Bits and Bytes

Thoughts on digital, running rambles and photos



Dorky Google Glass, Hyperlapse videos and this week’s bits and bytes

Twitter news: Much has been written about Twitter’s link to and role in breaking news, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is looking to hire a Head of News and Journalism to shape and drive the next growth phase of Twitter’s partnership with the news industry.

Fergie retires: The news that Fergie had finally hung up his hairdryer on Wednesday was announced via Twitter.

The story received the breaking news treatment from the media, trended worldwide in a matter of minutes and was mentioned in over 6 million Tweets in 24 hours. Some brands were quick to jump on the back of the news with the cheeky chaps at Paddy Power with easily the best effort.

Source: The Mirror

Equally Brilliant was Nando’s “Fergie Time” tribute – opening all their restaurants in Manchester five minutes late (HT @stangreenan).

Wikipedia traffic predicts share price: A spike in traffic to a company’s Wikipedia traffic might be a sign that their share price is about to go off a cliff. That’s according to a study published in Scientific Reports, which looked at Wikipedia page view data from the last 5 years and compared it to shifts in share prices on the Dow.

Cause and effect: A couple of weeks ago at Twitter4Brands, Twitter told the assembled social media bods in the Tate Tanks that a 30% increase in positive Tweets is four times more effective in driving sales than a 30% increase in existing above-the-line advertising. No surprise that Twitter is looking to tout its various wares to digital marketers, but @wittlake points out there isn’t any proof for that statement. In a wonderfully argued post, Eric points out that it should read:  A significant improvement in the quality of your product improves word of mouth and increases sales.

Is Google Glass just too dorky? Google Glass prototypes are being reviewed by influential tech bloggers and they are going slightly mental. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me some new gadgets. Sure, I want to try Glass and yes, wearable computing is (probably) the way forward. And yes, these are the first mass produced prototypes, a first of its kind product. But what many of these reviews seem to miss is that the wearer looks like a complete and utter knob and unless Google (or some other company) figures out how to reduce the levels of knobness, I’m not sure this will take off outside the realm of the dorks. Or, as the guys at SNL see it:

Then again, as White Men Wearing Google Glass points out, if Google Glass didn’t exist, all these Silicon Valley guys would be having affairs or buying unsuitable motorbikes.

Hyperlapse videos: An amazing bit of programming, combining the imagery from Google Maps with and easy way to map out directions from A to B delivers some very amazing hyperlapse footage. Here’s one I made of Tower Bridge. That’s just using the web app, check out what you can do with a lot more time and programming know how or read more about how it works on the Teehan+Lax Labs site.

The maker movement: Nope, not some sort of religious thing – best to imagine this as the combination of DIY, engineering and tech. It’s not really new, ‘hacking’ things to make them do something that wasn’t their original purpose has been around for as long as human imagination. But as with many other things, digitisation, open source, t’Interwebs and most recently 3D printing has accelerated and increased what is possible. Staples is the first company that is selling 3D printers for $1,300 allowing you to design anything from cup holders, action figures to music records. Check out the video that is embedded for how chilled that small girl is drawing on the iPad, creating her own toy!

Digital influence = real life perks: American Airlines has launched an offer for their digitally savvy (self-involved?) passengers to score free access to their Admirals Club lounge – all they need is a Klout score of 55 or higher. An interesting move that will get people talking about upgrades – enticing others to also connect their social media accounts to Klout. Now, whether Klout is actually an accurate represtation of online influence? Doubtful…

Twitter life lesson: Dick Costolo, co-founder of Twitter, delivered the commencement address at Michigan University, his alma mater. An inspiring talk calling for students to focus on something they love and to not always worry about their next line but instead, to live in the moment. Good old ‘merican cheese, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The Youtube Map: A nifty mash-up of Youtube viewing, sharing stats, geographic and demographic stats gives you the Youtube Trends Map. No surprise that the ‘Dead Giveaway Guy’ is the most popular clip right now.

Videos of the week: Diet coke installs the world’s slimmest vending machine ‘Slender Vender’

While 7Up counters with the ‘Melting Machine’ – the world’s coolest vending machine

Clever use of of lenticular printing by Grey for an outdoor campaign for the ANAR Foundation in Spain

We’ve seen Hyundai’s botched attempt at promoting a car’s eco features. Volkswagen has come up with a different angle to promote their auto stop/start feature. Not sure it’s the best way to sell it though…

And finally: those movie snippets in The Simpsons with McBain? When put together, they make a complete (short) film!

#Twitter4brands, breaking news and this week’s bits & bytes

#Twitter4Brands: Twitter’s annual update on what’s what with brands and advertising took place yesterday. Some thoughts about it below, although it is by no means an exhaustive summary. Here’s another view from Matt Chapman on Brand Republic.

The fact that Twitter is the second screen shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it should influence how brands use Twitter to talk to their followers. 80% of Twitter activity in the UK is from mobile phones and people are tweeting about what’s happening in the real world.

I’ve talked before about this trend, so I won’t go into much more except to say that the Twitter TV book has been updated with new data.

The big news was about keyword targeting in timelines. And this one is going to be HUGE. Imagine you’re in a foreign country, your flight has been cancelled, you’re stuck and you need a place to crash. You don’t know anyone. You take to Twitter and voice your anger and frustration. You might tweet something along the lines of ‘Flight cancelled. Stuck with nowhere to go and no place to sleep. I need a hotel’. Perhaps throw in a bit of colourful language to round it off. What if there’s a hotel just down the road from you that has bought a keyword targeted tweet (say to the words ‘need’ and ‘hotel’ and that their message will pop up in anybody’s Twitter stream, provided they are within 5km of their hotel and they’ve used those two words in a public message).

Serendipity as Head of Twitter UK @TonyW called it.

Tone of voice was the big topic for the second half of the conference. The key point being that people expect brands to speak in normal language on Twitter, not in some sort of stilted, formal tone. There were many excellent examples, culminating in O2 winning the first ever Flock award for the most outstanding use of Twitter – interestingly, not for how O2 used the various promotional mechanics that Twitter showcased in the first half of the day, but for how they enter into real conversations with their followers. The most famous example of which was how they dealt with enraged customers during a network outage last year. Other excellent examples came from @The_Dolphin_Pub and @Mangal2.

Still not convinced? It’s not just Twitter who are saying that brands should be human on social media.

Finally, Gary Lineker showed up and talked about England going out to Germany at Italia90 on penalties (which I enjoyed very much) as well as the infamous Poogate (which I may actually have enjoyed more)…

… but he was mainly there to talk about how he uses Twitter to promote brand Lineker, Match of the Day as well as how he deals with trolls (Piers Morgan and Joey Barton received a special mention here).

I’ll leave it to @TonyW’s to sum up #Twitter4Brands – in just 5 tweets.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 19.54.55

Breaking news: There was a lot of it this week. From the Lion Air flight that skidded off the runway in Bali into the sea, to the Boston Marathon bombing, to the exploding fertiliser factory in Texas. The Boston bombing in particular horrified many. Much has been said about how news travels on social media – and that is how I found out about all of the above: from Facebook and Twitter. Interestingly though, in all three occasions my immediate reaction was to turn on the TV. An almost knee-jerk reaction to confirm these things had actually happened. The fact that the 24 hour news channels in each instance were already on the story was weirdly reassuring, yet the longer I watched them, the more facts were replaced by wild speculation and leading questions about all of our safety. It’s nothing new really, just in a week with some much bad stuff happening, I felt very increasingly angry at the media’s fear mongering.

Interesting then to read that news actually bad for you. Rolf Dobelli argues that news causes disruption, anxiety, shallow thinking – basically that it’s a waste of time. And as I’d like to join his movement of not consuming news, that would make my job pretty darn difficult to do. Dobelli doesn’t think that all journalism is useless: he does concede a special place for investigative journalism, reporting that goes deep and uncovers truth.

Now given my chosen profession, it’ll be difficult for me to just abstain from the news, but it should act as a reminder to turn off the incessant news stream every once in a while before we all lose our minds.

Or – you could immerse yourself entirely and join Guardian Witness. Similar to CNN’s iReport, The Guardian is inviting its readers to register, pick their assignment and provide images, video and copy to cover news events. As I write this, The Guardian is calling for stories about Syrian refugees, photos of sleeping pets and how budget cuts have affected you. A simple – and free – way for the paper to augment its eyes and ears and tap into a willing network of eager freelancers.

The news lifecycle: An interesting look at how mobile has not only influenced how people consume the news, but when they consume it. FT data shows quite clearly how people get up in the morning and read the FT on their phone or tablet first thing and on their commute in to work. As soon as they get to the office, desktop readers of the FT website spike and then slowly drop off during the day. Finally, mobile devices spike for a second time as people start their commute home again. On the weekends, desktop use is low, with spikes coming early in the day from mobile devices.

Why do you see the things you see in your Facebook newsfeed? It’s not as easy as just following somebody or a brand. It depends on four factors: previous engagement, the type of content your interacting with, how popular it is within your network and increasingly, how much negative feedback its received. Here’s a clever little infographic that explains what Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm is and how it works.

Facebook Home: It launched, they made an ad, then another one with Zuck in it (bad idea), and now most people are giving it a 1 out of 5 star rating. Ouch.

Geekgasm: HMV have come out of administration and are under new ownership. To celebrate, they’ve hidden Nipper in the source code of their revamped website. Kudos to HMV for this extremely nerdy Easter egg, although I cannot for the life of me understand why you’d check out the source code of a website (HT @TomParker81)?

Videos of the week: Check out this brilliant ad from K-Mart to advertise their new direct shipping service. Ship the bed!

The dove real beauty campaign continues with real sketches

and with an even better parody.

There is much Lego awesomeness in the world and this folding Buddhist temple blew my mind (HT @gin_lane).

Bringing Instagram and CSR together: FoodShareFilter is an Instagram-esque photo filter with a purpose. Download it, and the proceeds go to an agricultural program in El Salvador run by Manos Unidas, a major charity. What better way for Hipsters to Instagram the food they eat and make it worth their while?

Viral cake: If you’ve not seen the best viral cake resignation letter ever, you’ve clearly been living under some sort of rock.

And finally: Every Facebook birthday wall, ever.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: