Twitter ups the Revenue Streams
Have you noticed how Twitter dominated the news last week? They're going for gold. For starters, they aired their first TV ad, aimed directly at advertisers, saying little more than a url showcasing a keyword page (a hashtag search, displayed on a branded page, with some handy consumer widgets). On top of that they announced expanded tweets, which pulls bits of content from links to partner sites, and displays it right in the tweet, along with links to the author and the publisher's profiles. Cha-ching! It doesn't end here. Somewhere in between they announced tailored trends, which means, instead of seeing worldwide trends, #justinbieberallthetime, the trends you see will now be based on your location, and who you follow. Handy. Aaaand … apparently, quietly, under the radar, Twitter have been updating their Facebook cross-posting functionality, to include link metadata and thumbnails on your tweets auto-posted to Facebook. What a busy little Blue Bird!
Networking for Two
From exploding social networks to deliberately small ones. Path paved the way to the smaller social network, but the smallest social network we have yet seen is the Pair app: a private social network for two people. You share a timeline with just one other person where the app lets you share photos, videos, text messages etc. The "thumbkiss" is currently our favourite feature (it vibrates when both touch the same spot on the screen), but who knows when you'll be in need of another of its unique features: to "un-pair" or "re-pair" at the click of a button!
More authenticity than we can handle?
Sweden's Twitter initiative, where a different citizen takes control of the country's Twitter account, @Sweden, every week, has come unstuck, as many said it would. This week's account holder has certainly come across as unedited and unreflective, with Tweets that might be interpreted as offensive accross the sexual preference and race lines. However, not much more than people you would meet in everyday life. We still think the initiative has been a resounding success, precisely because it is so real. At times, however, exactly what makes the internet so exciting, goes way too far. A Californian blogger, Anita Sarkeesian, launched a Kickstarter project to make a web video series about "tropes vs women in videogames", but the hateful reaction she received in return is shocking. Still, this story has a silver lining.
Why Cats? What makes stuff go viral?
Nieman Journalism Lab has a brilliant story about the dynamics behind virality. What makes things go viral? And is this the face of modern journalism? To augment that, the Atlantic ran a very interesting piece on the success of a tweet. Apparently researchers can predict the success of a single tweet with 84% accuracy. We do think, however, that the Atlantic got it wrong: the fact that news titles without hyperbole ("boring" titles, in their words) perform better than others is due to the nature of the content, and not because the title was straight faced.
The Oatmeal vs Funnyjunk – a web side story
Talking about viral: this one is straight from the department of WTF. And ridiculously funny. Matthew Inman aka "The Oatmeal" is a web cartoonist. Funnyjunk is a forum where people post funny stuff. As it happens, a lot of Inman's cartoons ended up on Funnyjunk, and he wrote a blog post about it. A year later, Funnyjunk suddenly claimed $20000 in damages, threatening to file a federal lawsuit. So, Inman responded. And he responded well. TL;DR: He told funnyjunk (in a legal retort):
You want ME to pay YOU $20000 for hosting MY unlicensed comics on YOUR shitty website for the past three years? No, I've got a better idea.
- I'm going to try and raise $20000 in donations.
- I'm going to take a photo of the raised money.
- I'm going to mail you the photo, along with this drawing of your mom seducing a Kodiak bear. (picture above)
- I'm going to take the money and donate one half to the National Wildlife Federation and the other half to the American Cancer Society.
He called this "Operation Bearlove good, Cancer bad" – it ended up raising more than $100000! Thank you Internet, for providing!
The Google Keywords tool, inside out
This might seem very old school, but until we find a way to use a more direct medium for our thoughts than language, keywords will stay important. Besides, this is the most in-depth article on the google keyword tool we've seen in a long time, and we think it belongs here. There you go!
Massive input – the anitidote to same old?
Many TV sets are already connected to the Internet (20% by 2016, we're told). Thus far, the net's famous interactive capability has yet to show up in the type of content we see on TV. One blogger might have shown us the content form of the interactive TV future. Ze Frank's "A Show" is not about him. It is about the viewers. The formula marries a scavenger hunt and an art class, with some slick editing.
Creative of the Week – Douglas Coupland
Yes indeed, Douglas Coupland. The Canadian writer has moved on from Generation X and has recently applied his wit and vision to data visualisation. Coupland has a track record as a visual artist, but while on a research trip to the Bell Labs department of Alcatel-Lucent he got bitten by the data bug. One thing led to another and Coupland got invited to make Electric Ikebana, a piece of interactive data art that takes into account elements like your IP address and time of day to create a digital data flower arrangement.
Posted by Gerrie Smits