This week, FigDigEst chats to Telegraph Hill expert Chris Moonabout social media’s role in the general election, and considers the comeback of some of the world’s best-loved tech
The Election Bandwagon
The general election dominated online conversation yesterday, as three million Facebook users logged in to press the ‘I Voted’ button and, on Twitter, #IVoted trended worldwide. More than half of these engagements were made by people under the age of 34. Chris Moon, Head of Analytics and Insights at Telegraph Hill, tells FigDigEst “Young people understand that free speech is a privilege we should respect. We have it better than most. Today, people are prouder than ever to say ‘I’ve Voted’ and show off their social badge of honour. A blue thumb or tick emoticon doesn’t say ‘I support Labour’ or ‘I love the British political system’—it shows a support of free speech”.
So has social media’s role in this general election been educational or purely entertaining? We saw #DogsAtThePollingStation top the trending charts yesterday. We’ve seen memes and trends galore poking fun at the inadvertent slip-ups of the country’s party leaders, not forgetting the fourth consecutive anniversary of #EdBallsDay (please look it up if you haven’t seen it). But what about education? Moon says “Politicians don’t understand how to use social media to educate the public on their beliefs and policies. Apart from Ed Miliband. It didn’t help him win the election, but he used the power of social to build up a following—the ‘Milifandom’—to push his message. He understood that you need an entertainment style to educate young people. If future politicians don’t use social platforms for educational purposes, then they will just be full of gifs, memes and the odd Vine. Social media definitely has something much more promising to offer to politics”.
As with all dates in the public calendar, this week’s climax of the 36-day election campaign offered a perfect opportunity for some wonderful marketing moments. Pizza Hut went for a tongue-in-cheek politician-inspired menu; The Clegg is listed as ‘Free for students (TBC)’ while The Cameron ‘Comes with cuts everywhere in a long term economic pan’. Meanwhile, Paddy Power decided to park this truck outside of Parliament with a message for MPs: ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’.
How did they know?
GAME OVER… (Wait, Rewind?)
There was a time, not so long ago, when all we needed from our mobiles was the ability to make calls and the option to play Snake. Endless hours of fun (and anger) could come from trying to stop a little squiggly line from touching the sides of the screen, as it grew longer and longer and inevitably got tangled up in itself. Developed by Taneli Armanto, Snake first came to Nokia in 1997. And now the iconic game is back, for the smartphone no less. Next Thursday, iOS, Android and Windows Phone users will be able to download the game, complete with bonus features and the ability to rewind—yes, rewind—if you crash. FigDigEst are keen to see if the charm of the game will live on after its fancy makeover.
Step Into Our World
Oculus announced this week that the Rift—their long-awaited VR headset bought by Facebook for £1.3b last year—will become available to consumers in the first quarter of 2016. The timing of its release means that HTC’s Vive headset will actually be first on the market and, potentially, could coincide with the launch of PlayStation’s Morpheus headset.
The revival of VR has prompted an influx of new and futuristic tech designed to plunge the connected user into the depths of digital experience. But let’s not forget the retro attempts of the 1990s that got us here. In the final years of the sixties, artist and programmer Myron Krueger proposed an ‘artificial reality’ that would transform the way humans and machines interacted. In the nineties, we had Virtuality Group’s vomit-inducing arcade games and cinema experiences, and Nintendo’s short-lived Virtual Boy. These paved the way for future technologies, opening up the public’s eyes to an artificial world beyond the physical. The Verge have compiled this VR history, looking back at twenty years of vision and imagination.
Wait A Minute Mr Postman
There are few things more infuriating than splashing out on a new piece of tech, only to receive it in the post and realise you’re just not the digitally-minded genius you thought you were. Well, former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson has got your back. His start-up ENJOY delivers a “personal expert” with every purchase, offering customers one hour of tuition and technical help to get them up and running (at no extra cost). And if you have an existing product at home that you just can’t work out, ENJOY can come and see you for 99 dollars. Johnson has deemed it “the world’s first personal commerce platform”, and joins a growing trend of businesses offering instant and highly tailored services.
The platform launched this week in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area and parts of Brooklyn.
Error, Geo Restriction
This Wednesday, the European Commission announced plans to create a digital single market, allowing people to access “the same online content and services regardless of the EU country (they) are in”. Following on from the existing single market, the commission hopes the initiative could boost the economy by 415 billion euros each year and, by encouraging a digitally-skilled society, create thousands of jobs.
Currently, EU cross-border online services make up only four per cent of the digital market. Just 15 per cent of consumers purchased online from another EU country in 2014, and only seven per cent of SMEs sell cross-border within the EU. Why? Because delivery cost are too high, for both e-shoppers and retailers, and geo-blocking stops many attempts at cross-border purchasing and/or streaming of films, music and games.
With the new digital single market, the European Commission hopes to unify internet regulations across the continent. This could see an opening up of platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, a decrease in shipping costs, abolition of data roaming charges and a general increase in efficiency of services and products for consumers.
This nifty little fact sheet from the European Commission will tell you all you need to know.
Backlinks – What We’ve Been Browsing This Week:
The Philosophy of Privacy: Why Surveillance Reduces us to Objects
Written by Estelle Hakner