Archive for the ‘Charlie Osmond’ Category.

Facebook the peacemaker


A great deal has been written about social media’s role in the recent Middle East uprisings. This week Mark Zuckerberg alluded to a second, equally-important, role as a bridge that connects people accross political or religous divides.

The chart below comes from Launched in 2009, Peace on Facebook hopes to play a part in “promoting peace by building technology that helps people better understand each other”.

Connecting friends accross borders has proven to be one of the most effecitve grassroots methods of changing perceptions. There are many Arab-Israeli projects working for peace in this way. It can only be a good thing that Facebook is helping thousands on both sides of the divide to connect every day.

Michelle Obama’s $2.7Bn Influence


michelle obama influencer

Image courtesy of Studio08Denver

There’s been a great deal of talk this week about influence. It’s been driven (dare I say influcenced) by an article in AdAge by Matt Creamer. He takes a swipe at Justin Beiber (dangerous) and points out that automated social media monitoring tools (or influence trackers) like Klout, need some human analysis and insight to get the most out of them.

Clearly there is more to influence than popularity (see this slidshare about online influencers), but popularity can be a pretty key determinant for some influencers. The Oprah Effect is worthy of note as a case in point.

Anyway, all this chatter reminded me of the Michelle Obama Influence Infographic.  The Harvard Business Review recently published reserach by academic David Yermack. He found that there was a strong correlation between the brands Michelle Obama wore and subsequent stock price increases. The percentage increases are small and there is a causation/correlation debate to be had, but when she’s potentially driving $2.7Bn in value for these brands, it’s worthy of note:

influence and michelle obama

Quora tested against other Q&A sites


Image via FlickR coutesy of Dom Dada

London just discovered Quora, the new social question and answer site. During the last week I’ve gone from getting a handfull of Quora followers a month to one every twenty minutes. The service has exploded.

I imagine the uptake has been driven by a mixture of Twitter excitment and traditional offline media coverage of the start-up. Of course that’s combined with Quora offering an excellent service coupling social media Q&A with simple navigation.  And a further draw has been the often frank and detailed discussions on a variety of issues.

Whilst the way people use Quora may evolve, I have found myself asking: how well does it function as a Q&A site? So I decided to put it to the test. I took a simple question:

“Where is the Centre of London, England?”

and I compared the results across Google, Yahoo Answers, Ask Jeeves, True Knowledge, Bing and Quora. I first asked this question on Quora in May 2010. It took me six weeks to get two answers, both of which were incorrect. I tried again today:

Quora’s answer:
I recieved two replies within five minutes. Both were spot on, with David Quaid answering:
“The Centre of London, used for calculating distances from London to X, is South of Trafalgar Square, where the statue of King Charles I now stands.”
He also added an excellent link to a BBC article on the subject. Thanks David!

Yahoo Answers:
I got seven responses within 24 hours. They included two correct answers, two useless answers: “Def Oxford street” and “Centre Point on New Oxford Street”, and one amusing answer:

"it's between the n and the d"

"it's between the n and the d"

Google’s answer:
Google jumped in with a map at the top of the search results. Great anticipation. What a shame that it was a map of “The Centre” a shopping mall in Feltham.

Google's map of The Centre

Thankfully they redeemed themselves with three great text links to The BBC, Wikipedia and The Londonist. All of which state the right answer.

True knowledge:
“The worlds first Articifical Intelligence answering platform”. It claims to understand questions and then answer them and in 2010 was getting some great traction. Sadly it did not have an answer for me. I submitted the question to other users, but did not get an immediate response.  So I thought I would train the engine a little and see if it really could learn.

I added Charing Cross as a location in London. I didn’t mention anything about the centre of London, however the site instantly populated a page with facts about Charing Cross including that it is sometimes related to the search string “geographic centre of london”.

So perhaps once the database is updated, the system will indeed have taught itself the answer. This would be very clever. But there is little doubt, the crowd at Quora and the social aspect of that site is a more fun to be part of. This battle feels rather Kasparov v’s Deep Blue.

Ask Jeeves:
Ask prides itself as a site synonymous with questions and answers. Having scrolled past four irrelevant adverts, I was provided with some good links. The top 3 results where:
1. The Answer Bank (another Q&A site) had five responses to the quesiton. Half of them were wrong or misleading. One was spot on with some useful history thrown in to the mix.
2. Wikipedia’s Charing Cross page - this correctly pointed out the centre of London as the point now occupied by King Charles’ sculpture
3. The Londonist - also correctly naming the centre

Bing’s answer
Bing’s top three results were mixed at best. First up was Wikipedia which leads to the right answer. But for some reason the second result was The Docklands Equestrian Centre and the third the Business Design Centre. Way off course.

Conclusion on Quora
Not only was Quora the most fun to use, it also came up with the best set of answers (this time round, not six months ago). There is no doubt it’s one to watch in 2011.

How have you been using Quora? any ideas on how it will develop? Will it be bigger than Twitter?

6 Social Media Memes of 2010


Antoine Dodson

Here’s a roundup of six key social media memes from 2010. There are many lessons to learn from these crowd-sourced social media riffs - what kicks them off, how they spread and what groups adopt them. However, we’re going to leave the psychoanalysis to others and just give you the list:

Sad Keanu Meme
There have been hundreds of  parodies and recreations of a set of sad Keanu Reeves photos. Keanu was caught sitting on a park bench, looking glum with only a few pigeons to keep him company.

This video is up there with the best from the meme:

Double Rainbow
An awe inspiring moment, captured by a man clearly full of awe. It comes into it’s own after 24seconds and he finds it all too much after 60seconds.

The meme has been remixed in photos and videos. Here’s the double rainbow song:

Leonardo DiHapprio (or the Leo strut) meme
There have been hundreds of photoshopped (apparently now a verb) recreations of Leonardo DiCaprio’s happy strut. A photo of him was taken during the filming of Inception and it is generally photoshopped to appear in disaster images, looking carefree.

Here’s a non-disaster verion:

Antoine Dodson and the Bed Intruder
What started as a horrific story has propelled Antoine Dodson to web stardom this year - culminating in the release of a Christmas video (Chimney Intruder). To get the full effect of the meme, you should start by watching the brief news report that made him a star and then the remix music video that took him from commentator to superstar. Not only have many images and videos been created, there was even an Antoine doll for sale on eBay (pictured above).

The remix:

Epic Beard Man
A simple misunderstanding on a bus that turned grizzly. Epic beard man came out on top (both in the fight and the remixes).

The StreetFighter version:

Any memes we’ve missed out? Or lessons learned from all of this?

A great meme resource is Know Your Memes

Social Santas and Christmas fun


At this time of year, what better excuse to get people out of the FreshNetworks office than a synchronised cycle ride round central London dressed as Father Christmas? And all for no reason whatsoever, apart from the fun of it.

Tourists thought we were delightful, cabbies called us a menace and the police tracked our every move - convinced that, at any moment, we might start a student protest.

With mince pies in our bellies and iPhones strapped to our Boris Bikes we tweeted all the way to Buckingham Palace. Arriving just in time to catch Prince Philip who stopped his car to ask what we were up to and to wish us a Merry Christmas all round.

Thank you Barclays and thank you Boris. We love your bikes. And thanks to Asylum Films (our favourite London production company) for making the movie.