Bits and Bytes

Thoughts on digital, running rambles and photos



The Apple Watch helps you take some pretty epic selfies

Feeling good this morning, so I decided to go for a longer run than planned.

Here’s the run on Strava – it also gave me the chance to play around with the camera remote app on my new Apple Watch.

Continue reading “The Apple Watch helps you take some pretty epic selfies”

Teens on social, the myth of the digital native, how we shop and this week’s bits and bytes

Facebook had a mixed week: While it beat analysts expectations by reporting $2 billion in revenue, the news that led coverage was the fact that young teens are using the site less. The following slide from The Huffington Post makes for worrying reading for Facebook. The amount of teens rating the social network as important has dropped from 42% to 23% – but not to worry too much: Instagram is up from 12% to 23%. Also, it’d really be interesting to know what that ‘Other’ category is made up of.

Mind you – if the Giraffe profile pic game is so popular on Facebook that it merits an article in the Telegraph, I’m not surprised teens aren’t too impressed anymore (HT @a_little_wine).

I jest – but while Instagram is growing in importance for teens, it still isn’t as important as Facebook. Perhaps then, there are different forces at play here?

Generation Analog and the Myth of the Digital Native: An fascinating article on Mobile Youth takes an ethnographic look at human interaction, arguing that an online interaction will never be able to pass on as much unspoken or unwritten information as a face-to-face interaction.

“Offline is the moment of truth. When it comes to the jugular issues of trust and emotion, you can’t cheat the offline world.”

The piece goes on to talk about how our mobiles are the perfect link between our online and offline lives – perhaps an explanation of why platforms such as Instagram, Vine or Snapseed are growing in importance. They provide a quick, simple and always on method of capturing our experiences with friends.

“Mobile phones are a proxy, a surrogate for our times; mobile phones are the tools that can help maintain but not improve our social networks. What youth really want from technology is emotion and connectivity to support the offline world.”

Or, to put that differently:

“Take offline out of the equation and all that online stuff becomes meaningless.”

A top read that I do encourage you to spend some time on!

What’s Google+ up to then? Well, according to this recent blog post it looks like they’re no longer going after the social networking market. Instead, the play seems to be one of media management and enhancement with some nifty new image editing tools.

They’ve integrated the excellent Snapseed mobile platform, which in turn has just added an excellent HDR photo filter that will bring much more depth to your shots and the ‘Auto Awesome’ features look like they will allow you to pull of very impressive photo manipulations in just a few clicks.

For example – going from this…

… to this – all on Google+

Twitter overloads on images: Twitter too, has updated their platform and mobile apps in an attempt to make it more image (read: marketer) friendly – providing you use Twitter’s image platform. Flickr doesn’t seem to display automatically nor does Instagram (but that’s no surprise) – it’s supposed to pull in Vines automatically, but I haven’t seen any yet. What it means: more space in feeds to get your message across (after all, an image is worth a little more than seven Tweets), but probably also more time waiting for images to load, likely for images they don’t care about.

Also new with the update are permanent shortcuts to reply, retweet, fave and to the Twitter menu – giving the feed and even more cluttered look. And on the mobile app, you do end up seeing less content on the screen, which is annoying.

How We Shop, Live and Look: According to research commissioned by John Lewis, Brits shop all day long via the web and what they buy is increasingly influenced by news and entertainment events they see on screen. Some interesting facts that caught my eye:

  • Sales of food mixers jumped 62% during the Great British Bake Off
  • Online searches for trainers spiked during Andy Murray’s triumphant run at Wimbledon
  • Prime-time for online shopping is in the evening, 5-11pm
  • Board games are set to be a hit this Christmas, with sales already up 17% on last year

Think you’ve got your finger on the pulse? Try The Telegraph’s quiz based on John Lewis research (also: kudos to the PR bods at John Lewis for wall-to-wall coverage this week on this story).

Videos of the week: A gory clip by – oh, you know what, I won’t say – featuring a lot guts, blood, a healthy dose of eyeballs. Perfectly timed to launch on Halloween (HT @CharlieJHSmith.

Starbucks’ Tweet-a-coffee let’s you buy a friend on Twitter a coffee.

Want to live in Berlin for free for a year? No worries. All Lufthansa needs you to do is change your name to Klaus-Heidi (the Berliner accent in the clip is atrocious, but it’s a clever campaign idea).

And finallyTim Minchin’s nine brilliant life lessons.

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.

Sightjogging in Philly

A few photos from my ‘sight jogging’ loop through Philly yesterday, taking in the Schuylkill River Trail, Museum of Art, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Logan Circle, Love Park, City Hall, and Independence National Historical Park.

Continue reading “Sightjogging in Philly”

The Shard

A quick snapshot of the Shard towering over London while waiting for the 521 bus. Post editing done entirely on Snapseed.

Source: Flickr

9 miles on a sunny Sunday morning

7°C and sunny, with a few scattered clouds. 9 miles, 1h20m11s, 8m54s/mile – via Strava

Continue reading “9 miles on a sunny Sunday morning”

An absolutely freezing night at the Emirates to watch the FA Cup third round replay between Arsenal and Swansea. Even though the stadium was only 3/4 full, the atmosphere was excellent. The fans were cheering on the Gunners, pushing them, willing them forward. When, after 86 minutes of frustratio (mainly at some profligate finishing from Walcott), Giroud finally managed to set up Wilshere for a cracking volley to win it and put us through to the next round.
Panorama taken with iPhone 5 and run through Snapseed for extra oomph.

#8BitLane and a 9-mile-run along the Thames

Entirely by accident, I came across the 8 Bit Lane that Disney have set up at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in London to promote their new flick “Wreck-it Ralph” via good old Twitter. And as I’d planned to head out on one of my favourite runs in London – Tower Bridge to home – I thought I’d combine the two.

Continue reading “#8BitLane and a 9-mile-run along the Thames”

A lovely walk along the Thames with my brother for our Christmas lunch at the Old Ship W6.

Taken with iPhone5 and pimped ever so slightly with Snapseed (black & white, drama filter).

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