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The Illustrated History of Facebook

March 11, 2015

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The Illustrated History of Twitter

March 2, 2015

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The Year in 2013 – Google Zeitgeist

Google: Year in Search 2014

December 17, 2014

 

Google today released its Year in Search list, which tracks the most searched-for terms, people and events of the year. Formerly referred to as “Zeitgeist“, the collection has been re-branded as the “Year in Search”.

Google 2014 Zeitgeist - A year in search

The montage offers fascinating insight into how people around the world used the search engine.

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The Art of Propaganda in the age of social media

October 8, 2014

 

The “Umbrella revolution”, named after the protection the demonstrators used against police tear gas, triggered an unprecedented response from the citizens of Hong Kong. From the day the police fired 87 canisters of tear gas at unarmed students, debates broke out between friends who sympathised with the pro-democracy demonstrations and supporters of the police force.

Hong Kong umbrella revolution tear gas man

Defiant protester braves the tear gas

Source: Mashable

Never has there been a political issue so divisive in Hong Kong, with people openly venting their political frustrations by sheer numbers – even the ones who appear seemingly apolitical had something to add to the conversation. These heated arguments, often in 15-20 long threads, led to subsequent un-following, un-friending on Facebook and even removal (or departure) from WhatsApp groups amongst those who had differing views on the political debate.

Through social media, everyone had a soapbox to vent their opinions, share videos and posts they felt that added to their plight. Beyond the call for genuine universal suffrage, the movement is as much a fight to protect the rights people currently enjoy in Hong Kong, as it is to safeguard the freedom of speech, of expression and of the press. Can they imagine a world with state-controlled media, blocked searches, and restricted access to certain websites and apps?

Over the past couple of years, the increasing presence of the Chinese state has been apparent. The government has employed many tactics to maintain control of the press and the spread of pro-democracy messages and news. Last year, outrage was provoked over free-television licensing when newcomer HKTV was denied of its TV licence bid, allowing TVB – the main commercial TV station in Hong Kong – to continue its strong hold on the news. Dubbed CCTVB (mocking its relationship with the state-owned CCTV station in China), the locals maintain their scepticism over the neutrality of the station’s reporting.

The democratisation of journalism

The rise of citizen reporters, however, means that news is no longer distributed through the traditional channels of television, print and online. Twitter, weibo and Facebook, in particular, are filled with streams of people’s own raw footage capturing the turn of events of the Umbrella revolution. In one video – a burly man was overheard saying that it would cost $300 HKD (approx. £23) to remove a barricade. And in another, an “anti-occupier” was asked how much he’d been paid off to disrupt the movement, to which he answered, “That’s none of your business!” – a slip of the tongue, perhaps?

Through social shares of news and distribution of video footage captured on smartphones, people are left to make their own judgements. Did official forces pay triads to intimidate pro-democracy protestors? Were people paid to disrupt and aggravate the peaceful protests or attend anti-occupy rallies? If the attendees of the rally are to be believed, it would appear to be so. In one news report by i-cable, a subscription channel, one senior citizen said she came because the head of the village told her to do so, and another lady, with a heavy accent, said she was part of a tour group and thought she was going to go shopping before quickly being pulled away by her tour guide for saying too much.

The future of Hong Kong?

The Chinese Communist Party has a huge task at hand – and the world is watching. Not only is the state propaganda machine having to control the news flow of the Occupy movement into mainland China, the state is also dealing with (what it deems as an “internal affair”) how the demonstrations are perceived, and the spread of unfiltered content in the age of social media.

The party believes that a strong hold over Hong Kong is the only way of guaranteeing its stability. The fear is that if the party loosens its grip, Hong Kong will slip towards disorder, spelling disaster for the rest of the country. It is, after all, an “internal affair” they are dealing with.

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Marketing to Generation Z

Marketing to Generation Z

August 14, 2014

Interest around the Generation Z demographic sparked once again over the past week following Ofcom’s annual ‘Communications Market Report’. The research found that children and teenagers were the most digitally savvy age bracket in the UK — with children as young as six able to navigate their way around digital technology as quickly as the average 45 year old.

How-to-Speak-Gen-Z_First-and-last-cards

Source: McCrindle Research

Described as the “first tribe of true digital native”, Generation Z covers those born around 1995 to present and has grown up with easy access to the internet, social media and emoji speak. Not only are Gen Z-ers the most tech literate generation, this cohort is also deemed the “holy grail of brands” according to Marketing Magazine, as they now make up a group around 2bn strong worldwide (23% of the population in the UK).

Members of Generation Z have some interesting characteristics which provide food for thought for brands looking to market to the consumers of tomorrow.

Common traits include:

  • A sense of entrepreneurial spirit – Generation Z watched their older siblings struggle to find work and so they are focused on boosting their CVs by doing work experience or holiday jobs. Generation Z don’t plan to follow the same path as those who stuck to societal rules only to be drowned with debt in bleak jobs market. In fact, seven in ten Gen Z-ers want to start their own business and say they would rather save money than spend it
  • They don’t just want to make money; they also want to make the world a better place. The generation that has grown up since 9/11 and through a recession spends a lot of time worrying: about world peace, global warming and the likelihood of parents losing their jobs
  • Most of Gen Z are younger than Google and they are more tech-literate than adults in their mid forties. They don’t use texts and message one another using emoji. And as a result, Gen Z-ers have shorter attention spans (around eight seconds).
  • Gen Z-ers are less narcissistic than the selfie-obsessed millenials (between the ages of 20 and 36) and 69 per cent would rather be cleverer than others than better looking.
  • Due to Generation Z’s upbringing under the pessimism of Gen X parents, members of this cohort are resilient. Generation Z don’t need to feel special and have a sense of realism fed to them from a young age.

Just as Generation Z face a ‘Grave New World‘ as they grow up, brands and marketers, likewise, are entering a brave new world to build brand equity and trust with this group of true digital natives.

 

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The best 2014 World Cup adverts

June 29, 2014

We are well into the knock out stages of the riveting 2014 World Cup. Not only have the games delivered, statistically, the most successful World Cup ever in terms of goal-scoring with 136 goals, the 48 action-packed matches at group stage was also one of the most talked about international sporting event on social media. According to Twitter, 300 million tweets have been sent to date compared with 150 million during the whole of the 2012 Olympics. It seems to be that everyone and anyone is sports pundit nowadays.

Nike the last game

Source: Nike

Of course with any major sporting event, how can we forget the epic efforts brands go to cash in on World Cup fever? The concept of branded entertainment is reaching new heights with brands adopting the traits of narrative constructs to convey powerful stories, as seen in the Beats and Nike short films – both non-sponsors of the World Cup. These days, the short 30 second branded/ product “advert” just won’t cut it to get the attention and kudos from today’s audience.

Here’s a personal selection of five of the best World Cup 2014 commercials:

Beats By Dre – The Game Before the Game

Nike – The Last Game

Nike Football – Winner Stays

McDonald’s – GOL!

Adidas – House match

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A brief history of Times New Roman

June 10, 2014

For typography fans, The Times Newspaper commissioned this short film based on its renowned typeface Times New Roman, as part of the paper’s new ‘Unquiet Film Series‘.

Times New Roman font typography Unquiet Film

The third instalment, in the collection of short films, celebrates one of the most recognisable typefaces of our time, albeit a “default, boring, robust, honest, classic, proud” font as described by those who star in the film.

A fascinating and splendid look at this famous typeface, which takes in both its historical and cultural relevance as well as current incarnations for the newspaper.

The video is part of nine short films, with four videos already released looking at:

  • The Power of Words featuring leading Times’ columnists and writers
  • Question Everything – a review of the paper’s investigative journalism
  • Times New Roman – a new font is born
  • Photojournalism – an exploration of The Sunday Times’ history of commissioning photojournalism

Catch the series here: www.foreverunique.co.uk

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