Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Friendfeed & Twitter

View my FriendFeed

While I was locked out of Twitter I noticed that the only way I could check on it was through Friendfeed. Which was interesting because somebody also noticed that and tried to change the password on it thus revealing just a little bit more than I knew before.

Moving on because the lesson learned was a good one that I want to write about and which links directly into Johanna's analogue experiment. I only really grasped this while 'offline'. I've not really cracked Friendfeed as a utility yet outside of that. I use it as an RSS aggregator I can pipe into some other places such as Facebook. Either way I could probably just get by on Friendfeed now I know its me-media footprint size which is huge, but you know how it is when trying anything new out; there's only so much time that we can get to explore them properly although I have in this case worked out what a useful tool it is for at least seeing what is going on when deprived of some other staple feeds. I might one day figure out the difference between that and my identi.ca

Or does anyone know the critical difference? Thanks to all of you who are open minded enough to check out Rejaw with me too and I'm also looking into HelloTxt which is all pretty tedious I'm sure but I've been doing the grunt work of signing up for stuff for so long now it's a chore I just get on with. As indeed I need to for my Myspace account which you're quite entitled to keep but may as well just change the email back and we can all just put it behind us. Some good came out of it too.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Planning Wank

One of the notable disappointments of the plannersphere is the inability to engage with the larger subjects of the day. A herd like mentality (high five Mr Earls) seems to invariably ensue until a breakaway opinion is shared.

I mean really, was it only me who noticed that this economic turmoil would be the single most influential dynamic in our business before I blogged it?

Of course not, it's just that nobody wanted to point out the elephant in the room and this post is all about the elephant in the room.

Thanks btw to Neil who respects his own opinion as much as he welcomes others or I think we'd still be keeping quiet.
So, some months ago I came across a post on the use of a hotmail address which I found to be symptomatic of any London based planner who has yet to sharpen their skills abroad which is an assumption that what seems right in the UK is obviously a more progressive and thus substantial opinion than abroad - wrong. It's all over in London and this post one year down the line is my call on where the action is.

The writer (a friend of friends and thus a friend I might add) asserts that the use of a Hotmail address is either uncool or indicative of age. I'll let you read it but I'd like to state here that a hotmail address in China (the Leviathan of internet populations) is considered more prestigious than a QQ address which most are unaware of and the reason why I'm blogging about this topic.

Why put one's foot in the mouth without qualifying that one is just a local planner and the views expressed commensurate with that? The internet is after all a global media despite our cousins in America failing to understand that we don't all live in a U.S "state" when signing up to try stuff out. One of the perks of planning I might add.

The point is that clearly a snobbery of some kind (at the worst possible time) is intoxicating a large segment of the plannersphere, because while I use all my email address so that I can see who is doing what I use my hotmail address as the oldest and most well known leaving say my Gmail for business or Yahoo for the password options or whatever it is I used Yahoo for while trying to figure out what Yahoo 360 meant to social media some years ago. (Unilever Asia are you listening yet?)

No that isn't the point. The point is that when it comes to Microsoft the plannersphere is tainted. Seemingly jerking off to the latest Skittles work which admittedly punches above its weight and is thus to be welcomed.

When it comes to any discussion of Microsoft, the debate is already in the realms of "I use Apple and they haven't spoiled the world" so let's all break out into Kumbaya, in unison ; after we watch this Coca-cola hill top ad (which hasn't aged as well as we would hope).

Well the thing is Apple wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Microsoft (nor would Google) and as I've shared previously it's time to stop kicking the Grandaddy of Software for just existing (and who would pull it out of existence if their paycheck was not on time as most are?)

Microsoft is way off from perfect, and this post is being written on an Apple MacBook Air which frankly has weathered the single toughest beating I've dished out to a notebook and survived but that doesn't mean we shouldn't aquaint ourselves with some facts:

Microsoft is the de facto operating system of the world. It is as it is and we cannot unwind the clock. We probably need it, more than it needs us (Think about that).

Bitching about Microsoft is like bitching about an incontinent relative who was mopping our own urinary leaks long before reasonably sentient thoughts arrived.

Go to China and, Microsoft or Bill Gates is the ONLY thing that is openly admired about the U.S.
The responsibility of ensuring that the system doesn't freeze up after more than 30 years of solid performance is in itself considerable and while it's easy to see that less is more when considering operating systems, I don't know a single person who hasn't succumbed to feature creep when buying a technology for the first time. Why wouldn't the inventors have succumbed to that line of thinking too?

So people like Tom Rafferty who make a living through liberal pinko commie bashing Microsoft are just that. Blow hards who have never done anything as fundamentally important or profoundly life changing as Bill Gates and Microsoft. Who could deny that here is a man who didn't change the world?

So while it's fashionable to take the piss out of easy targets such as Hotmail ,like this joker over here I'd like to remind people that getting my first mail address outside of University which provided one that was all numbers and letters and @solent.ac.uk was when Hotmail first allowed me to talk to anyone else with an email address back in '95 through the revolutionary interface of what is now called The Cloud. It was brilliant back then and is still a brilliant idea right now.

I've been watching something. I seen how social media and the ability to share common interests or even share uncommon ones thus providing a learning platform is the single biggest revolution on the planet since Microsoft increased the market for computers from about five as IBM predicted (and is in the seven worst tech predictions of all time) to just about the entire planet.

Big organisational goal I might add.

I've watched as one memorable evening the Microsoft Live (call it 'we're not buying Facebook' statement if you will) has rolled out and quite hard work for me as one one who has thousands of emails scattered all over the show, took about an hour to consolidate what up till then was in my opinion a reasonably slow and poor blogging/messaging platform by Microsoft.

It isn't now, it's one of the best and most seamless integrated roll outs I've witnessed and here is a question to my peers in digital agencies, planners all over and anyone interested in what can only be classified as a revolution in communication. Why haven't any of you deemed it important to record that the largest adoption of or invitation to social media is occurring as we speak and is based on a platform that has been around for years?

Maybe it's the Asian numbers that are missing so here's some quick cut and paste to help me get to the final sentence before I pass out with faux rage and delicious tropical heat.

Windows Live reaches 142 million users a month in Asia Pacific and that number is about to get bigger. Microsoft and Windows is a large, healthy, growing, prestigious brand in Asia from a population that appreciates the sheer ability to connect through web cams to messengers but don't take my word for it here's a presentation from Geert who I met in LA last year and is responsible for that fab brand consumer ad we all loved so much.

There's more facts to appreciate what is going on with the QUIET launch of Windows Live.

If the Windows Live user community were its own country it would be the third largest in the world. 8.2 billion messages are sent via Messenger daily - that's 14 times the amount of snail mail sent via the US Postal Service on a daily basis and 17 times the number of comments posted daily on MySpace. Look even in the UK Microsoft Live fares unexpectedly well on the visitor stats as you can see over here.

So really my irritation is that because something is fashionable we, the planning community, seem to invest it with magical powers of efficacy that simply aren't there. Because we the planning community are by and large appreciators of Apple products we've lost the respect and the impartiality to judge what is unquestionably the de facto operating system of the world that churns out our payslips and which we are asymmetrically unprepared to talk about in the same way we are so keen to give Microsoft a good kicking at the first opportunity like their recent Global Advertising (On a local budget if you think about it) for pointing out what heaven forbid in this world of truth rejection is easily the hardest factoid in the universe.

MS is a cheaper operating system to run. Christ I'd like to have that in a brief. I'd send the creatives down to Four Bucks and get them to pay the agencies Macchiato coffees while explaining that this is what the cost of living means to most people in the real world.

So there you have it. Microsoft is huge, they're in business, they just rolled out some pretty awesome integrated social media shit and we the planning wank community pretty much ignored it preferring to waffle on like "let's not talk business or profit or communications efficacy" and continued with our specialist subject of "let's talk about what's hip" what's yoof or anything that has diminished our client's ability to believe in us. Because frankly they don't really and who could blame them, given the silence on something so large that just rolled out. Most planners probably don't even know because they're too sniffy to have a Hotmail address. Go figure that one out in ethnographic field studies.

My only real gripe with Microsoft is that somewhere back in the day, they changed the world and I believe they could do it again if they really really thought about it. Now that is awesomeness. My latest fave word.

I'll try to clean up this post later when I've cooled down from the rant. Formatting is all over the shop in Draft blogger but little I can do till they fix things.

Friday, 27 March 2009

The Plot Thickens

This idea is beginning to unfold in a way that I appreciate very much. The transmedia influence is gathering steam if you can spot the link from yesterday's photography on Flickr that I posted about.