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?
The End of Everything / Footballers on Instagram, $38,000 designer bags, extreme luxury and tigers in Dubai.
‘You see it’s broke nigga racism
That’s that “Don’t touch anything in the store”
And this rich nigga racism
That’s that “Come in, please buy more”
“What you want, a Bentley? Fur coat? A diamond chain?
All you blacks want all the same things”
Used to only be niggas, now everybody playing
Spending everything on Alexander Wang
Kanye West / “New Slaves”
‘I just talked to Jesus
He said, “What up Yeezus?”
I said, “Shit I’m chilling
Trying to stack these millions”
I know he the most high
But I am a close high
Mi casa, su casa
That’s our cosa nostra
I am a god
I am a god
I am a god’
Kanye West / “I Am a God” (featuring God)
I will almost copy and paste the following article – by Colin McDowell, posted on The Business of Fashion’s website – in its entirety, as it is too bloody good:
‘Following news that a shop assistant in Zurich refused to let Oprah Winfrey examine a $38,000 black bag, Colin McDowell says astronomically priced products are emblematic of exactly what’s wrong with the fashion business.’
‘LONDON, United Kingdom — Historians take pleasure in giving portmanteau names to periods: The Age of Elegance; The Dawn of Civilisation; The Gilded Age. It is interesting to imagine what, in the future, will be the title given to today’s fashion period. Guilt and Greed, perhaps? The Death of Taste? I would suggest it could best be summed up as The Age of Irresponsible Excess.
To illustrate what I mean, take the recent little vignette that played out in Switzerland, starring Oprah Winfrey. In a Zurich shop, the American media icon expressed interest in a $38,000 black bag, displayed in a locked showcase. A shop assistant refused to get it out of its case to let her properly examine it. Oprah (who is estimated to have earned $77 million last year alone) was informed that it was too expensive for her and after a few more requests and refusals, she left. Many will agree with her assumption that she, an African American woman, was a victim of prejudice, and they could well be right. (My note: read again the lyrics to “New Slaves”)
Racial prejudice is intolerable to all civilised people and it is right that it should be rigorously questioned and examined. But what has not been questioned or examined in this particular case is something which should shock and appal all right-minded people. And that is the price asked for the bag. What an affront to society and civilisation it presents. Above all, it is a shocking indictment of the mindless greed of the higher echelons of the fashion industry and the way in which it has corrupted certain areas of society. Astronomically priced products are designed not to shock, but to excite a customer sufficiently to be determined to buy them.
To me this is exactly what has gone wrong with the fashion business. A spat between a designer and a journalist, like the one between Hedi Slimane and Cathy Horyn, is demeaning and embarrassing, but the “Oprah Bag” question is infinitely more important and should outrage us all. Can we really have respect for an industry that sells handbags for $38,000?
Read the rest here: http://bit.ly/14NA5S2
So, while Kanye raps about the excess of contemporary society, the noveau riche disease and the God complex of the wealthy and tasteless, many still worship money and shamelessly show off their possessions, despite a universal grim economic situation.
Have we lost the plot? Yes.
Other similar cases include ‘Arab kids of instagram’.
Oh, and don’t forget football players showing off on social media.
Here’s Balotelli’s hand.
And Nuri Şahin’s collection of keys.
Hopefully, Gen Y will save us all – as Noah Kerner in this article posted by Forbes reckons: ‘My generation dreamed of making millions on Wall Street. Today’s young people dream bigger – building startups that change the world. is going for other stuff opposite direction
Or, if the world will not change, at least the filthy rich could use a bit of class, when bragging about their monies. Look at Snoop Lion’s Instagram shot – a sober, subtle image of what being rich and famous is about: travelling in style, with Louis Vuitton gear, while smoking a spliff. What else do you need?
Photo sources: Instagram, Vice (http://www.vice.com/en_uk)
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’
Luxury Beauty Brands 2.0 / How to look classy online, feat. “Snooki” Polizzi, L’Occitane en Provence, The Sanctuary and Josie Maran.
I don’t have a TV set. The last time I had one I was at uni. It was 1997. The other day I went to visit a friend; he’s got a TV set, and suddenly I found myself channel surfing like a young Leroy “The Masochist” Smith in Big Wednesday.
After a little while, I sat and wondered:
It looks like there are way more Snookis, WAGs, Tulisas, Geordie Shorettes, TOWIE-sque beauties out there than Carole Bouquets, Audrey Hepburns and Zooey Deschanels.
Moreover, brands often – even plush ones – when it comes to social media, tend to adapt their image to the latest trend, which means that several times they end up looking like a chav, i.e. a not very classy individual with an expensive Burberry cap.
It’s true, thanks to gangsta rappers and Reality TV stars now luxury brands are much more ‘street’ than before, LOL and YOLO and the rest, but still, a luxury brand should stay true to its roots and perpetuate the purest ideals of beauty, elegance, and excellence (that means Coco Chanel is a good style icon, Nicki Minaj is not).
So, if you really need to give it a twist, use your brain.
Want to depict immortal beauty and allure? Ask Ellen von Unwerth to take care of the photoshoot, just like The Sanctuary did (and yes, you are right, we created their website ;)).
Want to engage your customers and keep them coming back for more? Choose culture, nature, healthy recipes and Vintage Posters of Provence, instead of OMG-scandal-scoop-unseen-footage-blah-blah-bloody-blah.
Want to use Instagram in a different way? Stop posting pictures of parties with Rihanna and Drake, and give us some real pictures, like Josie Maran. She’s a mom and a business woman, and found a way to make these traits live together; moreover, her Instagram images show a brand’s human face, and the real deal, i.e. how to look cool and well-groomed even if you have to take care of a wild 1-year-old baby.
What do you think?
Luxury property developers online / Here’s why a stock photo of a cute young lady barefoot on an expensive sofa in an over-the-top living room is not enough.
So, you’ve got your cool new user-friendly website, designed by the hip agency in East London. It features Young Beautiful Woman Smiling To Herself In Mirror Stock Photos ©, and top-of-the-line SEO-boosting content, all groomed with terms such as “passionate”, “inspirational”, “visionary”, “forward-thinking”, “multi-award winning”, “hands-on-approach”, “in-house expertise” and “exceptional end results”. You also have a “creative” section, a real must-have, nowadays. One of your clients is the Saudi Arabian Royal family – perfect. Moreover, you have a Facebook page in which you paste relevant links, five times a week, and a Twitter account, because your PR lady told you it’s MANDATORY to have one.
Is it enough?
Nope, because you still missing one, simple, but crucial point: you sell experiences, not just an expensive bunch of bricks.
Therefore, remember: LIFESTYLE is the key concept.
Here’s a few things you might want to consider.
You should have a blog
First of all, a blog is better than a Facebook page for SEO, offers better conversion tracking, and a longer shelf life. A well-written blog really shows that expertise you are bragging about. It proves you know the score, and that you are an authority in your industry. It can even be a good read, for the potential client, the aspirational one, and even for the one who doesn’t have two pennies to rub together, but still likes to snoop around grand mansions.
Here is a good example of a sweet blog that features music, street art and other interesting topics, and doesn’t just talk about ‘why you should choose us’ (link: http://londonewcastle.com/blog/)
Pinterest, what a great tool! Use it well, and it will help you create and communicate a complex message. Global luxury asset broker and concierge service provider GC Privé have a seriously cool Pinterest account, featuring lifestyle-centred boards – such as this one, in which you’ll find useful tips for a swell night out in the Big Smoke.
Instagram the Hell out of it!
Yes, put your expensive iPhone to good use: download Instagram, take a gazillion pictures, and share them everywhere. Once again, it’s not just about bedrooms and kitchens, it’s about LIFESTYLE. Therefore, I expect to see places, food, travels and cocktails. The guys at Adelto are doing a good job, get inspired by their snapshots.
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?
The Day Zuckerberg Killed Instagram / Three things you can do before they nick your pics and use them in a laxative ad.
Woke up this morning, feeling a bit like Saint Jerome, and had the urge to send a message in a bottle:
“Dear Mark Zuckerberg,
I understand that you don’t really care about being the most popular kid on the block, and that a personal wealth of $9.4 billions is not enough for you, your girlfriend, your dog Beast and the future of your kids, but I think this time you f***ed it up completely, you stu”
Then I stopped, as I remembered that nobody reads anything about serious matters. Let alone “Terms and Conditions”.
The truth is:
Cat doing cat stuff = 435,466,346 like, 439,666 comments, 12,009 lol.
Here’s the link to the new diktat: http://instagram.com/about/legal/terms/updated/
And here’s a couple of links to interesting articles:
“I think it is fair to question the scope of many of these terms as potentially outside of the realm of what is required to operate. It’s no secret that users rarely read and understand these terms, so companies have little incentive to draft user-friendly agreements.”
In other words, until people start actually paying attention and demanding that tech companies stop overreaching when it comes to abusing user content, it’s unlikely anything will change. Not that any of this should be a surprise, really. As Metafilter user blue_beetle famously put it in 2010: “If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”
In light of what we have shown up to this point –
Three things you can do before the Himalaya Drug Company uses your face to sell Clarina Anti Acne Cream:
- Delete your account
- Start posting pictures nobody would use for commercial purposes – like this one
- Start caring about things concerning your personal data, and react to the tyranny of Tsar Zuck the First (and the last, hopefully)
In less then 5 years, we went from “OMG the lady at the post office knows my address and telephone number, I’m doomed” to “They are using photos of my kids in order to sell stuff, init? Who cares, mate. The internet is no place for real life information, said one enlightened blogger, time to finally get it. And, most importantly, it’s time to REACT: take your time and read terms and conditions, spread the world, vote when you can vote (until you can) on Facebook data policy changes, and say NO if you don’t like something. It’s extremely hard to react when you are a homosexual, controversial artist during Stalin’s Soviet Union, like Mayakovsky, not when the only thing you need to say is “Listen, Zuck, we 800 million active users are the ones who made you awfully rich, give us a break, otherwise we’ll find another social network on which post pictures of cats. Cheers.”
What do you think?
It is normal for us, mere mortals, to make mistakes; our vulnerability, fallibility and unreliability make us do silly things, in life as on Instagram.
Therefore, we are (kind of) excused when posting photos of Starbucks Frappuccinos, pets doing pets’ things, or food.
But what about famous luxury brands, with massive budgets, an army of creative minds and technology wizards working in fancy offices in fancy areas, which are suppose to be the avant-garde of a new movement that will change – and eventually save – the world? Yes, they post silly things on Instagram, as well.
Three things luxury brands should avoid, when using Instagram – especially considering that the average user is not a 75-year-old spinster living with cats, collecting Royal Family paraphernalia.
Wrong or confusing iconography
Icons are often used to show the inspiration behind a collection, or the ideal brand ambassador. So, when it comes to fashion, we usually see photos of Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Alright. Good.
So what is Frida Kahlo – an active communist, a tortured soul and a person uninterested in fashion – doing on Tory Burch’s Instagram account, next to a picture of two fashionistas, whose caption says ‘A serious discussion about the color pink.’?
I know Burberry is an iconic brand which embodies the esprit of London and so on and so forth, but from a ground-breaking brand, investing heavily in social media, with potentially unlimited firepower, you would expect something more than “Hey, let’s take pictures of London. Like, what about a photo of Tower Bridge??”
How exciting. Wow. Read More…
“There’s a new kid on the block, and boy, the kid is tough” wrote Jack Prelutsky in 1984.
There’s a new kid on the social media block, and boy, the kid is tough. Its name is Pheed, and it’s based around some strong ideas – but are we sure “strong” is better than “smart”, nowadays?
From Mashable: ‘Is there room for another social network? A new startup, Pheed, certainly hopes so.’
‘Pheed is the ultimate “mashup” of other sites, says Pheed cofounder and CEO O.D. Kobo. Kobo and his team “cherry-picked” what they liked best of their social media predecessors, and left out what bothered them, creating in Kobo’s opinion something both significant and simple.’
‘Pheed’s concept is based on offering premium content. Pheeders have the ability to apply a month subscription fee ($1.99 to $34.99 per month) to their streams or users can charge on a pay-per-view basis ($1.99 to $34.99). Pheed takes 50% the content’s revenue and the user takes the rest.’
Good? Bad? Lol? Will it work? Who knows?
The importance of being specific in social media
In my opinion, the real question is another one: do we really need a new Frankestein-esque social network, sort of hotch-potch of various other platforms?
Or is the world waiting for the opposite, i.e. something specific, with a unique purpose, and/or niche?
Let’s come up with a cheap analysis of what is going on with other popular social media:
Wanna blog? Go for Tumblr.
Easiest way to share your photos in a matter of seconds? Instagram, hands down.
Feeling the urge to complain about the rude waitress? Tweet it!
Fancy creating a mood board on which you pin the things you like? Would you like to come up with a wish list that defines you as a sophisticated devotee of consumerism? Want to sell and buy special and unusual things? Pinterest and Fancy are your new best friends.
The aforementioned platforms somehow have the monopoly of a specific “social media action”, and they achieved it after noticing that Facebook couldn’t handle all these things at the same time, without looking like a headless chicken.
And now it looks like we are going back to that mess, with Pheed.
‘I have nothing to say/ and I am saying it/ and that is poetry/ as I need it.’
John Cage, “Lecture on Nothing” (1949)
Today, John Cage would have been a hundred years old.
The sun is up in London, and the Thames here in Fulham reminds me of Baja California – if you remove from the picture ANNIE’S JACKET POTATOES truck that stands in between my eyes and the river – and here’s three things happening RIGHT NOW that you can follow on Instagram, the hottest social network around.
Indeed, it is a special day. Read More…
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