The Guardian, Monday 29 April 2013: ‘In the last month, the world’s largest social network has lost 6m US visitors, a 4% fall, according to analysis firm SocialBakers. In the UK, 1.4m fewer users checked in last month, a fall of 4.5%. The declines are sustained. In the last six months, Facebook has lost nearly 9m monthly visitors in the US and 2m in the UK.
Users are also switching off in Canada, Spain, France, Germany and Japan, where Facebook has some of its biggest followings. A spokeswoman for Facebook declined to comment.’
Is Facebook doomed? Maybe. And more or less everyone is celebrating the fact. Facebook has become an unstoppable juggernaut, a gigantic Moloch that swallows everything everyone ever did, said, lived. Even worse: it has become something nobody likes, but has to live with, for some strange reason. But there is at least one person that doesn’t care too much about it, and that’s Mr. Evil Baphomet Behemoth Lucifer Mark Elliot Zuckerberg. In fact, he’s having a right laugh, for a simple reason: he bought Instagram, some time ago, and, while everybody was going “WTF??”, we said the move was genius (‘Three good reasons why Facebook bought Instagram’).
Look at the comments below. Now, the same people are taking pictures of #food on Instagram, like there’s no tomorrow.
Yes, Instagram is where all the users Facebook is losing are going to, at the moment. And that moment is going to last for a good while, for a few reasons:
1. The present of the Internet is image-based. Nobody want to read stuff online anymore, unless it is relevant – i.e. The Economist and BuzzFeed GOOD, your status about how you are fed up with the weather in London BAD. Moreover, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and blah blah blah.
2. Video is the future, folks.
3. Mobile is the future, kids. And Facebook for mobile is just crap.
4. It’s addictive. Yes, Instagram is bloody addictive.
5. There a shift from “curator” to “creator”. And, if you still really want to be a curator, then go for Tumblr.
6. Instagram doesn’t bother you with ads, it’s simple – although many features could be changed and make it work – it’s still yours, you don’t have to pay to have to reach users with your posts, and your mother is not using it – yet.
When it comes to Gen Y, there’s a great article on Mashable, written by a 13 year old kid, that explains the situation: ‘I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook’. For the rest of us ex-kids, just consider this: when your friend who had a BlackBerry until two months ago finally gets an iPhone and start taking pictures of cupcakes somewhere in West London, then you know everybody is moving to Instagram.
Finally, here’s the top 3 Instagram situations of the week.
A bored 50 Cent claims he’s the “coolest man alive”.
@mrpimpgoodgame’s collection of selfies.
And Miley Cyrus’ Photoshop Fail.
What do you think?
We work with property developers, architects and interior designers. Funnily enough, even though they are not accountants, sometimes our clients struggle to find inspiring things to post on their blogs, Pinterest boards and Facebook pages.
There are a couple of bad things about the Internet – too many cats and Rihanna wannabes – but there is this great, mind-blowing thing: anything you can think of (and beyond) is online.
Therefore stop saying you are short of ideas, and focus on the following tasks:
- Inspire me
- Inform and entertain
- Seduce me
And show you know what you are talking about. Are you an architect? Go on Tumblr, click on “Find blogs” and get lost in a sea of blogs dedicated to any kind of porn, from cabins to bricks. Or just type “fireplace” on Pinterest, and see where it will bring you.
Cabin porn, on Tumblr.
Fireplace porn, a Pinterest board by Eva Lichner.
Inform and entertain.
Images are powerful, but reading about architects, buildings and typography and “collections of collections” is pretty cool, too.
Do it with photography, or, even better, video. Like this one. Pure architecture porn. Oh Lord, it’s getting hot in here…
What do you think?
SADvertising / Three sad, bad and/or depressing ads, feat. Timberland, McDonald’s and – yep, again – Chanel and Brad Pitt.
I was trying to find something uplifting and inspirational on the Internet, you know, one of those motivational things like “Hell Yeah It’s Friday!” that make us smile and think that everything is going to be fine because the weekend is here and friends are coming over and beers are going to fly and cats are all over the place, but for some strange reason, Twisted Sister Serendipity brought me to the Wasteland of Depressing Ads.
Here’s a fine selection of ads gone wrong.
I found this on Business Insider Australia: ‘McDonald’s In Australia Just Released A Series Of Really Depressing Ads’
(image courtesy of Business Insider Australia)
Then this appeared in my Facebook feed, and I felt even more depressed.
(image courtesy of Ads of the World)
Dulcis in fundo (last but not least, that is) while I was about to publish this post, my eye fell on the last article, featuring Brad Pitt (and his empty eyes) for Chanel, next to a pile of rubbish.
(image courtesy of the Internet)
What do you think?
Is social media good for sales? We don’t really know. But it is good for revolutions, that’s for sure. #OccupyGezi #Turkey
Every time a social media strategist goes to a meeting, she/he will face the scepticism and diffidence of yet another client, who will eventually ask: “Yes, it sounds cool and everything, but how can I make money with it?”
A difficult question, indeed. How do we measure ROI and benefits and impact of social media marketing? There is no infallible tool/Oracle for that, I’m afraid.
So, what it the real purpose of social media? By looking at the Arab Spring, and now at what is going on in Turkey, we could say that social media can indeed have a purpose: to allow people to show their indignation, their anger and frustration, to organise and come together, for a radical change.
Traditional media won’t show the facts on telly? Who cares, for we’ve got Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and a few other weapons.
And you know what? Governments can’t control them (at least in full).
So, here’s a random collections of headlines, links, videos and pictures that show how people, once they realise the real power of social media – no, I’m not talking about sharing a can of Coke with your friends and then post a pic on Instagram – can really change the world.
Erdogan vs Social media
From Wired UK: ‘Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called social media “the worst menace to society”, saying that it has been used to spread lies about the current anti-government protests taking place in the country.’
Mashable: ‘Turkey Protesters Take to Twitter as Local Media Turns a Blind Eye’
Al Jazeera: ‘At least 24 people arrested in #Turkey for tweeting “misleading and libellous information”.’
http://turkishpolicebrutality.tumblr.com/ features (often very disturbing) pictures of the unrest.
Other blogs are helping spreading the word and key images; “The woman in red” is already an icon of the unrest.
Bringing it offline
Mashable: ‘Turkish Protesters Crowdfunding Ad in ‘The New York Times. The Istanbul protesters who drew out riot police over the weekend have some overseas admirers, it seems. Inspired by the demonstrations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a handful of New York-based supporters are raising money online for a full-page ad, to be placed in either the New York Times or the Washington Post.’
Anonymous helps out
‘Hackers access email accounts of PM Erdogan’s staff’
Banksy helps out, too
‘Entire staff of Turkish Airlines in Guy Fawkes masks, in choreographed protest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x56qCv5AgA&feature=youtu.be … #OccupyGezi #Turkey’
‘Stunning, overwhelming @instagram collage of the #Turkey protests http://nowembed.jit.su/?size=150&event=RRR5xekKrR … via @digitalhoarding #occupygezi’
We still don’t know what will happen to Tumblr, but history teaches us that whenever some big label signs an underground indie banjo player, things are going to change, and suddenly everything turns into a grandmother-friendly, honey-voiced bunch of pointless songs the same kids who helped the artist go big will hate. The end.
This is my opinion, of course, but the vox populi on Tumblr seems to confirm the theory.
But let’s start with the news, as reported by the Financial Times: ‘Marissa Mayer, chief executive of Yahoo, has made her first big bet to jump-start growth at the stalled web portal company with the $1.1bn purchase of New York start-up Tumblr. Announcing the deal on Monday, Yahoo said that “per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up”, Tumblr would be independently operated as a separate business. David Karp, Tumblr’s 26-year-old founder, will remain chief executive.’
Of course, the fact Marissa Mayer said they promise “not to screw it up” means that they will screw it up, big time. Moreover, it seems like they already started to apply martial rules; as a user said, as a comment to her post: ‘ahiahi, poor marissa: we want to communicate with u, why there’s no ask or fan mail button on your tumblr? U seems not to be “online” with tumblr style, and we don’t need any chat, flickr, smiles or “family style”, poor us…’
Here’s how they will screw up:
- Tumblr was an unregulated, intimate space for the Generation Yers’ deepest thoughts and weirdest and wildest ideas. They had chosen Tumblr instead of Facebook – on which they have their parents and teachers as friends – as their Speakers’ Corner, unpolluted by brands, ads, and other animals. It was uncensored – pornography is big on Tumblr, and, as we stressed elsewhere, it is part and parcel of every 15-year-old daily life, nowadays – and pure. It had a wild and rough angle, and an aftertaste of anarchy and poetic “fuckedupness”. This, obviously, has to change now
- Very few brands were on Tumblr; that absence of big players meant absence of branded content, and, ultimately, an absence of ads, AKA the enemies of social media, as they are invasive, nosy and interfere with feeds made of bona fide posts and real user-generated content
- Say hello to EdgeRank, or: the “algorithm developed by Facebook to govern what is displayed—and how high—on the News Feed.” It will be introduced to control and legislate the platform, introducing a rather violent sense of manipulation, averse to the nature of Tumblr. ‘I want to see every post from everyone I follow, in the order that they were posted’ said a user, and that pretty much sums it up. In a few words, they will kill the ethos the platform is famous for.
And here’s the aforementioned vox populi:
And now, the epitaph, posted by a perplexed kid: ‘Yahoo Pays $1.1B for Tumblr? Where is the new “wild west” of the Internet going to be?’
That is indeed an interesting question.
What do you think?
Tumblr and the “Stylish and F***ed Up Generation”/ Design & Architecture, Sex and the Narcissistic World of Gen Y.
What is Generation Y? Nobody really knows. Academics are confused, sociologists are puzzled, and even leading-edge brands such as Burberry are at sixes and sevens, when it comes to this rather special breed of customers.
According to Wikipedia, ‘Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, is the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when Generation Y starts and ends. Commentators use beginning birth dates from the latter 1970s, or from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.’
The plot thickens.
I googled the term, and found a handy service from the Financial Times, called Lexicon. Well, I thought, whatever the FT says, it must be at least close to the truth, right? Not so sure about it.
‘Globally, generation Y (gen Y) refers broadly to the demographic cohort born between 1975 and 1995. The group is seen as reliant on new media and digital technology with short attention spans. They expect entertaining and fast-paced information and are assumed to be self-centred, demanding, and hard to integrate into teams.’ The article continues: ‘As consumers, gen Y attracts much attention from market researchers who have realised early on that the group itself has different values, such as placing emphasis on environmental issues, but in other respects gen Y varies between countries.’
The FT describes Gen Y as a pretty capricious, whimsical, quirky and hard to define bunch, then.
The Boston Globe has a little more sympathy for these young fellows: ‘For young people today, the American dream of working hard, saving money, and becoming richer than their parents may be out of reach. Americans in their mid-30s and younger have accumulated less wealth than their parents did at that age more than 25 years ago — a trend that threatens to weaken the economy overall, according to a study by the Urban Institute, which analyzes social and economic problems.’
Now we understand a bit more: Gen Yers have different values, are more narcissistic but also more civic-minded than previous generations, tend to spend a lot of time online – Tumblr, rather than Facebook – and have a tragic sense of beauty. In sum, we can say that: the future seems grim, political correctness is not mandatory anymore, and Gen Y are a stylish, narcissistic, culturally aware and fucked up bunch of souls curating/creating incredibly sparkling and fascinating Tumblr blogs about design, “things I like”, cool stuff, and content that is hotter than a vindaloo.
Here’s three cool Tumblr blogs you should check out, if you want to understand – and eventually sell stuff to, you greedy, impertinent corporation – the Gen Y.
A perfect snapshot of a certain fringe of Gen Y – the ones who read Jean-Paul Sartre, watch Jean-Luc Godard’s movies listen to Tyler, The Creator and prefer Wolfgang Tillmans over Terry Richardson.
Life on Sundays
Stylish interiors, details, beautiful objects, stunning images, with a NSFW twist – because pornography is now part of our online lives, and is also getting classier – and a strong melancholic aftertaste.
Exquisiteness and design for the Gen Yers, constantly fluctuating between the bright and dark sides of life: the yin of bikes and cycling and the yang of booze and cheese sandwiches, well-behaved girls smoking and drinking, all wrapped in a fucked up dandy cape.
Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Part 2 / Less Tavor, More Tumblr. Or, Think Outside the (Pill) Box.
I was having a “Sunday Roast Social Media Conversation” the other day, trying to explain to a friend my views on the beauty of medicine, and the importance of aesthetics in life; he said “a pill is a pill, mate”, to which I replied “Ceci n’est pas une pill”, paraphrasing René Magritte’s The Treachery of Images.
He didn’t get it. Neither did I.
The nitty-gritty, anyway, is that a pipe is a pipe but also something else, and pills are pills but are also something else – something beautiful to look at, with all their colours and shapes – and once again art and medicine found themselves sharing a compartment on a train, and once more we should try to think outside the (pill) box, and realise a pharmaceutical company should have a social presence that goes beyond the mere link-news-functional-post-done-ciao.
Nothing new here – Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome, the American-British pharmaceutical entrepreneur who co-founded Burroughs Wellcome & Company, was also a philanthropist and an art lover. According to Wikipedia “Wellcome had a passion for collecting medically related artefacts, aiming to create a Museum of Man. He bought very widely anything related to medicine, including Napoleon’s toothbrush, currently on display at the Wellcome Collection. By the time of his death there were 125,000 medical objects in the collection, of over one million total.”
If you leave in London, go see the Wellcome Collection TOMORROW. If you don’t leave in London, come down here and visit the Collection instead of Primark and other “cheap and unchic” attractions. Here’s the Collection’s website: http://www.wellcomecollection.org/
How to turn this into digital matter, then? A few suggestions will follow.
Anyway, once again, remember the dogma: INFORM AND ENTERTAIN.
In 2009, I went to the Wellcome Collection to see “Exquisite Bodies: or the Curious and Grotesque History of the Anatomical Model”, an astonishing collection of anatomical models. From the bearded lady to Damien Hirst’s Hymn, how cool would they look on a Pinterest board?
You can’t avoid Facebook
Yep, that’s true – Facebook is like Rihanna: wherever you go, you can’t avoid it. Therefore, make the most of it.
Pfizer is doing a good job on the social network, posting inspiring things, vintage photographs and beautiful etchings.
(From the Pfizer Photo Archives: An etching, circa 1915, of Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Brooklyn, New York)
As you probably know, I’m a big fan of Tumblr. How to use it, when it comes to medicine-related stuff? Look at Medical School (http://medicalschool.tumblr.com/). Brilliant.
Is this one of Yves Klein’s monochrome works from The Blue Epoch? Nope, it’s the human spinal cord in cross section.
Abstract painting or colourised SEM of anthrax bacteria?
Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Part 1 / If Damien Hirst turned an art gallery into a pharmacy, why shouldn’t we turn a Facebook page into an arty pharmacy?
“Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress; when I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other.”
“Inform and entertain”, recites the social media mantra; whatever you do, follow this simple rule and you will eventually produce something good.
And yes, even if it is not about football or girls or LOLs or cats, your Facebook page / Tumblr / Pinterest can attract a strong community. And yes, even if you are a pharmaceutical company.
How? Here’s the recipe:
Useful links and info + practical advices + healthy recipes and tips for a healthier lifestyle + a forum-like place in which the company and the consumers converse + YOUR PERSONAL TWIST
What about the twist? Think for instance about medicine in art. Even more specific: let’s consider the concept of pharmacy in art.
Here’s a just a few examples:
Readymades of Marcel Duchamp / Pharmacy (Pharmacie) / 1914
‘Gouache on chromolithograph of a scene with bare trees and a winding stream to which he added two dots of watercolor, red and green, like the colored liquids in a pharmacy.’
Joseph Cornell / Pharmacy
Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) Pharmacy typed and dated ‘Joseph Cornell 1943’ (on a paper label affixed to the inside) wood box construction — printed paper, colored sand, colored foil, sulfur, feathers, seashells, butterfly, aluminum foil, fiber, wood shavings, copper wire, fruit pits, water, gold paint, cork, water, dried leaves and found objects 15¼ x 12 x 3 1/8 in. (38.7 x 30.5 x 7.9 cm.) Executed in 1943.’
If you have a spare $4 million in your right pocket, head here to buy it: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/sculptures-statues-figures/joseph-cornell-pharmacy-5147472-details.aspx
Damien Hirst / Pharmacy / 1992
From the Tate’s website: ‘For Hirst medicine, like art, provides a belief system which is both seductive and illusory. He has commented: ‘I can’t understand why some people believe completely in medicine and not in art, without questioning either’ (quoted in Damien Hirst, p.9). By reproducing the area of a pharmacy the public is normally denied access to in a highly aestheticised context, Hirst has created a kind of temple to modern medicine, ironically centred around an agent of death (the insect-o-cutor). Offering endless rows of palliative hopes for a diseased cultural body, Hirst’s Pharmacy could be seen as a representation of the multiple range of philosophies, theories and belief systems available as possible means of structuring and redeeming a life. Like medicine, however, these attempts to think a way around death are eternally doomed to failure.’
WARNING! The following example should be taken as a mere case of pharmacy-themed art, and it shouldn’t be used, for obvious reasons (customers looking for medicines online don’t really want to see posts about drug abuse, addiction and sad stories of troubled pop stars).
Jason Mecier / Pill Portraits
Pharmacy: From Old French farmacie (modern French pharmacie), from Medieval Latin pharmacia, from Ancient Greek φαρμακεία (pharmakeia, “the use of drugs”), from φάρμακον (pharmakon, “a drug, charm, enchantment”), from Ancient Greek φαρμακίς (pharmakis, “witch”).
Lots of celebrities have problems with drugs. Everybody knows it. American artist Jason Mecier created a series of interesting celebrity mosaic-portraits using coloured prescription pills.
Stay tuned for Part 2.
“There’s only two people in your life you should lie to… the police and your girlfriend.”
There are two simple rules brands must follow when a customer asks a question on any social network:
– be honest
– don’t be dishonest
Easy. But let’s start with a Freudian analysis.
Young children ask an average 4,566 questions a day. “Why this?”, “Why that?” and so on. Now, unless you are a heartless loveless and soulless being, you will try to answer at least to half of the questions. In this phase, two types of parents can be seen: the ones who try to come up with the right answer, and the ones who just come up with something – a half-truth, a lie, a who-cares-she-is-gonna-forget-about-this-anyway, a complicated half-lie which doesn’t really help and makes things look even more intricate, a whole plain big load of bulls**t and other countless ways to avoid that sad “Daddy doesn’t know (and doesn’t have an Internet connection), sweetheart…”
If you do it in the privacy of your own home, you’ll have to justify your behavior to your wife and kids, but if you are a brand on social media, your lies are likely to be exposed to millions, and eventually collect comments and reactions that won’t help your reputation.
Case 1 / Sky Movies HD
I believe trolling can be a useful and interesting activity, from a sociological point of you. Provoke someone, and see what happens. Action / reaction. Some brands are good dealing with that, some are bad, some are honest.
Some time ago I was listening to some music on Spotify. As I am a cheap person, I still use the free account, which means you have a limited amount of features, and every three songs there is someone trying to sell you something, with a cheesy ad.
So I decided to complain on Sky Movies HD’s Facebook page.
Here’s the reply. I quite like it.
Case 2 / Campari
The guys at Campari describe themselves as the skippers of “uniqueness”. It doesn’t seem so in the following post, in which a young lady pointed out the image is surprisingly similar to another brand’s JPEG.
Here’s the original, from Molinari Sambuca Italia:
And here’s the rip-off:
What do they do after she left the comment? They hide it from the page.
She finds out, and tell the guys “You hid my comment?? double #faillllllllllllll”. After a little while, the comment magically reappeared, with this reply: “Hi ____, our apologies, for some reason your link triggered our spam filter and hid your comment automatically. In response to your comment: we did not intentionally create a similar post, what can we say? Great minds think alike! J”
Now, if that is not a big, fat, shameless, impudent, cheap, insolent, brazen, blatant lie, then I am Diego Armando Maradona.
What do you think?
Back in the 1980s, people used to visit exotic places and take a gazillion pictures with big black squared point-and-shoot cameras, then come back home, invite people over, give them crackers, salty biscuits and pistachios, show them the gazillion pictures, and bore them to death.
Here’s me riding a camel. Here’s Jen posing in front of the Great Pyramid. Here’s our driver, Rashid, eating ice cream. Here’s Fritz, a German fellow traveller, dancing to Lady Gaga, on the boat, during the Nile cruise.
And so on and so forth, multiplied by a gazillion times.
We already spent some time explaining why Burberry, AKA one of the toppermost social brands ever, AKA the reference when it comes to all things digital marketing-related, is surprisingly weak on Pinterest (and Instagram), when they talk about London.
I mean, London is not exactly like Hull – two streets, three pubs, fish & chips shop, that’s it – so why are they always posting pictures of Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Tower Bridge and other rather unoriginal stuff?
The only explanation is they hired a team of social media veterans – meaning they are a bunch 75-year-olds accountants with a passion for colourless clichéd holiday photography.
Now, my point is: do you want to show London’s vibe, its characters and countless shades of Majesty and Beauty, in an original and unique – yet organic mummy-friendly – way? Then get inspired here:
Tips, food, places, photos of sheep roaming next to Canary Wharf, parks and green spaces, iconic design, healthy eating, tilt-shift photography, vintage, art and characters. Of course, this is not the perfect Pinterest account, the one scientist will study in the future and social strategists will talk about for many years to come. Yet, although this is not a a £4.95 billion business – like Burberry – they inform and entertain and tell the story of a great place, in a very pleasant way.
What do you think?
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