Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
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!
When I was in University, a lot of my classes had a supplementary reading list. You didn’t need to read these articles or books to pass, but they were related to the subject matter and might help your understanding of it. As I’m reading more and more about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, I’ve become reminded of some great articles or stories that I’ve read over the past few years. Below are a few of them that I think anyone interested in WikiLeaks might also be interested in:
The Cypherpunk Manifesto – “Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn’t want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn’t want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world,” wrote Eric Hughes in 1993 as the opening lines of The Cypherpunk Manifesto. And while that was almost 20 years ago, it feels incredibly relevant in the context of the Wikileaks case breaking now. As the text continues, I can’t help but feel it must have very influential on a younger Julian Assange:
“Cypherpunks write code. We know that someone has to write software to defend privacy, and since we can’t get privacy unless we all do, we’re going to write it. We publish our code so that our fellow Cypherpunks may practice and play with it. Our code is free for all to use, worldwide. We don’t much care if you don’t approve of the software we write. We know that software can’t be destroyed and that a widely dispersed system can’t be shut down.”
Anything about Sealand - While I haven’t been following the Wikileaks case closely enough to know where exactly the information is being hosted these days, the talk of finding an independent data haven reminded me of the brief obsession I had with The Principality of Sealand. This off-shore platform was built in international waters during World War II and has had a colourful history of pirate radio stations, pretenders to the throne, secessionists and so on ever since then. For a while, I remember there being talk of it being used as a data haven by online gambling (and more nefarious organizations) wanting to keep their information safe from the prying eyes of government.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson - While it is a work of fiction, the plot of this lengthy tome is about a group of people trying to set-up a data haven somewhere in the South Pacific. Its got historical adventure, techno-babble and the type of writing you can’t put down. If you want to have a taste of some the research that went into writing this book, I strongly recommend also reading “Mother Earth Mother Board,” an epic article that Neal Stephenson wrote for Wired Magazine in 1996 about the business of laying undersea fibre-optic cables across the world. In the age of Wi-Fi, it can feel a bit dated at times but is still a top-notch read.
Assassination Politics - I feel like there have been a couple of calls for the assassination of Julian Assange, and the whole thing got me thinking about Jim Bell’s concept of Assassination Politics (an article I read about the same time as The Cypherpunk Manifesto). The concept is basically that with the right type of cryptography, the type that would allow us to exchange information and money without either side of the exchange knowing the identity of the other, you could set up a sort of assassination market that would easily collapse governments. Jim Bell’s article is a great thought experiment, particularly when combined with some of the other articles in this list.
What would you add to the Wikileaks Supplementary Reading list?
Sometimes you get handed a project at work, and you’re the only one on it. You see it through from every step and when its finished, for better or worse, it was all you.
Sometimes though, you’re just a small cog in a big machine, a player on the team.
Either way, it feels amazing when things come together and you see some success.
Sometimes it is just hundreds of thousands of views.
Sometimes its both:
And the making of:
A lot of hands when into making these videos and letting them out into the wild, but I think most of the credit goes to creative forces here at DDB Canada.
Sometime last week I read a news story announcing that “Japan’s latest rockstar is a 3D hologram.” The star is actually a software package that a company put together that is capable of mimicking a human voice (based on a sample from a voice over artist) and creating songs.
As a devoted sci-fi fan, I wasn’t surprised by this. It was more like the feeling you get after a medium-length car trip: “Oh, we’re here?” you might say as you put down the magazine and tell whoever it is that drove that it seems like you made good time.
In the 1994 animation movie Macross Plus, one of the main ‘characters’ is an Artificial Intelligence named Sharon Apple. She sells out stadiums, and appears to be the biggest star in the world.
Similarly, in William Gibson’s 1995 book Idoru one of the main characters ‘marries’ Rei Toei, another performer who is nothing more than an Artificial Intelligence.
I haven’t seen the movie S1M0NE, but apparently it has a similar plot line with the added perk of Al Pacino.
How much of our entertainment of the future will be entirely artificial? Its one thing to create robots that can sing like humans, and insert digital characters into movies, but will a computer ever be able to create an actual story?
Image of Sharon Apple above via this site.