Posts Tagged: facebook

The perpetual death of television

The debate about the perpetual death of
traditional television has been going on for so long now that it feels like an
almost impossible task to write anything new on the subject. Apart from using
the term ‘perpetual death’, which must be new, and entirely contradictory, but
which sort of sums up the problem of perspective – quite simply the issues
change depending on who you ask…

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Look to Generation Y to learn how to monetise your content

Author: Richard Welsh, Head of Development, Bigballs Films, @bigballs_films,

I watched a conference talk a while back about the future of branded content and it ended on a Q&A. A hand shot up immediately with this question…

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The new multilingual web – vox pops from the ‘man on the tweet’

The internet is becoming increasingly multilingual with each year – currently only about 20% of all web users are native speakers of English, and that number is dropping all the time.

The same is true for the social web – about half of all tweets are in languages other than English, while Facebook’s global success is in no small part due to the network embracing its multilingual audience, translating its pages into more than 50 languages.

In fact, Facebook is fast becoming the most popular social network in countries which have traditionally lagged behind on the social media revolution – for instance Indonesia, which is poised to overtake the UK as the third largest country of Facebook users, and where Indonesian is by far the most used language (80.6%).

The great thing is that this growing online multilingualism has the potential to actually increase cross-cultural communication, rather than decrease it – thanks to ever-more sophisticated translation widgets. And it’s perfect for doing a bit of free market research and opinion gauging in foreign language markets.

Statistical machine translation tools like Google Translate may often throw up hilarious contextual and grammatical errors – and there’s no way you’d trust them for a client-facing, business-critical document – but they can be very handy for getting the gist of international news and opinion.

Say I want to find out the views of Chinese environmentalists on the BP oil spill – now I need only Google Translate the China Green Times newspaper website.

Or let’s say I’m interested in the current climate of opinion on the economy from the centre left and the centre right in France – then I need only translate Le Monde and Le Figaro and browse the Économie sections.

That’s now gone a step further – with the launch of a new extension for Google Chrome, Social Translate, I can now get opinions not only from blogs and the media, but also from the ‘man on the tweet’.

Social Translate integrates with Twitter and Facebook (and with more social networks to come) to automatically translate status updates, and while it’s far from perfect – especially with languages like Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese – that doesn’t mean it’s not a groundbreaking development.

For an online start-up business looking to expand into foreign language markets, these tools are a goldmine. If you don’t have the budget to commission a professional market research survey of a foreign market then that’s no longer a barrier – now you can simply do your own research.

Check out the websites of your competitors, see what their social media presence is and what keywords they’re using, and see what the social media-sphere is saying about their products on Twitter and Facebook. Test the waters, so to speak, and get a view of the world – and a new potential market – that you would otherwise never see.

While these tools still have a way to go before becoming fully functional and reliable, it is exciting to think of a future where translation is integrated into every part of the web, where the language of a webpage will no longer be relevant.

Rather, there will be only a hierarchy of translation quality – those pages which have been translated professionally by humans, and those which have been run through machine translation.

Naturally, while the former will be preferable for content where meaning is crucial, automatic machine translation would be perfectly adequate for content that would otherwise remain lost in a sea of monolingualism.

Imagine being able to visit a Facebook profile in any language and understand the wall posts and comments, and post yourself in the local language, all with the click of a button.

The possibilities for increasing cross-cultural communication, and for consequently opening minds to the potential of international export, are enormous. Perhaps Douglas Adams’ ‘babelfish’ wasn’t so far-fetched after all?

Christian Arno
Founder and Managing Director of translation and localisation agency Lingo24.

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Charities need to be bolder and braver online

The maturing of the online space has meant that we are increasingly finding comfort in tried and tested methods, rolled out time and time again. This often results in multiple brands using similar approaches to fish in the same shrinking ponds, and this should be a cause for real concern.

For charities this is especially concerning. As a sector, we have not on the whole been at the forefront of digital innovation although we have now embraced the breadth of opportunities the online world presents. However, for those charities not currently embracing bold and brave digital marketing, capturing the hearts and minds of the increasingly astute, demanding donors will be difficult. This would be a sad development for the charity sector, especially as it has been built on the lessons that consumer brands are only just getting their heads around. Charities are already capable of selling beliefs not benefits, being transparent, involving rather than informing, encouraging word-of-mouth by providing dinner table conversation starters, aligning donor values with their own and turning a consumer into an ‘armchair volunteer’ for lifetime value. Let’s face it, a little from many is worth more than a lot from a few.

The dynamic relationships that charity brands traditionally have with their donors gives them the ideal platform on which to build innovative ‘open’ campaigns, which Nita Rollins Ph.D. describes in ‘The Open Brand’ as being On-demand, Personal, Engaging and Networked. ‘Open’ is big, it’s bold, but it’s embraced only by brands which have the courage of their convictions. This makes it the ideal brand and communications architecture for charity brands, for what are they founded on other than convictions?

When considering any online activity, charities need to make their offering not only findable and accessible, but immediate. If they are to truly engage donors, content must be real-time and reflective of their needs and expectations. Interactivity in the digital space is becoming increasingly popular and for charities this is a great way to inspire donors and foster active and emotive relationships with them. Through embracing social media strategies, charities have a great opportunity in prompting donors to discuss and interact with their brand. Yes, some do already have Facebook pages and Twitter Feeds, but there is certainly room for improvement.

The issue most brands have with embracing this call for an ‘open’ campaign architecture is that they’re not bold enough to let go. As AG Lafley, CEO of P&G said, “Consumers are beginning in a very real sense to own our brands and participate in their creation. We need to learn to let go.” Charities are going to have to face the challenge of giving back to donors, in the form of information, accountability and even giving donors some say in what the charity does. As Nike and Coke discovered, once you open a dialogue with your consumers they expect you to listen and take notice of what they say. Although for many charities this dialogue is already materialising online, others need to go with it instead of resisting the transparency the digital space expects of them.

Living and giving is increasingly becoming part of people’s lives, with thousands taking to the streets to raise funds through their own initiatives. Digital media is playing a crucial role in this evolution. Just Giving, for example, has transformed fundraising. It has allowed individuals to modernise fundraising to just a click while also creating talkability around charity initiatives. The site has set the standard for online fundraising and reflects the willingness of consumers to donate to charity if given a quick and easy option.

Digital doesn’t have to mean just online ads or social media, it’s about encapsulating the brand in the right way for the right audience. There are some great examples out there. Take the RNLI ‘Mystery Package’ campaign which proves that it’s as much about digital as direct, online as offline, cause as purpose, personal as social, and response as relationship. Ultimately, charities have to get by giving. At a basic level, when Dogs Trust asked its Facebook fans for £2 each on January 12th 2009 it received £1,000 within 24 hours. How do you calculate an ROI on an investment of nothing?

For those clients who ask – “Tell me something new?” or “What should I try to break the mould?” Or for those that want to pioneer and are bold enough to champion, let’s work with them to inspire, provide, promote, facilitate and nurture, not just ask.

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Best resources in Social Media? A personal plotted history…

Television and newspaper reports make ‘Social Media‘ and ‘Social Networking
buzz words sound like something that’s arrived on the scene in the past
couple of years – but at least the basics pre-date the existence of the
internet itself. Early BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) existed before
anyone had even heard the term ‘internet’, and in concept will probably
exist when its moved on from its current form.

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Nine Top Digital Trends for 2010

1: Facebook replaces personal email

Question: Google has it, Hoover has it (in the UK anyway), TiVo had it, lost it and has somewhat got it back. Xerox had it, but nobody really cares anymore. So what is it?

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Facebook encourage its members to reconnect with the deceased

Facebook has hit the headlines again for introducing a new service helping its members reconnect with old friends. However within moments of the service going live facebook was inundated with furious emails as members were being encouraged to reconnect with deceased friends!

The new ‘reconnecting’ service Facebook introduced turned into a PR nightmare for them. The repercussions on brand damage were huge, news stories started appearing online and national newspapers also carried the story of the insensitive reconnecting messages.

Facebook’s head of security quickly responded with a solution, by requesting proof of death such as an obituary or news article! Anyone who is responsible for managing consumer databases knows the importance of screening for deceased individuals on a regular basis and applying industry best practice. Not only does this help to avoid the negative headlines and reduce brand damage but also lessens the risk of upsetting and alienating existing and potential customers.

However with vast amounts of personal data stored and published online, fraudsters are continually lurking in cyberspace. Unscrupulous individuals make a hobby and even a career out of identifying deceased members of the public and using online ‘skimming’ techniques to collect relevant information to steal people’s identity.

According to CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention service, during the first quarter of 2009 there has been a massive 74 per cent increase in deceased identity fraud compared to the same period in 2008. Without wanting to be sensationalist or taking the moral high ground, companies who store and use personal data must understand the importance of putting strict procedures into place which help to identify deceased individuals. With over 600,000 people sadly passing away each year regular database management is imperative.

Until recently the deceased suppression market was often thought to be a confusing market place with a number of deceased suppression files available. However last month Mortascreen signed an exclusive partnership agreement with deceased data provider Lifecycle Marketing, which will provide Mortascreen with deceased data from over 90 per cent of UK register offices.

I am pleased that Facebook have now introduced the option for family and friends to ‘memorialise’ profiles of members who have died and remove sensitive information such as status updates and contacts. But as identity fraudsters continue to find security loopholes using clever and complex techniques to steal identities, I am sure they could quickly forge obituaries or edit news articles as proof to steal the identity of dormant members.

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Facebook is Squaring Up to Google in the Battle for Online Advertising Domination

In the wake of Facebook’s first profit generating quarter and recent improvements to its self service advertising platform, signs are beginning to emerge that Google may finally have a serious contender on its hands for online marketing budgets.

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The ‘Jigsaw Effect’

‘Hi! I’m TopKat and I just came third in the county’s under-14 cross-country.’

Looks innocuous enough, doesn’t it? Couldn’t possibly be dangerous for the child that posted it, could it? The sad truth, though, is that there is probably enough information in this one sentence for the wrong kind of person to identify the child that made the posting.All of us are sensitive of our duty of care to children and young adults.

Those of us running web sites, social networks, blogs and the like probably take what we think are sensible steps to ensure children are ‘safe’. No real names to be used! No addresses! No emails! We probably screen for ‘purple words’, we may also have the content of bulletin boards and chat-rooms moderated, just to be sure.The unfortunate fact though, is that however careful we are, however thorough, the very tools we so value on the internet can make it a potentially dangerous place.

Think about it from your own perspective. You know you shouldn’t, but how often do you use the same password? More important from the point of view of identifying you, how often do you use the same ID, even if it is a nickname?The reality is whilst most of us use the same password over and over, we have some protection because web sites take extraordinary steps to safeguard them, but we happily post our nicknames over blogs, bulletin boards and social networks.

Punch it in to Google and there is a good chance someone can find your unwitting web footprint. With a little detective work you’d be surprised how much those disparate and unrelated postings could tell someone about you.Same problem for TopKat! She, or he, probably uses that nickname on a number of their favourite web sites. And sports results are regularly posted to the web. Start sleuthing and you’d be amazed at what you can dig up.

The risk for children and young adults (and the rest of us) is the ‘jigsaw’ effect of data posted across the internet. So what to do? Regulation, both self-regulation and the statutory sort, clearly has a role, but short of shutting down the internet it is unlikely the risks can be eliminated. What we need to work towards is a situation where risks are reduced, and most important children and young adults are educated as to how to minimise the dangers to themselves.

The recent Byron Review makes a balanced assessment of the risks and the benefits for children of the internet, and sets-out some excellent recommendations. Taking as an analogy how we teach children to cross the road, Byron advocates educating children and young adults as to the potential risks of the web, with a view to achieving the following outcomes; an ability to manage (or find support in managing) the risks; and an ability to take ownership of their own online safety.

That said, Byron is quite clear that there is a responsibility on site owners and content providers to reduce the risks to children, and to encourage and promote safe behavior. So now may be the time to review how ‘safe’ your web site is. To ask the question ‘what more could I do?’, and to see what else you could be doing to help young children appreciate and manage the risks, but still enjoy, explore and grow with the internet.

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Fakester, Friendster or Fraudster -Tools for effective social networking

Twitter has the badge of distinction of the first mass protest from members at a change it has implemented – thousands of people objecting to a change it has made in replies. At the same time it has been subjected to an amusingly wrathful blog post from rapper Kanye West, who is incensed that the service allows people to impersonate him.

This highlights a strength and weakness of the service. Seven years ago, Friendster was the social network that everyone was talking about. It made a virtue of the fact that it discouraged members from pretending to be someone they weren’t. That meant no “Fakesters” –people pretending to be Homer Simpson or God or Harvard University or a dog. It also meant no “Fraudsters” — people pretending to be someone else,such as Britney Spears or their cousin Billy. “The whole point of Friendster is that you’re connected to somebody through mutual friends, not by virtue of the fact that you both like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups,” Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams told the San Francisco Weekly at the time.

However, the “No Fakester” approach violated one of the Internet’s central tenets — anonymity — best embodied by a Peter Steiner cartoon in the New Yorker from 1993 showing a dog in front of a computer screen with the caption, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” To many, the power of anonymity is not a luxury but a necessity, the essence of freedom.

By gathering online anonymously, people are free to find others who share their political views or their sexual orientation without fear of repercussion. As a result, many of Friendster’s users revolted. They decried the “Fakester Genocide” on Facebook and vowed to start a “Fakester Revolution.” They wrote a revolutionary document, the “Fakester Manifesto.” The first declaration: “Identity is provisional. Who we are is whom we choose to be at any given moment, depending on personality, whim, temperament, or subjective need.

No other person or organization can abridge that right, as shape-shifting is inherent to human consciousness, and allows us to thrive and survive under greatly differing circumstances by becoming different people as need or desire arises. By assuming the mantle of the Other, it allows us, paradoxically, to complete ourselves. Every day is Halloween.”

MySpace and Facebook subsequently took all of Friendsters users. Twitter is in an interesting situation of being praised by certain celebrities — Stephen Fry and Ashton Kutcher most famously – for letting them bypass pesky journalists who are liable to twist their words, and speak directly to those who are interested in what they have to say (and then have the media report it later).

However, there is little barrier to fakesters setting up Twitter accounts and gaining vast numbers of followers before anyone can confirm that it is actually a phony account. Is this a major problem for the micro-blogging site? Not really — Kanye West’s somewhat frightening rant aside. James Kirkham, Managing Director of Holler

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