Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
Yesterday I went to the Arecibo Observatory, the biggest radio telescope in the world. It’s in Puerto Rico.
Why? Because I love science and technology, and this is a really amazing piece of human achievement.
Thanks to the Arecibo Observatory, we know that the orbit of Mercury is 59 days and that neutron stars exist. The Arecibo Observatory also helped discover the first 3 extra-solar (as in, not orbiting our sun) planets, and was used by SETI in the search for extraterrestrial life and the Americans in the search Soviet information during the Cold War.
It’s also a pretty fantastic piece of engineering: the platform holding all the equipment, suspended over the center, weighs over 900 tons.
I knew some of this before I went, but learned about it in more detail and more on the Arecibo Observatory Wikipedia page. (the visitor’s centre is pretty comprehensive but was also pretty full of annoying kids so I didn’t stick around too long inside).
While I was there, I was reminded of an episode of NPR’s RadioLab about the world’s geekiest, yet most beautifully romantic mixtape, a golden record that was put on the Voyager Spacecraft by Annie Druyan, wife of Carl Sagan.
RadioLab is amazing, by the way.
If you’ve seen the impressive stats in the StumbleUpon infographic that has been floating around recently, this DDB campaign to promote TELETOON Retro‘s line-up of Super-hero programming using StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery Service will be right up your alley.
The campaign uses Paid Stumbles to drive Cartoon, Comic Book, and Animation fans on StumbleUpon to a few pieces of content, including a promotional video that TELETOON created, and blog posts by various comic book bloggers who’ve written posts about their “Top 5 TELETOON Retro Villains.” While driving traffic to third-party sites may be a tough sell for some clients, TELETOON recognized that these sites could give their campaign greater credibility, and were willing to experiment.
With the appropriate campaign, StumbleUpon can be an amazing way to drive relevant, targeted viewers to content directly through a medium they’re already using.
The One Thing is a result of the daily 10am meeting held in DDB Canada’s Vancouver office, where our digital team meets to discuss new online trends, tools and technologies.
For an archive of the 10am links, visit our Delicious account at http://www.delicious.com/Radar10AM.
Radar on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RadarDDB
Timothy B. Lee (no, not that Tim B. Lee) is one of my favorite
pundits bloggers thinkers writers these days.
In a recent blog post for Forbes (The Social Media Singularity), he wrote the following great paragraphs:
Like any skill, the ability to find good Internet content gets better with practice. Intellectuals under about 35 have had access to the Web for their entire adult lives. Most of us rely on the Internet as our primary source of information about the world. We’ve all been practicing finding interesting content and sharing it with our friends for over a decade. Many of us are quite good at it.
In contrast, intellectuals over about 45 had already gotten used to a print-centric media diet by the time the Internet arrived. As a result, they didn’t adopt online reading habits with the same enthusiasm. When social media arrived, few of their peers were using it so they didn’t either. And as a consequence, they never developed the kind of Internet-filtering prowess that comes naturally to many people in my cohort.
There are certainly exceptions to both cases, but I think it is a great way to sum up part of what’s happening online today.
Read his whole article here.
One of my favorite things about working at DDB Canada is the incredibly talented coworkers I get to spend my day with. I love the projects that I get to work on, but I also love seeing what other teams come up with for their clients.
One amazing project that some of the DDB team recently completed was for Canadian Blood Services. The campaign was called Blood Signal and while it was integrated across multiple mediums (print, guerilla, online ads), my favorite part was the Facebook-connect enabled website that they created.
The pulls information from your Facebook profile to create a customized, animated video about how many lives you and your friends could save by donating blood. Seeing your friends faces appear in the places their from acts as encouragement for you to get them to donate blood, and adds social relevance to the campaign.
Check it out yourself at BloodSignal.ca. Then go donate some blood.
The Entertainment Software Association of America posted their 2011 Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry today, and while nothing in it seemed essential to me, there were a few interesting nuggets of information:
1.) The average game player is 37 years old
I’m sure that despite this, the stereotype of the sedentary, lonely-but-trash-talking teenager will prevail.
2.) Women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (37%) than boys age 17 or younger (13%)
Seriously – this stat surprised me. I guess when I think about games, I’m guilty of not taking into consideration casual games.
3.) Starcraft Battle Chest is the 20th Best Selling Computer Game of 2010
This package was originally released in 1999! (Thanks, to my friend Richard for pointing this out). The fact that it is still one of the best selling pieces of entertainment says a lot about how good this game is. Quality gameplay goes a lot more than flashy graphics, I guess.
4.) Parents See Positive impact of Computer and Video Games
I’ve been an advocate for the positive benefits of video games for a long, long time (seriously – I wrote that post in 2007!). However, I never thought that parents would see things the same way. I’d like to see these stats compared to how parents see television in their household. Are video and computer games seen more positively? My guess is yes.
The annual Mesh Conference in Toronto is always a big highlight of the year for me (despite the fact that I missed it last year). It’s one of the places where, after moving to Toronto, I first realized that there were other people interested in this social media stuff and that the web had more potential than I even thought.
Also often referred to as “The Porn Session,” this panel discussion with Allison Vivas, Peter Nowak and Patchen Barrs was probably one of the best of the conference. While it didn’t exactly get into the details of how adult entertainment was shaping the web, the panelists did talk about how the adult industry was either sinking or swimming as the web becomes the dominate communications platform. As these companies are early adopters and on the fringes, any big technology changes impact them. I won’t go into the part of the conversation that was about the potentially booming industry of teledildonics and sex robots.
I will say that the whole thing got also got me super stoked to be working in advertising, as it reminded me of how much traditional media organizations are struggling to come up with ways to monetize their content.
Advertisers are uniquely positioned to create amazing content for free on behalf of our clients. We want people to share it is, pass it along. To us, consumer copying truly is the sincerest form of flattery, not representative of lost revenue.
For your reference, I’ve included the notes that my friend Brad Buset took during this presentation:
Lessons on Gamification: Myths & Misunderstandings Dispelled
I want to preface anything I say about this presentation with the fact that I think the presenter, Brian Wong, is an incredibly smart guy who was a fantastic speaker and that I’m hoping I can catch up with him sometime in the future to hear more about his company, Kiip. Brian clearly understands the concepts of gamification, and has worked them nicely into Kiip. However, his whole presentation got me thinking:
In general, the problem I have with most people talking about ‘gamification’ is that they only reference other types of gamification, rather than actual games. I see this as a huge miss on the part of the web/app/social media industry. The further away we get from the types of games that spawned this trend, the worse off everyone is going to be. I mean, if the next generation of ‘gamified’ apps or marketing ideas are just copies of the current crop, where will we be?
Seriously – when was the last time you saw someone speak/write about gamification who you felt actually played some serious games? Modern Warfare is one of the best selling entertainment franchises EVER, and it did so because it is a game that took it self seriously. Let’s start talking a look at how games like this treats rewards and badges and, this part is important, the ACTUAL GAME, not how other examples of gamification also use game-like aspects.
I won’t go into a ton of detail about this session except to say that BlogCampaign’s own Heather Morrison and her colleagues did a fantastic job presenting some of the methodology their agency, Sequentia-Environics, does when researching online communities. She’ll be following up with another post soon about this, as well as with some of the results from an in-depth research piece she worked on that was released the same day as her presentation.
Were you at Mesh this year? What were some of the highlights for you?
I’ve come to love Facebook Insights these days. They can provide you with an incredible wealth of data, particularly about what type of content resonates best with your fans.
One of the ways that I’ve been measuring this is by the Response Ratio: The number response a post has received (comments + likes), divided by the number of fans the page has (often I then multiply this final number by 1000 just so its easier to work with…I’m sure there’s a mathematical statistical term for this).
While Facebook provides you with the number of impressions your post has had, and the Feedback percentage for this post, you can’t easily get this information for pages your competitors or pages in the same category. However, Response Ratio allows you to do this, so that you can easily compare the amount of engagement your page has compared to similar ones, regardless of fan size.
Part of what started this thinking was a debate we had at work about how much engagement National Geographic’s Facebook page has. Their status updates average something like 3,000 comments and Likes each. This sounds huge, but not compared to their 4.5 million fans.
In fact, despite the amazing content that National Geographic is sharing, their level of engagement is much lower than that of the average brand page (at least, the ones Radar DDB is working on ;-) ). An example of the Response Ratio for their last ten updates is as follows:
As you can see, there are a couple of troughs and peaks. The big spike at 9 is for a post they had linking to a photo gallery Iceland, while other spikes represent a post linking photos of pagodas in China and a post linking to an article about Pi Day. The low point for National Geographic? A link to a picture of a man with his cattle.
In this (very small) sample, our basic analysis says that National Geographic fans are interested in compelling photo series, rather than articles or single photos. If we extended our reporting period to the last month (instead of the last ten posts), we’d probably be able to build a much better picture of the type of content these fans enjoy. Comparing the National Geographic page to similar pages (for example, Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth) and doing an analysis of the Response Ratio might even give some insight into what types of new content National Geographic should be posting.
In the below chart, I also looked at the Fox News Facebook page
So what was that post on the Fox News Facebook Page that got so many comments and likes?
And with that, I think I’ve proven my point that the Facebook Response Ratio is a valuable tool for measuring the types of content that resonate well with a page’s fans.
However, it will always be necessary to measure the sentiment and types of responses that a page’s are updates are getting. While on-page engagement is great, it might not necessarily be the right type of engagement for a brand, nor will it necessarily drive business results.
Do you think you will use the Facebook Response Ratio? Are there any other ways to measure the success of yours or competitor Facebook pages, besides pure fan numbers?
PS: If you like this post, you might like this other post I wrote about the Best Time To Post On Facebook
As some of you might have noticed, I haven’t contributed much to Blogcampaigning lately; not only was I busy sorting out paperwork in order to be able to stay in Australia, but I also started a new job (editor’s note: Oh, I’ve noticed!)
As of this month, I started work as a lecturer for game design at Qantm college. It sure feels good to turn a life-long passion into a job.
As you can imagine, talking in front of 80 students in a second language and helping to develop part of the curriculum is pretty exciting. Experience in public speaking certainly helps, but when you walk in your first lecture, all eyes on you, people in the back complaining about not being able to hear anything, other students explaining that there’s a microphone you don’t know how to use – that’s when your heart skips a beat.
A couple of lame zombie jokes later and the ice is broken. Hopefully they’re enough to motivate the students to do work. Getting them to actually do something for the course is not going to be too easy, given its rather dry content: project management… Not the most electrifying lecture, but certainly necessary. Somehow I’ll get them there!
aims to make visible what unites us and what may divide us, to create an awareness for the necessity to act locally in response to global issues. It endeavours to research the human condition of the young urban dweller in the 21st century.
Every month three bloggers in 12 cities all over the globe write about different aspects of these cities. There’s a text blogger (me), a video blogger and a photo blogger.
Step by step, they will create a kaleidoscope of impressions, opinions, ideas and… plain fun.
In January we covered “My year in the city – Work, Play and get out of here!”; this month we looked into “Going Local – Neighbourhood, Kiez and Suburb in my city”; March will be about a theme you’ve all been waiting for: “Sex and the City.”
Infographics are hot right now – it sees like everyone is getting in on them. And why not? They’re fun.
These days though, I’m more interested in the data behind the infographics. Maybe it is just because I’ve been heads-down doing a ton of online research to inform creative ideas for clients, or maybe its just because I like data. I especially like the large data sets that are made easily accessible thanks to social media.
Here are a couple of my favorite pieces of data mining (and I think all of them could make for great infographics):
Per their blog post: “After crunching the numbers, taken from thousands of publicly available torrents, this awards race turned out to be an easy win for Inception. With a staggering 13,780,000 downloads Christopher Nolan’s movie was the clear winner.”
Note: based on previous years, these torrent-based predictions don’t necessarily hold true.
StumbleUpon is easily my favourite social media site/tool/distraction, and it was really cool to see the way they analyzed the way people were using the site over the course of the Super Bowl.
I loved this post that BoingBoing made over the weekend about judging the national mood of countries based on the music that was being downloaded. How has this changed over time? What would it look like compared the current economy?
In this little study, someone compared the amount of swear words included in different types of computer code.
Have you seen any other cool bits of data mining and analysis like this?
The video series is like a choose your own adventure, with the user deciding how The Streets’ Mike Skinner goes about his day. The cool part is that some of the story lines lead you to song samples from the album. Finding the first one was neat, but having to go through parts of the story again to find all of them was a little bit annoying.
Check it out!