The Invisible Web

Invisible Web

Last week I had a piece in Campaign magazine in the UK about my Digital Viewpoint.

This is a new series they are running every once in a while which ask someone to paint a portrait of the future - how they see the digital landscape developing.

Mine focused on the web becoming invisible.

Invisible technology is a concept coined by Heidegger to describe tools that stop being tools and become integral aspects of how we live in and experience the world, extensions of ourselves.

His example is a blind person's cane. My point was that only when the web is as integrated as that, in ways that are hinted at by the 'mobile' web and augmented reality applications, will we really understand the impact it will make on the world.

At the end it gets a bit Matrix but that's what I think is going to happen. Serious. You ain't seen nothing yet.

Have a look and let me know what you think:

The Invisible Web

I'm the second in the series. The first piece was written by Vint Cerf - one of the guys who invented the Internet.

Not the web - that was Tim - but the INTERNET. He helped create the TCP/IP protocols and is known as the father of the Internet.

He's now Chief Internet Evangelist at Google.

Having me follow him is an hilariously bathetic shift in register but I couldn't be more honoured to type in his wordsteps:

Vint Cerf's Digital Viewpoint

Sprechen Zie Kaiser?


Yesterday I spent a lovely 48 minutes and 32 seconds chatting to the always stimulating Kaiser.

We chatted about banks and the erosion of trust and how it affects us and whether Google could become a bank and having big hair and juggling for Kaiser Nuts.

And doing GOOD THINGS.

It was big fun and he has kindly put the conversation up as a podcast on Werbeblogger.

So if you've ever wandered what my voice sounds like [there's no reason that you should have, I'm just saying if you have] you can now find out.

[Thanks to George for suggesting the chat the first time round. We did one in January but there were technical difficulties.]

My (Digital) Life

My Digital Life

When I was down in Brazil at the Wave Festival a nice lady snapped me sitting in the corner of the conference room with bare feet, cuddling up to the fire extinguisher.

The Brazilian magazine Meio Digital (Digital Media) just used the picture for a feature they call Minha Vida Digital (My Digital Life), which asks people why digital is so important in their personal and professional life.

I wrote a few lines for them - it opens with a binary/digital joke that I'm not sure really works - but the point I was trying to make is that the distinction between real life and digital life is rapidly vanishing:

My life is digital - I'm on and off, asleep and awake, never both at the same time. When I'm awake, I'm online.

When people ask me how much time I spend on the Internet I don't know how to answer - I'm always partially online, connected by phone or laptop.

I use the Internet first and foremost to stay close to the people I care about, to learn, to think and expose my thoughts to the anyone who might be interested.

When the internet comes of age, we will know because we will no longer call it that - it will just be the world, augmented with data, and this won't be my digital life, just my life.

My brother puts it more succinctly:

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

Advertising for Agencies

Campaign Column
Campaign magazine asked me to write a couple of columns to fill in for Ian, so he could go on holiday.

In today's exciting episode, I point out that media agencies were notable by their absence from Cannes this year, even in the media category, which you'd think they would be ideally suited to enter.

[Although what constitutes a media idea, and how you separate that from a creative idea, is a whole discussion in and of itself.]

My point was though, as I realised when I was doing the Clio judging thing, that entry is almost as important as the idea itself.

Since most of the campaigns are from other countries, as a judge you may have never encountered the work, you have no idea how it resonated locally, whether people loved it and talked about, or simply ignored it.

The entry is all you have to go on - a short form video advert for an agency.

And traditional advertising agencies have quite a lot of experience making short form video adverts, whereas media agencies don't.

[I wonder if you could set up a meta agency, that just made case studies for other agencies.]

You can download the whole thing here.

[It's a pdf but you may need to rename the file and give it a .pdf file extension, as Macs seem to remove them]

In the piece I mention that media agency of the year was awarded to Forsman & Bodenfors, a creative agency. [Second and third place also went to creative agencies.]

But I said they were German, and Beata emailed me to point out that they are from Gothenburg in Sweden.


Ways of Seeing

Ways of seeingNoah and I wrote this piece for the new issue of Contagious about visualisations.

It's called Ways of Seeing [this is a reference to an awesome book that my mate Paul lent me that I never gave back called Ways of Seeing. It came out in 1972, was based on a BBC television series of the same name and is amazing:  a discourse about the the inherent ideologies embedded in visual imagery.]

In the piece we look at a bunch of interesting data visualisations and quote a blog post by Ed Cotton:

in a data driven world, infographics are the new art

and go on to suggest that visualisations are only going to become more prevalent and interesting as more and more data and metadata is generated by every digital interaction:

In a world increasingly saturated with data, we will all need to develop new ways of seeing.

You can download the whole thing here.

And The Winners Are

Clio Golds
[I'm back.]

[I've missed you.]

[Parenthetically, it would seem.]


I wrote this thing for Media Magazine about what trends emerged from the Content and Contact Clio Category [try saying that fast five times. Be careful of the Candyman though].

There were a few things that jumped out: marketing people pay for, user involved content, doing GOOD THINGs, and the Shibuya district of Tokyo.

The point I was trying to make was:
As communication evolves, things that don't fit in elsewhere hint at how the industry is developing - mutations are, after all, the key to evolution.
You can read the whole thing here.

The winners have been announced - have a look here.

Once I get some time, I'll try to focus on a few campaigns and explain why we thought they were generative mutants.

[PS - has anyone else noticed that the new typepad CMS seems to leave big line breaks?]



Campaign Magazine asked Richard, Scamp, Ben, Neil, and I to have a big blog up to blog about blogging.

They wanted to know why we do it, among other things.

Here's what I said:

O blogging how do I love thee - let me count the ways.

I blog because it makes me think. The blog needs constant feeding, so I need to keep thinking and reading and making things up.

I'm constantly looking to make connections between disparate things, to package them up into posts. Finding patterns. Or creating them.

It's a place where I can think unfettered and get feedback on what comes out, from people who I know are interested in the same sorts of things, otherwise they wouldn't bother.

It's writing but it's not solitary.

It's a place where I can do whatever I want with words.

You can see the rest of the rambling here.

[Or you can download the orginal article here. ]

You are Entertainment


The Next Issue is a new monthly magazine from The Future Department, looking at, well, the future and that:

Our aim is not to report on past events – or just talk about the future – but to play a proactive role in developing new solutions and approaches, through an ongoing conversation with the creative and business communities we serve, making intellectual and personal connections across all creative disciplines.

I wrote an article for the first issue on the future of entertainment:

Increasingly immersive entertainment will be demanded, played out in spaces both virtual and real, validating and rewarding experiencers for their involvement. Entertainment that is constrained to single iterations will make way for properties that develop their own imagined realities. Retinal projection allows for immersive realities to be overlaid on meatspace in real time. Not so much Second Life, as Reality 2.0.

Elements of one narrative world will blend with others as entertainment ideas are remixed, creating recombinant narrative hybrids, evolving new forms from the old. Why restrict your experience set to one set of myths, when all are accessible?

Other entertainments will simply be your friends' lives; content and communication blur; people spend time consuming the reality TV of their real friends, who broadcast a continuous stream of personal content to their networks. And ultimately, user experiences narratives will become entertainment themselves.

You can download a pdf of the first issue, featuring contributions from Russell, John, and a host of other interesting people, here.