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"Politics of Social" panellists: see text for people's namesLast month I took part in the discussion panel Politics of Social at Social Media Week Sydney — and here’s a video, finally.

Yes, I’m dealing with my backlog of posts.

What was this discussion all about?

Trust, authority and credibility are arguably more crucial in politics than anywhere else. Social media is now an essential part of the political process for MPs, citizens, and lobbyists, but how does that change public perception, the end results, and their impact on society? Our political experts will dissect past and present political activity to determine what the evolution of social media has achieved in political realm, and how political communications is likely to continue evolving.

Joining moderator Kate Carruthers, co-founder of Social Innovation Sydney, on 24 September 2014 were (left to right): Alex Greenwich, independent Member for Sydney in the Parliament of NSW; political sociologist Ariadne Vromen, associate professor at the University of Sydney; myself; and Steph Harmon, managing editor of Junkee at The Sound Alliance.

It was a lively discussion, and the video is over the fold, immediately below. Enjoy.

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ABC logoToday the iPhone 6 went on sale, and of course the Apple fanchildren went into their usual semi-crazed state waiting for the Apple Stores to open — even on the Gold Coast.

ABC Gold Coast morning presenter Nicole Dyer decided to give me a call to explain the phenomenon, and here’s the recording.

She asked me about Stephen Fry’s review of the iPhone 6 for The Guardian. I was not complimentary. I referred to it as “one of the most embarrassing pieces of technology writing in the history of electricity”.

The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Corrupted Nerds 11 cover image: click for podcast pageIt was my very great pleasure to meet Bob Garfield the other day — former advertising man, veteran journalist and media commentator, and co-presenter on NPR’s On the Media and Slate’s Lexicon Valley.

We managed to find time for a coffee and a conversation, and the result forms the latest Corrupted Nerds podcast.

“For 300-plus years, it was great for the audience, they got free and subsidised content. It was great for advertisers ’cos they got audience. And it was great for media, ’cos they got filthy stinking rich,” Garfield said. But now, things are bleak. “Unless you are in gambling, search or porn, there’s just no money to be made.”

Garfield explains why, basically, we’re all fucked.

Subscribe to all Corrupted Nerds podcasts via RSS, iTunes and SoundCloud.

If you enjoyed this podcast, why not make a tip, or even subscribe? Every contribution helps me provide these podcasts for free.

FIVEaa logoInteresting news today that Facebook will start using Google’s browsing history data to better target their advertising. It triggered an equally interesting conversation just now on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide.

According to the USA Today report run on Fairfax mastheads, Facebook is looking to ramp up revenue as it competes with Google for advertising dollars.

“Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps. We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV,” the company said.

Afternoon presenter Will Goodings wanted to chat about the privacy implications. But then I showed him the recent Bloomberg report which described how researchers could use smart meters — the electricity kind — to figure out what TV programs you were watching by analysing the TV’s power consumption patterns.

Here’s the full interview, plus the subsequent conversation with lawyer Paul Gordon from Finlayson’s Lawyers, who called in while we were chatting.

The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

ABC logoA few weeks back, I had a conversation on Twitter with Natasha Mitchell, presenter of ABC Radio National’s Life Matters, about smartphones and just how much data they’re handing on to, well, all manner of organisations. This morning we came back to that conversation live on national radio.

Do you know what data you’re really sharing, and with whom, when you download and use smart phone apps? Companies are collecting as much as they can get away with, says Stilgherrian.

We spoke for 20 minutes and covered a lot of territory.

If you want to know more, then you can listen to my guest lecture at University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and then follow the links to more than 30 references.

The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website.

Title card for "Algorithms and the Filter Bubble"On Monday 7 April, I delivered an updated version of my guest lecture to media students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), “Algorithms and the Filter Bubble”. And here it is.

What’s is about? It’s about what we now call — this year at least — “big data” and how that’s changing how the media works, just like it’s changing every other part of society.

I cruise through what all this data is, where it’s coming from, who’s collecting it and where it’s going; what advertisers and media companies and others can do with this data; and some speculation about how this might unfold in the future.

There’s links to all the references over the fold, and you can follow along with the slides (PDF). The recording picks up immediately after I was introduced by the course coordinator, Dr Belinda Middleweek. A transcript may or may not follow at some point in the future.

Some people mentioned that last time it was difficult to follow some of the slides, as the PDF file didn’t show how the builds happened, so I may add a video slideshow version at some point too.

The audience was primarily first and second year students at the beginning of their media studies degrees.

[If a transcript ever becomes available, this is where it will appear.]

What was left out at the end

I didn’t keep a close enough eye on the time, which is most unprofessional of me, so I had to drop a couple of things at the end of the lecture. So what did we miss?

My planned closing was to speculate a little more about the implications of all this technology — essentially the material covered in references 26 through 30 below.

When advertisers and newsmakers know all about you, including where you are and what you’re interested in, and when robots become so good that they’re able to tailor news and advertising precisely for your interests and current state of mind — what does that mean for political persuasion, and other kinds of persuasion?

Watch the videos of the robots from the US Naval Research Laboratory responding to everyday human speech. Consider Apple founder Steve Job’s comment that the iTunes Store gives you “freedom from pornography”. Consider than in a world of filter bubbles, some news outlets with a political agenda might want to give you “freedom from confusing thoughts”. After all, Apple has already blocked from their App Store an app that provided information on US military drone strikes.

Just where might this go? As I told the media students at the start of the lecture, they are the ones who will be creating this future for themselves and their descendants, not those of us in the second half of our lives.

Licensing and Re-Use

This work is made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. This presentation may be re-used for non-commercial purposes within the terms of the Creative Commons license. The non-commercial and share-alike conditions are required to adhere to the licensing of the imagery used. Please contact me if you require an alternative version. As a minimum, attribution should read: “Source: Stilgherrian.” Online versions must link the word Stilgherrian to the website at stilgherrian.com.

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Hitachi Data Systems privacy law graphic: click for whitepaperAustralia’s new privacy laws come into force on 12 March. On 12 February, four weeks before the new laws come into force, I hosted a panel discussion on dealing with these new law for Hitachi Data Systems.

The panelists were lawyer Alec Christie, a partner in the intellectual property and technology practice of global law firm DLA Piper; Jodie Sangster, chief executive officer of ADMA, the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (which used to be called the Australian Direct Marketing Association); and Adrian De Luca, chief technology officer for Hitachi Data Systems in the Asia-Pacific region.

Over the fold is the full 58-minute video. This was done as a Google Hangout, and since there were some internet glitches the video is a bit glitchy too, but the content itself is great.

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FIVEaa logoI continue to be pleased that digital privacy issues are getting more and more coverage in the mainstream media — such as the interview I did last Monday 20 January with radio 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide.

Presenter Will Goodings had spotted the story of Turnstyle Solutions in Toronto, who can track people around town via their smartphones and use that location data for marketing.

Rather stupidly, I talk about Australia’s Privacy Act being “under review” when in fact that review is well over and the new Privacy Act comes into force on 12 March.

We also spoke about the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) forcing Apple to refund $35 million to customers who’d had their kids make what they felt were unauthorised in-app purchases on their iDevices.

It’s something the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been concerned about too, and they have a page to explain how you can block in-app purchases or complain to Apple or Google.

The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia, but here it is ’cos it hasn’t been posted on the radio station’s website. Besides, this is a reasonable plug.

Title slide for Algorithms and the Filter BubbleAnd here’s the second version of my guest lecture at the University of Technology Sydney from Monday afternoon.

Pretty much everything I said about the morning lecture applies to this one, including the link to the slides

All of the references mentioned in this lecture are listed in the previous post.

[When the transcript becomes available, this is where it will appear.]

This work is made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. This presentation may be re-used for non-commercial purposes within the terms of the Creative Commons license. The non-commercial and share-alike conditions are required to adhere to the licensing of the imagery used. Please contact me if you require an alternative version. As a minimum, attribution should read: “Source: Stilgherrian.” Online versions must link the word Stilgherrian to the website at stilgherrian.com.

[Update 29 August 2013: Fixed broken link to the slides.]

Title slide for Algorithms and the Filter BubbleAs foreshadowed, on Monday I delivered an updated version of my guest lecture at the University of Technology Sydney, “Algorithms and the Filter Bubble”. And here it is.

There’s quite a few changes from the lecture I gave in March, because I wanted to update some key examples.

In fact there’s two versions of the lecture, because I presented it twice — once at 0900 and once at 1300 — and some of the content was improvised around my moderately detailed notes. So I’ll bring you both versions. This is the first, with full audio and the slides.

The repeat of the lecture later in the day was slightly different.

There’s links to all the references over the fold.

As previously, the recording picks up immediately after I was introduced by lecturer, Dr Belinda Middleweek. A transcript may or may not follow at some point in the future.

The audience was primarily first and second year students at the beginning of their media studies degrees. Again, it seems that almost all of this material was brand new to them.

[If a transcript ever becomes available, this is where it will appear.]

This work is made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. This presentation may be re-used for non-commercial purposes within the terms of the Creative Commons license. The non-commercial and share-alike conditions are required to adhere to the licensing of the imagery used. Please contact me if you require an alternative version. As a minimum, attribution should read: “Source: Stilgherrian.” Online versions must link the word Stilgherrian to the website at stilgherrian.com.

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