Social Media Frontiers

Thursday, March 05, 2015

A Look At SMF's Top Books

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So it’s World Book Day. How many of you realised that it was before it started trending on Twitter? Bonus points for you if you did.

To mark this book love fest, we thought we’d share some of our favourite books in hope that gets more people reading.
So let’s get into it shall we?

Callum:


Callum, one of our content writers named his favourite book as ‘1984’ by George Orwell. 1984 is probably the first novel that comes to mind whenever someone mentions dystopia. 1984 weaves us a tale of government surveillance and perpetual war. The term ‘Big Brother’ comes from the character of the same name within the book. Definitely worth a read.

Adam:


In keeping with words and phrases entering the English language thanks to books, we have Adam’s favourite: ‘Catch 22’. This is a satirical novel about Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier and other airman who are based in an island camp in the Mediterranean. The novel focuses on them trying to keep their sanity, fulfil their service requirements and return home.
The phrase Catch 22 means a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules. So basically your average 9-5. Adam also wants an honourable mention for Dr. Suess’ ‘Oh ThePlaces You’ll Go!’ Though he’s refrained from reading it today as he’s worried it’ll spur him to finally up and leave us here at SMF. We’d probably miss him.

Megan:


Megan is another of our content writers. Her book of choice is 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'. The novel is narrated by the character Oskar Schell, a nine year old boy whose father died during the terror attacks on the world trade centres in 2011. Oskar finds key hidden in a vase which was left by his father and then sets out to find its significance.

Tom:


My favourite book? Now that’s tricky. Truth be told I don’t really read all that much to be honest. My top choice this year has to go to Kirsty Logan’s ‘The Rental Heart and Other Fairy Tales’ I love modern retelling of fairy tales, especially when they’re done with a mature spin. Logan captures this perfectly and I’d say one of the most successful examples of retelling since Angela Carter’s 'The Bloody Chamber'. Give it a go, you won’t regret it. The Baba Yaga tale is exceptional.

Jack Tottie:


Jack is one of our graphic designers and his book of choice is 'The Hobbit'. Do I need to say too much about this book? I’m guessing most of you are pretty clued up about it. Especially with the film trilogy ending late last year. All I can say is that if you've only watched the Hobbit, you should read it too. Tolkien’s universe is unparalleled.  Jack also has an honourable mention for 'GreenEggs and Ham' by Dr. Seuss. Did you know that Green Eggs and Ham is made up of just 50 words? It was written in a very simple way in order to aid children with their vocabulary and reading.

Jack Bonson:


Jack’s our office manager and after a while, finally settled on ‘Scar Tissue’. This is the autobiography of the lead singer for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Anthony Kiedis. The biography chronicles his life and he doesn't hold back when talking about his struggles with drug addiction.

Emma:


Emma’s decided on the Millennium Trilogy which consists of three books: ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’, ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ and ‘The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest’. I've checked and choosing three books isn't cheating. Emma’s also assured that she doesn't keep a hornet nest in the office. I’m sure that you've heard of these books just by the films alone. If you don’t fancy giving them a read (which you should if you fancy something a bit tense), Emma recommends the Swedish versions of the films.

Avraam:


The ever mysterious man in the office has named ‘Catcher InThe Rye’ as his favourite. I’m pretty sure that a large majority of you would remember this one if you studied Literature in school, it was always a popular choice. J. D. Salinger’s novel deals with themes of teenage angst and alienation. I guess the best way to portray it is Callum’s apt description: ‘A t***ty person doing t***ty things.’ He still loved the book though. 

Anna:


With another book which gained notoriety through a film, Anna's favourite is 'PS: I Love You'. Regardless of what you made of the film (Anna wasn't a fan, I cried at the start) it's a wonderfully charming little love story. I never could shake the image of Gerard Butler as Leonidas though. Ruined the magic for me just a touch.

Leo


Leo's our newest writer here at SMF and he's spent most of the day so far struggling to narrow down his choices. He's struggled so much that we've let him have three favourites. They are: 'The Rum Diary', 'Shadow of the Wind' and 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being'.
As he's got three I can't go into too much detail over each of them, but judging the time it took him to decide it's safe to assume that he's made some good choices.

Bryn

Finally on our list of favourite books we have Bryn's 'The Big Sleep' written by Raymond Chandler. This book has been adapted into film twice, not too shabby. It's a crime novel which was praised for it's complexities of betrayal and secrecy. If you love crime or detective stories, this one should resonate with you

So there's some of our favourite books here at SMF. We hope that spurs you on a bit to try out one or two of our top choices.

Now these are just our personal favourites, but we'd like to know what yours are! Get in touch and let us know.

Most importantly, go and read something today. It's good for the soul.

worldbookday.com


Tom Welby

Tom has a degree in Creative and Professional Writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other interests include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.  

World Book Day And Our Favourite Books

'Time For A Cuppa'

maturetimes.co.uk

As Dementia UK’s annual event ‘Time for a Cuppa’ is taking place this week, it felt only fitting to have a look at what Social Media is currently doing to help those suffering from dementia.

With all the bad press social media has been receiving recently, it’d nice to hear of it using its endless powers for good, rather than evil.

So what is Social Media doing for dementia sufferers at the moment?

- Dementia Friends – an Alzheimer’s Society initiative– encourages people to develop their understanding of what it is like to live with dementia. They recently have been targeting more young people, to try to create an entire dementia friendly generation. And of course, what’s the quickest way to reach the youth of today? Social media.

liverpoolecho.co.uk

1 in 3 young people know someone with dementia, so they are being asked to post a photo and write about a friendship or memory on their social media accounts. They then can tag friends and then ask others to become a Dementia Friend using the hash tag: #favouritefriendmemory.

The campaign was launched last May and there are already over 1 million Dementia Friends signed up.

- The development of a Facebook app called FaceDementia by Alzheimer’s Research UK is also an innovative way to experience what thousands of people go through daily. The app aims to raise awareness by simulating the symptoms of Dementia by scrambling your Facebook information and fading your pictures right before your eyes. But don’t worry, your actual timeline remains intact and the app doesn’t hold onto any of your personal information. Luckily for us, it’s just an app, but for many people this is a reality.

facedementia,org

- If all that isn't enough for you to get online and help out Dementia UK, then how about free goodies? To encourage people to take place in ‘Time For a Cuppa,’ one of their biggest events of the year, Dementia UK are asking you to share your tea party pics with them via Facebook and Twitter using #mycuppaparty. If you win, Unilever Food Solutions has donated a hamper full of treats which will be all yours.

It is reassuring to see Social Media making such a positive impact on lives all over the country, raising awareness and moving us with their stories.

Twitter is expecting to see an influx of Tweets over the coming week, all involving pictures of vintage style tea parties, cupcakes or loved and, sometimes sadly, lost family members. It would be truly inspiring to see something like #mycuppaparty trend instead of political scandals, llama chases and sports news.

Megan Herdson
Megan is a country girl who moved to the city with some big dreams. She is studying her MA in Creative Writing whilst also managing an American Football Team.  She loves her blog and wants nothing more than to have her words read. That and to win the Championship, obviously. Follow her @MeganAtSMF
Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.

Social Media And Dementia Support

Oh Tinder, when will you learn?

www.dailydot.com

Nobody was exactly standing up and applauding when Tinder announced that they would be introducing a bigger, better, paid version of their wildly successful dating/one-night-standing app, but they did it anyway. Now, only days after launch, users are already complaining about it.

Tinder Plus allows users to ‘rewind’ to rectify an accidental leftward swipes and match with people across the nation instead of just locally, among other things. The biggest issue people seem to be having with it is that it’s priced more cheaply for younger users. In America the monthly $9.99 fee is exclusively available to under-30s, whilst everyone else has to pay twice that. The over-30 crowd are not amused, many of them have taken to Twitter to voice their frustration.



It’s understandable, charging older people more money to look for love (or whatever else) looks pretty bad no matter how you spin it, you’re either making them out to be more desperate or assuming they have more money to devote to such things.

The other, rather unfortunate measure Tinder have taken is to limit the number of times a standard user can swipe within a certain time frame, throwing up a 12 hour blockade whenever they hit said limit. The limit is also not set, it changes depending on the user, and is meant to encourage users to be a bit more discerning with their swiping, supposedly.


The reason Tinder is so successful is because it’s simple (and cynical), you like the look of someone, you swipe right, they like you back, you immediately know you aren’t wasting your time. Throwing in new features that make the system more complex is only going to frighten users away, and there’s plenty of up-and-coming competition out there for them to migrate to. This strikes me as a policy that will either be very quickly recanted, lest Tinder suffer a mass user exodus, people might actually starting going outside and meeting each other organically again, we can’t have that.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.

Tinder Plus is Already Burning Out

The Duang and Short of It

www.foreignpolicy.com

If there’s something to be gleaned from the recent chameleon dress fiasco, it’s that the internet can spiral into insanity at any time for any reason. If nothing else, the dress at least raised some interesting scientific questions about light and perception of colour. The same cannot be said of this new, Chinese brand of viral lunacy: ‘Duang’.

What does it mean? Nothing. It’s just a noise, it can’t be spelt with the Chinese dictionary, it’s a nonsense syllable, but over past few weeks Chinese social networks (particularly Weibo, their equivalent to Twitter) have blown up as a result of it. As of February 27th it been searched 8.5 million times on Chinese social media and continues to trend even now, despite nobody knowing what it actually means.

www.mashable.com (via Weibo)

How did it start? Duh, Jackie Chan. If a Chinese actor has made any kind of name for themselves in Hollywood, but still works at home, it’s a pretty safe bet that they do a shedload of advertising. Ziyi Zhang, Chow Yun Fat, Andy Lau, Jet Li, all the big Chinese names do copious amounts of TV advertising and Chan is no exception. He’s been the poster-boy for Bawang Shampoo for years now, extolling the joys of “very bright, very dark, very soft” hair.

At some stage during one of these odd commercials, Chan waved his arms around his glimmering mane and said ‘DUANG’. Presumably he was using it as an onomatopoeic term to describe the general bounciness that had been achieved by Bawang’s ‘Anti-hair Fall Shampoo’, but then some intrepid YouTuber took the ad, sliced it up and had Chan’s words recut to a beat, turning duang into the central statement of the video.


Now duang seems to mean both everything and nothing. The newly christened character has been popping up everywhere, used in a variety of contexts. Some are confused by it, others embrace it, but all obsess over it. Even Chan himself tweeted about it, thus bringing the entire phenomenon full circle. Duang can now, it seems, mean a few different things. To feel duang is to feel good, something can be ‘duang cute’ or ‘duang cool’, the list goes on. It will probably fizzle out by the end of the week, but it’s comforting to know that social media trends in the East are just as weird and random as the ones we get over here.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.

‘Duang’ – The Meaningless Chinese Syllable that Broke the Internet

Corporate Kingdoms

www.fastcodesign.com

Now more than ever, comparisons between the modern business world and the 15th century seem appropriate. Back then the lord with the biggest castle commanded the most respect and now social media, technology and internet giants are demonstrating their influence by unveiling plans for huge, elaborate home bases.

Facebook will soon be sporting a Frank Gehry-spearheaded stronghold (and are planning to build a $400 million housing estate for theirstaff), whilst Apple have been gradually developing plans for a ridiculous giant glass doughnut for the past 5 years or so. Now Google have upped the stakes even further, after unveiling plans for new headquarters built out of magic glass biodomes that can be changed and expanded at will, depending on the needs of the staff.

www.fastcodesign.com

Between this, the on-going development of self-driving cars and specific staff-dedicated living areas like Facebook’s, big online firms are starting to resemble medieval lords, clawing for more land and building vast, elaborate castles to demonstrate their power. Google’s Mountain View territory comprises 71 acres of land, or around 40 football pitches, but their current cubist office complex (called the Googleplex) is fairly uninspiring. Architects from Heatherwick Studio (responsible for that striking Olympic torchredesign used during London 2012) and Bjarke Ingels Group (who are also currently working on this amazing housing project in New York) have been drafted to work on the project, provided the Silicon Valley city council give it the all-clear.


www.fastcodesign.com

In a recent interview Clive Wilkinson, the brains behind the original Googleplex praised the new design and compared it to London’s Crystal Palace, in terms of innovation and forward thinking (but hopefully this won’t overheat and burn to the ground like that did). Supposedly the glass shells will be able to adapt to the sunlight, allowing more or less in depending on the time of the day and what part of the structure you’re in. Outside of that, the concept designs show that the structures will be intermingled with parks, cycle paths, a brook and underground parking, just so that nothing on the surface can interfere with the feng shui of it all.

Google have always been determined to carve their own path when it comes to employment, their hiring policies and office politics are often joked about, but they remain one of the most desirable hiring destinations for up-and-coming web designers, graphic designers, researchers and many others, so they must be doing something right. Maybe it’s all the bean bags.



Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.

Google Breaks New Ground in Silicon Valley Arms Race

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

What's App'nen Dicky Three?

imgkid.com

Richard the Lionheart will be roaring back to life this month. Supreme royal treatment aplenty has left the late monarch unearthed and armed with not a sword, but a smart phone. The BBC has created a WhatsApp account in the name of the recently disturbed King-turned-carpark attendant, with the hope of ringing his notable tale throughout the country.

discovermagazine.com

His death marked the end of the dark ages, and he has since been immortalized by the pen of William Shakespeare. However, a cultural resurrection will take place on the 22nd of March when the skeletal remains will be gracefully lifted from Leicester University and tactfully toured around the historically relevant locations of the Leicestershire. The tour will also feature a preliminary service in Bosworth to remember the journey that preceded his death in 1485.

The media coverage will climax March 26th when the remains of Richard III are due to be suitably laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral.  The BBC promise to update participants via WhatsApp, with text, photos and videos, all in the spirit of somber reverence and spiritual celebration.

As told by the BBC, to sign up, be edified, and remain in the loop, just add:

BBC Richard III” to your contacts with the number: 07935 237 178 attached.

Then simply send the word “King” via WhatsApp, and prepare for live streams of relevant info that can be ended with an easily sent “Stop” to the same number.

Channel 4 will also be televising the Burial at Leicester Cathedral amongst a host of Royally related programs. The full schedule is available here

Who knows, maybe the reigniting of the battle-hardened king’s life and reputation may even provoke a tweet from the current reining lady’s twitter account. @BritishMonarchy



Leo Donnelly

Ever wondered what would happen if you gave a half-crazed, semi-concussed, unstoppable maverick a platform to write about social media? Follow him @LeoAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.  

Ye Olde English King: Richard III On Whats App

Face Team Up With Mental Health Organisations To Reach Out To Those In Need 

Facebook have begun rolling out a set of tools which is designed to aid in suicide prevention by reaching out to people who seem troubled.

Social media is a great way to connect with your friends. It’s also quite good for throwing statuses, tweets and filtered pictures at everyone too.

But for some social media users, it’s utilised as a tool to talk about their depression and in their darkest moments, a way to express their desires to commit suicide or to say goodbye. 

Now, thanks to some new tools, Facebook users will be able to report worrying posts where you fear the user might be having suicidal thoughts. The post will then be quickly reviewed by a third party who will then decide if they should reach out to the reported user.

Here’s what will pop up for the user if it’s decided that their content is cause for concern:

mashable.com

As you can see, you can choose to talk to someone. A professional or even just a friend. Users will also be able to choose to look through a selection of support guides and tips.

To create this set of tools, Facebook teamed up with a number of mental health organisations in order to make sure that the methods and language used would be appropriate in order to reach out to those most in need.  The organizations include and are not limited to: Forefront, Now Matters Now, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Save.

Take a look at how it all works here:


Naturally, this sounds like a fantastic new tool for Facebook. We’re really not quite good enough at accepting that mental health is just as much of an illness as a physical issue yet. But at least Facebook is taking steps in the right direction.

Unfortunately, I do worry about this feature being abused. Last year a similar feature was introduced to Twitter by the Samaritans. The system operated on an algorithm that picked out buzz words and it left a lot to be desired. It caused people struggling with issues to feel even more vulnerable. It also gave stalkers and bullies a chance to increase the level of abuse they were already cowardly dishing out. Nasty little blighters, hey?

However, since the Twitter CEO admitted that they were at fault for the levels of abuse on their site, Twitter has since tripled the size of their team which deals with abuse.

Furthermore, Facebook’s suicide prevention tool requires actual human interaction in order to reach out to someone. If they act fast, it should prove much more successful that Twitter’s last attempt. 

Tom Welby

Tom has a degree in Creative and Professional Writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other interests include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.  

Facebook Implement Suicide Prevention Tools