This Friday’s pick of some of the digital stories that have caught our collective eye at Brass this week, including Yahoo suing Facebook, citizen journalism at the BBC, go-go gadget watches, homeless people as wi-fi hotspots and Turntable FM. Read on and leave your comments at the bottom!
Sally Barr, Online PR and Social Media Manager
A big topic this week has been the news that Yahoo is suing Facebook for 10 copyright infringements covering privacy controls, advertising and elements of social networking. There’s been quite an outcry across the web about how these infringements could apply to many other leading social networks like Google+, Foursquare and Pinterest.
One of the infringements Yahoo is claiming is around ‘world modelling’ which is all about whether users are represented as real-world things like people and business, and not represented as things like avatars. As Facebook insists you have to be a person with a real name and profile picture, this is counted as an infringement. By making people be their actual selves. Hmm.
It’s been seen by some as a very tactical move as it comes just weeks before Facebook is due to offer public stock. Didn’t this happen between Yahoo and Google too, just before that went public? The social network is said to be “disappointed” in Yahoo which has been a long term partner. Now, there’s nothing worse than being told you’ve disappointed is there. Naughty Yahoo.
Paul Mallett, Managing Partner
I was thrilled this week to have one of my photos put on a feature in the BBC Nature website.
What’s interesting about this is how the BBC is setting up digital ecosystems to support many aspects of their output. The way it works in this case is like this:
1. BBC Springwatch is a really popular show which, as part of its content, features viewers’ photos
2. The way viewers submit photos is to add them to the show’s Flickr group .
It also has an Autumnwatch group to accompany the show’s other incarnation.
3. When the show is off air, the Flickr group stays active. In fact it’s probably the best group on Flickr for UK wildlife.
4. I add photos to loads of groups all the time, including the BBC Springwatch group. It’s how Flickr works; the more groups your photo is in, the more exposure and views you get.
5. Little did I know, the BBC is keeping a watch on the group and, hey presto, the editor of BBC Nature contacted me through Flickr mail and asked to use my shot.
I think this is a fantastic example of how the Social world of the internet is now circling and encompassing an organisation like the BBC.
In fact it’s positively blooming!
(I’ll get my coat.)
George Hurrell, Digital Designer
I’ve been using Sony Ericsson for some years now. It has recently become just Sony and has a new range out using its ‘Bravia’ TV technology for the screens in its phones, meaning the flagship model ‘Xperia S’ has a better screen than the fabled iPhone4S retina display.
While looking at one of the phones I noticed that one of the accessories you could get with it was the Sony ‘smartwatch’, a Bluetooth-enabled watch that connects to your handset (it doesn’t have to be a Sony/Sony Ericsson). It has a capacitive touch screen like many touchscreen smartphones, it can carry information from your phone such as a recent text messages and Twitter and Facebook feeds/messages and it can be used with your music player so you can change track and adjust volume. It also tells the time you’ll be glad to hear! It comes with a strap but can be detached to use as a clip-on device.
The best bit though is when you come to use the camera on your phone, the watch displays whatever the image is on your camera! A bit like some sort of stealth undercover agent style device and reminds me of the scene in Total Recall where he uses his ‘hologram’ watch to foil the attempts of the enemy. It’s not quite that advanced yet, but seems like a pretty cool device.
The flip side is, why would you want one? Is it not just being lazy? You can just as easily take your phone out of your pocket! Perhaps it saves you flashing your super expensive new phone around to anyone and everyone who’d be interested in relieving you of it.
James Wheatley, Technical and Scoping Director
As a self confessed party ‘tune hog’ I was very intrigued by the Turntable.fm system. “Great” I thought “a new way to embarrass myself playing eighties synth after too many Pina Coladas”.
For many years now I have been a big advocate of digital streaming solutions for events and parties. The culmination of which was New Year’s Eve 2011 when I played a 45 minute set to a party of revellers in an outdoor centre in the peak district using the Spotify app on my phone through a 3G connection – slighty crazy but it actually worked out pretty well.
Turntable.fm lets users take to the virtual stage in order to play music to a group of 200 other users. This is a really cool way to share and discover music online, and you know everything has been selected by a real human rather than an undiscerning algorithm.
It is only available in the US at the moment, but the founders have managed the challenging task of agreeing licensing with the big four record companies, so hopefully we will be twisting our melons in the UK soon as well.
News this week that New York based agency BBH has drawn criticism for its campaign involving setting up homeless people as wireless hotspots. Yep, you read right. The marketing firm set up the ‘homeless relief experiment’ at the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas, which involved 13 homeless people equipped with a 4G wireless device selling hotspots to conference attendees at a suggested donation rate of two dollars for 15 minutes, which would go directly to the homeless person in question.
The experiment involved the living Wi-Fi providers wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan” I’m [first name], a 4G Hotspot”.
A toe-curlingly uncomfortable stunt that objectifies the underprivileged in order to provide services to the privileged, or an innovative way for homeless people to earn their own money and raise awareness of homeless issues at the same time…? Thoughts please.