Tick Yes Blog

Tag - online content

Aunty’s anti-piracy success

Taking on the content pirates could be as easy as ABC
In the early hours of Sunday morning, Australian-time, a significant victory in the battle against online content piracy was won. It was then that the ABC launched the new series of Doctor Who via its online iView platform – as soon as the show finished airing on BBC television in the UK.
Doctor Who, like Game of Thrones, is a magnet for illegal downloads, so the ABC pre-empted the issue by making the new series available on iView a week before it appears on television.
Almost 80,000 fans watched the episode, called Asylum of the Daleks, which represents a record for most plays in a 24-hour period. It represents the dawn of a bold new era for the Australian media. Not only is the national broadcaster recognising the importance of online content (and online content that effectively negates piracy), but it shows an awareness – shared by the likes of the BBC in the UK and ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC in the US – that shows viewed online does not represent a lost audience lost, but a technologically diverse audience.
As Michael Idato, senior television writer for the Sydney Morning Herald puts it: ‘By drawing them to iView, the ABC is able to encourage the habit of watching programs from licensed broadcasters, and also exposes them to the broadcaster’s slate of other content.’
In other words, online content is presenting broadcasters with a win-win situation.
 
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The dark side of content marketing

Far-right political groups in Europe are using online and social media content to spread their message
The Internet (and its offspring, social media) has been a boon for content creators – allowing anyone and everyone who wants to post, blog or tweet to do so. The vast majority of people are individuals, acting independently and sharing their thoughts with other individuals. But it is when online and social media content becomes collective that its effectiveness becomes fully apparent.
Whether that it is a good or bad thing is purely subjective. Many, perhaps even most, people believe inspiring uprisings against a corrupt, vicious and totalitarian Middle East regime is a good thing. But playing a role in civil disorder in a Western country may be viewed rather differently.
Moreover, groups that were once marginalised are able to generate attention and support as a result of how they use content. Far right groups (particularly in Europe) are a case in point. In fact, they are proving to be experts at content marketing, allowing a subjectively unpalatable message to be spread.
Writing in the Guardian recently, Dr Matthew Goodwin, associate professor in politics and international relations at the University of Nottingham in the UK, commented: ‘Today, almost everything you need to know about the far right is online. In fact, its activists have embraced the internet to such an extent that it’s now virtually impossible to track all the bloggers, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages that have, for them, become indispensable tools of communication.’
Credibility through content
Goodwin believes the digital age has ‘facilitated the quest for credibility’ for far-right organisations. He cites the example of the British National Party (BNP). Once only heard about at election time in Britain when a handful of candidates would stand, it has parlayed a dynamic, interactive website through which it can remain in the public consciousness year-round into 85,000 Facebook likes – almost as many as the Liberal Democrats, a member of the two-party coalition government.
Goodwin also says social media has ‘helped the far right sustain the loyalty of followers and cultivate a strong collective identity’. Where once those followers were ridiculed in the wider community, there is strength in virtual numbers. He argues that this is particularly significant because the ‘far right is not simply about winning elections; it also strengthens and passes a particular belief system and collective identity on to future generations.
Online and social media content also enables new forms of far right mobilisation, says Goodwin: ‘Perhaps the most significant is the Immortal group in Germany, which emerged in 2011. Organised around Twitter and other social media, it stages unregistered rallies at night, at which its activists wear white masks, carry torches through urban areas and chant extremist slogans. Shortly after each gathering, a professionally produced video appears on YouTube. Intended to demonstrate the group’s power and support, the imagery harks back to the torchlight processions of inter-war Nazism…
‘While bringing opportunities, the digital age has also brought fresh challenges. In circumventing traditional channels of communication, it seems that we are only at the very beginning of a much broader shift in terms of how far right groups are rallying support. Mainstream parties and other groups will have to be on their guard to ensure their messages of hate do not take hold.’
It is, of course, important to remember that Internet has not created these groups or their opinions, but it has allowed them to get their message across consistently and to more people. The content marketing is good, the product is anything but.

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If you can’t beat ’em

Microsoft revamps Hotmail and puts social media content at the heart of it
Eight years is a long time between drinks. And as anybody who owns a computer or Smartphone knows, it’s an even longer time between updates. For most of us, a pop-up letting us know that there’s a newer, better, safer, faster version of n existing program is a regular occurrence.
Yet believe it or not, it has been eight years since Microsoft (which happily updates Office on a weekly basis) last updated Hotmail. Now, though, the software giant is making up for last time, because it is not simply updating its webmail service, it is overhauling and renaming it. So farewell Hotmail (1996-2012) and hello Outlook (2012-?).
The change has come about in part because Microsoft wants to prevent Google’s Gmail taking any more of its market share, but also because, as Chris Jones, Corporate Vice President of Windows Live put it in a recent blog post, ‘a lot has changed in the last eight years, and we think it’s time for a fresh look at email’.
One of the most significant changes has, of course, been the rise and rise of social media. Individuals are now content creators, companies are now publishers, and Microsoft has recognised that email needs to keep up with the times.
So as well as automatically detecting mass messages (like newsletters, offers and social updates) and placing them in customisable folders, Outlook also lets users link up with their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts, and chat online via Facebook.
Not surprisingly, Outlook also allows easy use of Microsoft’s existing Internet products, including Office Web Apps and SkyDrive. Currently in preview mode, the full service will have Skype video chat as a built-in feature.

Not so long ago, email revolutionised communication, and now it is itself being revolutionised by online and social media content.
 
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Pay it forward

How Craigconnects is setting the not-for-profit content marketing standard
When it comes to not-for-profit organisations, content marketing is one of the most valuable tools in a fundraiser’s bag of tricks. Not only is it affordable and effective, but it is also one of the best ways to increase awareness around a certain cause. Take the KONY 2012 campaign. While it caused a healthy amount of cynicism and controversy, no one could argue that its prime ambition – to raise awareness about Joseph Kony – hasn’t been achieved.
Here, The Message looks at Craigconnects, a non-profit that is ticking a lot of boxes when it comes to promoting itself – and others – through social media and online content.
You might not be aware of Craigconnects yet, but you’ve almost certainly heard about Craigslist, the more famous older sibling of the initiative, founded by American Craig Newmark.
The point of Craigconnects is to create a platform where non-profits can get a bit of recognition, as well as the opportunity to connect with each other. Using the flow-over publicity from the success of Craigslist, Newmark has committed at least 20 years to championing the causes he is passionate about and allowing non-profits to capitalise (so to speak) on his fame.
Here’s Newmark explaining what his new project is all about:

Connecting with other non-profits through content
One of the main issues facing non-profits is that they are often in competition with other charities for awareness, funds and media attention. Working against each other, however, is in complete opposition to the raison d’ętre – trying to help people – of most such organisations around the world.
In order to achieve the greatest success, non-profits need to work with, rather than against each other, which is exactly what Craigconnects enables them to do.
Not only does Newmark aim to further the causes of these charities, but he is also interested in finding out how they can help themselves. Recently, the philanthropist created an infographic based on the top 50 non-profits in the US and compared how they used social media. The results are surprising (the highest-earning non-profits were rarely reflected in the top social media results), but are also invaluable to other non-profits wanting to improve their online content strategies.

Craig Newmark has the advantage of 17 years experience in making social media work for him. Non-profits would do well to take a leaf out of the Internet Don’s book and apply some of his own techniques to their campaigns. Newmark himself would be only too happy to help.
 
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Controlling children’s content

New technology allows parents to remotely switch off their children’s phones, read their texts and see what websites they’re visiting in the name of safety. But should they be allowed to?
‘Controlling children’s content’ – it’s an ominous heading; one that conjures up images of censorship and totalitarianism. But for many parents, knowing what sort of mobile content their children are accessing provides much-needed peace of mind in the Smartphone age.
A new initiative in the UK promises just that. Called Bemilo, it bills itself as the UK’s ‘safest mobile network’ and is designed specifically for children. The company surveyed 2000 parents, who revealed that 40 per cent of their children aged eight to 16 who have a mobile phone are sleep-deprived due to using their phone late at night, while 25 per cent have been subjected to mobile phone bullying.
Bemilo (which runs on the Vodafone network in the UK) believes it has the answer with its ‘safety pack’. Costing Ł2.95 (about $4.70) a month, the pack features a SIM card that, once installed in the child’s phone, can be remotely managed from a computer to prevent the child going online, making calls or texting during certain times.
Safe or sinister?
Bemilo founder Simon Goff told the BBC: ‘It enables parents to have full control in the context of safety. They can allow or disallow certain contacts to call them and they can set the times of day the phone can operate.’
Mr Goff also said that parents would be able to read their children’s text, which, may seem like an invasion of privacy to some, but given that a report commissioned by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in the UK found that ‘teenage girls were coming under increasing pressure to text and email sexually explicit pictures of themselves’, it’s a step many parents around the world would be willing to take.
The Bemilo safety pack has drawn the support of groups in the UK, with Dr Katherine Rake, CEO of the Family and Parenting Institute, saying:  ‘Today’s generation of children are facing new pressures, such as mobile phone bullying, and parents want help in protecting them.’

What do you think? Are you a parent? Would you use Bemilo or something like it in the interests of protecting your children, or do you believe it represents an invasion of their privacy?

 
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On the shoulders of giants

Online content has a lot to live up to           
Rupert Murdoch has said newspapers will be dead in 10 years; James Packer is reportedly set to divest himself of his magazine empire. Traditional publishing is, by most reckonings, on its last legs.
And yet…
The current Time magazine cover (left) showing a woman breastfeeding her three-year-old encapsulates everything that was – and, for now, still is – great about old-school, hard-copy, printed newspapers and magazines. Moreover, it shows how content can (and should) provoke, engage, enrage, challenge and become an integral part of the debate.
Above all, though, it shows that when online content inevitably replaces its print forebear, it has a duty to maintain that journalistic tradition.
More than any other medium, print has encapsulated the zeitgeist and shaped every facet of society. Think of Woodward and Bernstein at The Washington Post breaking the scandal that brought down a president. Think of Hunter S Thompson at Rolling Stone or the Playboy interview with John Lennon.
Or think of these images, each of them capturing something extraordinary – from the endless possibilities of the moon landing to the horror of the Vietnam War, from the refusal of the human spirit to bend to oppression in Tiananmen Square to the desperation of 9/11.

All of those pictures were published in newspapers and/or magazines. They have quite possibly been seen by less people than Angelina Jolie’s leg, but their emotional impact (and their longevity) has been far greater.
Would they have had that same impact – and generated that same engagement – if they were only published as a live-tweet? Or would they be shared, go viral and then quickly be forgotten? Is content in the digital and social media age in danger of becoming too instant to be iconic?
What goes online may well stay online, but the challenge for content creators is making it as memorable as the content that has gone before.
 
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Newspapers ‘dead’ in 10 years – Murdoch

It’s official, the Internet is about to emerge victorious from the battle for content supremacy
In case you didn’t notice it, you are at war – and reading this article is an act of aggression. That’s essentially the gist of one of Rupert Murdoch’s many pronouncements at the Leveson inquiry in the UK.
The inquiry was established following the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, and for the last two days the Australian-born media mogul has been the star witness/attraction.
In the course of his testimony, Murdoch has admitted that he should have shut the News of the World earlier (but that there was no cover-up involving him or his son James) and denied that he has ever been able to – or even tried to – exert undue influence over successive British prime ministers, from Margaret Thatcher to David Cameron.
Whether or not you believe his denials probably owes much to your degree of personal cynicism towards any situation where power and politics collide, but one Murdoch statement has an unquestionable ring of truth:
‘We’re dealing in a very complex world with disruptive technologies, and we’re suffering at the hand of those,’ he told the inquiry. ‘Every newspaper has had a very good run… [but] it’s coming to an end as a result of these disruptive technologies.
‘I think we will have both [Internet and print news] for quite a while, certainly ten years, some people say five. I’d be more inclined to say 20, but 20 means very small circulations.’
RIP newspapers
It’s a startling admission of near-certain defeat from the man who, love him or loathe him, has built one of the world’s great business empires on the back of the newspaper. And although you can bet that such a man will not go down fighting, his choice of words suggest that it is media evolution rather than revolution that will ultimately have proved decisive.
The ‘disruptive technologies’ he refers to are, of course, the Internet and its social media offspring. Online magazines like The Message are superseding their print antecedents by covering the same issues but offering universality of access. Which is why every word you choose to read online rather than in print is another wound inflicted on the medium Rupert Murdoch spearheads.
Yet by predicting that online (and social media) and print news content will co-exist for anywhere from five years to two decades brings to mind the time at the dawn of human history when Neanderthals and Homo sapiens co-existed before the latter ultimately forced the former into extinction.
Like Homo Sapiens, online and social media content is better placed to meet the challenges posed by the modern world, where immediacy of information and the desire to source news from a variety of trusted, personal sources has become paramount.
And like Neanderthals, newspapers are shortly fated to become museum pieces – fascinating curiosities that provide insight into a bygone era, but whose contemporary relevance is no more.
RIP.
 
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The war on content suppression

The US announces sanctions against authoritarian regimes that block access to online and social media content
As The Message reported last week, social media is perceived as helping individuals make a difference. The flip side is that, as a report in The Guardian reveals, technology has also been used ‘to track dissidents or block Internet access’.
Specifically, it is reported that ‘Iran has provided the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad with technology to jam cell phones and block or monitor the social networking sites rebels would use to organise demonstrations’.
Now, however, the West – and specifically the US – is taking steps to stop such totalitarian controls, with president Barack Obama signing an executive order authorising sanctions ‘against foreign entities and individuals who help authoritarian regimes use technology to crack down on dissidents’.
Although the penalties (which include financial restrictions) are said to be particularly aimed at Syria and Iran, The Washington Post reports that ‘it could be extended to include other countries’.
 
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The Google gallery

For online content at its best, this simply can’t be beaten
There’s a rather condescending theory that suggests online content is somehow inferior to its traditional counterpart; that for all technology can offer, it cannot replace the thrill of seeing something of immense historical and cultural importance ‘in the flesh’. The Mona Lisa, for example. For about a minute before being made to move on. Surrounded and jostled by about three and a half thousand other people all thinking, ‘Isn’t it small?
Sure, it’s an experience, but is it a good one when you don’t get time to admire the exquisite detail of a classic painting, the brush strokes of genius, the finesse of the artist?
Not only that, but visiting the likes of the Museum of Modern Art in New York or the National Gallery in London or even the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney simply isn’t an option for most people, constrained by money, time, location and circumstance.
Which means that, when done properly, online content can use technology to become an enabler. And Google has certainly done it properly with its brilliant Art Project.
This online platform allows people to access high-resolution artworks housed in some of the world’s leading museums. But it’s not just looking at a static image, you can magnify sections to see in clear details the techniques applied – an opportunity that simply isn’t possible with the real McCoys hanging on various walls around the world.
Originally launched in February 2011 with 17 partner museums, the Art Project now features over 32,000 artworks from 46 museums. And it keeps getting bigger, with Google recently announcing that a further 151 museums from 40 countries will be participating.
This wonderful initiative further shows how traditional mediums can be enhanced by technological advances. It really is online content at its best.
 
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The answers are…

Here are the answers to our online content quiz
Last week, we asked if you could sort the photo content fact from fiction. We posted 15 Internet images and invited you to tell us whether you thought they were real or simply made clever use of Photoshop. Obviously, you are all eagerly awaiting the big reveal, so here are the answers…
1. Black and white twins

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… real.
2. ‘Welcome to Kenya’ sign

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… fake. (Fairly obviously since Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.)
3. Water bridge

 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… real. It’s the Magdeburg Water Bridge in Germany.
4. Tongue zip

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This painful-looking (but clever) image was… fake.
5. Giant crab

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This monster crab was… real.
6. ‘Hands of God’ clouds

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… fake.
7. ‘Eye of God’ nebula

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… real. Cool, huh?
8. The home computer – as predicted in the 1950s

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… fake.
9. Sun and moon at the North Pole

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… fake.
10. Giant dog

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… real.
11. Working moose

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Arguably the trickiest of the lot to pick, but it was… fake.
12. ‘Look behind you!’

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unfortunately… a fake.
13. Dog and polar bear playing

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… real.
14. Triple waterspout

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… fake.
15. Niagara Falls frozen

 
 
 
 
 
 
This image was… real. Opinions differ on when it was taken (1848 and 1911 are the prime contenders), but it is thought to be indisputably genuine.
All the images came from the About.com Urban Legends site. After all, Internet content is the perfect medium for spreading urban legends!
 
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