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Posts from March 2009

Grown Up Digital

Grown up digital

My brother grew up digitally.

In fact, it was verily he that led me to start thinking about how generations are rolling over faster, driven by the rate of technology change, that I was talking about in the last post.

So it seems appropriate that he wrote a review of the new Don Tapscott book Grown Up Digital.

You should go read it. He points out an interesting paradox of technology engagement - those who most need to read such things are the least likely to do so.

I've pointed out before that the idea of being online, or spending time online, is starting to make less and less sense.

Data will increasingly leap from the screen into the world, augmenting reality in useful ways.

Ultimately, even when you aren't consciously focusing attention 'online' -

[I'm reducing the word to something we say in inverted commas, possibly while doing that finger quote thing to show our derision],

- you will have intelligent agents scouring the datasphere on your behalf - pieces of software that understand a certain area of interest and constantly monitor the interwebs and then react for you within certain parameters - like a cross between a robot and Google Alerts.

Anyway, my brother says it better:

"There is no real life; you're either online, or AFK"

Advice for the Next Generation

Advice for a new generation
Over on Planning Lab, Leon is doing a series of 'advice for the next generation of planners'.

[Generations seems to turn over pretty fast now.

Well, no, technically I guess they don't, since you need to be born during a certain arbitrarily defined time period to be X or Y or whatever, but actually I think they do, if by generation we mean a bunch of people who are around the same age but have dramatically different habits and thoughts and behavior to people who are older or younger.

In Being Digital, Negroponte says that 'each generation will be more digital than the last'. This is worth remembering. immigrant or native: being native now isn't what will be native soon. And, if I'm right, I mean very very soon. You have to run to keep up with an accelerating culture.

Any technology that did not exist when you came of age [let's say 15] will forever be technology. Any technology that came before will simply be, well, stuff.

The Internets is in betweens for me - I came online just as the web did, I dialled up bulletin boards as I began to think who I was seriously - in that seriously self obsessed way that only teenagers can. Mobile phones came after.

But television is not technology to me - althought it was for my parents, who didn't have it when they were teenagers - it is stuff.

And the internets is not technology for anyone growing up now. It's stuff.

I digress.]

Lots of smart people like Russel and Aki and Merry Baskin have offered up useful actionable advice for young planners.

[I've always thought that Polonius really nailed the whole advice thing in Hamlet:

This above all: to thine own self be true]

Leon very kindly asked me to contribute - I fear I wasn't very practical - but here it is anyway:

Be nice. All the time. To everyone. 

Try to meet other nice people who interested in the same things as you.

Don't get [too] cynical.

Stay interested in advertising and communication.

Stay interested in other things too.

Never be afraid to ask questions. 

Reading is for awesome people. 

Write a blog.

Take pictures. 

Develop your own theory about how brands work and what they are for. But don't fall in love with it.

Become a geek [or an expert on something].

Steal everything - every trick and idea - and make them your own.


Idea Breeders: A Recombinant Hyperpoem

Idea breeders
[thanks to Casanova in California for the title/image]

If it doesn't spread, it's dead!

Henry said. Henry spread.

Viral is Dead! Long Live the Spread!

Stole I / I spread.

Behavior is copied and driven by herds.

Mark said. Mark spread.

Behavioral engineering creates copied actions and words.

Stole I / I spread.

We spread information to create minds like ours.

Dennet said. Dennet spread.

There is safety in numbers.

Stole I / I spread. 

We spread to pass on warnings and because of social proof.

You are what you link.

We are what we share.

Sometimes we do it just to show that we care.

The Natural Selection of Interesting

Would like to thank you for participating.

That remix you dreamt of

Is why we are waiting.

Bookmark and Share

Magic Tubes

This is quite awesome.

Microsoft does branded content right.

Don't talk about the product, directly.

[Obliquely is fine.]

Ads that are simply product sales pitches are not content.

[Unless they are.]

Content needs to be of interest in and of itself.

[That's why we puts ads around it.]

If you aren't funny yourself, hire comedians.

[And using the word awesomer is awesome.]

The cool thing about being this huge gray corporation is that every time you don't act like it, it's awesome.

Digital Aphorisms


I wrote this thing for AdAge with 9 digital marketing aphorisms for 09 - half trends / half recommendations based on some of the things I've been seeing and thinking about recently.

I like aphorisms - so do Misentropy and Richard.

They function like dense generative metaphors - simple expressions of complex ideas that you can unpack at length and that guide behaviour.

A bit like brand propositions.

SXSWi Beesphere

Beersphere SXSW

So SXSW is just around the corner, and from what I can gather there are some lovely people from all over the place coming to play.

Whenever there is a confluence of 'awesome people who don't see each other very often and like thinking about the Internet and advertising and like blogs and that' and 'beer' - there the spirit of Beersphere is invoked. Or possibly evoked. Or both.

So thanks to @andyhunter, who decided when and where while I vacillated, we are having a little impromtu Beersphere in Austin.

Whenwhere: 5pm Sunday 15th March, Club Deville in Austin, Texas [which I assume is near the other stuff] - It's on Red River Street - map here.

Why: Because.

Feel free to tweet me @faris if you get lost or aren't sure if the guy with stupid hair and a pint is me [it probably is].

Wearing the Web

The Invisible Web is closer than I thought - thanks to the genius of MIT's Media Lab.

All the talk about the third screen and the screen generation - everyone glued to screens all hours of the day - slightly misses the bigger point. The true integration of the web and the world is when the digital leaves the screen behind.

The device itself is a barrier, as they point out at the beginning of the film above.[People don't want drills, they want holes.]

The web itself is our sixth sense - an extension of the Cartesian theatre of operations that outsources certain functions to the cloud - that accesses data in real time to make it useful for where you are [geotility] and what you are doing [contextility].

Using your hand as a keypad is just awesome - the brain implant is to come.

[Thanks to Ramzi [who blogged this ages ago] and Matt and Bruce, who reminded me]

All of a Twitter

Twitter sunday express

Whilst I don't intend TIGS to become an ongoing catalog of mainstream media mentions of twitter, this article in the most mainstream of British media - The Sunday Express - is not only a reflection of how the UK media has become interested in tweet toot but also quotes me at the end so, well, you know...I hate to waste words and that.

Faris Yakob, chief technology strategist at advertising agency McCann Erickson in New York and all-round “Digital Ninja” says:

“I find Twitter fascinating because it allows new kinds of conversations in real time. It means you can ask a question and people will fire the answer back in seconds.”

He speculates that Twitter appears to be pushing up Dunbar’s Number, the theoretical limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain a group relationship.

“It definitely makes you feel more connected, even in this hyperconnected world,” says Yakob, who was involved in organising the New York gathering for Twestival, a worldwide festival in aid of charity: water, which provides clean drinking water
to developing countries.

“This kind of collective action seems much more possible when you have this continual partial presence of the people you interact with on Twitter,” he says.

Communication in the virtual world can lead to interaction in the physical one, too. So if you’re not on Twitter yet then it poses the inevitable question: what are you doing?

PlannerTweets or Don't Create Just Aggregate


One of the things I've been talking about for while is 'Aggregation not Destination' - or 'Don't Create - Just Aggregate' [things that rhyme are more awesome] a strategy that obviously underlies the new Skittles site, as well as things like We Feel Fine and Twistori before it.

It reflects the nature of the web as a distributed, collectively generated, endlessly iterating cultural artifact - which is good.

Jeremy pinged me to let me know that there is an aggregator for tweets from the Plannersphere [we do love our nonsense neologisms] that kindly includes my phatic blasts [of neologistic nonsense].

There's also one for porn stars, if that's more your thing.