Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

6th Feb 2016

1) Interesting piece from Chris Messina (inventor of the Twitter #tag) – ‘2016 will be the year of Conversational Commerce’ (ht @onlydeadfish) – ‘Conversational commerce… largely pertains to utilising chat, messaging, or other natural language interfaces (i.e. voice) to interact with people, brands, or services and bots that heretofore have had no real place in the bidirectional, asynchronous messaging context.’

2) ‘The End of Twitter’, a piece from The New Yorker: ‘It wasn’t that long ago, I would have told you that Twitter was more like a utility, a service so fundamental that I could imagine a scenario in which it was literally underwritten. Twitter needed to exist. A stream of those hundred-and-forty-character tweets was how you found the most crucial, critical, and thought-provoking stories of the moment…(but) what should worry Twitter (now) is irrelevanceand there is growing data to suggest that that is where the company is headed.’

3) Apparently Technology is making it easier to trust strangers. ‘This (development) is a threat to big organisational systems – e.g. universities, corporations, banks and healthcare, that have depended on people placing value in the belief that traditional safeguards and centralised guarantees will keep them safe and render goods and services reliable. As this traditional institutional trust framework continues to crumble, it creates fertile ground for technology-engineered decentralised trust directly between people.’

4) Surprised it isn’t more? ‘The Dark Side Of Online Dating’: Half of us are lying. ‘Of over 3,000 people surveyed across the UK, France and Germany, 47% said they were likely to misrepresent their weight online, 48% said they’d lied about their interests and 50% said they’d be likely to misrepresent their physical appearance.’

5) ‘The Tragic Data Behind Selfie Fatalities’ . Since 2014, 49 people have died while attempting to photograph themselves; the average age of the victims is 21 years old, and 75% of them are male. We are more likely to die this way than from shark attack.

6) So long then, Kevin Bacon and your Six Degrees of Separation. It appears that this theory, concerning human connectivity and initially postulated by Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy in 1929, has been significantly compressed. New research suggests that for the 1.59 billion active users of Facebook, there are only 3.57 degrees of separation, on average.

7) Interesting stuff from Frederic Filloux, in his Monday Note: Surprising Findings from a News Apps Survey – 1) We rely on a very small number of news apps; (2) Twitter and RSS-related apps score quite high, they are the de facto vector for News; (3) Once huge, Flipboard is losing ground fast while Apple News is not faring well; (4) Half of readers surveyed would rather have no ads in exchange for a monthly fee.

8) Great article from The Baffler: Movements are not marketing, but marketing has come to replace movements in our culture. “The Body Shop owns compassion, Nike spirituality, Pepsi and MTV youthful rebellion. We used to have movements for change; now we have products.”

9) The definitive list of what everyone Likes on Facebook – ‘Japanese pop duo Puffy AmiYumi (139,218,340) beats Beyoncé (80,634,320). The Minions (75,372,780) beat Kanye West (74,589,850). Disney on Ice (36,144,060) beats Game of Thrones(34,527,750). The hobby “cat communication” (4,663,340), whatever that is, beats Sarah Palin (4,645,190).

10) So Long Social Media: ‘The Kids are opting out of the Online Square’ – ‘The newest data increasingly supports the idea that young people are actually transitioning out of using what we might term broadcast social media – like Facebook and Twitter – and switching instead to using narrowcast tools – like Messenger or Snapchat. Instead of posting generic and sanitised updates for all to see, they are sharing their transient goofy selfies and blow-by-blow descriptions with only their closest friends.’

And finally…

Quite a tumble. A surfer survives a freefall from the top of a huge Hawaiian wave.

This is fabulous and endlessly watchable. Alanis Morissette and James Corden re-do ‘Ironic’ for the digital age (video).