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

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Would You “Like-A-Hug”?

What’s better than logging into Facebook, to discover that there’s a new message in your inbox, or a dozen friend requests waiting for your approval? Social media has become an integral part of our lives, something that we literally thrive on.  But what would you think if the social media craze turned physical?

A project by designer Melissa Kit Chow, does just this. The “Like-A-Hug” jacket combines Facebook, design and fashion, creating a groundbreaking piece. Let’s say someone likes your recent post about cute cat hats; for every comment or like the jacket inflates, giving the person wearing it a “hug”. Did you just receive a “hug?” With a simple hugging gesture – send the hug back to the person who sent it to you.

Ideas like this take social media communication to the next level. Rather than just reading comments from your loved ones, get hugs that really show their feelings and affection for you. The future of social media and technology is still a mystery but thanks to Chow’s “Like-A-Hug” we know warm hugs and fuzzy things are in store.

@BCulture_CourtB

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

The ONE

Mobile technologies have changed drastically in recent years. We have graduated from the colorless flip phone to “smart” devices that are the epitome of present times. Designer Yejin Jeon took the mobile concept and flipped it on its head. What was the end result? The ONE.

ONE is a unique mobile design; a pen shaped device holds a six-inch flexible screen. The flexible touch screen enables the phone to have the same features as the average smartphone.  The pen is designed to be the primary component, holding the microphone, camera and six-inch screen.

Want to keep things simple? Use ONE’s touch screen on the pen to check messages and even make phone calls. Because the speaker, camera and lock feature are on the pen portion, you have a fully functioning phone without the retractable six-inch screen.

This design is truly remarkable – but is this feat possible? It is true that this design could be the solution to many of our mobile woes, due mainly in part to the device’s compact design.  What do you think about this design blueprint? Is the ONE for you?

@BCulture_CourtB

Police Scanners & Twitter: Makes Sense, Right?

After reading an article about a Venice-based (California) Twitter account that live-tweets crime, accidents, fires, etc., I will admit, my curiosity was piqued.  It turns out there are plenty of accounts playing similar roles. The account mentioned is @Venice311. Over 23,000 tweets, with over 8,000 followers. Here’s a good tweet from yesterday:

In the age of accountability, these live-tweeters are doing some good for the community (list at end of article). They are making the community more aware of the crime in their neighborhood. They are making sure the forces in charge do their job and don’t overdo it – police brutality, etc. And who knows? Maybe some crimes can be prevented or solved this way. Maybe a missing person is a little bit more likely to be found.

The city of Seattle even attempted an experiment in which their Police Department tweeted every one of their 911 calls in one day, in 140 characters, of course. They sent an average of 40 tweets per hour, totaling 478 by day’s end. An interesting social media experiment, especially considering the Department did not inform their followers of what they were doing. Some were worried. And some wanted them to shut up. The gem was a “suspicious person possibly armed with a sword.”

If you feel like getting in on the action, you can download several police scanner apps. I splurged and purchased the $0.99 5-0 Radio Police Scanner. The Lite version is available for free. Pretty fun to listen in – so far, I’ve heard a few accidents, a bomb threat, a loose dog, expired tags, a parking ticket, a burglary, and a fire in metro Atlanta.

  • @Venice311 (Venice/LA)
  • @NYRadio (NYC)
  • @LAPDscanner (LA)
  • @ScannerFeeds (collective)
  • @DFWScanner (Dallas/Ft. Worth)
  • @SeattlePD (Seattle)

BONUS:

@sheboyganscan – As in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, here are some gems from their feed. Follow them for humorous crimes.


@BCulture_Matt

Back-To-School Mobile Fashions

With millions of students heading back to school, lets take a look at school themed phone cases. From favorite toys to your favorite subjects – see how technology, education and creativity collide.

1. Relive your Etch-n-Sketch days with this Iphone case courtesy of iFoolish. Having a dull moment? Flip your mobile to have a full functioning Etch-n-Sketch toy at your fingertips. But put it away before the teacher confiscates it!

 

2. Never forget those masterpieces you made in art class with this creative Iphone cover. Available on Etsy for around $10, the case is also available in black and white.

 

3. Kate Spade joins in on the back-to-school craze with this composition IPhone 4 case for $40.00.

 

4. Getting hungry? Maybe this cover will satisfy those mid day chocolate cravings. Featured on Etsy, this phone cover is perfect for snack time!

 

5. Make your mobile a dual device with this $20 Etsy retro cover. Flip your phone over for a fully functional calculator – just in time for math class.

 

6. Stay ahead of the class with this pencil box inspired Iphone cover from Etsy for $15. Never have to borrow another pencil – just a pencil sharpener.

 

7. This adorable cover is perfect for teachers. Order the customizable cover at Zazzle to express your love for children’s art and your students. The stick figure is also available as a man or woman.

I just realized – school was not this fun when I was growing up.

@BCulture_CourtB