Why do we bother to queue?

This week is Apples word wide developer conference in San Francisco. I’m here for the week, it’s 3am and I’ve just joined the queue for the keynote speech (7 hours to wait).

It’s got me thinking about why people queue in this technology savvy era. The videos from this conference will be available online, it’s rumoured that they will be released during the conference itself to all registered apple developers. Given that information why didn’t I just stay at home and watch the conference online?

For me, I think I’m here for the atmosphere and the buzz. We as humans as social animals and we like to share the experience with others.

This raises some interesting questions as to how fulfilling social media really is ….. Can online communication ever be as effective and fulfilling as actually being together with other like minded individuals?

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Are you ready to “vine”

We all live in the age of social media and I’ve adopted pretty much everything going. I remember doing my a-levels and MySpace was the big thing. My space was founded in 2003 and I loved it. At the same time we had other sites such as Bebo which although I had an account never really “took off” – at least not in my world.

MySpace was the first site that I actively communicated with my friends via an online medium – but when I took my gap year back in 2004 I didn’t consider using it as a way to keep in touch with people. It was more about bands and music – it wasn’t what I would consider social.

Then in 2007 something happened that revolutionised online socialising – I found Facebook! It was new, innovative and different and for the firs 18 months I was logged on 24/7 finding friends and updating my status every 5 minutes. It was cool and everyone was doing it!

It took me a little while to find Twitter and get to grips with it; but like FaceBook it did change the way I communicated online. When I connected FaceBook to Twitter I felt like my online life was complete.

Now there have been copy cats, I’m not a fan of Google plus and I don’t buy into these websites that are trying to be “FaceBook” but I am ready for more innovation.

In recent months Pinterest has caught my attention and in some ways I’m finding that I use this more than FaceBook especially in a work context. It feels creative and I like that. A couple of weeks ago I found myself on Pinterest and I came across a link to “vine” which was founded in June 2012 and has recently been bought by Twitter. Vine allows users to create 6 second video clips that loop and then embed in them in social networking sites such as Pinterest, FaceBook and Twitter.

My question is given all of the other social networking sites out there, and the fact that I already spend so much time sharing my life online – is there room for a service such as vine? Or could Vine actually change the way I use Pinterest in the same way that Twitter changed the way I use FaceBook.

One thing is for certain any good social networking site needs a verb to describe the activity. I currently Tweet on Twitter, Pin on Pinterest , Share or Like on FaceBook …… How will we describe “To Vine” if it does indeed become the new “in way” to communicate. Any Ideas?

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ITV Re-Brand

So today ITV are launching their new brand across all ITV channels and sub regions.

Information from ITV

In todays recession hit society how important is brand awareness? ITV clearly want to create more of an association between the programmes that they make and the corporate entity who makes them – but we all knew Coronation Street was made by ITV already. Didn’t we?

Some times the idea of re-branding simply freshens up an image or creates a revitalised buzz around the product. It could be argues that such benefits are short lived because once the brand establishes itself everyone stop talking about it.

In 2011 a very successfully campaign was ran by TV channel G.O.L.D that explained that the channels acronym stood for “Go On Laugh Daily” creating an immediate association between the brand and comedy.

Many brands choose to establish themselves and never change – largely because they become so iconic that a change would do damage the companies reputation. I couldn’t imagine Nike changing the infamous “tick” or McDonalds loosing the Golden Arches.

Could it therefore be argued that the executives of ITV feel that they don’t currently have a strong enough brand image? If this is the case do you think that this latest branding exercise achieves ITV’s project goals?

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Online and in flight

Following my thoughts on data access in Europe I am now flying home from Italy and I’ve started to contemplate Internet access in the air.

Remember the days when you walked into a hospital and were told to switch off your mobile phone? Then one day this seemed to stop being important – someone realised that mobile phones didn’t effect hospital equipment ….. or maybe technology advanced.

It was also once impossible to get wifi on a train. Then suddenly it’s common place particularly on virgin trains and I find it immensely useful particularly when travelling for work.

Planes are one place where the still insist that you switch off electronic devices, or at least switch them to flight only mode – is there a serious risk to the aeroplane if someone makes a telephone call mid flight or uses the Internet over a cellular network? (Answers on a postcard please)

It occurs to me that this is one place where a wifi hotspot could make a fortune. Airlines have a captive audience often for several hours and I know that I would pay extra for the privilege if it were available.

I guess in posting this I’m looking for more information from someone who is in the know re: the possibility of wifi in the air. Science fiction? In the pipeline? Or someway off?

Categories: Mobile Phones, Social, Technology, Travel | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Working on the move

In recent years its become much easier for people to work on the move no matter what their location. This was brought home to me when I was in Dublin recently and I received a text message from a client. With relative ease I was able to connect to a wifi network, logon to his system and make changes all without impacting upon the purpose of my overseas visit.

The Internet has opened up a world in which people expect an immediate response. This is obviously a good thing because it means that things advance quicker but it also means people are less tolerant to delay.

Before the advent of e-mail communication it was common place for a worker to send a memo via internal or external post, which might take a day or two to arrive – naturally the response may also take a day or two meaning that a relatively simple communication could span over a week or more. In today’s Internet world that interaction could be completed within minutes arguably making employees time much more productive.

It also means that people expect response within a much quicker timescale. If I send an e-mail and haven’t received a response within 24 hours I usually start to think about chasing the receipient. If its a known person I often chase if I haven’t heard back within a few hours. Does this mean that technology is making us more impatient as a society? Or are we becoming more efficient?

Regardless of your standpoint I personally believe its important now and again for us all to take stock and to become incommunicado. Switch off your iPhone / iPad, don’t respond to e-mails for a few days – nothing is ever so important that it can’t wait … Or is it?

To my mind switching off is the only way to take time out and truly recharge your batteries. If like me you’ve been known to wake up in the middle of the night and answer an e-mail or two while in bed I believe this is particularly important – does anyone else find themselves rarely switching work off? Answering e-mails on the couch? On holiday? Assuming the answer is yes I guess the key question is what long term effect that is going to have on our mental capacity. Can work become a drug like addiction?

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What does it mean to be technology native?

When I did my IT GCSE I remember having a great deal of discussion about technology immigrants versus Technology natives. At the time we were all told that as 16 year olds in 2002 we were technology natives because we had grown up with technology. Our teacher on the other hand was a technology immigrant.

Since 2000 we have seen tremendous technological change, we’ve seen the introduction of social networking, developments of technology such as iPhone, iPad, and a cultural shift in the way technology assists in the workplace.

All of this has happened since I have “grown up” so does that mean that I am still a technology native? Or as new technology emerges that I start to adopt am I slowly starting to fit more into the category of technology immigrant.

At risk of opening up a huge can of worms could it be suggested that there is no such thing as a true technology native? I’m sure when the calculator first started to appear in schools the children of the day could have been referred to as technology natives ….. But as technology has moved on I’m sure those individuals would not consider that they have grown up with technology; much more that technology has developed around them as they have got older.

The truth of the matter is that as each new piece of technology emerges we all migrate towards it making us all technology immigrants. Only when technology stops developing will the next generation be true natives and I don’t see technology ceasing to move forward in the imminent future.

That said as technology advances people do become more comfortable adopting it. I for example am much more comfortable using technology than my mum. This suggests that the as technology advances the learning curve to start using it is easier for those who have grown up in the digital age – I wonder if technology will ever advance to such a level that I find it difficult to adopt? I’m sure my mum never had difficulty using a calculator in school so why is it that she is scared of the iPad?

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Traveling with Tech

This weekend I’m visiting Dublin – a city that I’ve never been to before. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the technology that I’ve used to get me here and how I’ve relied on technology to enhance my visit.

My journey to Dublin actually started when I booked my flights. In this day and age everything can obviously be done online – my booking confirmation was e-mailed to me and the day before flying I simply checked in and printed my boarding pass from the comfort of my sofa. (Everything going good so far).

Once at the airport my boarding pass is scanned, again everything seems to be working although it’s a little disconcerting to think that I’m now entirely reliant upon the Ryan air booking system to recognise that I have a flight that I’ve paid for.

We could obviously spend a lot of time discussing the technology of the plane and computer systems in the airport …..

So now I’m in Dublin does my reliance on technology stop? Well I guess it could ….. But I have been rather lazy using my iPhone to help me navigate, booking tickets for the Guinness Storehouse online to receive my 10% discount and even writing this blog post while grabbing a coffee.

So lets take stock for a moment. Is technology taking the fun out of traveling? Obviously there is technology that is now essential to travel, the booking of the flights and the systems that actually get me here ….. But now I’m here wouldn’t it be more interesting to see the city without my technology leading the way? To navigate using a traditional map, or by speaking to people and asking directions …..

If that we’re the case its’s unlikely I’d have found the costa coffee shop that I’m now sat in …. And I wouldn’t have been able to check reviews of restaurants before choosing one for lunch. But is that actually important? If the restaurant had been dreadful it would have made for an interesting story to tell when I get home.

Maybe i should try traveling the old fashioned way and see how i get on ….. not on this trip (obviously) Maybe that’s an experiment for another time. Or maybe it’s something you’ve done, or do? Does traveling without tech create more adventure?

Categories: Apple, Invention, Social, Technology | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Technology Statistics

There are currently more than 500,000 apps available on the Apple App Store (Apple, 2011). I was recently researching a presentation and I came up with some interesting stats that I found interesting:

  • 1 in 3 adults in the UK now own a smart phone.
  • There are 75,750,000 active mobile phones in the UK today and 92% of adults in the UK are active mobile phone users.
  • Over 1 billion apps were downloaded in Christmas week 2011.
  • On christmas day 2011 4.5 million new smart phones were activated in the UK
  • 15% of adults now live in a home that has a mobile phone but no landline
  • 50% of UK adults now use social networking websites at home.

These statistics give an indication of how technology really is invading our world and how it is changing our everyday lives. The question I ask myself is if technology always changes life for the better? Is it healthy to spend so much time using technology?

These are questions that don’t have a simple answer if indeed they have any answer at all. What do you think?

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