It’s hard to know where to start this week. THERE HAS SIMPLY BEEN SO MUCH HAPPENING. Frankly, though, it probably doesn’t matter what I write here (yes, I know that it never matters, but indulge me) given the fact that The Rapture is almost certainly nearly upon us. Look at the evidence – volcanoes, strange lights in the sky, Nick ‘Casanova’ Clegg now a shoo-in at No.10 after proving himself the least robotic and inhuman of our three potential leaders on TV last night…the end times are coming. Frankly it’s only a matter of moments before the skies are filled with smug Christians all laughing and pointing as they are raised up to heaven to watch the rest of us boil in fiery eternal torment (obviously there is NOTHING remotely un-Christian about this image). With that in mind we might as well enjoy our last moments, and what better way to do that than to waste the final precious minutes of life remaining to us by staring catatonically at a computer screen and ‘enjoying’ this week’s roundup of ephemeral rubbish that couldn’t be any less consequential? But before we get started, an amazing photo of a volcano (no, not this one) from the most amazing man on Twitter, @Astro_Soichi:
Election Things – You know, all that talk of the Digital Election appears not to have been idle chat. You can’t move on the internet at the moment without being bombarded with politics (to clarify, I am broadly of the belief that this is A Good Thing). Even Google has got in on the act. Here are a few things that have been happening this week:
- Manifestos: All three main parties pubilshed their manifestos this week. Get them here, should you be so inclined:
- Alternatively, if you have the attention span of a Ritalin-deprived teen with ADHD and an IQ in double-figures, you can watch the Labour Party’s staggeringly patronising YouTube video, explaining the manifesto in a manner reminiscent of a CBeebies ident. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting information on policy to as many people as possible, but this is depressing and insulting in equal measure. Both the other main parties managed to break down their manifesto into bite-sized chunks without presuming the electorate need it explaining to them by the sodding Mr Men.
- Monday saw the Tories launching a quickly knocked-together microsite, Stop The Scaremongering, to protest about Labour’s apparent targeting of cancer patients with alarmist postcards warning of the potential drop in quality of treatment in the event of the Conservatives coming to power. Strangely, though, the site makes no mention whatsoever of this campaign currently being run by the Tories in inner-city areas across the uk…
- Obligatory Foursquare mention: there’s been a nice bit of jocular campaigning using the location-based app this week; on Tuesday, the InVinceCable campaign (focused, as you might expect, on making Vince Cable Chancellor), made Vince ‘Mayor’ of 1011 Downing Street (corrected as per Philip’s comment below). Yesterday he was usurped by the Labservatives’ Gorvid Camerown was made Mayor of No.10. Obviously this is all totally meaningless, but it’s interesting that it’s the Lib Dems (or at least their supporters) who are at the forefront of newish digital stuff. Are all us generic media wankers Liberals?
- The leader’s debate happened last night. Opinion on who ‘won’ is largely centred towards Mr Clegg, but what was, I think, significant was the volume of conversation going on online. The Guardian’s Jemima Kiss gives her take on it here (3rd contributor). Here’s a nice piece of commentary on the whole thing by my esteemed colleague Paul Sinclair, The Man Who Knows Gordon Best (Paul won’t like me calling him that, but I’ve been itching to write that tabloid-style line for days).
- Finally, this is what America thinks. Wow, that special relationship.
This is the cleverest thing I have read all week – It’s not a particularly easy read, but if you are interested in the future of the web and what we do with it, you really should take a look. The author, David Gelernter, might actually be a legitimate genius. Here’s an extract – if you find this interesting, then I highly recommend that you read the lot:
“One symptom of current problems is the fundamental puzzle of the Internet. (Algebra and calculus have fundamental theorems; the Internet has a fundamental puzzle.) If this is the information age, what are we so well-informed about? What do our children know that our parents didn’t?”
It’s been a big week for Twitter – Wednesday saw their developer’s conference, where a whole load of really geeky stuff was talked about. Important things to come out of that included:
- Some staggering statistics about Twitter’s growth and userbase. 107 million users, growing by 300,000 per day. Mind-buggering, really. Although as this rather wonderful post points out, what does that actually mean?
- Promoted Tweets. Ok, this is a bit complicated but what it effectively means is that, when searching Twitter, certain Tweets from certain organisations could now pop up at the top of the search stream due to the company in question having paid to ‘promote’ them. It’s a lot more complicated than that, largely due to the algorithmic bits and pieces in the back end that ‘ensure’ that only relevant, interesting or popular promoted Tweets show up in the stream, but effectively it’s Twitter’s first foray into monetisation of its base service. A comprehensive, and surprisingly comprehensible, overview lives here.
- This wasn’t from the Developer Conference, but is interesting nonetheless – a blog on Twitter and the media. By Twitter.
- Speaking of search, Google this weekannounced that it was introducing Replay, allowing users to search for what people were saying on Twitter about a given topic on a given day. This is IMMENSE, given the fact that Twitter’s search functionality has to date been about as useful as…as…an ill thought-out simile. It doesn’t appear to be live yet in the UK, but it will be soon. Promise.
Enough words. PICTURE!!!:
Nike Japan have basically ruled this week – If there is one brand that really understands that the fundamental secret to doing well online is the very simple edict “MAKE COOL STUFF”, then that brand is Nike (oh, and unrelated to Nike but this is a brilliant 10-minute infographic-style video all about Japan. Fascinating).
- How SEO Works
- Exactly how much money musicians make from Spotify (and other revenue channels) – WARNING: This is very, very depressing if you’ve ever considered making money from selling records
- SnackSquare: A rather useful little website that details all the offers, etc, available to Foursqure users in the local vicinity. Will become more useful as more businesses sign up to the service…
- The FT is letting Foursquare users who log in to certain locations skip the subscription fee to read it online
- History Channel Linkup: Very, very nice linkup between Foursquare and The History Channel in the US. Full explanation’s in the link, but basically users can get a History Channel badge for visiting some of the US’s most important historical landmarks. They’ll get additional info on the locations when they check in, and they ca win prizes too in weekly sweepstakes. Simple, fun, interactive, adding value. Great. I am going to keep banging on about Lonely Planet doing something along these lines until someone listens to me. So probably forever, then (so lonely).
Google Earth Does New York in 3d – Is there anything that these people aren’t doing? I fully expect to have a Google doctor by this time next year.
Romeo & Juliet. On Twitter – No, that’s not a joke. Instead it’s a project by the Royal Shakespeare Company, experimenting with narrative and theatrical form. Each of the principal characters has a Twitter feed, and over the course of the next 5 weeks the whole tragedy will be played out over the web. It’s interesting for a number of reasons, not least the non-canonical approach that they are taking to the text and characters (Mercutio, for example, loves his weed. Don’t remember that from the original). There’s been a lot of debate about whether this is ‘proper’ theatre, ‘proper’ Shakespeare or just a bit of a mess. Personally I’m finding it fascinating – you can follow all the characters on this here Twitter list.
Alright, alright, I’ll shut up now. Here, take the videos you ungrateful gits:
1) My favourite ad of the week, for Citroen. I want one of those dogs so much.
2) Bit of love for one of the heroes of UK hiphop, Rodney P. Great new song, this:
3) I’d never heard of Diane Birch before the other week, but this is a great video for her song ‘Valentino’:
4) Wonderful bit of socially conscious freestyling from Akala (Miss Dynamite’s little brother, fact fans):
5) This last one’s really not for the squeamish. Really not joking about this. Health – We Are Water: