Meet Joe Biden: The edgy political memelord

...but will the strategy backfire?

Hello, geeks!

Welcome to this week’s geeky social media news debriefing. 

Switch on ‘Do not disturb’ mode and get comfy. The headlines are as hot as hell this week. 🔥

Before we get into it… TWO super-useful (FREE) AI-powered tools to create slick LinkedIn or Instagram carousels: AI Carousels / PostNitro. 👌

I’m an imposter too…

A good friend of mine asked me this week whether I ever suffer from imposter syndrome. They commented how I seemed confident and never appeared to look nervous when speaking on stage or on live TV. 

My answer was a very big yes. I am constantly battling with imposter syndrome. Take for example an incident this week. I was invited to speak on stage at a major international conference…

…An incredible opportunity. But I have to fight that voice in my head that wants to send an email declining the opportunity due to me not feeling confident enough to do it.

Another example… A well-known technology company contacted me last week asking me to consult for them. It could be a very financially rewarding piece of work. But again I have to fight more intrusive thoughts asking “Am I good enough to do this job?”

I haven’t got any wise words to help you overcome your imposter syndrome. But know this. No matter how successful, confident, or smart you think someone may be… Looks can be deceiving.

Most people are battling with their own internal voice of doom telling them they can’t do something. The trick is to stop listening to it so much. And just fucking do it.

FREE PODCAST: TikTok Shops + Instagram Shopping: Trends, Platforms & Strategies in 2024

I spoke at the Social Commerce Summit in London last month. (Watch a clip here)

You can listen to the 30-minute session for FREE as a podcast. [SPOTIFY / APPLE PODCASTS] 🎙️

DON’T MISS THIS… I LOVE this free tool. You can try it for FREE for 2 weeks! 👇

This AI Social Media Tool Will Save You Hours Every Week

I LOVE this Al-powered analytics tool. It saves me hours AND helps boost post engagement. ❤️

 Feature highlights:

🤖 Al-powered content analysis (identify your most engaging content)
📊 Slick social report decks generator (no more screenshots!)
🗂️ Post groups let you compare brands, campaigns, content, posts

...And a LOT more.

The best bit? You can try it for FREE for 14-days.

Trust me, It’s worth checking out. [ad]



Geekout with our hottest picks of the week

  1. Instagram and Threads to Stop Recommending Political Content [DOWN-RANKING]

  2. Zuckerberg Slammed Apple’s Vision Pro Saying Meta Quest is Better Device [DUNKING]

  3. X Accused of Taking Payments From Terrorists for Verification [ELON MUSK-ING]

  4. U.S Senate Set to Pass First Significant Laws to Regulate Social Media [REGULATING]

  5. Meta is Passing on Apple Tax for Boosted Posts to Advertisers [TAXING]


  • Geekout has 30,000+ subscribers.

  • Geekout subscribers manage social media for the world’s biggest brands including Apple, Amazon, Disney, Redbull, McDonald’s, Nike.

  • Geekout has an industry-beating open rate of 51% and a 15% click rate!

  • Geekout Ads typically generate up to 4% click-through-rate!

  • Limited number of slots available in February + March



What is Meta’s definition of Politics?

The news broke minutes after last week’s Geekout hit your inbox: Meta had a cunning new strategy to avoid get mired in political controversies in a big election year…

…it would simply not boost them with its algorithm on Instagram and Threads.

On the surface, this might seem like a sensible way to avoid propaganda and low-value mudslinging between political factions from spreading too far.

You will still see political content from people you follow, but you’ll have to opt in to seeing algorithmically boosted political content from other users in your algorithmic feed.

But the main flaw here is it hinges on Meta’s own (unclear) definition of ‘political’. Politics isn’t just campaigning. It can very easily cover a broad range of social issues, as Oliver Darcy wrote for CNN:

Does climate change fall under this umbrella? Women's rights issues? LGBTQ issues? Meta simply won't say.

"My concern, both as an independent publisher and an LGBTQ person who occasionally writes about her own life, is that my writing and links will get swept up into the 'political' category, whether or not it actually is about politics," Parker Malloy, who authors the The Present Age newsletter, commented to me. 

I suspect Meta is trying to find the simplest answer possible, to avoid getting bogged down in too many case-by-case judgments about what is acceptable. But simple answers can easily be too simple for real life.

The confusion could prove to be an opportunity for TikTok. Speaking of which…


Biden leans into his Dark side on TikTok and beyond

Memes are nothing new in politics, but Joe Biden’s re-election campaign team are leaning hard into the ‘extremely online’ end of meme culture in an unprecedented way for the more liberal side of American politics.

Marcus Bosch has a good explainer of where ‘Dark Brandon’ comes from as a riff on right-wing anti-Biden culture. But while it’s been a meme for a couple of years (used both as a joke and seriously), adopting it as official campaign material on social media is an interesting choice.

The move comes as the Biden campaign joined TikTok (funny how security concerns always seem to get a pass when it comes to the social media team) and posted a Super Bowl video that mocked right-wing conspiracy theories.

Using memes like this can be mostly harmless - if you get it, you get it, and if you don’t it just passes you by. But as TechCrunch pointed out, going too niche with the jokes can backfire:

Biden’s campaign posted yet another Dark Brandon meme on X after the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, saying that the game played out “just like we drew it up.”

But Biden’s staff posted the meme around the same time that the Israeli military raided the city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinian people fled under Israeli orders. Young voters in particular have been critical of Biden’s ongoing support of the Israeli military, which fueled more anger about the bad timing of the meme.

The Biden team are going to have to play it carefully if they want to avoid alienating the very people they’re trying to win over.



Everything else you need to know from the past seven days…


Instagram / Facebook

Threads / WhatsApp

Twitter (‘X’)



Pinterest / Bluesky / LinkedIn / Slack



Elon Musk. A 52-year-old man still making boob jokes like he’s 12.


Aldi UK got a great reaction this week with this parody of a recent Vogue cover.

Funny, shareable, and on-brand…



Sunday’s Super Bowl was a strong bet to deliver the memes.

And deliver it did, mostly away from the pitch:



Surprise! Mark Zuckerberg thinks Meta's Quest 3 is better than Apple's Vision Pro

He poked Apple "fanboys" and those who thought it would be better "because it's Apple and it costs $3,000 more."

And said “After using Vision Pro I don't just think that Quest is the better value, it's the better product, period"



I suspect I’ll be using this section a lot in the coming months. It’s a big election year.

As I noted above, Biden is leaning into a pretty hardcore meme while taunting conspiracy theorists….

Meanwhile, across the pond, Rishi Sunak has launched a far more polite and conventional WhatsApp Channel, promising breaking news and behind-the-scenes views.

Is there a ‘Dark Rishi’ waiting to break out?



If mainstream politicians neglect TikTok, look who gets more oxygen:




Not one, but two, new books from great journalists document Twitter and X’s recent history.

Kurt Wagner looks at how Twitter has been (mis)managed for years in Battle for the Bird, while Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer goes deep on Elon’s takeover in Extremely Hardcore.

This week we’ve seen a bunch of stories pulled from their pages, including:


😮 WTF?!

This bot was designed to combat internet addiction in teenagers, based on GPT-4.

"To take the model from a cheery chatbot to a troubled internet teen who wants plastic surgery and never leaves her room, the team fed the model a series of information to define Laika’s interests, backstory, and emotional characteristics, along with social-media-inspired writing samples."



This could be a good way of combatting hashtag spam on Instagram… if it was real.

No, Instagram is not limiting you to five hashtags per post. It was a bug




Social media features heading for the graveyard:

LinkedIn is removing the 'People also viewed' feature at the end of this month. It will be replaced by 'Other similar profiles'.




All the ways A.I. is transforming social media:

OpenAI’s new Sora model could be a game changer for generating video with A.I.:




– The percentage of EU-based influencers who do NOT disclose ads




Duolingo’s weirdness pays off on TikTok:



  • US senators are pushing for FDA action against misleading ads touting drugs on social media. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

  • Instagram and Facebook have deleted the accounts of Iran’s supreme leader. [The Guardian]

  • Activists have urged EU privacy watchdogs to oppose Meta's 'pay for privacy' ad-free service. [Reuters $$$]

  • Meta has added two new board directors with Sandberg set to depart. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • DeepMind and Meta staff plan to launch a new AI chatbot that could have the edge over ChatGPT and Bard. [TechRadar]

  • Meta has settled a lawsuit over haptic feedback tech in Quest headsets. [TechCrunch]

  • Meta now lets users appeal bans in Horizon Worlds. [RoadToVR]

  • Meta has brushed off the risk of account theft via number recycling. [The Register]

  • 200,000 Facebook Marketplace user records were leaked on a hacker forum [Bleeping Computer]

New features and tests:


  • Facebook has new ad preferences settings. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Facebook now suggesting “Groups that you might like” in the Reels section. [@oncescuradu]


  • Instagram is still working on the ability to translate the audio of Reels using AI-powered dubbing. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram could soon use your proximity sensor to play voice messages through the earpiece when you hold your phone to your ear. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram will now help you determine which stickers can be used for ads before using them. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram has updated Ad Preferences with new features, including controlling your preferences across all your accounts in Account Center. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram added a Valentine’s Day theme for its Mentions sticker. [@theahmedghanem]

  • Instagram added a cute Easter egg when you posted a valentines day Note. [@haiimjose]


  • Threads’ new fact checking label has been spotted in the wild. [@renee.diresta]


  • WhatsApp is still working on support for usernames. [Android Police]

  • WhatsApp could soon let you keep your chats protected across devices [Android Authority]

The rest: Creator Studio / Adtech / Quest and more:

  • Meta Business Suite now offers widgets on iOS. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Meta is renaming 'Meta Business Account' to 'Business Portfolio'. [@theahmedghanem]



  • Elon Musk seems resigned to making X more like old-school Twitter. [Fast Company $$$]

  • X has suspended an account that it previously granted a gold checkmark to despite its repeated praise of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. [DailyDot]

  • A Guardian columnist tested X’s paid-promotion model, and said it was ‘woeful’. [The Guardian]

  • Twitter gave Elon Musk the @e handle back when he became its biggest shareholder… but he barely uses it. [Business Insider]

  • A former Twitter engineer says Elon Musk wrongly fired him for leaking information to the press. [Business Insider]

  • Elon Musk offered to personally help after Twitter engineers struggled to reinstate Donald Trump’s account. [Business Insider]

  • Elon Musk has accused Stephen King of 'Deadnaming' X by calling it Twitter 🙄 [Variety]



  • Dance creators, beauty influencers, and fan cam editors are feeling the brunt of TikTok’s vanishing music library. [The Daily Beast]

  • The UK government will pay TikTok influencers in Albania to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel. [ITV News]

  • TikTok And YouTube have removed videos of drones harassing homeless people. [Forbes $$$]

  • TikTok will launch a local language Election Centre in-app for each of the 27 individual EU member states, ahead of upcoming elections. [Reuters $$$]

  • TikTok now allows you to add up to three Gifts to a LIVE goal. [@jonahmanzano]

  • ByteDance has lost its bid to put the EU's new digital rules on hold. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • Microsoft and PepsiCo’s Starry are posting TikTok videos featuring Universal Music Group stars......But UMG has paused new deals for brands. [Wall Street Journal $$$]

New features and tests:

  • TikTok is testing a new dropdown menu for choosing how to go live, instead of the old slider. [@theahmedghanem]



  • New York City is suing social media TikTok, Meta, Snap and YouTube for allegedly harming the mental health of children. [Axios]

  • The US Supreme Court will decide if the government can seize control of YouTube and X. [Vox]

  • The EU’s online content rulebook to take on Meta, TikTok, X isn’t ready for primetime. [Politco]

  • Pinterest has announced a new ad deal with Google as it approaches 500 million MAUs. [TechCrunch]

  • Snap has announced a new partnership with Fospha to provide more in-depth campaign analytics. [Social Media Today]

  • Discord has become a hacker hotbed. [Axios]

  • Bluesky CEO Jay Graber says she won’t ‘enshittify the network with ads’. [Wired $$$]

  • Bluesky’s CEO has touted custom feeds and user choice in social media. [TechCrunch]

  • Reddit is shown excessively in Google product review search results, study finds. [Search Engine Land]

  • Beyoncé's Twitch channel from her Super Bowl ad has more than 50,000 followers. [TubeFilter]

  • Flipboard has brought more than 1,000 of its social magazines to Mastodon and the fediverse. [TechCrunch]

  • The EU’s online content rulebook to take on Meta, TikTok, X isn’t ready for primetime. [Politico]

  • YouTube has announced a 2024 Device Partner Summit in Seoul, South Korea. [Social Media Today]

  • YouTube has taken the title sponsor for VidCons in Anaheim and Baltimore. [TubeFilter]

  • Murdered teenager Brianna Ghey’s mother has warned tech bosses more children will die without action. [The Guardian]

  • Twitter rival Spoutible has said there is a smear campaign against it, amid controversy around a security breach. [TechCrunch]

  • Kai Cenat has become Nike's first streamer partner. [TubeFilter]

  • The BBC is extending its trial of posting to the fediverse via Mastodon [BBC]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Taking stock of the Twitter alternatives: Threads vs. Bluesky vs. Mastodon vs. others. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • Snapchat has added an option to gift Snapchat+ for Valentine's Day. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Snapchat is working on support for Passkeys. [@alex193a]

  • Snapchat+ added new app icons for Valentine’s Day. [@jonahmanzano]





“The platform formerly known as Twitter no longer belongs to Elon Musk. Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, and all their friends run that place now.”



…You’ve made it to the end of this week’s Geekout

Bask in the glory and a minor sense of achievement 😁

BTW… I have a limited number Social Media Career Boost coaching calls + Express Consultancy call slots available in February and March.

Let me help you solve your career dilemmas and challenges, or troubleshoot your business social media problems in a 30 or 60 minute video call.

Interested? Find out more here and book a slot (before they’re gone!)

Or join Geekout Pro and get a 20-minute Career Boost call for FREE.

Right… Nobody reads this bit anyway… but i’m heading off to work on an exciting new social media conference project. More details soon!

Goodbye geeks!

p.s. This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

p.p.s. Reply “Shut your face, i read this bit, if you got down this far. 😜

Join the conversation

or to participate.