I saw an interesting article a couple days ago about FireChat taking off in Hong Kong because of the protests, a peer to peer chat program that uses a meshnet to work. That means that it doesn’t require any cell signal or wifi to work. Instead it creates a giant distributed network using everyone’s bluetooth.
The main benefit of this is that your ability to communicate can’t be shut down by outside sources (unless there’s some way to jam the bluetooth signal). The downside is that meshnets are by no means secure. I mean by default they’re about as insecure as you can get since they depend on a bunch of people creating a network with little in the ways of verification. So you’re particularly susceptible to what are called “man in the middle” attacks. Lot’s of meshnets use encryption to help deal with this but it’ll always be a worry.
On a (somewhat) related note, malware seems to be running rampant on mobiles in Hong Kong right now.
Ello – the new fast-growing, ad-free, anti-Facebook social network – has been around for months, but it has just entered the mainstream conversation over the past few days.
You’ve seen it in the news, you’ve (probably) tried it out already, but you still have no idea where this is going to go. Well, neither do we, but here are some interesting facts and predictions that might help you make up your mind about this new social network.
1. Ello is so popular it’s already been at the centre of a hoax
Yup. The site has been accused of banning a user for using the hashtag #GameGate and the picture of their alleged email to the user made the rounds on Twitter. Ello co-founder Todd Berger responded: “We don’t even have the capacity to send an email when we ban someone’s account yet.” Lolz.
2. Ello might be causing an LGBT exodus from Facebook
According to Tech Crunch and other sources, Ello’s user base boomed right after Facebook disabled the accounts of some drag artists and musicians who used their performance names instead of their real names. The fact that RuPaul actively encouraged people to switch to Ello might have helped as well.
Hard to disagree with this view, but hey, this is also one of the reasons why people are willing to try it out in the first place! Ello’s manifesto (below) appeals to those users who are sick of being treated like products and hungry for freedom. Plus, WhatsApp was born as an ad-free tool too and it’s
been bought my evil Facebook still there, right?
5. Ello might not be that ‘free’ after all…
Aral Balkan – designer, social enterpreneur and founder of ind.ie – has harshly criticised Ello founder for taking $435,000 in seed funding from FreshTracks Capital.
— Aral Balkan (@aral) September 26, 2014
When you take venture capital, it is not a matter of if you’re going to sell your users, you already have. It’s called an exit plan. And no investor will give you venture capital without one.
Let me put it bluntly: if a company has taken venture capital, you have already been sold.
Got any interesting thoughts or predictions to share? Have your say in the comments below!
Since its launch last month, Hyperlapse has been the new Instagram sensation. The app that lets you ditch the tripod and shoot timelapse videos with your mobile has now been updated with a front-facing camera feature to accommodate selfie-lovers’ needs. Yay… *rolling eyes*
Have you spotted any cool trend on the #Selfielapse front? Are you planning on running the next viral campaign using #Selfielapse?
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us now!
Over on Medium Kevin Kelly (of Wired) has written an interesting piece on the development of the Internet and the opportunities it presents.
[From] our perspective now, the greatest online things of the first half of this century are all before us. All these miraculous inventions are waiting for that crazy, no-one-told-me-it-was-impossible visionary to start grabbing the low-hanging fruit — the equivalent of the dot com names of 1984.
So, the truth: Right now, today, in 2014 is the best time to start something on the internet. There has never been a better time in the whole history of the world to invent something. There has never been a better time with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit/risk ratios, better returns, greater upside, than now. Right now, this minute. This is the time that folks in the future will look back at and say, “Oh to have been alive and well back then!”
I’ve been waiting for the Ice Bucket Challenge to cool down (puns!) before taking a look at what went right with and whether it’s possible to replicate. Let’s break this down.
What is the Ice Bucket Challenge?
The Ice Bucket Challenge started, as best we can tell, on July 15th when Chris Kennedy dumped a bucket of ice water over his head and challenged his cousin to either donate money to ALS research or dump a bucket of freezing water over her head. If you’re interested in seeing how it spread the Wall Street Journal has a good run down. From their it spread across social media with people posting short videos of them dumping ice water over their heads, tagging their friends in the posts, and challenging them to donate and do the same. At some point the whole either/or part of the challenge got lost in translation.
Did the Ice Bucket Challenge work?
Good god yes! Over the course of a month there were thousands (tens? hundreds?) of tweets, YouTube videos, and Facebook posts. On top of that the ALS Association is reporting that they raised over $100 million dollars. Keep in mind that during that same time period last year they raised just under $3 million. So that’s pretty much an unqualified success and ridiculously amazing for something that started so organically.
Can you recreate the Ice Bucket Challenge?
No. Trying to recreate a viral campaign is a bad idea. They go viral due in part to their novelty. That being said we can look at what made it work and try and work that into future campaigns.
What lessons can we learn?
Okay, so it works but we can’t just copy it wholesale. Fair enough. There are a few really good lessons we can learn from the Ice Bucket Challenge to apply to future campaigns though.
1) The timing was right. This campaign hit in the summer right in a depressing news cycle. Shot down planes, invasion of Ukraine, ISIS, etc. were all dominating the news. Then along came this campaign, which is entertaining, involved celebrities, and was easy to turn into a human interest story. I can’t count the number of stories I saw where it started off with the ice bucket challenge and then shifted to a story about a local person with ALS. As a general rule news programs aren’t keen on positive stories unless their human interest stories and the timing of this hit when they were dying to break up the depression.
2) It’s basically a chain letter. Or a pyramid scheme or multilevel marketing or whatever way you want to think of it. It quite deftly exploits your social networks to perpetuate itself. Seriously, the tag 3 friends bit is straight out of Cutco’s playbook and also kinda genius in a nefarious sort of way.
3) It used peer pressure, (mild) humiliation and guilt. By tagging you in the post the challenge calls you out in front of your friends. You can ignore it but then you’ll look bad. So you’re peer pressured and guilted into participating. Some people would prefer to call this social proof.
The challenge itself is also a little humiliating or maybe humbling is a better word. Not enough to dissuade people from participating, but just enough that it’s entertaining to watch your friends dump cold water over their heads.
4) It targeted our vanity. We’re all a little vain and we all like looking good in front of our friends. The ice bucket challenge lets people show they care about something, show that they’re good people, and show that they have a sense of humour. Basically it’s a chance to show off.
5) It targeted celebrities. There’s no way this would have got the attention it did if it hadn’t targeted celebrities, which then got it on the national news.
6) It was authentic. This is the one that would be the hardest to replicate. The ice bucket challenge just felt authentic and not like it was cooked up in the back room of an office or that it had been focus grouped. I mean that’s because it wasn’t but still, you get the point. It was simple enough that anyone could have thought of it or started it and that’s something that people liked. They were on an equal playing field and not being directed by an organization.
I’m really not keen to write anything about celebgate or thefappening or whatever the hell you want to call it because the whole thing is just slimy and giving it attention feels off. That being said I do think this is of note.
Apparently in an attempt to absolve some guilt Reddit subreddit r/thefappening (that’s just ridiculous to write) who have been gleefully cataloging all the leaked pictures decided to try and raise some money for charity. They chose the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Note that the charity chosen by a forum based around the violation of women’s privacy is one that only affects men. That’s not a shot at the PCF because they do good work but it is a little telling.
Anyways, the PCF wasn’t having any of it and rejected the $6,000 raised.
via The Daily Dot
Ouch. It’s bad news for Upworthy and other clickbait-y types of sites that promise to “blow your mind” with each and every post they publish.
Early this week, Facebook announced two new newsfeed updates that will affect most brand pages.
On the click-bait front, they are going to de-prioritise posts “with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see.”
Here’s how it’s going to work: the algorithm will check how much time the user spends on the web page before going back to Facebook. In addition, it will look at the ratio between clicks and likes/comments.
The second update will prioritise posts that show links in the ‘link format’, rather than hyperlinks embedded on photo captions.
rather than this
The Indian state of Karnataka has announced that “that uploading, modifying, resending and liking malicious or misleading images, videos and messages through any medium with an intention of hurting religious sentiments knowingly or unknowingly is a punishable offence” which could land you in jail for up to a year.
A interesting fact that came out of Andrea Kuszweski’s talk at GSummit was that financial incentives reduce creative output. They may be good initial motivators but long term they’re a bad idea.
On a related note, in my experience free t-shirts are a great way to incentivise creative output.