John Oliver explains Net Neutrality…

Veteran Daily Show and Senior Britishness Correspondent John Oliver has made a name for himself in the US during his time on Jon Stewart’s (more or less) daily comedy news show.

Oliver recently landed his own weekly show on HBO called ‘Last Week Tonight‘, essentially The Daily Show, but longer and without studio guests.

In a recent episode, Oliver produced the best summary of Net Neutrality I have seen. Period. From how and why it came about, to what it actually means, how ridiculous and wrong it is and – here’s where it get’s interesting – to what people can actually do to stop cable companies and ISPs from ‘fixing a system that isn’t broken’.

Utterly brilliant and this week’s must watch clip:

Not only is Oliver’s summary bang on, but his call to action to “Internet commenters, monsters and trolls” is likely to have been the cause of the FCC’s website going down, as he directs viewers to unleash their vitriol on the FCC which is accepting feedback on the proposed changes until July 15 (or, as it’s called in FCC Doublespeak: Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet).

… or why I get my news from satirical news media

It is bizarre when a comedy news show such as Last Week Tonight does a better job of explaining what’s going on in the world that ‘traditional’ media.

In fact, a study found that another Daily Show alumni, Stephen Colbert, did a better job of teaching viewers about the role of money in US politics on his satirical news show than the actual news. The University of Pennsylvania found that viewers of ‘The Colbert Report’ were more informed about campaign financing than viewers of CNN, MSNBC and FOX News (OK, no surprise at the last one).

Now, I tried finding a clip of Colbert apologising to his viewers about actually informing them about the news. What I found instead is a clip of Hapless CNN Anchor and Marginally Less Hapless Media Pundit ‘analysing’ how Colbert does a better job of what CNN and news outlets should be doing.

My favourite part is when Hapless CNN Anchor says: “[Colbert] has this certain je ne said quoi, if you will, right, but, but, but, they dedicate, like, chunks of time on that show to something such as [campaign financing] and he pulls it off!

Later in that same clip, Hapless CNN Anchor goes on to concede, that of course a 24 hour news channel like CNN is at a disadvantage, because Colbert has an audience that keeps coming back and a room full of writers who helps him write the jokes!

The mind boggles not only at how oblivious Hapless CNN Anchor is to the words that are coming out of her mouth, that this actually aired on CNN, but that the clip below is hosted on CNN’s YouTube channel!

The CIA goes social

The @CIA joined Twitter and Facebook this week. Looking past the fact that they’ve had a presence on Flickr and Youtube for a while and, let’s face it, have been following all of us for longer than that, it seems they’ve definitely learnt a thing or two about the appropriate tone of voice on social, especially Twitter.

According to the CIA’s website, their new accounts will be used to share “the latest CIA updates, #tbt (Throwback Thursday) photos, reflections on intelligence history, and fun facts from the CIA World Factbook“.

Let’s have a look then, shall we?

It’s generated well over 250k retweets an a wave of public support and praise for an organisation that in recent time has had its fair share of cock-ups.

Despite the brilliance of poking fun at the Glomar Response and thereby harking back to (arguably) the golden days of spying during the Cold War, I really was very surprised at the almost exclusively positive reaction to the tweet.

Well, except for WikiLeaks.

And Gawker – their reaction is perhaps more eloquently put, by Vice.

I find the reaction, especially to the Tweet, immensely disconcerting. Almost as if that cheeky message somehow absolves the CIA from all the other controversies surrounding the Agency. Just have a look at their Twitter bio:

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Far less cuddly and cute now. We get shit done. That sure gives their first Tweet a slightly more sinister edge.

Over on the CIA’s Facebook, the reaction to Big Brother getting on board has been a little more tempered – both in terms of numbers but also fan-girling. This will be due in part to the nature of Facebook being more of a closed network but also down to the more serious tone in their first posts about the anniversary of D-Day.

Still, the reaction on Facebook is much more in line with the cynical tone that I’ have expected on Twitter:

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Still, spy-hats off to the spooks for a genius PR move – I’m looking forward to more unclassified content and a peek under that trench coat.

Sainsbury’s Food Rescue

We waste 4.2 million tonnes of food and drink each year in the UK. That translates as a loss of £60 per month for the average family.

Searches for recipes using leftovers have surged by 1/3 compared to last year, with 2/3 of those searches made via mobile devices.

This is why Sainsbury’s and Google have launched Sainsbury’s Food Rescue. The tool gives people practical help and inspiration on using up ingredients that can often lay forgotten at the back of the fridge or cupboard.

Food Rescue will also provide some insight into what food the UK saves and how that differs across the country:

  • the most rescued ingredient is a potato
  • 176 Feed Rescue recipes have been made since launch
  • £1.30 aAverage saving per recipe

Bits and bytes

  • Whole Foods uses an internal photo sharing community where staff shares images from stores to glean insight into which displays work well without giving away a competitive advantage
  • Google now treats brand mentions as links. They’re not like ‘express links, things you can click that will take you some place else, but rather ‘implied links’. Which means that every brand mention is now a link to your website. Or, more succinctly as this marvellous info graphic from MC Saatchi puts it: PR = SEO
  • Twitter is in trouble: losing users, inactive accounts, too much noise. It has lost more than half its market value, a staggering USD18 billion, since late December.  Here’s how Twitter can avoid becoming irrelevant
  • Bit of ad-porn? Cannes Lions 2014 top 100 contenders, compiled by Per Pedersen, Deputy Worldwide Chief Creative Officer at Grey

Videos of the week

Mexican retailer Coppel teams up with world freestyle champion @seanfreestyle to play a little prank on some unsuspecting kids.

On the slightly less skilled front, we have Zidane, Bale and Moura smashing up Beckham’s house while looking street in their Adidas gear.

And then there’s this fantastically bizarre clip by Polish window maker Drutex featuring Philipp Lahm, Andrea Pirlo and Jakub Blaszczykowski showing students who’s best at keepy uppy only to then find out that great footballers not only have great skills in common, but also great windows. Windows for champions. Seriously. That’s the actual slogan (at least in the German translation).

And finally

Billy Jean on beer bottles

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