Archive for category Online Tools

People power on track

We’ve seen how social media runs with breaking news stories like a wave across the world. The days of journalists informing us of events hours after they happened are gone as even they turn to Twitter as stories unfold.

Now various organisations are seeking to harness this modern take on people power to provide instant and accurate information.

Real-time weather tracking using people to report the weather at their location isn’t new. But it has come into its own now that people have portable internet access. Now there are several mobile apps that allow people to report the weather as they see and feel it, to provide a wider, real-time picture. One of the most popular is Weddar, which ditches old fashioned weather bureau forecasts for personal descriptions that make a lot more sense.

Taking this kind of thinking to a whole new level is an Australian website called FluTracking, an online health surveillance system to detect epidemics of influenza. As the site’s instruction says, it is “looking for people who live in Australia and have easy access to email on a weekly basis. It doesn’t matter if you are vaccinated or unvaccinated.

It takes only 10 – 15 seconds per week to respond to an email about the symptoms you or your household members have had in the previous week. This will help us find ways to detect both seasonal influenza and hopefully pandemic influenza and other diseases so we can better protect the community from epidemics.

This is a brilliant way to turn anecdotal evidence into an accurate reporting tool that could save lives. Not everyone who has the flu calls the doctor, or even knows they have it, but by reporting symptoms an accurate picture of the influenza spread can be charted potentially saving lives of those most vulnerable.

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Vimeo’s class act

The YouTube revolution and increasingly affordable video cameras has resulted in a surge in amateur filmmakers much in the same way blogs inspired a generation of citizen journalists.

While for many it’s a chance to put their home movies online to embarrass their mates, for others it’s a chance to express themselves on film with few if any financial restrictions be it for artistic, journalistic or commercial reasons.

But as a poorly written or boring blog is unlikely to attract many readers, a do it yourself video should at least follow some basic production values if it has any hope of attracting viewers or going viral – unless of course you have snared some vision of cat playing drums or the like.

If you’ve never done Media Studies, Video sharing website Vimeo has an online video school that gives budding filmmakers excellent free instruction on filming and editing; from choosing a camera and basic editing to setting up your gear and using light.

There’s also a section on getting the best use of digital SLR cameras for still and video photography.

The tutorials, of which there are dozens per category, are sent in by Vimeo members “who like to share their knowledge and passion with everyone else”.

Even of you just enjoy filming family memories, this excellent online resource will provide many new ways to give your films a bit of an edge.

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Super-sized thinking

As the world gets smaller, we all get to share more big thinking.

It doesn’t get any bigger than the American Museum of Natural History’s launch of Dinosaurs :IPad.

Released to coincide with the holiday season, the app is something of a new media experiential coup. Extending, as it does, the thrill of discovering the Museum’s collection to a global audience.

Featuring over 1,000 high-res images, the app not only delivers to subscribers fast access to all the facts. It also enables real-time chats with other dinosaur lovers at home or even on an exploratory dig.

The really great thing is, this app doubles as a stunning advertising & PR device for the Museum’s forthcoming “The World’s Largest Dinosaurs” exhibition. Imaginatively created, to focus on a group of dinosaurs that lived for over 140 million years.

Given the popularity of the baby elephants at the Melbourne Zoo, a Jumbo app could be a timely addition in the very near future.

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New Year High Resolution Sports

Sponsor Me has just launched the world’s first action-sports social media site The website aims to connect potential young sporting champions of tomorrow with today’s top sponsors.

It appears to be a Win-Win. Adrenalin-junkies are also getting to see the hottest action –sports events live in HD across lots of different viewing platforms. iPad, iPhone, Droid Pad, Samsung Galaxy Pad and Google Pad are all in Sponsor Me’s sights.

Endorsed by stars such as Sunny Garcia and Bruce Irons, live webcasts will cover high profile professional and amateur evenings including surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and motocross.

It’s all going off, with the Premier Online Action-Sports Competition offering $100,00 cash for the best video posting.

Best put turbocharging my Rossignols on my things-to-do list pronto.

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2011 – The Year of Analytics?

The pre – New Year stats suggest an ongoing stratospheric rise of New Media.

*Gorillaz has just created the band’s 15-track album “The Fall” on iPad using 20 Apps  -each App under $20.

*Windows Phone 7 Marketplace already tops 5,000 Apps.  Recently adding 1,000 Apps in just over two weeks.

*Latest reports suggest Android already has over 200,000 Apps available.

*Facebook beat Google to the post on Christmas Day in the UK. Claiming 10.5% of all UK social networking internet visits. Google recording 9.77%.

*Facebook’s value leaps by 56% to $41.2 billion- according to securities firm Nyppex. 

Figures apart.

Beyond question is the increasing significance of digital, social, mobile & experiential channels. Answering what the stats really mean in these areas will define the true change makers.

Here are a few thought starters

Does mega quantity equal quality response?

Does a first impression really last? (And for how long?)

How does brand dominance translate into consumer relevance?

How do global figures indicate local impact?

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Instant sharing with Cortex

If you love sharing web content via social media (and let’s face it who doesn’t?) a nifty new app from Google is for you.

Cortex is an app that works with Google Chrome that lets you link to a webpage you’re viewing to your Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts or even your iPad.

You simply hold your mouse button down (or finger for touchscreens) to bring up a pie menu with your selected social media and/or iPad logo.

Click on the one you want to link to, press enter and the link and page headline shows up as a status at your social media account. You also have an option to write a comment to go with the URL, which is automatically shortened if sending to Twitter.

Until recently Cortex was available by invite but is now available for download here.

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How many tablets can newspapers swallow?

New research from Telsyte tells us that the Australian tablet market, which includes the iPad and Galaxy, could be worth $1.35 billion by 2014. Much of this growth will come from traditional publishers seeking to capture more readerships through the creation of tablet apps. But will avid newspaper and magazine readers be seen to swallow the tablets as vigorously as predicted?

Can the power of digital quickly topple the readership habits of a lifetime?  Time will tell. If it does, the very fabric of our world will be changed forever.

Gone will be:

  • The tabloid torture of the page-turner on a crowded tram.
  • The ink fingerprints on a long black.
  • The Saturday workout of picking up a slab of junk advertising lift -outs.

But there are downsides to this new age. We can’t see many spies in hotel lobbies hiding behind tablets.  What about swatting a fly with an iPad?

Also our furry friends would be denied displaying their loyalty by carrying home the morning paper. Yet, there would be more trees left to keep them happy in other ways. Which begs the question. Is the future so easy to read?

We think not.


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Google up for auction

Now that got you.

The global super brand Google has just launched real-time ad auctioning in Australia. Its DoubleClick Ad Exchange gives ad agencies and media buyers the chance to bid for space online across hundreds of high profile publications and entertainment sites.

Apparently this will result in more efficient space allocation. It also means that ad space is sold closer to its real value, rather than at a predetermined average space rate.

The market will no doubt decide who the ultimate winner is.

One thing’s for sure; Google won’t be “going, going gone” any time soon.

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Making a worldwide difference

Recently a new green file format was unveiled – WWF. Simply put, it is a PDF that you can’t print out. By downloading the software, you can convert almost any file to a WWF.

A neat idea, given the huge amounts of paper still being consumed, despite recent efforts to curb paper overuse. Many organisations have adopted a ‘think before you print’ or ‘no email printing’ policies, but those policies don’t definitively stop email printing.

But the real kicker with this idea is the software is a lot more than a resource friendly tool. It’s actually a great example of a brand, creating a movement that could result in significant social change.

Here’s a little history. The WWF software was created by the German branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (aka the WWF). The group’s vision is “To halt and reverse the destruction of our environment”. Much of their work focuses on the conservation of the world’s biodiversity, particularly forests, so the creation of this software is extremely brand relevant.

To produce a tool that can be so easily downloaded is already a great achievement, and to name it after their brand, will provide excellent exposure. Imagine if just one in every 1000 Australians used it, let alone the world. It would have profound results in changing our paper consumption. Which in turn, would assist in reversing the destruction of our environment. An outcome 100% true to the WWF’s brand vision.

Well done WWF. No “Green Washing” here.

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