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Bits and Bytes

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TFL

Rock solid win for UsVSTh3m, ‘Spineless’ Yahoo! and this week’s bits and bytes

Fast flooding cement: The Victoria Line was suspended this week because, somehow, a control room was flooded with cement. Twitter reacted how it always reacts, with a barrage of quick drying puns, visual gags and other silliness. And as we know, Twitter frickin LOVES a good pun.

@tomparker81 pointed out this beautiful flowchart from @TimeOutLondon on how the engineers were most likely dealing with the situation…

… while @a_little_wine sent me this brilliant response from @JobSiteUK, who not only had the time to think up a pun, but also put up a promoted Tweet for engineering jobs on their platform.

What struck me most about the story though was that it (technically) wasn’t the traditional media that broke the news, but up-and-coming, do-it-for-the-LOLz site @UsVSTh3m (an experiment funded by Trinity Mirror).

UsVSTh3m got their hands on a number of images of the cement-covered control room and (by using their  ‘old school media’ connections?) those photos were then not only used, but also credited on The Telegraph, The Evening Standard, The Metro, HuffPo, Mail Online and The BBC to name a few.

A big win for the experiment, and if you haven’t read @MartinBelam‘s take on the who, why and what behind UsVSTh3m, I recommend you do so immediately as it provides a clever and informative take on how traditional media can adapt to t’Interwebs and why it’s so important that the UsVSTh3m team can “write for the web, use Photoshop like a boss, and code”.

Big win?

Still, you’ll be glad to know that the Victoria Line is working again. The fix? Sugar, bizarrely. And while I’d like to think it was Fairtrade sugar from Sainsbury’s that sorted out the signalling room, I cannot confirm that.

Grow a spine, Yahoo!: Gmail was down for about 20 minutes on Friday, enough time for brands and organisations to jump in with some real-time marketing.

From the cheeky

to the worthy

to the own goal (is this the only time you’d watch an episode of NCIS?)

But then there was Yahoo!, who (I thought) simply tweeted the fact that Gmail was ‘temporarily unavailable’, quoting the Error 500 page. No further judgement or commentary – just a screenshot (although I imagine, behind the scenes, the Yahoo! Mail team was high-fiving and wooping).

The Tweet was quickly deleted and replaced by a confusing, two-tweet apology. It referred to @Yahoo being used by the editorial team to inform about news and events and that the Tweet “reflected bad judgment” (I guess you think twice about dissing your CEO’s ex-employer).

But if you see yourself as a news organisation, should you then not report on the news? There wasn’t any Nelson-esque “HaHa” (albeit implicit), they were simply stating fact. I wonder if they’d have gotten away with the @YahooNews account tweeting it.

As ValleyWag puts it: “Grow a spine, Yahoo!” – a sentiment that many people share, going by the responses to the apology.

Those cheeky chaps at Paddy Power are at it again: After Man Utd lost to Chelsea, the Paddy Power deposited a life-sized wax figure of Sir Alex Ferguson inside a glass box outside Old Trafford. The instructions are simple: “In case of emergency, break glass“. I have a feeling that after the hilariously pathetic penalty shoot-out against equally inept Sunderland this week, the glass might have been shattered. Perhaps by the same distressed fan who was so dismayed by the nightmare at the Theatre of Dreams, he dialled 999, demanding to speak to Ferguson.

Bits and bytes

Videos of the week: “You have elbows and you have knees. So touch them. VERY NICE.” Arnold Schwarzenegger visits Gold’s Gym in a dodgy disguise to support after-school sports. I doubt anybody was fooled as to whom they were talking to, but Ahnuld is just one charming dude.

What if Google was just some dude behind a desk (HT @TillieSeymour).

And two wonderfully cheese public service videos from The White House this week. Making the ‘Big Block of Cheese Day’ a virtual reality. And who better to do the promo than The West Wing’s Josh Lyman and Will Bailey!

And then there’s FLOTUS dunking on Lebron James. Oh yeah.

And finally: Physics paper Rick-Roll.

Another pun-off, TFL travel alert fail, say hello to Vice News and this week’s bits and bytes

Trashtag: Last week fish pun mania gripped the nation. This week, puns are still very much en vogue, even if they have turned trashy, as this exchange about a rogue trash can at a Sainsbury’s Local in London between @sainsburys and @Anthony_Hill. While perhaps not as epic as the previous effort, it’s good to see the various members of our Careline team getting in on the action. Anthony was good enough to save the conversation for posterity on his blog and tweet us the exchange.

Hell hath no fury like a social media geek scorned: Two guaranteed ways to piss me off.

The first: QR codes. Seriously. Just say no.

The second: Randomly include a reference to your social media account but not your handle.

I won’t spend any more time on why QR codes are a waste of time, but shouting about the fact that you’re on social by simply including a wee bird or a blue f? You’ve got to be kidding me.

So, I (along with many other like-minded individuals) were outraged this week when Transport for London put up posters notifying commuters about their travel alerts on Twitter. The poster has 4 wee Twitter birds making up the middle blue bit of the famous tube sign (so far, so good), it reads “Travel alerts on Twitter” (OK, still with you), and underneath that, in cheeky brackets, “OMG!” (stretching it chaps, but I’ll assume you were going for irony. Go on).

That’s it though. Not a single Twitter handle in sight.

OMG indeed.

But it get’s better. There is a link to TFL’s website, waaay down in the bottom right hand corner of the poster. But rather than taking you through to TFL’s social media page, it takes you to their page about the Tube. Now, to give TFL some credit, were you to do a search for TFL travel alerts on Google or Twitter, you quickly get to their Twitter channels.

Still.

Why make us work so hard to get the information that you’re trying to tell us about? We’ve barely managed to elbow our way into somebody’s armpit on a rammed Piccadilly train to Heathrow at rush our, so letting us know how long we’re to inhale a complete stranger’s body odour while hanging on to consciousness should be more straight forward?

Gonzo journalism for hipsters: I remember back at Uni, getting your hands on the new Vice was an event we all looked forward to. Having grown up in the rather more controlled environment of Singapore, the gritty photography and features in Vice were always an eye-opening read, and the wonderfully snide Do’s and Don’ts still bring a giggle.

Most recently, Vice has earned some serious kudos with its guerrilla documentaries and reporting: from Travel guides to the Philippines, to the epic three parter touring North Korea, and the surreal dinner featuring a Vice reporter, the Haarlem Globe Trotters and a cameo by Grand Marshall, Kim Jong Un. It’s no surprise that some of the more established media business have taken note and invested.

Now called Vice Media, Shane Smith’s media empire includes a massive website, a magazine, a record label, feature films, events (some of the best parties I’ve been to!), a book publishing division and, soon, its own news channel.

A news channel with that unmistakable gonzo journalism style, which puts the reporter into the story, an approach that Smith argues gleans the answers that young people seek. Something that I think many established media houses will keep a close eye on.

Creepy Emoji: French child advocacy group Innocence en Danger has given cute Emoji a creepy make-over in their campaign to warn parents and young people about the adult predators who might be behind online conversations.

Bits and bytes

  • Facebook adds trending topics to remind people that there are things other than cat videos and baby photos. While cats and babies enjoy permanent popularity, Facebook is looking to surface content that sees a sharp increase in popularity over a short space of time
  • Twitter now offers marketers the ability to target ads to specific users’ accounts, based on their bio information, follower count, verified status and past tweets
  • “At times, it felt like I’d put my head into my phone. Interacting with all of this information becomes much more intimate.” A quote from a shaky split screen video in a piece titled ‘I Became a Robot with Google Glass‘, shows a first person perspective of what it feels like to wear Google Glass and how people react to the wearer
  • How did BuzzFeed grow from a much-mocked LOL cat archive to a media giant for a new era? Wired magazine looks at the evolution in a highly entertaining piece. Interesting points: people don’t like fuzz (fake + buzz), we like to share and we like to share good news
  • You love/hate the selfie, but have you heard of the felfie? The Guardian looks at the trend amongst farmers to take a selfie on their farm (farm + selfie = felfie) and how especially Twitter is so popular with farmers as they can connect with their peers and friends in what is otherwise a rather lonely job

Videos of the week: A compilation of Vine videos from Zach King that will blow your mind. More on how Zach does it on the Indie (HT @MindyB_).

Puma partner with Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Marco Reus and Mario Balotelli to test their new evoPOWER football boots. Over the top CGI, terrible acting from Thierry, and a generous helping of cheese make for a rather enjoyable ad.

‘Prankvertising’ is back with this hilarious effort featuring a projectile vomiting, remote controlled, devil-baby. The stunt was to promote the release of horror flick ‘Devil’s Baby’ (HT @tomparker81).

And finally: Tom doesn’t like to shut his cupboard, or how you take passive aggressive to the next level (HT @tomparker81, who assures me that he isn’t the Tom in question)

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