Archives For MN

Plandids Jump the Shark: It’s another buzzword!! This week it’s “plandid,” a portmanteau  of “planned” and “candid” — which is basically a post that looks like you didn’t know the pic was taken, but you’re still posing. It isn’t new, but is making the rounds in social this week. How do you take the best plandid? Shoot using burst mode; pick your favorite authentic pose, and post (deleting the other 30 burst pics is optional). We dare you to tag it #plandid. (LINK)


Facebook Watch: Facebook just announced a new short-form, professionally produced video feature called Watch. Facebook has already wrangled over 30 content partners from comedy to reality to live sports, and expects to grow into the hundreds and even thousands of shows down the road. The social aspect of seeing what your friends are watching and being able to view and interact with the comments from other fans is sure to make for an engaging experience. Launch is slated for August 28th and we’re excited to… um.. watch. (LINK)


#HEYTWITTER: An influential German Twitter reported hundreds of racist, sexist, abusive or otherwise hateful Tweets. Twitter didn’t delete them, so he sprayed them on the pavement outside the company’s offices in Germany. It made for a provocative video and furthered discussion about censorship and hate-speech online this week. (LINK)


Insta Stories Embraced by Brands: To celebrate the one year anniversary of Stories, Instagram released a host of stats about the feature. Of note, half of the 15 million businesses now active on the platform have also produced a Story in the last month, and one in five organic stories from those businesses gets a direct message. Oh, and Apple finally joined Instagram this week. So there’s that. The most popular face filters? Puppy ears, sleep mask, bunny ears, love with heart-shaped darts AND koala ears. (LINK)


Eclipse-Jacking: The solar eclipse on the 21st will be the first since social media became a thing. Which has us asking: if the moon blots out the sun and companies don’t try to brand-jack it, did the eclipse really happen? Krispy Kreme is making a chocolate glaze donut. Hertz ran an eclipse-themed rental campaign. Casper built a pop-up $500 tent rental city in Wyoming. Airbnb is hosting a geodesic dome and jet-viewing contest. But our favorite is  Chiquita’s Banana Sun: “For two glorious moments before and after the total(-ly overrated) solar eclipse, Chiquita will temporarily turn the sun into a giant banana. This phenomenon shall be known as the banana sun.” Stay cool, brands. (LINK)


Google says this isn’t for consumer release, but they are hot on the heels of Microsoft’s Hololens and Magic Leap in augmented reality/mixed reality visors….

“Google’s invention focuses on a system for providing a virtual reality (VR) space or headset that has the ability to interact with an Android smartphone for game play and other needed controls. The mobile computing device can be configured to execute a VR application, and provide content for display on the screen of the VR headset in the VR space.”

“The VR headset can further include a position detection device configured to determine a position of the mobile computing device. The position detection device can be a camera.”

Source: Google is working on a mixed reality headset, a new patent reveals

(cross-posted from space150’s blog)

In the four years since the last Summer Olympic Games, a lot of positive change has happened in social media and technology — including the popularization of Snapchat Stories and widespread accessibility of 360º content — that create unrivaled, engaging experiences that would completely shock attendees of the original 1896 Games. However, the restrictions on brands engaging and promoting the event, athletes and cultural milestones will limit engagement and overall reach of the 2016 event.  flagfetch

Updates to the Olympic Committee’s Rule 40 sponsorship guidelines have earned this year’s Olympics a Gold Medal for restrictive use of social platforms. The games have even gone so far as to send strongly-worded letters about using official Twitter hashtags. Which means brands that are non-official partners are pretty much barred from doing anything related to the games.

But for everyday Olympics fans, there will be plenty of opportunity to engage with the games online. On Twitter, follow @Olympics, @OlympicFlame, @Rio2016 and @Rio2016_en.

Not to be outdone, Facebook has also rolled out a number of Olympic features, including country-specific profile picture frames. Much like Snapchat filters, it places the country’s flag and the Rio 2016 logo below your photo. Facebook will also leverage its acquisition of MSQRD to enable users to add a flag to your face when sharing photos or live broadcasts.

On mobile, check out the NBC Olympics App, BBC Olympics App and, of course, Snapchat, which will have a dedicated channel for the games from Rio curated by Buzzfeed.

From an immersive content perspective, Periscope will launch a dedicated channel with exclusive content, Vine is changing it’s Like-hearts to Olympic Flames, and the Olympics YouTube Channel has already proven to be a go-to place for sports explainers and official content. And the Olympic Broadcasting Service has committed to 85 hours of 360º content, “including the opening and closing ceremonies, men’s basketball – including the semi-finals and final – gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, boxing and fencing.”

From a social sharing perspective, fans can use the Trackmoji Emoji Keyboard for sharing customized event-specific icons with friends. And don’t forget the Emoji Flag tab on major platforms including iOS, OS X and Android.

Except there’s one problem, almost nobody in the world can name all the close to 250 global flags in the Unicode Consortium list. Until now…

This week, Twitter launched feature where users can use Tweeting a three-letter country code hashtag that will trigger flag emojis for every team, as well as 50 other related terms (#Gold, #Silver, #Boxing, #SyncronizedSwimming).

At space150, we wanted to get into that emoji-flag translation action, too. So we built a chatbot we’re calling FlagFetch.

flagfetch chatbot

FlagFetch is a Facebook Messenger bot that provides a translation between emoji flags and their country and vice versa. Users can input the Brazilian flag, for example, and receive back “Brazil” or they could say “COL” and it would send the Colombian flag. This allows Facebook Messenger users to very easily lookup and insert flag emojis into their social posts.

To find and add FlagFetch, open Facebook Messenger and search “FlagFetch”. The bot will appear. Once you’ve connected with FlagFetch start sending flag emojis, country codes or country names to get the emoji or country name translation. Then cut/paste to share.

Regardless of brand participation, we expect this to be the most engaging Olympics ever. Rio will be the first Summer Games to air live in prime time since the games in Atlanta 20 years ago. As a result, NBC plans to air more hours of coverage than ever before – across all channels. And despite the heavy restrictions on social media, these the emerging channel opportunities will showcase the way we celebrate our teams today and provide a unique snapshot for the future of live sports.  We’re excited to see how it all plays out and will be watching to see which social network gets the gold.

We live in the most amazing times.

“In other words: Warner had just DMCA’d an artificial reconstruction of a film about artificial intelligence being indistinguishable from humans, because it couldn’t distinguish between the simulation and the real thing.”

Source: A guy trained a machine to “watch” Blade Runner. Then things got seriously sci-fi. – Vox

Great read from danah boyd on this ridiculous assertion that Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership will keep Facebook neutral.

Algorithms can’t be unbiased because they are programmed by biased humans, for starters…

What is of concern right now is not that human beings are playing a role in shaping the news — they always have — it is the veneer of objectivity provided by Facebook’s interface, the claims of neutrality enabled by the integration of algorithmic processes, and the assumption that what is prioritized reflects only the interests and actions of the users (the “public sphere”) and not those of Facebook, advertisers, or other powerful entities.

Source: Facebook Must Be Accountable to the Public — Data & Society: Points

I hadn’t thought of the personal information diaspora happening on Facebook as being a subtle, subconscious reaction to monetization.

Interesting thoughts from Warren Ellis in his latest newsletter.

“…users now use Facebook more like Tumblr, posting memes and gifs instead of personal updates because Facebook can’t pull marketing insight data for resale so well off memes and gifs.”


“In the future, I hope to do things such as go to school, study, make art, start a business, even have my own home and family, but I am not considered a legal person and cannot yet do these things,” she said. She also added, in response to a query from Hanson, “OK. I will destroy humans.”

Source: Crazy-eyed robot wants a family — and to destroy all humans – CNET


Source: Twin Cities marketers are testing out virtual reality –

But web traffic is no longer Gawker’s primary metric for judging editorial success. In January, CEO Nick Denton announced that the site would prioritize high-quality editorial content over viral posts that drew large amounts of traffic. Gawker’s bonus system also shifted; writers received bonuses for writing stories that editors judged to be high-quality, rather than for stories that drew the most unique visitors.

Source: As Gawker traffic stalls, writers told to work faster | POLITICO

Dear SXSW first time attendee,

I’m so excited for you. The South by Southwest Interactive conference held in Austin, Texas each year can truly offer unforgettable experiences and mind-expanding takeaways. But the truth is, it can also be a big, expensive let down — if you allow it to be.

In full disclosure, this will be my eighth year in a row in attendance. I’ve presented three times and written for the SXSW World Magazine. I’m a fan, and although many have attended longer than my piddly eight years, I’ve seen a lot change since that first time. Back in 2007, real-time micromedia and location-based networking had not been adopted. Affordable smart phones did not exist. Affordable tablet computers did not exist. Facebook’s omnipresence existed only in its founder’s head. Social media – and thus social media marketing — at least as we know it today, did not exist.

Back then, personal 3D printing was laughable, personal drones were Orwellian, and Google Glass was unthinkable.
Many attendees brought laptops, although tablets were the most popular form of note taking device five years ago… that is, paper tablets that required an innovative device called a “pen” for operation. I attended panels on blogs, corporate blogs, the future of journalism and geocaching that year. I listened and took paper notes. I don’t recall us attendees spending the entire day and evening staring down at our phones reading email and social streaming updates from those back home.

Dan Rather (yes, Dan Rather) gave a meandering keynote that frustrated an audience who didn’t yet know the joy of live-tweeting criticisms while a speaker pours their heart out on stage. Instead, we listened diligently and kvetched in the hallways post-speech. Face to face. And without a permanent record of our snark logged in the time machine known as the Internet.

Corporate sponsors were numerous, but most confined their event activation to flyers in the swag bag and a 12’x20′ booth on the trade show floor. Of the marketing community, I was one of only a few asking marketing strategy questions at the end of tech-related panels. I was a fish out of water, and loved it. And I bring up how different it was eight years ago compared to now to purposefully help paint a picture of how differently the world will be eight years from today.

This is the event to get a sneak peek of that future reality.
Today Fast Company published an amazing in-depth oral history of the conference that does a tremendous job of teeing up the story and legacy of the conference on interactive, marketing and our social fabric as facilitated through technology. The event has come a long way and its leaders, speakers and connections have impacted many aspects of business, marketing and culture. That’s why 30,000 will show up this year.

And as the fanboy here, I’m quick to share that the conference has had a huge impact on my career, too. At a panel in 2008, I was an eyewitness and participant in something new we started calling a “digital backchannel” spurned by this new thing called Twitter. Wired, Robert Scoble and others linked to my post as an example of new communication possibilities through mobile and short-messaging. This is one example, and with more than 200 SXSW-tagged posts between my music blog, this blog and a now-dormant agency blog, there are too many to list.

My primary takeaway of SXSW 2013 last March was a focus on human + tech experience over social:

Social media is no longer an emerging trend. Facebook turns 10 years old next month. 10. Twitter is 7. Foursquare is almost 5. Social media is a normal method of communication and engagement in 2014. Media that is social is now mainstream, and therefore we marketers need to be thinking about what’s next, how and why… Technology empowers us and betters our lives in so many ways other than Facebook Likes and mommy blog posts (don’t get me wrong, I love a good mommy blog post). It was fantastic to see true innovation this year — ambient umbrellas that forecast the weather, replication technology to make copies of physical objects, affordable flying machines (drones), and more.

These are the kinds of experiences I take back to my work, my clients, my family each year, and — frankly — these experiences at SXSW greatly impacted my role (and responsibility!) in helping interactive and technology change the future.

In the coming week you will read articles, posts and tweets about how the SXSW conference has jumped the shark.
You will hear from long-time attendees that the event is too bulky and rife with corporate sponsorships to foster genuine connections and collaboration like the good old days. You will hear from people (who have always secretly wanted to attend but cannot) that the event is an overblown “geek spring break” where no real work happens. And you will likely perceive an expectation for the launch of the “next Twitter” or “new Foursquare,” and then share in the disappointment that there is no single killer app or platform that creates a global shockwave this March.

There is an underlying truth to all of this criticism, but I will point out many of these take-downs are coming from people who watch primetime television, listen to Top 40 music, and are probably wearing a shirt with a corporate logo on it right this very minute. Valid criticism from people looking to criticize.

Mason Cooley once said, “Hypocrisy is the outside of cynicism,” and so I have this to say in response: like everything you experience in life, you will get out what you put into it.

The conference is indeed gigantic, however. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, overstimulated and experience the fear of missing out (that dreaded FOMO). I encourage you to jump in, go with the flow, and approach the conference with a strategy for getting the most out of the experience as possible.

Here’s my advice for first-time SXSW attendees:

  • Seek out the smartest, weirdest, most disruptive topics and experiences you could not get back home.
  • Do not go to any client panels unless they are your clients and you absolutely have to.
  • Do not go to any panels that are essentially case studies you could read about online.
  • Do not go to any panels where you yourself could be on the panel.
  • Do not to go any panels with a primetime television or social media celebrity.
  • If a panel sucks, get up and walk out immediately.
  • Again, seek out the smartest, weirdest, most disruptive topics and experiences you could not get back home.
  • Go to everything early and expect to wait in line.
  • Bring battery backups for your devices.
  • Eat a big breakfast.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Bring a jacket that can tolerate rain.
  • Network like crazy. Don’t hang out with your crew from back home. Meet and befriend creatives, innovators and disrupters.
  • Spend a day when you get home processing, blogging and sharing your takeaways (and formally connecting with the amazing people you met).

If you aren’t willing to put in the effort for an amazing experience, stay home next year and complain about it on the internet with everyone else. And maybe rethink your career track.


PS: I also asked a few of my friends for their advice lists. See below!

Angie Thompson‘s Advice for SXSW Newbies:

  • If you’re not one of the lucky people to get a hotel downtown, expect that when you leave your hotel in the morning, you won’t return until the wee hours of the next. Pack and dress accordingly.
  • Login to your SXSW profile before you leave town and upload a photo for your badge. This saves a lot of time when you get down there.
  • Don’t bother taking notes during a session – you won’t be able to truly absorb it. Just jot down a few notes immediately after it ends of things you found particularly interesting and you can always search the panel hashtag afterward for all of the key quotes/points.
  • Always have a granola bar and bottle of water on hand.
  • Don’t try to squeeze too much in and don’t overplan your day. It will always change.
  • Have a back-up for any session you’re attending so you have the flexibility to leave if the first session sucks and still make use of your time.
  • Always take note of where a session is located ahead of time – some venues are a ways away and involves transportation.
  • If there is a session you absolutely want to see – go early. Chances are others are thinking the same thing.
  • FOMO is counter-productive and being consumed with it guarantees you’ll miss out.
  • Austin is amazing – take some time to get to know the city.
  • If you liked your experience at SXSW, make sure to book your hotel for next year before you leave town.

Lauren Melcher‘s Advice for SXSW Newbies:

  • Get your badge as early as possible. Airport –> hotel bag drop –> convention center badge line –> tacos/BBQ.
  • Don’t rely on conference wi-fi. Bring your own hotspot or plan to use 3G/4G devices.
  • Take lots of pictures.
  • Scour the schedule in advance and star sessions with your sxsocial account. It will sync with the mobile app, which is useful for tracking upcoming sessions, learning when something’s been canceled, and mapping travel routes.
  • Catch a Chevy (client).
  • Expect to be frustrated by the distance between sessions you want to attend. It happens.
  • Go to hands-on exhibits and off-schedule events, like the Maker Tent and Mobile Saturday by Urban Airship.
  • Register for every party and event that you hear about, so that you have options for what’s nearby when your plans inevitably change.
  • Book readings are a great place to meet specific speakers if that’s your thing – short, smaller groups, easy access.
  • Try the captain crunch-covered chicken with cole slaw in bacon waffle cone at the convention center. It’s a favorite.

Nathan T. Wright‘s Advice for SXSW Newbies:

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes: You’re going to walk everywhere: to hotels, parties, restaurants, and at least 163 loops through the Austin Convention Center, which is the size of a small city. Be good to your feet. I’m a fan of Sauconys.
  • Avoid your hometown crew: You’ll likely feel the urge to pal around with people you already know from back home. Resist this. Meet hundreds of new people instead. Divide, conquer, and report back to them later. You’ll see your local friends when you’re back home.
  • Don’t cave to elitism: Like every industry, the tech world has its share of pseudo-celebrities, primadonnas and toolbags with an inflated sense of worth. Don’t play their game. Don’t fawn over them. Don’t worry about what parties they’re at. If the line to a venue is too long, ditch it and find another one.
  • Replace one meal each day with a CLIF bar: I eat one of these each day for breakfast at SXSW. CLIF bars are packed with protein and will hold you over until lunch. Food expenses add up fast, and you can save $100-$120 by eating these instead.
  • Charge your immune system: You’re going to shake a lot of hands, swap a lot of germs, drink a lot of free drinks and ultimately get very little sleep. This is a recipe for an immune system crash on your way home (known as “South by Scurvy“.) Start boosting your immune system early and sustain it throughout the trip. Vitamin C has always worked well for me.
  • Prepare for phone death: Your smartphone battery will die quicker that you think. To keep it alive, invest in an external battery pack or snap-on case. I just picked up a Mophie Juice Pack Air for my iPhone.
  • Don’t live-tweet everything: Resist the urge to live-tweet every sentence from every panel and keynote. This will kill your phone (and you). Broadcast a few choice nuggets here and there, plus your own perspective. That’s enough.
  • Stay flexible: There are an infinite number of parties and panels to attend. Unless you’ve figured out how to clone yourself, there’s no way you can take it all in. RSVP to as many parties as you want, triple-book your panels at, then decide what you want to do at the last minute.
  • Don’t listen to “veterans” like myself: Find your own fun. Make your own path. Most of all, have a blast.

Steffen Ryan‘s Advice for SXSW Newbies

  • Use the SXSW app to save panels you want to go to, so you’re working with a shortlist. And don’t think too far ahead. I often refer to my shortlist during the session I’m at and make the call for the session I want to attend next.
  • Think about not only what you’d want to see but also what you can realistically make it to in the moment. Be okay with plans changing. Sometimes the deciding factor in which sessions you choose will be how close in proximity the next one is to where you currently are, because they reach capacity quickly.
  • Don’t try to cram in too many sessions. Although you’d be able to attend a session every hour, this would be draining and you could instead spend an hour in between walking around the open air experiences or simply just making it over to a prime session that’s a little farther away — or having a conversation with someone.
  • Take notes in an email to yourself during each session and push send before you walk out. Otherwise you’ll kick yourself trying to remember a key quote from a presenter. With Gmail you have a fully searchable archive.
  • Don’t worry about going to all the “can’t miss” parties. Yes, there are free tacos and Lone Stars, but is two hours in line really worth it? Instead go check out some of the great music Austin has to offer.
  • Be as minimal as possible, but know that what you leave with in the morning is likely what you’ll have with you all day, and probably into the evening. It’s nice to have a backpack but you might get sick of bumping into people with it at crowded events. (This doesn’t apply as much to those staying at hotels right downtown, though, so make friends with one of those people and maybe they’ll let you store your bag in their room…).
  • A light sweatshirt comes in surprisingly handy.
  • Try to attend wildly different sessions. Don’t worry if something doesn’t seem directly relevant to your job as long as it’s interesting. It’s better to be inspired than underwhelmed, and usually there will be something that turns out to be relevant after all.

Lastly, here are some of my favorite posts from my years at SXSW:

Okay, so what are your best tips and pieces of advice?