Tag Archives: United States

Families and Technology

This press release from Yahoo! and OMD apparantly shows a resergence of traditional values among tech-savvy families. Stuff like eating together being important and things like that.

There’s a lot of interesting nuggets in there, but my favourite bit is about the ‘43 hour day‘:

How jam-packed is daily family life? The Yahoo!/OMD study shows the power of multi-tasking in extending the typical day’s activities beyond 24 hours. In the U.S., respondents listed, on average, a total of more than 43 hours of daily activities, including time spent sleeping, working, commuting, as well as technology/media-based activities such as emailing, using an MP3 player, text messaging, and watching TV.

Yahoo! – Press Release

Steal this film

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Following on from the Darknet post the other day, here’s some more on piracy in Sweden (and beyond). This 30 minute film gives a view of the P2P landscape (and especially the ‘bust’ on PirateBay – a major bittorrent site).

Obviously, given the group that produced the film, it’s coming at the argument from a certain direction. But there are some interesting bits in there.

I was surprised at the power that Hollywood has over the US government, and subsequently the lengths that they went to in order to ‘persuade’ the Swedish government to act against Pirate Bay. The backlash that this has generated in Sweden was also interesting, it would appear that many people are enraged by the US interfering and overturning domestic policy (which ultimately has led to the Pirate Party getting massive exposure and a sizable following).
I think the argument that’s put forward in the film that was most interesting talks about the fact that historically musicians were against recorded music, and the film industry was against VCRs. Both groups eventually turned these threats into revenue streams.

One commentator in the film recounts a Chinese proverb along the lines of:

When the wind rises, some people build walls. Others build windmills.

The ancient Chinese didn’t mention the fact that millions of others rush around looting stuff for free in all the confusion, but I guess that’s a much more modern predicament.

When I finished watching the film I didn’t end up feeling like my mind had been moved in either direction. It just made it clear that there really is a war going on, and there’s 2 groups of people who are determined to do things their way until they have to stop… But I did feel that one group was perhaps slightly more innovative and responsive than the other, no prizes for guessing which one.

Digital Creativity Revisited

Yesterday I posted this: Tony Davidson on Digital Creativity

I got into a bit of a rant about it. You’ll find it’s easy to bait anyone who works in digital in this way. In fact there’s probably a good sport in there somewhere. It’d be interesting to go blog-baiting and see just how much noise and repressed angst you could stir up.

Simon left a comment about how lots of digital agencies will end up as production houses, and you know what, he’s probably right. If you look at the US, you’ll see that there’s plenty of them around. And they do great online advertising. Really great online advertising.

But I’ve slept on it now and I’ve mellowed a bit. I don’t really mind what people think about the role of digital agencies. If we do good stuff and prove ourselves we’ll survive. And if we do really good stuff we’ll carve out our own special niche in the world. A ‘them vs. us’ argument is a silly thing to get bothered about. The debate about how the digital industry is going to pan out is as pointless as the never ending Mac vs. PC debate.

Ultimately it’s up to you, as a client, or as a computer purchaser to make your choice. You’ll end up with a different product or experience depending on your choice. I know it’s not a binary decision, there’s a whole load of ‘grey’ agencies in the middle who are in the middle, but focussing on that will ruin my analogy.

Anyway, whether you’re choosing a new computer or an agency to give you a bit of digital magic, you’ll either make the choice from the heart or from the head. Sometimes your choice will be based on empirical product evidence, othertimes it’ll be based on less tangible factors.

And no! I’m not trying to suggest that digital agencies are like Macs, that would just be spoiling for a fight.

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RSS what?

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According to a report from Marketing Sherpa:

Currently at least 75 million consumers and businesspeople in the USA and UK use RSS on a regular basis. However, depending on which study’s stats you believe, only 17-32% of RSS users actually know they’re using RSS.

I don’t find this at all hard to believe. I use RSS all the time, lots of people I know use RSS, but without knowing what RSS actually is or how it works. Before trying to write a definition of RSS I did about 10 minutes of fruitless searching, attempting to find a definition that you didn’t have to be a techie to understand. I couldn’t. I’m sure that there are simple definitions out there. But all the ones I found tended to stray off into scary things like XML definitions.

Having tried (and in most instances failed) to tell clients about RSS feeds the most useful description of RSS I’ve found is something like this:

“Using RSS you can make your website content very portable. It takes the most important information: titles, text, links and images. And makes it easy for you, or other people to display it in the way they choose. An RSS feed enables people to view your site content on their phone, on their computer, on other websites (MyYahoo, Google personal home page, etc.). It gives you extra distribution channels for your content with almost no extra effort.”

That’s the fundamentals (as I see them). Of course there’s loads more you can do with RSS, but as a basic description this sort of works for me. If my dummies definition misses lots of important things please let me know.

Google Image Hoo Ha

google imagesBBC news reports on this rather odd story from the US. A judge in the States has ruled that Google have violated the copyright of Perfect 10 magazine (a high end ‘adult’ title). The violation results from the fact that Google shows thumbnails from the magazine on their image search site.

The only upside for Google in the whole thing is:

The judge said the search company did not gain financially from the thumbnails.

Instead the websites hosting the pirated images were at fault, meaning that a damages claim against Google was unlikely to succeed.

To my mind the whole case should have been built around this. The whole point of Google is to index stuff online. To expect them to be able to filter out anything that may have a copyright infringement is absolutely insane. If you look closely almost every single website in the world will have some form of copyright infringement somewhere.

Just look at the image above. I haven’t got permission from Google for that screenshot. And even more worryingly I’ve got no permission from Perfect 10 (those scaled down thumbnails are images from their magazine). I guess that makes me guilty too…

ConQwest

bighorn_overhead_2I’m doing a talk at the Mobile Marketing conference next week. And in my researching of interesting mobile marketing ideas came across this amazing promotion for Qwest in the US.

It’s a city-wide treasure hunt using semacodes
- nothing particularly innovative there – we’ve pitched mobile treasure hunts lots of times (and quite honestly never been 100% sure of the idea).

But…

Make it a big contest between ‘schools’, and throw in some huge big inflatable creatures and hey presto! You’ve got a winner.

Even if the participation rates are tiny. Who could fail to notice groups of people running round a city with 20 foot high animals, and subsequently have conversations about it. Nice!