Friday Reading #107

This is officially the last Friday Reading of the summer – the last intro you need to endure some combination of weather and holiday commentary. We can all be glad of that. In truth it’s been a fairly regular week at Goodstuff – we looked on in envy as our friends across the pond enjoyed the eclipse, but we got the one up on them with a cute dog on reception. We also welcomed the first of this year’s intake of new grad intake, Josh Rosenfeld to the agency one week before everyone else. Josh, we like your style.


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Planning can be an odd discipline, at it’s best it brings clarity and vision to a clients work – but too often it becomes something vaguely removed from the actual end product. A self-indulgent piece of pseudo academia which never gets translated into action. Julian Cole of BBDO New York makes a compelling case for the ‘street fighter’ planner, one who jumps into the working output rather than setting direction – scrapping lengthy strategic development in favour of constantly sculpting the development of the work. Our view? Why not both? It might not make for as provocative (and therefore interesting) reading, but we like our planning to be diagonal – with an eye on the long game and the short. Creatives teams come in twos for good reason, maybe there’s a case planning could benefit from the same.

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The infamous Twitter hashtag turned 10 years old this week, and Twitter decided to celebrate with, of course,  a hashtag – the appropriately meta ‘#Hashtag10.’ Having become one of the words most recognizable symbols, from grouping tweets to sparking social movements, it has allowed people from all over the world to start and join global conversations.

In celebration of a decade of hashtags here are a few facts: #NowPlaying is the most shared hashtag of all time, around 125 million hashtags are used on twitter everyday and the longest ever hashtag was 345 characters long!

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For those who have ventured into the comments section of most popular websites and apps, straightforward conversations can quickly become arenas of hate, with racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments taking over. The self-styled ‘nicest guy in Silicon Valley’, Kevin Systrom, has made cleaning up the internet his personal mission, with tools that can understand context and placement of words to quickly and effortlessly remove hate speech. Learning what certain emoji’s mean next to certain words allow tools to quickly differentiate between something normal and something more insidious.

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It’s looking likely that Snapchat will begin producing more
frequent scripted content by the end of this year – Nick Bell, chief content
officer at Snap, claims that these programs will be ‘complementary to TV
shows
’. It’s not quite clear what shape or form this content will take yet, but
Bell reinforced the fact that ‘mobile is not a TV killer’ and that Snapchat’s differentiating
factor was the fact that content was mobile-exclusive. It’s an intriguing
venture – Facebook have gained ground with their own ‘user story’ feature, so
it will be interesting to see if scripted content becomes the unique string in
Snapchat’s bow.

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We touched briefly on the psychology of online reviews a few weeks ago, showing how our innate skepticism means unanimous five star reviews are often less convincing than ones with a few lower scores peppered in. Building on this, a recent study published by the journal Psychological Science has shown that

people tend to choose products that have a greater number of reviews – even if the same products have lower ratings. It’s another reminder of the power of the crowd – we tend to view widely held actions and opinions as more correct because, well surely everyone can’t be wrong? This has particularly interesting implications for e-comms clients, who could potentially emphasise the distribution and number of ratings above the average score.

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