DATA DUMP | Our phones are getting smarter, faster during lockdown!

Data is an interesting subject. Some people find it fascinating; some people find it boring and then there are some people that find it darn-right terrifying.

If you own a smartphone which I’m almost certain that 100% of the people reading this do, then you’ll know these little hand-sized devices operate completely on nothing other than data. Why is a smartphone given the word ‘smart’ anyway? I mean, it’s just a device you use to message your mates or look at images of sunsets in Thailand or even listen to your favorite beats while keeping a second eye on a video titled ‘top 100 cat compilations’… nothing smart about that? Right?

Well, like me, you’re probably one of many people on house arrest… sorry I mean lockdown right now and maybe you’ve decided to binge-watch a series on Netflix or re-live the best sports moments from the last decade on YouTube. If you’re part of the former group or even do both then maybe you’ve watched the critically acclaimed series Black Mirror and if you have, then you’d probably understand where I’m going with this.

Your phone knows a lot about you… a lot. The more you use it, the more it learns. We all know this, this is nothing revolutionary but right now, this minute, this second, your phone is learning a lot more about you on an increased rate. Its brain is working in overdrive and it’s being stuffed with knowledge while still yearning for more.

What you may not have noticed is that, you (the average Joe – like me) are using your phone a lot more now than before COVID-19 attacked and when the world was a ‘regular’ (I use that word sparingly) place. By doing this, you’re subconsciously feeding your phones more knowledge about you than you ever did. Now, the everyday distractions of life have significantly decreased – I apologise if you have kids… I don’t! You no longer have to travel to work, you no longer get to visit your mates, you no longer get to well… do what you used to. So, what are we doing instead? We’re searching for the perfect holiday to travel after this is all over, we’re video calling almost every day and we’re looking at baking recipes.

All of this is making your smartphone salivate and it will soon, if it hasn’t already start telling you that you’re interested in things you never thought that you were interested in.

Scrolling through Facebook one day, my phone advertised and easy-bake oven for eight-year-olds to me. I thought, ‘why would I be interested in that?’ However, thinking about it properly, when this lockdown started, I was one of those eager people who ran to the supermarket to buy flour and guess what? I started baking. But most importantly, I scoured through the interned to find not too difficult baking recipes. I was successful and now I’ve baked three cakes so far and I can’t wait to use my easy-bake oven for eight-year-olds (that arrived yesterday) to bake some fairy cakes, topped with strawberry jam and powdered sugar.

Back to the point… although that was part of the point (if you’re paying attention). We’re living in a time of wanting to pass the time. My baking anecdote is only a small level example of the data I’m providing my phone during these times. Of course, I didn’t have to be in lockdown to start baking but I did start baking because of this lockdown and I did provide my phone with new knowledge and the longer this continues, the more knowledge I and also you will give our phones.

Is it fascinating? Is it boring? Is it terrifying? Maybe it’s all three. But one thing is for sure, our smart phones are getting smart… faster. And by the time we’re allowed to go outside and smell that July air. Yes, I said July! Your phone will probably know things about you that you didn’t even know about yourself.

That being said, I have to go… my blueberry muffins are almost ready!

Netflix and Chill is taking over Cinema

Cinema once dominated the movie industry because it was simply the only player in the game. Society was fed a monopoly where there was only one place to watch big budget, fresh off the film movies.

As years past, the cinema industry has had to fight off opposition from illegal downloading, illegal streaming, DVD releases and television movies and have yet still managed to come out on top.

However, there’s a new kid on the block.  A digital streaming powerhouse that has got everyone talking. Netflix is the major player in the game that is on its way taking over the world of filmmaking and cinema. Along with the likes of others that battle it out in the industry like Amazon and later down the line, Facebook Watch. Netflix has the power to steamroll over the cinema industry.

It’s hard to fight against a service that only costs £6/£7 per month that allows you to watch anything they offer on their service with new titles coming weekly. In this day, an adult cinema ticket could cost you anywhere between £6 and £12 for one movie… Without the cinema essential, popcorn!

We are in an era where Netflix is producing big screen, cinema quality films for their platforms. These are movies that only a year ago you would have only been able to see at the cinema. They are now attracting big-time A-list, award-winning actors. Actors that in-turn help drive the marketability and advertisement of the films they make, driving more traffic to Netflix. A cycle in which Netflix simply keep winning.

People don’t want to spend their money to leave their house, travel to a cinema and watch a film on an uncomfortable chair with teenagers yelling in the background. Many people in the western world nowadays have access to a big screen TV, a comfortable sofa, a supermarket down the road where they can buy popcorn for £1 and finally, a movie and TV streaming service, allowing them to sit back, relax and enjoy a film in the comfort of their own home. A much more attractive proposition going to the cinema. Netflix and Chill is a thing!

At What Age Should We Start Engaging With Social Media?

 

Following on from the previous post, Olly and I thought it would be good to discuss at what age is it appropriate to engage with social media.

Oliver Campey writes his thoughts below.

A study back in 2014 conducted by Dr Richard Woolfsen and knowthenet.com highlighted that more than half of children had used social media by the age of 10. The report also found that 43% of these children had messaged strangers or engaged with negative comments by the age of 12.

The cynic amongst us may question the validity of the report or condemn certain elements in terms of how easy they are to measure. However, the fact does remain that children are engaging with social media at an increasingly younger age and it needs to be investigated as to whether this is safe.

Firstly, one the foundations of adopting any form of new technology or service is having an education on how best to use it. It’s a fact that when looking into the syllabus for younger age groups children are not educated by this stage on the positive and negative effects of social media. Personally, I think this needs to change. I wouldn’t say there’s an issue with the age that children are interacting with social media because as a generation we are adapting to new technologies at an earlier age than ever before. However, what does need addressing is providing children with an education from a young age so that they have a greater understanding of how to appropriately engage with social media.

Secondly, there needs to be further research into the negative effects of dopamine on the human brain and the formation of an addiction to likes and positive engagement across social platforms. As discussed in the previous post dopamine can be triggered by things such as gambling, alcohol, and smoking all of which are regulated and carry age restrictions of 18 or above. As highlighted by AdWeek, social media channels generally enforce an age restriction of 13+ and so there could be an argument to bring it more in line with the age restrictions for smoking, gambling, and alcohol.

Thirdly, social media is having a hugely negative impact on the younger generations ability to socialise and form meaningful relationships with their friends. Only yesterday was I sat in a cafe and I witnessed a group of friends all sat on their phones and not conversing with one another. To make things worse, when one of the group did spark up some form of a conversation, the others responded with a nod of the head or a mumbled grunt and continued flicking through their phones.

What kind of message does that send out to the person who initiated the conversation? It’s essentially saying, you’re not interesting enough for me to listen. I agree with Nat that we need to ensure that from a young age people are connected and have the ability to consume information whenever they need it. It’s common knowledge that teenagers are spending more time on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo to learn new skills and acquire new information.

I just think their needs to be a greater level of education on the safe and effective use of social media across the school system and for parents. A report by the NSPCC found that “More than half of parents are unaware of the age limit on Social Media”, this means they aren’t making well-informed decisions when allowing their children to roam free across social channels. If more work is done to provide children with a better education, it will eradicate so-called ‘social bad habits’ and allow us to become better communicators both professionally and personally.

Check out Nat’s vlog below for a greater level of insight into this topic!

The Takeover of Fortnite

This video game taking over a generation.

When we think about popular video games that attract a youth market, we think of such games like FIFA, Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. Games that are prominent with a male under 30 demographic and games that cause a wave of media outcry and popularity when they are released.

Well now, there’s a new kid on the block and this new phenomenon is not just a game, but a game-changer.

Fortnite is a game developed by ‘Epic Games’ and whether they knew it or not when creating this masterpiece, Fortnite has taken the internet by storm.

Firstly, Fortnite is free to download… Yes, free.

In an age where it is not un-common to spend £40-£50 on video games, Fortnite was released to the world for a grand total of £0. If you’re like me, you’d expect a free game to be subpar… Not the case for Fortnite. It’s a solid third person shooter that has a lot going for it. Sure, it’s not Halo or Call of Duty but it does offer a great piece of gameplay that is difficult to get anywhere else.

Fortnite is aimed at a younger, male audience that either still get pocket money from mum or simply don’t earn enough money to justify buying a £50 game that doesn’t come with years of accolades. So, when a free games pops up on the market, downloads go wild.

Along with the launch, came a wave of user-generated social media content that drove the publicity of this game to a new level.

People started using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch to talk about Fortnite. Bigger accounts that don £10m+ followers started to upload content because it is where the conversation lies. People didn’t and don’t want to miss out on what everybody else is making noise about. People aren’t addicted to Fortnite, it just has the same calling that any other new craze has. Young people simply do not want to get left behind. Heck, it’s the reason why I started playing it. It’s not an amazing game but it’s a solid game, it’s a free game that everyone is playing… So why don’t I start playing it?

But what do the developers get out of this? Sure, there’s a wave of free user-generated publicity, sure they have millions of users across the globe. But if the game is free, then how are they making money? There’s no advertising in the game so there’s no third-party income coming in through that traditional route.

The way Epic Games makes money through Fortnite is through in-game purchases. This has been a model that has been around since mobile gaming first jumped on the scene. You download a ‘free’ game from the app store and then once in the game you can pay for certain add-ons to make your gaming experience even better. The console gaming industry adopted this same model a while ago and it is still being used to extreme effect today. The best example of this probably comes in the form of FIFA Ultimate Team. Where you can physically use your own hard-earned money to pay for FUT points to buy or bid on players.

Fortnite allows users to pay for in-game add-ons that can make you a more formidable opponent when you’re up against your friends in the game. As more people play and the competition levels rise, people will want to outdo their counterparts and this is what Fortnite counts on to make money.

Fortnite is an online gaming example that has taken social media by storm and…

Sorry, Ryan’s online and asking me to play… Gotta go!

Non-verbal communication has taken over

We do not need to communicate verbally anymore. We are living in an age of technology innovations where the need to interact with someone with speech has disappeared. With messaging based apps on the rise and the comfort of expressing your mind over a screen rather than face to face takes over, verbal communication will continue to dwindle.

The future will host a world of virtual reality and augmented reality taking non-verbal communication that much further.

Fake people on social media

We are using social media as a platform to portray a life that we are only partly living. We want to show off to people, we want people to see how much fun we’re having and we even sometimes take pride and pleasure in flaunting riches.

We are now using social media to adopt personalities that our closest friends and family know isn’t really us. We use it as a means to stand out from the crowd when we are really just as common as the person standing next to us.

Have we become fake?

Social media word of mouth is the greatest marketing and advertising tool

Social media word of mouth is the greatest marketing and advertising tool. Period.

No matter what, if you have good content then you have the power to create something special; without even lifting a finger. The great thing about social media is that its users know a piece of good content and will create multiple strands of media from that content to sit on multiple platforms.

In this vlog, I speak about the recent events that has happened with United Airlines’ mishandling of a passenger and Borussia Dortmund’s team bus incident.

In the case of United Airlines, an unfortunate turn of events involving a passenger and airline staff resulting in the passenger being dragged off the plane by police officers. Fortunately, the event was recorded on mobile devices by passengers who uploaded their videos to social media. Of course, this created an uproar of emotion but what it also created was an opportunity for everyday social media content creators to act and use this event to create entertaining content which in turn made this event that much more visible to the public.

The amount of extra eye balls that this type of social media word of mouth added would have indeed been a number above comprehension. United Airlines certainly felt the impact of what social media can do and how it can ‘make’ or ‘break’ you.

With Borussia Dortmund, the use of the hashtag #BedForAwayFans was created by the club as well as its fans to help find Monaco fans a bed to sleep in for the extra night that the French fans stayed in Dortmund to support their team due to the match being postponed. This is by no means nothing new but the use of the hashtag created positive social media word of mouth to allow football fans to come together as one.

Whether for entertainment or for help or for anything else. If there is a good cause, good content or a good idea, people will use social media to share it, talk about it and promote it.

It is the very best form of marketing and advertising. Just don’t ask people to do it. Let them do it themselves!