The Miracle Machine: What if you could go all biblical and turn water into wine? That’s the idea behind the device called ‘Miracle Machine’, a daring combination of Silicon Valley tech and Napa Valley wine-making expertise, that would produce great wine with minimal effort in three days.
Supergeil: Germany’s largest supermarket Edeka has a history of going for a more cheeky tone in advertising its claim to “Love Food” (Wir Lieben Lebensmittel), especially when promoting their own brand label “Good and Cheap” (Gut und Günstig).
They’ve had some fun in the past with a clip of two stoners out to fight the munchies in an Edeka, playing on the double meanings of words such as ‘Tüte’ (German for ‘bag’, but also for ‘joint’) and ‘Bon’ (German, weirdly, for ‘receipt’; funny, because when this French word is pronounced in German, it sounds awfully like ‘bong’).
SochiProblems: To say that the Sochi Winter Olympics have a bit of a repetitional problem would probably get you on the podium at the understatement of the year award. Adding to the allegations of corruption and the ridiculous anti LGBT laws, and an Olympic Snowflake that was too afraid to come out, organisers also have to contend with athletes and journalists tweeting bizarre evidence of how ramshackle, unfinished and bonkers Sochi 2014 looks to be for visitors.
Of course everything is beautifully curated by spoof accounts on Twitter, with @SochiProblems the clear winner, by far eclipsing the official @Sochi2014 account. Meanwhile, @SochiGamesPR provides the spin in an attempt to deflect attention. Make sure you keep an eye on the #SochiProblems hashtag. Gold.
Facebook is 10: Happy 10th birthday to the social network that in the last decade made it socially acceptable to poke a complete stranger. It brought us the like button and an avalanche of baby photos from people that you didn’t speak to or care about in high school, but don’t have the heart to decline their friend request. Brands jumped in, some doing great work to help create a place for a community to come together around their products, many others providing fodder for the Condescending Brand Page.
How to celebrate their 10th birthday?
A clever viral (yes, this was actually viral) film based on the personal history of each and every Facebook user. Accessible via the click of a button, Facebook pulls together a collection of your early posts, popular posts and top photos starting from when you joined the network, right up to the present day, and assembles a version of your life on top of some twee twinkly folky music, images popping up in time with the saccharine tune.
Called ‘A Look Back‘, @stangreenan probably summed it up best: “it’s so lovely, it makes me wonder what parts of my soul Zuckerberg stole to give it to me”.
So we learn that if you want something to go viral, you make it about the person who is sharing it.
But there is another, equally powerful motivator for something to be shared: the spoof look back film. As many were generating the Facebook version of their personal history, the Internet got to work to create spoofs of the look back film from the perspective of Prince Harry, the Bible, and, of course, President Putin.
Microsoft announced their third CEO this week and I thought the page their built to tell the world more about ‘the new guy’ really does a great job in pulling together different assets and perspectives (HT @_georgebowden)
Farmed and Dangerous: Last year, Chipotle’s quest for “wholesome, sustainable food” saw them develop the Scarecrow Game. The game puts you in the shoes of a scarecrow fighting to foil the evil “Crow Foods” and break its hold on food production and supply.
The game was promoted by a beautifully animated short film, aptly titled ‘The Scarecrow’:
In a dystopian fantasy world, all food production is controlled by fictional industrial giant Crow Foods. Scarecrows have been displaced from their traditional role of protecting food, and are now servants to the crows and their evil plans to dominate the food system. Dreaming of something better, a lone scarecrow sets out to provide an alternative to the unsustainable processed food from the factory.
The Scarecrow raised eyebrows, gained accolades and cemented the chain’s commitment to sustainable sourcing. It achieved wall-to-wall, worldwide coverage, with The Guardian positing that the campaign would set the bar for sustainable advertising and Venture Beat calling it the creation of ‘advergaming‘. Not everyone was impressed though, some critics thought the campaign to be manipulative and others felt the film was just too darn depressing and that it had put them off of eating at Chipotle.
Scarecrow looks to have had the desired effect though, as Chipotle are doubling down on original content with a four-part mini-series on Hulu (the on demand platform that brings together shows from some of the main TV networks in the US).
Called “Farmed and Dangerous“, the series explores “the outrageously twisted and utterly unsustainable world of industrial agriculture” (HT @stanm).
The show premieres on Hulu on February 17 and going by the trailer, they’re not kidding when they say ‘outrageously twisted’: the story centres around a fictional industrial agriculture company ‘Animoil’ that has developed a way to feed cows petroleum-based pellets, called PetroPellets. Cheaper than conventional animal feed, these pellets are completely “organic”, and they’re even available for a number of different livestock (aqua pellets are still in the R&D phase).
They do, however, have one nasty side-effect.
They make the cows explode.
Craziness ensues as the security footage of exploding cattle goes viral and Animoil end up in the midst of a massive PR disaster. Animoil’s CEO Mick Mitcherson is forced into action and tries to regain control over his company’s reputation – while at the same, the audience learns about the dangers of industrial agriculture.
It doesn’t stop there though. Chipotle have created a corporate website for Animoil, where you’ll find the CEO of Animoil Global responding to criticism about the safety of his PetroPellet product (yes, he is also on Twitter @BuckMarshall), as well as some fantastic greenwash in the corporate responsibility section. The site even includes a careers section with some fantastic job opportunities as ‘Astroturf fluffer’ and ‘Interpretive Health and Safety Manager’. Sadly, all the links take you through to a 404 page, but even that is beautifully made.
Chipotle are also connecting their ‘real world’ Twitter account with that of the imaginary CEO Buck Marshall – tweeting a link to an open letter by the CEO ‘to everyone with a mouths‘ in the New York Times.
While I really think the assets created on the back of this campaign are fantastic, I just can’t get the basic premise of exploding cows out of my head: if some people were put off from going to Chipotle after seeing a dystopian, albeit beautifully animated version of the food chain, I wonder how they’re going to react after seeing life-like cows disintegrate in Tarrantino-esque PetroPellet explosions on screen?
I suspect Chipotle is also worried about that effect, because even as it’s had a big hand in Farmed and Dangerous’ development, according to Time Magazine, Chipotle is only referenced once in four episodes, and the chain isn’t mentioned in the opening or closing credits of the show at all.
Also, going by this response to Chipotle’s tweet above, some people might actually think Animoil is real!?
@ChipotleTweets buck Marshall! GMOs are not safe, or have they been extensively tested on, and obviously we could survive without them
Facebook Paper: It seems Flipboard, Pulse and Medium have had a remarkable effect on Facebook’s thinking as they borrow a lot of the look and feel of those platforms to create what looks like a dramatic and completely beautiful re-imagining of the Facebook mobile interface.
Facebook Paper is all about story telling and about making content look good – while at the same time keeping the features we’re so used to from Facebook in the foreground. Also, going by the intro film, Facebook has fully committed to mobile:
Paper uses the entire screen, with only “like”, “share” and “reply” buttons appearing in the bottom left corner,
it also makes full use of the accelerometer, where you’ll need to tilt your phone to see the whole image (as groovy as this is, I do hope there’s a way to switch it off as it could get annoying),
and there’s not a flippin desktop, laptop or tablet in sight. Every person in the film is glued to their phone, ignoring their friends. Dystopian future klaxon!
But more than just looks, Facebook Paper is about an entirely new concept that so far hasn’t really applied to the platform: discovering content. As Re/code notes:
The site has a wealth of public content on its network, posted openly by users so that any other Facebook users can see it. But until now, there hasn’t been an easy way for people to find it. Thus, if Facebook can organize that stuff by topic and make it more easily discoverable, it’ll inspire you to comb through it all — and perhaps to pen your own stuff that much more.
Facebook Paper is set to launch in the US app store on Monday, February 3 – I couldn’t find a release date for the UK.
Google Lego: Two years ago Google unveiled an experiment called ‘Build with Chrome’, a virtual Lego tool that let you play with tiny plastic bricks in your browser – that project is now finally open to everyone and it looks amazing. It only works in Chrome, so yore going to have to download that. Then you can happily spend hours building anything your imagination can muster, anywhere in the world, without having to worry about stepping on a brick in your bare feet, discarding two of those flat pieces because they’ve become inseparable over time, or about running out of pieces in a particular colour.
Bits and bytes
Coca-Cola were in trouble this week for treating the word ‘gay’ as a swear word on their Facebook page’s “share a Coke” function. Can’t tell if they’ve fixed it or if they’ve taken the whole thing down – I can’t seem to find the virtual personalised can generator app anywhere, so I assume it’s the latter (HT @a_little_wine)
A bizarre and terrifying post by Naoki Hiroshima about how he had his Paypal, Domain and Facebook profile hacked – all in order to get to his extremely valuable Twitter handle @N (HT @a_little_wine)
Love Instagram? Love marshmallows? Why not combine the two with boomf, a service that prints your photos onto a marshmallow (HT @a_little_wine)
Cycling Scotland’s road safety ad – banned because the cyclists featured in the ad don’t wear helmets and ride along in the middle of the flipping’ road. Outrageous. Five people complained to the ASA about this shocking revelation, however they had no problem (or any discernible sense of humour it seems) with cyclists being compared to a horse (HT @a_little_wine).
Fast flooding cement: The Victoria Line was suspended this week because, somehow, a control room was flooded with cement. Twitter reacted how it always reacts, with a barrage of quick drying puns, visual gags and other silliness. And as we know, Twitter frickin LOVES a good pun.
@tomparker81 pointed out this beautiful flowchart from @TimeOutLondon on how the engineers were most likely dealing with the situation…
What struck me most about the story though was that it (technically) wasn’t the traditional media that broke the news, but up-and-coming, do-it-for-the-LOLz site @UsVSTh3m (an experiment funded by Trinity Mirror).
A big win for the experiment, and if you haven’t read @MartinBelam‘s take on the who, why and what behind UsVSTh3m, I recommend you do so immediately as it provides a clever and informative take on how traditional media can adapt to t’Interwebs and why it’s so important that the UsVSTh3m team can “write for the web, use Photoshop like a boss, and code”.
Concrete data: Having that amazing exclusive on the Victoria Line pics has added exactly one Google+ follower for @UsVsTh3m
Still, you’ll be glad to know that the Victoria Line is working again. The fix? Sugar, bizarrely. And while I’d like to think it was Fairtrade sugar from Sainsbury’s that sorted out the signalling room, I cannot confirm that.
Grow a spine, Yahoo!: Gmail was down for about 20 minutes on Friday, enough time for brands and organisations to jump in with some real-time marketing.
But then there was Yahoo!, who (I thought) simply tweeted the fact that Gmail was ‘temporarily unavailable’, quoting the Error 500 page. No further judgement or commentary – just a screenshot (although I imagine, behind the scenes, the Yahoo! Mail team was high-fiving and wooping).
The Tweet was quickly deleted and replaced by a confusing, two-tweet apology. It referred to @Yahoo being used by the editorial team to inform about news and events and that the Tweet “reflected bad judgment” (I guess you think twice about dissing your CEO’s ex-employer).
The @Yahoo Twitter handle is used by our editorial team to inform about news and events.
But if you see yourself as a news organisation, should you then not report on the news? There wasn’t any Nelson-esque “HaHa” (albeit implicit), they were simply stating fact. I wonder if they’d have gotten away with the @YahooNews account tweeting it.
Those cheeky chaps at Paddy Power are at it again: After Man Utd lost to Chelsea, the Paddy Power deposited a life-sized wax figure of Sir Alex Ferguson inside a glass box outside Old Trafford. The instructions are simple: “In case of emergency, break glass“. I have a feeling that after the hilariously pathetic penalty shoot-out against equally inept Sunderland this week, the glass might have been shattered. Perhaps by the same distressed fan who was so dismayed by the nightmare at the Theatre of Dreams, he dialled 999, demanding to speak to Ferguson.
Bits and bytes
Businessweek looks at why retailers are increasingly crowdsource their product shots – curating photos photos from social platforms and blogs. Not only is there top quality imagery out there, this imagery is far more authentic than the highly styled marketing imagery produced by brands. Case in point, this mouthwatering list of sandwich ideas on Sainsbury’s Live Well For Less site, sourced from food bloggers
Want your post to go viral? Forget about producing helpful, amusing or informative content. Social proof/blackmail is the trigger you should be going for (note: irony)
Check out the BBC’s Instafax, a new short-form video news service on Instagram. Each post consists of three short clips with a caption, quickly summarising a story. An interesting attempt to reach readers on social media platforms as Creative Review finds
Videos of the week: “You have elbows and you have knees. So touch them. VERY NICE.” Arnold Schwarzenegger visits Gold’s Gym in a dodgy disguise to support after-school sports. I doubt anybody was fooled as to whom they were talking to, but Ahnuld is just one charming dude.
And two wonderfully cheese public service videos from The White House this week. Making the ‘Big Block of Cheese Day’ a virtual reality. And who better to do the promo than The West Wing’s Josh Lyman and Will Bailey!
And then there’s FLOTUS dunking on Lebron James. Oh yeah.
Trashtag: Last week fish pun mania gripped the nation. This week, puns are still very much en vogue, even if they have turned trashy, as this exchange about a rogue trash can at a Sainsbury’s Local in London between @sainsburys and @Anthony_Hill. While perhaps not as epic as the previous effort, it’s good to see the various members of our Careline team getting in on the action. Anthony was good enough to save the conversation for posterity on his blog and tweet us the exchange.
Hell hath no fury like a social media geek scorned: Two guaranteed ways to piss me off.
The first: QR codes. Seriously. Just say no.
The second: Randomly include a reference to your social media account but not your handle.
I won’t spend any more time on why QR codes are a waste of time, but shouting about the fact that you’re on social by simply including a wee bird or a blue f? You’ve got to be kidding me.
So, I (along with many other like-minded individuals) were outraged this week when Transport for London put up posters notifying commuters about their travel alerts on Twitter. The poster has 4 wee Twitter birds making up the middle blue bit of the famous tube sign (so far, so good), it reads “Travel alerts on Twitter” (OK, still with you), and underneath that, in cheeky brackets, “OMG!” (stretching it chaps, but I’ll assume you were going for irony. Go on).
That’s it though. Not a single Twitter handle in sight.
Only TFL would run a poster campaign announcing they're on Twitter… and leave off their Twitter handle. pic.twitter.com/UKUn5RzZ4S
But it get’s better. There is a link to TFL’s website, waaay down in the bottom right hand corner of the poster. But rather than taking you through to TFL’s social media page, it takes you to their page about the Tube. Now, to give TFL some credit, were you to do a search for TFL travel alerts on Google or Twitter, you quickly get to their Twitter channels.
Why make us work so hard to get the information that you’re trying to tell us about? We’ve barely managed to elbow our way into somebody’s armpit on a rammed Piccadilly train to Heathrow at rush our, so letting us know how long we’re to inhale a complete stranger’s body odour while hanging on to consciousness should be more straight forward?
Gonzo journalism for hipsters: I remember back at Uni, getting your hands on the new Vice was an event we all looked forward to. Having grown up in the rather more controlled environment of Singapore, the gritty photography and features in Vice were always an eye-opening read, and the wonderfully snide Do’s and Don’ts still bring a giggle.
Now called Vice Media, Shane Smith’s media empire includes a massive website, a magazine, a record label, feature films, events (some of the best parties I’ve been to!), a book publishing division and, soon, its own news channel.
A news channel with that unmistakable gonzo journalism style, which puts the reporter into the story, an approach that Smith argues gleans the answers that young people seek. Something that I think many established media houses will keep a close eye on.
Creepy Emoji: French child advocacy group Innocence en Danger has given cute Emoji a creepy make-over in their campaign to warn parents and young people about the adult predators who might be behind online conversations.
Bits and bytes
Facebook adds trending topics to remind people that there are things other than cat videos and baby photos. While cats and babies enjoy permanent popularity, Facebook is looking to surface content that sees a sharp increase in popularity over a short space of time
“At times, it felt like I’d put my head into my phone. Interacting with all of this information becomes much more intimate.” A quote from a shaky split screen video in a piece titled ‘I Became a Robot with Google Glass‘, shows a first person perspective of what it feels like to wear Google Glass and how people react to the wearer
How did BuzzFeed grow from a much-mocked LOL cat archive to a media giant for a new era? Wired magazine looks at the evolution in a highly entertaining piece. Interesting points: people don’t like fuzz (fake + buzz), we like to share and we like to share good news
You love/hate the selfie, but have you heard of the felfie? The Guardian looks at the trend amongst farmers to take a selfie on their farm (farm + selfie = felfie) and how especially Twitter is so popular with farmers as they can connect with their peers and friends in what is otherwise a rather lonely job
Videos of the week: A compilation of Vine videos from Zach King that will blow your mind. More on how Zach does it on the Indie (HT @MindyB_).
Puma partner with Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Marco Reus and Mario Balotelli to test their new evoPOWER football boots. Over the top CGI, terrible acting from Thierry, and a generous helping of cheese make for a rather enjoyable ad.
‘Prankvertising’ is back with this hilarious effort featuring a projectile vomiting, remote controlled, devil-baby. The stunt was to promote the release of horror flick ‘Devil’s Baby’ (HT @tomparker81).
David Smith from our social Careline team was quick to respond with this triple whammy: @TeaAndCopy Were there no other packs in the plaice, or was that the sole one on the shelf? Floundering for an explanation! David.
@TeaAndCopy Were there no other packs in the plaice, or was that the sole one on the shelf? Floundering for an explanation! David.
Have a question? Take a photo: If you have a question, somebody out there likely has an answer. Combine that with the fact that most of us have an Internet connected camera in our pocket and you’ve got the premise of the new visual question and answer app Jelly. Jelly allows you to ask and respond to image based questions.
The app (at least for iPhone) is still a bit wonky. For example, the only way to switch between Twitter handles at the moment seems to be to delete and re-install the app. Also, it murders your battery life – I suspect this might have to do with the high number of push notifications from the app alerting me to friends in need of answers
Jelly works by tapping into your existing connections on Twitter and Facebook – and your connections’ connections – but it keeps all interactions contained within its walls. While they’re likely to open this up in future, it plays to the trend of a) mobile first and worry about the desktop experience later and b) it’s not about getting mass reach or fame, but to help each other out in small-scale yet meaningful interactions
Swiping through questions is fun and simple and the wide variety of different questions is astonishing but also confusing. There isn’t a search or sort function and once you’ve dismissed a question, you can’t go back to it
There doesn’t seem to be a way to block other Jelly users from asking or responding to questions, nor does the app respect Twitter blocks. Interesting to see how they deal with the inevitable abuse cases and ‘less welcome’ content
Finally, can those social comms bods, please agree to not go for the obvious ‘Would you prefer product a, b or c?’ questions?
Social media news: The team that runs the New York Times’ Twitter feed analysed some of their most successful tweets in 2013 (in terms of click-throughs and retweets), and looked at how they used Twitter to encourage a variety of types of reader engagement with their journalism. @michaelroston, staff editor for social media, sums up their findings and I strongly suggest you give the resultsyour full attention.
For those of the TL;DR mindset (I doubt you’ll have gotten this far, but hey), here’s my take:
Managing breaking news is about sharing approved and verified sources. To ensure accuracy, @nytimes will retweet journalists who are directly involvement in events instead of relying un unverified, third party sources
They let their journalists break ‘news situations’ – even without links to the NYT: Letting our trusted reporters deliver some news first helps them connect directly with an interested audience, and delivers news in a timely manner without sacrificing our commitment to accuracy
Using social for call-outs for sources
Automated tweets are OK (automated in the sense that a new article that’s published to the site is tweeted automatically), but Tweets send via @nytimes performed better when they were written by editors: Twitter is a platform that helps extend The Times’s journalism to an audience that is not always the same as the one that visits our website directly. When we fit our storytelling to the medium, we do the best possible job of connecting with that audience
Clearly stated tweets describing the gist of the stories work better than clever headlines
Minimal goodness: A lovely collection of minimal ads that make your brain work just that little bit more to get the point and provide that brief Eureka moment when you get the point. Sent to me by @stangreenan remarking that his favourite was the one for Haribo. I’d have to agree:
Bits and bytes
On Vine? Make sure you have your web profile sorted as the six second video app makes the leap from mobile to desktop
Don’t know where to go on your next holiday? You could use Sightsmap, a nifty heat map of popular places around the world
The San Francisco Chronicle will put all its reporters through social media boot camp in an attempt to to arrest circulation decline and remain relevant in the digital age. The two month (!) programme is all about introducing digital metrics and measurement tools. Let’s hope they’re also addressing the required mental shift from print to digital
The reason why Netflix walked away from personalisation? The novelty factor: the new and unexpected is what delights customers, not a similar version of what they watched yesterday
XKCD provides a brilliant comeback to the question: “Why can’t you just enjoy the view rather than always take photos”
Videos of the week: A case study from Kirby Ferguson, on the back of his excellent 4-part series Everything is a Remix about how creativity resembles remixing. He looks at how when it was launched, the iPhone borrowed from conventions and ideas outside of the smart phone realm to when the recent update of iOS6 was released, it borrowed from ideas within the smart phone realm.
It’s worth taking a look back at the entire series, the first and second films make the point that not only is everything today a remix, creation actually requires influence and that it doesn’t take any expensive tools or even skills to do so (anymore). The third film looks at how innovations truly happen and the fourth finishes on how our system of law doesn’t acknowledge the derivative nature of creativity.
If you fancy a quicker summary of all that goodness, I’d recommend Kirby Ferguson’s TED talk that brings this all together – without the excellent films and animations mind you.
And finally: Movie Code, images of the computer code appearing in TV and films and what they really are.
Can’t remember what you did in 2013? Facebook does – in its Year in Review
Gattaca isn’t too far away: In a rare interview, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt gives Bloomberg his outlook for 2014 trends in a quick, two-minute film. Some points that struck me:
Mobile is no longer winning, it has won: people aren’t buying new computers, they are buying tablet devices and smartphones.
Big data and machine intelligence is everywhere – extending as far as genetics and expected advances in mapping the human genome. Something that will (hopefully) lead to advancements in the fight against cancer and other diseases. Heck, your phone already uses your fingerprint as your password and you’re loading biometric data about your workouts and activities to third part platform, the next step has to be ads and products tailored to your genetic make-up?
Interesting to note in the clip that Schmidt reflects on the trend that Google missed – social networking. Google won’t make that mistake again, he promises in the clip.
How to lose your job in less than 140 characters: Bit of an older one, but after realising that some of my colleagues had missed it over the Christmas period I thought I’d better include it as a shining example of what not to say on Twitter (or anywhere else for that matter).
Buzzfeed pulled together a great summary of the proverbial poop exploding after (now ex) PR director at IAC Justine Sacco tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white.”
Kids, do not try this at home.
Twitter has an Instagram problem: Instagram is growing faster than Twitter (Nielsen is already tracking more mobile users of Instagram than of Twitter) and Instagram users are more active (57% daily visits to see the latest filtered images of food vs. 46% daily visits to Twitter). The problem, according to Pew Research, is that the two are direct rivals as they have the same user base: Both have particular appeal to younger adults, urban dwellers, and non-whites.
The argument goes that as Instagram grows, it will take users away from Twitter, thereby becoming the go-to platform for advertisers to reach an increasingly active audience.
But basing this entire argument on just usage metrics ignores why people are actually on Instagram and Twitter. People have very different goals when they use those platforms (to see and share photos from and with their friends in the former; share and consumer news, banter and the latest buzz on the latter. Brands need to keep this in mind and tailor their messaging to the platform, rather than chosing one over the other.
That said, Twitter for a while now defined itself as the shortest distance between you and your passion. My recent experience of Instagram has shown that this is also quite possible – providing your passion can be explained in image form. And as a runner and trail running, I’ve spent some time finding and following similarly minded people and athletes who post spectacular image from their forays into the wild.
Take ultramarathon legend Scott Jurek – he posts beautiful images from his runs in the high country. Just makes you want to lace up and head out to see how far your legs can take you.
THAT selfie: Danish PM Helle Thorning Schmidt was caught in the act of taking a selfie of herself with British PM David Cameron and President Obama at Mandela’s memorial service. The photograph capturing this display of inappropriate behaviour went mega-viral and was plastered across the front pages of the Mail, Telegraph, Sun and Times the next day – and going by the reaction of Michelle Obama, the flight back on Air Force 1 may have been a frosty one (she was quick to get Barry back).
The shocking display by the three heads of state caused a divide in the @SainsburysPR team. Was it, as the The Sun called it, a “cheesy pic”, a show of no “selfie respect”? Was it really “so out of keeping with what the day was about,” as Daily Telegraph media writer Neil Midgley believes? Or was it a show of how even world leaders are just human beings?
All this media (social and otherwise) coverage and @a_little_wine did bring to my attention the wonderful collection of selfies at funerals on the very appropriately named Tumblr selfies at funerals. In existence since August, Jason Feifer, the site’s editor, explains how this social media curiosity came about:
“Just to see what would happen, I typed the words “selfie” and “funeral” into Twitter’s search bar. Staring back at me was a global parade of mostly doe-eyed teens, photographing themselves and writing things like, “Love my hair today. Hate why I’m dressed up #funeral.”
Feifer goes on to explain why the Thorning Schmidt/Cameron/Obama selfie is a fitting end to his Tumblr that had at that point already garnered a bit of media indignation. Rather seeing it as proof of the moral and social depravity of kids today, he puts it rather differently
“When a teen tweets out a funeral selfie, their friends don’t castigate them. They understand that their friend, in their own way, is expressing an emotion they may not have words for. It’s a visual language that older people – even those like me, in their 30s – simply don’t speak.”
So rather than give our triumvirate more grief, we should commend them for being so down with the kids.
A selfie at a funeral? All good.
A selfie at a funeral WITH DUCKFACE? You disgust me.
Technology Shabbats: @TiffanyShlain shares how living in today’s over-connected world has led her family to unplug for one full day every week. She calls them their “Technology Shabbats,” they’ve done it every week for over three years, and it’s completely changed her family’s life.
A thought-provoking clip that speaks to the dangers of consuming too much information via digital screens, of being ‘always on’, of continuous distraction by devices, social networks and the desire for that next like or retweet hit.
I also recommend having a look at Shlain’s channel on AOL ‘The future starts here‘ – and her thoughts on a variety of things including motherhood, tech etiquette, and the creative process of film making.
Private photo messaging: Over the top messaging platforms such as What’s App, Snapchat, Kik and Viber (named as such because they work on the service provided via an app but that is not provided by your network provider) are becoming more popular as teens move away from conducting their social lives through open social media networks and move into platforms that allow 1-to-1 or 1-to-few interactions where they can control who receives the information they’re sharing.
The rising popularity of services that allow the user to send private images updates to your friends in particular has resulted in Instagram and Twitter launching their own version of private picture messaging this week.
For Twitter, this isn’t the biggest leap – direct messaging has been around for a while. But as of this week, you can DM images. For Instagram however, it’s always been about publicly sharing images. It’s never really been a channel to have a conversation with, private or otherwise, so the addition of a private image messaging – or Instagram Direct as they call it – is quite a shift.
Twitter’s update is very basic. You can attach an image to a DM. With Instagram, they’ve added another layer: After sending, you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video, see who’s liked it and watch your recipients commenting in real-time as the conversation unfolds. A clever touch – and I suspect one that will resonate with the Instagram user base. More thoughts on these two changes over on the NYT.
Crispy fried smartphone: Every once in a while I come across a story that shows why you should never censor or tell an angry customer that he cannot vent his frustrations. Samsung is the latest company to fall afoul of the Streisand Effect, after trying to stop a customer posting videos of his defective Galaxy S4 – and by defective, I mean burnt to a crisp after the phone’s battery had caught fire while charging. Rather than killing the story, all Samsung managed to do was make it grow and spread.
Watch the second clip here (over a million views at the time of writing), where the customer talks about his interaction with Samsung. The Daily Dot has more on the exchange and some of the rather bizarre demands of an overzealous legal department that do nothing more than add fuel to the battery fire.
The case for NGOs to get Redditing: A great read from @RowanEmslie about why NGOs should get involved with hyperactive networks of influencers such as Reddit to get their message out to wider audiences. Emslie bases his argument on the key insight that “people want and expect to be a part of the process, to be communicated with on a more immediate level, and to be able to get involved if they want to” and that while Reddit might be smaller than Facebook, it’s a much more active network made up of people who have influence outside of Reddit.
Videos of the week: Canadian budget airline WestJet decided to make Christmas wishes come true for some of their lucky passengers in this impressive and perfectly executed stunt. On their blog, the company says they’d donate flights to a family in need if the clip got more than 200,000 views. It’s at over 22,000,000 as I write this. And yes, the guy who asked for new socks and pants is still kicking himself…
Klingenberg Farm in the US wanted to show people a bit more about what life as a farmer was like. Rather than a boring to camera piece explaining it all, they decided to parody the most bizarre yet strangely popular YouTube films of the year, Ylvis’ “What does the Fox say“, to produce the brilliant “What does the farmer say?” (HT @a_little_wine).
The Marketing Anthem celebrates the brave marketers who’ve made us become friends with a cookie, ask us rhetorical questions on Facebook, and that “-vertising” can go at the end of anything.
And finally: The *Santa* brand book – includes the brand guidelines, promise, values and all the tools you’ll need to get into the brand approved Christmas spirit.