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The DERTy types at Edelman (that’s those of us who work in the Digital Entertainment, Rights and Technology practice) are gearing up for the launch of this year’s study:  Value, Engagement and Trust in the era of Social Entertainment.  We go live tomorrow so watch this space…

But what do you remember most about the entertainment landscape if you think back to 2007? We thought it would be interesting, ahead of releasing the new findings, to take a look back at the headline stats from the last five years.  Wow how far we’ve come…. Early studies were dominated by the debates around illegal file sharing, how much consumers were willing to pay for content and the emerging power of social networks.  In some ways a lot has changed – and in other ways nothing has.

We should add that the methodology for the study has changed a little across the five years as we’ve grown to look at a wider pool of consumers in the UK and US.  So a statistician wouldn’t be happy about comparing year on year.  However – we think this little slideshow gives a nice little summary of the evolution of the sector.  If you’d like to know more about each specific year, what was asked and who was asked, then please just drop us a note in the comment section.  You can see last year’s findings here.

If you can’t attend the event tomorrow, you can still take part by using the hastag #SocialEnt.  You can also have a listen to our podcast last week, with Matt Locke, Richard Sambrook and Luke Mackay, which sets up some of the themes of tomorrow’s study.

It’s pretty safe to say that it isn’t too often that The European Convention on Human Rights, originally set out in 1950, isn’t something that gets cited too often in casual debates around freedom of expression. Yet two particular articles sit at the heart of many debates surrounding the press and, arguably, in many debates around our society in general.

Article 8 states:

“everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.”

A simple sentiment, but one which sits at the core of the spate of recent super injunction cases and which is frequently winning arguments in court. The sentiment is one which few would realistically argue with; we all have a right to privacy, an essential aspect of a truly free society.

Key to the discussion around super injunctions is the interpretation of this right to privacy as the right to a protection of reputation.

Reputations are legally perceived to have a monetary value and, as dictated by legal precedent in the UK courts, everyone starts with a good reputation – unless proven otherwise. This idea sits at the heart of defamation rulings, the idea that the unfair tarnishing of someone’s reputation can have a negative effect on their potential income.

And yet all too often this idea is emphatically contradicted by the opening line in Article 10 of the same convention:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression”.

 

Essentially, everyone has the right to say what they want, when they want to – and if that is damaging to someone else’s reputation, so be it.

With two such contradictory statements at the heart of super injunctions and defamation rulings, it’s easy to see why cases can last for years following the original comments and/or story.

Nevertheless Article 8 has dominated proceedings in recent years, and a key reason for this is Mr. Justice Eady. If you don’t know Mr. Justice Eady, he is a UK judge frequently appointed to high profile defamation cases.

Numerous publishers have bones to pick with him and it’s rumored that champagne corks were being popped around Fleet Street (metaphorically speaking, at least) when he announced that he was standing down, and it looks as though his replacement might be somewhat more liberal towards freedom of expression, meaning we could see some change in precedence over the coming years.

The phrase “in the public interest” is frequently bandied about in defamation cases. This is the happy compromise between the two articles; you can only impact on someone’s reputation if it’s in the public interest.

So while it might not be in the public interest to know that Princess Caroline of Monaco goes out to dinner with her kids, (unsurprisingly, she received compensation over photographs published of just this), but that it might be good for the public to know about the less-than-wholesome life Tommy Sheridan (then an MSP) was leading; a case which only gets more extraordinary the more you hear about it.

Reeling out 17 witnesses, Sheridan initially won damages from the News of the World over claims that he was visiting an illicit club; five years on and he’s serving jail time for perjury, though one suspects we haven’t heard the last of it yet.

However, the “public interest” argument is also a pretty flimsy and arbitrary compromise which represents the only middle ground between the two. It’s frequently sullied by the press stretching the definition of public interest to, say, knowing that a premier league footballer had relations with someone they shouldn’t have.

It’s also quickly worth mentioning the increasingly prominent trend for “Libel Tourism”, wherein cases can be brought about in territories which have no bearing on the original comments or participants. This, as you may have guessed, is because the internet is ubiquitous and as such as long as you can prove that a comment made in America has been seen in the UK, then proceedings can be pressed in UK Courts – as seen with King vs. Lewis in 2004. Article 8 makes it easier to win damages in defamation cases (and to win super injunctions) in the UK than it does in the US, meaning that this is a trend which isn’t going anywhere.

This has interesting implications for PRs and the use of social media, as it’s increasingly becoming vital to ensure that social media policies are rigid and right, and to ensure that you watch what you say on social networks – either by yourself or on behalf of a client.

Article 8 is currently winning over Article 10 in the UK, so while you’re free to express yourself, you basically can’t express yourself too much. Or something like that. Even if only one person sees a defamatory comment it could be prosecuted.

It’s also worth remembering that Clients taking legal action in order to protect their reputation isn’t always A Great Thing. In fact, it’s pretty much very rare to see any real benefit. See McLibel, which ultimately had a damaging effect on McDonald’s brand. Looking at the reasons that McDonalds originally took action it could be argued that the head honchos at Google would be within their rights to consider similar action against Facebook and BM, yet I believe they are intelligent and perceptive enough not to.

The interpretation of these two articles sits at the heart of one of the key debates around the media at the moment; it’s important that as PR practitioners we fully understand what they stand for.

@tmbrntt

 

An article in the FT today states that Facebook is set to become the worlds largest online display advertising company (by revenue). This is some accomplishment, overcoming Google and Yahoo.

Importantly this also comes off the back of the news that Facebook is now starting to challenge Google as a referrer of traffic to other websites which shows how far social referring has come in the last few years.

Certainly Twitter and now Facebook are the first port of call for internet users looking for news that interests them; a quick scan of your news feed is all a simple strategy for looking at news that fits your interests and passions. Much easier than looking at five different websites to find out the same information.

What does this mean for us? Well, as ‘Influencer Marketers’ we should bear this in mind. Getting social links and a high Facebook referral might be more significant than the Tech pages of the Daily Mail.

Maybe we should spend more time writing copy and tailoring ideas for Facebook these days?

@GLeney

“Meet the man that banned Facebook at work,” was how I was gleefully introduced to co workers when I started my current job. This fearful epithet was not entirely merited on my part – I simply discouraged staff updating their Facebook profiles or tweeting when they were supposed to be participating in conference calls (and being paid to do so).

“Vindication” was the word that came to mind when I stumbled across a report compellingly titled (for me, at any rate): Is Web Surfing Distracting Your Workers?

However, my superficial reaction was premature. According to the research conducted by Harvard Business School research fellow Marco Piovesan, banning such activities is not merely futile but potentially counter-productive. The act of resisting temptation (in the case of the research to watch a funny video or – when reproduced amongst children – to each succulent marshmallow), actually makes people less productive.

So, while idle web browsing can certainly reduce the level of attention and focus that people apply to their work, overtly prohibiting such access could be even worse for productivity.

Here´s a summary of the findings:
• Psychologists have theorized that the energy spent resisting temptation takes attention away from other tasks, but this is the first experiment to test it in the context of a work environment.
• Researchers found that subjects exhibited a decrease in productivity when they were tempted to watch a funny video but then told not to do so. Comparatively, subjects who were allowed to watch the video were more productive.
• The research indicates that prohibiting private Internet use at work is actually bad for employees’ productivity. That effect could be especially critical in jobs where small mistakes could mean a big difference in performance.

Despite the above, I still believe that the benefits of multi-tasking to be greatly exaggerated. My experience at work, instance, is that tweeting and updating Facebook at the same time as doing work is not conducive to effective proof reading, budget planning, contract negotiations, exchange rate calculations or – even – conference calls. Regarding the latter, I believe that all conference calls could be reduced to 15 minutes of everyone genuinely paid attention!

The benefits of social media within the workplace are indisputable – from market research and brand management to internal communications and R&D; such activities should not be considered as “accompaniments” to work but fundamental to it. If your Facebook page requires updating . . . update it, then move on to the next task. This is what I call “uni-tasking”; concentrating on a single task until it is complete before moving onto the next. Do you think it will catch on . . . ?

That’s not to say that there is no role for multi-tasking within the workplace . . . . I’m convinced that it is still possible to eat lunch at your desk, while continuing to email, of course! Does that count?

@RogerDarathe man in the centre has not read this blog

The man in the centre  has not read this post.

For the uninitiated, Wes Brown is Manchester United´s much maligned defender; even for Man United aficionados, he is hardly likely to set the pulse racing. The mere mention of his name on the team sheet is more likely to strike fear amongst his own team than the opposition; Wes Brown has scored more goals against Manchester United (5) than for them (3) – a net deficit you may say. There is even a Facebook dedicated to Wes Brown’s unusual prowess, entitled “Wes Brown is the most boring and rubbish footballer EVER”.

Probably not a good idea to associate with him you may think. Well, to date, most companies appear to agree . . . .Brown currently enjoys only one personal endorsement contract, with the sports footwear manufacturer Concave. A deal which he shares with John O’Shea strangely enough; or “O Shit” as one Facebook group would prefer to call him. A far cry from the $7 million worth of endorsements enjoyed by team mates Wayne Rooney (Nike, Nokia, Ford, Asda, and (until recently) Coca-Cola), or the $6 million man and ex-England captain Rio Ferdinand (complete with his 688,000 Twitter followers and 430,000 Facebook fans).

Well, here’s a thought . . . . given Manchester United’s training, playing and travelling schedule Wes Brown probably spends more time with Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs etc. than with his own wife. Wes joined Manchester United in 1999 and has played for them all his life; I think it is fair to say that he and his teammates know each other inside out, the good, the bad and the ugly.

But here’s the point. Take a look at who global icon Rio Ferdinand sits next to in the dressing room. Yes, it´s our hero, the “most boring and rubbish footballer EVER” Wesley Michael “Wes” Brown!

Twice a week + training and travel, Wes Brown sits and chews the fat with one of the most influential people in the UK, and (judging by the recent media coverage surrounding his loss of the England captaincy), Europe and even the World.

And here is the other thing . . . . Wes Brown is not very good at football, he does not command celebrity endorsement fees, but he is more accessible and approachable than those more famous (i.e. “better”) players who do.

As a means to reach those key influencers – who themselves will be inaccessible and beyond the means of most organizations, who will be difficult to work with and – ultimately – will steal the limelight for themselves – Wes Brown could be a great option.

Endorsers are unlikely to be queuing up to sign up a “one club” Manchester United player who has scored more goals against them than for them, and this means that Brown’s endorsement would be more exclusive (as opposed to simply another brand name on a retainer) and, potentially, more powerful.

Particularly given his proximity to Rio Ferdinand at least twice a week. Most importantly – with all due respect – he is no Rio Ferdinand and unlikely to steal the limelight for himself either. In fact, he’d probably be flattered to be approached in the first place!

Beyond the world of football, these are the types of relationships and influences that organizations should consider when recruiting endorsers to start ideas and amplify their messages. The most popular blogger or most visible online community may not be the most effective place to start; there may be an even smarter way to reach them in a way that generates real benefit for both the organization and the influencer being approached.

Back to the football analogy . . . do players still share hotel rooms? If so, taking the Wes Brown dressing room logic to its natural conclusion, who shares with Wayne Rooney, that would be powerful information to have . . .

@RogerDara

This behavioural group began as an observation that a key segment of our conversations were not trying to create new ideas or amplify them but were bringing content together and adapting the idea. 

When we began to look at this behaviour in more detail the degree of adaption seemed less important than the act of gathering and sharing this information.  In many cases the content was not being changed greatly from the essential meme or idea, but was  being put into context and given greater definition and relevance.

Over time we began to refer to this group as ‘curators’ (rather than adaptors) as this seemed to explain the deeper motivation for this group.  There is a degree of ambiguity to this description as many curators were also adapting content; for instance taking quotes or references from other articles and by placing them in a new context and adding to the meaning of the original idea.  Indeed, a small minority of them were significantly adapting the original idea.  But we do feel that curators is the better description, and to explain why I want to refer to a post written by Steve Rubel several years ago when he gave a succinct explanation of curation:

The Internet has empowered billions of people and is distributing their creativity across millions of niches and dozens of formats. Quality and accuracy, of course, can vary. However, virtually every subject either is or will be addressed with excellence – by someone, somewhere.

“However, the glut of content as we all know also has a major downside. Our information and entertainment options greatly outweigh the time we have to consume it. Even if one were to only focus on micro-niche interests and snack on bite-sized content, demand could never ever scale to match the supply. Content is a commodity. The Attention Crash is real and – make no mistake – it will deepen.  Enter the Digital Curator.”

Steve outlines how important this digital curator is in the development of influence and authority on the Internet.  It is this motivation for sharing, giving meaning, and identifying where excellence resides that can help make sense of digital chaos.  This wonderful need for people online to help curate what is and what is not so important online is a key dynamic of the topology of influence.

In acknowledging this a digital curator is different from the traditionally defined cultural curator, who is a crucial guardian or overseer of tangible objects.  A digital curator is working with electronic material and where it is linked and interconnected and even by putting it into context, (because the digital curator is a part of authority ranking), this act alone adapts the content.  Additionally digital is a different world from online, as its democratic instinct means that few curators can resist a tweak or adaptation to content that would be completely taboo to the traditional definition. 

So our definition of digital curator is different from the traditional; it allows for adaptation of the idea in giving it context but importantly it does not mean the curator starts a new idea or meme.  If this was the case they would be an idea starter not a curator and it appears that few curators want to start new ideas afresh; they are largely satisfied and motivated by this role of creating context. 

Given the time it takes to curate even the smallest conversation there is a practical force behind this. However, there is also the point that they are two different acts; one more organisational and sharing, the other more inspirational and isolated.

Many of you will be aware of how the above question applied to the Roman Empire during Monty Python’s Life of Brian

“alright –APART from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order…”

 

I was reminded to apply the same question to Europeans in general as part of an investigation into the future of work being undertaken for a client. The findings to date predict a truly global and “frictionless” marketplace where, by 2020, skills and experience will be matched with job profiles and budgets through a sort of “global employment dashboard”, probably residing somewhere in the Cloud.

How will Europe compete in such a competitive environment? Well, it certainly won’t be on cost…

Europeans will have to find clear distinction; what they are good at, where their value lies in order to compete in an increasingly frictionless market.

To this end, my colleagues and I have been trying to compile a list of sectors, expertise, and markets where Europe really excels. These are areas where skills and heritage built up over centuries give Europe an unassailable competitive advantage.

First, we start with the serious list; by 2020, Europeans will still be in a position of competitive advantage in the following:

Next, the list of slightly less serious areas where the Europeans excel however:

I’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for either list.  So in 2020, when the question arises, “What have the Europeans ever done for us?” we’ll have our answers ready!

@RogerDara

When you haven’t seen something fast growing for several weeks such as a child or Russian vine the temptation to say, ‘my haven’t you grown!’ is very great.

This urge should be avoided as it annoys those concerned, by patronising kids or rebuking gardeners. Yet returning from a short tweet break this morning I muttered these very words on reading about the fifth anniversary of twitter so breaking this rule of the blindingly obvious.

Yet leaping to my own defence it is not just the speed of growth with twitter that is dramatic. It is the manner of its growth and what it has done to the way internet-based opinion and influence has developed that is very interesting, and weirdly so. A really interesting post on Elise’s Review prompted this thought with the question ‘Is social media becoming more about mass broadcasting than conversation?’

Twitter’s growth has been about amplification of opinions, influence and conversations. At times this has made it appear more like broadcasting and certainly it has made the conversation louder, shorter and less genteel. Yet in interacting with media and blogs I would argue that twitter is amplifying and sharing ideas that often start in long form in other media platforms. This is different from broadcasting although it does make the conversation less sophisticated in many cases. I would describe it as a broader conversation rather than a broadcast.

Indeed as twitter grows its ability to amplify grows too so amplifying the amplifier. Some bloggers who began as highly focused ‘Influentials’ talking to only niche groups have become stars and engaged in very broad conversations. They often start to post less frequently but when they do they reach bigger, much bigger numbers.

The post pointed out that now more people get news from the Internet than traditional newspapers. This too is a part of the amplification process with e-zines merging with communities and a more dialogue driven view of the news.  The key dynamic here is the way twitter helps ideas and stories leapfrog between niche communities.  Again this seems to be of the great strengths of twitter it takes news from niches and can make them part of a broad community.

As it grows this does not mean twitter is all about these broader conversations. Clearly there a niche areas such as middle aged cycling that have drawn together quite large but discrete groups who don’t make it as trending topics. But even these conversations have become broader. So back to the blindingly obvious not always being easy to adopt I quote one point in the Elise’s Review below:

If Your Blog Doesn’t Have A “Tweet This” Or “Like This” Button On It, It Means That You Are Not Cool.

And yes – we know ours doesn’t. yet.

@Naked_Pheasant

Welcome! This is the first edition of a regular weekly update on all things DERTy (Digital Entertainment, Rights and Technology).

We hope you find some of the weird and wonderful things from this week’s news and Twittersphere of interest. If you have any comments on any of the points below we would love to hear them.

Until next week…

Digital Entertainment

clip_image002Jennifer Aniston and Smart Water
In an area where you see a lot of things branded as ‘viral’, but are in fact adverts which companies want you to pass on, it was a refreshing change to see a company do it really well.  I clicked on the link from Twitter with low expectations but what appeared was Jennifer Aniston promoting Smart Water in a really clever and innovative way.  The campaign has received literally hundreds of positive article, over 4 million views on YouTube and there is a lot of buzz around the campaign on Twitter.  Admittedly they had a high profile celeb to help them get this coverage, but I still think they have hit the nail on the head.  If you haven’t watched it already I strongly suggest a quick look.

clip_image004Intel reinvent art
We’ve been admiring Intel’s creative projects (such as the Creators Project) for a while.  This week the Remastered exhibition was launched “to explore the relationship between art and technology and celebrate its role in inspiring modern creativity as part of its Visual Life campaign”.  Interesting stuff.  Whether or not this art is reimagined or reinvented – a lot of the exhibits look very interesting.  Nice YouTube preview here.


clip_image006Equal Pay Day
People used to forge masterpieces – and Dougal Wilson’s vid for Benni Benassi’s Satisfaction happens to be a masterpiece of Noughties dance vids. So now here’s Raf Reyntjes lovingly-crafted recreation of the video – with an important difference. This time round, the girls are a bit older. Which makes it very funny – or hard to watch, depending on how you feel about seventy year old ladies wielding power tools whilst wearing hot pants. It’s all for a perfectly good cause, thankfully: Equal Pay Day. In fact, it’s a stonking way of highlighting the important issue of inequitable gender wage differentials. In Belgium.

And here is the original http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5bYDhZBFLA – Spot the difference?

clip_image008Spyro the Dragon gets real wings.
We’ve been a fan of Spyro for a long time (in a former life Luke worked on the little purple dragon of joy and can often be found wearing a purple dragon costume at the weekend).  So it was with fiery excitement that we read about Activision’s real-world tie-ins for the new Spyro game.  There’s a great overview on the Telegraph.  The box copy of the game will ship with real-world peripherals that unlock features and interact with the game.  Interesting stuff – and not unlike the chess scene in Star Wars (in our heads’ anyway).  This demonstrates that particularly for youth audiences digital entertainment is not just virtual but is also tangible.  Moshi Monsters are illustrating a similar approach with a range of real-world products that unlock items in the virtual environment.

Rights

clip_image010

Warner Bros bring film to Facebook
Those living Stateside will soon be able to rent films through Facebook thanks to a new deal between the social network and Warner Bros. Users in the US will first be able to rent The Dark Knight for $3/30 Facebook credits – and there lies the interesting bit. At the moment Facebook credits don’t mean much to the majority of users, but with the Warner Bros. deal sure to be the first of many, we might be about to see Facebook’s virtual currency step up a gear. It also brings into play everything people have theorised around ‘social viewing’ as now people will be able to easily integrate all of the usual Facebook functions around movie content. Sounds like an exciting test bed, watch this space.

Technologies

clip_image012Well Funded Birds
The company behind everyone’s favourite mobile game – Angry Birds – today announced a $42m round of funding to expand its franchise and develop new titles. This comes in the same day that it was announced the game was also heading for Facebook. Considering Rovio claim to have already made $50m from game sales, they must have some big plans up their sleeves. So prepare to be watching Angry Birds the movie and getting an Angry Birds soft toy in your stocking come December.

Tweets from the team

· Transmedia alive and kicking it seems RT @powertothepixel: Fourth Wall Studios raises $15m for cross-media productions http://lat.ms/goM1ft

· Fear and Rango in Las Vegas. Uncanny resemblance…http://bzfd.it/gg55S2

· Black Swan trailer – the Habbo cut. Very cool (Habbo a client) http://youtu.be/ggQa-5T5UqQ via @juzu17)

· Interesting RT @mashable:Who’s Really Scanning All Those QR Codes? [INFOGRAPHIC] – http://on.mash.to/i5bio3

· Never commit a crime in Strathclyde http://bit.ly/hl0oeI (via @shortlist)

UK Times journalist Rod Liddle can barely hide is contempt for Twitter and its proponents who claim to be “changing the World in 140 characters”.  Liddle is referring to the uncompromising (sometimes pompous) pronouncements made by politicians to various leaders of the Libyan government:
• “My message to Saif Qadhafi today: violence we are seeing against the Libyan people is unacceptable” (@WilliamJHague; UK Foreign Minister) 
“Great honour to Egypt today. People Power has forced regime change. Needs equal focus and discipline to bring in something better” (@DMiliband; ex UK Foreign Minister)

Given that these messages appear aimed directly at the regime of another country; I wonder if Twitter is the most appropriate medium. 

“I tried to see if ol’ Saif had responded online to this stinging rebuke — perhaps with an ‘Oh, bugger me, you’re quite right, William — we’ll call off the bombings and relinquish power immediately’. But no luck. Saif probably tweets under a different name,” muses Liddle of Hague´s message.

“ . . one assumes the bloodied and determined Egyptian democrats stopped in their tracks at this important missive and immediately gathered together to thrash out a more disciplined and focused approach to social change. Thank you, David — valuable advice. Please go on,” he adds with respect to Milliband´s words of encouragement. 

In the most blatant example of ‘bigging up’ the medium, Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United and England football captain, claimed that he and other Twitter users “are involved (if not directly)in a powerful #movement ! …” (@rioferdy5).

With all due respect Rio . . . . we are not. We are simply exchanging opinions on football, the state of your back injury, Man Yoo’s failed attempt to rebuff a rejuvenated Liverpool FC this weekend, quite how Ferguson continues to flout broadcast regulations, and how he is turning into Kevin The Teenager.

And here is the shame . . . . As a social media platform Twitter can provide a valuable and unique support for those looking to deliver the most sensitive message to the most specific of audiences; the key is that Twitter not just about the Tweet.

The Twitter platform can provide a wealth of information about a particular audience, where it meets, what subjects it cares about, with what frequency and style it communicates, who are the idea starters, who are the amplifiers.  It can also provide this level of detail about a subject or theme; who is leading the discussion, do these people remain constant or does leadership vary over time or cyclically, on what other platforms are these themes addressed (traditional media, blogs, other communities, physical meetings etc)?  Tools such as Edelman’s TweetLevel can deliver analysis by audience or theme, level of engagement, the trust or authority associated with each contributor, all of which can be broken down on the basis of geography or language.

This powerful insight can be delivered without the necessity of making a single Tweet.  The shame being that for many – from Rod Liddle to Rio Ferdinand – Twitter simply means Tweeting. 

And this misapprehension gives social media in general a bad name because it assumes that – in the final analysis – everything can and should be broken down to 140 characters; which is really missing the point. 

In some instances Twitter may be the most appropriate medium on which to communicate or participate in dialogue with a given audience; but in others it is wholly inappropriate.  Perhaps discreet diplomatic channels would have been more appropriate method of influencing the Libyan regime (telephone calls, summits, relationship meetings, official (confidential) memos etc).  Government to government communication via Twitter just seems wrong in this context.

However, the insight that platforms such as Twitter can provide into a target audience or theme remains both invaluable but all too often neglected.   This analysis should help define how a given message can be credibly delivered whether through face to face meetings, traditional media, telephone calls, roundtables, third party events, blogs, conferences, or – indeed – a Twitter feed. 

A final word to those Twitter incontinents out there; to “use Twitter” does not necessarily mean to “Tweet”.

@RogerDara

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