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The RAAKonteur #46 – Facebook's Influence gate, Shop on the Subway and the future of photography


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27 June 2011
11:54
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Tweet like a butterfy, sting like a citation

It's an oft heard refrain: people active on social media neglect 'real world' relationships. The outgoing editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, once again joined the chorus in an interview with Reuters:

"The time you spend keeping up with your 200 Facebook friends is time you are not getting to know someone really well in person."

There is of course copious amounts of research on this topic. And one person that knows it back to front is sociology professor Zeynep Tufekci – we have mentioned before you should watch out for her. Via Twitter she told Keller he was wrong. Keller responded: "Um, did you plan on linking to the research?" And boy, did she! Five tweets, linking to 5 different studies.

Bottom line? After many factors like race, gender and education were statistically equalized, people who used more social media like Facebook had more very close ties in real life. Read the Storify here.
 

Some Social Media users are more equal than others

Forget the Like-gate on Facebook, here's the Influence-gate. Audi has teamed up with marketing platform Involver to create a widget on their Facebook page that unlocks content based on your Klout score, i.e. online influence.

In this particular case, the execution is very limited (you only get an Audi wallpaper), but there is definitely potential in using these scores as the equivalent of the VIP Golden Ticket. For example: we once reserved front row seats at an event for people with a certain Peerindex score. 

Speaking of which: also this week, Peerindex, the UK version of Klout, announced that it's now tracking 45 million accounts.

audi_facebook_klout
 

Subway Shopping

In the second hardest-working country in the world, it's understandable that you don't have time to go to the supermarket. So why not bring the supermarket to you. That's what Tesco did in South Korea.

They used the advertising space in subway stations to create a virtual shop and turn waiting time into shopping time. They put up posters that looked like product shelves and people could add the products to their shopping cart through QR codes.

tesco_virtual_subway_store
 

Size doesn't matter

This week research again confirmed that all the Facebook action is in the newsfeed and not on your Facebook page. Figures show that having an engaged following is as crucial as how many people like your page. Why? Because as the size of your follower count goes up, the less likely they are to see your updates in their stream: as little as 2.5%.

What does that mean? That brands shouldn't just focus on getting many Likes. But rather target the right group and keep them engaged with content that's carefully crafted and highly engaging (fun). It also means that Facebook is  possibly not for all brands.

 

OK, size does matter, but growth matters more

This week Foursquare reached 10 million users. But is that growth fast enough? At this rate they won't reach 100 million until 2020.

Compare that to Instagram, who now have 5 million users after 9 months. On iPhone alone. And as this Washington Post article points out: by now they should have hit the 100 million photo mark, a milestone that took Flickr 2 years to achieve.

And what about Soundcloud? The German-based music sharing site has gone from 1 to 5 million users in a year!

Another service that's set to break through is social DJ-ing site Turntable.fm. Despite them phasing their growth – you can only sign in if you have a Facebook friend who's already a member – they still racked up 140,000 users in its first month.  

turntable_fm

 

It's a kind of publishing magic

JK Rowling announced this week she's doing an e-move and word is that the Guardian is adopting a digital-first approach. But over in the US the Bangor Daily News has put their money where their mouth is by creating a fantastic workflow for digitally-enhanced publishing.

They have made the transition to WordPress, while seamlessly integrating it with Google Docs as well as InDesign. Which means the paper now has one content management system for both its web and print operations. What's more, they have open-sourced it all, so you can do it too! More on that here.
 

It's photography, but not as you know it

A new startup has appeared on the horizon, and they promise to completely revolutionize the entire camera industry.

Lytro has developed a technology that allows you to focus on specific objects in images after they have been taken. They do this by capturing not only the light that falls onto a flat surface, like normal cameras do, but all the light passing through the camera lens, as well as its directional information.

With the ability to focus on a specified depth of field, comes the ability to get depth information about every pixel on a photograph. In other words, if applied a bit differently, this technology might provide the same spatial information that a Microsoft Kinect does, in a single lens setup.

lytro_camera_sample
 

The self starting Groupon

OK, so pedicures are not your thing. But how do you get a group buying discount for what you want? Loopt has just launched a self-starting Groupon-style product.

Get a few friends together and tell Loopt what it is you want to buy together. They make it happen. Read more here.
 

Creative of the Week – Hannes Harms

Hannes Harms is a German product designer who lives in London. He's made a funky cardboard-and-foam chair called Scum Chair. So far, so semi-interesting.

But now the RCA student has sparked people's imagination with NutriSmart, a framework for nutritional information that is based on what is effectively an edible RFID tag. The tags, which are inserted directly into the food, would allow you to track the whole supply chain of your food, as well as provide dietary information, tell your fridge when to order extra cupcakes or anything else you can image. 

edible_rfid_hannes_harms

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