Brilliant Reads: defining digital, Google Trends & Facebook’s latest update


The robot furthering the debate on surveillance vs. freedom

He is wanted by the FBI and currently living in an undisclosed location in Russia, but Edward Snowden is booked for over 50 high profile speaking engagements this year alongside countless social and political meetings. The whistleblower has an active social and professional life conducted almost exclusively through the internet. He adds a physical dimension to his presence by using a BeamPro (essentially a screen attached to a robotic stand). The addition of mobility to the familiar video call is more than a gimmick – it means that Snowden can explore environments and shift his attention – resulting in an experience more akin to meeting face to face.

Snowden’s had a huge impact on the technology sector, particularly in Silicon Valley. The FBI blames the leak for encouraging the likes of Apple to close ranks and refuse to comply with government requests for access to user data and devices. His current life is testament to his belief that technology can overpower governments and offer almost limitless freedom to the individual.

Edward Snowden’s Life As a Robot
New York Magazine 28 mins

Facebook reminds publishers (once again) who’s in charge

Last week Facebook announced changes to the news feed algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family, over those from brands and publishers. This will come as no surprise to publishers who are used to adapting to the social networks evolving business model.

In their post on the changes Facebook also highlight the focus on informing and entertaining – although with the aim of surfacing what appeals most to the individual. The sheer volume of information posted to the platform everyday means that only a fraction of updates can be seen. Facebook are clear in their ultimate aim of keeping users engaged – and this means ensuring that posts from people they care about come first.

Facebook to Change News Feed to Focus on Friends and Family
The New York Times 6 mins

The Coop’s simple definition of digital

This short post from the Coop highlights their approach to digital, which they define as:

“Applying the culture, practices, processes & technologies of the Internet-era to respond to people’s raised expectations.”

Defining your organisation’s approach to digital, especially when considering a transformation project, is hugely important. The Coop have done a great job of summing up the challenge.

What we mean when we say “digital”
Coop 1 min

How 1000 people searching ‘what is the EU’ made headlines

One of the most-repeated stories of the referendum analysis centred around Google Trends data showing a spike in searches for ‘what is the EU’ in the aftermath of the leave verdict. Google Trends shows relative volumes of searches for a given location over a given time – and although this data can be interesting it must always be considered in context. This is a great, if slightly disgruntled, post about the perils of basing judgements on Google Trends – and what you can do to make sure you don’t fall into the trap.

(The headline-grabbing search spiked for a short time in the early hours of the morning, and paled in compression to the volume of searches for Euro 2016 or Game of Thrones.)

Stop Using Google Trends
Medium 4 mins

Why it’s worth getting to know your customers

In this post Brilliant Noise’s Maddy Cooper looks at the challenges – and returns – of B2B customer research. While there will never be the treasure troves of market research and customer data so readily available to consumer marketers, there are a lot of insights to be found to make your next communication resonate.

How to get to know your B2B customers
B2B Marketing 2 mins

Last chance for Dots early bird tickets

We’re down to the last few early bird tickets for this year’s Dots conference on September 16th. Join us in Brighton to hear fascinating stories from industry experts and inspiring outsiders, including the latest additions to the lineup – Nina Jones from Jaguar Land Rover and songwriter Chris T-T.

Get your ticket today for just £99