The Facebook paper on mood research paper post

Over the weekend if you went on to quality (not Buzzfeed) news sites you would have probably seen something about a scientific paper that was published by researchers in the pay of Facebook on how emotion spreads through social networks.

There was a lot of copy written already about the experiment, so I recommend that you read The Atlantic‘s piece on it instead. There has been a lot written about whether it is moral, legal or ethical. As far as it being legal, Facebook’s highly paid legal counsel could provide a better steer on it than I could; and I suspect they would tell you it was completely legal.

As for the morals and ethics of it, I rather think that those are a mute point. Consumers emotional states have been tweaked for decades, the question of morality sailed with the rise of the mass market consumer product.
Guilty Viewing Pleasures: They Live
Whilst public relations as it is practiced now is more of a mechanistic craft; its father Edward Bernays viewed propaganda as a ‘modern instrument’ driven by scientific thinking including understanding of audience psychology to move people.

Advertisers utilised motivational research from the early 20th century on to create cognitive dissonance  with a consumer and then provide the product as a solution. The Atlantic carried an article on the psychology of advertising back in 1904. You are a better Mum if you wash your kids clothes with Persil, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk will put a smile on your face.

Political pollsters use voter psychographic profiling to induce a constituency result. We already live in the world of a malleable proletariat envisioned by by George Orwell in his novel 1984.

The people who are outraged by this need to get over it, log-in to Facebook less and realise that they are already sheep with a gallery of multinational shepherds herding them through their consumer lifecycle. What you can do is become more informed and read your environment in a more critical way.

More information
Everything We Know About Facebook’s Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment | The Atlantic
Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks by Adam D. I. Kramera, Jamie E. Guillory and Jeffrey T. Hancock
The Oxford Handbook of Propaganda Studies (Oxford Handbooks) the Auerbach and Castronovo edited anthology gives you pretty much everything you need to know from Bernays onwards about psychology and audience manipulation
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The Psychology of Advertising by Walter D Scott | The Atlantic (1904) – no that’s not a typo
Frontline: The Persuaders | PBS
Advertising’s Fifteen Basic Appeals | Jib Fowles

Links of the day | 在网上找到

[1406.2293] Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in a Social Network – market research as a network analysis tool

An Online Course For FPGA And CPLD Development | Hackaday – Reddit as an old time free university – but without the hippy politics

Facebook tinkered with users’ feeds for a massive psychology experiment · The A.V. Club – and people will be surprised why? Good TV consumer product advertising is all about inducing anxiety with current states and promising some sort of emotional reward on purchase

APAC has highest software piracy rate – combination of being gadget driven and piracy is easy

P&G’s Always celebrates the “Like a Girl” way of doing things | PopSop – interesting bit of culture hacking

mirador – interesting application for analytics

Study: Social Media is Not a Trusted Media Source for PR Pros | Convince & Convert – interesting-ish piece I guess

Xiaomi founder Lin Bin reveals global ambition | Marketing Interactive – no real surprise, but interesting how they will expand the web services side of the Xiaomi experiences

WeChat + Vivienne Tam = International Model Search 2014!| WeChat – interesting campaign for mass affluence brand. Tam is also trying to encourage usage of WeChat amongst English language customers, so I suspect that this is partly funded by Tencent.

Google I/O: who is Google trying to disrupt?

Google I/O this week played out like a science fair trying to be an Apple keynote. It was interesting for me to watch to try and discern how this will affect commercial rivals.
Made it to Google I/O "extended". Now what do those guys in Mtn View have to share? #google
The most obvious casualty of this move is not Apple or Microsoft but the Java language that Android’s application language is very similar to. Java was touted in the mid-1990s as a write-once, run-anywhere development language and pops up in surprising places. A variant of Java ran most of the pre-iOS smartphone games. It provided a development environment for early web applications including those used in the enterprise. Java had developed a strong footprint in consumer electronics that Android is now looking to usurp. Oracle had worked hard to support Java for embedded devices ever since it released the first Java development kit for OSX a couple of years ago.

Microsoft has already failed in mobile devices, having spent billions of dollars to maintain a toe hold – this situation may change over time, but for now Microsoft isn’t a relevant player in mobile devices. So Microsoft would be more threatened by Google’s integration of its internet services into Android, than by Android itself. Gmail has become a development platform in its own right and Google is providing enterprise users with unlimited storage for $10 a month. Microsoft’s web services business has been growing rapidly to challenge the current market leader Amazon. Every part of that business from Azure cloud computing to hosted Exchange server functions are threatened by Google’s recent announcements.

Google’s announcement of a smart TV come games console would threaten neither Microsoft nor Sony will be particularly worried by Google’s plans for an Android-powered games console, at least for now. It is interesting that Google thinks there still a market for games console casual gaming rather than just for the zealots. This could be a winner if Nintendo became a developer and abandoned the Wii U – similarly to SEGA’s retreat from the games console market after the Dreamcast console.

The expansion of Android and related web services puts Amazon squarely in the frame as a competitor – however this is not a pushover for Google. Amazon has a strong position in digital goods and is the number one player in web services. In addition, Amazon (unlike Google) isn’t restricted in China, which will be one of the main makers of, and main markets for the products that Google is looking to put Android inside. Amazon has crashed and burned as a traditional e-tailer in China with just over 2% market share; web services and digital content could give the company a second wind. Outside China, Amazon already has the payment details of more high-spending consumers than Google, which gives Amazon the edge in the living room.

Whilst Google probably hasn’t set out to ‘kill’ players in the wearables sector, wearable hardware companies are likely to face rapid commoditisation as Android makes it easier to design wearable hardware. This hollowing out of the market will be similar to what happened to handsets before Samsung managed to prevail through the scale of its resources. The challenge will be if they can differentiate on superior industrial design and maintain a premium price, or move into providing web services that support compatible devices –  a direction where Nike seems to be moving with its Nike+ Fuel Lab.

The closer integration of Samsung and Google’s development efforts was probably the most interesting movement at Google I/O. Google’s divide-and-conquer strategy works when you have a number of evenly competitive players, but Samsung rapidly built scale and used its vertical integration to its advantage driving Motorola and HTC to the edge. Sony consolidated its hold on Sony Ericsson and LG have been grimly hanging on against its rival chaebol. Samsung tried to expand control of its eco-system with new applications, services and two new OS over the years – Bada and Tizen. Samsung partnership announcements including the integration of KNOX, represented a degree of detente between Samsung and Google – at least for the moment. This alliance puts other Android handset manufacturers like LG, Sony and HTC at a further disadvantage. It is less clear what this will mean for those developers who Samsung has persuaded to support their Tizen platform. Will that work have been wasted?

The integration of KNOX will also affect the core enterprise business of BlackBerry, providing yet another reason for not purchasing BlackBerry devices or server software.

The further expansion into the home is Google trying to hammer the nails into the cross that consumer electronics companies like Sony, Sharp, JVC and Panasonic are already attached to. However, Google would need to build rapport with Chinese companies like TCL; yet companies TCL is less likely to want to get on the Google train for a few reasons:

  • China is one of the largest markets for home consumer electronics, yet Google can’t play
  • Many of these companies are vertically integrated and already have lower-tier handset manufacturer within the group who aren’t getting much love from Google already and some of these manufacturers are already playing with other Android-based distributions. They may even create forks from the open source distribution that is the basis of Google’s Android
  • A tighter relationship with a content provider will be more important than tying into Google – particularly as Google services face an increasing crackdown in China
  • A tight relationship with a payment provider will be more important than tying to Google – Tencent or Alibaba

Google needs to find a way to address these issues, or partner with another player like Tencent which would take a lot of corporate manoeuvring; any partner maybe careful (if not leery) after they can see how Google’s relationship with Apple went south. Google may not be the barbarian Microsoft of the 1990s, but the organisation is now so big and complex that it could easily crush a partner thoughtlessly.

More information
It’s A Java Embedded World | Dr Dobb’s – I guess I am showing my age, but if feels strange that it isn’t Dr Dobb’s Journal or DDJ anymore
China Top B2C Websites Market Share in Q1 2014 | China Internet Watch
Android TV hands-on: Google makes a new play for the living room | The Verge
Google announces Drive for Work with unlimited storage at $10 a month | The Verge
Google Opens Gmail, Making It More of a Platform for Developers | WSJ
Google previews Android apps running on Chromebooks | TNW
Razer’s making a gaming ‘micro-console’ with Android TV, available this fall | Engadget
Google Introduces Android TV, Its New Platform For Smart TV Apps And Navigation | TechCrunch
Google Unveils Ambitious Android Expansion at Conference | New York Times
Nike+ Developer Portal

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Sorry I have been a bit late on getting this published.

Umeng have put together a great presentation on consumer behaviour and mobile in China’s tier 3 cities

This beautifully shot version of Happy done by the people of Fukushima showing everyday Japanese life.

I particularly like the lucho libre masks and the winking Shibu shot. There is also a great outtakes / making of video

Red Fuse Hong Kong’s work with Colgate-Palmolive in Myanmar to educate children about oral health (and sell more toothpaste) was a Cannes Lion winner and an inspired way of rethinking how packaging was used. The mobile toll-free number was particularly interesting given how nascent mobile phone usage is in Myanmar.

Richard Feynman – The Character of Physical Law – 5 -The Distinction of Past and Future lecturing at Cornell University. Feynman was a great physicist but he was greater at making physics accessible to a wider range of people through his lectures and writing. Take a lunch time to enjoy this video

Yet another new trailer for the Guardians of The Galaxy, we get to see Rocket’s character slightly more developed in this version and he seems brilliant in a Spaghetti Western anti-hero kind of way, if Eli Wallach (God rest his soul) had been a wise-cracking raccoon bandit.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Inside AdWords: More Insights about Quality Score and the AdWords Auction – interesting update

Hospitals Spy on Your Purchases to Spot Bad Habits – Bloomberg – this presents and interesting privacy dilemma and they aren’t even using social data yet

Tumblr Promoted Posts and Yahoo Ads: What You Could Be Missing | Simply Measured – some interesting case studies on Tumblr, would be interested in seeing how brands got ROI

Making Flexible Wood Using a Laser Cutter | Hackaday – really interesting project

Artifact: Oakley Eyeshades | Uncrate – love these, its a pity Luxxotica have ruined innovation at Oakley

Android TV hands-on: Google makes a new play for the living room | The Verge – if at first you don’t succeed try, try again. What hasn’t been shown so far is a use case beyond an Apple TV type service – a remade version of the DVD player. If companies can come up with a killer app in lean back media then things may change

Google Drops Profile Photos, Google+ Circle Count From Authorship In Search Results | SearchEngineLand – makes the organic links look less clickable, presumably there will be some rationale about improving ad click through instead

42% of all luxury hotel reviews authored by Chinese travellers. | Resonance China – this is insane

How the Sweetener Industry Sugar-Coats Science | Mother Jones – this is starting to look like the tobacco lobby

Why Cooper Hewitt is giving away its new bespoke typeface | Quartz – a must-download font

How brands hijacked Luis Suarez’s World Cup bite | Marketing Interactive – nice summary of the news jacking activity on social media

2014 Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet | Constant Contact Blogs – this is really useful

The vacuum tube strikes back: NASA’s tiny 460GHz vacuum transistor that could one day replace silicon FETs | ExtremeTech – looking forward to having that McIntosh Labs sound from my iPhone in years to come

Technorati Quietly Killed its Blog Index in May | TheNextWeb – not terribly surprising, but definitely marks the end of an era

The case that might cripple Facebook – The Washington Post – and a lot of other US web services

Twitter, SMG release first results from Social TV Lab | blog.smvgroup.com – really?

Microsoft Makes Bet Quantum Computing Is Next Breakthrough – NYTimes.com – as Moore’s law is running out of head space and mobile computing has matured

Fighting Back–the Right Way | In from the cold – interesting PR response example

The porn industry is putting skin back in the game | Quartz – looks rather like the music industry: merchandise, custom products (like the way iTunes atomised the album), experiential – drinking venues and live performance – live cams

[The Futures Company:] Ageing in Asia: Myth #3 – interesting changes in divorce statistics