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Je suis Charlie – and yes, I do feel a bit silly writing about the digital bits and bytes this week

No words come close to the horror and sadness the events in France this week. I don’t have an explanation for it. However, I do think that what the team at Charlie Hebdo and other satirists around the world do is important. They hold up a mirror to ourselves and force us to look at us from a different perspective. As horrible as the events this week in France were, it is heartening and inspiring to see how the French and international community reacted to these acts of terrorism.

From the marches of solidarity, to people holding up pens and the now ubiquitous ‘Je suis Charlie’ posters – to the millions of Tweets voicing their support and condemnation.

Here are some that really struck me – because they fought back with humour, wit and determination: Continue reading “Je suis Charlie – and yes, I do feel a bit silly writing about the digital bits and bytes this week”

Instagram’s Hyperlapse and how brands are getting on board

Time-lapse photography has been around for a long time. It’s always been a very manual, time consuming process. Timing systems and software have made the process easier and in recent years we’ve seen more an more moving time-lapse shots, where the camera is mobile. To get that to work, you need a rig to steady the camera while it moves. Not cheap and another layer of difficulty.

Instagram have just gone and launched a free iOS app called ‘Hyperlapse‘, making moving time-lapse photography easy and accessible to anybody who can hold an iPhone. You don’t even need a tripod to hold your phone steady, the app does this for you.  Continue reading “Instagram’s Hyperlapse and how brands are getting on board”

The Miracle Machine, Play to Cure cancer, unorthodox uses of Instagram and this week’s bits and bytes

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.

Continue reading “The Miracle Machine, Play to Cure cancer, unorthodox uses of Instagram and this week’s bits and bytes”

Chipotle’s ‘Farmed and Dangerous’, Facebook Paper, Google Lego and this week’s bits and bytes

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).

Farmed and Dangerous

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!?

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.

https://vimeo.com/85421325

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)

Videos of the week

The trailer for an inspiring film by Green Lions called Project Wild Thing. The film follows filmmaker and father David Bond as he goes up against the marketing departments of Apple, Disney and Mattel to convince children that nature is so much better than iPads, TV and plastic toys (Disclaimer: @Green_Lions is the production company that, together with @SAS_Creative, have helped us create Sainsbury’s Little Stories, Big Difference films).

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).

Super Bowl XLVIII is this Sunday, which means we have a good couple of hours worth of insanely expensive, over the top ads interrupted by footage of strangely padded, HUGE dudes crashing into each other as they chase an egg around a patch of grass for a few seconds at a time to look forward to (not even kidding: an average NFL has more than 100 commercials and just 11 minutes of play). Anyway. Here is Bud Light’s insanely expensive and over the top Super Bowl effort.

And finallyThe ticket barrier on the London Underground that sings along to Blur (HT @VictoriaDove for sharing this and to @RitchAmes for creating this masterpiece)

A quick look back at 2013, Gattaca is coming, Twitter vs Instagram and this week’s bits and bytes

Merry Christmas, happy New Year, bring on 2014.

But first, a very quick look back at the best of 2013 in – what else – a list:

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.

Videos of the year: The Year on Twitter

And the YouTube Rewind: What does 2013 Say?

And finally: Training for the London Marathon at the moment, following other runners on Instagram, Twitter and Strava, I came across Trail Porn. Totally safe for work.

THAT selfie, tech shabbats, private photo messaging and this week’s bits and bytes

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?

Esquire online deputy editor Sam Parker probably summed it up best:

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.

So.

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QHd-_qncEU

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.

Little Saino’s Stories, BA looks up, an ode to the selfie and this week’s bits and bytes

Little Stories, Big Difference: Often it’s little things that make a big difference. At Saino’s, those little things are often what customers don’t see, so we thought the best people to tell these stories would be our colleagues. Together with our Internal Comms and product teams, we worked with @SAS_Creative and @Green_Lions to create over twenty microfilms: all speaking to the value of values and all featuring our own colleagues. The first ten of these films are live now on our corporate site.

From reducing packaging, to homing bees, and tracing the origin of our bread – I really do think that these films go a long way in bringing our values and sustainability commitments to life in a customer friendly and playful way.

Meerkat moment: At this week’s Marketing huddle, @PoppyShute talked about the Coca Cola ‘Small Worlds Machine’ campaign. Poppy was kind enough to write a quick summary of Coke’s campaign:

This award winning online video campaign communicated the optimistic and feel-good message that what unites us is stronger than what sets us apart, and the result was an incredibly touching video that went viral on You Tube, with 2.4 million views to date. In March this year, Coca Cola set out to connect the people of India and Pakistan – communities only several hundred miles apart, but separated by decades of political tension and mutual hostility. Using state of the art, touch screen vending machines that acted as ‘live communication portals’ in Lahore (Pakistan) and New Delhi (India), they invited consumers to put their differences aside, complete an interactive task togehter, and share a simple moment of connection over a coke.

This is a great demonstration of a company using new technology to great effect, being locally relevant, and building brand values much bigger than just their product. Brace yourself to feel a bit teary.

#LookUp: A digital screen, live flight information and a wee clip of a nipper pointing up at the sky. Three rather simple elements that @British_Airways have brilliantly combined to deliver ever-changing billboards under the flight paths around Heathrow Airport. Such a powerful idea – after all, who hasn’t sat there looking at planes flying overhead and asked themselves the question: “I wonder where they’re going” (HT @G3Bowden).

Word of the year: “Selfie” has been named as word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. The official definition:

A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website: occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn’t necessary

The self-portrait has always been a part of art, Van Gogh created many self-portraits in the 1800s (he loved that straw hat) and when photography was invented, the obligatory mirror photo wasn’t too far behind (if Kubrick does it, it’s gotta be OK). Fast forward to today, and you’ve got Jon Snow Vining about the news

I’m sure that anybody with a camera has taken a self-portrait. Either with a front facing camera on a smartphone or the classic out-stretched-arm-click-and-hope snapshot. The Telegraph’s claim that ‘no man should ever be caught taking a selfie‘ is utterly daft and ignores years of art history.

Gratuitous use of one of my self-portraits in conjunction with some of the greats. I have no shame.

Perhaps it’s to do with the word ‘self-portrait’ bringing with it a certain level of artistic expectation. A selfie on the other hand feels more of the moment, more fleeting. The Oxford dictionary notes in its definition that a selfie is typically taken with a phone or webcam – by that logic, a photo taken with a proper camera is a ‘self-portrait’, not a selfie. Phew).

I suspect however that the problem with selfies is not so much their existence, but more about that most horrible of poses, the “duck-face” and those people that keep posting a new profile photo to Facebook every five minutes.

But then there’s a new horror on the horizon: The Sparrow Face.

A couple of guys a trend doesn’t make: Stalking the rich is a simple hobby nowadays with social media platforms allowing you instant access to celebs and their lives. The Mail has picked up on a “trend” where rich Arab who accessorise their obligatory super cars, powerboats and mansions with lions and cheetahs – photos of which are then posted to Instagram. Now, the images are no less bonkers and animal rights activists are bound to be up in arms about this, but what I love about this story is that The Mail shows a whole page of photos from two of these rich Arabs (HT @HelenRI).

http://instagram.com/p/cbTVRzgFwp/

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Simba ♥ ♥ #lion

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Clever Hobbitses: Those chaps at Google have put out another one of their Google Experiments – a must see for any Tolkien and The Hobbit fans out there. An interactive map of Middle Earth, featuring characters and locations from the upcoming ‘The Desolation of Smaug. A taste in the video below (epic soundtrack included) and this way to Middle Earth (seems to work fine on Safari too).

Beware of who you follow: The Register gleefully pointed out this week that David Cameron’s Twitter account @Number10gov was following a high-class escort agency on the social network. Suspect that the social media manager who runs the Twitter channel received a bit of a bollocking (HT @a_little_wine).

Twitter motors on: They’ve launched a considerable revamp of their mobile app. Interestingly though, they seem to roll out slightly different versions to different groups of users, test which ones work best and then go with the most popular option. Techcrunch has some more on this agile, highly iterative and data-focused platform roll-out strategy.

Twitter this week also rolled out their Alerts feature to the UK. Rachel from @AllThingsIC has a brilliant round-up of what you need to know.

Videos of the week: My favourite film from a series of three that tell the story of Sainsbury’s relationships with some of their suppliers. The Cow Whisperer is about how our Dairy Development Group works with over 300 British dairy farmers to help them look after their cows and secure a long future for their British Farms.

What do you get when you cover The Beastie Boys’ ‘Girls’, construct a colossal machine out of girls’ toys and film it all in the style of ‘OK Go’s ‘Needing/Getting’. Over 6 million views on YouTube in just a few days for an ad by toy company GoldieBlox and perhaps a generation of girls that will grow up to be engineers.

And finally: Histagrams

Internal brand ambassadors, gamification at work, the power of Google Maps and this week’s bits and bytes

Halloween is coming: They’re carving some pumpkins in the food centre, fancy coming along and making a Vine? Ummm… Yes! Off I went this morning to Sainsbury’s ground level food centre (yes, I love my job) and watched @BethanyJStone carve this gruesome scene of a Ghost Pumpkin eating a wee Munchkin Pumpkin.

We thought we’d have a bit of fun and encourage our followers on @SainsburysPR to tweet us a video, photo or Vine, showing us how they carve your pumpkin. Our favourite entry will walk away with a £50 Sainsbury’s voucher.

The first entries have come in already, and we’re saving them all in a spooky little Storify.

Socialise your people: A wonderful post by @anitaloomba about one of the most overlooked and underused resource in the corporate social media space: the people that work for your company. Why don’t companies empower their people to use social media for their jobs? Why block people from accessing social networks or blogs from work?

The answers take many forms: Everyone will just waste time on Facebook. They’ll give away company secrets. How can we control the message? Make sure that what’s being said is in line with company policy? But we have to protect our network’s bandwidth – what if everyone is just streaming clips from YouTube? Viruses. Hacking. Where’s my tin foil hat!

In the end they boil down to the fear of losing control. Losing control over people and over what they say.

Newsflash.

That control is gone. It started crumbling with the advent of the smartphone and continues to fall apart as people become more comfortable bringing digital into their lives because it helps them plan their lives, communicate with the people they care about – and wait for it – work more efficiently and collaboratively.

Three massively important things that you have to keep in mind when going social: training, encourage sharing, and lead by example.

Games are everywhere: While we’re on digital/social trends in the HR space, have a gander at an interview with Adam Penenberg – author of ‘Play at work: How Games inspire breakthrough thinking’ – about gamification at work and how some Fortune 500 companies are using games to engage employees.

What makes games so powerful?

“A good game gives us meaningful accomplishment, clear achievement that we don’t necessarily get from real life. In a game, you’ve beaten level four, the boss monster is dead, you have a badge, and now you have a super laser sword. Real life isn’t like that, right?”

Giving up on social ROI: An interesting story on Business Insider this week touting the death (how original) of social media ROI. Usually one of those that I ignore as click bait, but this one was shared by my friend @kaifischer who tends to not share (too much) rubbish.

The article is about a new report by BI Intelligence which shows that marketers are moving away from expressing the return on investment in social less in monetary terms and favouring metrics that speak to audience building, brand awareness, and customer relations: reach, engagement and sentiment.

I wish I was there: Buzzfeed picked posted a story about an Instagram feed powered entirely by photos taken from Google Maps. Sounds pretty mundane, but not through the eyes of graphic design student @mmeghan who scours the world for beautiful places on Google Maps.

There aren’t many places that the Google Maps cameras haven’t been…

In what essentially is a simple process, Meghan drops the wee yellow man on a location that’s been photographed, takes a screen shot, transfers the image to her phone, and uploads it to the I wish I was there Instagram, using one of the many filters.

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Interstate 10, Arizona, USA

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Meghan’s eye for photography, composition and design clearly play a factor in her eclectic mix of images.

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Antarctica

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Any airlines or travel companies looking to hire a social media manager out there listening?

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206 Rodovia MA-026, Codó, Maranhão, Brazil

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Fight the Price: Hats off to the chaps at Co-op Electricals, who’ve come up with what I thought is an interesting twist on that old classic, a Twitter Retweet competition. Rather than just have people retweet a message to spread a message, the Co-op are allowing the number of retweets to push down the price of selected home electricals.

Twitter users are encourage to tweet something like: I’m driving down the cost of a Hotpoint Dishwasher with @thecooperative Electrical. Visit http://www.fighttheprice.co.uk to help #FightThePrice

fight the priceAs of this morning, I was tracking about 1,100 mentions of the #FightThePrice hashtag since it went live in September. From the three spikes, it looks like they’ve had three campaigns, all running for about a week – at which time they release a discount code that customers can then input on the ecommerce website and purchase the product.

FF Mark: One for typeface/design/Parallax scrolling aficionados. You’ll want a trackpad for this rather than a scroll-wheel.

Videos of the week: Last year Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space and hurtled towards the earth – breaking the sound barrier on the way. The world watched as the event was broadcast live on YouTube. Relive those bonkers 10 minutes from the perspective of Baumgartner in this epic point-of-view video just released by Red Bull.

For more than a quarter century, Saroo Brierley searched for his family before finding his way back home with the help of Google Earth.

A spooky bit of baking magic from Sainsbury’s with this how-to video for a spooky Halloween pumpkin cake. If you think you’re up to the challenge, you can find the full list of ingredients and instructions on the Live Well for Less site.

And finally: Fullscreen Mario (only works on Google Chrome)

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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