Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

2nd April 2016

Branding in The Age of Social Media – ‘Social media binds together communities that once were geographically isolated, greatly increasing the pace and intensity of collaboration. Now that these once-remote communities are densely networked, their cultural influence has become direct and substantial. These new crowdcultures come in two flavors: subcultures, which incubate new ideologies and practices, and art worlds, which break new ground in entertainment.’ Here is is the growing importance of Crowdculture.

Invisible Ads and Phantom Readers. From The Economist – Worries about fraud and fragmentation may prompt a shake-out in the crowded online ad industry – ‘The industry has not so much a supply chain as a tangle. More than 2,500 companies are involved in the supply of digital ads, according to Luma Partners, an investment bank. Marketers worry that their ads will linger unseen in obscure slots or worse, be served to robots posing as human consumers. Meanwhile millions of real ones, fed up with online ads, want to block them.

Facebook is the new Excel. ‘If you’re building a SaaS startup, then your biggest competitor isn’t a competitor. It’s Microsoft Excel. That was the mantra a few years ago. Add in Google Docs and it still holds true. Excel is the hammer of choice for anything that looks like data in a business, large or small. Today, if you’re building a service for communities or individuals then Facebook is almost certainly your biggest competitor. B2B: Excel, B2C: Facebook.’

It appears that Brands are not using Facebook Canvas, but US politicians are. ‘Brands have been relatively slow to pick up on Canvas, Facebook’s mobile ad format that’s been called “Instant Articles for brands.” But there are two other surprising fans of the format – Presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz.

So, Oculus Rift has shipped, but what are the reviews saying? ‘This is not like having a tiny TV strapped to my face. Nothing like the Google Glassor Virtual Boy of yore. This feels like I’ve inserted my head into another world.

…but, this chart shows just how far we are from virtual reality reaching the mass market 

A dangerous convergence between Editorial and Commercial worlds, and/or the future? How sponsored content drives more than 60% of The Atlantic’s ad revenue : ‘This is a far cry from January 2013 when The Atlantic received much criticism for running an advertorial for the Church of Scientology to promote the institution’s growth. The publication quickly pulled that promotional article and even released a public apology: “We screwed up…we failed to update the policies that must govern the decisions we make along the way.That was a quick way for us to learn that the most important thing is reader trust. Every piece of content we produce on behalf of brands should add value to the experience of The Atlantic.

How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilisation. ‘ You may see it as a comedy, but I cannot laugh with you. To me, Friends signals a harsh embrace of anti-intellectualism in America, where a gifted and intelligent man is persecuted by his idiot compatriots. And even if you see it from my point of view, it doesn’t matter. The constant barrage of laughter from the live studio audience will remind us that our own reactions are unnecessary, redundant.

Some post Easter fun, or a conspiracy theory we should be very worried about…? John Oliver reveals the truth behind Cadburys Creme Eggs.(video) 

And finally, I am presenting at the Tunbridge Wells Tedx Event on the 4th June. I will be talking about the very wonderful Street Wisdom project. Do come along if you can. Tickets are available here.