Bits and Bytes

Thoughts on digital, running rambles and photos



#SochiProblems, Facebook looks back at 10 years and this week’s bits and bytes

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.

The Chive has pulled together a more comprehensive summary of the #SochiProblems.

And yes, you can also get your t-shirt

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.

My favourite has to be the Breaking Bad version (warning: spoilers)

Bits and bytes

Videos of the week

GoPro released their beyond epic film of Felix Baumgartner Spacejump from 2012. Watch this on full screen HD if you know what’s good for you.

Jerry Seinfeld’s reunion with George was TiVo’s most re-watched Super Bowl commercial – and it’s actually quite funny.

And finally‘Tainted Love’ played by floppy disk drives.

Market like it’s 2013, social ‘blunders’, Facebook competitions and this week’s bits and bytes

Market like it’s 2013: Motormouth, wine merchant and social media superstar @garyvee spoke at the Elevate conference in New York City about how marketers are behaving in 2013 as if it were still 2004. It’s a thought provoking, 20-minute talk that really hammers home the point that just blasting out messages to your subscribers, Adwords, MPUs and direct mail campaigns are about a decade out of date because they no longer earn the attention of people in today’s saturated media landscape.

This really shouldn’t be new to anyone in marketing, PR or social media, but it’ll serve as a good reminder because I am sure we all still tend to err on the broadcast side of how we use social, rather than spending the energy to really listen to what people are saying.

Some bits that stuck with me:

  • Don’t treat social media like another push marketing channel – it is a two-way conversation. Treating it like another broadcast channel doesn’t bring any value what so ever to the end user
  • Twitter should be more about listening and less about talking. It should be about responding to people, about looking for specific keywords that will allow you to tell your story to someone that is interested in your product or industry and bring value to them
  • Make it your mission to “natively storytell” on social platforms
  • Spend your time figuring out how to tell stories on platforms that you don’t think you’re going to use – keep your ears pricked for what Gary says about how Snapchat could be used as a real-time promotional tool that rewards only your most die hard fans
  • Only if you understand why people are on a social platform, will you be able to understand how to bring value to the user, raise awareness for your brand
Understand why people are on a social media platform

Netflix FTW: While we’re on the topic of paradigm shifts (I know, I said it wasn’t news, but I needed a segway), Kevin Spacey convincingly argues that releasing films in cinemas, on-demand and on DVDs at the same time would take a huge bite out of piracy. Queue many overjoyed Game of Thrones fans (the most pirated TV show on the planet because you can’t get it fast enough) who have had to resort to all sorts of shady methods to get their next fix. And no, I’m not over the red wedding.

Twerk beats F Bombing – special guest post by @A_Little_Wine: It was the MTV Video Music Awards 2013 on Sunday and as usual, it failed to disappoint. Miley Cyrus’ performance with Robin Thicke dominated Twitter overshadowing Lady Gaga’s opening performance of her new single, Katy Perry’s closing rendition of her latest hit, Kanye West’s auto-tuned selfie and even Taylor Swift dropping an F bomb live on camera. Miley’s performance beat even Justin Timberlake’s 15 minute epic montage including a reunion with ‘N Sync! Cyrus performed the infamous Twerk complete with giant gyrating teddies and a rather X-rated performance with man-of-the-moment Mr Thicke. You know it’s shocking when even Rhi Rhi looks a bit embarrassed. The ‘most shared’ reaction to Miley’s twerking however, would be that of the Smith family.

According to Nielsen’s SocialGuide the cringe worthy show generated 18.5 million Tweets on the night alone with the show being tweeted about 28 times more than the second most popular televised show across the globe.

Many tweets don’t (necessarily) make a trend: Cision have looked at a number of Twitter trending topics and come to the conclusion that just because something is trending on Twitter that doesn’t mean that many people are talking about it. A number of examples show that there seem to be some other factors in play, that sometimes topics trend long after the peak in mentions was achieved, or that topics trend with only a few hundred mentions (HT @MindyB_).

Traditional media doesn’t get social media shocker: The Daily Telegraph posted an article titled “Five biggest social media blunders of 2013“. Now, I’ve talked to you about my love of a good listicle, and given my day job, I clicked. Spectacularly, The Daily Telegraph goes on to list six social media ‘blunders’, only one of which (Tesco’s “hit the hay” tweet) can really be considered a ‘blunder’.

The other five ‘blunders’ – including the frickin news hook the entire piece was based on – were not blunders (ie. a stupid or careless mistakes), but rather the result of hackers gaining access to Twitter accounts.

I’m surprised they didn’t include the Syrian Electronic Army hacking the New York Times and Twitter this week. After all, they’re literally making up new meanings of words to suit the way they’re abusing. Oh, wait…

So, what is a social media blunder? Liverpool FC have the answer (HT @tomparker81 and @a_little_wine).

Painful Facebook competitions are coming: In a dramatic u-turn, Facebook have announced that you can now run promotions and competitions right there on your brand page. This means that you no longer need to build a special app that houses the competition (that cry of pain you hear is by app developers going out of business), instead you can ask your fans to simply like or comment on a post to join a competition.

There’s no mention of cost to the page owner in the Facebook promotion guidelines, which I find hard to believe as this simple mechanic will be something that brands will want to get into. I suspect it will lead to many branded competitions popping up in your newsfeed (after all, Facebook treats much liked and much commented content within your social graph as being particularly newsworthy) and – who knows – the unfollowing of brands who post too many inane competitions like this one from Condescending Corporate Brand (yes, I know this isn’t a real competition, but if you’re familiar with their collection of painfully poor posts you just know it isn’t far from the truth).

The thin blue Twitter line: Twitter has also decided to update its service – if you’re using their mobile app, you’ll now see that there’s a blue line that connects tweets in a conversation, displaying them immediately after the other.

The majority of Twitter users seem to be OK with this (going by my feed at least), saying that it helps make sense of Twitter’s confusing conversations. But then there’s those that believe by making conversations easier to follow, Twitter is encouraging people to use the service for something other than its essential function, that is following the news rather than conversations between people that may have concluded hours previously.

Videos of the week: The guys at GoPro posted this great clip from Man City’s pre-season tour of the US. What do we learn? Footballers are all about the garishly coloured shoes, it’s all about angles, Hart was pants even in pre-season (but is rather good at baseball), and in the States, a pre-season friendly between Chelsea and Man City is sold out, so dire is the quality of football there.

Climate Name Change propose a new naming system for extreme storms caused by climate change after the policy makers who deny climate change and obstruct climate policy.

And finally: A triple dose of Internet awesomeness, because I couldn’t pick just one. I present you Dubstep cat, Daily Express Bingo and What Rhymes With Hug Me.

GoPro understands social rewards, POTUS rocks and this week’s bits and bytes

Sainsbury’s: Remember when you could slap Jamie Oliver via Youtube? Well, we’ve come up with our own version of that interactive Youtube clip to accompany our Kitchen Heroes campaign. Check it out to see what you can do with a carton of by Sainsbury’s chopped tomatoes (needs some work in the juggling department though…).

Also, make sure you watch the über-tasty food pornography that is the new by Sainsbury’s ads. Probably the greatest sausage sandwich you’ll ever see.

And yup, another month has passed which makes it time for a look back at our favourite tweets from April. Highlights were the new Gok for Tu collection, the Cake and Bake Show and of course the news that Sainsbury’s is sponsoring the British Athletics Summer Series.

Twitter safety: After high profile Twitter accounts from news organisations were compromised – most recently that of AP which caused a dip in the DOW – Twitter has sent a memo directly to the newsdesks with some tips on how to keep their accounts safe. Key points to remember are to use secure passwords and change them regularly, keep your email secure and keep an eye out for suspicious activity from any apps you may have authorised to have access to your account.

So far, so sensible. But then they go on to say that you should designate one computer to use for Twitter exclusively. So no email or browsing the Web. Bizarre. Here’s hoping this is all just a temporary stop gap before Twitter rolls out two-factor-authentication.

Reward & inspire: A customer that has bought your product and created something beautiful will most likely be a fan of your product. Should they chose to share this beautiful thing they’ve created, all you need to do is share that with your community. Your customer’s creation will serve to inspire other people to do the same or inspire their own ideas.

Much like Lego, the people at GoPro are brilliant at using the things their customers create and share them through their own social media channels. GoPro sells tiny HD cameras that can be mounted on pretty much anything, from tripods/helmets/skis/skateboards, to guitars, dogs and mouthpieces. The videos that they chose to share are some of the most incredible, inspiring, awesome clips you’ll see on the web. Sure, it helps if these videos feature a host of beautiful (often scantily clad) people doing awesome things, gratuitous use of slow motion and time-lapse photography as well as a pounding electro soundtrack, but you get what I mean.

Case in point – a video of a dude solving a Rubik cube. Not interested? How about if it’s three cubes at the same time. Still nothing? OK then. How about a video of a dude solving three Rubik cubes simultaneously WHILE JUGGLING THEM (are you listening @AlexCole71?). Thought so.

Facebook fatigue: There has been much talk about Facebook fatigue and the latest numbers from SocialBakers don’t show any turnaround in fortunes for the big blue social network, especially not in developed markets such as Europe, the US and Australia. In the last six months, Facebook has lost nearly 9m monthly visitors in the US and 2m in the UK. Why is this? The Guardian asked readers why: it’s superficial, boring, gimmicky and there’s too much fighting. An interesting point from a reader: It’s no longer a place where you can keep up with what’s going on with your friends and family – it’s a place where business can farm your information from.

Facebook’s demise seems somewhat exaggerated though. Its first quarter figures show that monthly and daily active users are up to 751 million and 665 million respectively. Even though net income was less than what analysts expected, mobile revenues is what seems to have saved Zuck for now: they’ve doubled this in six months. Still, as Nikhil Kumar notes in his excellent analysis for the Evening Standard notes, there is room for caution.

SMS is dead? Well, perhaps not dead, but definitely green around gills. Turns out that in 2012, more people sent messages using chat apps such as BBM, What’s App, Skype, iMessage than using good old fashioned SMS. A study by Informa found that almost 19 billion instant messages were sent using chat apps in 2012, compared to 17.6 billion SMS texts. All of that of course means a massive whole in revenues for mobile phone carriers. Suppose we can all expect data tariffs to become more expensive!

POTUS standup: President Obama spoke at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner this week. Not only was he funnier than Conan (not hard), his 20 minute routine just shows how charming the man really is and how important it is to count Steven Spielberg as one of your friends. For fans of the US version of House of Cards, please make sure you check out Kevin Spacey and a host of democrats and republicans come together for an excellent “Prom of the Nerds” spoof.

Still on POTUS – the White House this week joined Tumblr and in its first post, outlined exactly what people can expect from the blog with a nifty, hand-drawn pie chart. The administration will tumble quotes from Potus, videos, behind the scenes stuff and updates from Vpotus and Flotus. So far, so good. A sign that Obama’s social media bods are very much plugged into to the Internet Zetigeist comes in the form of a stand on how to pronounce the word “gif”. Rather than go with the soft G as in ‘gist’ (which, mind you, is the way that the inventors of the gif format intended it to be pronounced), the president has decided to go with the hard G as in gift. Let the battle of the geeks begin.

Source: White House

No. 10 Twitter first: Not wanting to be left out, Downing Street plans to use Twitter to give preferred journalists a heads up on announcements before they are made in parliament. I have a feeling we’ll be getting many more The Thick Of It moments as a result.

Can you tell a story in 6 words? Hemingway allegedly penned: For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn. But what about a story in 6 seconds of stop/start footage via Twitter’s Vine? Here are the award winning 6 second vines from the Tribeca film festival.

Anticipatory computing: Imagine you’re talking to a friend about planning your weekend, talking about potential restaurants, destinations and activities. You’re using an iPad app called MindMeld that listens to what the two of you have to say, conducts Internet searches on some of the keywords you use, and displays them in real time. As someone who has been in a long distance relationship and dependent on technology like Skype and FaceTime, I cannot imagine anything worse. But make up your own mind with this video

Videos of the week: every day, more photos are taken with the iPhone than any other camera – a fact that Apple have gone and used as the idea for their new ad (and going by Flickr data, it’s actually true!).

Apple fan boys (why hello there!) and Samsung owners fight all the time on who has made the better tech choice. Have a look at this for a clever bit of advertising.

Budweiser’s ‘Buddy Cups‘ makes toasting friends instant friends on Facebook.

Ecotricity comes up with an excellent clip to promote alternative power sources.

And finally: Ed Balls breaks the Internet.

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