Tick Yes Blog

Tag - online content

iBelieve (part 2)

The spread of social-media-savvy, religion-related content has reached, well, biblical proportions
Some time ago, we broke the news that organised religion has embraced social media and new technologies as a means of bridging the divide with a modern audience.
Now, the Sydney Morning Herald shows that first tentative trickle of innovation has become a flood of the sort that once apparently sent Noah scurrying for a hammer and some nails.
Religious apps are now all the rage – from a Lent Observation Tracker to a Budda Machine that ‘plays loops of meditative music and chants for relaxation and reflection.’
Similarly, religious material as online content is proving extremely popular, with hundreds of editions of the Bible available in ebook format.
Virtually every religion known to man – and deity – is now represented online and through technology. Which, in a way, shows just far content has come. Creation/religion stories formed the earliest content – the oral tradition that was eventually written down, then printed, then digitised and, now, turned into an app.
It seems there is life in the old gods yet…
 
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Movie marketing foreplay

Social media and online content has changed the game for the advance-publicity business
Jen Chaney has a point. The blogger and self-described ‘celebritologist’ argues in The Washington Post that Hollywood’s marketing of its movies has reached a whole new level thanks to online and social media content.
Movie marketers have always been in the hype business. In 1930, MGM’s publicity machine went into overdrive with the phrase ‘Garbo talks’. The difference, though, is that back then, films were hyped in the weeks before they were released. Now, we’re talking months and even years of advance publicity.
As Chaney points out, Warner Bros. unveiled the first picture of the new Superman, Henry Cavill, online in August last year. For a film – Man of Steel – that won’t be seen (legally, at any rate) until June next year. That’s almost two years of, Warners clearly hopes, ‘advance fanboy and fangirl chatter’.
Chaney notes that ‘engaging in a bit of premature audience seduction, particularly online, is hardly new’ (Blair Witch Project, anyone), but now the studios are applying a formerly low-budget strategy to its potential blockbusters, with ‘many films engaging in varying degrees of something we’ll call movie publicity foreplay. For several months, sometimes a year-plus, the studios behind these projects titillate fans with provocative sneak peeks — casting announcements, photos, trailers, alternate reality games — until it’s finally time to deliver the full monty: the movie itself.’
Online content and the reach of social media is the game-changer, with every film – from the soon-to-be-released Hunger Games to Peter Jackson’s not-soon-to-be-released (it won’t be seen until next year) Hobbit – getting in on the act.

Online content has altered expectations, with nerds, film buffs and the merely curious expecting behind-the-scenes tidbits in an advance, reversed manifestation of the now-standard DVD extras. So in a sense, the studios are merely responding to demand and giving the public what they want – proof of the power of social media.
But as Chaney points out, such a content marketing strategy can backfire ‘if it’s not executed properly’. She quotes film-publicity expert Joshua Jason: ‘You can campaign however you want and be clever. But you have to have product that stands up.’
Notable recent examples of films that clearly haven’t stood up to all the super-advance online-content publicity include Disney’s John Carter and Universal’s Cowboys & Aliens. Plus, ‘there’s also the risk of overdoing the marketing to the point where potential audience members are already sick of the movie before the first Saturday matinee’.
Whether that will happen with Avatar 2 is highly unlikely. Because as we all know, movie-goers simply can’t get enough of blue aliens and James Cameron. And anyway, two years of advance publicity isn’t too much.
Is it…?

 
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Rue Britannica

The celebrated Encyclopaedia Britannica will now only be available as online content
In what really is the end of an era in content creation and publishing, Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. has announced that it will stop publishing print editions of its famous reference work after 244 years.
First published in Scotland in 1768, the encyclopaedia became standard research material for scholars, children and the information hungry alike, with such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud having contributed articles to it. But with the advent – and exponential growth – of user-generated and -edited online information (with ‘rival’ Wikipedia the ultimate example), publishing the volumes in print is no longer sustainable for the company.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica will continue to be available – and, hopefully, thrive – online and the company plans to also expand its range of digital educational products. And while some may mourn the passing of such an iconic physical embodiment of humanity’s quest for knowledge, such acceptance of the need to move with the times shows that online content can further, and not hinder, that quest.
 
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Life after death

Dying is no longer a barrier to producing online content
They say the ones we love never really leave us when they die. But whereas in times past people had to rely on memories, photographs and perhaps some letters, these days the online content footprint brings the notion of immortalising people a step closer.
Social media has provided the platform, with virtual condolence books now commonplace for public and personal losses. But as psychologist Nathan Gaunt told New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times, this can be a ‘double-edged sword’, largely due to those sad and sick individuals known as trolls, who get a perverse kick out of causing offence and distress by posting upsetting messages on Facebook walls commemorating the deceased:
‘I’ve seen where people have been able to come together on an international level to honour someone if they are unable to make the funeral, like a living memorial, but I have also heard of cases overseas where things have gone bad.
‘People have posted nasty things which has been very distressing for family members or there has been a dispute between family members and friends that has been played out on Facebook in a very public way.’
Creating posthumous content
Increasingly, though, people are deliberately seeking to ‘live on’ after death by getting family members of friends to post on their behalf. This trend is becoming so popular that the New Zealand Law Society has released a policy paper recommending that anyone active online includes a note in the will stating what should happen to their ‘digital assets’ once they die, including leaving a record of passwords so executor/s can access social media and other online accounts.
As the Sunday Star Times reports, this holds great appeal to some, who see it as a means of paying tribute to a life, of drawing attention to a cause the dead person held dear or, particularly thanks to Facebook Timeline, simply as a means of creating a lasting journey that children and other loved ones can draw from in the years to come.
Obviously, such an approach is not for everyone, who may feel uncomfortable speaking on behalf of someone else. For them, Facebook already has a ‘death policy’ in place and will permanently delete profiles of dead people if requested or will memorialise profiles so friends can pay their respects.
Either way, it seems online content is making immortality a virtual reality.
 
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The Psychology of an Internet troll

If you encourage people to comment on your content, don’t be surprised if some extreme POVs are expressed
We’re told that engagement is everything – especially in the world of content marketing. For the most part, this is true. But for some people, this maxim appears to have morphed into the equivalent of an ‘any publicity is good publicity’ philosophy.
Enter the Internet troll…
If you engage in content marketing and want people to engage with you through it, or even if you’re simply enjoy consuming online content, you’ll have noticed that every so often a comment pops up that is so inflammatory that it seems to be inviting a tirade of reactions and responses.
Which is exactly what it is doing. Internet trolls span the entire spectrum from satirical pot-stirrers to highly offensive, hate-mongering racists. Or worse. Yes, worse.
UK man Sean Duffy was jailed after leaving disgusting images and comments on Facebook tribute pages dedicated to honouring dead children. Suffering from a range of mental illnesses, it was found Duffy had become ‘hooked’ on trolling, and spent hours searching the Internet for tribute sites purely to mock people’s losses. Sadly, this is not an isolated event, and attacks on grieving families, purely for sport, are all too common.
Satirist David Thorne has had more than his fair share of trolling experience, usually with fairly comedic outcomes. His targeted trolling efforts are well documented on his website, and most invite hearty belly laughs. It’s easy to see how the line from funny to cruel can be crossed (admittedly, it’s a tightrope Thorne teeters across regularly) and in an interview with Wired, Thorne discusses one of the ‘meaner’ pranks he ever pulled:
‘I joined a knitting forum under the guise of Edna, a 74-year-old woman with 14 grandchildren. After making friends and exchanging crosshatch tips, I declared, “I can hear someone breaking in downstairs,” and logged off, forever.’
Trolling can be a corporate endeavour
It isn’t just individuals engaging in trolling – far from it. While it may not always be branded as such, trolling is commonly found on mainstream news sites – and not just by the commentators. Last year, a ‘travel’ article by Carolyn Webb appeared on SMH that basically decried Bali as a horrible place filled with rabid hawkers who didn’t even have the decency to learn her Australian customs and conform to them. It was deliberately inflammatory, and whether or not this was the choice of the editor or the writer herself, it provoked an overwhelming 1001 responses, and led to the hashtag #carolynwebbwhybother trending on Twitter.
So what is the motivation for all of this rabid, angry, online commentary? Obviously, in online news situations, more engagement leads to more advertiser dollars, so there’s no real mystery there. But what of the individuals who deliberately provoke outrage and hurt for sport? Is the world really filled with this much rage?
Well, thankfully, no.
A study conducted at Stanford University discovered that the people who held the most extreme views were more likely to be the most vocal about them (don’t you just love it when research dollars go into proving things that anyone with a pulse can see as plain as day?). Students were polled and it was discovered that the vocal few actually represented an extreme minority, but because they were so vocal, seemed as though they were speaking for many.
It may not be a groundbreaking revelation, but at least it might help you sleep a little better at night knowing that the majority of people aren’t crazed cowards hiding behind their keyboards.
 
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Content with a conscience

Can online content coupled with the reach of social media bring a warlord to justice?
A fascinating blog post on the Sydney Morning Herald website throws up an interesting question. Can online content coupled with the reach and power of social media and a traditional advertising campaign bring an infamous African warlord to justice?
 
Joseph Kony is the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, and according to humanitarian group Invisible Children over the last 30 years he and his followers have abducted over 30,000 young children from their families, forcing the boys to murder their parents and become soldiers and turning the girls into sex slaves.
Now Invisible Children has made a documentary, Kony 2012, to raise global awareness of Kony’s alleged crimes and have him brought to the International Criminal Court to face trial. How? By harnessing the power of online and social media content.
Invisible Children has targeted 20 April as a day of action to ‘make Kony famous’. In addition to its online presence, where people can pledge their support and join the growing Facebook movement, a poster campaign is planned. In the meantime, the term #stopkony has been trending on Twitter, so the word is already getting out there.
As the Herald post points out, this approach is not without its critics: ‘Many internet users are now questioning the transparency of Invisible Children’s fundraising efforts, the amount of money it dedicates to its programs and where that money actually goes. Others ask why Joseph Kony, when so many other dictators and murderers have run wild – particularly in Africa – for decades?’
As The Message has reported before, online content is a powerful force for change, with social media helping effect regime change in a number of countries in the Middle East.
But this is something different – an attempt to raise awareness and bring an apparently murderous individual to justice. Whether it succeeds remains to be seen, but it surely will not be long before other organisations try using content for similar ends.
If you can bear to watch it, here is the Kony 2012 film:

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And the winner is…

Julia Gillard may have won the caucus ballot, but in the social media and online content world, Kevin Rudd came out on top
These are absolutely the last words we’re going to write about the ALP leadership contest (well, until the next one, anyway…). According to most pundits, Julia Gillard’s 71-31 victory over Kevin Rudd was a trouncing, leaving the Ruddster to slink off to the backbenches, his dreams of regaining the prime ministership in tatters.
But, if Mr R is looking for a silver lining, he may find it in the social media and online world, where he has far outscored the PM in terms of presence and user-generated content. At time of writing, Rudd had 1,076,4708 Twitter followers and 66,622 Facebook fans. By contrast, Julia Gillard had 190,628 Twitter followers and 119,277 Facebook fans. All of which rather supports Rudd’s assertion that in the eyes of the general public, he is by far the preferred choice for PM.
However, given how many people use social media and prefer to receive their news and other content through such forums, neither politician’s figures are particularly impressive. Indeed, it is fair to say that Australia’s pollies still lag behind their UK and, particularly, US counterparts when it comes to social media usage.
Another thought also occurs. The leadership battle wasn’t the only vote-fest in the headlines yesterday. The Oscars were also keeping the social networks abuzz. And since The Artist swept the board, perhaps there is a message that silence is golden…
 
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Leadership laughs

Satire is booming thanks to online content – and this take on the current Gillard vs Rudd leadership shenanigans is priceless
We like to do things a little differently at The Message, so for our latest Content Watch offering, we thought we’d showcase a different take on the current tussle for leadership of the ALP and, ultimately, the prime ministership. A clever parody utilising Gotye’s ubiquitous Somebody That I Used to Know (which is proving a godsend for anyone wishing to create viral content), it’s fresh and funny.
You can’t look anywhere at the minute without seeing news of Kevin Rudd’s resignation and his desire to return to the top job at the expense of Julia Gillard. But at least this video allows us to smile rather than groan at the whole thing. And funnily enough, it’s probably the most accurate summing up of the whole sorry situation going around…

 
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We told you so!

Rupert Murdoch’s latest move flies in the face of the fact that we are now living in the new content age
In July last year, at the height of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, The Message predicted that the decision by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to close the Sunday newspaper after almost 168 years wasn’t all that seemed.
‘…this seems like little more than a publicity stunt,’ we wrote. ‘The Sun will probably now extend its publication run to seven days a week, meaning that the ‘News of the Screws’ will still exist in everything but name.’
And so it came to pass, because it has just been announced that The Sun on Sunday will be starting this week. In this modern age of online and social media content, though, it seems that Murdoch (who famously bought MySpace for $580 million only to sell it six years later for just $35 million to, among others, Justin Timberlake) may have again underestimated the ever-changing nature and appeal of online content.
New figures suggest that of News of the World’s 2.7 million readers (it was the UK’s highest-circulating newspaper, albeit down from its peak when it regularly attracted over four million a week), two-thirds have moved on to rival papers such as The People, while the remaining 900,000 are now favouring other sources for their Sunday mix of ‘news’, gossip, sport and sensationalism.
Those figures also show that newspaper circulation across the board in Britain is declining by between five and 30 per cent (depending on the paper). Welcome to the new content age…
 
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The dying kangaroo?

At a time of falling profits and job losses, Qantas’ content marketing strategy is again backfiring
Yesterday, Qantas announced an 83 per cent fall in profit compare to the same period last year. The news even made The Wall Street Journal, with the massive downgrade largely due to the grounding of all Qantas planes towards the end of last year.
As a result, Qantas has announced the loss of some 500 jobs, with thousands more under review. These are clearly worrying times for the Australian airline – and its workforce.
When the industrial action that led Qantas to grounding its fleet took place, the airline was widely criticised through online and social media content for its ‘poor’ handling of the situation. Its response was to hire a full time social media team who may have a won a small victory for the airline at much the same time as its poor fiscal news was announced.
As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘a satirical Twitter account masquerading as part of the Qantas PR team has been suspended at the airline’s request’, claiming it was ‘misleading to the true identity of Qantas and breached trademark legislation’.
Again, social media content consumers have been less than impressed with the airline’s response, tweeting comments including ‘Shutting down @QantasPR just really drives home they’ve got no clue’ and ‘Wow @QantasAirways really doesn’t know how to laugh at itself at all does it?’
Which just goes to show that in the content marketing world, having the content alone isn’t enough. It is how you use that content to engage with customers that is crucial.
 
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