Is Technology and Data Spooky?!

Let’s be real. Technology is getting creepy. It’s the scary teacher from grade school that somehow always knows what you’re doing even when she isn’t even looking at you. It seems to be watching our every click spanning the vast universe of the Internet. Companies are focusing on developing technology that processes all of our data to make inferences that could help them turn us into customers, or more importantly, into advocates for their brand. Recently, a brand we’re all familiar with, Netflix, held a competition that rewarded a million dollars (no one we knew won to note) to the group that could create an algorithm that could create better movie suggestions for their members.

It is becoming more and more noticeable to all of us we know; the advertisements on Facebook are generated by endless data based on your profile and pictures posted. Did you notice if you’re wearing a certain brand or piece of clothing that you’ll somehow get an ad with that same information in it? It’s all about targeting, but that’s almost scary targeting! (They’re watching you)!

We have now a developed generation that focuses on individuality, and this evolution inspires us to publicize ourselves on social platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, among others. The science behind this data as stated above is rapidly growing due to the high demand of how to use it despite how complicated it is. Going back to the Netflix competition, out of the thousands that entered their competition, only two teams were actually able to create algorithms that improved movie suggestions by ten percent. Acquiring data is easy, but making successful inferences from all of that data is the hard part. But even the smallest improvement can make a large difference by using data properly, which is why companies aren’t afraid to invest.

We’ve been thinking about that a lot on our end here at B Culture Media. How can we help the industry understand what to extract, or more importantly, what to put in place to make that extraction of data all the more usable from the get-go? And, how can we help them understand to the ‘T’ what their target audiences’ want so that all those ad monies are spent wisely. We feel it’s a bit like being Beauty from “Beauty and the Beast” and you have all of this amazing food enticing you to “be their guest”, but instead of that cute dancing cake, now it happens to be advertisements for billions of things you can put into practice to give you lots and lots of data…but, at the end of the day, what does that all translate into? Sales? Growth? Advocacy? What are you Mr./Mrs. X Brand actually searching for?

That’s what makes us understand that we’re circling around back to the technology/data days that existed before the Internet craze started. We need to fully understand the depth of a business, what they need to accomplish, and put into place strategies and metrics to ensure that the “cool” marketing recommendations using innovative technology will actually help an entire organization meet their business goals. Big data is useful, spooky targeted ads are useful, but you have to understand first as to why it’s useful and what you want out of it. I mean, of course besides tracking traffic to a website and the numbers of fans on social channels… those are easy!

@natbdold

@claudiavon

Don’t Get Scammed on Facebook

You’ve probably seen them appear in your news feed. Offers so good, they can’t possibly be real. Or, maybe the old “they’re going to start charging to use Facebook…” Or maybe the shocking celebrity sex tape. OMG! As Facebook now has over 1 billion users, the temptation for criminals, scammers, and hackers will only continue to rise.

On the other hand, companies sometimes do offer great deals or contest entries to win an iPad, so how can you be sure of which is which. A suggestion from The Bulldog Estate, where “we take pride in exposing scams,” double check the retailer’s main website or Facebook page before clicking the offer. If it isn’t there, or there’s no mention of it all: Beware.

Usually, fake celebrity gossip videos turn out to be survey scams, where the user must complete a survey, then can view the alleged shocking tape, only to realize the video doesn’t play. Words like “Shocking” or “OMG” usually are good indicators.

Facebook will be charging for their services if you don’t click here or sign a petition. The gist of this scam has been floating around for years, but people still bite to this day. Instead of threats, like being charged for Facebook, scammers also try sweeter approaches. In September, the website Facecrook, who exposes Facebook scams, reported on a post that offered to change the colors of your Facebook layout. “WOW!!! Hello PINK Facebook!!! Goodbye BLUE Facebook! You can now change your Facebook color to 8 different colors using color changer v1.3 here.”

Odds are if you are skeptical about a news story, offer, or newly updated Facebook feature, it’s best not to click.

@BCulture_Matt

iPhone 4S vs. iPhone 5: Is It Worth It?

Apple junkies have been lining up to get their hands on Apple’s newest release of the iPhone: the iPhone 5. While other companies have mocked Apple’s following regardless of the specifications, functionality, or price, simply because it has an apple on the back, there are many legitimacies to the latest update as well. Here is a comparison of the 4s and 5.

iPhone 4

  • Width: 2.31 in
  • Depth: .37 in
  • Height: 4.5 in
  • Weight: 4.9 oz
  • Display: 3.5 (diagonal) Retina display
  • A5 chip
  • 960×640 resolution
  • Siri
  • 8 megapixel iSight Camera
  • FaceTime Camera: VGA- resolution video
  • Apple earphones
  • 30-pin connector
  • Standby battery life: 200 hours
  •  Up to 16GB available on Apple.com

iPhone 5

  • Width: 2.31 in
  • Depth: .3 in
  • Height: 4.87 in
  • Weight: 3.95 oz
  • Display: .4 (diagonal) Retina display
  • A6 chip
  • 1136x 640 resolution
  • LTE3
  • Siri
  • 8 megapixel iSight Camera
  • FaceTime Camera: 1.2MP photos
  • FaceTime Camera: 720p HD video & backside illumination sensor
  • Apple EarPods
  • Lightening connector
  • Standby battery life: 225 hours
  • Up to 64 GB available on Apple.com

So, is it worth it? I still have my iPhone 4, but at a social media conference this weekend, a co-presenter of mine did indeed already have the 5. Watching him show off some of the new features, the what felt like and looked like skinnier and easier to maneuver display, and the speed, I would advocate, if you can afford it, and you utilize your smartphone more often than your tablet or laptop, go ahead and upgrade. If you can’t afford it, it won’t hurt you too bad to have to wait a little bit longer to upgrade.

The neatest feature that I witnessed, and you have probably seen touted on some of Apple’s newest television commercials, is the panorama picture display. Not sure the practical use for it, but I still enjoyed it. Plus, the speed. Some argue that the speed of the iPhone 5 will rival your home’s Wi-Fi! Which, it’s that is true, is just another step toward smartphone domination.

Did you upgrade to the iPhone 5? If so, what do you think of it compared to earlier versions? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section below.

@BCulture_Matt

A iPad App That Stops Time #TourneauMinutes

Okay, so it doesn’t really stop time, but you can get lost in this app!

Tourneau, the U.S.’ largest luxury watch retailer, has joined the ranks of some other luxury marketers by creating an exclusive iPad experience for their target market of users. The Tourneau Minutes publication is delivered to customers’ mail boxes in magazine form, but now, is delivered via an app as well.

Senior Vice President of Marketing and Online, Donald McNichol, said, “The strategy behind the app was the editorial content integration into the watch world. It started with the magalog, and then through the iPad app, we could further integrate that storytelling and experience.”

Magalog is code for a magazine-catalog hybrid. App users can explore editorial content, read articles, interact with the watches, and learn more about specific timepieces. Mr. McNichol stated, “Now it is not limited to the one dimension of the print page and brings in more interactivity of the community. It is building a lifestyle community around certain topics”. The most significant words of this statement are interactivity, community and connectivity.

He said, “In the app world, you get great connectivity within the community.” The goal is to develop a niche community where users feel as though they can connect with others, in a way that is stimulating.

With interviews from watch collector William Rohr, several getaways including to Paris and the North and South Poles, and the timing of baseball, users are intertwined in the mix of browsing watches, learning more about them, and reading interesting articles.

Users also can link the App to their social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr) and post updates directly from the App. The App features 12 different time zones from LA to Hanoi to London.

Download the App from the iTunes store here. What do you think of it? Is there something missing? What is your favorite feature? Have fun with it, and enjoy!

@BCulture_Matt

*Disclaimer: The Tourneau Minutes iPad App was developed by B Culture Media.

London 2012: Get Social!

The 2012 London Olympics have been called the world’s first “social games” by some. Will they actually be that “social?” Good question; however, there’s no denying the influence Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube will have. 2008 was the last Olympic games (Beijing). In Internet-years, that is a long, long time: a long enough time for social media to continue to evolve into an instantaneous upload and equally impatient audience. With internationally popular sports being featured, such as basketball, soccer, swimming, track and field, among others, a global stir will surely garner attention. Combine that with the ever-increasing worldwide Internet usage (estimated to be one-third of the world’s population by the games’ start), and the recipe for Olympic-sized social media is set!

Facebook: According to Facebook, the website has over 900 million users, which in 2008 had just broken the 100 million-user landmark. See the difference?

Instagram: Since Instagram launched in 2010, we will see the influence the recently acquired-by-Facebook App will have on these games. #LondonOlympics2012 maybe?

Twitter: 2008: 6 million registered users sending about 300,000 tweets per day. 2012: 500 million registered users sending about 400,000,000 tweets per day. You do the math. With regular breaking news tweeting, follow your favorite sports for live updates as they happen.
Silver and bronze medals: Pinterest, Foursquare (didn’t exist in 2008).

YouTube: YouTube has undergone some changes since 2008… Expect epic moments and down-to-the-wire finishes to be posted minutes after the final results are tallied.

Honorable mention: Google+ (also didn’t exist in 2008; great outlet, just not sure of the speed of the feed).

How will you utilize your social media outlets to interact with the 2012 Olympic Games?

@BCulture_Matt

The Most Creative Forms of Outdoor Advertising

Talk about being innovative. We love how these brands were able to take a billboard and turn it into an impressionable message and focal point. Kudos to those forward thinkers!

Which is your favorite?

@BCulture_Britt