two experiments, 300 students reading for a brief period of time read more than a control group, but enjoyed it less, when they could see how many pages they had processed.


Woman joggingTwitter/@fitbit


“There’s a major stream of research in psychology that looks at how providing external rewards can undermine the inherent fun or enjoyment of doing something,” Etkin told me. “The classic example: If you have kids—kids like to color, they’re coloring—if you give them an award for coloring, that makes them enjoy coloring less and makes them want to color less in the future.”


But she cautioned that if someone was doing an activity for a specific reason, having access to the data could actually make them more likely to do it.  


“The reason why you’re engaging in the activity matters a lot. If it’s something that’s really goal-directed—I’m walking to lose weight, I’m walking because I want to be healthier—if walking serves some goal that I have, then measurement doesn’t make it feel less enjoyable. In fact, it can have some benefits for enjoyment,” she told me.


She added: “The negative effects of measurement are really where you were just doing something for fun. Measurement makes it not fun.”


measuring tapeTwitter/@fitbit


A few words of caution. Like many psychological studies, Etkin’s subject base of American undergraduates was WEIRD, an acronym for subjects that are overwhelmingly Western, educated, and from places that are industrialized, rich, and democratic. Because the study was based on a very specific population, it’s difficult to say whether the findings would hold across the board. Psychological science right now is also struggling with questions of replication, wherein some results and assessments previously judged as core to the field could not be recreated in a clinical laboratory setting.


The earnest, Fitbit-wearing weight watchers—the people who are tracking their steps for some reason other than pure fun—may not care about all these findings. But for those making products that depend on people quantifying new and different kinds of activities, Etkin’s findings should present a cautionary story.



Deliver Exceptionally Responsive Customer Support: Introducing Respond by Buffer

As social media has evolved, our use of social networks has changed: We’ve found new ways to use Twitter, Facebook, and more to share, to communicate, to talk about our favorite things.


We engage more than ever with brands and businesses – brands and business like you and yours!


At Buffer, we’ve been fortunate to have a front row seat to watch this evolution of social media for businesses, as it’s expanded from an engaging channel for marketing and community into many new channels, including one that’s especially near and dear to us: customer service.


And we’re so excited to share with you: Today marks the public release of our brand new customer service tool, Respond!


Respond button


We’d love for you to be among the first to experience the real-time support experience with Respond. Click above to get started right away, and continue reading for the full story behind the product and all the unique ways that Respond supports you and your audience!




Respond public launch


How to Get the Most From Respond for Customer Support


Having been big fans of the Respondly product before the acquisition and now daily users of Respond over the past three months, we’ve had the great opportunity to experience Respond’s benefits first-hand in how it helps us support our community.


Here are some of our most-loved parts about Respond.



Respond displays your community’s tweets in a real-time tweet inbox. The list of new messages—both tweets and DMs—runs down the left column. Each particular message opens into the panel on the right.


This intuitive layout gives the Twitter stream an inbox feel where you can reply, archive, keep track of conversations, and—excitedly—reach inbox zero!




From the message panel, you can perform every significant action you may need to assist, engage, and support the person you’re chatting with. In Respond, you can:

    • Reply
    • Like
    • Follow
    • Archive



You can also tag a conversation for Follow Up — if you need to hunt down an answer maybe, or if you’d love to circle back on a conversation later to see how things sorted out — and you’ll receive a reminder later on at whatever custom timeframe you’ve set.


(One of my favorite features is the semantic followup instructions: If you tell Respond to remind you “tomorrow,” it’ll know precisely what you mean!)


For tracking all the important conversations that matter to you, chances are you might want to stay on top of keywords, phrases, or hashtags, too. Respond includes custom search queries so that all the results from these searches appear in real-time alongside your tweets.




Respond was built for teams—and tested by teams! Some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley use it for Twitter support, including Slack, WordPress, Product Hunt, and Stripe. With this in mind, we’ve done our best to build out team features that we feel will make a world of difference to working effectively and efficiently together.

    • Team signatures
    • Double-reply prevention
    • Assign conversations

Oh, and Respond integrates with Slack! Woop!


Respond button


Respond for individuals and Respond for teams


One of the really interesting discussions we’ve had here during the launch planning is thinking about what Respond does best: Is it a customer service tool or is it a social monitoring tool?


Why not both!


We’ve found that users tend to find great value from Respond, using it in either way. Our product roadmap is looking to support both paths also, with an initial focus on making Respond a perfect experience for teams.


We’d love for everyone to be able to try Respond! We’re happy to offer two different pricing plans at launch:

    1. The Free plan for individuals
    1. The Pro plan for teams – $39 per user per month

There’s a neat checklist of what each plan includes here, if you’re interested in seeing more.


In addition to these two plans, we’re looking into ways to best support Enterprise customers as well, and we’d love to chat further with you if this feels like it might be you.


Additional FAQs


What social networks does Respond work with?


We’re really excited to offer a full support experience for Twitter, and we’re currently exploring how Respond might fit with other networks, Facebook being chief among them!


Is there a free trial?


No, we don’t have a free trial at the moment. We’re hoping you might get a great taste for the simplicity and benefits of Respond with the Free plan. If there’s any additional detail we can pass along about the Pro plan features, we’d be very happy to!


Can I get to Respond from my Buffer dashboard?


Great question! At the moment, the two products are separate from one another, and each can be accessed from its own URL – for Buffer and for Respond.


Is Respond integrated into Buffer? Will it be?


For now, we’ve chosen to keep Buffer and Respond as separate products. Would love any of your thoughts on that!



How Respond came to be: The full story, from acquisition to launch


Respond has been an incredible, whirlwind product experience for us at Buffer, from acquiring the customer service tool Respondly in December (big thanks to Tim and the Respondly team!), to onboarding private beta testers in January, to the public beta release today.


We’re couldn’t be more thrilled for the chance to include Respond among the Buffer family of products.


On the day of the acquisition announcement, we shared this vision for the future of Buffer:


In the long run, what we hope to build at Buffer is the essential social media tool. Our goal: No matter how many other great tools (and there are many!) you might want to use, we hope Buffer is a key part of your mix to deliver great experiences and results on social media.


Respond feels like a natural fit with this purpose. In addition to building Buffer as the premier marketing tool for you to manage your social media, we’re also hoping for Respond to become the premier tool for you and your customer service team.


Since the acquisition announcement, we’ve been working with a clear focus of making Respond a must-have, standalone tool for delivering exceptional support experiences. It’s an amazing journey we’re embarked upon and are excited to continue.

    • We’ve learned a ton from experiences like #bufferchat and how Respond can best scale to handle over 3,000 tweets in an hour — we’re grateful for the chance to keep improving there!
    • We’ve given early access to some incredible companies like Slack, Product Hunt, and WordPress, and learned from how they support their audiences of millions
    • We’ve checked in with Respond’s 18,000 beta signups to make sure we’re building the best Respond possible

What we’re excited to release today is a premier, standalone tool to help you reach out to your customers, reply to their questions, monitor what’s being said about you and do so in a fast and reliable way to deliver a great experience for your community.


Respond is a social-first support experience. We want you to feel empowered to dive into conversations and questions in real-time, so we built the dashboard and interface with speed, interactivity, and engagement in mind. Instead of ticket numbers or wait times, Respond is all about what your customers need right now and helping you deliver ultra-responsive support.


We feel this helps set apart Respond in a really unique way and that the timing of a tool like this couldn’t be better. In particular, the timing with Respond seems to have felt quite ideal for a number of reasons:


1. How Respond helps us set the standard for customer support


At Buffer, it has been our stated mission to:


Build the simplest, most powerful social media tool on the market and to set the standard for customer support.


During the very first days of Buffer in the fall of 2010, our co-founder Joel started delivering happiness, answering questions on Twitter, and proactively reaching out to new customers. Customer service has been part of Buffer’s DNA ever since, and it feels incredible to now have a product that supports this mission.


Respond also happens to be the product that helps us achieve our vision for support. We use Respond on a daily basis, helping us connect and assist our awesome Twitter audience of more than 485,000.


How huge has support been for us? (And Respond in particular.) Here’re some numbers:

    • We have a team of 21 people who work exclusively on delivering happiness to customers.
    • We aim to answer emails and tweets within 60 minutes.
    • We respond to 350 emails and 300 tweets per day. (During our busiest times we’re fortunate to start a new Twitter conversation every minute!)
    • We send 170 outreach messages per day to people who are interested in Buffer

With Respond, we want everyone to feel capable of doing great support on social media. Having the right tool can feel a bit like having a super power! This has been the case for us with Respond, and we’re delighted to let you in on the fun as well.


2. A social media strategy now involves more than marketing


Did you know: Only 20% of top retailers answer customer questions on Twitter. Kudos to that 20% because they are doing it right! People—customers—are using social media in more ways than before, and with that boost in use comes a whole host of expectations, conversations, and opportunities.






It’s no longer enough just to post consistently (though that’s still a huge difference-maker!).


We feel that today’s social media strategy requires more, starting with a way to respond to the people who’re reaching out.


From what we’ve seen, Facebook and Twitter are more than just marketing channels. They are engagement channels. Here’s another amazing stat: Over 80% of inbound social customer service requests happen on Twitter. That’s a huge percentage of your audience looking to connect with you on social!


We’ve found that you can engage to a certain degree with your marketing strategies. We believe that you can engage even further with a social-first support plan, too.


3. As the Buffer team grows, so do the opportunities


When Buffer started five years ago, social media looked a lot different. Facebook and Twitter were private companies, yet to have their IPOs. Neither was as fully embedded into society and culture the way they are today.


A lot has changed for social media, and a lot has changed for Buffer.


We started as a team of two, Joel and Leo, and we’re now a team of 80. In the past six months, we’ve doubled in size, adding 40 new team members (and keen to hire still more!).


And as the team has grown, we’ve felt confident that we can build out an amazing product experience not only for the Buffer product, but also for new areas like our image creation tool Pablo and, now, with Respond.


We’re grateful for the chance to have a full team—product, engineers, data, customer development, support—solely focused on delivering a great experience for you with Respond.


What’s next for Respond …


We’re building toward a tool that is great for everyone: teams, individuals, personal brands, and more. And certainly would love to welcome all types of users and teams to try Respond and see how the fit feels. (We’d love any feedback and input from you as well!)


We know that big companies have certain needs also, and we’re building out enterprise options at the moment. If that feels like you, definitely drop us a line and we’d love to chat!


Respond button


Thanks so much for the chance to serve you and your support team.


Happy Responding!


Image sources: Pablo, Placeit


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Apple just hired the developer of Edward Snowden’s favorite encrypted chat app (AAPL)

snowdenREUTERS/Charles Platiau

Apple has hired one of the key developers of Signal, the secure encrypted messaging service that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden uses.


Apple has indicated that it plans to upgrade the security on iPhones and its iCloud service so that even it can’t access the data it stores. 


Tweet Embed:



I’m delighted to announce that I accepted an offer to be working with the CoreOS security team at Apple this summer.



It’s just an internship, according to Frederic Jacobs, but it’s a sign that Apple is very serious about locking down its products with encryption. Signal is widely seen in the information security world as the best encrypted messaging app. 


In an interview last year, Jacobs said that one of his goals when coding Signal was that he “wanted to bring these strong cryptography techniques to iPhone users.”


“Apple’s service is not perfect,” Jacobs told Technologist. “For example, its proprietary technology makes it impossible for the community to detect vulnerabilities and fix flaws. Signal is open, free, collaborative, and easy to use.”


The Core OS layer “contains the low-level features that most other technologies are built upon,” according to Apple




The increased emphasis on security is a response to the recent battle between Apple and the FBI, but it’s also good news for privacy-minded Apple users. 


Apple is also looking to fill several other security-oriented positions, according to its jobs page.


Just this week it posted a listing for a hardware security architect. Responsibilities include analyzing software and hardware attack mechanisms, and Apple says the job requires knowledge of microprocessor architecture. 


If Apple eventually closes the issue that allows the FBI to request custom software to bypass an iPhone’s passcode lock screen, it sounds like this position will have a role. 


Hardware architectREUTERS/Charles Platiau



NOW WATCH: Columbia law professor argues that ‘privacy has been privatized’

Facebook Reactions: Meet Facebook’s New Supercharged ‘Like’ Button

Your Facebook newsfeed is about to get a whole lot more meaningful.


After nearly a year of testing in various markets around the globe, Facebook has now released their new, supercharged ‘like’ button.


For the first time, Facebook users globally can now react to status with more than just a thumbs up. Facebook Reactions enable you to express yourself with five additional emojis, alongside a “like.”


The new Reactions are: ‘love,’ ‘haha,’ ‘wow,’ ‘sad,’ and ‘angry.’




Curious to learn more about this change? Let’s dive in.






About the change


Reactions, is an extension of the Like button, to give you more ways to express your feelings towards a post in a quick and easy way.


To add a Reaction, hold down the Like button on mobile or hover over the Like button on desktop to see the Reaction image options, then tap either Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry.


Here’s how the hover works on desktop:




And on mobile:





On the process of rolling out this change, Facebook product manager, Sammi Krug explains:


We understand that this is a big change, and want to be thoughtful about rolling this out. For more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most. We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer.


Even though there are now five extra ways to react to a status, the ‘like’ still holds to number one spot.


As you scroll through your Newsfeed, you’ll still the ‘Like’ call to action on every post. Now though, instead of telling you how many people “Liked’ something, Facebook tells you how many people “reacted.” 


During the testing period, Facebook learned a great deal about how people would like to react to the content in their feed.


Originally, “yay” was also included as a Reaction, but Facebook discovered that “yay” could also convey other positive emotions such as “love” and “haha, and the data showed it was used much less in testing that the other Reactions. As such, “yay” was removed.


Given the long-lasting rumours of a “Dislike” button, this update feels like something Facebook users have been longing after for a while.


Facebook is used to share an emotional range of posts, and often, a “like” wasn’t entirely fitting to every post you wanted to react to. Mark Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on this topic as rumours of a “Dislike” button started to circle in 2015:


Over the years of people asking for this, what we kind of have come to understand is that people aren’t looking for an ability to down vote other people’s posts, what they really want is to be able to express empathy.


Not every moment is a good moment and if you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events, like the refugees crisis that touches you or if a family member passed away, then it may not feel comfortable to ‘like’ that post. But your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you, so I do think it’s important to give people more options.


With Reactions being rolled out across both individual and business pages, this feels like an excellent opportunity to dive into what Facebook Reactions could mean for anyone running a brand page.


What Reactions could mean for brands


It certainly feels like Reactions could be a significant update for brands on Facebook.


Just hours after Facebook Reactions were released globally, Chevrolet became the first brands to incorporate the ‘like’ button extension into one of their advertising campaigns.


The one minute video, posted on Chevrolet’s Facebook page, allows customers to display their ‘love’ for the latest Chevrolet release. Check out the video below:




Like the all-new 2016 Malibu? More like Love.


Posted by Chevrolet on Wednesday, 24 February 2016




3 ways Facebook Reactions could affect brands


1. New ways to measure sentiment


Reactions will offer a new way to measure sentiment and gauge exactly how an audience is reacting to your Page’s content or a sponsored post. 


“Reactions gives businesses a really crisp way of understanding on a multi-dimensional level how people are feeling about the things that they’re posting,” Richard Sim, Facebook’s director of monetization product marketing, explained to AdAge.


This update will also bring a refresh to Facebook insights, with brands able to see Reaction counts within Facebook’s page insights tool.


2. Better understanding of customers


Previously, Facebook users had a few options if they saw a piece of brand content in their news feed:

    1. Ignore it
    1. Like it
    1. Share it (if they really love it)
    1. Comment on it (either positively or negatively)

Reactions open up multiple new ways for users to share their feelings towards content.


For example, if you’re seeing a lot of haha Reactions it may become clear that your audience finds your content amusing – this is context you previously wouldn’t find with the “like” only button.


3. A decrease in comments


Reactions is designed to make it easier for users to react to posts without having to type a comment.


Comments have always been a way to keep an eye on how your audience have reacted to a post and qualitatively measure performance. With this update, I could see a sharp decrease in comments as Reactions will provide users with more ways to convey their feelings without having to type and leave a comment.


With this update, I could see a sharp decrease in comments as Reactions will provide users with more ways to convey their feelings without having to type and leave a comment. This may also lead to more quantitive ways to measure user emotions through data.


Could Reactions eventually factor into the news feed algorithm?


Facebook is always looking for new ways to improve their news feed algorithm and speaking to AdAge, Richard Sim explained:


“Over time we do expect to have a better understanding of how these different Reactions impact what people want to see in their news feed. So it’s very possible that loves or hahas may be treated differently. We’re going to learn this as we’re going through testing.”


Could we see Reactions factored into the algorithm in the future? Maybe, but I wouldn’t expect it to happen anytime soon. I fully expect Facebook to be meticulous with the data here and fully test any updates before rolling them out to the news feed algorithm.


Over to you


Thanks for reading! I’m super excited about the update and can’t wait to dig into the Facebook insights data for our Buffer page.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this update. What do you think about Reactions? How can you see this update affecting brands on Facebook?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.


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