Figaro Digital Friday Digest: 20 March 2015

by Figaro Digital

Welcome to our weekly digest of all things digital. Mobilegeddon, International Day of Happiness and why social media is disrupting your life, all wrapped up nicely in a neat little parcel.

Happy Songs For Happy People

FigDigEst comes to you this week with a spring in its step and a song in its heart. That’s because it’s International Day of Happiness, an initiative put in place by the UN General Assembly in 2012 to promote the idea that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”. This year the UN has created the world’s happiest playlist.

Unexpectedly, it involves Ed Sheeran and James Blunt. It’s all happening here: #HappySoundsLike. Wisely, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proposes Stevie Wonder’s Signed Sealed & Delivered. Figaro Digital is unable to reach any sort of consensus on its cheeriest choon, so here’s a link to John Cage’s 1952 masterpiece 4’33: four and a half minutes of silence. Happiness, after all, writes white.

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

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Hey, you can take off the funny-looking glasses now—the eclipse is over. But as ‘eclipse day’ seems to be a full-day thing, here’s Mashable’s total eclipse playlist. We weren’t lucky enough to see anything here in London, but we love that the Huffington Post felt the need to post this article. Taking selfies during a solar eclipse is not good for you, people. Putting the camera down for a second, Oreo have taken advantage of the event with the launch of #OreoEclipse, which sees Oreo ‘eclipse’ The Sun with a translucent wrap-around ad.

All this talk of eclipses makes us fancy Jaffa Cakes. Can’t imagine why…

Happy Birthday.com

This week marked 30 years of the dot-com suffix. There are now more than 115 million registered domains – roughly 42 per cent all web addresses. A company called Symbolics.com registered the first in March 1985 and the site’s still there – sort of. In 2007 VacationRentals became the most expensive domain ever sold, going for $35 million. That’s still there too.

Until 2013 when ICAAN opened up the market, there were just 22 available extensions. According to Wikipedia there are now 810 top level domains. Not that we need ‘em. Versign report that the number of possible dot-com names is now more than 10 to the power of 98. Conveniently doing the math for us, Versign calculate that if all the world’s 2.5 billion internet users registered a .com every second for 30 million years, that would still only add up to one billionth of one billionth of one per cent of all available domain names. So we’ll probably be alright for the next 30 years.

Goodbye IE

Also announced this week: the end of Internet Explorer. In operation since 1995, the new browser is said to signal a move towards Firefox and Chrome. But what’s it going to be called? No one’s entirely sure.

“We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10.” Chris Capossella, Marketing Chief , Microsoft

The current codename is Spartan, which makes us think of Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas from 300 attempting to erase his search history with a spear. We’ll see how it fares in the clash of the browsers when Windows 10 comes our way later this year.

April 21 2015: Mobilegeddon

Stay tuned for a full round-up from our 19 March Marketing Summit. For now though, we alert readers to 21 April 2015 – Google’s mobile friendly website deadline. After that date, non-mobile-friendly sites will struggle in the search results. Take Google’s own mobile-friendly test here.

Time Out

Last week was all about Apple Watch, ah, watch. This week Chris Averill, CEO of we are experience, gets in touch to tell us why the launch is a technical marvel, if not a classic timepiece.

“Is a digital watch the innovation the mass market is looking for? I doubt it, but if Apple crack the display of information on a tiny screen and the input needed to drive it, then it takes us one step closer to world-and-human computer interaction that’s interface-free and therefore frictionless.”

Read the rest of the feature here.

We Live In The Moment (as long as we can share it afterwards)

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Remember that really cool photo you took during that once-in-a-lifetime thing that happened? You probably remember more about taking the picture than you do of the moment itself. According to Mashable, our obsession with Shares, Likes and ReTweets is actually really real—unlike that spontaneous selfie you just took.

Fifty-eight per cent of 1,623 people have said that their experiences have been interrupted by trying to capture the perfect picture. People have damaged their parenting routine and even risked their lives to get a Like. Joseph Greeny, co-author of New York Times bestseller Crucial Conversations has written, “‘Likes’ are a low-effort way of producing a feeling of social well-being that takes more effort to get in the real world”. A study by the BBC even suggests that FOMO (the fear of missing out) presents a social pressure that leads to social media addiction.

This obsession with social self-preservation prompted Gary Turk’s beautiful film, which urged the online generation to Look Up, and there’s a message for brands too. Durex have launched #connect in an effort to rekindle the human experience that (we’d hope) social sharing plays no part in.

The Death Of The Fingerprint

The humble fingerprint is becoming a thing of the past, says the BBC, as organisations turn to alternative biometrics such as vein authentication, facial recognition, decomposable tattoos, and wristbands that measure your unique heartbeat. A pay-by-finger solution is already being trialled with Sthaler’s FingoPay. Scan finger, confirm a personal detail, payment complete.

You Can Get It If You Really Want

We’re big fans here of Syzygy’s Digital Intelligence Today blog, edited by psychologist Dr Paul Marsden. (Stay tuned for an interview with Dr Paul in the next issue of Figaro Digital.) There we were recently alerted to Magic, an on-demand mobile service launched in the US in February. Users can text Magic with the object of their desire – whatever that may be – and Magic will get. Yup, you read that right. For a pre-agreed fee, Magic will get anything you want. This, notes Mashable, may be the logical extreme of the Uber economy – a model that values convenience above all else.

Founded more or less by accident by Mike Chen, last month Magic went viral in the States, with 18,000 requests for stuff in the first 72 hours. Putting aside the temptation to request a dragon, a unicorn, or the desiccated soul of a foe, (the website does stress that whatever you request must be legal and therefore, we infer, exist), Marsden analyses the psychological appeal of this sort of service. He explains that it offers instant gratification, simplicity, and consoles users with the comforting illusion that the world does indeed revolve around them. First item requested on Magic’s infinite portal to all the world contains? A spanner.

Is The Internet Making Us Edgy?

Information overload is a thing, says this article from The Guardian. With little or no access to an ‘off’ switch, the digital era has prompted behaviours in users that experts have paralleled with ADHD. “Hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity” are all behaviours encouraged by the “relentless internet”, according to Michael Pietrus PsyD at the University of Chicago.

A study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation highlights that, on average, 8-18 year olds “media multitask”— rapidly switching between devices or tasks — to such a degree that they manage to fit 10 hours and 45 minutes of internet use into seven hours.

Imagine someone changing the TV channel four times a minute. ‘Cos that’s what it’s… hang on. We’re doing something else now.

Compiled by Estelle Hakner and Jon Fortgang