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Just one more sleep until December! And for many of us, that means one step closer to a holiday break. But for TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, that means dealing with another U.S. government-imposed deadline to finalize the sale of its U.S. operations to Oracle and Walmart. Good luck on Dec. 4th, TikTok. 

Here are a few of the other stories we're following:
  • Snapchat's new Spotlight section takes on TikTok
  • Get ready to (re)apply for Twitter's blue checkmark 
  • How you can help with the shadow pandemic
  • And it's Canada vs. the U.S. in Among Us
This and more in today's e-newsletter. Read on ⬇️

 Spotlight on a TikTok Lookalike  

Snapchat is used to being copied (ahem, Instagram Stories), but now it's the one copying — and the main target is TikTok. Following the October launch of Snapchat Sounds, which allows people to add music to their Snaps (just like TikTok), it recently went a step further and launched an in-app TikTok competitor called Spotlight. The feature is currently available 11 countries, including the U.S. and Canada. And to help build buzz, Snapchat is encouraging creators to submit their best Snaps for a chance to win big money. 
 How Spotlight and TikTok are the same 
  • Spotlight offers vertical scrolling (pioneered by TikTok)
  • Top content creators get paid (Snapchat: up to $1 million per day; TikTok: $200 million Creator Fund)
  • The Snaps can include music (but you have to manually turn the sound on; with TikTok, audio is on by default)
  • You can share the Snaps on other platforms 
 How they are different 
It's been less than a week since Spotlight launched, but from what I can tell, the videos uploaded to Snapchat are either TikTok videos (I recognize quite a few), videos by pre-teens already using Snapchat, or videos by Snapchat influencers. And many of the videos feature stunts. For example, the #OhNo challenge on TikTok showcases innocent situations that go sideways. On Snapchat, people are actually engaging in stunts where things will likely go wrong (think: the "Jackass" reality TV series). Overall, the culture of the two platforms is very different, and that will likely be reflected in the content.
 What this all means 
  1. This is about more than Snapchat copying TikTok. Overall, social media platforms are starting to look more and more similar. In 2020 alone, Instagram launched TikTok copycat Reels, while Twitter and LinkedIn each launched their own versions of Stories. And there are sure to be even more copycats. So for anyone managing social media, this means you're going to need an even greater focus on strategy. Make sure you have a defined reason for using certain platforms AND features, and that you aren't just sharing the exact same content in the exact same way across all platforms. (More work, yay 🤪). It's important to give your followers a reason to follow you on each platform.
  2. The success of features like Spotlight and apps like TikTok depend on content and community. And the fact that Snapchat is ready to offer up the potential to earn big bucks for using their new feature suggests they know it. And yes, TikTok has a $200 million Creator Fund. But if Snapchat can prove it is more valuable to top creators, it might be able to move over influencers who are unhappy with the TikTok fund. (I've recently come across TikTok videos from top creators saying they are leaving the fund because they claim their videos are no longer being seen). Either way, this new Spotlight feature is further proof that TikTok continues to be a social media influencer of its own. 
Managing social media is hard enough — staying up-to-date shouldn't be. Level up your social media knowledge in minutes a week. Sign up for our newsletter today!
 Verify me excited 
After a three-year break, Twitter announced it will soon reopen its verification process. The company said that it paused the process after receiving feedback that the process felt arbitrary and confusing. Now, there are plans to relaunch in early 2021. But first, Twitter says it wants feedback on the draft of its new verification policy. "This policy will lay the foundation for future improvements by defining what verification means, who is eligible for verification and why some accounts might lose verification to ensure the process is more equitable," the company said in a blog post. The draft policy identifies six types of accounts that can receive verification — Governments, Companies/Brands/Non-Profits, News, Entertainment, Sports, Activists/Organizers/Other Influencers. The policy also outlines a number of other qualifiers. Want to have your say? Here's the survey.
Twitter Support Tweet about survey for new verification process
 The shadow pandemic 
Gender-based violence is an important issue at any time of the year, but there are several important dates in November and December that remind us to take action. Nov. 25 marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In Canada, Dec. 6 marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which commemorates the murder of 14 young women in 1989 at École Polytechnique. And then there is Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a shadow pandemic with all types of violence increasing against women and girls (particularly domestic violence), according to UN Women. How can you help? Here are a few suggestions:
  • Share the #WithHer hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to put a spotlight on gender-based violence.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of relationship abuse.
  • Educate yourself on the types of tech used to perpetrate gender-based violence against women, such as the use of deepfakes and other digital technologies that are often weaponized.
And if you need help, the #ThereIsHelp notification system on Twitter was recently expanded so that "when people search terms associated with gender-based violence on Twitter, they will receive a notification with contact information for local hotlines and other resources to encourage them to reach out for help."
🔴 What Facebook Fed The Baby Boomers [NY Times]

🔴 Tony Hsieh, iconic Las Vegas Tech Entrepreneur, Dies Age 46 [TechCrunch]

🔴 David Attenborough Has Left Instagram, Just Weeks After Joining [CNN]

🔴 Facebook's Libra Might Launch in January, But There's a Catch [Mashable

🔴 YouTube Celebrates 'Bad Guy' Hitting 1 Billion Views [YouTube Blog]
social media trends for 2021 vertical posts
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to highlight what I think are some of the top social media trends to watch for in 2021. By no means is the list meant to be exhaustive. These are just a few trends that I’ve noticed over the last year, and could be trends to watch in the year ahead. Enjoy!

In this first blog post, I talk about vertical social media posts. For those of you who have been reading the newsletter over the last few weeks, this probably won't be new for you. But it's definitely something we can't ignore. 
Read the blog
 AOC vs. Jagmeet Singh 
The border between Canada and the U.S. might be closed, but relations between the two countries aren't. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (aka AOC) recently joined forces to play popular online game Among Us on Twitch, a top live streaming platform for gamers (and others). They raised $200,000 US in donations, which will go towards six relief efforts related to food and housing insecurity in the U.S., according to the CBC. In a year marked with divisive politics over COVID, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the U.S. election, this was definitely a lighter moment in 2020.
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