16 May 2013 - Digital
Social networking giant, Twitter, has added another string to its bow. On April 19th it launched “Twitter #music” which was met with mixed reviews.
#Music allows the user to sign in using their twitter account and access a recommended playlist, view music trending, emerging talent and tweets by those musicians they may be following on Twitter. Having selected one of these options, the user is taken to a clear and vibrant page, showing the artist’s Twitter pictures, which is certainly aesthetically pleasing, but is the content really that accurate? And will the user take any notice of the recommendations? Or is this just a gimmick with little musical credibility?
Once on “Twitter #music” the only way to listen to any music is through a small snippet (think iTunes) lasting seconds. That is, unless, you are a paying member of Spotify or Rdio, in which case you have full access to all tracks and can listen to them full length. At present though, there is not the option to solely pay for access using only Twitter, the user is required to come through a third party. Both of which do offer similar services, and the ability to view what playlists your friends are listening to, or to see a “What’s Popular” page, is not a feature exclusive to Twitter #Music. Which does beg the question, why go through Twitter?
But time will tell if users do. With the news of Spotify aiding in a chart storming performance for Daft Punk, the signs are definitely there that social media is now playing a larger and greater part in music consumption than ever before. With 554,750,000 active users (as of 19/04/2013) Twitter definitely has a captive audience and with popularity being at an all time high, the giant may make it a storming success. There are however minor creases that this particular giant will have to iron out before being left with a finished article.
The sphere and scope of social networking are becoming ever greater. More and more websites are emerging that enable users to share content with their friends. Pinterest is one of these websites. The idea behind it is very simple. A “newsfeed” of images is created depending on users’ selected interests, and from this they can then decide to “re-pin” items on to their own virtual pin boards. Having re-pinned a pin this is then fed through to their friends’ newsfeeds.
The question that I want to raise however is this: How effective is Pinterest for small businesses? And with the pressure of being on Facebook and Twitter already mounting, do companies really have the time to update yet another website?
The most striking element of Pinterest that sets it apart from other sites, is that it works primarily with images. This has meant that it has been an instant success with B to C businesses, offering easily photographable products (shoes/bags etc), but less so with service-led companies. There has, however, been an exception to this rule with Pet Plan Insurance. Despite being a company who may not naturally be drawn to Pinterest, it has used the site to its advantage by posting pictures of puppies and pet tips, resulting in a following of 5,975. Pet Plan has paved the way for a different type of pinner, and its pins stress the importance of being creative and quirky with updates.
Due to the picture-based nature of Pinterest, the frequency that users upload and re-pin is less than on other sites and the pace of new content being shown is far slower than its competitors. Whilst this may sound like a negative point to make, it is actually a useful tip to bear in mind. This website hasn’t become saturated with second by second updates, meaning a well thought out and effective pin has a longer shelf life and is less likely to be swallowed up by other marketing messages. That isn’t to say that Pinterest may not one day see minute by minute updates similar to its Facebook and Twitter competitors, but as the youngest of the three, it is still growing and there is still time.
Whilst Pinterest is still in its infancy, and newsfeeds haven’t already been swamped by larger corporations, I do think that it can be used effectively for the right small business. Just always remember to think creatively!
On April 16th Google released the specifications for its new Google Glass. With a sleek wire frame that attaches to the wearer’s head, and a semi-transparent element that fits over the right eye, this really does take gadgets to a new level.
Google claims that the new “Glass” will not only be equipped with retina controlled internet access and the ability to capture movement on a camera (video or still), but will also be voice activated. Giving the user the ability to send messages hands free with the blink of an eye.
Critics have questioned the look of the Glass however, and have raised the issue of fashion and the likelihood of members of the public wanting to wear something with such “bad design”. There are safety issues that spring to mind as well. Even without being active, the Google Glass still displays the time within the wearer’s eye line and has the potential for items to pop into view unexpectedly. With the ever increasing list of activities that are (rightly) being prohibited from drivers undertaking, surely this offers up a danger to road safety?
It is without a doubt that Google has gone the extra mile in the design and implementation of the Glass, however with a $1,500 price tag, the experience may be only available to a select few who can afford it. There are also restrictions within the terms and conditions of ownership that currently stop owners from selling or passing on their Glasses to anyone else, so getting a second hand Glass may not be an option either.
With rumours rife regarding an iWatch, the future of technology is most certainly heading in the direction of wear-able items, but how accepting the public will be of these, is still to be seen.
29 April 2013 - Digital
After being absent from the music industry for eight years, Daft Punk have stormed their way back into the market with their new single “Get Lucky”. The track features vocals from Pharrell Williams and a soulful 70’s feel. Whilst its popularity is primarily due to the sound of the track, it is not it’s content that has been making headlines recently, but the type of record that it has broken.
On Friday May 19th Get Lucky broke the record for the most streamed song in one day on Spotify. The track hosting programme, which allows users to create playlists and listen to them an unlimited amount of times, for a small fee, has proven to be an ever increasingly popular platform for artists to host material and spread their name. Any artists questioning the correlation between Spotify and sales, need only look as far as Daft Punk. After only being available for a matter of days, the single is already at number three in the UK Singles Charts. Whilst these charts are purely based on sales and don’t currently take into account streaming figures, the broken record and subsequent chart positioning point towards a growing trend of digital music consumption and one that may well be here to stay.
11 April 2013 - Digital
Google has started to warn visitors to its 27 localised European websites that it is using cookies. The prompt informs visitors that by using Google Search they are agreeing to allow Google to drop cookies on their computer.
The image below shows the prompt on Google UK.
Google’s action seems to be in response to the European cookie law, but many commentators are surprised at the timing.
Google has confirmed the prompt will be rolled out for the localised versions of Google in the EU and the messages will be seen on its home page, search results and on YouTube.
Google has said that its top priority is to protect its users’ privacy and security, and to give them easy ways to control their information when they use Google’s services.