If you follow me on the social webs, you probably noticed that I wrote more this week than I have in months. More and more people, it seems, are coming to us looking for perspective – or at least hard numbers – to explain whatever the hell it is that’s going on right now. I’ll admit, it’s good for business. But I could use a little more sleep.
Here are a few of the many things we saw this week:
On Super Bowl eve, I’m pessimistic about the long-term health of the NFL and the sport of tackle football in general – if things don’t change. I looked back at data we studied on concussion concerns among NFL fans in 2012. The numbers were eerily similarly to the same research we repeated this week. It’s evident that these concerns are having a serious influence over parents’ – and therefore their kids’ – willingness to play youth football.
In related, if not correlated news, the percentage of people who say they are planning to watch the Super Bowl this year is down substantially over last year. No surprise: It looks like the political environment might be to blame. As a huge NFL fan (and an American), I hope this can all be fixed.
Baiting Donald Trump into attacking your company on Twitter might be a brilliant growth strategy. On Thursday, after the NY Times reported record increases in Q4 digital subscribers, we took a closer look at our own NY Times readership data over the past few years. Not only have those numbers jumped considerably over the past 6 months (continuing through January) but the composition of those readers is evolving as well.
More women, more middle-incomers, and – get this – more Republicans, are reading the NYT. It’s simple math: More people dislike President Trump than like him, and the negative sentiment is much stronger than the positive. For the right (or left?) brand, being on Trump’s bad side could endear you to a bunch of new customers.
On a more superficial note, people are becoming more – well – superficial. I give a very popular talk (which involves me singing an a capella rendition of Mercedes Benz by Janis Joplin) on the impact of peer pressure and social ambition on our online behaviors.
The basic premise is that we present a curated version of our ideal selves on social media, and it’s beginning to affect our consumer choices. We found great fuel for this theory this week, discovering a remarkable parallel in the growth of Instagram and a rise in people who are interested in getting plastic surgery. Maybe it’s a coincidence. You decide.
If you’re a LaCroix sparkling water fanatic like everyone in my house, you’re not alone. Flavored fizzy water is growing like crazy, as an alternative to colas and other sugary drinks. Here’s how I know I’m becoming a cliché – the correlation between drinking red wine and drinking flavored sparkling water is off the charts. Guilty as charged.
I’ll be in Denver next week if any of you are in the area. And I’m always looking to make new friends.
Have a great weekend.