Please Vote for South By Awesomeness

Beyond Myspace

Please vote for this panel to be included at next year's South By South West Festival.

Using this URL:

[Full disclosure: it's my girlfriend's panel, and she said I could be on it. However I maintain that my bias does not effect my judgment, and saw her speak to the theme at the NY Music Tech meet up, think it will be awesome, and the other speakers will be brilliant.] 

Please also vote for this one, even though I won't be on it:

What do women want in bed? With their laptops, of course. Why are some entertainment platforms better suited for females? We'll explore what women are using and why, providing perspectives for the marketers and brands while providing opportunities for sexy and sophisticated women looking to explore new digital trends.

Because I want the answer to 'technology for women' to no longer be 'make a pink one'.

Voting is open for all the panels until Friday. It will take you literally less than one minute to register. And then SXSW will be more awesome, thanks to you, and I will be very grateful.


If You Can't See The Angles No More

To promote their new cameras with screens on the front so you can take pictures of yourself more easily, Samsung and the 'Viral Factory' [an unfortunate name in my opinion but let's not start on that again], have created some interactive youtube videos that show you how to capture your best side for your social media profile, which is especially useful if you are a hideous monster. 

The Mediation Generation has found its autocamera, bringing with it reminder that what we choose to mediate is usually a specific side of ourselves.

As Carltio pointed out, "if you can't see the angles no more, you're in trouble".

Post Digital Marketing

View more documents from Helge Tennø.

Helge's lovely deck above has lots of interesting, provocative and beautifully expressed thinking in it - have a read.

Increasingly I'm finding the work 'digital' more of a hindrance than a help. It's too broad to mean anything.

Sometimes its used to mean stuff on the web, but it really applies to everything.

'Digitisation' changes, has changed, the ecosystem of media, and all other channels are changed in relation to interactive communication technologies.

It doesn't just open up a new channel: it changes how all the other channels work as well.

But, when everything is digital, using the word won't make any sense.

As Helge point outs, it's not about finding new places to advertise, it's about the entirely restructuring the relationship between companies and their customers.

Michel Gondry Portraits and Moving Rabbit Holes

Portrait of Faris

Over on the relatively recently revealed, the surreal visionary director will paint your portrait for you, from a photo, for $19.95.

There is something very unlikely and awesome about this.

And yet, you can see above, the site did send me a disturbing glimpse of myself in the Gallic mirror that is the mind of Gondry.

Whether or not he actually did it, and let's hope he did, there is something strangely compelling about willing something to exist over the internets.

It's doesn't feel quite the same as buying something, as this thing only exists because I asked for it to be made.

It reminds me of the artist David Horowitz who has a website of 'Things for Sale that [he] Will Mail You" - but all of the things require him to do something - they are more souvenirs of stories than objects.

An example, by way of illustration:

If you give me $1,626 I will go to the small Okinawan island called Taketomi and send you an envelope filled with star-sand (don't worry, I've been there before, I know where to go). I will send it from there.

A while back I attended this awesome event called the Urban Rabbit Hole experience where, as part of a cool experience where I met some lovely people, I ended up buying an expensive t-shirt that I had modified, kind of as a souvenir.

Which, appropriately enough, reminds me that they just announced the next event, which is on in a couple of weeks:

060609 by the rabbit hole
On June 6, 2009,  the rabbit hole’s global madhatter collective (see full description about the rabbit hole below) will converge in New York, creating a surreal parade of wonderland, on wheels. The first event of its kind,  a double decker converted experiential time bus will journey through the city, picking up performers and creating staged invasions in 5 strategically chosen placemarks in New York that represent the performer’s creative communities. This international experiential moving art event, aims to celebrate and unite the city’s raw creative diverse communities, embracing the city as its canvas, while investigating a specific chosen theme: TIME.

Sounds like fun. Visit the site to sign up.

But you'll need a password.

Wanna know what it is?

I'll give you a clue.

The answer is revealed somewhere that sounds like Earl.

Professional Hermit or Advertising to Agencies

42 Below poke fun at the London Ad industry - and me!

More of the kind of films the internet likes [if you don't know why you should check out rathergood] and made me think that perhaps, as part of the portfolio strategy of making ten films for cheap to see which one the network adopts and subjects to cumulative advantage and so on, that it would be interesting to focus communication directly at specific self delineated groups - like this film is targeted squarely back at the ad industry.

People are more likely to donate attention to things that are relevant to them, and from the forwards I've received of this film, in-jokes and references and that seem to increase the propensity to propagate, I suspect because inherent in the piece is the targeting, which tells you who you should send the piece to.

Hopefully more brands will learn not take themselves so seriously and make fun of themselves more - as Lohan ably demonstrates, it makes you more likable. 

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.

Favicads or The Disarming Nature of Novelty

I like favicons.

I like when people do clever things with them.

It always seems a waste to me when a brand website has a
generic favicon.

So I liked this very very small idea that Markus sent me.

I think that novelty is a powerful thing.

When people haven't seen a brand using a space in just that way before, it disarms the standard interruption annoyance.

So this massively obstructive flash overlay becomes charming.

The problem with novelty as a strategy is that you have to keep doing different, never before done things all the time.

Maybe that isn't a problem exactly.

It's just what makes it hard.

The Natural Selection of Interesting

Natural selection of interesting

The Internet is like these binocular things at the top of tall buildings [the ascent of which remains the favourite tourist past time] - it brings distant point of interest within close range.

As Anthony points out in this lovely ebook, the Internet functions as a live attention market - it dynamically reallocates attention in real time, because the machine makes bringing things close easy and immediate, and finding things a function of fragments of behaviour.

Ants in colonies don't require any conscious top down organisation - local rules exist and individual behaviours leave pheremone trails that get reinforced if the behaviour is imitated, which leads to directional changes of the whole.

We leave links and tags, tweets and posts, instead of pheremones - and these guide the allocation of attention.

As Duncan Watts has pointed out, the structure of the network is as important as that which seeks attention, and the same thing that becomes an attention grabbing hit one day, may not the next.

So, rather than collapse the wave function of this dialectic on one side, let's remember rather it is the dynamic interplay of the two that makes things spread, that moves attention around the market.

And my brother, who knows about these things, has a great expression for how this happens: 

the natural selection of interesting

This is awesome because it contains both parts of the idea: natural selection of the interesting favours traits which make something interesting to the environment.

And, if you wanted, you could even think about ideas as evolving, being remixed [sexual reproduction is a recombinant process] and copied and so on, incorporating other elements, becoming more interesting, or dying out.

If you wanted.

Best not to get too wed to the mechanics of a metaphor but as the viral / spreadable discussion continues, it is important to remember that how you think about something does matter, because the metaphors we use can change how we approach things.

Words are where we live.

The Kind of Films the Internet Likes

Following on from yesterday's recombinant musings, which touched on the fact that when we make ads we rarely make the kind of films that the internet likes, we bring you the new Cadbury's spot, from Glass and a Half Full Productions [or Fallon London.]

They are getting good at making films the internet likes.

Part of the secret seems to be:

Leave out all that stuff about the product. As much as you can anyway.

Make people feel something nice, link that association to your brand. 

[Go read Feldwick again if you disagree.]

Give people things to copy, or respond to, or play with.

Don't take yourself or your brand too seriously.

Look out for the Sony zeotrope too.

Oh and have a lovely day!

[Update: Via a deal with photobox you can get a brow over picture of yourself on a mug if you want. For hot chocolate I guess.]

Twitter 150

Tweet 150

We love scoring ourselves, ranking, competing. The more data our digital lives generate, the more like a game reality becomes [as various people have pointed out].

Or maybe it was always like a game:

Life is a game. Money is how we keep score. /Ted Turner
And we just keep finding new ways to keep score. 

There's now a twitter 150 analogue to the Adage blog 150 thing.

I'm not sure all these lists are healthy, but I still couldn't help but be pleased I snuck in
[at 149].