Archive for the ‘Interaction’ Category

The Fight for Your Right to Dislike

I like a point Andy Whitlock makes about the word ‘like’.

I’m curious about the ‘Dislike Button’ on Facebook.

I’m indifferent to the Ratings system on YouTube (YouTube knows this).

BuzzFeed lets you go WTF, OMG and LOL. I’m OK with that.

Big tech sites encourage me to share – that’s their mark of liked-ness.

The liberal media values what I have to say. But controversy ≠ great journalism.

How and when people like things can’t be controlled. That’s a good thing.

Why do any of these systems even matter?

I guess there are at least two good reasons:

1. We want to rate things. We want to comment. We might not always have opinions to share, but we can support stuff we like. We can share things that are worth sharing.

[This point is essentially ‘a crass description of web 2.0 in case you’ve not been on the internet for the last decade’.]

2. Forms of rating and commenting become a metric by which users can identify the cream of the crop in their searches, and a prompt to ‘check this out’.

So rating things is socially responsible, in a sense, because it helps the people who come along after you. Unless you’re a troll. Bad troll.

Why do Facebook users want a ‘Dislike Button’?

American FBers like the ‘Dislike Button’ more than they like God.

FBers globally don’t even like Facebook most of the time.

The group pushing the button puts its demands in these terms:

People’s opinion’s [sic] are not just to “like” something, we also have opinions opposite of that, which is why we need a dislike button.

The first bit of that statement is definitely true.

But the conclusion is more debatable…

Nobody gives 1★ ratings on YouTube

By YouTube’s own admission, most user ratings on the site are ★★★★★.

It sounds like they’re looking at an overhaul of their ratings system right now. Perhaps they’ll follow Vimeo and give just one option – ‘Like’ (♥).

People use the other options so rarely you could argue they don’t need them.

And besides, only a tiny percentage of viewers give any rating at all.

Still – there’s a problem with ‘Like’…

Andy Whitlock is bang on.

The word ‘Like’ is semantically wrong in a lot of contexts.

As you can see above, some reputable news sites sidestep the problem by not using a word at all – just a metric for shared-ness.

After all, news – historically speaking – is not the same as entertainment. I won’t ‘Like’ a news item in the way I’d ‘Like’ a film. Its role in my life is more plastic.

…and it’s personal

When news is about people (rather than ‘things’) or directly personal (like ‘I’m going to Malaysia in April’ – a true story), ‘Liking’ becomes more fraught.

How do you separate the person from the ‘thing’?

If you tell me you ‘Dislike’ what I have to say, is there an implication you also ‘Dislike’ me? Will I cry myself to sleep? Will you even care?

I’m giving Facebook a psychic high-five for not rolling out a ‘Dislike Button’. There are a lot of meanies out there, and they probably know it.

But what’s your opinion?

Do we need more options for rating? Or fewer?

What’s the alternative to ‘Like’?

Would you like a ‘Dislike Button’ for this blog post?

Bonus related links to help you ‘Like’ this blog post more

The Guardian | Was this review helpful to you?

1★ reviews of classics on Amazon

New York Times | Will You Be E-Mailing This Column? It’s Awesome

The science behind sharing news online

All Facebook | 10 Things Facebook Users Love and Hate

Yes – FBers love to sleep

Hipster Runoff | ❤ / h8 / miss

The third primal emotion of Gen-Y gets the Carles treatment

The Limits of Control

Image cred: kspace.tv

“I abstain from any kind of release for six weeks before a fight, no self-pleasure, nothing,” says [David] Haye, acknowledging that he may have a busy week ahead. “Even in my dreams, I’ll be about to have sex with a beautiful girl and I’ll say ‘Sorry darling, I’m fighting in a few weeks.’ That’s control, bro, when you’re turning down a hot chick in your subconscious.”

David Haye, Observer Sport Monthly | November 2009

Image cred: YR MOMMA’S IN OUR BIZNESS

“Everyone in boxing probably makes out well except for the fighter. He’s the only one that’s on Skid Row most of the time; he’s the only one that everybody just leaves when he loses his mind. He sometimes goes insane, he sometimes goes on the bottle, because it’s a highly intensive pressure sport that allows people to just lose it [their self-control].”

Mike Tyson, quoted in The Telegraph | ‘Tyson 20 years down the line’

Insult Jonathan from Spotify

Maybe it’s juvenile. Maybe it’s crowdsourced cyber-bullying.

But dang. It’s funny. Jonathan from Spotified Ruined your Playlist.

Spotify 4

Spotify 7

Spotify 9

Spotify 10

FYI – if you don’t have the spare time or inclination to insult Jonathan from Spotify, you might want to ‘change up’ instead.

We have Spotify on at work but for my money Blip.fm is the winner.

More crowdsourced emotions:

Twistori: how do you feel?

We Feel Fine: but it’s ‘complicated’

– Wouldn’t life be better if there was an app for that?

Name the Price: Kind of Bloop

If you played computer games at some point in the 80s, the early 90s, or for one single candy-fuelled session that engulfed the best years of your childhood  – you might like the sound of this. Yes you might.

kind of bloop

Image cred: Kickstarter.

Andy Baio, of Waxy.org and web heroism fame, is looking to orchestrate an 8-bit re-recording on Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue.

Judging from the 8-bit Hip Hop Medley and Ocarina of Rhyme (!) tunes that were passing around a few months back, this project could yield an album that sounds pretty sweet (in small doses).

PAX 2008 : Chiptunes on Pike Street by nmhull on Vimeo.

Is this all just a global excuse to create hip retro websites and low-fi graphics?

Indonesian Chiptunes @ Urbanfest 2008 by vish on Vimeo.

Could it go the ugly way of autotune?

Auto-Tune the News #2: pirates. drugs. gay marriage. by schmoyohoon YouTube.

We could sit and speculate all day.

But if you like the idea of an 8-bit Kind of Blue, you can pay to hear the results.

That’s the model used on Kickstarter (another Andy Baio project).

Come up with an idea, see if people will fund it.

Kickstarter

In Baio’s words, Kickstarter is:

“…a site that lets other people pre-order your dreams — an easy way to get the people you know to fund your ideas into reality.”

264 people have pledged $5,555 to make Kind of Bloop a reality, and there are still 67 days to go [at the time of writing].

Now how’s that for some smart, efficient economics?

11 Tweets Worth Blogging About

So blogging is dead again. But I think this one’s still got a pulse. Hello readers! +3,000 of you last month – thanks y’all.

That said, I’m Tweeting more than blogging now. Which will come as a massive yawn to anyone who follows ‘the internet’.

For the less geeky – there’s a 60% chance you signed up to Twitter then quit.

Too complex? Too hyper? Too pointless? Bored now Stephen Fry’s out of that lift?

If you struggled, or you’re just finding your way, here are 11 great Twitterers I follow – and the main reasons why:

undrln

@undrln – “highlights from the world of advertising, marketing and design”

WHY? Most rated scoops from the undrln social bookmarking site. Diverse. Punchy. To the point.

david-lynch1

@DAVID_LYNCH / David Lynch – “Filmmaker. Born Missoula, MT. Eagle Scout.”

WHY? The LA weather reports. And he writes like Special Agent Dale Cooper talking into his dictaphone.

big-spaceship

@bigspaceship / Big Spaceship – “Twitter feed of digital creative agency Big Spaceship, curated by Founder/CEO Michael Lebowitz”

WHY? Shares and insights from NY’s (and the world’s?) most creative digital production shop.

psfk

@PSFK / Piers Fawkes – “Ideas & Trends Site PSFK’s Tweets: Inspiration To Make Things Better”

WHY? Highlights from PSFK HQ can’t eclipse Piers’ solo digging. He pulls out some gems, and pulls no punches on adland hypocrites.

q_tip

@QtipTheAbstract / Q Tip – “The Renaissance, TWEETS IS WATCHING!”

WHY? Unlike many musicians on Twitter, Q Tip has interests beyond the pale of his own PR. Love his YouTube soul treats – a great sharer.

lessig

@lessig / Lessig – “law prof, reformer.”

WHY? The enfant terrible of copyright law is a font of knowledge for digital artists. A master of the short-form, and responsive to his followers. He “gets it”.

iain-tait1

@iaintait / Iain Tait – “Work: Creative Director at Poke in London. Live: Brighton. Likes: Good things. Hates: Evil.”

WHY? Pound-for-pound the best ad man on Twitter. Boundless curiosity. Every bit as active and innovative as he is friendly and engaging.

hipster-runoff-2

@hipsterrunoff – “Hipster Runoff is a blog worth blogging about.”

WHY? Ironic post-ironic quips from the poster boy of “Am Appy” sponsored mp3 blogs. Plain funny. An indie meta-Twit.

brainpicker

@brainpicker / Maria Popova – “Digital anthropologist, curator of culture and semi-secret geek obsessed with brilliant ideas, data viz, smart design, sustainability, good music and TED”

WHY? I wonder when Maria sleeps. Slaves relentlessly to share and connect a wealth of A-grade art, technology, consumer and eco ideas.

bbhlabs

@BBHLabs / BBHLabs – “Marketing Skunkworks: new models for marketing, new models for creative businesses (@malbonnington @melex @glickglick)”

WHY? Ample accompaniment to their sterling blog. Rigorous research and rich, dense presentation – full academic-style accreditation always in place. Respect.

fader

@thefader / The FADER

WHY? Got real tired of Resident Advisor’s spammy Twit dumps. FADER pace it right. They parlay with their artists. Link to free downloads. Constant quality.

BONUS To complete a dirty dozen, here are my details:

@guybingley / Guy Bingley – “Harmless amateur”

[A Note of Caution: I’m no substitute for any of the starting 11 in this list.]

The Aura of Type: Swissified

Objectified by Selectism on Vimeo.

Gary Hustwit’s second feature gets its world premiere next month.

Here’s the official blurb:

Objectified is a feature-length documentary about our relationship to manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them… It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability.”

helvetica-film

His debut, Helvetica, examined the proliferation of the world’s most loved (loathed?) typeface. Pundits showed a mixture of reverence and disdain.

That film could be the end of an aura.

I keep thinking about Walter Benjamin in this new age of mechanical reproduction. When repro is at the amateur’s fingertips, how can the aura of quality – or authenticity – transmit itself?

anyonecanswiss

Credit to Anyone Can Swiss for hitting the question head on with their patented “Swissification” technology – an automated Helvetica poster generator.

Built in Dan Eatock‘s modish Indexhibit, Anyone Can Swiss throws Helvetica to the amateur with a guarantee of 100% satisfaction. Ha ha!

Here’s a video of their submissions from 4 February:

Left me with a hankering for more typefaces and sent me at a tangent.

Shouldn’t copywriters be trained in typography?

Typefaces are central to the “unique existence” of words. I don’t see why we’re forced to separate the content and the form.

It will only make the work more reproduceable.

Previous type chatter:

Break your eyes with Optica Normal.

DIY fonts in Fonstruct.

Making words shout louder.

The Choice of Machete

jungle-survival

Who wrote the book on jungle survival and is it a website yet?

This could be the deepest recession in 70 years. I’m 26. I’ve worked in advertising for 17 months.

Nothing was clear when I entered the jungle. Tribalism ruled. Now everyone’s desperate for daylight.

Machete by Jules Suzdaltsev on Vimeo.

Those with the new weapons vaunt them. Those with the old craft and guile still hack so precisely.

But when the machete lies still, what sounds does the jungle make? How does it feel? Light slats through the canopy and life teems between your toes.

vong-phaophanit

Vong Phaophanit, “What Falls to the Ground But Can’t Be Eaten”, Tate Britain.

I’ve never understood the debate – and the tribalism. This is a weird juncture in the history of advertising. That much was clear from the fringe.

At the same time that everyone talks about interaction and experience, tribes can barely look each other in the eye. So completely they miss those slats of light. They’d barely notice the weather.

Saxso Funny by rafaelci9 on YouTube.

The choice of machete is a pointless debate. You could hack all day – online, in print, on TV, even on the radio. You’re still hacking.

I don’t think we’ll be Amazon-deep in the jungle forever.

But we could build something while we’re there. Sit down and interact. Put the machetes away, switch the laptops off. Imagine the clearing we want then make it together.

Creativity sees connections where they didn’t previously exist.

the-yellow-treehouse-restaurant

The Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand.

(What’s the connection with advertising? Take a look at their website.)

Kings, Virgins… Hipsters

Wow. Two campaigns that put a meat cleaver down the middle of it, back to back. Same agency, same brand. Same technique?

flame-003

Crispin Porter + Bogusky‘s latest work for Burger King is Fire Meets Desire. It flips the truth that burgers make you stink by peddling a seductive new fragrance.

“The Whopper sandwich is America’s favorite burger. Flame by BK captures the essence of that love and gives it to you. Behold the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat.”

flame-001

This website takes that truth out for a walk, a spot of dinner and a greasy finger by the fire. Hit the interactive Flame spray and you disperse the sappy clichés of romanticism, obliterating and channel-surfing with one click.

You can buy the fragrance from Ricky’s. Or eBay. Needless to say.

virgins-001

And what hasn’t been said about the previous campaign?

Whopper Virgins took Z-Boy director Stacy Peralta to Thailand, Romania and Greenland in search of “the hamburger illiterate” for a culturally blind test (see YouTube commentary below).

virgins-003

If we are staring into an abyss the good news is it appears to be bottomless.

Ferocious right on-ers have bashed the campaign’s off-ness, fans have whooped, fence-sitters (like this one?) have done what they always do best. The people have spoken. To one another. Just Google Whopper Virgins and take a straw poll.

If Fire Meets Desire takes a bite out of Lynx/ Axe’s global campaigns, then Whopper Virgins has a deep swig of the Pepsi Challenge. In both bursts of advertising cannibalism, the taste is ironic.

But first thing’s first. These campaigns are exceptional – in advertising terms. They’ve taken the bench and given it a mark. No doubt. Why did that bother me?

hipster

These Burger King campaigns reminded of something pretty rare: a great article on Adbusters. From Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization

“Lovers of apathy and irony, hipsters are connected through a global network of blogs and shops that push forth a global vision of fashion-informed aesthetics. Loosely associated with some form of creative output, they attend art parties, take lo-fi pictures with analog cameras, ride their bikes to night clubs and sweat it up at nouveau disco-coke parties.”

just-douche-it

Is this the 2.0 advertising creative par excellence?

Or did the creatives at Crispin Porter + Bogusky get at an uglier brand truth with Whopper Virgins?

“If you don’t have shit, you don’t know one shit from another.”

With that statement, even a hipster could be proud or some shit.

More burger related:

Delete 10 Facebook friends and get a free Whopper

Facebook deletes Burger King application

Nike Air Big Max

Hi-Scores on MySpace

Boomkat, Phonica and RA ranked Los Angeles as one of the albums of the year.

And whatever you make of Flying Lotus’s music, his MySpace is a web design gem.

flying-lotus-1

Love how he’s taken details from the Los Angeles sleeve art (see spreads here) to create his own computer game.

I’ve been lurking on MySpace more than usual of late and it hit me as a true stand-out on first glimpse.

flying-lotus-3

To create a striking icon is one thing. To make it interactive for your fans is a different level. To take it into live performance is a full-on branding assault.

Reminded me of the smart work Zamir and Antoine did for Buraka Som Sistema. They designed the Black Diamond icon then transformed it into a VJing centrepiece:

But what do bands have to do with branding, and vice-versa?

There’s a nice post from Renny Gleeson on ouroborous about brands and fandom. The quote he’s picked from Rob Walker talks of the Facebook/ YouTube era as “fandom without stigma”:

It takes all the things that fans have been doing throughout the 20th century and makes them public, mainstream, commercial…”

So musicians and artists – those with vocal fans before the 2.0 revolution – will up their ante if they want to stay top of the hi-scorers chart.

The gaming will be fierce this year.

Literally A Meme?

When is a meme not a meme? And what is a meme?

I thought an English lit. grad with a penchant for pedantry should take it to task. But I could quickly prove myself wrong. Let’s see.

If you clicked the above link you’ll have read about the Hamster Dance and Rickrolling. That Wiki doesn’t yet include the literal video. So here’s what I’m talking about:

Dustin McLean‘s literal take on A-Ha now has now had over 2m YouTube views. That’s viral, right?

So since he’s done it again, with different videos, does that make it a meme? Here are the next instalments – using Tears For Fears…

… and Red Hot Chilli Peppers:

These are all very funny. Don’t get me wrong. But is this a “catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the internet”?

Well, it’s spread to the extent that it’s been imitated. There’s a literal video for U2 without subtitles. And the Rick Astley version by Joe Sabia cannibalises another meme – check the subtitle on the preview!

Two things I want to flag here: sharing and evolution.

Obviously these videos have been shared – and I’m sharing them now. But is it evolving?

Rickrolling was a form of anarchy that spread beyond the internet. Anyone could do it. It was simply a trap/ device. That’s not the case with the literal video. It has made Dustin McLean (more?) famous but, so far, the concept has been too well-honed to imitate on a mass scale. The layman can’t repeat the act.

Until Joe Regular can repurpose, evolve, mutate the meme… I’m not sure it’s a meme. Then again, I’m sure a scientist could define “meme” better than an English lit. a**hole.

I should take my fat words and go Mcroll myself…