Tag Archives: Communication

Meta launches ‘Threads’

X (previously known as Twitter) is under attack from Meta’s new app called ‘Threads.’ In less than a week after its launch in July, Threads signed up more than 100 million users. (It’s even a trending topic on X/Twitter.) While this level of new users is good news for Meta, the key will be getting people to use Threads long-term.   What is Threads? Threads is a social media app and microblogging tool. While it isn’t taking advertising placement – yet – it has access to all Facebook’s users plus Instagram and WhatsApp users. Threads allows users to log in using their Instagram or Facebook accounts, making the sign up process fast and easy. So easy that it signed up 30 million users in the first 24-hours of launch.   As a direct competitor to X, X’s lawyers immediately alleged that Meta hired X employees to help build Threads. X is used to controversy and, with recent limits on posts viewed daily and content moderation, no stranger to users ire at it. The biggest problem though is X’s loss of advertisers.   Threads is similar to X in many areas, including posts up to 500 text characters, reposting others’ threads, and posting photos and videos up to five minutes long. Threads is also free compared to users paying $8.00 per month for a X Blue subscription. Another allure of Threads is its quick connection to all your friends on Instagram. However, Threads does not have direct messaging yet, which keeps all posts in the public domain.   Time will tell how the marketplace, and eventually advertisers, bonds with Threads.   What do you think?      Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has used Threads? Why? What is the experience?
  2. Show information about Threads: https://about.fb.com/news/2023/07/introducing-threads-new-app-text-sharing/
  3. View video about Threads: https://youtu.be/hbMJSn5GyOE  (there are many other videos also).
  4. What will move users to Threads from X/Twitter? What will move advertisers?
  5. Who are the competitors for Threads? (ex: BlueSky and Mastodon)
  6. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  7. How should Threads position itself to beat out competitors?
  8. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for Threads.

 Source: Chen, B., and Issac, M. (12 July 2023). Threads review: How Meta’s new app stacks up against Twitter. New York Times; Jackson, K., and Aguilar, N. (14 July 2023). Threads keeps growing, and new updates have arrived: What you need to know. CNET; Rodriguez, S., and Haggin, P. (6 July 2023). Meta’s Threads app see early success, drawing advertiser interest and Twitter’s ire. Wall Street Journal; Rodriguez, S. (6 July 2023). Day after Threads launches, Twitter accuses Meta of using its trade secrets. Wall Street Journal; other news sources.

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Get Ready to Navigate the Office

Entering the real work world can be a startling experience for new college grads and for college students working an internship or part-time. They may have technical knowledge about their area, but are they confident going in to an office? Hiring companies look for not only technical skills and abilities, but also the softer skills needed to get along and build relationships.

Soft skills are commonly thought of as how to communicate, how to dress, how to act at meals, and how to network properly. While students have been social and probably done many group projects, there are still skills to be built to make sure they know the basics of getting along and being productive.

For today’s graduates, they were in college during COVID and they may have been remote or distance workers. Even as students, many had virtual classes where they didn’t need to relate personally to their counterparts, and subsequently have not built the skills needed to be part of, or lead, teams at work.

One basic needed skill is emailing. They need to recognize messages, and commit to time deadlines. (No paper extensions are given in the work world.) Another big topic is determining what to wear. (What actually is business casual?) Students need to learn how to formally address someone, not just write “hey, what’s up.”

Networking is another needed skill. Knowing how to mingle and make small talk can help build relationships in business. Another relationship building activity is the business meal. For too many students, manners and meal etiquette are often lacking. Knowing how to be at a business meal means knowing what to order (and not to order), how to contribute to the conversation, and how to watch for clues from business leaders.

The real world awaits. Go get it!

 Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How comfortable do they feel entering a professional work environment? What are their top concerns and questions?
  2. Based on the topics posed by the students, divide students into teams and have teams address training for that topic.
  3. Example: Have students practice professional email skills by writing a memo to a boss and a project delay.
  4. Example: Have students determine a wardrobe of clothing that can be worn in an office or out to a business event.
  5. Example: Have students prepare and deliver a professional-level presentation.
  6. Example: Design a network event and have students mingle together as if at the event.
  7. Example: How to dress and travel for business.
  8. INSTRUCTORS: Talk with colleagues or career services on hosting networking and business dinners for students.

Source: Ellis, L. (16 June 2023). New grads have no idea how to behave in the office. Help is on the way. Wall Street Journal.

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What Happens to Our Old Phones?

It seems like every phone carrier offers new phones free or at reduced prices to their subscribers who trade in their old phone. Have you ever wondered what happens to old smartphones after we discard them? Do they have value? Who profits?

The path of the used phones is pretty hidden and it isn’t easy to follow the supply model once the older phones are sold. However (before you ask),  there is a substantial market and value in the older phones with a life (and profit) after the initial user. In fact, analysis firm IDC estimates that more than 282 million secondhand phones were sold in 2022 at an estimated $64.5 billion. That’s a lot of phones!  In addition, thanks to the trade-in offers from carriers, the market for secondhand phones is estimated to increase 10% annually through 2025.

What happens in the supply chain and distribution of these older products? It actually can be difficult to follow as many firms will not specify where the phones go. However, a recent video from the WSJ traces the path and gives insight into the process.

In short it works like this:

  • An old phone in gets traded in and the owner gets a credit
  • A reseller buys the trade-in phones from the carrier.
  • The reseller cleans the data, spruces up the phone, adds power cables, packages, and then sells the older phones to  wholesalers, who are often operating overseas.
  • The older phones can also sold the buyers on Amazon or to second-hand retailers such as Back in the Box.
  • The resellers sells the refurbished phone at approximately 20-30% below the price of the phone when it was new.

For consumers, the used phones offer a good discount. It also keeps valuable product from landfills.

Ready for a new phone?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has traded in old smart phones for newer ones? How many have they traded in?
  2. Then count up the number of old phones sold in the classroom – it will likely be a surprisingly high count.
  3. Show the WSJ video about phone trade-ins: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/joanna-stern-personal-technology/inside-the-lucrativeand-secretivebusiness-of-iphone-trade-ins/4F0EA296-6546-4603-BF90-8561E08AAD4C
  4. Show Back in the Box website for selling older phones: https://backinthebox.com/
  5. Poll students again: Who has bought a refurbished older phone? What was their experience?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team research online sites for selling/buying older phones.
  7. Next, have teams determine the target market for these devices and create a promotional plan.

Source:  Stern, J. (15 March 2023). Inside the lucrative – and secretive – business of iPhone trade-ins. Wall Street Journal.

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