There’s lots going on at Idealware as summer kicks off, so I’m going to skip the preamble and get straight to the content this month. I hope you have some downtime, sunny skies, and good company over the coming weeks, but if you’re stuck at work, here is this month’s Best of the Web to occupy your time…
Deep Fakes and Other Misleading Content
An earlier BOW that included a still from a deep fake video merging Steve Buscemi with Jennifer Lawrence generated a lot of reader mail and, apparently, nightmares. The Washington Post recently published a guide to recognizing less obvious fakes.
“The Internet is increasingly populated with false and misleading videos. These videos—spread by politicians, advocacy groups and everyday users—are viewed by millions. The Fact Checker set out to develop a universal language to label manipulated video and hold creators and sharers of this misinformation accountable. We have found three main ways video is being altered: footage taken out of context, deceptively edited or deliberately altered. These categories are further broken down into subcategories, which are shown below. This guide is intended to help all of us navigate this new information landscape and start a necessary conversation.”
If you use the Flipboard news aggregator, you might have gotten this email recently: “We recently identified unauthorized access to some of our databases containing certain Flipboard users’ account information, including account credentials. In response to this discovery, we immediately launched an investigation and an external security firm was engaged to assist. Findings from the investigation indicate an unauthorized person accessed and potentially obtained copies of certain databases containing Flipboard user information between June 2, 2018 and March 23, 2019 and April 21 – 22, 2019.”
If you read this newsletter, you know I’m a proponent of privacy. I cover webcams with duct tape, disable microphones and GPS (yeah, I’m that guy), and try to use tech that favors protection and privacy. So this story in Wired appealed to me: It’s Time to Switch to a Privacy Browser.
“There’s a new battleground in the browser wars: user privacy. Firefox just made its Enhanced Tracking Protection a default feature, Apple continues to pile privacy-focused features into its Safari browser, and people are more aware than ever before of the sort of information they can reveal every time they set a digital footprint on the web. If you want to push back against online tracking, you’ve got several options to pick from when choosing a default browser. These are the browsers that put user privacy high on the list of their priorities.”
EveryAction just released its 2019 Email Deliverability Benchmarks Study. While EveryAction is a vendor, there’s valuable and useful info in this study.
“Every year, nonprofits lose millions of potential fundraising dollars due to emails being filtered into spam folders and never reaching their intended recipients. In this annual study, we calculate the email deliverability rate for the previous year and how much potential revenue nonprofits lost due to spam. Email Deliverability expert Brett Schenker weighs in with how nonprofits can boost their deliverability and raise more money in 2019.”
“Email Like a Boss,” Dani Donovan says. In this printable guide, she teaches you which phrases to avoid, which undermine your messages and minimize your opinions, and which can help you speak with authority.
Ice Bucket Challenge
Remember when everyone’s Facebook feed was filled with videos of people dumping ice water on each other? That Ice Bucket Challenge dramatically accelerated the fight against ALS.
An independent research organization recently reported that donations from the 2014 fundraiser enabled The ALS Association to increase its annual funding for research around the world by 187 percent. During this time, ALS researchers made scientific advances, care for people living with ALS expanded and investment in disease research from the federal government grew.
“Five years after the Ice Bucket Challenge soaked the world, the pace of discovery has increased tremendously, bringing ALS researchers closer than they have ever been to real breakthroughs in diagnosing, treating, and eventually curing this disease,” said Calaneet Balas, president and CEO of The ALS Association.
If you travel with coworkers, friends, or a spouse, you know that there are two types of airport people: those who show up early, and those who show up late. In the Atlantic, Amanda Mull looks to science to explain why.
The NY Times has the story of how a secret NSA cyberweapon fell into the wrong hands, which used it to hold government computers in Baltimore for ransom. Whoops.
Listening to Your Audience
Does your nonprofit struggle to grow its audience? This story might interest you.
“A few years ago, the California Symphony in Walnut Creek was going through the kind of persistent struggle that periodically afflicts so many performing arts organizations. Audiences were falling away, subscriptions and donations were down, and it wasn’t clear where a new generation of music lovers was likely to come from. So in 2016, Aubrey Bergauer, the orchestra’s executive director, decided to undertake some direct research. … Armed with the results of those surveys—and her own unquenchable drive for canny innovation—Bergauer has overseen a marked improvement in the fortunes of this 33-year-old organization.”
That’s it for this month. A big thank you to everyone who sent links. As always, if you have any you think would be a good fit, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you in July…