quote-hashtags

Being on Twitter since 2007, i had the chance to watch the birth of the hashtag, with Chris Messina proposing to use the “pound” sign for grouping related information, along with Stowe Boyd’s later efforts with microsyntax.

Hashtags mutated as users started to use them to add context on their updates, closer to a folksonomy practice than their initial purpose. Later adopted by Instagram and Facebook, they became a part of Internet culture, so it was a matter of time until advertising started to exploit them and, as usually, not having the slightest clue what they are or how to use them properly.

I will now stop paying attention to my driving just to tweet my accident with this hashtag ...

“I will now let go of the wheel and tweet my crash with this hashtag”

From campaigns that use them just to look cooler to poorly chosen hashtags, it’s the age of #Hashtagploitation.

 

 

The stream, as Alex Madrigal points on “The Year the Stream Crested” , has been picking momentum since 2007. Newsfeeds, lifestream, timelines, or other social design patterns which highlights activity and creates the momentary illusion of not missing out.

Information is increasingly being distributed and presented in real-time streams instead of dedicated Web pages. The shift is palpable, even if it is only in its early stages” — Erick Schonfeld

There’s been plenty of discussion on how this impacts brands, from Mel Exxon to Patricia McDonald, calling for more meaningful content, finding islands in the stream, away from viral mills and hopefully creating more longstanding memories in consumer’s minds.

Getting messier

While I simpatize with the noble intentions, I’m afraid things are only to get messier, with not much room left for stock content to leave their mark. Here’s a couple of reasons why:

  1. The amount of content produced is only going to increase, so is the signal-to-noise ratio. Some brands just rather be heard than concerned with deep experiences (this is more obvious on social media streams, where immersive storytelling is reserved to fandom mostly.)
  2. The web is going mass media. Like it or not, some people just like cheap, dumb and fast content. Just like TV. Which means brands better have deep pockets if they expect only earned media will get them some attention on the streams.
  3. The critique of technology seems somehow stronger nowadays with the likes of Evgeny Morozov and their cyber pessimism, but we’ve been this road for decades or even centuries, if you consider the impact of the printing press or industrial revolution on society. Unfortunatelly the technium has no sympathy for our romantic wish of simpler times and slower content.
  4. The stream is the endless source of gossip, a powerful social lubricant most of us can’t live without. It can also work as social grooming, nurturing light interactions between people.

The stream is here to stay and brands must find their way to embrace it, requiring a new set of skills which make it harder to justify the glorified islands in the stream, when the CMO is mostly worried about the next quarter.

II find the cybernetic metaphor quite appropriate, with the role of stock content more about constructing long term memories (ROM) while flow content about fast access (ROM).

If a brand wants to operate, it needs to find a way to balance both.

For now, we’ll have to do it the Queens Of Stone Age way:

Dove applies their “Real Beauty” filter to the selfie concept, inviting young girls and their mothers to publish their honest selfies at dovebeautyis.com and discuss it with #beautyis

The new campaign is based on the 8 minute documentary Selfie where director  Cynthia Wade reveals “how we have the power to redefine what is beautiful in all of us”.

Wolfram joins the Internet Of Things party, bringing together connected devices and their Wolfram Language on a dedicated site.

Screenshot 2014-01-20 01.18.12

 

Screenshot 2014-01-20 01.34.43

Working with device manufacturers, the goal is to provide knowledge about connected devices, a sort of real world API meets the Wikipedia of connected devices.

Screenshot 2014-01-20 01.24.15

By using WDF (Wolfram Data Framework)  to connect to the devices and get data from them, Stephen Wolfram is dreaming of future of true Internet of Things, where Wolfram language is the lingua franca.

 

With mobile eating the world, creativity will gradually move from the desktop, tablets being the natural choice. Storytelling on mobile can go beyond Bitstrips, Instagram or Vine, with more options for mixed media.

Storehouse: media storytelling on mobile

Screenshot 2014-01-16 21.39.02

Storehouse launched today on the App Store, allowing you to combine photos, videos, and text to tell a more meaningful story.

You can bring in photos (limited to 50) and videos (30 seconds) from your Camera Roll, Dropbox, Flickr, and Instagram.

storyhouse

Screenshot 2014-01-16 21.40.41

It’s easy to resize, reorder or crop media assets on your iPad, saving stories as draft and sharing by email, Twitter or Facebook. Stories and users can only be discovered on the app, but you can check a few examples such as Island Obsession or A case against Umbrellas.

Storehouse feels a lot like Medium or Cowbird, with a head start thanks to their platform choice. Do you know of more apps for storytelling on mobile? Share them on the comments.

When you start to see stuff like this.

I wonder if all OEMs and startups realize how many people are trying to unplug instead of being more connected.