Categories
digital internet technology what is around us

The invisible impacts of paying a premium price or not

Amazon in Rugeley for the Financial Times Magazine

Photograph by Ben Roberts
From Portrait of Amazon Fullfilment Center, in FastCo Design

When I pay a bit extra for organically grown tomatoes, I know why. When I pay a bit extra for a pair of Nudie jeans, It feels right. When I buy a pair of Crockett and Jones, in 2 years I’m reminded of why.

Many premium prices are strategically and purposefully explained and charged with answers to questions of “why” and “for what”. Quite simply premium brands. The tomatoes are better for me, that feels comforting. The jeans say something about me, which I feel I need for some reason I probably can’t explain very well.

“When you buy something from an independent retailer, you might pay more than Amazon, but that extra bit is an investment,” Roberts explains. “When you pay it, you’re investing in the quality of not only your own life but the life of the community around you.”

– Ben Roberts

But premium prices (can) also do something for others. All businesses impact greater society and hence our purchase decisions. This portrait of an Amazon Fullfilment Center so vividly shows the backside, if you will, of everything that I love with Amazon.

It would feel so much better knowing that only robots were hurt, while paying the lovely low prices, enjoying the frictionless delivery and follow-up of the many books that I buy.

I admit that I feel a bit better when I’m reminded every month of the village and child that I support. But the thing is, of course, that we support (or not) individuals, communities and society in every purchase decision but it’s all invisible.

In a world of increasingly quick and rich feedback loops, personal data, interconnected systems, transparency and information accessibility – I’m waiting for better ways of reminding me of the invisible back-end of the products I buy. In context. Not by way of bi-yearly reports on worker conditions in developing countries and/or what’s happening to our farmers seen as we’ve never payed less, proportionately, for food than today.

I want a friggin connected dashboard on the tomato cans I buy. How’s the farm doing?

Categories
digital internet technology ways of use

do you still rss?

IFTTT trigger service

These two posts:
Douglas Rushkoff – Not Out, Through: The Best Way to Deal With the Onslaught of Technology
Russell Davies – Big up to the rss massive

made me think about me being one of those who’s had to have a good think about what to do after a Google Reader shutdown. I’ve not worried about not finding a good alternative (although probably not as good as the original reader pre-gplus integration). It’s all sorted out-

RSS is one of the best web technologies, if you will, that never hit the masses, and now it seems even more unlikely. When, in fact, it should be the opposite. It’s very much the solution to volumes of crap, irrelevance and time consuming sifting through.

“I love blogging without tweeting about it. I know who I’m talking to – you lot who still do RSS. You’re my people.”

– Russell Davies

I like these things (www.ifttt.com), that I’ve just started mucking about with. A more consumer friendly version of Yahoo Pipes in a sense. If/Then sentences and triggers – the most low-level form of programming. That, I think many people who are unknowing, would actually love and benefit from, and now it’s getting simple and hence useful.

Delicious to Evernote trigger

Categories
internet just a reflection social media ways of use

over-sharing, filter failure and yahoo

In short, Web 3.0 is fuelling greed for attention (validation) and I felt that I was falling into the same exhibitionist trap as everyone else. I tried to explain this to a journalist who was interviewing me about connectivity last week, but she was having none of it. The future, as far as she was concerned, was social and if you are not part of this epidemic of over-sharing you clearly have something of substance to hide.

Richard Watson, Why I’m feeling anti-social

In Over sharing, “over” is subjective. What is too much for someone is not necessarily too much for someone else (here’s where filter failure sits). The part of over sharing that is the pressure and behavior to publish or share something with frequency just because, as with a news organization which, of course, cannot stand still, I think we’ll see less of (not because “they” post less, but algorithms and filtering – so we’ll see less of it, not exist less of it). However, the simplicity of sharing what is phatic communication isn’t really a decision to produce and post anything of real value, but an instinct and reaction and will continue to overwhelm us.

It is writers, thinkers, publishers who enjoy a following because of their focused and thought through work (presentations, posts, rants etc) who are the root of this very real problem of over sharing. Having a set publishing/post frequency is ridiculous. You simply cannot know you have interesting things to share once a day. And why should you?

I hate the fact that google reader is being discontinued. RSS thinking is the way publishers, bloggers should be thinking and not like news organisations (not entirely true if you make ad money from blogging, and daily visitors count). We’ll hear from you when you have something smart to say, if you don’t, don’t.

I think Yahoo, being much more than search (The core of Yahoo nicely explored here, by Dan Petty), should take it upon them to really innovate in this area. People in some media/communications related industry are devout RSS-users, but the widespread usage is most likely overrated. That should change. On Facebook you don’t go to friends’ profiles to see what’s happened, it shows up. Why should anyone have to go to different websites daily? It’s the content I want, and I want to consume it through one interface/control center. There’s much someone like Yahoo could do here. The advertising issue/possibilities included.

Update 2013-03-26; and yes, Yahoo takes another step on the way in buying Summly. Perhaps.

Categories
digital internet just a reflection social media technology video clip ways of use

another kind of 2.0

I’ve recently come across quite a few articles and posts about technology, social media and how we use it and how it effects us. Not seldom in a negative way. Unsurprisingly there’s an upswing at the end of a year and beginning of a new. Wise to stop, and reflect over life in general. How to get more time over. Stay in better contact. Or the opposite. There’s this post (swedish) about digital downshifting and how it’s a trend and this post about Adam Brault quitting Twitter for a month, reflecting over the Dunbar number and how twitter is “outsourced schizophrenia”.

Twitter is outsourced schizophrenia. I have a couple hundred voices I have consensually agreed to allow residence inside my brain

In conversations about interfaces, interaction and the roll of the internet in peoples’ lives, I keep arguing that the most used interaction method will be close to invisible. I don’t agree with those saying “touch is the ultimate method” because it demands of me that I’m interested in interacting.

Walking around on a sunday thinking about maybe going to the modern museum doesn’t mean that I want to interact with my fingers – all I want to know is the opening hours and what exhibitions are on. All I need is an answer. In a far future, when a chip is in my brain, and the internet knowledge is indistinguishable from my “flesh knowledge” questions thought are questions asked – and answered. Internet – interacting.

So I found this film very interesting. A very true 2.0 about technology is more about it being a bit boring. It’s when most of it is invisible. When it’s so obvious that we all can do almost everything but why should we.

Connecting (Full Film) from Bassett & Partners on Vimeo.

Categories
advertising brand ideas internet video clip

intertextuality galore by Nike

I thought more than once in 2011 that, gosh it must be the year of intertextual ideas and executions given the vast amount of internet culture based ads. In Sweden, this was led by ComHem going all-in by trying to own associations to internet memes and all that’s beautiful with that.

Here’s a new, lovely, example from Nike. As usual the execution is perfect.

Categories
digital internet media organizational strategy technology

the role of journalism and reader participation

There’s an important discussion going on here in Sweden at the moment, about online newspapers and the possibility to comment on articles, and wether or not it’s working. Some leading newspapers think it’s not at the moment. Leading representatives are heavily engaged in this discussion, that reached some sort of climax (and resulted in shut-downs or changes to the commenting functionality) due to extremely racist comments, but not solely because of that, during the tragic incident in Norway.

They are, quite rightly, looking at this from a technical, resource and reader involvement perspective. Recently a media industry expert (Sofia Mirjamsdotter, Resumé) said it’s no surprise that this happened (closing down, limiting and/or changing privacy policies) as none of the newspapers had a participation/comment strategy. That’s looking at things from a very narrow perspective given the massive impact of (possible) reader involvement in online journalism. You don’t have a strategy for comments, you have a strategy for online news publishing, if at all that’s what you choose to call what you do.

Anna Hjalmarsson of Aftonbladet hopes that in five years, they’ll have found better ways of handling discussions where readers openly, and respectfully, meet each other and newspaper representatives. She also says that many active commenters express themselves as if nobody from Aftonbladet is going to read what they write, as if the discussions in the comment fields is something for the readers only.

Now that’s spot on, and it’s most likely contributed to a negative language and a tone. If an official representative (i.e. article author) revisits and responds, well, we’d probably have a more nuanced discussion. Maybe even a professional one. A comment function has less to do with the possibility to make yourself heard, and more to do with getting a response, a reaction. We talk to/with people. If the response is from somebody calling you an idiot, wishing you dead. Well.

Björn Hedensjö of DN.se says they’re genuinely interested in reader involvement, but at the same time they have limited resources. He says that the editors must make an active selection when it comes to which subjects should be discussed and then also engage in that following discussion. That’s a very good start. Selecting what articles and pieces are most relevant and likely to inspire, and facilitate, discussion. And because selecting is already a key aspect of journalism, it’s a natural extension of that. What is news worthy and what’s not, is a constant question. Why shouldn’t what is talk worthy? Often they overlap, but far from always. They are different and have different selection criteria. Especially considering the resource issue.

So considering this, I think we arrive where the real challenge sits. The key question with regards to journalism in general today, is the role it plays in society. Media (organisations), traditionally defined by the properties of the specific media (TV was always very different from radio, technically speaking), the organizational structure (ownership and possibly political associations) and funding/financing (licence and/or ad financed).

Media has always been institutions in society. They’ve always helped shape culture in the broadest and biggest sense. But newspaper journalism has mostly been about them writing and telling us about things. It’s been about sender-receiver. It’s been like that because of the technical context when it started, and when it was defined, explicitly or not. The technical properties of media used, did that. It’s all a product based on what was even possible. Now that’s changed. When an article starts and stops is changed. Finite has become infinite. What news story telling is (can be), has changed. So really what needs to happen, which is the reason it’s not about a strategy for comments, but rather a strategy, and definition, of online news journalism, is rethinking the sole purpose and role of online journalism. Which, of course means, the role of journalism in general. In this case mostly, but not exclusively, from a written word point of view. I really hope the question is answered on this level, and not mostly on a technical level, as many comments seem to suggest.

Categories
business creativity digital ideas internet media technology video clip ways of use

being buyable takes mental and physical availability


Found at adverblog

This is an absolut brilliant take on the physical availability aspect, and it’s overall genius problem solving. And, knock on wood, one of the few examples of great use of QR codes, as more often than not they just constitute a higher barrier to entry (bit.ly/reveal is much better and memorable, and device independent, than a QR code that you leave behind when the bus comes…). It’s a school book example and highlights the advertising ideas vs. marketing ideas chapter, and the importance of mastering and understanding technology (and of course usage and penetration of it, which in this case is quite high given it’s South Korea) and how it can be used based on current behaviours. Mind-blowingly great I say. And it ends up being physical digital physical availability which is twisted concept.

Categories
digital internet media stats ways of use

generalizing based on the few non-TV watchers

This infographic from a Nielsen Cross Platform report shows how easily some breaking stats, such as some people streaming a lot of content and watching very little TV, can be taken for a general truth just because the over-all feeling of a digital tsunami is over us. I’m referring to the TV is dead claims, often taken for a truth. But yet again, statistics show us that that isn’t the case. Americans watch more TV than before.

However, there are consumption changes to keep an eye on (well, if it interests you…). The heaviest consumers used to be so across all platforms, but a subset amongst 18-34 indicates that (some) top consumers of streaming content under index in TV viewing. Fairly expected though as internet content catches up in quality and supply. See report.

I keep wondering how damn much content and watching we can take and have time for.

Categories
business internet just a reflection technology video clip

the revolution that wasn’t a revolution

A man in a large crowd stares into the camera. His eyes are wide open. If you didn’t know what was happening, you’d have a hard time telling if he had a stare of anger, victory or happiness. It was a mix of all three. He was in the start of a revolution.

There was a panel discussion at FutureEverything in Manchester some time back, about digital and the future. Ela Kagel, a curator focusing on free culture and the open web, had a talk about value transfer, crowd funding and the challenge of future revenue models for artists and cultural workers. It’s a very interesting subject, and indeed her project called Free Culture Incubator is too.

What I find quite interesting with this is that arts grants and other official cultural support functions have been about the process of creating art. Support for the doing, so that artists can then sell the final product. And although many artists, who have always struggled, may find bootlegging and copying a major problem and maybe even a spit in the face, they now have so many new ways of getting support for the process and the actual doing from a much larger community. A visionary idea or project like Molly Crabapple’s Week In Hell can get $17,000 from supporters that don’t know what’s going to come out at the end. We don’t just buy the final art, we buy into a thought, idea, culture or movement. Below is a graph of the different types of projects that get funding from Kickstarter.

“Are we prepared for after the revolution?”

That was the key question that made me squirm in my seat up in Manchester. “Are we prepared for after the revolution?” Well that makes no sense at all, which, seen as I can’t shut up, proclaimed loudly. I got a quiet stare back. The fact of the matter is that only if you’ve been asleep for the last 20 years can you wake up after a revolution. What we’ve been in for quite some time now (quite being the key part) is an evolution and not a revolution. An evolution that many have handled brilliantly and others not so brilliantly. But to blame it on being a victim of a revolution is crazy. Revolutions explode. Those prepared for this revolution are those who saw it as, and treated it as, an evolution early on. Those interested in, or at least realizing, the change. So the question has the answer already. For those who see it as a revolution; no, you’re not prepared.

Why is it important to distinguish a revolution from an evolution? Because it better helps corporations, organisations and brands making sense of it all. That it’s not making sense of something new, but continuously making sense of ongoing change. It might be about an implementation. Only not a solution, but rather a mindset or approach. The quicker they come to terms with the fact that never again will it move so slowly, the better. It’s not a change. It’s change.

But still, wise words from a man who wrote poetry from his thoughts about revolutions. Revolutions will not be televised because the actual revolution has already happened in the hearts and minds of revolutionaries. That cannot be televised. Revolutions, he said, happen within. Only the effects can be viewed and broadcast, and here’s how it looks.


Romanian revolutionaries taking over mass media, a good sign of a revolution.

Categories
creativity internet technology video clip

ultimate artistic expression of remix

Kutiman is at it again. To me, his musical video mixes are the ultimate artistic expressions of what remixes are today. It’s less than professional (but he is a professional producer I hear) in the traditional sense i.e. source material is user generated, distribution is free spread is self-propagated etc. This particular one he’s shot and directed himself which, funnily enough, could be considered taking a step back seen only from a UGC point of view… But who cares.