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Bits and Bytes

Thoughts on digital, running rambles and photos

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mobile app

Fish puns, ask Jelly and you shall receive, social news with the NYTimes and this week’s bits and bytes

Fishy goodness: If it’s one thing I’ve learnt during my time in the UK, it’s that Brits love a pun.

Yesterday, @TeaAndCopy tweeted @SainsburysI tried to buy some battered fish from @sainsburys but it didn’t have a bar cod!

David Smith from our social Careline team was quick to respond with this triple whammy: @TeaAndCopy Were there no other packs in the plaice, or was that the sole one on the shelf? Floundering for an explanation! David.

The resulting ‘punversation‘ is a joy to behold and quickly spread via Twitter and onto the HuffPo.

Also, it reminded me of this wonderful ‘Little Story‘ about Sainsbury’s sustainably sourced prawns.

Have a question? Take a photo: If you have a question, somebody out there likely has an answer. Combine that with the fact that most of us have an Internet connected camera in our pocket and you’ve got the premise of the new visual question and answer app Jelly. Jelly allows you to ask and respond to image based questions.

Here’s co-founder and CEO of Jelly, Biz Stone (yup, same dude that helped give us Twitter) who explains it far better than I could. If that’s not enough, there’s more info on Jelly’s blog.

Quick thoughts:

  • The app (at least for iPhone) is still a bit wonky. For example, the only way to switch between Twitter handles at the moment seems to be to delete and re-install the app. Also, it murders your battery life – I suspect this might have to do with the high number of push notifications from the app alerting me to friends in need of answers
  • Jelly works by tapping into your existing connections on Twitter and Facebook – and your connections’ connections – but it keeps all interactions contained within its walls. While they’re likely to open this up in future, it plays to the trend of a) mobile first and worry about the desktop experience later and b) it’s not about getting mass reach or fame, but to help each other out in small-scale yet meaningful interactions
  • Swiping through questions is fun and simple and the wide variety of different questions is astonishing but also confusing. There isn’t a search or sort function and once you’ve dismissed a question, you can’t go back to it
  • There doesn’t seem to be a way to block other Jelly users from asking or responding to questions, nor does the app respect Twitter blocks. Interesting to see how they deal with the inevitable abuse cases and ‘less welcome’ content

Finally, can those social comms bods, please agree to not go for the obvious ‘Would you prefer product a, b or c?’ questions?

Social media news: The team that runs the New York Times’ Twitter feed analysed some of their most successful tweets in 2013 (in terms of click-throughs and retweets), and looked at how they used Twitter to encourage a variety of types of reader engagement with their journalism. @michaelroston, staff editor for social media, sums up their findings and I strongly suggest you give the results your full attention.

For those of the TL;DR mindset (I doubt you’ll have gotten this far, but hey), here’s my take:

  • Managing breaking news is about sharing approved and verified sources. To ensure accuracy, @nytimes will retweet journalists who are directly involvement in events instead of relying un unverified, third party sources
  • They let their journalists break ‘news situations’ – even without links to the NYT: Letting our trusted reporters deliver some news first helps them connect directly with an interested audience, and delivers news in a timely manner without sacrificing our commitment to accuracy 
  • Using social for call-outs for sources
  • Automated tweets are OK (automated in the sense that a new article that’s published to the site is tweeted automatically), but Tweets send via @nytimes performed better when they were written by editors: Twitter is a platform that helps extend The Times’s journalism to an audience that is not always the same as the one that visits our website directly. When we fit our storytelling to the medium, we do the best possible job of connecting with that audience
  • Clearly stated tweets describing the gist of the stories work better than clever headlines

Minimal goodness: A lovely collection of minimal ads that make your brain work just that little bit more to get the point and provide that brief Eureka moment when you get the point. Sent to me by @stangreenan remarking that his favourite was the one for Haribo. I’d have to agree:

Bits and bytes

  • On Vine? Make sure you have your web profile sorted as the six second video app makes the leap from mobile to desktop
  • Don’t know where to go on your next holiday? You could use Sightsmap, a nifty heat map of popular places around the world
  • Why is no-one is outraged about the New York Times redesign (despite the horribly intrusive related story pop-up functionality)? A playful post, but one that will leave anyone who’s ever worked on redesigning a website smiling. Also, you’ll learn what a hamburger is in terms of web design speak (HT @alexcole71)
  • The San Francisco Chronicle will put all its reporters through social media boot camp in an attempt to to arrest circulation decline and remain relevant in the digital age. The two month (!) programme is all about introducing digital metrics and measurement tools. Let’s hope they’re also addressing the required mental shift from print to digital
  • The reason why Netflix walked away from personalisation? The novelty factor: the new and unexpected is what delights customers, not a similar version of what they watched yesterday
  • XKCD provides a brilliant comeback to the question: “Why can’t you just enjoy the view rather than always take photos”

    Source: XKCD

Videos of the week: A case study from Kirby Ferguson, on the back of his excellent 4-part series Everything is a Remix about how creativity resembles remixing. He looks at how when it was launched, the iPhone borrowed from conventions and ideas outside of the smart phone realm to when the recent update of iOS6 was released, it borrowed from ideas within the smart phone realm.

It’s worth taking a look back at the entire series, the first and second films make the point that not only is everything today a remix, creation actually requires influence and that it doesn’t take any expensive tools or even skills to do so (anymore). The third film looks at how innovations truly happen and the fourth finishes on how our system of law doesn’t acknowledge the derivative nature of creativity.

If you fancy a quicker summary of all that goodness, I’d recommend Kirby Ferguson’s TED talk that brings this all together – without the excellent films and animations mind you.

And finally: Movie Code, images of the computer code appearing in TV and films and what they really are.

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Android KitKat, trolling BA, fish finger fun and this week’s bits and bytes

KitKat Android: The clever bods over at Google have launched an update to their Android mobile operating system. And as with previous versions (Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean), the new OS is named after a desert: KitKat 4.4.

The entire campaign is a no holds barred parody of Apple – not in itself a new idea, Samsung have done it in the past and Nokia have even parodied the spat between Samsung and Apple – but with this one you can really see that they’ve committed completely to not only shooting their ad in the same style…

… but the copy and product descriptions on the über-slick site built to showcase the future of confectionery is a pitch-perfect piss-take of Apple’s tone of voice and dictionary.

My favourite features of the new KitKat:

  • Works perfectly in portrait or landscape for a panoramic taste experience
  • Maximum breakability is guaranteed due to the refined praline software, crisp waferware and its unique chocolate unibody
  • It comes in 2 mega-bites, 4 mega-bites or a chunky-bite option

and, my favourite

  • Compatible with all liquid accessories

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 21.54.39

How much does this kind of a perfect partnership cost?

Nothing.

“This is not a money-changing-hands kind of deal,” John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, told the BBC. “The idea was to do something fun and unexpected.”

You’ll be able to buy special packs of KitKat Four-Finger and KitKat Chunky multipacks at Sainsbury’s.

Man buys promoted Tweet to troll British Airways: I’ve been flying regularly all my life and I’m lucky to say that I’ve never had my luggage go missing (writing this, I realise that my next trip is bound to be a disaster). I have however had many a ‘mare with Airline customer service. I’ve tweeted to complain but that tends to result in silence, stock responses or requests to call customer service numbers.

This week, British Airways passenger @HVSVN bought a promoted tweet after the airline had lost his baggage and hadn’t responded to his tweets for seven hours. After some rather snarky, nasty messages – borderline tolling, basically – the first ever promoted customer complaint made its way into the Twitter history books. Also, BA finally responded…

It doesn’t get better.

@HVSVN bought the tweet in the New York City and UK markets Monday night using Twitter’s self-serve ad platform. While he at first didn’t confirm the cost in media interviews, he has since tweeted the final cost and reach of the promoted tweet: 76,000 impressions for $1,000. Time has a bit more info on how @HVSVN went about targeting the tweets to make sure that it reached all the existing followers of British Airways.

Was it worth it?

That’s sooo 2006: The Guardian published their Media 100 list this week, a ranking of the most powerful people in the UK’s media landscape today.

Who came in at No.1?

I did.

Well, technically, so did you. All of us really.

An unbelievably unoriginal idea – after all, I’d already made it onto the cover of Time magazine as Person of the Year way back in 2006.

Source: Time Magazine

Communicating CR: With people demanding greater transparency, authenticity and accountability from companies than ever before, @SimonMainwaring writes that brands are increasingly taking three steps to respond:

  1. Sharing their purpose, core values and mission
  2. Moving sustainability marketing to corporate communications to tell the story of the good work companies are doing in ways that build their business
  3. Working with customers to fulfill the brand’s mission because they understand that “the future of profit is purpose, authentically executed”

New Yahoo logo: Yahoo updated their logo this week, after 30 days of changing the logo on their homepage to a different version. The familiar purple colour and famous exclamation mark remain – the later has been rotated to the right by exactly 9 degrees, which according to Marissa Mayer adds a bit of “whimsy”.

Source: Marissa’s Tumblr

I’m no typography expert so I don’t know if this is a good or a bad logo. But if you’re into that sort of thing, you should definitely give Mayer’s post about the relaunch a go where she ‘geeks’ about all the wee features and ideas behind the new logo. Quite frankly, I would never have picked up on any of them. I’m sure that a hell of a lot of work went into it and I think it looks good. But is it going to make Yahoo relevant to today’s web audience? For Flickr’s sake, I hope so…

Way To Safety: Mobile apps have become a part of life for many people. They help us organise our lives, check our email, find our way around town, figure out when the next tube is due, post updates to our friends, hurl birds at naughty piggies. Increasingly, augmented reality and layers of data are added to make apps even more powerful and helpful – possibly even to a such a degree that they could literally save your life.

Way To Safety is an app currently in development that  would help civilians steer clear of gunfire in urban warfare environments:

“Within 30 seconds after a shot is fired, the application will determine the source location of the shooter, the direction he was aiming at, the type and caliber of the weapon used and the number of bullets fired. This data will be sent to the nearby residents for free and we will also send it to the army, paramedics, press.” 

Terrifying and brilliant at the very same time (HT to Simon French for this one).

Fish finger sarnie challenge: Sainsbury’s new ad featuring by Sainsbury’s Fish Fingers kicked off a bit of a discussion on Twitter this week. Turns out that not everyone would stack the fish fingers like we did!

So, we decided to open it up to the weird and wonderful people of Twitter and asked them to show us how they make a fish finger sandwich. Our favourite photo, video or Vine stands to win a £25 Sainsbury’s voucher.

There’s already some good efforts coming through, some even made without any bread or fish fingers. We’ve had saucy combos, little umbrellas and even the inclusion of cheese, bacon and onions.

So if you fancy a go at the classic fish finger sandwich, tweet a photo or video with #JSFishFinger and you could be in the running for a £25 Sainsbury’s voucher.

Here’s @SainsburysPR‘s humble entry (with huge thanks to @a_little_wine and @TillieSeymour):

Video of the week: LG uses their ultra-realistic TVs to scare the wits out of poor job applicants. Brutal really – after all, they’re all leaving that room no closer to a job.

And finally: What Bale Earns

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