What’s happened this week:
· A site called Facebook announced that it now has 500m members, never before has a database of 500m people and their social connections been created, we are only just beginning to understand what it might be for.
· Ofcom released their latest analysis of the UK broadband access market. Average speeds are now 5.2mb/s over 25% faster than a year ago. The average UK internet user can now access at least broadcast quality video online, the next challenge is to scale the backbone to deliver this experience to millions of concurrent users.
What we have learned:
· The megatrends in mobile for 2010 , if you are an iPhone user they will seem very familiar.
· The iPad has really hit the mainstream, increased component orders have led analysts to predict 13m sales this year, doubling previous estimates.
o A similar story for apps, there will be 25bn downloads pa by 2015.
· This is interesting: the old spice social responses (c200 personalised video responses to influencers’ views of the original ads) have generated more online views in 7days that the original ads did in 5 months.
· Semantic technologies are cropping up in surprising ways, we can now contextually target advertising based on page images rather than text.
· Empire Avenue is a celebdaq for social media influencers, it allows us to track the tactics of the best before they become famous.
· That cool video of augmented reality property search is now a reality in the UK with Zoopla
Where to find more:
· There are many kinds of graph, not just the social graph, that can help communications planning in a networked world.
· The BBC’s social media infographic, the ups and downs of Social media worldwide
· 2010 Entertainment and communication , everything you wanted to know in 4 mins the latest from Faris
- Sam (thanks to JP and the Fuures team)
You may have read recently that the royal family have opened a Flickr account (as a former student of the British monarchy it did pique my interest). Anyway on the face of it, it does sound pretty interesting with more than 600 photos, ranging from the iconic and familiar to the much more the private and unseen. Clearly, this library will be great for royalists, historians or anyone with even a passing interest in the most famous of British institutions. However, as an exercise in forging a more meaningful connection with the British public (& presumably that’s why they’ve done it), it’s classically “royal,” that is to say, distant, controlled, measured. Not social.
You have to give them credit for trying though. And it’s not their first foray into the social media minefield. The Palace already maintains a twitter profile with over 50,000 followers and it launched a YouTube channel a few years ago. Unsurprisingly though, neither platform is exploited to anywhere near potential. Their YouTube presence is better with reasonably engaging videos and rare footage but crucially all comments are disabled so in that sense there is little human or social about either. They’re publishing platforms, not conversation platforms.
Of course, the Monarchy’s apexial position at the head of British society was not achieved by giving their “subjects” free reign to question and probe. Their position has been maintained by a very delicate and prolonged reframing of its intrinsic purpose – long gone is royal autocracy: philanthropic endeavour, promoting civic pride, charitable championing and statesmanship are now the rules of royal usefulness. Recasting royal utility has in effect necessitated a much more open position vis-à-vis the British public. That said, they’re still not that open!
So while this latest attempt is admirable, in reality, propriety of distance has been built in, thus rendering the whole thing a little bit pointless. If you’re not prepared to lose a little bit of control, you probably shouldn’t be in the social space. If you’re not contributing to a conversation, just shouting about how ace you are, you’re not going to win too many admirers.
A couple of weeks ago Sam posted a link about the Double Rainbow guy. Brilliant and bemusing in equal measure. This is now something of a viral phenomenon, spawning spin-offs and remixes aplenty. As interesting is the fact that it has now gone full circle with Paul “Bear” Vasquez (double rainbow guy) appearing on the chat show of Jimmy Kimmel, the very man who propelled Vasquez’s rise to YouTube stardom when he tweeted about Vasquez’s tearful double rainbow breakdown. Following Kimmel's Tweet, views went from 7 to 7.6m in a couple of weeks.
For the past 3 days, a phenomenon has literarily been the buzz of the Twittersphere: the OldSpice man.
We all remember the famous TV spot of this rather built up bloke that is “the man your man could smell like” (pretty nice TV spot in the first place as the women loved him for obvious reasons and the lads loved him too for his manliest man, humourous, character).
Well for the past 2 days, Wieden + Kennedy Portland’s agency has been successfully adapting this famous spot online and in the social spheres. The P&G brand mascot has been responding in real time to queries on Twitter and Facebook via 30 to 60 seconds TV spots, written, shot, and edited on the go and posted on YouTube (Via links from Twitter). W+K has, in fact, taken the concept of TV advertising and personalised it to everyone leveraging social tools. The team (made of social media experts, copywriters, tech geeks and a couple of P&G clients) managed to produce in 2 days about 150 TV spots, giving them on average about 7 min to produce 1 spot (that will be a difficult record to break) that have been viewed 5 million times an counting (without counting the additional views on the original OldSpice man TV spots), some videos managed to hit 100,000’s of views in just a couple of hours... The Old Spice Twitter account was gaining followers at the pace of 2,000 new followers per hour (finished at 60,000 followers)...
Celebrities such as Alyssa Milano, Perez Hilton, and a few others did even get involved by asking the Old Spice man a question and getting their own video response.
The campaign only lasted 2 days (finished this morning GMT) but generated huge (unprecedented?) volume of buzz, comments, social interactions, YouTube views, PR and media coverage all around the world.
The agency declared they were absolutely “thrilled the campaign was such a hit” and this is probably not the last time you will hear about it...
Enjoy, some of them are just brilliant.
PS: I have submitted my question, but didn’t get my own response L (obviously I am not as influential as Perez Hilton...)
TWiD is coming from the rest of the Futures team this week as Jean-Paul is off having JP 3.0 (his third child).
What’s happened this week:
· The new UK government have wasted no time in embracing social media and crowdsourcing by setting up the “Spending Challenge Channel” asking Facebook members to make suggestions on spending cuts.
· Facebook has also been in the news for launching what is definitely NOT a panic button. They have also announced they are to phase out virtual gift ads, and they won’t really be missed in the UK. Does this suggest they are closer to a ‘Facebook Credits’ roll-out?
· ScreenReach is mobile and TV working together, giving us an interactive experience (and some redeemable vouchers), is this the future?
· The ‘hot-right-now’ location based game Foursquare may add in ‘choose your own adventure’ game layers?
· However, there are still warning signs that they may be crushed by bigger players in the social space adding a location based element to their existing services. Facebook’s acquisition of Nextstop surely means they are inching closer to launching a location based offering?
· Apple’s Siri service is teaming up with Wolfram Alpha to create what could be a virtual personal assistant and researcher.
What we have learned:
· England have won the World Cup (if you judge it on Facebook following).
· What do you do first thing in the morning, brush your teeth or check your Facebook? 34% do the later, as it turns out almost 40% of 18-34 women are self-proclaimed Facebook addicts. Other fascinating stats include 48% of people claim to get more news via Facebook than through traditional channels.
· A report suggests that the natural progression for increased social media revenue is to take TV ad money via social recommendations and commentary.
· Domino’s Pizza is confident that a rise in profits is due to its social media activity.
· Will HTML5 mean the death of apps? Is the mobile internet browser, the new super app? YouTube’s revamped mobile site suggests this might be the case.
· According to the BBC News there are over 5 billion mobile phone connections worldwide.
· YouTube have teamed up with Ridley Scott to produce a film of Life In A Day It will be made up from footage generated by users on the 24th July.
· Yamli Translate is the most advanced translator service we’ve ever seen.
· Unleash your creative genius, and then pass it on, is this social art? Just like at school, www.drawandfoldover.com
· An artist has made an amazing portrait using his iPad painting app.
Where to find more:
· A nice infographic showing the economics of Facebook. Zynga made $250m through Facebook last year – as much of $150m of this was profit, making it more profitable than Facebook itself!
· One of the best tools if you want to manage your Twitter account, and clear up Twitter stream.
· 10 fascinating facts you didn't know about Apple... is that Isaac Newton on the original logo?!
- Sam (thanks to JP and the Futures team)
On July 10th 2009 Morgan Stanley published the thoughts of an intern named Matthew Robson who was working with them at the time. The brief they gave him was simple; ‘to describe how he and his friends consume media’. The article travelled round the world as people jumped on it with both interest and criticism. The main issue related to the fact that people seemed to be taking the thoughts of a single teenager to be the feelings of all. Morgan Stanley said at the time that this was not the point of the piece. They simply felt it was ‘one of the clearest and most thought provoking insights they had seen’, so they published it.
With this in mind, as we realised it was exactly one year on, we thought it would be both fun and interesting to ask the summer intern working with us at M2M the same question. Our intern’s name was Alice Gallop, aged 15 years and 7 months, so naturally we called it ‘The Alice project’. We gave her the same brief as Matthew the year before, then sat back curious to find out how her response may differ. Just like Morgan Stanley we were fascinated by the response. Just like them we certainly do not claim representation or statistical accuracy from what she wrote. What we would claim however, is that we have had the pleasure of working with an intelligent, witty and insightful individual with a bright future. To that extent we are sure you will agree.
We considered showing her Matthew’s response. Instead we kept that secret and asked her to write her own thoughts. Having completed that, we showed her the report from the year before and asked for her views on what was written.
There are several elements that are different from last year. Teenagers today are still heavy consumers of and hugely influenced by media. They also believe the media would be nothing without them. Cost influences everything, press is only relevant if free or if ‘soothing a silence with an older person’. With magazines, short stories and £2 is the limit. Radio is repetitive with ever decreasing playlists. The internet is their ‘brain’ that they steal from via ctrl C, ctrl V. They couldn’t live without their phone, but Apple has replaced Sony and they threaten to leave phone companies until they break down and give them unlimited texts. And they don’t listen to music on their mobile, everyone has an iPod.
For gaming it seems PCs do have a role, while in the social world Twitter still has no place, while Facebook does. Google wins over Yahoo because it’s funnier. Posters are noticed, but ‘everbody would agree that TV is the best media source’. However, after reading Matthew’s response, we found that ‘TV’ doesn’t just mean the TV set in the living room. Cinema is dying because of internet film sites and the expense of popcorn. And finally, not all have the Bieber fever.
We hope you enjoy her written piece. We sure did. You can download the actual paper at the bottom.
When I was younger I thought of teenagers as the ultimate idols. It’s a shame that now I have grown up we seem to either annoy the older (slightly dull) generation or create another dismal Daily Mail headline. Teenagers are seen everywhere in today’s media and provide a great source of entertainment. Adults talk about teenagers like they have never been one!
Taken from a different perspective however, the media has a massive influence on the teenage community, from the TV, to magazines, to the web. Whether it is the new way to apply your eyeliner which is apparently totally quirky but honestly makes you look like you’ve been swimming with a non waterproof mascara, the £300 bag that Glamour magazine told you will be an investment, or the top new PS3 game which will leave you totally inspired but really takes up the 4 hours of your evening which were meant to be devoted to your English essay. The media gets inside our heads, it is our confident best friend.
Definitely the worst tip I’ve followed is the one that told me to hold my eye liner up to my light to create the ‘smoky eyed look’ however this ended with me having a burnt finger, a black stain on the carpet and an unhappy parent.
For those with a greater intellect/attention span, a newspaper is the way forward. I’m afraid however that politics and economics are not up my street and just no amount of parental persuasion can change that. If someone would buy me a newspaper (if I was paying I’d stick to the freebie Metro) I think I would probably go for the Sun or the Mail. I enjoy the gossip. Reading about the in and outs of what’s going on is never going to be fun, unless there is a controversial, gossipy or frankly rubbishy piece which can be handy later in the day to soothe a silence with an older person in that awkward situation.
I am very particular about the magazines I like, along with most of my friends. I don’t like magazines that give me an insight into every single specific detail of what Cheryl Cole had for dinner last night, but I also do like to be a little bit nosey about the celebrity sins. My personal favourite part of a magazine is the fashion. This is why I really dislike Vogue. Being on a £30 a month allowance, call me tight but £4.00 is definitely over board for something that is 70% adverts that I saw on the tube. Also Vogue documents the high end fashion, designers such as Chanel, Gucci and Burberry. That white £400 t-shirt in this month’s ‘must haves’ I definitely saw in Primark last week for £2. My biggest magazine crush is Glamour (£2 score!).
Radio stations seem repetitive with ever decreasing playlists. I do not want to hear Lady Gaga singing her latest hit four times in one journey. However, you can never go wrong with Capital Radio’s breakfast show. No other radio station lives up to this just because of the pure attractiveness of Johnny Vaughan. He must be doing something right because he made it onto our form’s notice board. A radio must is when we are getting ready for a party, but Capital is a no because their Saturday night remixes frankly sound like a scratched CD and make me feel a little sea sick. So Saturday nights are XFM for the win.
I couldn’t live without my phone. It’s the most beautiful thing ever. I’m more a texter than a caller, as are most people my age. We threaten to leave our phone companies until they break down and give us unlimited texts and take full advantage of this. I think a phone should be bought when you hit the teens. I got my first brick when I was 13 (it was definitely super attractive) so when my little sister got her phone at 8 I was slightly confused, I mean really? Who are you going to call, Bob the Builder? I like texting because you have at least five minutes to compose a flirty, witty reply if you’re trying to impress someone. When I call someone I usually end up saying something that I will cringe at later. I think all teenagers will definitely agree that a mobile phone is a definite must.
The internet is definitely the brain I never received. I don’t think that I have ever really done homework myself....Google, ctrl C, ctrl V, DONE IT!! However when the whole class comes in with the exact same highly illustrated and perfectly written piece, it’s not the best!
Too much time is definitely taken up on Facebook, glamour.co.uk and definitely the ultimate mylifeisaverage.com. When we talk about the internet there is always the endless Google vs Yahoo debate. To define the best internet search engine, we had a Google vs Yahoo English lesson (our school lives up to its super-selective status). We typed in searches to see what they both recommended. We typed in ‘why is’ to which Yahoo replied ‘the sky blue’ whereas Google replied ‘why is nobody suspicious of Susan Boyle’. The argument has now definitely been settled!
I’ve never been one for the Xbox and Playstation, mostly because I’m a girl and shooting people? Really? I’d rather wash my hair. But I’m a sucker for getting addicted to online games (which is double standard I guess). The first game I was deeply involved with was definitely Bubble Trouble, which started as a competition between me and my sister but ended up with everybody in the year playing. I was bitterly disappointed when I got to the 76th level and there was no more (I was more than obsessed). Then it went to Tetris, but I went off that because the noises were particularly annoying. I’ve drifted in and out with different games, but the definite best has to be Doodle Jump on the iphone. It was a risk buying the app at first (59p, I’m not made of money) but the love of Doodle Jump has expanded to ‘I love Doodle Jump’ hoodies being sold on Ebay. I doubt my addiction would go that far though!
I think everybody would agree that television is the best media source. Some teenagers claim they watch wall to wall TV to escape problems in the real world because nobody’s life hits the lows of Eastenders! But that’s a pretty depressing reason. I’m not sure there’s a hugely obvious reason why I watch TV, probably boredom and laziness! My biggest TV crush has got to be the Gossip Girl series. Mainly because of the endless amounts of gorgeous clothes and the unreal Upper East Side lifestyle, which basically I would very much like, please. Oh and everyone in it is insanely good looking! I used to be a soap freak, watching Hollyoaks and Eastenders without fail. But recently I have grown to realise how unrealistic it is and also I got bored of hearing my grandma tut every time she’d see me watching it! Teenagers are definitely the ultimate victims of TV; my parents claim that they are definitely too mature to watch TV. Yet I did spot my dad getting slightly too excited about the ‘Tracy Beaker’ double bill on CBBC yesterday. I have to say that I am a big fan of the cinema. But amongst my friends it seems I’m the only one? I suppose the astronomical price of the popcorn is not to everybody’s cup of tea, buy a cheap bag from Sainsbury’s and you’re good to go. I would say that the cinema is dying out mainly because of the internet film sites and because of the increasing tightness of us teenagers. My parents get strangely excited by the cinema; I think they see it as a ‘big night out’. Though I won’t argue if they’re paying!
Music seems to be a big part of all teenagers’ lives. I think this is mainly because music has the ability to completely change your mood. The obvious biggest music events are the festivals.
Definitely the media has a huge effect on everybody no matter what age they are. However I think that teenagers have the biggest effect on the media. They make the best stories and give media something to moan about. The media would be nothing without them.
The scanned notes she made on Matthew's paper are below:
As I sat on the train/sauna on the way home last night I tried to distract myself from a weirdo staring at me, by reading the Evening Standard. Fortunately something did catch my interest. An article that made me consider the similarity between successful brands and successful people during a recession.
The article was in the Executive Recruitment section, titled 'Stay on the jobs radar' (feel free to insert a joke or question about why I was reading this here) and described the type of person clever companies look to employ during tough times. During a recession smart MD's believe the right skills for the job are important, but the right attitude is more so. They need people that won't just do their job 'they can make a difference above and beyond their roles' (Penny de Valk, CEO of the Institute of Leadership and Management). Showing this positive attitude is clearly not easy for people when times are hard. When people are put under pressure many put there heads down and simply try to get through. The exact opposite of what a company actually hopes for. She goes on to add that "what companies need is people that can help them transform, executives that can be bold and focus externally on the market and the customer". Why? Because now is the time to ensure you remain on your current or prospective employers radar. Companies want people that can be part of the solution, not the problem. In a recession you should 'build your profile - take it as an opportunity to shine", you should not be afraid to remind people of the good work you have done. If you are out of work you need to make people you are familiar with your first port of call, and if you are not getting the same calls from headhunters because you have been forced to diversify your career, you need to pick up the phone and create a dialogue with the people that matter.
Why is this attitude important to companies? Well, during the recession, companies that were forced to downsize that are now coming out the recession are facing a talent shortage, and thus struggling to recover as quick as those that kept their talent.
Now having said all the above, aside from the obvious fact that the advice is useful from a personal perspective and for when considering the type of people we want to be hiring, what I found really interesting was the total parallel with the advice we have been giving brands during the recession. In fact if you changed the article's title to 'Stay on the consumers radar' (ie; nee jobs) and then swapped a few words here and there to we were talking about a companies marketing, rather than people, then we could have written it.
The key to a brands success during a recession, just as it is for people, is to stand up and be counted with the consumer. It is why so many companies refresh their brands during a recession, while the companies that purely focus on costs perform less well. The slide below that I produced for a presentation explains the thinking some famous brands have successfully taken:
To quote Ananda Roy in a paper titled 'Targeting Changing Consumer Behaviour in a Downturn', "a recession offers a significant opportunity to position and sharpen competitiveness as this is one of the few times when consumers are actively considering their choices".
Just like people, the mistake companies can make is to cut back on marketing and stop focusing on their consumer when this is exactly what will help them succeed. For more on this you can read a previous post about the current paradigm shift towards consumer capitalism instead of shareholder value that is going on, here. The issue comes when companies believe that the only solution is to cut costs, but as Professor A Razeghi stated in his paper titled 'Innovating through a recession', "rather than pull back in innovation, you need to consider how you may use this time to create and launch your most disruptive ideas".
A recession is the time when people are doing exactly what you always hoped they would, they are actively considering their brand choices. Not surprisingly therefore, the research from both Millward Brown and our our own Brand Science team show that those companies that are most proactive during tough times come out the other side stronger.
In summary, if you want to come out the recession ahead of everyone else, you personally need to stay on your employers radar, just as your brands need to stay on your consumer's. Rather than sit back and simply weather the economic storm, those that are successful are the ones that stand up and be counted.
The inexorable and unstoppable wave of information which envelopes us day after day is a well-established and common complaint from every switched-on consumer in mature consumer society. Less widespread however is the discussion around how addicted consumers are becoming to the info at the their fingertips. Trendwatching spotted this back in 2006 but 4 years later as digital expands exponentially and as time spent consuming media mushrooms, we are starting to witness the negative ramifications of this very modern diet. We are stepping into an age of infobesity.
In a recent article in the New York Times, Matt Ritchel discusses this trend at length through the lens of “Mr.Campbell”, a successful software developer from California. Mr Campbell is an extreme case; his work-life naturally makes him more susceptible than most…but the impact of technology (and his compulsive need for it) has had some pretty significant effects on his work life, his children’s lives and on his marriage.
Work life: in the midst of electronic overload (two computer screens alive with e-mail, instant messages, online chats, web-browser and computer code) he managed to miss an e-mail from a company offering $1.3million for his internet start-up. He rescued the deal but it was a close one!
Children: Mr Campbell’s 16-year-old son, Connor, received his first C’s recently, which his family blames on distraction from his gadgets. On his bedroom desk sit two monitors, one with his music collection, one with Facebook and Reddit, a social site with news links that he and his father love. But Connor loves it “technology is part of the fabric of who he is…if I hated technology I’d be hating him, and part of who my son is too.”
Marriage: For spring break, the Campbell family rented a cottage in Carmel, Calif. Mrs. Campbell hoped everyone would unplug. But the day before they left, the iPad came out, and Mr. Campbell snapped one up. The next night, their first on vacation, “We didn’t go out to dinner,” Mrs. Campbell mourned. “We just sat there on our devices.” This set the tone for the rest of the break. Understandably, Mrs Campbell was none too pleased and it led to some pretty serious discussions about his “always-on” behaviour.
While Mr Campbell’s case is extreme, it is symptomatic of the times. For better or worse, the consumption of media has exploded. In 2008, people consumed three times as much information each day as they did in 1960. And they are constantly shifting their attention. Computer users at work change windows or check e-mail or other programs nearly 37 times an hour, new research shows.
In his piece, Ritchel considers the consequences of all this by examing the scientific, or rather the neurological discourse surrounding it. Our brains, the argument ran are not equipped to adequately handle more than one stream of information at a time. However, in an age of media multi-tasking, researchers have recently hypothesised that our brains might be evolving and rewiring to help us better cope with the complexity our new information environment. Sadly however, this seems to be misguided. Eyal Ophir from Stanford tested this hypothesis by assessing the effectiveness with which media multi-taskers and non-multi-taskers could solve a range of problems. The findings were clear: multi-taskers performed significantly worse, pointing to the long-held belief that we can’t properly handle more than one info stream in our brains. Given the explosion of technology, this is clearly significant. More technology means more multi-taskers which on the face of it, means worse decision-making as a macro consequence.
So what are we do do?
As the complexity of our informational environment grows, the tools needed to navigate must develop at a similar speed. An interesting way to look at this has been presented by Timothy Young of Socialcast. His anology is that of diet. His view is that we have been incredibly adept at increasing the variety and volume of places we can “ingest” information. “It’s like an ever-growing information buffet – and we’re there for an ‘all you can eat meal’. This has not however been met with an attendant rise in the ability of tools to really make sense of all the data. We must constantly work to filter and make sense of the mess. Increased ingestion means more data calories. As we all know, the more calories we take in every day, the harder it is to stay in shape, be responsive, stay agile, keep energy levels up and generally get stuff done. We get sluggish.
So what do we need for a nutritional information diet? Young suggests the need for tools which provide feedback on our consumption habits, and agents which helps us optimise the amount of useful information consumed per time expended. What he really wants are “Nutrition Facts” to assist choices, metrics that helps us determine the most valuable people and info sources, creating a little bit of order out of the chaos.
Think we’d all like a bit of this...and the most widely discussed answer may well be found in the Semantic Web, this is how John Hebeler, one of its leading propents expresses it..
“It’s all about relationships, it’s about relationships of one string to another string, or one number to another number…And if I have enough of those relationships, I can start to build context, and context is what it’s all about…If I said any kind of word, it’s the context that surrounds the word that really gave you the meaning. What your brain has really done is connected that one word with all kinds of relationships. In a technical sense, all the Semantic Web does is start to give all these relationships.”
Check out this video for a bit of insight and inspiration, still hotly debated but fascinating discussion of how order may be created out of ever-increasing chaos we face!