BBC Taster is the Beeb’s brand spanking new approach to “open innovation”: all about testing things, playing around on the web, being as interactive as possible. It’s a ballsy move as the Taster Team quite happily launch prototypes that are perhaps only 80% done – just to see how they go. Throughout the site, you’ll see warnings about the site being a test area, a place where things might break while you use them. You’re also encouraged to rate the experiences you have (something that you can do from within the projects in an entirely slick way).

I love the ethos behind this and applaud the Beeb for being so open about their work. After all, what’s the point of working to get to 100% and then realising you’ve built something completely useless or irrelevant? Still, I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the meeting where this concept was first discussed.

“You want to make unfinished work available to the public? Stuff that could break? Are you mad?”

Hats off to the team for pulling this off, I love it!

Here are some of my favourite projects thus far

  • R1OT: Influence what happens on Radio1
  • Your story: An online tool that intertwines your personal history (via Facebook if you want to) with BBC archive news events
  • Run the Jewels: Now, Hip Hop ain’t really my bag, but this interactive documentary/live gig recording has got to be the future of music videos. This allows you to follow these two artists in which ever order your please – even down to seamlessly switching between camera angles without any lag what so ever. Basically, you get to direct your own live music video
  • When Len met Jen: Brilliant interview between Lena Dunham and Jennifer Saunders – brilliant less so because of the tech that allows you to skip around to the bits that you want to hear them talk about – but because it’s flippin Len and Jen
  • Kitchen Bitch: This is how cooking shows should be. Interactive, with a sprinkling of fowl language and a bird with a can of beer up its arse (check it out. You’ll know what I mean)

Key take-away from all of them: Linear storytelling is out, it’s all about offering people choices as to how and in what order they would like to assemble a story.

Snapchat Discover

Snapchat this week launched their highly anticipated ‘Discover‘ feature.

Snapchat Discover is a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams. It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first.

In the UK, we have editorial content from National Geographic, Vice, People Magazine, The Daily Mail and others. The interface is extremely easy to use, tapping a source takes you to their intro, swiping up on stories gives you more details (either in video or article form) and swiping left gets you the next story. There’s no table of contents, you just zip through at your own pace and your done – before content is updated 24 hours later.

Now, this is very different from what Snapchat has been thus far: self-destructing selfies. With ‘My Stories’, Snapchat allowed users to create personal narratives that survived for 24 hours. The ‘Discover’ feature then is the My Stories feature for ‘traditional media’.

Most fascinating for me is that the content in Discover looks great in portrait mode – given that’s how most of us hold our phone. There are some films that are meant to be watched in landscape, but the default delivery is for an upright screen – something that editors are obviously keeping in mind going by the stuff I’ve watched so far.

Of course, loyal Snapchatters were up in arms at the change – the update removed the popular ‘best friends‘ function:

Users have flooded Twitter with complaints about the removal of the feature allowing anyone to view the three people a user most frequently interacted with. In theory, this “best friends” feature gave you some idea of who your friends were closest with, at least on Snapchat. -via HuffPo

The reason Snapchatters are so angry?

Well it’s the ‘all change is bad’ brigade that ‘literally can’t even‘.

But I suspect it’s also the reaction of a mostly young teenage audience that can’t keep tabs on their bffs/baes/flirts anymore – and who knows who randy teenagers will send self-destructing nudie pics to if they can now do it without being tracked?

Expect heartbreak should Snapchat decide to bring back the feature… 😉

Ironic then that Snapchat’s own original series for ‘Discover’ is called “I can’t even“.

Bits and bytes

  • Long read: the secret to success in social media is not simply entering a conversation, but entering people’s narrative
  • Must read via @girllostincity: 10 blogging myths. Seriously. If you blog or work with bloggers you should ready this
  • For all you insomniacs out there – give Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes a go
  • Twitter launched group direct messages this week. Intuitive, simple and quick to set up, this feature should go a long way for groups of friends to come together and chat in private on Twitter. If only they weren’t already on Spapchat and WhatsApp…

Videos of the week

The Tesla PR team will love this. Drag Times recorded different people experiencing the Tesla’s P85D’s “Insane Mode”. Apparently a button that toggles between ‘car mode’ and ‘holy shit, I’ve been launched out of a cannon and am holding on for dear life mode’. 3.5 million views in about a week as viewers around the world enjoy the profanity laden reactions of the passengers.

Cow art with a drone – it doesn’t surprise me one bit that a couple of farmers from Kansas managed to film their cows feeding on a massive smiley face made of animal feed. My experience of having attended a couple of Sainsbury’s Farming Conferences has shown me that farmers are some of the most technologically advanced people out there. Anything that promises an edge in terms of productivity, herd health and profit and they’ll give it a go – especially when it means happy cows!

It’s the Superbowl today – so that of course means copious amounts of food, booze, ads ($4.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime – Digiday looks at what you could do with that kind of money in digital advertising) and a bunch of heavily padded, dangerously overweight dudes throwing about an egg.

Now, Fastcocreate have listed all the Superbowl ads for your viewing pleasure.

I’ve already shown you my favourite (Bud Light’s real life Pac Man) last week, so I’m going to focus instead on the abomination of an ad that Carl’s Jr. have produced for their new ‘All Natural’ burger. Turns out that a burger made of actual food rather than antibiotics, hormones and steroids is enough of a USP in America to be part of the dramatic voice-over. Oh, and if you’re going to go for the painfully obvious ‘all natural’ metaphor of an all-American buxomly blonde bombshell rocking up at the pre-game cook-out in the buff – then don’t chicken out in the last frame and show her in her pants?! Leave something to the imagination you fools…

And finally

50 Shades of Gran