Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Reshaping Our Memories Through Our Digital Lives

The prevalence of social media clearly encourages life documentation and content creation- from videos of a child’s first steps to instagram photos of last night’s dinner. As a result, the way that people create and store memories is changing. This is compounded with the sheer magnitude of content that is created (including the 200 million tweets and 250 million Facebook photos that are uploaded per day), which affects the actual amount people can remember. To address this, a growing number of services and brands are organizing to this forgotten information and adding meaning to these dormant memories.

Over the last few years, the Internet has had a profound effect on how people remember things during the experience and also afterwards. People rely on the Internet to act as an external hard drive where information is stored outside of their heads. Called the Google Effect, people actually remember less if they know where to access it if they need it. As a result, people spend less time thinking about what they’re experiencing or posting, because they know that they can revisit it later.

But past social media content is also getting cluttered with content, making memories harder to find. Usage of social media grew 66% between 2009 and 2010, giving users even more opportunities to create content. With the adoption of even more publishing and creative sites, like Tumblr and Pinterest, there are even more ways for people to generate photos, videos, and text. Media that we assumed we could easily access is now hidden under hundreds of Facebook photos, thousands of comments— the massive amounts of content that we now create every day. These digital footprints are typically thought of in the short term and they are consumed and disposed of thoughtlessly.

Memory engineering, as it is referred to by Clive Thompson, is “the process of fashioning our inchoate digital pasts into useful memories.” Social media websites in particular are evolving to offer ways to reshape how we re-visit our digital memories. These sites are doing this by creating sense, order, and utility out of our ever-growing digital footprints and using it to create content that is interesting and meaningful.

When users revisit their content, they don’t necessarily want an algorithm to decide what was meaningful to them based on the most likes or comments. They want to find the content and memories that are meaningful to them. Brands can help to do that by giving the context to them and allowing the user to create, or find, their own meanings.

The Museum of Me, an effort by Intel to create a visual achieve of this digital information, was an example of how brands could use using consumers’ own memories to create an experience. Brands can also add value to their consumers’ lives by creating useful memories, like how Orangina International reminds users of their Facebook firsts.

These memory instigators are frequently simple (just a few words or a photo) but they can trigger a larger story as the brain fills in the details. These memories can be episodic- like Foursquare and seven years ago, which reminds Foursquare users of where they were exactly a year ago via daily email. Or, these memories can be semantic, like the Kindle’s Daily Review app, which takes news clippings and reminds users of them weeks or months later to assist retention.

The latest Facebook profile Timeline redesign, which changed the Facebook’s profile page into a historical record of that user’s interactions, is a clear example of this trend. Regarding the update, product manager Sam Lessin said “Imagine if there was an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect all your best moments in a single place. With Timeline, now you have a home for all the great stories you’ve already shared. They don’t just vanish as you add new stuff.”

By being able to organize digital collections, brands can help people collect their memories in a meaningful and relevant. The focus of social media is expanding from just content creation to memory facilitation and utility. These memories can tap in to deep human desires and create an emotional bond with a digital entity. Memory engineering is the next step in creating a meaningful digital relationship.

(reposted from)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Agency Obfuscation Game

What I did my last days at Tribal: create the Agency Obfuscation Game with some coworkers.  Each phrase below is an agency, obscured by hints, homophones and bloated word choice. Highlight text below for answers. And comment with your own!

Fruit Amphibian
Strawberry Frog

Really Big

Foreign Currency

Black and White

What Lil John Gets

Nickelodeon Hey!

Sprechen Sie

Cinco Drugs


Superman's Boyfriend

All Natural

Zodiac Sign + Non-Blonde
Leo Burnett


Scottish Metallic Container

Increase Width and President
Wieden and Kennedy

British Chip in Stout
Crispin Porter

First Copy, Federal Credit Bureau
Draft FCB

Mountain Vacation
Hill Holliday

Congregation of Cavemen
Barbarian Group

Au Revoir - E

Double bonus hard one:
Bad thing that could happen to a car, and what you do after it

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Facebook Places

When Facebook launched Facebook Places, I created a guide for the Tribal DDB network to give an overview, as well as:

  • Implications for Users
  • Implications for Brands
  • How Brands Can Use Places
  • Setting Up a Places Page
  • Brands & Apps Using Places

Facebook Places

Thursday, July 22, 2010

List: The Last 10 Years in Digital

I made this list for a little project and thought I'd share it.

Warning! This list is by no means 100% accurate and is mostly just a compliation of random facts from various places around the internet. It's on there, somewhere, but I'm not citing it (for now, at least).

2000- Email viruses “Love Bug” and “Stages” attack address books
2000- Pandora launched
2000- The M-Systems DiskOnKey is the first USB drive
September 2000 - There are 20,000,000 websites on the Internet, numbers doubling since February 2000

2001- Kodak begins selling digital cameras
2001 - US regulators approve the merger of AOL and Time Warner
2001- Napster shut down
January 9, 2001- iTunes released
October 23, 2001 - iPod released

2002- The first Blackberry is released
2002- The Sanyo SCP-5300 is the first camera phone in the US
November 2002- Microsoft launches Xbox live, allowing players to play games with others online

2003- Broadband internet allows for faster surfing that dial-up
May 2003 - Wordpress launched
September 2003 - The RIAA sues 261 individuals for allegedly distributing copyright music files over peer-to-peer networks

Feb 2004- Google indexes 6 billion pages
Feb 2004- Facebook created by Mark Zukerberg, Chris Hughs, Dustin Moskovitz, and Eduardo Saverin
December 5, 2004- Digg launched

2005- Web 2.0 is coined
2005- Chuck Norris hits the web by force
2005- the One Laptop Per Child project begins
2005- The term “sexting” is created for explicit text, photo, and video messages
2005- Sunnydale, California launches the first city-wide free wifi
Feb 2005 – YouTube launched
May 2005- CVS creates the first disposable video camera
Dec 2005- Study shows Wikipedia is as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica, if not more

2006- First silent disco flash mob in London where 4,000 suddenly broke into dance
2006- Skype allows for video conferencing between two people
June 2006 - Myspace becomes the most popular social networking site
July 2006- The Motorola Razor sells over 50 million units
November 19, 2006- Nintendo released the Wii, revolutionizing console

2007- Rick Rolling infuriates millions
2007- Tumblr Launched
2007- eHarmony reports that 19% of married couples met online
2007- World of Warcraft hits a milestone when it surpasses 9 million subscribers worldwide in July.
February 2007 - Apple surpasses one billion iTunes downloads.
September 13, 2007- iPod Touch released

Feb 2008- Toshiba stops making HD DVDs conceding to the format war between Blu ray
Oct 21, 2008- Android OS launched

2009 - Actor Ashton Kutcher becomes the first person on Twitter to have a million followers subscribing to his 'tweets'.
March 11, 2009 – Foursquare launched
April 2009- Twitter’s use in a Moldovan protest cements it as a necessary news source
June 2009 - Facebook becomes most widely used social networking site
Dec 2009- Avatar takes 3D to the next level by including photorealistic CGI technology

March 2010 - Facebook becomes most visited website
2010- Google is word of the decade
Febuary 2010- Samsung releases the first 3D TV in the US
April 3, 2010- iPad released
July 1, 2010- China blocks Google service

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How I Use Twitter OR So I Made A Twitter Account...Now What?

After repeatedly hearing "Twitter! Uh! I just don't GET it!" and on the request of some people, I put together a little guide for the laymen on how I use Twitter. Hope it helps!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Observations on Music Now

This is another one of my silly little posts for all those music geeks out there who have certain songs that make them think of one single conversation five and a half years ago or songs they can't listen to unless it's raining.

I know music is so important to so many people's lives, and I think it's really interesting to see how the actual listening of music has evolved over time (mostly due to the internet). I've read plenty of books people's personal relationships with music (Prozac Nation, High Fidelity, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Goodbye, anything by Chuck Klosterman) and listened to people talk about it, and it got me thinking about how my generation's music habits are drastically different than the habits of the generation that's probably making the music we listen to.

So here's a list of how I listen to music, in contrast with previous listeners of 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 50 years ago, etc.:

  • For one thing, I don't listen to or buy albums. I listen to songs and download bands.

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  • If I feel like checking out a new band, I can download their entire discography, sample some tracks in any chronology, and, if I decide I don't like it, delete the entire collection. There's more personal music experimentation because of this.
  • I'm generally less invested in my music. Since I did not go through the effort of going out, selecting an album, and spending my own money to make a purchase, I have a decreased investment in the actual music. So if I don't listen to an album right after I get it, it's not a big deal.
  • As such, there's less excitement with getting a new album because it is so much easier. When I first started listening to CDs, I used to come home and listen to the entire thing in one sitting. I've heard this is not uncommon. But now, when I get a new album (or new albums, as I tend to get many at once), I'll just put it on my iPod and listen to it whenever it comes up on shuffle.
  • When I do actually make a music purchase, it has more significance. If I actually make a music purchase, it's because I specifically want to support the artist.
  • Some people I know only make legal music purchases and this is abnormal compared to the rest of us. It's a real point of difference. It's also out of fear of getting caught.
  • My music collection is obscenely large and all housed on a hard drive the size of a book.
  • I'm going to guess that I have a wider range and taste of music than I would have had I grew up a few decades earlier. It's so easy to find and get new, different music and there's such a low risk involved in listening to new music.
  • Although I have more breath in my music taste, there's less depth. While there are certain artists I love and know a lot about, it's nothing compared to what past generations describe. I haven't sat there and analyzed songs extensively in terms of musics and lyrics in comparison to the artist's previous music and personal life.
  • But hey, if I want to know more about an artist I can just go online. I can use Wikipedia to find out anything, instantly about Bruce Springsteen, rather than reading every magazine article about him.
  • To make a sweeping assumption, my generation defines themselves by genres, not artists. I'm not a Beck fan, I'm an indie folk fan. (I'm not actually a Beck fan but the analogy makes the most sense.)
  • Genres that used to be lifestyles are now simply music labels that don't necessarily conform to the original definition. Most notable is indie, but there are others.
  • Bootlegs, live songs and rare tracks are no longer rare. They're now easily available if I want to listen to them and honestly, I rarely do.
  • I have the ability to look up lyrics. In the past, if an artist didn't include lyrics with the album you were stuck singing "Saving his life from his Mom's cup of tea!" for everyone to hear. Now, I can easily look up the lyrics for Bohemian Rhapsody or any other song.
  • MySpace. Really. MySpace allows me to sample artists' music in seconds (Sorry, listening booths of yesteryear. You're not replaced by the Land of Tila Tequila). It also lets bands share their music for free and allows them to gain popularity organically. I think this is actually how Taylor Swift was discovered (according to a Glamour article I read last month).
  • It's easier for emerging artists to share their music and gain a fan base because it's now both easier to share their music and less expensive to do it.
  • However, there's now so many artists that the music space is incredibly saturated with all types of music.
  • As a result of the internet, artists have less control of what is actually done with music. Advanced album leaks, piracy, and even remixes have taken away the songs from the artist and given it to the people.
  • I don't personally use them, sites like Last.fm have turned music into a community where strangers can share and recommend music. Even bands that have sites with message boards where fans can communicate have an increased level of community.
  • There's less spontaneity and self discovery in music. Thanks to these communities and auto-recommendation tools, there's now an "if you like x, you will like y" formula of music. The last truly spontaneous music discovery I made was when I downloaded a mislabeled song in 8th grade and discovered a new genre of music.
  • My music is intangible. It can never be damaged or misplaced, only lost as a result of mechanical failure. My music is also impermanent. I can delete it whenever I want and think nothing of it.
  • This is a huge difference- my music is portable. I can (and do) listen to my music where ever I go. If I'm at work, in my car, the grocery store, walking down the street, etc., I am listening to music. Before the Walkman, this was totally impossible. As a result, I have situational music- music that I can relate to certain places and events. The previously listed books all describe the significance of the times where they were sitting on their floor, listening to music. I've never had my music been tied down physically, and as such....
  • I never just listen to music.
  • I listen to music with no regard to chronology, withing artist history or within albums.
  • My music is all about customization. I make playlists, and I can listen to my music on playlists, in an album or from an artist. If I wanted to (I don't) I could make remixes easily and share them on YouTube or MySpace. Also, everyone thinks they're a DJ now.
  • I listen to playlists, not mixtapes. I can create as many playlists as I want or even have them auto-generated. They can have no constraints- I can put as little or as much as I want on them. There is no specific order, and songs can be fast forwarded or skipped all together. They can change whenever I want them to.
  • I'm part of the A.D.D. generation, and as such I skip music like no other. I skip through my iPod until I find something I want, or I skip the last 30 seconds of a song if I don't feel like listening to it anymore.

Most of these statements are fairly obvious, but I hope they helped you put your everyday habits in context to history. Also- if you're interested in how music has changes aesthetically over the years, check out this article in Rolling Stone, The Death of High Fidelity, or The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century.

Images from Wikipedia, Gizmodo, and Paste.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

14 of the Oldest Logos Still Used Today

I love the story Paul Rand and his refusal to redesign the GE logo (see below). It got me thinking- what other logos have had the same design for over 100 years?

Here, I put together a list of 14 logos that are still recognizable in the US that were registered in 1900 or earlier (I tried to limit the car and alcohol logos because they were the most common).

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Tiffany’s Tiffany Blue

Brooks Bothers
Fun fact: Brooks Brothers is oldest surviving men's clothier in the United States

Arm & Hammer
Fun fact: the Arm and Hammer logo represents Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalworking.

Fun fact: The symbol is the harp of Brian Boru, which was a symbol of Ireland since the reign of Henry VIII (16th century). Guinness adopted the harp as a logo in 1862; however, it faces left instead of right, as in the Irish coat of arms.

Red Cross
Designed by Henri Dunant
Fun fact: The logo was established, along with the organization, at the Geneva Convention

Designed by Yataro Iwasaki
Mitsubishi was started as a shipping firm and the three diamonds represented a ship's propellers.

Anheuser Busch
Fun fact: The Budweiser Clydesdales were introduced on April 7, 1933, to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition for beer.

1875, but allegedly used since the 1600s
Fun fact: It’s one of the oldest logos in the world and is reg. no. 1 in the UK

Designed by John Pemberton's partner and bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson

General Electric
Designed by Emmanuel Orazi
Fun fact: Paul Rand was asked to redesign the logo in the mid-20th century. He refused to touch the "masterpiece" and prompted GE to keep their iconic Art Deco trademark.

Fruit of the Loom
Designer: farmer Rufus Skeel, whose daughter painted pictures of red apples

Louis Vuitton
Fun fact: The logo was originally created to prevent counterfeiting. Today, LV is one of the most heavily counterfeited in fashion history, with just over 1% of the items in circulation considered authentic.

Designed by O'Galop
Fun fact: Tires weren't colored black until 1912, which is why the Michelin man is white.

Fun fact: The logo is based on a statue of Mercury from the Seiberling family’s home

This information came from all over the internet, including corporate websites, Wikipedia (totally legit), and:

Let me know if there are any corrections or if you know any more!

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