I use Echofon on my work Mac since its OS doesn’t have the App store on it. Echofon is an advert-supported piece of software and usually I am not that interested. 140Proof sell the ads and in the spirit of Twitter keep the copy down to below 140 characters.
This copy from News Corporation’s The Daily caught my eye as it shows real insight of the tastes and social norms of their audience.
I had lunch at Pizza Express the other week and noticed that the cutlery were kept on the table in a branded can. At first I thought that the can was specially for that purpose and to convey the brand message.
I passed another Pizza Express restaurant the other day and noticed that they were selling the pizza sauce in the same tins with the same visually attractive design. It is extremely impressive that the packaging design was sufficiently good that the empty tins could be reused in this way.
When Google opened up it’s Google Plus network to it’s entire user base rather than invites Google highlighted it to everyone with a very organic-blue arrow.
This irritated me at the time for a couple of reasons:
It looked like vandalism of the clean search engine page. Google’s doodles aren’t human but engaging and perfectly formed like pre-Disney takeover Pixar films. The arrow didn’t delight visually and wasn’t particularly clever
It made Google seem fallible rather than human. I have gotten used to Google the machine knowing me (sometimes in a really creepy way); so would know that I had already been in using Google+ before the web proletariat were let loose on it – yet it was like as if Google had forgotten this. This sense of disappointment was much more profound than getting a couple of duff search results (usually crap masquerading as content, as pioneered by Demand Media)
Part of the problem that Google has, is that it has walked itself into a machine design corner that isn’t quite minimal but getting there.
Great presentation by Jeffrey Zeldman of US web design shop Happy Cog on why now is the time of the web designer
Zeldman articulates how web technological progress such as HTML5, CSS3, and web fonts are allowing web developers to build great web applications on web standards. Whilst Zeldman is right to talk about the benefit of web standards adherence. I still find a different experience across different browsers even on the most modern websites. The video is on Vimeo so not everyone will be able to see it.
Will The iPhone 5 Kill The Car? @PSFK – cars losing their status position with younger consumers. This has already happened in Japan. The one thing that isn’t being mentioned is that these younger consumers probably don’t have as much spending power
My client Experian have put out research on Facebook usage out this morning. The research had two tables.
The first table looked at the average time spend on Facebook
Average time spent on Facebook in August 2011 per session
38 mins 46 sec
30 mins 31 sec
26 mins 27 sec
25 mins 33 sec
20 mins 46 sec
21 mins 53 sec
20 mins 21 sec
18 mins 19 sec
The second looked at market penetration of social networks and forums as part of overall web behaviour
Market share for social networks and forums
This was spread across some 9,000 social networks in the UK alone.
I found it interesting that there didn’t seem to be a clear positive correlation between the amount of time that users spent on social networks and market penetration of social networks. Does this indicate that just because social network usage maybe tending towards ubiquity doesn’t necessarily mean that they are that engaging?
Vice-chairman of Ogilvy UK Rory Sutherland always provides good value as a presenter, in this case talking about cognitive bias and behavioural economics. Rory emphasises that society is more interested in making change happen through technology or regulation rather than tapping into persuasion or psychology as he puts it.
This video is hosted on Vimeo so it may not be able to be viewed everywhere.
One of the key challenges that I outlined regarding the future of Facebook last November was that of increasingly inactive profiles. Why are inactive profiles particularly bad for Facebook?
At the top-level inactive Facebook users call into question the value that has been put on the social network by investors
Facebook at its heart is an advertising business that relies on consumers providing compelling content in the form of updates, curated content and pictures so there is less content to put advertisements against
Visits by the audiences are likely to become less frequent and so the cycle continues in a slow downward spiral
Facebook can’t kick off inactive profiles as this would affect active users friend numbers adversely which would result in a sizeable amount of cognitive dissonance
Finally the cost of saving an inactive profile is small but in aggregate would adversely affect the margins of the Facebook business. Over time, it is likely adversely affect behavioural targeting of adverts
The changes that Facebook announced around timelines and news feeds look as if Facebook is already preparing for this; by trying to wring as much content as possible out of the existing news streams. Facebook’s frictionless sharing takes this a step further. It is about collating status posts from Facebook users who aren’t logged in with the content being sent via app developers over a Facebook API.
There are some issues I would like to understand better:
Does Facebook’s data show a progressively less engaged audience in its mature markets like the US and the UK? And by implication, is this is about as good as Facebook is going to get?
Has Facebook messaging not lived up to its initial promise to provide consumers with a reason to return and an excuse to update their status whilst they are at it?
Finally how much of these changes are likely likely to benefit brand pages?
Play.com sold to Rakuten of Japan for £25m | The Guardian – interesting that the VAT tax loophole took a big chunk out of the asking price. Processes, facilities, user base and goodwill were worth surprisingly little – which makes me think that it is evidence of social software services being very overpriced
Sense Worldwide hosted a Creative Morning in London with a talk by Chris Bangle, formerly of BMW who now runs his own firm. Chris is now interested in empowerment, specifically letting design happen without designers.
A curve isn’t only about mathematics, but also about a person’s set of correctness
Artisans as co-creators with architects rather than just an executor
Split between design for industry and design for people – Eric Gill
Designers see the world in three segments: big spenders, medium spenders and people who spend as little as possible
The presentation is on Vimeo so some people may not be able to see it.
Robert B. Reich has interesting take on the causes of the recent financial woes is less to do with banking systems and more to do with lies in the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of the richest Americans (and other elites in their respective countries), while stagnant wages and rising costs have forced the middle class to go deep into debt.
Women went into work to compensate for the stagnation of male earning power
Workers worked longer hours to compensate for lower pay
Families used debt based on rising house values to subsidise their spending to plug the gap
The problem wasn’t money being earned but the way that the it was distributed with the top one percent of the population earning a proportion of the wealth out of balance with the rest of the economy. The margin is very similar to what existed just prior to the great depression. Reich implies that this will bring economic and social turbulence moving forwards.
The mechanism that caused this disruption in the 1970s were technological changes:
Containerisation of the global supply chain
The early 20th century had seen similar disruptive changes:
Increasing productivity of farms
Internal combustion engine
Modern roads and railways
The fruits of productivity increases in both cases were not shared throughout society.