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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.

Apple goes colour/biometric, Twitter IPO/future, Phoneblok and this week’s bits and bytes

#JSFishFinger: We have a winner. The honour and a £25 Sainsbury’s voucher for being @SainsburysPR‘s favourite Fish Finger Sandwich was awarded to @DomSoar for his epic fish and chips with homemade mushy peas on thick buttered white bread with tomato and Tartare sauce. We were impressed with Dom’s successful work in bringing together two classic dishes in a most precise fashion. Tasty.

Colourful plastic cases and fingerprint ID: The new Apple phones are here. Charles Arthur reckons that the 5c will be popular, even if it’s not as cheap as many had hoped. The 5s however is the model that the Apple fan boys will be most interested in. A faster processor, a new camera alongside some new photography functions such as ‘burst mode’ and ‘slow motion video’ will appeal to the Instragramers and Viners out there.

The reaction to the new iPhones on social was rather negative as WeAreSocial were quick to point out.  Mentions of the 5c were mostly negative, with 45% of conversations criticising its design and 36% questioning its price. The 5s in turn was mentioned 66% less than its predecessor the iPhone 5 a year go. The Poke has taken a less scientific way of looking at the social response – they’ve just picked some of the funniest Tweets.

The biggest reaction to the new colourful range of iPhone 5c however went to Nokia, who, while Apple’s event was still running, tweeted an image of their range of colourful Lumia handsets and thanked Apple for paying them such a huge compliment by copying their idea.

Apple’s share also took a hit as investors were unimpressed with Apple’s pricing strategy and the lack of a distribution deal in China.

One feature with the new 5s that does terrify me a little though is ‘Touch ID’, the fingerprint passcode function, where you can teach your new phone up to five fingerprints that will then unlock the phone and even work as a password for purchasing music through iTunes. Apple was quick to confirm that fingerprint data is not stored on any servers and that they will only ever remain on the phone. However, with a phone inherently connected through mobile networks or wifi, I’d think it only a matter of time hackers are stealing your biometric data along with your phone number and any other data stored on your phone.

Also, if your password is compromised – you can change it. But what happens when your fingerprint is compromised? You can’t change that so easily. Boing Boing looks at this paradox of using biometric data for authentication and why it may not be as safe as we like to think it is.

And what the hell does the S and the C stand for anyway? Speed and colour? Or Same and Cheap?

Anyway – what I’m really excited about is iOS 7, the new operating system that launches next week!

Twitter IPO and new features for verified accounts: Twitter has also been busy this week, announcing their long-awaited IPO with a tweet – how else?

Secondary sales of Twitter stock have valued the company at upwards of about $10 billion (that’s 10 Instagrams, fyi), so one thing that is certain is that it will create much excitement over the next few months and a number of millionaires when it finally happens.

That tweet came almost immediately after the IPO tweet, as Twitter moved to announce a new feature for verified accounts (the ones with the blue tick). The new feature will allow the Justin Biebers of the world to filter their interactions: they can chose to see all their @mentions, just the ones from other verified accounts, or those that Twitter deems relevant. The move is meant to encourage Twitter’s most popular users to stay active on the platform – although they might end up just speaking to each other rather than their fans (which in Bieber’s case would be fine by me).

Where will it all go? Well, The New Yorker looks at what Twitter could look like in the future:

  • Twitter will continue its transition from tech to media company
  • What’s coming next is a more graphically intense platform that is led by mobile
  • They will likely match the new iOS 7 operating system with a cleaner look – for example, the menu buttons for home, connect, discover and your profile will disappear in favour of an UI that ancourages users to swipe left and right

Phoneblok: As we all know though, a phone really only lasts a couple of years before it breaks or becomes obsolete. @davehakkens argues that even though it’s often just one part that fails, we throw the whole thing away since it’s nigh on impossible to repair or upgrade. Just thinking of my visits to the Apple Store and I realise that I’ve never actually walked out of there with a repaired or upgraded phone. I’ve always walked out with a brand new handset.

Hakkens has come up with the brilliant concept of the Phoneblok – a fully customisable phone that is made up of little blocks that all fit together – almost like Lego. A quite brilliant idea, the idea is in a conceptual stage at the moment, but going by the support it is getting, I think this might become reality sooner rather than later.

On the Internet, everyone has a friend: A great piece in The Atlantic by @emmaogreen about how the Internet isn’t a place where everyone shouts at each other. Rather, it’s a collection of lots of small places where people are chatting among themselves about topics that they are interested in.

“In other words, anyone can find other people who share her interests, no matter how obscure those interests are. These communities might provide entertainment, but they also provide a place for groups to coordinate and rally offline action. This is especially important because of the low cost of entry – people no longer have to have a printing press and/or a powerful company on their side to find allies and make their voices heard in a public sphere.”

Moving on nicely from what people talk about on the Internet to some research from Ipsos about why people share things on social media. Quite simply, to share interesting (61%), important (43%) and funny things (43%).

Instagram catching up with Twitter: The Hipster’s favourite photo sharing platform has just cracked the 150 million active users mark, bringing it ever closer to the 200 million active Twitter users. What better way to celebrate this milestone that to follow Sainsbury’s on Instagram?

Videos of the week: Guinness have come up with a rather clever way of showing the true meaning of friendship and loyalty – and what it means to share a pint with friends

Extra shows us the cheesiest gum commercial ever

And an ode to Lidl (via @Treebd)

And finally: Happy 15th birthday Google. Here are 15 things about Google you probably didn’t know.

Commander Hadfield rocks, Capcom’s Internet of you and this week’s bits and bytes

7 future comms trends: Last week @drewb spoke at CIPR Wild Wild Web about the seven future web trends that brands should know about – all with a comms slant.

AP social media guidelines: The Associated Press posted an update to their social media guidelines, looking to balance the need for speed in reporting, warning journalists to avoid spreading unconfirmed rumors through tweets and posts.

Google’s still got it: Google’s 6th annual developer conference Google I/O is happening right now in San Francisco. The main event of this 3-day-developer-marathon though was Google’s 3.5 hour keynote where they announced a whole host of new features, updates and even some new hardware. Nothing major, rather an interesting mix of new features as well as leveraging and connecting existing products in Google’s massive portfolio. My faves:

  • Google+ saw a redesign adding a new chat that syncs across all platforms and a new focus on image manipulation called ‘Image Awesome‘. No, really. Awesome. The new in-built photo gallery enhances, categorises, styles and retouches your photos. Oh, and it does this automatically.
  • Spotify, Rdio and other music streaming services will have taken note of the terribly named Google Play Music All Access. The service will cost $9.99 a month but doesn’t have an ad-supported version (yet).
  • Google Search will soon receive a makeover in terms of input: you’ll be able to just tell Google in Chrome to search for something by saying “OK, Google“. No keystrokes or clicks required. The walls are growing ears.
  • My favourite new Google feature though is the combination of Google Wallet and Gmail, allowing you to send and receive actual money to people as an email attachment. So simple, so useful.

There’s always money in the banana stand: Netflix are using the infamous banana stand from ‘Arrested Development’ to generate even more buzz around the show’s highly-anticipated return to the online streaming service on 26 May. It’s already made it to Tower Bridge and Leicester square in London!

Huggies’ Tweetpee app: Not sure if this falls into the category of ‘WTAF’ or ‘pure genius’, but Ogilvy Brazil has come up with a sensor/app combo that tells parents when their babies need a diaper change. The sensor attaches to the baby’s diaper and tweets the parent when moisture levels become too high. But, before you just leave your baby pee, Kimberly-Clark confirmed in a statement that the clip-on humidity sensor is intended merely as a concept device and will not be made available for purchase. Back to manually checking those humidity levels.

The history of Typography: Ever wonder what the hell is the difference between serif and sans serif? Why Italics were invented? No? Well, to be honest, neither did I. Still, this animated short provides a great summary of the history of typography from its invention by Gutenberg through the horror that is Comic Sans, to today’s proliferation of different typefaces in word processing software (HT @willio).

BBM on iPhone? In a move that (to me) smacks of desperation, Blackberry have announced plans to make Blackberry Messenger available on iPhone – thereby removing the last reason for actually buying a Blackberry in the first place.

The Internet of things: The idea of a future where your fridge will order another pint of milk before you run out isn’t new. In fact, Wired Magazine’s @billwasik believes the programmable world is already here, writing in his excellent essay that soon we’ll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, even save our lives.

Remember me: Take the ‘Internet of things’ idea a giant leap further into the future and you land smack bang in the world of Capcom’s new sci-fi action/adventure game ‘Remember me‘. Rather than connecting inanimate objects through the web, this futuristic dystopia (think Bladerunner) has society connecting people’s memories, sharing them instantly via the web. The internet of you, as it were.

Source: The Art of the Game

 

To promote the game’s central idea, Capcom partnered with Youtube videographer Devin Supertramp (famous for his clips of attractive people swinging through giant arches) and produced a clip with scenes from Devin’s very own archive of work together with a speech of Antoine Cartier-Wells, the founder the corporation in Remember who has developed the technology to connect people’s minds. Trippy, geeky – I know what’s next after Bioshock!

Here is today: An incredibly simple, yet brilliantly effective and beautiful site to tell the story of the creation of the world, the universe, everything – across all time.

Gran’s cooking: Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti recently finished a 18-month trip around the world during which he completed a wonderful photographic project called ‘Delicatessen with love‘. A homage to grans’ cooking from around the world, the photos show portraits of grandmothers and their signature dish. The outcome is a cookery book of detailed recipes that mix love, photography and travel amongst the many exotic ingredients from Peru to the Philippines.

Source: Gabriele Galimberti

Satellite imagery time-lapse: Last week we had hyperlapse videos created using Google Maps imagery and data – this week I discovered the Google Earth Engine. Using satellite imagery from Landsat, the chaps from Google have put together a number of time-lapses spanning almost two decades from 1984 to 2012 showing everything from lakes drying out, palm-shaped islands popping up off the coast of Dubai, to the deforestation of the Amazon. Amazing and terrifying to see the often devastating effect we humans have on nature – and in such a short time.

As you’d expect from the search engine, you can also Google any other location – I found the Singaporean landgrab particularly impressive. Keep your eye on the South-Western and Eastern tips (Changi Airport) of the island.

Singapore timelapse
Source: Google Earth Engine

Video of the week: It had to be the video of International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield singing David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ while orbiting our planet. Hadfield has tweeted throughout his mission, sharing everything from Space Station sounds to stunning images of earth from outer space – but to finish it off with the first ever music video recorded in space? Well played.

Acknowledgement from the original Spaceman

I love that this gloriously ‘tached Astronaut has helped NASA land arguably their biggest PR coup since the moon landing – all by engaging the world through social media with fascinating insight into what life in space is all about, a willingness to have a conversation and a healthy dose of Canadian charm.

Here’s a little ‘best of’ compilation of Hadfield in action.

And finally: Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal (HT @a_little_wine).

Digital dualism and this week’s bits and bytes

Source: mediabistro.com

It’s not often that a study in a journal on ethics gets much attention outside of academia, but if your study finds that PR professionals are in fact guiding the ethical decision making in organisations, that’s a different ballgame. In fact, when properly understood and practiced PR is ethical by its very nature.

Another week, another social media meltdown. After HMV it was Applebees’ turn in the US to go up in flames in front of the eyes of the world, in real time. A long post by RL Stollat on his blog, it goes through the timeline of how it kicked off and all the mistakes that the Applebees social media team were making in excruciating detail.

Who doesn’t love to hate corporate jargon? We all do. And I’d argue we’re all guilty of it at one time or another. Econsultancy has pulled together a list of horrors where, I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I’d be able to refrain from slapping some sense into the speaker. I mean, ‘phablet’? Really? Apparently this is such a problem in PR, that digital agency Twelve Thirty Eight have created the ‘Buzz Saw App’: a web-based tool that strips out all the jargon, providing you with the total number of buzzwords used and a percentage score.

I have nothing but love for Lego. They just get this social thing. Just in case you didn’t think they were awesome enough already, to celebrate their 55th anniversary, they came up with a series of 55 minimalist posters of nursery rhymes, stories and pop culture references — all in glorious Lego! See how many you can get right – this is not just your average, boring ‘like-bait’.

It’s social media philosophy time – hooray!

Two articles by @nathanjurgenson caught my attention this week. The first is about the phenomena of digital dualism, where he argues that the scale of how people see their interactions with digital extends from one extreme – strong augmented reality, where they see as digital and reality being the same thing – to the other – strong digital dualism, where digital and reality are kept strictly separate. Confused? Read his post and take the digital dualism test (personally, I feel most comfortable at the mild augmented reality end).

The second, is a follow-up piece to the digital/reality scale and the consequence of more and more people living in total augmented reality. Instead of watching your favourite band play your favourite song, you’re filming in on your smartphone to be posted later on YouTube. Instead of enjoying the view from the peak of that mountain you’ve just climbed, you’re taking a photo to share with your followers on Instagram. Instead of having a good old chat with a friend, you’re tweeting that great one liner you just came up with. Nathan argues that like photography before it, social media changes the way we perceive the world. Have you ever asked yourself: “Holy crap, this thing I’m doing/I’ve seen/I’ve heard/I’ve read would look great on my [insert social media profile of choice]? He writes: “social media users have become always aware of the present as something we can post online that will be consumed by others”. Or, asked in the form of a question: Are we more concerned by our own social media history, that we forget to enjoy the moment?

The aptly named Creativity Online recently posted a collection of 10 projects from 2012 that expertly combine creativity with technology – while keeping the customer front of mind. The list includes some great examples from retail, my personal favourites would be Red Tomato’s Pizza Fridge Magnet button. The button is given to the only the best customers and programmed with their favourite order – all they need to do is press it and their order is delivered.

Then there’s Hellmann’s Recipe Receipt, where customers in Brazil who bought Hellmann’s mayo at a participating supermarket would get a recipe using Hellmann’s and the other items they’d bought printed on their receipt (HT @cdceniza).

In this week’s videos of the week, the new Mercedes CLK will make you want to make a pact with the devil to get it and all the sexiness that comes with it – but watch the clip before you sign away your soul. Also, my apologies for not already including this last week, but I just had to include it.

Microsoft launched this clever Internet Explorer ad for all the children of the ’90s. The snappy wristband thingies? The 56k dial up modem? The chunky yellow water-proof Walkman? And the pinnacle of awesome, the Supersoaker? I loved them all. Will the clip make me switch to Internet Explorer and turn my back on Chrome? Who knows…

And finally: the best think you’ll read this week (besides this email, of course): Simon Rich’s fantastic short story ‘Sell Out’ from the New Yorker (HT @TomParker81). So good, I immediately bought Simon’s book afterwards.

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