Bits and Bytes

Thoughts on digital, running rambles and photos



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


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).

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.

Digital Corporate Affairs – weekly bits and bytes

We start with what for me was the biggest story of the week: Instagram’s terms of service über-fail. Hipsters, cappucino and selfie photographers the world over freaked out on Tuesday, when Instagram allegedly announced it was planning to sell the crappy, filtered, rectangular photos of people’s lunches to faceless corporations the world over.

I admit, I too had one foot on the InstaBashing bandwagon. But I wasn’t the only one. Users deleted their accounts, articles about how to remove all your photos from Instagram were popping up everywhere (mainly linking to the rather useful and the Guardian made the point that: “Instagram makes you the product” – but failed to realise that this is true of most other social network/platform/app out there).

So why the InstaRage?

The BBC’s technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, put his finger on the main issue: “Real story on Instagram is incompetence (again) of Facebook in framing its privacy policies. Don’t think they’ve any plans to sell photos but they should have made that clear in the t&cs.

But I think that the second element is one that Paul Ford started writing about waaay back in 2007, when he talked about the web being a powerful platform for people to voice their discontent for then they had not been informed of changes relating to their lives. Why Wasn’t I Consulted, is the fundamental question of the web. It is the rule from which other rules are derived. Humans have a fundamental need to be consulted, engaged, to exercise their knowledge (and thus power), and no other medium that came before has been able to tap into that as effectively.”

Facebook changes settings, removes features, even redesigns their website without consulting their users. And you can understand them – they simply wouldn’t get anything done. Instagram though are a lot smaller than Facebook. They haven’t reached that point of total domination where – if you’re not on Facebook you basically do not have a social life.

So I think the combination of incomprehensible and confusing legalese and not even making it seem like they care about their users privacy led to Instagram losing even more of that loveable upstart karma they started to lose when they were acquired by Facebook.

In other news this week, The Mail Online cracked the 7 million daily unique browsers mark. comes in at just under 4 million and at just under 3 million. Meanwhile, CIPR looked at the top newspaper Twitter accounts and found that the FT had the most followers, The Telegraph tweeted the most, The Sun received by far the most retweets and The Guardian receives the most replies.

In what Marketing Week called “a shift in social strategy”, Tesco this week launched their first Twitter campaign that encouraged users to pull virtual crackers by tweeting the hashtag #pullacracker. Followers who reply using the hashtag will be sent a unique link to an animation showing a cracker being pulled and revealing their prize.

Jamaican beer Red Stripe teamed up with director Greg Brunkalla and Hirsch & Mann) to transform Best Supermarket on Kingsland High Street into an interactive music box, where products were rigged to create a plethora of instruments – a food can xylophone, jumping box drums and clinking bottle bells to name just a few. The finished clip has been viewed over 350,000 times (make sure you also check out the making of clip).

Buzzfeed have again done a great job of pulling together 5 of the best PR/advertising stunts of the year. The entirely epic Red Bull Stratos features, of course, but the other 4 aren’t to be sniffed at.

In a series of short webisodes (Fresh Meat fans will be amused) the cheeky buggers at Google look at what what bad web practices look like in real life – using the example of supermarkets. The point being: if it is annoying in real life, you can be sure that it is also annoying when shopping online.

The London Fire Brigade might actually want you to tweet about a fire before leaving the building, after it announced that it is looking to set up the world’s first 999 emergency Twitter feed. Given the amount false positives I see every week about fires at Sainsbury’s, I suspect (hope!) that it’ll be a while before this is implemented.

Starbucks are still having a rubbish time: not only was their #SpreadtheCheer Twitter campaign hijacked, the tweets were displayed on a big screen at the Natural History Museum. Ouch.

A different look back at the year: Spotifiy’s Review of the Year, with the top 100 tracks by country. Gotye’s Somebody that I used to know at no.1 in the UK. For shame.

And finally: the entirely NSFW ‘Epic Chef’, a new online cooking show from the deranged geniuses behind Epic Meal Time. This is totally and utterly mental. One of the secret challenge ingredients is a “mother-expletive-deleted case of bacon”. One of the contestants opens a jar of mayo with a chainsaw. Just watch it.

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