There are myths that we tell each other about the internet. These internet myths aren’t helpful. They can adversely affect our planning and our online experiences.
So onward to the internet myths:
What’s online, stays online forever…. – Tell that to the archiveteam.org who were frustrated in their efforts to save Yahoo! Groups for posterity by Verizon. This obstructive unhelpful behaviour is entirely in keeping with Verizon’s core values.
Or the 700,000 Tumblr blogs containing over 800 terabytes of that were deleted from the web. Machine learning software designated any image that contained round shapes or beige for deletion. This was part of a Verizon effort to purge adult content from Tumblr.
Finally, keen students of digital media services like Amazon Prime, Apple iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify etc will know how content appears and disappears in their digital libraries. A case in point would be my collection of James A. Michener books that I bought on Apple Books and then disappeared less than a fortnight later. No refund, and no mindless reading material to keep me occupied on a long haul flight.
Everything is online…. – no it isn’t. There are large rafts of content that aren’t digital let alone online. Google and IBM have worked on large scale digitalisation projects. But there is content that never made the jump from analogue to digital. Master tapes decaying in record company vaults. If you go through Discogs like I do on a regular basis, you can see a huge body of recording that have never made it online via legal, or illegal means.
You can find anything you want online…. – I remember the first time I found a web ring. These were connected ‘walkthroughs of pages by different authors all linked together in a giant ring. They catering to people who liked different subject areas. Education had double the amount of subject area webbings compared to sports. Cats hadn’t conquered the web yet: there were just 17 rings for animals and pets.
And you got an arcane level of detail in discussions about the subject area. Over time, the web became too vast for ‘surfers’ and search engines came to past. Prior to the rise of the modern social web, I saw estimates that Google only indexes 15% of the available web. So 85% of content that hasn’t disappeared isn’t searchable.
Secondly, a lot of content is being created on platforms like Instagram; where search is essentially broken in nature. There is a similar curation of search in TikTok where the focus is on the ‘now’.
Then there is the concept of link rot. Where deleted content or broken links caused by SEO (search optimisation), or technology platform transition mean that content disappears. The phenomenon has been studied since at least the mid-1990s and Library studies academics have put serious efforts into documenting it. They set out measure how ‘unstable‘ in nature the worldwide web is as a research resource. The quote below by Sarah Rhodes of the Georgetown University Law Center sums up the problem quite elegantly:
In the context of web archiving and digital preservation, one often hears that the average life span of a web page is forty-four days. This statistic has been repeated among those in the digital preservation community for years, but it never seems to be accompanied by a citation. In a 2002 article by Peter Lyman, a footnote briefly explains why the source of this figure is so elusive: “These data sources were originally published on the Web, but are no longer available, illustrating the prob- lem of Web archiving.” Ironically, the very source of a statistic often used to sup- port the cause of web preservation has itself become a victim of “link rot.”
EXP TV – not quite sure how to describe it, its just tremendous. In there words “EXP TV’s daytime programming is called “Video Breaks”—a video collage series featuring wild, rare, unpredictable, and ever-changing archival clips touching on every subject imaginable. Similar to how golden era MTV played music videos all day, daytime EXP TV streams non-stop, deep cut video clips filtered through our own distinct POV. Our Nite Owl programming block features specialty themed video mixes and deep dives on everything under the sun: Bigfoot, underground 80s culture, Italo disco, cults, Halloween hijinks, pre-revolutionary Iranian pop culture, midnight movies, ‘ye ye’ promo films, Soviet sci-fi, reggae rarities, psychedelic animation and local news calamities. On any given night you could watch something like our Incredibly Strange Metal show followed by a conceptual video essay like Pixel Power—our exploration of early CGI art. Aside from our unique tone and deep crate of video materials, one thing that really sets us apart in 2020 is our format. We are *not* on demand, we are *not* interactive—just like old TV! You can tune in anytime and something cool will be on. That’s EXP TV in a nutshell. It’s funny, it’s art, it’s music, it’s infotainment, it’s free and it’s 24/7.” It reminded me a lot of the pioneering night time TV programming that used to run on British TV.
Gen Z wants brands to be ‘fun,’ ‘authentic’ and ‘good,’ study says | Marketing Dive – Gen Zers prefer brands that are authentic, with 82% saying they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising, while 72% said they’re more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. Product quality, positive ratings and reviews and customer service are the top three characteristics that establish trust in a brand among Gen Zers – really? I am sure if you asked any cohort through time of the same age that would have come out as the result. More on ‘generations‘ here
TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong – Axios – interesting how they got out ahead of Facebook, WhatsApp etc. TikTok might feel its mainland app Douyin can be swapped in. It is an interesting canary in the coal mine for Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp etc
Luckin Coffee investors oust founder | Financial Times – this looks very similar to WireGuard. The problem is that audited books can’t be trusted due to local law. And locally written analyst reports have to self-censor allowing this kind of thing to happen. China doesn’t seem to be moving to change its law in the same way that Germany is to try and protect shareholders
Facebook Suspending Review of Hong Kong Requests for User Data – WSJ – based on the Xi administration’s concerns about national security and cyber sovereignty; one can expect China to extend Great Firewall into Hong Kong with this. Which will then impact multinational companies who have traditionally used Hong Kong as an exit point for China operation VPNs. It will also affect Hong Kong’s position as a regional base. Firms would no longer want to use the data centres and backbone networks that Hong Kong has. More from the FT: Facebook and Twitter block Hong Kong authorities from accessing user data | Financial Times – WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram have all given the Chinese Communist Party the finger. They have a strong incentive to. Chinese drop shipping businesses like Shein or Wish will suffer more than Facebook. And it plays well in parliaments and distracts from the other troubles that they may have. China gets burnt because of its information warfare games on these platforms. Facebook et al provide Chinese marketing teams a gateway into markets around the world that WeChat and TikTok don’t – which dings the Chinese government’s economic goals
Philip K Dick’s Metz speech is mind blowing. It was done at an international science fiction festival in 1977, held in Metz, France.
Did China Steal Canada’s Edge in 5G From Nortel? – Bloomberg – short answer yes. Though it probably didn’t help that they had a management team that had failed to act when they were warned about infiltration, a infrastructure business reliance on the frame relay network market and partnered with Microsoft on a lot of enterprise technology. Some fantastic stuff in this article – Did a Chinese hack kill Canada’s greatest tech company? – BNN Bloomberg – in the late 1990s, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the country’s version of the CIA, became aware of “unusual traffic,” suggesting that hackers in China were stealing data and documents from Ottawa. “We went to Nortel in Ottawa, and we told the executives, ‘They’re sucking your intellectual property out,’ ” says Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who headed the agency’s Asia-Pacific unit at the time. “They didn’t do anything.” By 2004 the hackers had breached Nortel’s uppermost ranks. The person who sent the roughly 800 documents to China appeared to be none other than Frank Dunn, Nortel’s embattled chief executive officer. Four days before Dunn was fired — fallout from an accounting scandal on his watch that forced the company to restate its financial results — someone using his login had relayed the PowerPoints and other sensitive files to an IP address registered to Shanghai Faxian Corp. It appeared to be a front company with no known business dealings with Nortel. The thief wasn’t Dunn, of course. Hackers had stolen his password and those of six others from Nortel’s prized optical unit, in which the company had invested billions of dollars. Using a script called Il.browse, the intruders swept up entire categories from Nortel’s systems: Product Development, Research and Development, Design Documents & Minutes, and more. “They were taking the whole contents of a folder — it was like a vacuum cleaner approach,” says Brian Shields, who was then a senior adviser on systems security
Burger King’s Autopilot Whopper campaign reminds me of a lot of the classic work that Crispin Porter Bogusky have done for Burger King over the years. The Autopilot Whopper is based on the insight that Tesla cars machine learning powered vision system that helps with self driving function mistakes the Burger King logo for a Stop sign.
Autopilot Whopper entertaining with this schadenfreude around Tesla technology. And it also lands the message that the Burger King drive through is as good a place to stop as any.
YouTube announced the winners of its 2020 YouTube Works awards. I would strongly recommend that any brand planners bookmark this in their browser and dip in on a regular basis.
The one that really piqued my interest the most was Hulu’s campaign for live sports that tapped into a growing consumer cynicism around influencers. The sports linkage was using NBA basketball players as the influencers.
Public Enemy came back when we most need them. Flavor Flav seems to have patched up his beef with Chuck D. Public Enemy have partnered with DJ Premier to capture the zeitgeist. Black Lives Matter, COVID19 and chaotic leadership feature in State Of The Union (STFU). DJ Premier’s product references earlier Public Enemy works scratching in sounds of early Public Enemy vocals in this track. The beat is more laid back than what one would expect from the Bomb Squad production team. But the Public Enemy fire in the belly is still there.
The step chickens are a meme driven ‘cult’ that have sprung up on TikTok. More accurately they are a directed community. Here’s the founder on how they came about. Their heat has been parleyed in a community for a new app. From a product point-of-view, this means that something like TikTok could lose chunks of its user base IF the step chickens phenomenon was widely and successfully replicated. Given that it was a mix of smarts, happenstance and pure luck it isn’t likely: sorry brands.
German China-focused think-tank MERICS had a thoughtful presentation put together on the Hong Kong national security law. The presentation focused on the impact for the financial services sector. But there similar lessons to be drawn for professional services (accounting, management consultancy, legal firms). And only for a a slightly lesser effect on the strategy and planning functions of creative agencies, or counsel based PR functions.
On reflection, I would be concerned about how some of the creative briefs for China-focused campaigns that I have written would have faired against the Hong Kong national security law. Probably not that well.
What immediately becomes apparent is the implications for quality research into companies and economics won’t meet international standards. Which means more fodder for the likes of Muddy Waters Research LLC. It likely indicates a conscious effort for China to decouple from the international financial system.
The calculus behind the Hong Kong national security law seems to be that the Chinese government think yet another (internal) market for Chinese stocks will be a better deal than the traditional gateway to and from China Hong Kong has provided. I am not sure what this bet will mean. Shenzhen already has a robust stock market by Chinese standards; would China really need Hong Kong? Without the gateway role, Hong Kong would also find it harder to be the point of capital departure from China for high net worth citizens. Dampening capital flight would definitely hold some attraction to the Xi administration.