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The World Cup of Memes, Twitter, errr, the USA?

The Cup of Memes

I am recovering from the relentless Brazil v Chile game. A game decided by the woodwork (both times in favour of the hosts), a game that neither team deserved to lose, a game that Spiegel Online reckons was Howard Webb’s application to also referee the final – after all, not many would have the stones to (correctly!) disallow a goal for handball. Also, he’s English.

It’s the Cup of Memes (stolen from the WSJ).

From van Persie’s diving header against Spain, the impenetrable wall of Ochoa, to, of course, Suarez loosing his balance against Italy’s Chiellini and falling on his shoulder. Hurting his teeth. Bless.

The Suarez incident in particular has received the most attention. Partly because it was just so predictable before the first ball was even kicked, but mostly because it provides so much fodder for wordsmiths to sink their teeth in. See what I did there? Yes. Very clever.

Twitter went into pundemonium…

… and finally had a use for a Vine of an Aussie chap imitating a dog attack

But it was brands that really went dental

Then there’s the fabulous Louis Suarez Biting Game by @usvsth3m

suarez biting game

#WorldCup

Twitter has been a key part of the tournament, at least from the perspective of the fans following the games, reacting to goals, incidents and saves.

The chaps at Twitter have kept a close eye on what we’ve been tweeting about during the group phase. Some of the highlights

  • 300 million tweets related to #WorldCup, with the opening game garnering the most Tweets (I suspect that will have been surpassed by last night’s game against Chile)
  • Marcelo’s own goal against Croatia was the most tweeted moment
  • Messi is the most mentioned player
  • The most retweeted Tweet was by @FinallyMario who would have like a kiss on the cheek from the Queen as a thank you to Italy for beating Costa Rica and keeping England’s chances of progressing alive. Italy lost, England went home

USA wins!

To finish off the World Cup round-up, for this week at least, is a look at the love of soccer in the US of A. Sparked by a team that is actually quite good (mostly because they have a German coach and mostly German players) the nation of cheerleaders has finally discovered the beautiful game.

They have the biggest set of travelling fans and after their dramatic win against Ghana in their first game, they coined a catchy new chant: ‘I believe that we will win’. A chant that fans in this pub were giving their all. See if you can spot the moment where Portugal equalises.

Then of course there was much confusion about how a game can end in a draw. Or that you’d advance to the next round after losing. Welcome, finally, to the world’s game, America.

Bits and bytes

  • A collection of the very best 404 pages from across the web. Kinda makes you want to build a broken website
  • There are blogs, Facebook groups and galleries dedicated to images of incorrectly spelt names on Starbucks cups. This exchange between a customer who reckons it’s just Starbucks’ way to get people to post free ads and @Starbucks is an excellent example how matching your counterpart’s sentiment and tone of voice can often lead to social media win
  • Rumour has it that Facebook is building FB@Work – possible competition to Intranets across the corporate Internet that will have in-house IT and Internal Comms teams freaking out over
  • Path doesn’t know it’s dead. Awkward.
  • Gallup reckons consumers don’t give a crap about what brands say on social media. Brands should listen and interact to make them care – two buzzwords and concepts that have been around forever, but seemingly ignored if this research is to be believed

Videos of the week

Remember the viral über-sensation ‘First Kiss‘ from a few months back? A black and white film for fashion company WREN showing strangers kissing for the first time? It spawned a number of parodies – including, this week, a surprisingly tender and lovely version by Max Landis called ‘The Slap’. Initially a parody, Landis also posted a making of clip where he refers to it as an experiment. The slap as a social interaction. Both worth a watch.

I love this mind-bending video for the track Kodama by 20syl.  Minimal electro beeps and bloops that end up in a Dali-esque landscape. Trippy. More on how it was made on Creative Review.

And finally

World Cup players folding their arms because they are cross about things (HT @VictoriaDove).

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 biogs, TV ratings, storms; and this week’s bits and bytes

Quiz time: How many Sainsbury’s basics blurbs can you match up with the product they describe? As you’d expect, Lee, Sainsbury’s basics brand manager, scored a perfect 10/10. I scored a respectable 7/10. More of a by Sainsbury’s shopper, me (HT @G3Bowden).

Not enough?

How about testing your knowledge of Ikea and black metal bands in this brilliant (and genuinely hard) ‘Ikea or Death‘ quiz (HT @a_little_wine).

The future of journalism: Katharine Viner, deputy editor of the Guardian and editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia, gave the AN Smith lecture in Melbourne this week. Her speech about journalism in the age of the open web is an absolute must read. And no, there isn’t a TL;DR version of this one.

Remember Mr Cake? You know, the chap that resigned from his job at the Stansted Border Force via a ‘resignation cake‘ in order to pursue his passion for baking and cake decorating. Well, he did go on to launch his own business and now he’s up for a Smarta 100 award for Best us of Marketing. Go on. You know you want to vote for him.

The Twitter bio – a postmodern art form: The key to Twitter is all about compressing your thought, insight or story into 140 characters. It’s a skill that – much like everything else – you learn through practice. The more you tweet, the better you get. But what many people don’t spend as much time on is their 160 character Twitter biography – along with the profile photo and background, the bit that let’s people know what you’re all about.

The New York Times takes a look at the art of the Twitter bio, from @HillaryClinton “Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…” to @TomHanks‘ “I’m that actor in some of the movies you liked and some you didn’t. Sometimes I’m in pretty good shape, other times I’m not. Hey, you gotta live, you know?” – the article looks at pitfalls and cliches to avoid.

While we’re on short form content, here’s a great slideshare by @GinnyRedish about writing for the small screen. It’s well and good to think about responsive design for websites – but what does that mean for content?

Twitter is not real life (well, TV): An interesting bit of data published by Twitter and Nielsen this week shows that the most popular shows in terms of TV ratings and the amount of Tweets they generated do not correlate at all. as the Wall Street Journal points out, it shows that Twitter’s user base “has a very different makeup than the mass-market TV-viewing audience that marketers spend tens of billions of dollars each year to reach. Twitter’s 49.2 million U.S. users generally skew younger and are disproportionately in cities, for example, according to marketers and media analysts.” The full report is out on Monday.

Social is the new coffee-break: Many brands and companies have moved chunks of their budget from traditional marketing channels to digital and social channels. Nothing new there. At the same time, many corporate networks block access to the same social network. The schizophrenic relationship between a select group of individuals who have access to social and are creating beautiful content and social campaigns and with those who don’t have access from their work computer has always struck me as particularly bizarre. Why put all that effort into building a social media following around your brand if you won’t allow your own people to look at it?

Andrew Keen pulls together 5 reasons not to ban social media in the office. And what do you know – they all make sense!

  • It’s self-defeating – everyone has a smart phone, so they’re doing it anyway
  • Banning something that excels at undermining traditional hierarchies? Yeah, right.
  • It’s today’s version of the water cooler
  • Multitasking actually makes us more creative
  • Social media makes us more productive because it opens up our minds

Bullet Journal: For the past two weeks I’ve been using a note taking system devised by @rydercarroll called ‘Bullet Journal‘. Described as an analogue note taking system for a digital world, I thought the video was really well done and the system works perfectly to capture all those wee actions and events that make up my disjointed and disruptive day where I get pulled from meeting to tweet to discussion to blog post – all in the same hour.

I’ve moved away entirely from Evernote and my iPad and now only use this ‘old school’ system and I love it. There’s something to be said about that great satisfaction of ticking things off a to do list, but also for the elegance of how the Bullet Journal system also allows you to build specific pages for projects or collections, track events on a day to day or monthly basis. And all you need is a notebook.

The Twitterstorm: Hats off to BuzzFeed UK for pulling together their post on the 29 stages of a Twitterstorm – based on the recent kerfuffle around online retailer Price Hound selling a rather ill advised kids fancy dress costume.

From initial discovery, anger, confusion, boycott, petition, satire, trending on Twitter, the media catching up, politicians getting involved, social media expert analysis to the official apology – all in the space of a few hours – the post takes us through (HT @G3Bowden).

Scarlett Johansson Falling Down: A year ago, Scarlett Johansson was photographed falling down while filming in Glasgow for the sci-fic flick Under the Skin. It’s taken the Internet a year, but the resulting photoshop meme is rather worth the wait. Knowyourmeme looks at how it happened (the meme, not the fall).

Videos of the week: How do you promote a remake of the classic horror flick Carrie? By creating a telekinetic coffee shop surprise and scaring the pants off of some unsuspecting customers – all while amassing over 30 million YouTube views in four days.

Downside – the mobile app that will get you talking to your friends again.

And finally: The Penis Beaker that brought Mumsnet to its knees.

Facebook Home, pizza box art and this week’s bits and bytes

It’s that time of the month where I compile some of our favourite tweets of the month. This edition contains a hilarious dose of Comic Relief goodness from our colleagues around the country, featuring everything from a gorilla in a mankini to a life-size T-Rex chomping its way through the South of England.

Facebook Home: Facebook is doing exactly what they said they wouldn’t do, launch a phone. Well kind of. Only not. It’s called Facebook Home and changes your phone into one giant Facebook app (I’m most freaked out by your phone’s lock screen becomes a direct link to your Facebook profile, messages and notifications. Privacy?). Facebook Home will come pre-installed on the ‘HTC First’ or you can convert your existing Android handset into a “Facebook Phone” by downloading the new software on 12 April. Unsurprisingly, the people at Twitter weren’t impressed.

Source: Mashable

Classy Brits: Class was the big story this week (isn’t it always?) with the BBC publishing the The Great British Class Calculator. No longer are there just three classes (upper, middle and lower), we now have seven; ranging from ‘elite’ to ‘precariat’. My favourite though has to be ’emergent service workers’, possibly the best euphemism for ‘hipster’ I have ever heard.

Now that’s one pissed off journalist: There is something poetic about beautifully phrased foul language. The Indie’s Tom Peck has provided a cracker.

Social media investor relations: The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week unveiled new rules that allow companies to to make key announcements via Facebook and Twitter – only if shareholders have been alerted beforehand about which social-media outlet they should turn to (as to how shareholders are alerted, the SEC doesn’t say – suppose I wouldn’t be surprised to see @CompanyNameIR accounts popping up soon).

Blogs more influential than Twitter: An interesting post from The Wall Blog (who I suppose would agree) that blogs drive sales more than other forms of social media. Confirmation comes in the Technocrati 2013 digital influence report, that sees blogs come out ahead of Facebook, Youtube, Google+ and Twitter.

Facebook get’s in line: Great news if you provide customer service through Facebook. The big blue social network is launching in line replies on posts, allowing community managers to respond directly to questions. This will of course also make any type of topical interaction such as live Q&A much easier to manage on Facebook, so customer service and social media managers around the world should welcome this with open arms.

Sketchy customer service: Fast food deliveries that come in a cardboard box provide a great canvas and opportunity for fulfilling the demands of your customers. A splendid gallery of pizza box art at the behest of customers from around the world in this gallery.

Source: takeaway.com

Twitter for business: Twitter launched a page chock full of case studies from companies on how they use the micro-blogging service to meet their business objectives – hoping (I suppose) that you’ll end up using their services and tools and spend more money.

Faking it on Twitter: Faking a tweet isn’t the most difficult thing to do. Take a screenshot of an existing tweet from an account you’d like to spoof, modify it in your image editing software of choice, post it to t’interwebs as ‘check out what so-and-so said’ as a screenshot, adding that they’ve since removed the tweet (t’interwebs loves a cover-up!). However, this requires a basic level of image manipulation skills and a bit of effort – until now, with a new web-based software that allows you to fake tweets in a few clicks. Brian Solis looks at why this is a dangerous situation, one that I imagine Twitter can’t be too happy with!

Video of the week: Arthur C. Clarke completely predicts the Internet. In 1974.

Some of my favourite April Fool’s stories from this past week: with its Guardian Goggles video, the Guardian showed that they not only know exactly who their readers are, but that they also have enough of a sense of humour to poke fun at themselves.Meanwhile, Google went slightly OTT with their pranks – here are just three of them: Youtube announced that after eight years, they were shutting down the site to give the 30,000 strong jury until 2023 to announce the best video ever. Google Maps got a treasure hunt upgrade to find Captain Kidd’s treasure. Finally – a way to plug in your olfactory senses into Google search and find that smell you were always looking for. Or, to put it simply: Smell-o-vision! I’d argue though, that The Metro did the best with their made up April Fool round-up. Very meta.

Workplace etiquette in poster form: a beautifully designed set of posters for today’s office population. My favourite: “Respect headphones as a sign of intentional isolation”.

Mad Men Season 6: The penultimate season starts with a double episode in the US on Sunday, coming to Sky Atlantic in the UK on April 10th. To get in the mood I am rewatching season 5 and enjoying this post on Business Insider about how SCDP’s ads compared with the actual ads that ran in the 1960s. And yes. I am hyperventilating.

And finally: three new memes popping up over the last few weeks that are looking to take on the mantle of ‘the new planking’. First, we have Pottering. The trend looks to have kicked off in Oz and there’s a Pottering Facebook page with some quality efforts. I have to admit though, I’m quite fond of Vadering – something that has already made it into The Sun and The Metro. My favourite though has got to be Hadouken. Anyone with a mispent youth playing ‘Street Fighter’ will know the move and the precise flick of the wrist required to generate that devastating fireball will recognise these poses.

Source: The Tech Journal

The Harlem Shake and this week’s bits and bytes

Sainsbury's Giraffe Bread
Source: Sainsbury’s

What does Sainsbury’s have in common with Apple, Zappos, Trader Joe’s, the Ritz-Carlton and Lexus? According to Business Insider, they’ve all shown examples of big businesses actually getting it right. Some really wonderful stories, all showing that going above and beyond customer expectations will generate a lot of positive sentiment towards a business.

I’ve talked about the growing trend of second screening. 80% of Twitter users in the UK us the service via their mobile – or to put that differently, they tweet from the sofa and while they’re on the move. Twitter recognised this and even published a book on the link between TV and Twitter – how people talk about what is happening on telly while it’s happening. Not a big surprise then that Twitter acquired a social analytics start-up that measures just those two things what’s happening on TV, and what’s happening on Twitter.

The Harlem Shake is the newest Internet meme to take the world by storm. The 1-minute videos have already amassed over 44 million views on YouTube in two weeks. The meme is a combination of a track by Brooklyn-based DJ Baauer that was released in 2012 and the popular dance move from the ‘80s, both called ‘Harlem Shake’. It all seems to have started with a video by DizastaMusic where a group of people wearing bizarre outfits dance to the an extract of the track. Since then, the meme has mutated slightly, with videos now following the pattern of one person dancing while the rest are either going about their business or there’s no one else in shot. Then, once the lyrics kick in, everyone goes into a frenzied dance off. Completely mental but obviously brilliant fun for those taking part – and YouTube. There have been versions from Westpoint Cadet’s, the Norwegian ArmyWestern Uni students and the British Army. My favourite has to be this one from two DJs who incorporate their entire audience.

Cheeky Valentine’s Day advertising from Ikea in Australia: a free baby cot (some assembly required, I’m sure) for babies born on 14 November 2013. All you need to do is show them the coupon and a birth corticated.

Source: Coloribus.com

A great stunt from Nivea in Germany for the launch of their new ‘Stress Protect Deodorant’. Titled ‘The Stress test’, the stunt plays out in real time as an unsuspecting passerby is photographed and their image used to create newspaper splashes and breaking news reports showing that same person as the main target in a nationwide manhunt . It’s an idea that’s been done before in different guises but I think this execution in a German airport, bringing together a host of extras is excellent. You can really see the panic in their eyes increase, especially when the PA system announces in minute detail what they are wearing. And they say Germans don’t have a sense of humour…

Econsultancy provides a good overview of some of the common pitfalls for brands and their social media initiatives. In summary, stay away from campaigns that are only geared to gaining followers, promoting a purchase, offer a lame prize, or only serve to make something simple more difficult.

And finally: Love reading the Guardian but can’t quite come up with an appropriate comment? Try the random Guardian comment generator.

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