As per the title of this blog, this morning I got up early to make coffee. Now, I have coffee every morning, but I don’t usually get up early to make it.

But today was different.

by Ian Curwen

This is because last night I watched a video on Facebook which told me the perfect way to make French press (cafetiere) coffee.

I saw it, and I wanted to try it out.

The video came from an engaging and entertaining vlogger called James Hoffmann, and his content popped up on my Facebook channel unexpectedly. Or as much as any content can appear unexpectedly in this modern world in which we live. After all, I have purchased more coffee recently, and use a French press to make it. 

I hadn’t searched Facebook for coffee, nor hunted down videos about coffee. Despite this, I found the content engaging. The videos are well produced, and James is an entertaining presenter.

What this means is that I’ve let his videos continue to play. And what that means is that Facebook picks this up, and its algorithm tailors the videos it sends my way accordingly.

And that means I’ve watched more of them. Until I found my sweet spot – one about making coffee using the kit I have.

And that was what led me to an early start, to do justice to the coffee. Which means waiting while it brews properly, for the perfect cup.

I used that time productively, to reflect on how my media consumption is changing, and how Facebook is shaping that. I’ve noticed in recent weeks that I’ve started to watch more videos on Facebook. In my head, these were short-form videos – 20 to 40 second clips of content, but when I’ve looked back, they tend to more like 3-5 minute videos. These are a different beast indeed.

I tend to watch videos at the end of the evening before I go to sleep. In fact, I usually finish watching a TV show, then flick to videos on Facebook. This isn’t something I’d ever imagined I’d do, and I am still a bit sniffy at the thought of doing it.

Despite myself, I continue to watch videos in this way, and to allow the algorithm to curate these for me. Facebook videos are especially interesting in this way, because you can see the top of the video below. This means you can see the video below change, the longer you keep watching the one you’re on.

Now Facebook are UX experts, so this is no accident. The subconscious suggestion that videos are being more accurately tailored to my tastes as I watch means that I continue viewing. I don’t want to miss out on the video they’ve recommended to me – how’s that for loss aversion in action? Even if I have to scroll through ads to get to it (Ampleforth College currently has places available, for anyone who are interested).

So, what has my early-rising-coffee-making-late-night-video-watching experience told me?

1.  We all consume media in different ways, and those ways are changing and adapting all the time. The days of a one-size fits all mass media campaign are probably gone.

2.  Content can reach its audience, however niche that is. But it takes time and patience. However, if you persevere, you’re likely to be rewarded with an engaged audience ready to soak up your content.

3.  Your phone knows everything – it’s not a surprise, but while Facebook isn’t necessarily listening to us via our microphones, the apps on our phones and our login accounts are all interconnected. That data is invaluable to Facebook. You’d better believe they’re going to monetise it to put content in front you’re your eyes that you’re going to react to.

I’m prepared to admit that the things I’ve learned probably aren’t new or ground-breaking to people working on social channels more than I do, or with advertising or marketing budgets to spend.

The reason they surprise me is that I have always been someone who disliked, or perhaps even hated, social media video. I’d actively skip past it to something I could read instead.

Apparently, I’m not anymore. Even if I don’t know when that change happened.

And what about the perfect French press coffee? Well, it’s pretty simple: use high quality beans, grind them freshly (to a medium grind), use the right ratio of coffee to water (30g for 500ml), brew then stir, then leave a little longer. Then finally, plunge – just a little, and serve.

Do you know what? It did taste better.

Ian Curwen is a communications lead in the nuclear industry. You can say hello to him on Twitter at @IanCurwen and check out his bog site here.

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Image via Marviikad

Original source – comms2point0

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