Save time with your horoscope

Apart from not reading it in the first place, of course, you could simply take a look at the ‘meta horoscope’ from information is beautiful.

They’ve analysed 4000 horoscopes and discovered – amazingly – that they are all very similar. Few words are ‘unique’ to any star sign – mine features only ‘sit’, ‘oh’, ‘problem’ and ‘busy’ as unique top 50 words. This isn’t any help at all when trying to work out how to live my life.

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Google publishes facial recognition patent, could use social network photos – Computerworld Blogs

Google publishes facial recognition patent, could use social network photos – Computerworld Blogs.

Combined with unmanned drones this really could help our faceless robot overlords take over.  I hope they are nice, not nasty like in all the films. I’m sure they will be nice.

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America – surprisingly old school for the new world

One thing that really surprises me in the US is just how dated some of the imagery and language is around here when it comes to women.

There are numerous adverts on TV exhorting women to buy workouts such as the exciting sexy dance workout DVD that comes with a free work out through lap dancing added extra.  Then there’s the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition phenomenon that I still can’t get my head round. It’s an accepted thing here, with little recognition that it’s basically the grubby page 3 experience with added layers of gloss.

It’s more than accepted, in fact, it seems to be one of these things that joins American men together. Baseball on summer’s evenings, the Superbowl and looking at some birds in nice swimsuits, that’s what made America great. If you believe Mad Men (which I’m apt to do in many things), that might not be far from the truth.

Recently I even saw it used as a great example of how an iPad app can enhance the print experience with video and sound.  It looks like it will become an iconic new thing as well as an iconic old thing. Mind you, with big chunks of mobile internet use being porn related but very little porn available as on-device applications, Sports Illustrated swimsuit could be the thing everyone has been waiting for.

Well, maybe not everyone. Some are so open about their old-school sexism that they don’t need the cover of a socially acceptable app to get their rocks off. I had the joy of a short flight this week in the seat directly behind the business class section. There were two or three big Texas guys in front of me getting stuck into the bourbon merrily (I know they were from Texas because they told everyone, loudly). In a very short flight they raced through at least three refills, each time telling the poor (elderly, this is internal US airlines) stewardess that she was the most lovely thing they had ever seen.

On landing, one whips his phone out and has a very loud conversation with someone about his plans to go to Atlantic City on the weekend and to get some action that his wife needn’t know about. He could have left the rest to the plane’s collective imaginations but no, in case we had missed some of his subtle nuance, he then explained what it was his wife didn’t need to know about. Why he thought we needed to know wasn’t clear, but we found out all the same.

The one bright spot was the stewardess apologizing to everyone for ‘that prick in business class’ on the way out. What amazes me is that there can seem like such a fine line between that prick in business class and mainstream culture here. In the US, even in cosmopolitan New York, it’s not just the roads, bridges and railways that are old and crumbling.

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Is social being gamed?

Jonathan Blow interview: Do you believe social games are evil? “Yes. Absolutely.” | PC Gamer.

One question this interview throws up is: just what is social gaming?

Social tends to mean something about society, companionship or communities. Gaming is a form of play or sport.

So “social gaming” should mean a form of play or sport rooted in society, companionship or community.  Easy.

So what does that mean? Does that include playing football with some friends from the neighbourhood? As the term is associated with online stuff, then I guess we’ll need to make the ‘online’ part of ‘social gaming’ implicit.

But Jonathan Blow’s point is that not all ‘social gaming’ is social. Or, perhaps, that some ‘social gaming’ uses ‘gaming’ in a different way:

Gaming: Manipulate (a situation), typically in a way that is unfair or unscrupulous. [From Oxford Dictionaries].

Perhaps that is what too many people and organisations are doing these days. Manipulating your community in a way that is unfair or unscrupulous. Are you gaming or are you being gamed?

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What is Facebook for, when it comes to brands?

Kind of interesting article at Survey: Facebook Strategy Should be About Deals Not Engagement | Social Commerce Today.

It’s kind of interesting mainly because the research it’s built on appears pretty flaky. Essentially they asked the question ‘Why do you follow brands on Facebook?’, wrote down that the most popular answer was ‘to get offers/deals’ and then decided that is what Facebook should be all about.

Is that really the thing to take out this survey? How do you square that with the most popular brand pages on Facebook – check out the Most Popular site, then check out the Skittles page (11.8m fans today). It’s complete gibberish, basically, but lots of people follow it and seem to appreciate it. Incidentally, also check out Vin Diesel’s page if you have time. It’s mindblowing in many ways.

Anyway, I think there’s tons of rubbish written about Facebook and I think the numbers quoted in support of it are largely meaningless.  I don’t think there really is such a thing as a ‘Facebook strategy’ for a brand. You are either the type of brand which has a valid presence on Facebook or you’re not (which is also OK too). If you are not a natural fit but want to be, then it’s more than a Facebook strategy you need – it’s a new strategy full stop. You need content and conversation (interesting blog post by Robinson Pincus about comedy, which seems a good fit for content provision for brands with nothing to say naturally).

But….despite all that, Facebook has to be about more than deals and offers because, in the end, it’s a microcosm of life. I don’t mean that in a praiseworthy way, just that it apes the way people have been living and working forever so it’s not some amazing mysterious thing that has different rules.

For example, I’m rubbish on Facebook because I’m a miserable, lonely person with very few friends by choice.  I always have been. If I started offering people free stuff then I’d probably have more ‘friends’ but they still wouldn’t really like me because I’m offering very little warmth in return.

Basically, do you want to be liked? If you do want to be liked, deals and money off is a good way in but it’s hardly a long term plan. If that is your long term plan, you’re only as popular as your last deal, which has to be better than the last deal. Where does it end?

Oh, and do better research, then spend more time thinking about it.

Posted in Advertising, General internet stuff, Just grumbling about stuff, People and that, Social media & networks, Working | Leave a comment

JR Hartley goes raving

I don’t usually like adverts much but this one makes me feel all warm inside – and really old.

It’s an update of the JR Hartley Fly Fishing Yellow Pages ad. This time a Day V Lately is trying to track down…a trance record he made in 1992.

If you weren’t feeling old enough at this point, Dave Lately then goes home and is shown how to use an iPhone app by his daughter to track down his trance record.

So, to recap: Trance records are as laughably old-fashioned as dusty old books about fly fishing.  A guy who made one of these curiosities – way back in 1992! – hasn’t really heard of the internet and his kids will need to show him how to use an ‘iPhone’ to indulge his nostalgia. Oh, and he’ll dress like he’s still in 1992, which is sweet but a little bit sad really.

Still, it makes for a nice ad. I’d probably download the Yell app if (A) I wasn’t reliant on a locked down work blackberry and (B) Google had never been invented.

Yell casts JR Hartley ad into digital era | Media |

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It’s on: Google vs. Facebook

So Facebook makes its move onto Google’s turf – and it looks an attractive offer. They’ve just started down the road to carrying more relevant, local advertising. Combined with their phone application, they will be able to offer local and immediate discounts for shops you are walking past.

With a currency in the wings (it’s already there in games only) they are well down the road to becoming the single, accepted source of online ID and payment.

Perhaps the crazy valuations being bandied around (or, in the case of Goldman Sachs, actually being carried through) weren’t so crazy after all. That, quite frankly, is scary.

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