People talk of ‘change’, but what does it really mean? Today’s guest post is by Richard Sauerman, Strategy Director at Shift.
In the past, the knowledge and experience of ‘the old’ was the best instruction for ‘the young’. Today we live with a new set of realities – we are like immigrants into a new time, unable to take our cues from yesterday’s lessons.
Which is why people are starting to tear apart the walls of our thinking and our understanding. People lack certainty as they become more aware that there is no right way to live and think. The monolithic views of the past are crumbling as more different viewpoints of the world are understood and embraced. There is challenging of some of our fundamental ideas, like kids, marriage, jobs, medicine, spirituality and pleasure.
In business, and from the Business Council of Australia down, there is talk of the “triple bottom line” where the economic, social and environmental results must all balance. There is talk of social contracts, social coalitions and social cohesion. There is talk of including new metrics such as “social performance” to assess the net worth of a company. “Social capital” is the buzzword among the free marketers recognising the limits of capitalism.
People are eager to know where their products are coming from. Are they genetically modified? Are they environmentally benign? Are they made by child labour in developing countries? It is against this backdrop that the way people define and see themselves has changed. Australian people [and perhaps this is true of all people] have entered a period of retreat from the big agenda – a period where people are more concerned about close, personal, immediate issues, not national issues.
The shift is from being outer-directed to inner-directed. From people who’s main concern is what others think of them, to people who look inside of them own selves and ‘do their own thing’.
It’s a shift towards cultural ideas that are about transforming ourselves from within, like: learning to cook, or feel confident, or be calm. Angus & Robertson estimate a growth of 500 per cent in self help books over the past decade.
It’s a shift towards experiences that are more intense and personal. New found freedoms are leading people to general informality of lifestyles, and a regression to play at all ages.
The fundamental ‘ethic’ that people are striving for is a view of life and the world that is essentially humanitarian – not economically rational. It is a view that says the future is about spirituality, not economic growth and technology.
It is an attitude that says “I will live and be in this world with all the capabilities I have, not just a part of myself.” It is a desire to close the ever-widening gap between “how I want my life to be” and “how my life really is”.
It is a belief that says we need to centre on our heart – not our head – and act through it. It is an open recognition that we are ALL seeking love and self-worth.
At the end of the day it’s about people wanting to feel good about themselves, their lives, and their world. And that is gold.
With some tipping Google Glass to further evolve change our day-to-day experiences, DT’s creative technologist and Glass sceptic Tim Devine found some surprising results after a week with the device.
In a kind of tribute to Steve Mann, the father of wearable computing, and so that I might have at least something of an informed opinion on the subject, I wore Google Glass for a week — everywhere, all the time. For thirty years Mann has worn far less sophisticated versions, so I figured it couldn’t be that onerous, and if I was to give Mann and Glass proper shrift nothing less than full immersion would do.
Aside from my Mann crush, as a creative technologist and practicing media artist my work has at times suffered from crushes on various technologies. There is something wonderful about expectations for a new technology — beyond the new toy anticipation the potential for a leap to occur, even if only in the imagination, is sufficient to begin all manner of feverish speculation.
My relationship with Glass as a technology reminds me of a girl I was seeing a few years ago. While crashing on a friends couch in Brooklyn after an epic romance and break up I noticed a card that read, “I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you”. Love is blind but temporarily.
So the question this led me to suppose was do our relationships with technologies form in a similar way to our relationships with people? A hot flush at the beginning, fading slowly to something you could reasonably take for granted but pine for when you’re apart, replace with the new and shiny, or even do away with altogether?
A few weeks ago I found myself, a youngish creative technologist, contemplating an arranged marriage with Google Glass. Our agency, DT, was fortunate enough to acquire a couple of sets and as I run the creative technology lab I felt obliged to engage.
To be honest, if I could solve a brief with a single fold in a sheet of A4 paper I would. I’ve spent years trying to neutralise the effect technology has on me, while endeavouring to deeply understanding it — when a technology like this is pre-released and inevitably polarises the community, it ends up shrouded in media hype, shrill denunciations and misrepresentative guesswork in the rush to be earliest non-adopter.
The most useful commentary comes from direct experience no matter the device. So I flipped the SIM from my iPhone 5 into a Nexus 5, (Glass needs to be tethered to an Android phone) and strapped on Glass for a week.
Wearing Glass is like dating a celebrity
All week I scored free drinks and double takes as I went about my everyday. It was with me everywhere — driving, golfing, the beach, cycling, the cinema, a rooftop bar, work, watching a band, a restaurant, rock climbing and importantly while I lay hungover in my lounge room hammock. I didn’t skydive, fly a stunt plane, frolic with reptiles, trapeze, sword fight, juggle fire, ice sculpt, own a catwalk, hot air balloon or figure skate — though I was ready for it all, Google.
Glass brings voice interaction into a far more functional context. You have to give over to it, to the point where it sounds like you’re talking to a puppy — very conspicuous if there isn’t a puppy around. If you enunciate, and the sound environment is at a reasonable level, it’s pretty good.
Halfway into my week I found myself engaging in conversation with other computer generated voices, similar to accidentally swiping a non-touchscreen, or mentally pressing “Command-Z” when you pour salt instead of sugar into your tea. In a most illustrative case I was in the part harried, part dazed condition induced by self-checkout in the supermarket.
When asked if I wanted a receipt I accurately turned to face the machine and robotically, in perfect oral formation, enunciated “No. (Pause) Thanks.” Under normal conditions I’m as irritated and diminished as the next person by the automated voice of those machines yet here I was naturally, if automatically, having verbal exchange with one as I would any corporeal service entity.
Fear of blinking in bathrooms
Glass is great for capturing content by voice or wink detection. It’s some kind of wonderful snapping photos with the wink of an eye. Every time I posted something to Facebook it was tagged ‘via Google Glass’, and shot from my 203cm perspective. The result is a peculiar kind of kink in the cultural and visual aesthetic to the content glass captures — it will always be shot from slightly above and outside your right eye, though I eventually figured out how to take a selfie without looking at a mirror. I did find myself trying to warp my neck or body for the best shot, but generally I took photos with a quick wink. If you wish to you can imagine my cold, blinkless disposition while I line up in a bathroom at the rooftop bar.
Being unusually tall I’m used to people compelled to ask questions about my experience up there. With Glass I’ve added an entirely new set of icebreakers. Mostly I found myself looking awkwardly out of windows on trams so as to not to have passengers opposite feel like they were in my camera’s field of view. Maybe there will be a mechanical shutter door in future releases to alleviate this awkwardness. Or better still, maybe we need a new type of necklace that emits powerful infrared light visible only to Glass and not the human eye, blowing out all photos taken with Glass, like a kind of urban camo! Tech, counter tech.
Google Glass sits somewhere between the hype and a hands free bluetooth headset with a screen/camera
My original view of Glass was that it was a thing you wore all the time and that it would more or less replace your phone. Personally I wouldn’t wear it all the time. In the Glass Explorer forums there are countless tips on when it’s appropriate to wear it or how to avoid confrontation — like a dojo really. That said, it’s been 24 hours since the end of my experience and I’ve caught myself peering longingly up to where my Glass once satiated my visual cortex… I miss it… if only a little.
Some people will love Glass and wear it all the time (afforded the excuse to wear prescriptionless designer frames). For others maybe it’s a part-time screen, with similar utility to a hands free earpiece. Either way Glass, or some other brand of face-screen coming soon, is definitely going to be part of our mediated life.
Tim Devine is a Creative Technologist at DT.
This article was originally published on mUmBRELLA.
There’s no need to talk too much on the recent algorithm change by Facebook; a thousand blogs have covered that already. In short, Facebook recently made a significant change to how it determines how many people see content from brand pages. No longer can you rely on the fact that a fair portion of your ‘fans’ will see your content. In fact, brands have seen organic reach drop as low as 0.5% of their total fan base.
Mark Zuckerberg now answers to shareholders and making money sits atop his priority list, somewhere alongside connecting the world and user experience. Make no mistake, Facebook is now a juggernaut corporate entity in every sense. This means that brands are left with a few extra things to consider when thinking about their Facebook marketing efforts.
Pay-to-acquire and pay-to-reach is leaving marketing managers with a bitter taste in their mouths, and some would say rightfully so. Brands have invested significantly in social strategies, community management and acquiring fans through advertising, giveaways, campaigns and competitions. Now they have to invest even more to get their message in front of people.
In terms of audience and engagement from users, Facebook still leads the way by a considerable margin. Here are a few simple tips for maximising your Facebook marketing spend in light of the recent changes to the algorithm.
1. Using your own data will save you money
Time and time again I notice a significantly reduced cost-per-acquisition when uploading a custom data set for targeting purposes. Facebook allows you to upload email addresses from your database into the advertising module, which then locates those people based on the email address matching a registered Facebook account. Serving these users an ad this way is typically far more effective given they already know at least something of your brand.
2. Find look-a-likes based on your data
Once you’ve found users from your database, you can build out a look-a-like pool of similar users – based on demographics and interests, with the goal of attracting people similar to those you already attract – making the barrier to acquisition somewhat lower than that of less specific manual targeting.
2. Go hard or go home
Saying ‘Happy Friday’ and posting a cat meme is all well and good for business-as-usual content, and if your aspirations are to just be one of the pack – but if you want Facebook to work hard for the dollars you’re spending, equal investment in quality content production and planning is needed. Custom and branded images, content pillars and key themes should be developed and revised on a regular ongoing basis
3. Identify what purpose Facebook serves and build around that
Does your page act as an efficient alternative to in-house customer service methods? Did the recent offer you promoted give you a viable alternative to using Groupon or similar? Does the insights gained from interaction and engagement provide your sales team with a new target market to focus on? These are the type of questions you should be considering when figuring out exactly what purpose Facebook serves for your brand.
5. Consider what would happen if you stopped using Facebook
Look at your website analytics to measure Facebook referrals in the past 12-months, apply an attribution model to determine the effect Facebook has on brand term search and direct traffic. Measure your brand sentiment online, and determine the part Facebook plays in that. In most cases, brands taking Facebook seriously will see that it impacts many facets of the branding and marketing mix.
That’s just five essential points to consider right now. In an ever-changing social media landscape, using Facebook and other social channels to promote to consumer and prospects is only going to get more expensive. Making sure every dollar spent is spent with the confidence it’s working hard is essential.
Is Facebook still worth it? It’s only worth the dollars you spend, based on the effort you spend on making sure every dollar counts.