All things digital

Day in the Life of a Tweetaholic: 2015
July 9, 2009, 11:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


I wake up shivering. I yawn. I stretch. “bbrrr”. My portal is already activated because and I am already plugged into ‘the one’, or ‘the network’ and the thermometers already know the temperature had dipped below 21 degrees so the heating has cranked itself up. I scan the screen for email, messages, news and the Newcastle results from last night. “Tweet Manu” I say. I Tweet the Man U manager with commiserations on another defeat. What was life like before voice recognition; bring on thought recognition and give us all some peace!.

I forgot to put the bins out last night so Tesco hasn’t replenished my fridge via is chip scanners. At least it will save me money on my rubbish collection.

So its lunch at StarBucks. As a sip my Fairtrade coffee I scan the café with my mobile to pick up any latent people based meta data. Hello Paul! The guy at the next table is hot. I scan his social networking profile – 24, the MD of a social media agency, lives in Chelsea. His DNA looks compatible with mine but damn it supports Man U.

A text from Jimmy Choo cheers me up as I pass the store. 20% voucher. I video call my best friend to show off my new purchase while Tweeting my love of all things shoes.

My mobile phone tells me the Embankment has tailbacks. I drop my solar powered pod car off at the nearest booth and walk video calling my friend in the Priory en route. She looks terrible. She says half the people there are suffering from information addiction and just sit quivering in the corner.

Because there’s no need for typing anymore with everything being voice activated I rattle through my to do list, Tweet my lunch order from the electronic canteen, while also voting for a change in the law on tuna fishing. I feel so empowered being able to vote online on an policy by policy basis rather than along party political lines.

I check out the interior of my nearest dim sum restaurant, read UGC reviews, Tweet my friends to see if they’ve been, order my G&T, dinner for 2 and download direction to plug straight into my pod car’s SatNav, on my mobile checking en route to see which of my friends are in Soho via my iphone based geometric sensors. I Tweet about the terrible service and dictate a review live to discourage anybody else from going as I push my food round my plate. I get 200 responses in 5 mins and a voucher from the dim sum round the corner offering a 50% discount on my first meal.

I’m shattered and all the Tweeting in the world doesn’t stop my Jimmy Choos hurting. I go to bed chatting with my girlfriends on video conference about their day on my handheld. Everything is wireless so I nod off mid sentence, attached to the latest technology from Japan which enables me to download the content of my dreams for interpretation in the morning on what exactly it means to dream about meerkats.



The Twitter Life: A vision for 2015
July 7, 2009, 11:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

We’ve been doing some navel gazing over at Mindshare HQ. The big question de jour is ‘What is the future of media’?

How will consumers consume media? And how will marketing agencies sell it successfully by 2015?

With 4m Twitterers,100billion clicks per day, 2 million emails per second, 8 terrabytes per second of traffic, the Web using 5% of global electricity will our relationship with what Kevin Kelly calls ‘the one’ or ‘the system’ define what it is to be human?

And will our knowledge be learnt in the same way as we consume it – in 140 character bite-sized chunks?

Just for fun, consider that our lives will be truly Twitterised; so completely digitalised that there is little space for the ‘real world’ of inanimate objects. And where inanimate objects do exist they will be operated by technology via social networks.

While I’m not suggesting Twitter will survive in its current form until 2015, the Twitter generation will live on and mutate. Structure, link sharing, micro blogging, searching followers and telegraphic communications will here to stay.  

The Twitter Life could see humans become co dependant on technology; perhaps even in a biologically symbiotic sense. Maybe we won’t even have to use our hands as the technology traditionally built for those with limited motor skills is utilised by lazy social media addicts. Thing ‘Tweet’ and we Tweet.

Will we in effect become ‘the one’ and our rejection of ‘the system’ result in the creation of new social classes based on access to and use of technology? Food for thought on a rainy Tuesday on the Strand.

So weighing up the evidence; what do we know for sure? We don’t think anymore. We Google. Google is doctor, psychologist and counsellor. That said, potentially micro blogging search functionality could challenge Google’s reign supreme because it is real time and because it empowers social groups to interact with their most trusted peer groups in real time in their own environments. Today it’s Twitter. Tomorrow it will be something else. The market is moving at the rate of knots as technology advances and social groups demand new ways of interacting and sharing ideas. This brings a whole new and much needed dimension to traditional (Google) search and one which search engines will all need to get to grips with. It’s a natural development of the search market and one we are keenly scoping out for client SEO and Social media campaigns.

Semantic and personalised Web is already en route and the Web is becoming more ubiquitous with devices converging. Baltimore already has 4G WiMax and this is expected to be available to most of the US population by 2011 (the UK appear to be fast asleep still). 51% of TV watching happens while consumers are doing something else. We already spend more time on social networks than shopping online and 84% of Blackberry users check email before they go to bed. We are already highly social. How much of our lives are truly spent in isolation?

What our navel is not telling us? We have no idea where social networking will go and the pace of technological change to supercharge it. Will we all end up dribbling in the corner of the Priory with information overload far exceeding the affects of any Class A drug? There are also questions of privacy and what will we be prepared to give up to get connected. And while AI (Artificial Intelligence) is oft lauded as in progress; how intelligent will it actually be?

One thing we are clear about is that marketing or media agencies need to re position themselves. Our role may well be around the formation of knowledge communities that share and are highly social. Agencies and brands will essentially need to speak to 62-odd million people individually as digital media becomes more personalised. Mass taste is rarely good taste and the 80s push media model will be long defunct.

Perhaps media agencies will become lobbyists; their role to identify movement opportunities. Perhaps our role is mediators; building two way communications with key groups and their leaders and brands to add value to networks on behalf of brands. The critical success factors will be knowing our audience. Becoming the Gartner of media. Brands, on the other hand, will have to do, not sell.

The Internet: Saviour or Corruptor of Democracy?
July 1, 2009, 11:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The debate at the House of Commons last night titled “The Internet: Saviour or Corruptor of Democracy” has inspired me to start a WordPress blog so here goes.

The panel consisted of:
Paul Staines (Guido Fawkes blogger)
Michael White (Associate Editor, The Guardian)
Peter Kellner (YoGov)
Grant Shapps MP (Conservative Shadow Housing Minister)
Mike Hoban (Director of Comms & Engagement, DirectGov)
Nick Robinson (BBC Political Editor)

I was struck by the panels preconception that the Internet is about ‘push’ communications. Words like ‘driving’, ‘talking to’ ‘bring together’ resounded. Surely that is exactly what the Internet is not?
The Internet is not created by Governments nor is its best use as a vehicle for ‘transmitting’ ideas. I was struck by their lack of understanding of building movements; of taping into the groups or ‘tribes’ that have formed naturally in the digital space.
As Emil Ludwig said “Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The impotence of force to organise anything”.
They all appeared to assume the Internet and all things digital was just another medium for driving through their interests.
They showed no interest in the tribal nature of digital communities as having distinct characteristics to that of the individual – whether they be voters or consumers.
Surely the obvious application of the internet in modern democracy is to influence the leaders of the groups that form via forums, blogs, social networks or universal content sharing? Of connecting with the group using convergent self interest?
It got me questioning the ability of any of our political leaders to build honest and open two way communications and in adopting a pull approach with the electorate. Of creating trains of thought by dramatising personalities and establishing relationships with groups and their leaders who truly influence the opinions of the electorate. Of being truly transparent.
The Internet surely is democratic in its most traditional sense.
What are the panel doing to listen, enable and empower people as citizens of democracy?
On the flip side are there hidden costs that are still to be fully appreciated given the fast pace of technological and communication change? Should there be checks on the internet commentariat? Does it distort the democratic system by delivering everything in shrink wrapped, single issue,140 character sound bites? And is Internet-direct democracy a complement or competitor to our established Westminster system of
representative democracy?
The panel seemed more concerned with egotistical point scoring and the abuse streaming through the live Twitter feed.
It was all just a bit 1980s with talk of the 5th estate and its challenge to democracy now – I half expected Lord Saatchi to make a guest appearance.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Couple of images from the day on flickr.