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  • Mapping Twitter Part 2: The Tweet-o-Meter

    10th March 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in data, design, mobile

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    Came across this today. Tweet-o-Meter (link) is the beta version of a platform created by University College London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. The Tweet-o-Meter supposedly updates every ten seconds (not sure it does quite do that right now), showing the number of tweets in each city per minute. The ambition is to log and analyze all geo-located tweets in these major cities. Once logged, they will be used to show Twitter activity over time and space. Various kinds of maps will be the main output. I imagine a variety of delicious visualizations will be forthcoming.

    We are possibly attracted partly by the simple analogue-feel, dial-based interface. But we’re also struck by yet another work-in-progress attempt to bring life to the data spawned by Twitter (see also Getting to Know Your Twitter Followers & Why that Matters from earlier this week).

    Tweet-o-Meter is part of a broader project called NeISS (National e-Infrastructure for Social Simulation), another UK Government-funded project. Read more about it here.

    And of course it also reminds us of of the work by Google’s Aaron Koblin on visualizing SMS messages sex partileri sent on New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam in 2007 (see below). We imagine as Tweet-o-Meter moves forward through beta they’ll need to figure out how to marry Koblin-esque visualizations to their gushing pipe of data. Bringing magic to the mayhem.

    Amsterdam SMS messages on New Years Eve from Aaron on Vimeo.

    Amsterdam SMS messages on Queen’s Day from Aaron on Vimeo.

  • TIE: Exchange For Good

    9th March 10

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    When we first heard about The International Exchange (TIE), we were immediately impressed and a little scared in equal measure. TIE is a rare and radical thing: a magical combination of social change and personal development, with a difference. This isn’t a series of talks in swanky conference centres: TIE puts you on the ground where you’re needed, testing everything you think you know about the communications industry along the way.

    In a sentence, TIE marries the skills of an individual in the communications industry looking to be stretched professionally and personally, with a project in a developing country needing their time and skill (at this point in time TIE’s focus is Brazil). The experience is like no other, as people who’ve taken part so far testify:

    YouTube Preview Image

    Check out more case studies on TIE’s site: they are an inspiration and an education in equal measure.

    We’re happy to say BBH has signed up to take part, so we caught up with Philippa White, TIE’s founder, to hear more about the idea. Read full post

  • Getting to know your Twitter followers & why that matters

    8th March 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in Uncategorized

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    Last week Aaron Richard (@ralphthemagi) contacted us at BBH Labs with something pretty cool, and we wanted to share it.

    Aaron was most recently a digital strategist at Big Spaceship in Brooklyn. A while back Aaron created a map showing where @bigspaceship’s many thousands of followers lived (or claimed to live). I contacted Michael Lebowitz at BS and asked how they’d done it . . . a few days later Aaron wrote to us with our very own version of the data, mapped and analyzed. Brilliant.

    Aaron goes into great detail on his site about how he did this, the problems he encountered, the choices he made in filtering, and so on. In short, he used the publicly accessible Twitter API combined with cURL software to play around with the data shared by our c.12,600 followers on Twitter.

    After some fairly smart sounding parsing of the follower base to weed out spammers (or at least people who looked most like spammers) and non-actives (see his post for the detail) Aaron pulled down the following public data on each of the remaining followers.

    • ID
    • Name
    • Username
    • Location
    • Profile Bio
    • Profile Picture
    • Web URL
    • Privacy Settings
    • # of Followers
    • # of Friends (“following”)
    • Account Creation Date
    • # of Favorites
    • UTC Offest
    • Time Zone
    • Per-tweet Geolocation Status
    • Verified User Status
    • # of Tweets

    He then used one of Google’s Lab projects, Fusion Tables, to geo-code the massive amount of information he had in CSV form.

    The result was two forms of map. First, a fully interactive Google map (launch it and take a look, click on the dots for detail), and second a heatmap showing concentration of followers by major cities. With the interactive map it’s possible to click on a follower and see the data that Twitter holds for them (which is a little scary, but I guess comes with the territory).

    Aaron also looked at our follower data and pulled put out some insight about our followers, which we found fascinating.

    • Average # of followers: 1,746 | Median: 163
    • Average # of friends: 982 | Median: 206
    • Average # of tweets: 987 | Median: 247
    • 6% of followers keep their tweets private
    • 9% have per-tweet geolocation enabled
    • 12 followers are “verified”

    As Aaron notes, one can see by the deltas between means and medians, all followers are not created equal.

    So all this is fascinating to us (for example, to learn that @bigspaceship and @BBHLabs share the same two followers in Iceland . . . hi Islenka and Finnur). But I wanted to see what additional uses might be made of this kind of data and insight. For example, for brands, or for non-profits, or just for individuals. I pinged Aaron a few questions on this theme:

    BBH LABS: So Aaron, thanks for this – this is fantastic. But thinking more broadly of potential uses of this kind of insight for marketers, brands and individuals, how do you think this might be used in a more applied way?

    AARON: I think this kind of information can be used for setting better goals. Asking better questions and finding better answers. I think a lot of brand teams have this preconceived notion that they are using social media effectively if they have a lot of fans, followers, etc … I just don’t think that’s true.

    BBH LABS: Give us some examples of what you mean.

    AARON: The particular data set I pulled for BBH could be used in a number of ways. For example, say you wanted to give away something to a few Twitter followers with the goal of growing your network. Send them an iPod Shuffle, get them to tweet about it, drive a little positive PR. But how would you decide who to give stuff to if you wanted to maximize every give away?  Well, with data like this you could easily find the top 20 people with the most followers and target them. Or look at the top 50 people with the most followers, then look at those with who have the least number of tweets (there’s something interesting about people with a lot of followers and few tweets, because when they do tweet their message tends to get retweeted a lot and cuts through the clutter).

    BBH LABS: And for brands, can you give us an example of how they might make use of this? Maybe to make their stream more relevant? Maybe to get closer to their most valuable customers?

    AARON: Sure. You can start to see how you might use this kind of information to challenge large incumbent brands. Imagine you wanted to take on Comcast as a small regional ISP. You could pull the data for everyone who follows Comcast Cares [on Twitter] then look at all the people in your region and start following them or sending them public messages. You could even target the people who are pissed off at Comcast and give them a special offer. Dell Outlet [on Twitter] has +1.5m followers. That’s 1.5m potential new customers for HP, if they provide the right incentive to get a customer to switch.

    BBH LABS: This is only one particular series of API calls, as you point out. What else can you envisage coming out of the Twitter API?

    AARON: Absolutely, this is really just one tiny piece of the data that’s available. I did this more for fun and to get a better idea of how to manage large API pulled data sets than I did to answer a specific question. Twitter has calls for search, tweets, retweets, lists, etc.. If, for example, you wanted to porn izle track something like brand mentions you could do that—and not just by using the regular old search.twitter.com or paying for something like radian6 (who’d never give you the raw data). You could look at all tweets by keyword, replies, retweets, etc., and then figure out who’s saying these things, where they live, and what (or who) they have in common.

    I’m going to do a followup to this that talks about how to use API data in a more tactical way, using Facebook (and probably Coke) as an example to find the answer to things like, “What day of the week should I post something in order to maximize likes, comments, etc.?”

    BBH LABS: Thanks again Aaron. Keep us in the loop. We’re keen to learn more as we go.

    If you have any questions for Aaron feel free to post them under this post, or on Aaron’s own blog.

  • The Economies of Small

    1st March 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in business models, culture

    'Frenzy' by Amayu, courtesy of Flickr

    'Frenzy' by Amayu, courtesy of Flickr

    “The money on the table is like krill: a billion little entrepreneurial opportunities that can be discovered and exploited by smart, creative people.” Landon Kettlewell, fictional CEO Kodak/Duracell in Cory Doctorow’s “Makers”

    I’ve finally finished reading Cory Doctorow’s new novel “Makers” and – like a lot of people I suspect – needed to take a little break afterward to put my brain back together again. It’s the usual Doctorow high octane cocktail: stuffed full of imaginative near-future action & immutable human frailty, at times the plot veers close to depicting a post-capitalist, economic Armageddon. I’m not going to spoil the book for anyone who hasn’t read it by saying more.  Instead, against an ever-increasing backdrop of recent pieces examining crowdsourcing (here are two of our own, here and here), I wanted to dig quickly into a single thought that the book provoked in me within its first few pages.

    What if, instead of thinking about sourcing from the crowd, we reverse engineer that thought. In other words, why not send the company out into the crowd?

    As Doctorow’s character Kettlewell (more force of nature than human being) puts it:

    “Our business plan is simple: we will hire the smartest people we can find and put them in small teams. They will go into the field …capitalized to find a place to live and work, and a job to do. A business to start. Our business to start. Our company isn’t a project that pull together on, it’s a network of like-minded, cooperating autonomous teams, all of which are empowered to do whatever they want, provided that it returns something to our coffers. We will explore and exhaust the realm of commercial opportunities, and seek constantly to refine our tactics to mine those opportunities, and the krill will strain through our mighty maw and fill our hungry belly. This company isn’t a company any more: this company is a network, an approach, a sensibility.”

    Read full post

  • A Day in the Life of New York City, in miniature

    27th February 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in awesomeness, online video

    The Sandpit from Sam O’Hare on Vimeo.

    This is a stunning piece of film, shot by Sam O’Hare in NYC, in miniature and using a shallow depth of field. Worth noting right at the outset that the tilt-shift effect was faked in post (but the overall effect is far from lessened because of this).

    For best results hit HD and watch in full screen. And turn it up.

    There’s a really great interview with O’Hare here, on the Aero Film site. Here’s a sample, in which O’Hare talks about the equipment he used in putting this together. It involved over 35,000 stills.

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    The music is perfectly matched. It was specially written by Rosi Golan and Alex Wong, and composed by Human.

    If you watch carefully there are some priceless moments, usually involving tiny characters doing things that look other-worldly when viewed in this way (I particularly like the scene in which someone sneaks out on their roof – this is shot in the height of the hottest part of the summer of 09 – to have a quick cigarette). One am pornosu of the slightly odder things about the film is that despite seeing hundreds of people across the five minute piece, we don’t see a single face. This adds to the surreal, almost fake quality of the film.

    Thanks to @finnbarrw for the heads-up.

  • Burberry Global 3D Fashion Show – Watch it live here at 4pm GMT / 11am EST

    23rd February 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in creativity, culture

    BBH Labs will be streaming today’s Burberry London Fashion Week show live in the below video players from 4pm GMT / 11am EST.  Thanks to some clever player tech, the show will be broadcast on 73 other websites including Vogue, Grazia, CNN, Sky News, The Times, The Daily Beast and Yahoo. The player is also optimised for iPhone viewing.

    High Definition

    Standard Definition

    Over at http://live.burberry.com the video stream will be complimented by live comments from global Burberry fans. Visitors can log in with their Facebook / Twitter sign in and post comments live as the new collection comes down the catwalk.

    Finally, in a fashion and technology first, the show will also be broadcast live in stunning 3D to global VIP events in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Dubai and Tokyo. You can read more about the project here:

    In Vogue. konulu porno filim izle In Grazia.

    In The Daily Telegraph.

    Thanks to VideoJuicer for some very clever player technology.

    BBH is a strategic digital partner of Burberry.

  • Isn’t Crowdsourcing Just Good Marketing? Interview with Rick Liebling

    22nd February 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in crowdsourcing

    “The world is becoming too fast, too complex and too networked for any company to have all the answers inside.” Yochai Benkler, Yale University, from The Wealth of Networks

    Image by Goldberg, via Flickr

    Lightbulbs image by Goldberg, via Flickr

    Our collective interest in crowdsourcing (the creative and commercial opportunities and challenges it throws up) seems to be on an exponential curve only matched by the controversy and misunderstanding still surrounding the topic. Cue Rick Liebling’s eBook, Everyone is Illuminated, out today, a compendium of constructive thinking on the topic to date. As experiments in crowdsourcing start to unfold and the world waits to see just how sustainable it is a marketing tool, his primer aims to shed light on the whole area by gathering (in part crowdsourced, of course) insight and hands-on experience of crowd sourcing together in one handy place. We were happy to make a contribution to the eBook and caught up with Rick to tell us more about the project. Check out his introductory post here too.
    Read full post

  • BBH New York are hiring Creative Technologists

    22nd February 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in creativity, technology

    Posted by: Richard Schatzberger, Director of Creative Technology, BBH New York

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    BBH is looking for a rare breed of person to be part of the evolving Creative Technology team in New York. Creative Technology at BBH is the fusion point between bleeding edge technology, the creative teams, brands, & people. Inventing and discovering new ways to connect with people and bring rich creative ideas for brands to life in the digital world.

    Does this sound like you? Read on . . .

    First and foremost you are a creative visionary with a deep passion and knowledge of the digital world; most importantly, you actually *make* things.

    You never stop tinkering, playing with things, hacking and combining to create new species. Your life is a digital social experiment; the way you live exposes the way you think, and what you make defines who you are. You love to watch people and uncover the nuances in life where you can make a difference porno film izle in peoples lives. Technology is your oxygen you need it every second of the day and always want the freshest air, but you understand that not everyone is like you, so you can translate it into natural consumable language.

    Do you have these type of skills? Actionscript 3, CSS/HTML, PHP, Processing, Javascript, Ruby on Rails, iPhone, Android, Arduino … and can create exquisite interfaces in Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash etc?

    If so, email your resume and examples of things you’ve made to richard.schatzberger@bbh-usa.com with ‘Creative Technology’ in the subject.

    (Read more about creative technologists in this AdWeek piece).

  • Will social media eat itself?

    19th February 10

    Posted by Patricia McDonald

    Posted in social media

    Here at BBH Labs we’re big fans of all things social. We’ve spent time evangelising about the power of the social web and speculating about a future dominated by social businesses. We’re inspired and excited by a future where we can take our social graph with us anywhere we go on the web-a future beautifully articulated by Undercurrent’s Mike Arauz.

     ”There is no longer any interaction that an individual may have with a brand, company, product, or service that disconnected from all the people they know, and the people that share their interest in that experience.”

    So we were more than a little taken aback by the findings of the latest Edelman Trust Barometer that shows we trust our friends and peers as a source of information considerably less than we did two years ago. The decline is particularly marked in the US where just 25% of respondents view friends and peers as very/extremely credible-a decline of 20 percentage points on 2008-but is also reflected in the global data.

    It’s an extraordinary finding which calls many of our assumptions into question. The trust consumers place in peer to peer recommendations versus corporations has been one of the primary drivers of the social web, the excitement we feel about the potential for social business and the shift of marketing dollars from above the line to social media.  

    So has all our excitement been founded on a false set of assumptions? Is this simply an anomaly in the data? Or is social media sowing the seeds of its own demise? Read full post

  • Where does the agency end, and the crowd begin?

    3rd February 10

    Photo: Dunechaser, Flickr, http://j.mp/c6kd2o

    Photo: Dunechaser, Flickr, http://j.mp/c6kd2o

    I went to the ‘Crowdsourcery Potions 101′ event at JWT yesterday as part of Social Media Week in NYC. Not so sure about the event name, but the content was great, and the panel line up was genuinely stellar.

    We watched John Winsor (Victors & Spoils Founder) lead a discussion that featured Ty Montague (Co-President & CCO, JWT North America), Saneel Radia (Alchemist / Chief Potion Master, Denuo), Michael Lebowitz (Founder & CEO, Big Spaceship) and the inimitable Faris Yakob (Chief Technology Dude, McCann NY).

    Thanks to the appliance of science, the whole thing is viewable at the bottom of this post, on video. Lots of useful, practical discussion around the kind of cultures, systems, and processes that would enable new forms of creative collaboration. I particularly liked the metaphor of ‘scaffolding’: the structures that are required for successful collaboration efforts (the filters, the creative direction, the incentive model, the access requirements, and so on).

    Anyway, I was struck by one area of the debate in particular, and I’ve been reflecting on that since. There were a number of observations about how business models (around agencies, and how they construct themselves, most specifically) were being challenged, and indeed how the definition of what constituted ‘the agency’ was evolving rapidly in new and interesting ways.

    As Ty Montague suggested, ‘we’re on the verge of a remaking of business and what a company is’. Bold and exciting words from the leader of one of the largest and most powerful agencies around. In particular, Ty was talking about a point John Winsor had made just a moment before, around the idea that the distinction between JWT and *beyond JWT* was blurring, and would continue to blur. As creative businesses continue to experiment with new models of creative collaboration, and explore different approaches to maintaining a creative arsenal comprising the highest quality individuals and partners, it is inevitable that which was once almost wholly contained within an agency will become, to some extent, located outside the formal confines of that business.

    Creative agencies need to move towards becoming permeable organizations. Those in networks need to be reconfigured as networked organizations versus simply organizations within networks. Creative business must be able to draw on not just the talent within the building, but the many skills and areas of expertise that lie beyond those walls. And they need to be able to draw on this external resource. Like immediately. Certainly within BBH Labs we believe this is the *only* way the future can look; and of course it comes with challenges.

    For us (probably like many, I’m in no way suggesting we’re unique here), this means building and curating a broader group of people and companies with whom we create and produce ideas, and of course, we’re busy doing just that. It was an ex-CEO of Sun Microsystems who once said, ‘no matter where you work, most of the smart people work somewhere else’. Whilst challenging to orthodoxy, there’s definitely something in that.

    Back to Crowdsourcery Potions . . . Ty was hinting that one logical manifestation of this philosophy would be the formation of a broader pool of potential creative collaborators, perhaps more akin to the curated creative group put together by the team at Victors & Spoils. I also sometimes think the Alessi example is helpful here. Alessi occasionally put together hand-picked ‘crowds’ outside their company to help them on specific projects. So for example, on their program to create new ‘postmodern’ style product designs, they curated an invite-only ‘crowd of around 200 postmodern architects to submit work. This seems smart. It also signals a potential way forward for agencies looking to innovate new modes of creative collaboration.

    But it also raises what for me is *the big question*. In fact, two related sets of questions.

    1. CULTURE: If the culture of an organization is one of the key elements of differentiation between one agency and another, when does the definition of an agency blur to the point of intangibility? When does JWT (or BBH, or Victors & Spoils, or IDEO for that matter) cease to be JWT? When does JWT become Victors & Spoils? When does it simply become a set of senior and experienced curators of skills, talent and partnerships? And does this matter, if it does happen?

    2. INCENTIVES: What kinds of models are right for incentivizing the crowd? If the model of the future is going to involve fluid boundaries between ‘working for’ and ‘working with’, what does that mean for how people are incentivized? Not just in the crowd outside the agency, but within the crowd inside the agency? And linked to the first point, what value does one place on the cultural DNA found within agencies (which surely *must* have a commercial value) versus the more flexible and emerging skills found outside?

    Early days, but exciting days.

    All ideas, challenges, thoughts or builds welcome.

    —-

    Notes

    For more coverage of the debate check out Jonny Makkar’s (@jsmakr) neat summary blog post here, Faris’s here, or John Winsor’s short but kinda sweet piece here.

    For more on the critically important role of culture, see Grant McCracken’s excellent and provocative new book: “Chief Culture Officer: How to create a living breathing corporation“.

    Watch live streaming video from smw_newyork at livestream.com
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