Archive for December, 2010
December 22nd, 2010
With Christmas on the horizon, and 2011 just around the corner, Pressitt the Social Media News Release and creation platform will have some exciting news for you in the coming weeks.
Pressitt, the Liberate Media co-owned service, will be announcing its latest major update in the new year. There will be a small monthly price to pay, but we think it’s worth it.
The update is currently being tested by a number of brands and agencies and once we have their final feedback we’ll put the finishing touches together ready for launch.
We hope to be able to announce the new Pressitt feature in January, and until then, here is what Pressitt SMNR platform currently has to offer.
December 21st, 2010
I was going to write a lengthy, and largely unread, diatribe about the US Federal Communications Commission decision on net neutrality today. But no need. Nate Anderson absolutely nails it in in his post on Ars Technica.
While, thereâ€™s hate, anger, fury, bloodlust and comedy around the apparently unstoppable drive by the vampire companies who want to suck the life out of the internet, I hope that we will prevail.
Iâ€™ve tried all of the above emotions in my life â€“ and found each wanting, big time. I still engage with these unreliable friends from time to time â€¦ theyâ€™re not worth it.
Instead, one single search on YouTube reveals our geniuses â€“ the stuff that makes life worthwhile. Iâ€™m very glad I had ears to hear a bit of this before I pop my socks. Perfect, beautiful, timeless. Catch it while you can:
December 21st, 2010
I don’t usually delve into breaking stories, but this one is a meeting of the worlds of Government and Media, and looks set to have significant impact on the UK Cabinet, and potentially News Corp in the UK, so forgive me on this one occasion.
As you may have seen, this afternoon news broke that The UK’s Business Secretary, Vince Cable, indicated that he would seek to block Rupert Murdoch from taking over British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB). In fact as you can hear in the Daily Telegraph’s recording, Cable seems to take on a whole raft of issues in what he thought was a discussion with constituents, but turned out to be a discussion with under cover reporters from the Daily Telegraph.
Yesterday, Cable had already been quoted attacking the UK’s Coalition Government, but this disclosure was held back. The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that Cable said: “Can I be very frank with you … I have a nuclear option, it’s like fighting a war. They know I have nuclear weapons, but I don’t have any conventional weapons. If they push me too far then I can walk out of the Government and bring the Government down and they know that.”
This afternoon, further details of the conversation were released confirming Cable also attacked Rupert Murdoch, saying: “You may wonder what is happening with the Murdoch press. I have declared war on Mr Murdoch and I think we’re going to win.”
“I didn’t politicise it, because it is a legal question, but he [Murdoch] is trying to take over BSkyB, you probably know that. He has minority shares … And he wants a majority. And a majority-control would give him a massive stake.
“I have blocked it, using the powers that I have got. And they are legal powers that I have got. I can’t politicise it, but for the people who know what is happening, this is a big thing. His whole empire is now under attack. So there are things like that, that being in Government … All we can do in opposition is protest.”
Murdoch’s attempt to buy BSkyB outright is currently under scrutiny by Ofcom who were due to report to Cable in the next few weeks.
To date, Cable has been generally liked, and his position in the Government is certainly a crucial role, but can he continue after these comments? As i write, the Prime Minister is believed to be in conference with senior members of the Cabinet, who are likely to make an announcement later today. however, i can’t seem him surviving the expected backlash.
Before the News Corp-related quotes came out, Nick Clegg said his Business Secretary was “right to be embarrassed” about remarks The Daily Telegraph did publish, and David Cameron confirmed Cable had been “very apologetic” when the Cabinet met this morning, but i expect harsher words this evening.
News Corp for its part has commented; “News Corporation is shocked and dismayed at the reports of Mr Cable’s comments. They raise serious questions about fairness and due process.”
In fairness, this comment may force the Government’s hand, as competition law stipulates that Media Corp’s acquisition must be cleared by the Business Secretary. Mr Cable is supposed to judge whether the proposed buy-out would harm the media industry, after taking advice from the regulatory authorities. So how can he now be considered impartial?
So, will this cost Cable his job? In most other roles i don’t think it would even be a question, his position is going to be extremely difficult after these comments, and that’s without counting Media Corp’s considerable political reach. The rumour mill is already indicating Cable will resign.
However, he has been painted as a key part of the Government’s response to the economic downturn, so he will be difficult to remove easily.
This whole scandal really was of Cable’s own making, and if PR has taught me anything, it’s that nothing is off the record and to expect anything you say to come out at some point. It seems this basic advice escaped Cable on this occasion.
* Update, as of 18.00 21st December, Vince Cable will continue as Business Secretary, but will take no further part in the decision over News Corporation’s proposed takeover of BSkyB, which will be handled by The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
In a brief statement Cable confirmed: “I fully accept the decision of the prime minister and deputy prime minister. I deeply regret the comments I made and apologise for the embarrassment that I have caused the government.”
For full updates, i recommend the Guardian’s politics Live blog.
December 21st, 2010
You might have guessed by the title of this post, that about.me is a website for you.
The visual nature of the service can be demonstrated in the searchable directory, where your about.me will be added.
Other features include a dashboard that enables you to see how many people look at your profile, where they’re coming from, and what they do on your page.
All in all about.me is a great service that would sit comfortably as a link from your Twitter/Linkedin profile, as a place for people to find out more about you. It’s a great site!
December 20th, 2010
Every so often, one of the good guys turns up to fight for whatâ€™s right and true in this bank-distorted, greed-obsessed and blood-sucking world.
Al Franken is US senator and he has been fighting against the slavering tech companies in that benighted country who have, almost since the internet became a commercial proposition in 1993, sought to corrupt the idea of a free-flowing global information network.
These companies, of which AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Wireless are current prime examples, want to create new revenue streams by creating tiers of internet data streams, allowing companies to buy visibility and dominance. The price they expect to pay is very high in monetary terms. The price we will pay is the end of the internet.
Make no mistake, if the US Federal Communications Commission does not annihilate the threat of a tiered internet tomorrow (Tuesday, December 21st) when it meets to discuss â€œnet neutralityâ€, then we can kiss goodbye to the internet.
What worries me is that the FCC has been taking seriously the views of the companies who stand to gain massively from the introduction of rules allowing a tiered internet. Indeed they have actively sought these views, which is a matter of great concern.
The FCC chairman Julias Genachowski’s draft Order has not been made public but early reports make clear that it falls far short of protecting net neutrality.
President Obama is on record in giving his unqualified support for net neutrality:
The free marketeers, God Bless â€˜Em, are also on the side of all that is good and true. Witness thisÂ MSNBC Cenk Rant: Internet Freedom In Danger. Rant it might be but for once, he makes sense:
So, whatâ€™s to worry? Well, Al Franken is and therefore so am I. The FCC could change the world tomorrow. And remember, itâ€™s not just the US â€“ the virus of tiered internet will spread, if we do not stop it here, right now.
December 20th, 2010
The Greater Manchester Police have made the social media headlines once again, after they tweeted details of every 999 call they received over a 24-hour period in October.
Now they have come up with the spoof website: The Drunken Disorderly Inn. The site, which is fronted by two burly Police Officers, opens with; “Welcome – The Drunken Disorderly Inn offers award-winning accommodation whether you are looking for a one-night stay or a long weekend.
We are open for guests 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and all our accommodation is thoughtfully located within easy reach of all town centre pubs, clubs and magistrates’ courts.”
The inn boasts “premier accommodation with lots of bars” to check out how you would look behind bars click here.
Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan explained the thinking behind the website: “Although it is tongue-in-cheek it carries a serious message highlighting the cold, stark experience of being taken into custody and how it can damage your reputation, relationships and work prospects.
“For thousands of people in our county a few drinks out in the local bar or club are an integral part of celebrating Christmas and the New Year.
“The vast majority of people do this responsibly ensuring they and others have a good time and go home safe.
“Excessive drinking can however lead to a selfish binge-drinking minority getting involved in drunken violence and anti-social behaviour such as swearing, shouting and criminal damage.
“Please visit this website before you go out and share it with your friends. Enjoy yourself and stay safe this Christmas and remember it’s your night out and your choice. Don’t spend it with us.”
December 19th, 2010
What does make a great online promotional video? Intent, expertise, emotional intelligence, knowledge, content, execution â€¦ with an essential quality that I always struggle to define. Perhaps itâ€™s â€˜nownessâ€™, capturing our disparate neurotic thoughts and squeezing them through an intelligent sieve to find the essence of what we think.
The great promotional films transcend the terrifying limitations of the device, and somehow connect with us in deep, primal way so that we feel â€˜alive and nowâ€™ through text, voice and music.
The thousand words needed to match the narrative of a still image is almost unquestioned. The antecedence of this aphorism is questionable but worth following, if you are so minded. While we accept it, apparently, does that mean we believe it?
Images enrich a story; they pose questions and offer mysteries but, I do not think they narrate the story. That is only in the gift of text and voice â€“ and music.
The great promotional thinkers of the last century employed the services of the best psycho-analysts in an effort to understand and exploit the fragilities of the human mind for commercial benefit.
Somewhere along the way, they lost the map and, in their confusion, developed the art of â€œlying with styleâ€.
This mode of telling gossamer untruths cannot find a berth in our web. Yet we still see, with every click, the impractical propaganda of agencies and brands that still believe in the efficacy of lying.
I hope that in 2011, we will see the final move away from this dissembling. Brands need to embrace the idea and benefits of communal honesty.
Give you an example, you know Iâ€™m a Slate evangelist and I believe that this device form can open a Web 4.0 market, engaging â€œeverybody elseâ€ who has not gone online. This video tells me so little, and yet promises so much. Itâ€™s beautiful but not extraordinary â€“ the Slates are truly innovative and should form the next generation of connected devices – globally, everywhere. It’s not lying – just not telling me the truth.
And talking of essence, beauty and intent, I’ll leave you with Marian Anderson, a black woman who transcended the prejudice and hate of her time with a rare, clear voice:
December 17th, 2010
Want to know where Foursquare, Gowalla and all the other location-based services (LBS) were born? Just watch this exhilarating video where Sir Tim Berners Lee outlines the blueprint for these services, almost as an aside, as he shows us the true meaning and values of data.
I interviewed Tim in September 2001 at the Europeaneum Policy Forum, Oxford when he first described his vision for the Semantic Web, where data is prised from the individuated, protected containers that restrict their usefulness and relevance.
Freed from boundaries, data becomes an incredibly powerful tool because all freed data can be linked. The interview was a defining moment in my life and also one of the most enjoyable hours I have had.
And now here we are, nine years on, with Sir Timâ€™s vision made real. And in this video, you will find more insights, pointers and commercial potential than in a trillion business presentations. Thatâ€™s why, in the end, good ideas are all we have. Hope you enjoy and share:
December 17th, 2010
Take two full centuries of history that have been captured, more or less, in 5,195,769 digitised books. Apply an exceptional tool; review, sift and discover new insights.
Where to start? Well, a team of Harvard researchers has worked with Google to devise a way to quantitatively analyse human culture through online analysis of the Google Books resource, which can now be probed for cultural trends using Google’s new â€˜culturomicsâ€™ tool.
The team constructed a corpus of digitised texts containing about 4 per cent of all books ever printed. Analysis of this enables us to investigate cultural trends quantitatively.
The research, published in Science journal this week, surveys the vast terrain of â€˜culturomicsâ€™, focusing on linguistic and cultural phenomena reflected in the English language between 1800 and 2000. A subscription is needed to access the study.
The team give us a simple way to interrogate Google Books data and discover insights about fields as diverse as lexicography, the evolution of grammar, collective memory, the adoption of technology, the pursuit of fame, censorship and historical epidemiology.
It is the largest data release in the history of the humanities; the data set has more than 500 billion words, around three-quarters in English, with smaller amounts in French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Russian.
The team suggests that â€˜culturomicsâ€™ extends the boundaries of rigorous quantitative inquiry to a wide array of new phenomena spanning the social sciences and the humanities.
Big thanks for this significant shift to: Jean-Baptiste Michel, Yuan Kui Shen, Aviva P. Aiden, Adrian Veres, Matthew K. Gray, The Google Books Team, Joseph P. Pickett, Dale Hoiberg1, Dan Clancy, Peter Norvig, Jon Orwant, Steven Pinker, Martin A. Nowak and Erez Lieberman Aiden. And you can read more on Harvard Gazette.
You should try this tool â€“ it gives instant and potentially very rich historical context for the growth of cultural â€˜driversâ€™. Itâ€™s also fun! For instance, I was surprised that the term â€œrevolutionâ€ showed a particular historical flow but also tickled by the graph plot around â€œromanceâ€.
Quite terrifyingly, Google offers the datasets backing the visual information. These were generated last year and you can learn more here.
Google has good things to say about the open distribution of historical texts. Worth a look:
December 17th, 2010
If you want the know about the Nativity story, here is a nifty 2 minutes 58 secondsÂ worth of extremely creative video by Excentric, digitally and visuallyÂ telling the Nativity story via all the platforms you have used and heard about this year, including;Â Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare, Amazon and more.