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2012: The Year in Graphics

Great work by NYT. Graphics and interactives from a year that included an election, the Olympics and a devastating hurricane. A selection of the graphics presented include information about how they were created. HERE 2012: The Year in Graphics

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9 things Lady Gaga can teach us about community management

This week, Lady Gaga became the first person to exceed 20m followers on Twitter.

These are huge numbers, but volume rarely means anything on its own. The interesting point here is that this community really are her 'followers' - in namesake and in the way they respond to her.

They are more loyal than a brand could ever dream of, but there are some lessons that we can all take on board and implement when trying to build a community either online or off.

  1. Look at existing behavior and run with it One of the biggest mistakes brands make when entering into the world of social media is a lack of response. Whether we’re talking about social customer service, or just engaging with people who love your brand;  it’s very hard to do either well without there being some kind of interaction.
  2. Invest and incentives Not only has she personally invested in Backplane, a technology-based community platform, but she also uses Fancorps – another platform from which she leverages a street team of over 25,000. Fancorps incentivises people to share the word of Gaga both online and offline, people are rewarded with points to be used against tracks or albums, tickets, collateral, virtual gifts and more.
  3. Show your flaws Instead of taking this popularity, and shying away from it, keeping things behind closed doors – she’s embraced it and flung open the doors. There are messages from her bedroom, videos shot backstage, interviews where she’ll open up about being scared about performing. The whole shebang.  
  4. She's true to her brand It might be ever-changing, chameleon style, but Gaga’s brand knows itself like no other. It know its stance on equality, sexuality, friendship and more. These might not be issues that every brand needs to consider, but working out what your social voice is.  
  5. Change Keeping people engaged for longer periods of time means exciting them. Sadly, attention spans are much shorter than they used to be, and so there’s a need to create a richer content plan now more than ever.
  6. Authenticity There are no holds barred with Gaga. What you see is what you get, she’s the one doing the talking.  You can tell this by the candid images and videos, to the way she talks online. She’s the one running the show.
  7. Targeting like-minded people To properly build a community, a scattergun approach will not work. There are too many forums, networks, games and apps for people to get involved with, and suck up their time.For years, the benefits of mass-niche communities have been shouted from the rooftops, but now, this is tipped to be the 'future' of networked society. 
  8. Gratitude Without a doubt, the power of Gaga is her fans. Her crazy, loyal, would-do-anything-to-support-her fans. She knows that, and she tells them regularly. It’s the most simple aspect of her community management, it’s free and it takes no time at all.
  9. Collaboration Co-creation and collaboration is the name of the game at the moment. Well, it has been for a while really, but it’s matured enough to be of real use to a brand. Nokia’s just announced that it will centre a large of its international marketing strategy around this, just to show you how it’s evolved as a concept.

See the full article on econsultancy.com

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Artists from the hype machine

An interesting article on Economist.com about new born artists raising up from the internet:

AMERICA’S well-documented independent music scene once valued tour-van mileage, lean living, anti-commercialism and a layer of sonic inscrutability. The DIY work ethic of the 1980s and ‘90s meant everything from booking your own gigs to pressing your own debut single, if necessary. Would-be scribes wrote criticism in Xeroxed zines, published in copy shops. It was more concerned with a grassroots revolution in sound than SoundScan figures—the pre-internet gauge of sales.

In the past decade, indie music blogs—often American, each fancying itself like a mini-NME—have become increasingly influential. Pitchfork and Stereogum, in particular, had the power to break bands from independent labels with every thumbs-up they give. Acts such as the Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes owe much of their commercial viability to enthusiastic online editorial coverage. The online hype machine—which drops new tracks and videos along with breathlessly excited text, plus the usual reviews and interviews—can easily make a musician that has never played a live concert a buzz-worthy act over night. Often the more mysterious the act, the better for the site that breaks it. Traditional media blogs have restyled themselves along the same lines—Rollingstone.com for instance. In this day and age, that online hype may not translate into massive sales, but it can mean a career in music with potentially lucrative touring and licensing. Publishing and live performance are the profit centres in the industry these days.

Nothing illustrates the conflict between the power and influence of the blogs and their romantic notions of an indie music work ethic better than the Lana Del Rey affair. In short, indie music blogs initially championed her “Video Games” single/video via YouTube and covered her as a rising star in the tradition of Cat Power, an underground darling. But then they outed Del Rey as an ambitious pop-star wannabe, who had already released an album to little fanfare under her given name. She had management, a label and the business savvy to reboot as Del Rey with a signature look (a retro brunette bombshell that rarely smiles) and the blogs felt duped. Del Rey wasn’t the undiscovered organically grown rare orchid they had hoped. Rather, she was nurtured in the corporate hothouse. But it was too late to put the genie back in the bottle: Del Rey was already on the way to a major label release, an appearance on Saturday Night Live and a number one album on iTunes in 11 countries.

What Del Rey illustrates is that indie cred, and indie values and credential checking is a useless exercise in this day and age—if indie was a private party, the bouncer has long since left the building. Del Rey wasn’t the first career-oriented songwriter to reconfigure herself with an indie scene-friendly look; acts like the Drums had already done that. And the artists that are given carte blanche on the hipster blogs are just as likely to employ powerful publicists and booking agents, and license tunes commercially as those working the industry showcase circuit and toiling away with songwriting teams. And music industry insiders, who once might have ignored bands playing the basement-show circuit, are combing the blogs, SoundCloud and of course YouTube looking for the next sensation. The walls have been broken down for years, and it is a good thing that they are unlikely to go up again.

Del Rey’s new album isn’t quite worth the kerfuffle. Outside of the unique and downbeat “Video Games”, which contrasts a schoolgirl fantasy of glamorous life with a humdrum chore of keeping a boy interested, "Born to Die" only bears modest fruit. We’re given a heavy dose of Gangsta Nancy Sinatra on songs which wed trip-hop beats, sweeping strings and near-raps. Often, she’s playing a gold-loving, retro-styled vixen that savours the thrills that come with bad boys but ends up bored and conflicted. The lounge filler in “Diet Mountain Dew” and elsewhere lends itself to a gangster moll storyline, but altogether, Born to Die is more pop curiosity than a youthquake. Never fear. With the hype machine humming along 24-7, something else will come soon.

(via Economist.com)

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Brands get physical to build trust

This piece goes along with what we learn in marketing classes that a person is more likely to buy a product/convinced of a product when he can touch it rather then just smell or even only see it on a picture. However, the sensory experience can yet be a bigger differentiator as we become substantially more digital. Further, customer's touch points with a brand are opportunities to make a trustworthy relationship. Fast Company has an interesting article on this:

From handshakes to hardware, intimate signals constantly affect us in life. As the world becomes increasingly digital, we are losing many sensory signals that once moved us. Here's what can companies do to reclaim these touching moments. [...] We’ve come to depend on a whole new set of tones as we key in numbers on an ATM or a cell phone. [...] we need to find a way to compensate for the absence of touch.

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Blood brother trailer

"Blood Brother" is a documentary movie about the young American Rocky Braat travelling through India to make an impact by helping HIV infected children. The trailer is moving and promise a wonderful documentary. [vimeo http://vimeo.com/34800252]

Blood Brother is the story of group of children infected with HIV and Rocky Braat, a disenchanted young American drifting through India. He wanted to save them all, but in reality he couldn’t cure even one of them. He had to stay. It’s a hard life. He faces opposition in many forms. He lives in a concrete hut. Sometimes, he is close to despair. But working with the kids gives him a sense of purpose. The truth is, he needs them as much as they need him. They teach him, daily, that love is the only thing that makes life worth living.

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Pinterest: a quick overview

As you might have realized another ubiquitous thing on Facebook going on at the moment is Pinterest. I remember it popping up a year ago but didn't quite see the use of it beside Facebook. But people, especially women, going crazy at the moment - here a quick overview with an infographic done by lemon.ly. The numbers show a clear influence in (viral) marketing and an audience to look after now and in the future. (click to enlarge)

(via mashable.com)

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Time Lapse of Everglades Camping

[flickr video=4355542972 show_info=true w=480 h=270]
Time Lapse of Everglades Camping

1,572 photos shot over seven hours on an island 68 miles South of Everglades City in Florida with a 5D mk2 and a cheap knock-off time lapse controller that works great. The beach is called Middle Cape Sable, and is the southernmost point of the continental US. Camped there with six of my awesome family members. The music, suggested by cousin Kristen, is Clelia Iruzun: Ernesto Lecuona- Always in my Heart.

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Press freedom index

Reporters Without Borders just released its 2009 Press Freedom Index, a ranking of countries based on how shamelessly they screw with the Fourth Estate.

Obama has had a positive effect: America leapt up 20 places to number 20. Italy, Spain, and France are all in the 40s and each slipped a few places. Israel sank 47 places and, for the first time, lost its lead among Middle Eastern countries thanks to its crack down on the media last winter. Iran is now down in North Korea territory. And the Scandinavian countries lead the pack.

I could think of a reason why Italy lost position.

1-20 150-175
(via good.is and rsf.org)

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Online advertising 'overtakes TV' (UK)

Online advertising spending in the UK has overtaken television expenditure for the first time, a report has said. Online spending grew 4.6% to £1.752bn in the first half of 2009, while TV spending shrank 16.1% to £1.639bn. […]

Quite impressive to see that companies spent more on online advertisement than on the TV channel. Justin Pearse from NMA pointed out that this overtake is mainly due to the stormy times companies currently face. However, in the end what really matters is the effectiveness of every spent pound.

(via bbc news)

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did you know?

Nice video/compilation of facts and figures of today's development of our society driven by new technologies. Whether it is good or bad can be determined by what you make out of it. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL9Wu2kWwSY]

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Ikea launches telephony, internet services in Spain

Swedish group Ikea will launch fixed, mobile telephony and internet services on the Spanish market in the coming weeks. The services will be launched in partnership with Telefonica, British Telecom and Vodafone, local newspaper El Economista reports. Leveraging Vodafone Spain's mobile network, Ikea will launch a MVNO service, under the Ventaja Movil (Mobile Advantage) brand name. For EUR 10 per month, Ventaja Movil customers will receive free mobile calls, with no call set-up fee, within the operator's network. National calls to other mobile operator's networks will be charged EUR 0.10 per minute, plus the call set-up fee of EUR 0.15. Additionally, Ikea will offer discounted prices on mobile phone purchases for customers who choose to port their mobile numbers to Ventaja Movil. The offer includes the Samsung J400, Samsung E250, and the Nokia 2630, 2760 and 5200 phone models. Ventaja Movil ported customers will also be able to acquire the Samsung i600 and HTC S620 for EUR 195 and EUR 180, respectively. Ikea has partnered Telefonica to offer ADSL data services. For a price ranging between EUR 36.95 and EUR 38.95, the service is expected to enable speeds of 1 to 3 Mbps for download and 320 Kbps for upload. The package also includes free minutes for national calls to fixed numbers. Ikea will also offer wireless broadband services via USB modem from British Telecom. For a monthly fee of EUR 35, the service will include 1.5 GB for mobile. Customers will be able to acquire Ventaja Movil SIM cards as well as subscribe to Ikea's telephony or data services at Ikea stores across the country.

(via telecompaper)

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