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Uber massive Black Cab own goal, Google Glass discrimination and the Flying Dutchman

Uber massive Black Cab own goal

On Wednesday, @a_little_wine and I were enjoying our lunch in the glorious London sunshine. At least until a long procession of Black Cabs showed up, honking their horns and clogging up Holborn Circus and the surrounding roads. Fellow road users weren’t impressed, a colleague missed their flight because they were stuck in traffic to Heathrow and cyclists were being smug as cyclists always are.

The following conversation echoed throughout the office all day:

What’s going on with all the cabs?

They’re on strike because of Uber.

They’re on strike because they can’t spell the German word for over?

No. Uber. It’s a mobile app that let’s you book cars to get you around London. It’s really very good and it’s actually quite a lot cheaper than taking a Black Cab.

@tomparker81 and @amyvwilson were too happy to tell us more about something that until that day we’d only heard about in passing. We learnt about  Uber, that it was cheaper than a cab and that it was very easy to use. I learnt that if I sign up using a code, Amy and I would both get £10 off our next ride. I signed up.

Also, as Rory Sutherland so marvellously puts it in (at 42 mins in this clip), human beings hate uncertainty. Uber takes that uncertainty away because you see the car approaching. You know exactly where and when that Uber car is going to show up. There’s no stress. A few taps and your off.

So Uber has many things going for it.

Now. Cabbies (and many other metered taxi drivers around Europe) aren’t complete idiots. They went on strike because they feel that Transport for London should not allow Uber cars to use a meter (which is essentially what the app does) as this is something only Black Cabs are allowed to do. TFL reckons it is something for the courts to decide upon. Unhappy, they decided to make their case heard.

Rather than help the cabbies, the strike has done the exact opposite:

  • it’s generated huge awareness of Uber on all forms of media
  • it’s caused a 850% spike in registrations to Uber
  • it’s pissed off a lot of motorists and people who spent an afternoon stuck in traffic
  • it’s generated more smug cyclists. This is never a good thing

I’m not saying that Cabbies don’t have a point. Rules and regulations for metered cabs should be fair. But as we’ve seen with Polaroid, HMV, Blockbuster, etc – if you ignore the way the customer is going, you’re going to have a bad time.

Google Glass discrimination

The Daily Show reports on the horrible discrimination Google Glass wearers – or Explorers as they prefer to be called – face every day. Harrowing.

The Flying Dutchman

The Internet loves an image based meme. And last night, after van Persie equalised for the Dutch with a glorious diving, looping, deliciously weighted header after a magnificent cross from Blind, the Internet had found new material.

Within hours, the ‘shopped images of RVP began appearing in all kinds of marvellous scenes:

Reuters’ Digital News Report

Reuters’ annual Digital News Report reveals new insights about digital news consumption based on a survey of over 18,000 online news consumers in the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Denmark and Finland.

You can find the full report here, for a TL;DR summary, I give you some bullets:

  • Even though not technically new, mobile its seen as the second disruptive digital revolution creating new links between the audience and news outlets
  • People don’t and don’t want to pay for news but more news outlets are moving to subscription models
  • Although Facebook and Twitter are still the platforms of choice for discovering, sharing and commenting on news events, there are new players entering the game. Also: WhatsApp is a surprising big player in some countries – in India for example it was used to great effect to drive people the polls in the last election
  • Journalists themselves are turning into brands and just (if not more) trusted than the media outlet they work for

Bits and bytes

  • The biggest development in journalism has finally happened: Man bites dog
  • I hesitate to link to anything that bills itself as the ultimate guide to anything, but this guide to mobile social media by Buffer is not only good but also full of practical advice. Kudos!
  • No. A computer did not just beat the Turing Test. We have a bit of time yet until we battle Skynet
  • Scoopshot – the app that let’s you take on photography assignments from The Metro, Evening Standard or the Press Association and sell your work. Even brands such as Finnair are asking passengers to share photos from their flight

Videos of the week

VW in China worked with Ogilvy to create an ad that showed just how dangerous texting and driving can be.  Cinema goers were shown the ad as part of the usual build up of commercials and trailers: a monotonous scene shot from the driver’s perspective of cruising down a country lane, counting on them being bored by the clip. What happens next is very effective – if a bit dramatic.

You’ll have seen this during the first few World Cup games, Nike’s ‘Incredibles’ style animated film about a group of heroic footballers (and Rooney) playing the game of their lives against a team of perfect but predictable footballbots.

Why animate? Well, despite all the playacting on the pitch to get the other guy booked, footballers are actually terrible actors (with the obvious exceptions of Vinnie Jones and Eric Cantona), but also because footballers don’t nearly have enough of a sense of humour to actually agree to take part in this splendid little film.

Remember the Old Spice Guy? Of course you do. Turns out he actually was on a horse.

And finally

Tweets from 1998 (HT @tomparker81)

Twitter trolls and this week’s bits and bytes

Don’t feed the trolls? The big news this week was regarding calls from activist Caroline Criado Perez and others to put Jane Austen on a £10 note. An honour that many agreed was deserved and appropriate. And rightfully, they have received much praise – but also a storm of the most vile and disgusting abuse, rape and death threats via Twitter.

Is it Twitter’s job to police the platform? Yes. Should the police get involved when threats are being made? Absolutely. But as @Euan argues, what about the rest of the Twitter population? More of us should take the often tough decision to stand up and say something when we see others in our circles indulging in unacceptable behaviour.” In the spirit of the age-old mantra for community managers the world over @girllostincity thinks that we’re giving trolls too much attention and should stop feeding them.

Del Harvey on Newsnight

Twitter has been criticised for their slow reaction and for the awkward and desperately defensive appearance on Newsnight of their Head of Trust and Safety, @delbius. It didn’t help that she spoke almost exclusively in corporate bingo phrases, felt it was necessary to outline how long she had been at Twitter in response to the opening question, or that she went on to admit that the “dozens or so” people in her team are essentially playing catch to the “rocket-ship” that Twitter has become.

Critics are calling for many things, one of which is a way for users to report abuse. But is a ‘report this’ button really going to help? @sharonodea argues that it’s likely to create more problems than it solves, as the trolls might treat being reported and banned as a wind-up to be ignored – and confirmation that they are getting attention.

What to do?

Twitter suggests you find the link to the form with which you can report abuse on Twitter on their website – a form that requires you to fill in 11 fields of data and that seems to be largely unknown outside of the US, at least going by the bitly stats on clickthroughs. Definitely needs some simplification here…

However, as @MartinBelam rightly puts it, this isn’t a technology problem – this is a misogyny problem: The abuse directed at woman is a representation of the level of abuse that women are expected to tolerate outside of Twitter as well. It is absolutely right that we should be standing up and saying that this is unacceptable; not just online, but in society in general. We’ll need to work both online and offline to win that battle.

Social media and business continuity: A serious heading for a serious topic – how does social media affect traditional business continuity and crisis communication plans? @stevef2412 notes that the time between an incident taking place and the first tweet about it is about 30 seconds. Depending on the nature of the incident, many more tweets are likely to follow. So what are the critical things an organisation has to get right almost immediately? Read the post to find out.

Hacking your own Twitter: Pretending your account’s been hacked in order to get people talking and increase your followers (what, you think rubbernecking only applies to crashes on the motorway? People love gawking at disasters no matter where they’re happening). Please people: focus on helping, informing and amusing your followers rather than coming up with daft ways of inflating your follower numbers.

Why PR is your best marketing weapon: Not one of the usual posts with top X ways to do Y better. Instead, a helpful and honest piece from @wadhwa about seven ways to get top PR. For those of you who want to TL;DR it – a quick summary below – the rest, I strongly recommend giving it a read.

  • Learn what makes news by – surprise, surprise – consuming news
  • Focus on the needs of the journalist and build relationships
  • Package announcements into a news hook
  • Don’t ignore the small media organisations – they will help build your credibility
  • Make time for journo requests – the first to respond generally get included in a piece
  • Be honest, be yourself and have an opinion

All you ever wanted to know about SEO: A monster deck of 101 slides on the past two decades of search engines (remember Webcrawler?). What we learn is that people figure out how to game Google rankings, they score massive traffic for a short while before Google updates their algorithms and ranking methods and everybody starts looking at ways of gaming the new system. All resulting in where were are today with inbound marketing, where by publishing the right content in the right place at the right time, your message becomes relevant and helpful to your customers, not interruptive.

Google Glass is a journalists friend: In my continuing series of possible uses for Google Glass, I’d like to point you to Vice Magazine, which has published a piece about how Google’s wearable computer has helped one of their journalists report from areas of conflict around the world.

Source: Vice

From streaming live video from Glass, accessing files on your home computer through the tiny screen placed in your field of vision while in the field, to tweeting live from rallies through a clever IFTTT recipe – it really is a fascinating look at what remote working could look like in the very near future.

Facebook content will escape the walled garden: Facebook announced this week that it is launching “embedded posts.” Does what it says on the tin: You’ll be able to take any public Facebook post and embed it in any other site that allows embed codes. It’s been rolled out to the Facebook pages of HuffPo, CNN and a handful of others – so keep an eye out for when it rolls out to more platforms and your privacy settings.

All in the same room, but not really: The living room is making a comeback, with more families watching TV at the same time – according to figures releases by Ofcom this week (I can’t embed the interview with a typical family, but it’s well worth a watch to see the difference between the generations).

Source: IBTimes

91% of us watch their main TV screen once a week – up from 88% in 2002. Unsurprisingly though, while we might all be present in the same room, with the one big screen blaring out some vacuous reality show where the latest crop of annoying attention seekers vie for the judges’ affection, we’re not really paying attention to the telly. Instead, multi-tasking is up, with almost one in two of using smartphones or tablets while watching TV and one in four sharing what they’re watching through social media.

Some really interesting stats about how the Great British public consumes the media, however, two stats really stuck with me. The first confirms that tablet devices really aren’t mobile devices (85% of tablet owners keep it at home), while the second just shows that anybody who thinks their website won’t need a touch-screen optimised device should think again (91% of parents said their children use a tablet).

Holiday season and social media: Heading out to some tropical island paradise? The Guardian looks at the pitfalls of annoying all your friends back home with smug photos of deserted beaches, pouty selfies and self-satisfied Hashtags along the lines of #lifeshardbutsomeonesgotodoit. Also, Please do us all a favour and don’t succumb to the ‘legsie’ – if you do, make them look as awesome as this one (HT @a_little_wine).

Shoshone Point, Grand Canyon

And finally: Going through a rebrand to appeal to younger, hipper audiences? Try the Hipster Logo approach

Planning for real-time, EE’s 4G tractor, political lunches and this week’s bits and bytes

Real-time marketing: Good news for marketing bods the world over. According to Twitter’s head of agency sales @daranasr: “When people talk about planning for the moment and real-time marketing they get really scared that they have to be tweeting every second of every day, but there are things you can plan months in advance based on what you are doing.

Source: Adage

So, you plan for moments where the attention of a large part of the country is focused on one event. You come up with different scenarios. You assemble a team of creatives, copywriters, PRs. Most importantly, you get someone with the authority to give the green light on whatever reactive idea your team comes up with. How else are you going to capitalise on that one moment with a genius bit of content before your competitors do?

Fair enough. But I think this quest to create that perfect piece of viral content is a bit like playing the lottery. You’re likely to play your whole life and never get lucky.

Meanwhile, thousands of opportunities go missing because we’re so focused on getting that one big hit. I think the focus should be on individual people, interactions and everyday conversations that are taking place all the time. Listen to what people are saying to and about you, delight them with genuine messages of support: give them a retweet, comment on their blog, pin their Instagram image or like their Facebook post. Show them you’re listening and reward them for the time (and money!) they’ve spent on you. It takes a second to interact, but for anyone who’s ever been tweeted by a celeb account will know what an exciting feeling it is.

Social Wimbledon: Nadal out in the first, Federer out before a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time in a decade, Sharapova dispatched by the 131 seed. Twitter is already in overdrive with more tweets during the Nadal/Darcis match (7,000 tweets per min) than during last year’s final. There’s also a great little social insights page on the Social Wimbledon page, providing visitors with some interesting insight into what people are talking about.

Also, I love that they’re tapping into the great British culture and Wimbledon tradition of queuing by actively promoting the #TheQueue hashtag. After all, isn’t it always more fun to share the pain of waiting with randoms on Twitter?

Oh, and while we’re on Wimbledon: Here are some photos of players in action where their tennis racket has been replaced with something else entirely (possibly NSFW).

Political lunch: George Osborne’s Tweeted a photo of himself this week showing him chowing down on a posh Byron burger. He was predictably mocked for devouring his £7 burger whilst preparing a budget speech. The Daily Mail has a blow-by-blow account of proceedings, here’s the gist of this excellent exchange that followed.

Eric Pickles decided he’d join in the fun and posted a photo in an identical pose – deciding to swap out the offensively expensive burger for a more healthy salad.

Again, Twitter wasn’t pleased and people were soon posting photoshopped photos of Pickles eating everything from a bucket of KFC to a stuffed pig’s head – the latter coming from Jeremy Vine, ensuring that this went far and wide.

For now though, it looks like Osbourne has had the last laugh:

4G tractor: A great stunt from mobile phone operator EE who have equipped an eco-friendly tractor with 4G technology to create a WiFi hotspot for those attending Glastonbury. Slight catch: you have to be within 10 metres of the danged thing.

Source: EE

Photography meets Google Glass: What happens when photojournalist @koci takes Google Glass to the streets? You get possibly the first real reason why wearing these things and looking like a complete tool might actually be worth it. Street photography. Check out Koci_Glass on Instagram for what you can do with the 5mp camera and what I assume is a healthy dose of photo editing on Google+ and Diptic (HT @frischkopp).

“First day on the streets with Google Glass. #throughglass blown away by the sharpness and clarity for only 5MP. The lens is a little to wide for my street style, but I understand why it’s so wide. Not a single person noticed, that I could tell, that’s probably because we don’t look each other in the eyes normally. More to come.”

Vine vs. Instagram video: according to Vine vs Instagram, Vine is ever so slightly ahead of Instagram video (HT @Adverplanner). Read more about how Vine and Instagram users have very different missons and cultures and why it’s all about #TeamVine in the Atlantic.

Twitter are also actively promoting clever Vine’s from advertising agencies – something that I am sure will lead to agencies producing better Vines. The ‘how to’ clips from Lowe’s are particularly brilliant (HT @tonyw).

Video of the week: Did he know or was he really caught by surprise? Whichever way you look at it, Gus Poyet’s live sacking during half-time of the Uruguay vs. Tahiti match in the Confed Cup is brilliant TV. Me? I think he knew. The interview is just too good, he comes across perfectly as the victim and has clearly received some excellent media training. Also, 15 minutes before Gus supposedly found out on air, his son Diego tweeted that there wouldn’t be any more trips to the Amex (Brighton’s stadium). That tweet has since been deleted by @diegopoyet7, further fueling my suspicions.

And finally: People running for trains in slow motion.

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