Voices

‘Patagonia’s Philosopher-King,’ and 3 Other Stories You Should Read

Here’s what you missed this week while you were taking all your orange clothes to the cleaners…

The New York Times: That Cute Whale You Clicked On? It’s Doomed

Selected by Dillon Baker, associate editor

It’s a well-known fact that the internet loves cute, happy, positive things. It’s how content mills like LittleThings, which runs exclusively happy stories for “women in the heartland” on Facebook, can exist. We want an easy cheer-up, and many places are happy to give it to us in exchange for attention to sell to advertisers.

Now, however, some Instagrammers are using our love of cute content to try to spark positive change. Many nature photographers noticed that fun, happy pictures of animals tend to perform better than more serious ones (like a dead shark caught in a net, for example). But those photographers are also acutely aware that we’re in the midst of the sixth great extinction, and that marine life in particular has seen incredible declines in the face of pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

So they’re still posting cute pictures of penguins and dolphins—but now they’re using the captions to draw attention to the massive challenges the species in the photos face. The story is a great look at how human psychology affects content’s performance, and how others can then manipulate that for good.

Fast Company: My Parents’ Review of Twitter’s NFL Broadcast

Selected by Brian Maehl, talent development manager

Last night, Twitter ran a live broadcast of Thursday Night Football’s matchup in an effort to bring a larger audience to the social platform and to capitalize on its speciality of sharing live reactions.

Fast Company took a pretty humorous look at what the live stream was like from the perspective of an older generation. Apparently, the quality of the live tweets wasn’t quite impressive enough to warrant appreciation from a Baby Boomer audience.

What the author’s father does mention, however, is how he enjoys tweets during political debates. He may be onto something here, as it stands to reason that Twitter broadcasts could be best suited for more divisive events. After all, seeing a stream of tweets about that sweet pass is certainly less interesting than seeing how the world is reacting to Trump and Clinton trading barbs.

The Wall Street Journal: The Real Action at New York Fashion Week Is on Your Phone Screen

Selected by Kristen Poli, content strategy associate

If you are anything like me, or what advertisers and brands expect me to be, you have been inundated with New York Fashion Week (NYFW)-related content for the past month or so. NYFW branded content is everywhere, and I’m not just talking about the runway models and clutch-carrying editors who have created temporary homes in my once-quiet neighborhood coffee shops.

Runway shows, known for their exclusivity, have become spectacles specifically built for social media coverage. Elizabeth Holmes details the ways in which some designers are abandoning old invite-only models in favor of Snapchat-only lookbooks, as employed by Misha Nonoo, and open-to-the-public shows, like Rebecca Minkoff. Brands who aren’t embracing alternatives to runway shows are engaging in different socially oriented digital strategies, like Tommy Hilfiger, whose team created a new e-commerce site for their collection that mimics their Instagram page.

Overall, the story is a fascinating look into how the digital world is changing what we create in the physical one.

The New Yorker: Patagonia’s Philosopher-King

Selected by Jordan Teicher, senior editor

Yvon Chouinard seems like a good person, but he also seems like the kind of grizzled guy who would enjoy being called a son of a bitch. Chouinard is the 77-year-old founder of Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company that brings in hundreds of millions in revenue every year. In a thoughtful New Yorker feature this week, the writer refers to him as the brand’s “conflicted philosopher-king.”

What follows is a look at how Patagonia has battled to promote environmentalism and altruism while still maintaining a very healthy margin. The story, told through Chouinard, is the evolution of an old-school brand that has constantly tinkered with its image, sometimes while sacrificing profit. Who knew $100 fleece jackets could be so interesting?

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