Tagged: Twitter

Pharrell & The Republic Of Content

Back when I first started attending search conferences you would often hear people saying “content is king” or some variation of the same phrase: on that I remember repeating quite a lot was “conversation is king, content’s just something to talk about”.

However it struck me recently that the metaphor of a king was rather misguided as it suggests that one single piece of content will rule all others. Or, in other words, that it’s possible for a brand to create one piece of content and then sit back and count the winnings. Instead, increasingly, it seems obvious to me that we actually live in a republic of content where power and influence is available to just about anyone.

So, on Facebook you might end up looking at photos of a friend’s new child, taking a Buzzfeed quiz to decided where you should live or read  Guardian article about how the NSA are using social networks to monitor what people are doing. And, to use 2014′s buzz-phrase of choice, when all of this content is ‘native’ it really doesn’t matter whether it’s branded or not, it only matters whether someone is doing something that stops them interacting with your brand.

Ben Thompson summed this up brilliantly a while back:

attention is a zero sum game; every minute spent in Snapchat or LINE or WhatsApp is a minute not spent in Twitter or Facebook or Instagram.

To which we could add ‘or giving you an opportunity to sell to them’.

This was brought home to me again today when I saw the 24 hour video that has been created for Pharrell Williams’ track Happy. It is essentially made up of over 300 individual videos, each of them set in Los Angeles and each of them essentially mimicking the original video, which saw  and they feature Pharrell and lots of other people dancing and singing on a street, with a cast of hundreds that includes ballroom dancers, skateboarders, Magic Johnson, Steve Carrell, Jamie Foxx & Odd Future. The ‘standard’ video is essentially a Best Of for the 24 hour version.


And that’s basically it.

Pointing out that Noel Gallagher is wrong about something isn’t exactly an Olympic sport but, when he said that ‘no-one watches videos any-more‘ he rather missed the point. People rarely watch shit videos anymore.

But videos like Pharrell’s Happy marathon, or Arcade Fire’s mash-up of video and Google Maps, the Beastie Boys’ comedy epicBob Dylan’s multi-channel karaoke or Danger Mouse’s visual extravaganza can actually command even more attention that ever.

It might seem crazy that anyone would make a 24-hour video for a song that lasts a fraction of that time but the film, which is what it really is, is absolutely delightful. It’s a great track for a start*; charming, full of life and innocent.

And the videos, each of which feature little snapshots of people enjoying themselves, is much the same, though I do wish they’d flown out the Northern Soul girl for it**. In many ways it reminds me of the movies Swingers & In Search Of A Midnight Kiss in that, it is, essentially, a love letter to LA.


When someone can spend a whole day watching almost endless variations on a 4-minute pop video, what exactly are you going to do? Because the king is dead, vive la République!

*So’s the movie it’s taken from; don’t let the fact that it’s supposedly for kids put you off.
**Maybe they did, did you really think I’d watched the whole thing?
*** Here’s the whole 24 hours.


A Week’s A Long Time #13


No Place Like Home

When Facebook launched Home, its super-app, many people (me included) suggested that thay had done so to get the benefit of having their own phone and operating system, but without the hassle or cost of building one. Based on the success to date of Home, it’s probably lucky that they didn’t.

According to reports, the app has only been downloaded 1 million times in the month or so since it launched, with many of those who have downloaded it unhappy. To put that in context, when Instagram launched its Android app, it added 1 million users in a day, and they didn’t have an existing user-base of over 1 billion. At the same time, the phone on which Facebook Home was initially installed, the HTC First, has seen its price slashed to $0.99 in order to clear stock.

This doesn’t mean the end of Facebook Home; when the social network launched its early advertising system Beacon it was widely panned,  and was eventually withdrawn after a costly law-suit. Fast forward 6 years and many of the elements of Beacon are now to be found in many of Facebook’s, and many other platforms’, products. It may well turn out that the same thing happens with Home.

Hire And Hire

At times over the last week the tech giants of Silicon Valley have resembled desperate bargain hunters, still throwing things into the shopping trolley as their other half drags them towards the check-out. Yahoo alone has bought or aquihired 4 start-ups, primarily in the mobile space, Twitter bought an analytics  company as well as a big data start-up, and enterprise outfits Salesforce and Box also got in on the act. Many of these deals were around mobile, as are a couple that haven’t come off yet.

Apparently Facebook is planning to doubledown on the $1 billion it (sort of) spent on Instagram and offer a similar amount for Waze, a company that crowd-sources the data to power sat-navs. In the words of Waze founder Noam Bardin:

What search is for the Web, maps are for mobile

Although a rather trite statement, it’s also kind of true. Ironically, the deal is supposedly stalled over an argument about location.

At the same time there were rumours that Microsoft was considering whether to buy Nook, the e-book business launched by Barnes & Noble. Whilst there have since been counter rumours saying that no deal is imminent, it was an interesting suggestion and one that got investors excited.

Maybe they could have done the deal with Bitcoin, the virtual ‘currency’, which received a shot of respectability when UVC, one of the first investors in Twitter, pumped $5 million into a Bitcoin related start-up. Whilst Fred Wilson, the man behind the investment has had an incredible run of investments, it’s hard not to think that he’s backed the wrong horse here.


A Week’s A Long Time #10

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 10.08.05 PM

Back after a well earned break, I’m going to have another bash at providing a weekly round-up of tech, media & marketing.

Tweet As…

Twitter had a busy week, launching a new product and two updates to its ad systems.

Twitter #Music is an app, built off the back of acqhired Australian start-up We Are Hunted, which is designed to help people find and connect with new and upcoming music. It’s a lovely use of Twitter’s platform which understands, and makes use of, how people are using that to connect to music. Importantly, it builds off of existing music services, in the form of iTunes, Spotify & Rdio: this means it’s in the interest of the latter two for this to succeed, and helps ease the pain of Apple after closing Ping.

At the same time Twitter announced that it is to allow ads to be targeted at Twitter users based on words in their tweets or tweets they have interacted with, and it was rumoured that Twitter is trying to tie-up deals with TV networks so that it can monetise video content within tweets.

Whilst the #Music announcement is a smart effort to drive deeper audience usage of the product, whilst creating lots more lovely user data in the process, the keyword launch, and TV rumour, show that Twitter also wants to get much better at making money off of the audience it already has. Tie the two together and you can imagine a scenario where TV stations target their video content based on what other TV shows people have tweeted about, and then Twitter gets to monetise it. Meta.

Home And Dry?

Last week also saw Facebook Home hit the streets. It’s since seen 500,000 downloads which is impressive, but not a patch on Instagram which saw ten times as many downloads in the same amount of time after launching on Android.

It’s early days yet, and, to be honest, in some ways it’s hard to understand exactly what Facebook Home does for people. Perhaps the fact that one of the main features of Home, Chat Heads, is now part of the iPhone app, will help to really kickstart Facebook’s mobile landgrab. At least that would mean they wouldn’t have to rely on this ad doing the job.

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Race To The Bottom

Finally, and a lot more seriously, the web showed its darker side in the aftermath of a tragedy in Boston. reddit, which likes to call itself the front page of the internet, decided to try and capture the bombers. And failed.

Which would be fine, if it’s misguided attempts to play Sherlock didn’t result in plenty of innocent people being named as terrorists. It was, to repeat one memorable turn of phrase, like a racist Where’s Wally. To be sure plenty of people have pointed out that ‘traditional media’ is hardly blame free, and they’re right. But reddit has history, and it’s not as pretty as its cheer-leaders would like to claim.  


A Week’s A Long Time Vol. 7

Once again, a week here is more like a fortnight. I was on holiday last week and couldn’t drag myself away from the pool to jot down any thoughts on the latest developments in tech. But this week, I hope to make up for it.

The Only Way Is Up?

Wall St. met Silicon Valley this week as Facebook held its first earnings call since its rather disappointing flotation. It came on the back of a week where Zynga had singularly failed to impress the finance world, with very disappointing results.

The first question on everyone’s lips was whether Facebook’s founder, who many believe is dismissive of finance, would show up. He did. Though that doesn’t mean that people were impressed by him. Interestingly, an unconnected post by Fred Wilson highlighted why Mark Zuckerberg might need to play ball a bit more.

VCs have control when things don’t work. Entrepreneurs have control when they do.

The second question was whether what he, and his lieutenants, had to say would relieve the worries of those who bought Facebook’s stock. Not so much.

fb q2 deck

One of the main problems for both Facebook & Zynga is that people are switching to mobile quicker, even, than fast-moving Californian start-ups can keep up with, and the revenue on mobile devices is lower than on the desktop web. Which, of course, is why Facebook bought Instagram. And, in a move that looks like a perfect example of using offence as the best form of defence, Twitter cut off part of Instagram’s access to its API. Ouch.

The Only Way Is Down?

On the other side of media equation, things were also looking rocky. The New York Times released financial results, showing losses had halved. That said, those losses still stood at $88 million for the quarter, or around $1 million a day. And, just days before, The Guardian also reported huge losses, though only £44.2 million for the whole of 2011, which works out at about £3.6 million a month (about £100,000 a day, which has been the case for the last 3 years).

Not everyone was glum though: the web edition of the Daily Mail, the most popular newspaper site in the world, posted its first ever profit. It’s likely that publishers around the world will be looking at them to try to work out how they’ve done this. Unfortunately, whilst the Mail has a pretty strong record of issue-based, investigative journalism (it pretty much ensured that the Stephen Lawrence case wasn’t forgotten), the website owes more to Kim Kardashian than stories of murdered teenagers.

So what hope is there for journalism? Well, it depends who you believe. Salon argued that claims that the way that the shootings at a Batrman screening in Aurora showed how citizen journalism would lead the way, were pure hype.

The Web seems neutral, because it is an open platform that anyone can use. But just because anyone can does not mean everyone does. It is no accident that spontaneous, active citizen journalism emerged on Reddit in response to a shooting at a Batman premiere. The stories that get covered are the ones citizen journalists care about most, and these citizen journalists tend toward a certain social-cultural-economic orientation.

But, another author argued that this very article was, itself, hype. Where was this counter-argument published? Salon.

Confused? You will be.

Still, at least one person seems to have cracked the solution. Facebook just needs to buy The Guardian.

London Calling

And, just to end, let’s have a look at a little event that’s taking place in London at the moment. Unsurprisingly, it’s brought on a flurry of marketing, both ridiculous & sublime; official & not-so-official.

Nike are back to their best with Find Your Greatness*

Adidas have their own take on things with a piece soundtracked by British rapper Wretch 32.

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Does the fact that I think the song is wretched make me old? Probably? I prefer the more thoughtful athlete-focussed pieces.

Away from the big, global brands, a couple of local British companies have been getting some cheeky jabs in. Paddy Power & Oddbins both highlighted the fact that the Olympics police have been coming down very heavy on anyone who dares to try to make money off of the back of the event. And Specsavers showed, once again, that being quick off the mark is as important in advertising as it is in athletics, with a dig at the flaggate episode.

If you have any thoughts on these issues, or anything you’d like covered in a future digest, please do leave a comment, drop me a line on ciarannorris at gmail dot com, or tweet me.

*Nike are a current client of my employer Mindshare

Javelin by Banksy.


Why’s Google Rolling Back Realtime Search?

Since I moved to Dublin back in September, the country has been in the grip of what I can only call a collective obsession: everywhere you go, everyone you speak to, really only has one thing on their mind and it’s something that is creating a huge amount of public anger and discontent. I am, of course, talking about the fact that Wagner has yet to be voted off of The X Factor.

Oh, and the economy too.

In the case of both of these 24-hour rolling train-wrecks, I have been unable to take my eyes off of live news blogs and Twitter. Seeing the mix of humour and righteous anger that has filled Twitter over the last week or so has confirmed my view that Ireland is a great place to live & work (despite the somewhat biased reporting of many foreign media companies) and also that the Irish will pull through this even though it currently feels like the rest of the world is doing everything in its power to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Whatever you think of all that though, what can’t be ignored is the rising use of Twitter to express disgust and delight, in almost equal measures, for everything from The X Factor to the bailout and it got me thinking that, what with Google’s integration of Twitter streams into its realtime search product, this sort of stuff is probably reaching an even wider audience than the still, relatively, small Twitter one. That is, until I Googled X Factor.

Because whereas, up until recently, those tweets would be right there in the main SERPS (as in the image at the top of this post), they have now been hived off into their own area, with only a tiny link from the main page.

At the time that this dedicated section was released respected search commentator Danny Sullivan blogged about how glad he was about this move, due to the ability to link directly to realtime results, and because of the added level of detail, but I’m guessing that he wouldn’t necessarily feel the same way now that this appears to be the only way to find such results.

According to the official Google explanation, kindly pointed out to me by a Google engineer on (where else?) Twitter,

Realtime counter…makes it easy to see when a news story is popular on the social web.

According to Jeremy Hylton (the helpful Googler) “Some queries show live results, some show updates count“, but as yet, I’ve only seen the counts. Surely, if Google really wishes to push realtime, it needs to do so by putting it in pride of place in its main results?

Now, it could well be that the reason for this move is simply that Google are, as Google tend to do, tinkering with things to see what works best. After all, it’s not as if they haven’t been quite busy recently, what with tinkering with everything from how results are presented, to how we shop, to how to create the ugliest social network since, well, Orkut.

But then I had always thought that Google might find realtime a bit too hot to handle. After all, if you make nearly all of your money from advertising, and a great deal of it from major brands, do you really want to risk those ads appearing next to realtime updates from people explaining exactly why they hate Brand X, or how much they hate it?

No, me neither, and I’m guessing that until they work out how to manage that risk, realtime search might just be left to its own devices, in a space where relatively few people will see it, where all the X Factor fans and angry opponents of the bailout can do with it what they will until Google works out how to make realtime search advertiser friendly.


Facebook & The Tyranny Of Attention

I’m writing this post on a flight back from Madrid where, amongst many interesting conversations and accompanied by delicious glasses of Albarino, I discussed Facebook’s continuing growth with one of my local colleagues.
Until recently Spain had been one of those European countries, like Holland, France & Germany, that had resisted the social behemoth’s lure and in which a local platform was the most popular social network. Now, in Spain as in Germany & France (but not Holland, yet), Facebook is the pre-eminent social network and has left its local competition for dust.

According to recent statements by Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, the moment they know that the site is about to tip in a local market is when connections within that country start to outnumber those between early adopters in the country and those from abroad. They must have seen this phenomenon unfold quite a few times now that they approach the imminent announcement of an active audience of 500 million (you can see our estimate of their growth below), or, to put it in context, nearly one in two of everyone on the web.

What this heralds, amongst other things, is the continuation of the trend that has been part of the tech scene since the days of IBM; that is the tendency of tech sectors to veer towards monopolisation (IBM, Microsoft, Google, and now Facebook). Whilst my knowledge of the software market is far too limited to even attempt to explain why this happened on the desktop, it seems quite obvious to me why it’s happening with Facebook and it has important ramifications for all of us working in digital marketing.

The simple fact is that despite the rampant rise in new media channels and communications devices and the supposed rise in our ability to multi-task, there are, as far as I’m aware, still only 24 hours in the day. And, again, unless I missed a memo, most of us have to spend a good proportion of those 24 hours sleeping if we wish to conduct something that at least vaguely resembles a productive life.

And so, with so many options and so little time, we have to make choices. Choices about the films we see, the websites we visit, the games we play and the people we connect to. And faced with such choices it surely makes sense to spend that time as efficiently as possible and, when it comes to staying in contact with people, it makes much more sense to invest that time in a platform where the people you want to keep connected with already are.

This was brought home to me recently when I attended the Mashable Media Summit: the star of the day was Dennis Crowley, the founder of foursquare. During the lunch-break I overheard two guys talking on the table next to me and was amazed when one said to the other:

My friend’s working on this really exciting new start-up; it aims to be the foursquare of sports.

The reason I was amazed is that I’m guessing that I’m not alone in barely having time in my life for foursquare, let alone some niche within a niche which aims to make a foursquare specific to sporting events (something foursquare seems to be able to handle quite fine as it is).

At present, much as I try, I can’t seem to get value out of foursquare to match the investment in time that it requires. The scale of my network and relative paucity of non-US content it holds means it struggles to hold my attention (Lyndon wrote about this very eloquently). And, in a time-strapped world, it is this tyranny of attention that rules.

It’s why the imminent launch of Facebook’s own geolocation system, Places, could yet kill off foursquare and its other competitors before they’re even fully grown. Don’t believe me? Lets put it like this: foursquare currently has around 1.6 million registered (not necessarily active) users. Facebook has 100 million active users accessing it via mobile devices. Which is almost as much as Twitter’s entire user-base. And it’s why I don’t see anything supplanting Facebook any time soon and why brands need to work harder than ever to find a reason for people to pay attention to them.

Because whilst there will continue to be thriving niche communities, recent digital history and emerging trend data suggests that there is only really room for one game in town, and for the moment, in the world outside of the Far East, that game is Facebook. Which means that anytime some thrusting buck comes to tell you about his amazing start-up and how it’s going to change the world, you need to ask how he intends to overthrow the tyranny of attention.

Prison bars image by Paul Englefield on flickr


Ashton Kutcher Leaving Twitter? Here’s Hoping

According to reports Ashton Kutcher, the most followed individual on Twitter, is thinking of closing his account. His reason? He fears that a planned Twitter TV show could encourage civilians to stalk celebrities like Kutcher and his wife Demi Moore.

Whilst I obviously don’t condone stalking in any way, I have to say that this news, if it really qualifies as that, has had me chuckling. Here’s why.

  • Ashton Kutcher’s celebrity has been boosted by two things: his marriage and his use of Twitter. Apart from that he’s just another talentless MTV presenter who’s made a couple of shite films.
  • He’s more than happy to use his connection to the site to boost his profile further: whilst his appearance on Oprah, with Twitter co-founder Ev, was aimed at generating publicity for his charity, it certainly didn’t hurt his own profile – would he really have had a reason to go on if not for his (fixed) battle with CNN to be the first to gain 1 million Twitter followers? I don’t think so either.
  • He claimed that Twitter is important because “We now live in an age in media that a single voice can have as much power and relevance on the Web, that is, as an entire media network”. Unless of course no-one else is listening. How many people do the likes of Ashton, Demi & Oprah follow? 285 (4 million), 118 (2.4 million) & 17 (2.8 million) respectively – the numbers in brackets are the number of followers they currently have. Real social guys.
  • He may not want to be stalked but he’s more than happy to tweet photos of his wife bending over in a bikini. As if there’s anyone left alive in the western world who hasn’t seen Demi wearing much less than a pair of knickers.
  • I was here before aplusk, and I’ll be here long after he’s gone.

Anyway, we’ll see if he really means it or if he’s just doing a Fry. I have to say that whilst I was glad Stephen Fry changed his mind, I’m rather hoping Ashton & Demi don’t.

Photo of Demi’s arse by, yes, Ashton Kutcher via Celebsport.


Which & Gaucho Take The Bad Taste From My Mouth

About a month ago I wrote about a rather disappointing experience I had with Gaucho, the chain of Argentinian steak restaurants. To summarise what happened, I had a lovely meal there but when my jacket was brought back from the cloak-room, my iPod was missing and despite repeated telephone discussions with the manager of the Picadilly branch, they refused to take responsibility.

Well, I’m glad to say that at this point teh interwebz stepped in.

As happens with all my posts, a link to it was posted to my Twitter profile courtesy of twitterfeed. This was then retweeted a few times, and also prompted some people to suggest I check out Gaucho’s competition. This led to quite a few people seeing the original tweet, and the post. And one of those was the person managing the Twitter profile of consumer magazine Which. Which then got in touch and, having passed my blog post to their in-house lawyers, got back to me with some advice on possible avenues I might have for going back to Gaucho and pushing my case that they were responsible for the loss of my iPod.

Which, as anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to hear, I did. I emailed their Chief Executive & their Head of Operations, laying out my case: for those who are interested, putting up a sign saying we take no responsibility for items left in our possession doesn’t mean that they don’t have any responsibility – it’s called bailment; and not making it clear that they don’t intend to take responsibility, for example by putting the T&Cs on the back of a card, risks breaking the Unfair Contract Terms Act of 1977. That was on a Friday. On the Monday I had a call from a very friendly lady called Tracey asking where I wanted my new iPod sent (it arrived a few days later, along with a lovely bottle of Argentinian wine).

Tracey also apologised for the way my complaint had been handled, although to be fair everyone had always been very polite – they just hadn’t told me what I’d wanted to hear: it had been like a well mannered version of ‘Computer Says No’. She also explained that they would be changing their policies regarding making things clear about the cloak-room and hoped that I would give them another chance.

And, by chance, it turned out that my Dad had booked a family lunch at Gaucho’s Charlotte Street branch for that weekend, which I wouldn’t have been able to go to had Tracey not called (I’d have insisted we ate somewhere else instead). And, I’m glad to say, the food & service were as good as they had been when I visited Gaucho Piccadilly. And no, I didn’t hand in my jacket.

Thank you to @WhichCampaigner and everyone else who helped me get an iPod back.


Twitter, Strepsils & Rowntree’s Randoms FTW

Yes, yes, yes, another post about Twitter, I know. This one has a point at least. Well. Kind of.

A few weeks back I spoke at the 2nd of the excellent Media140 conferences, this one looking at the way that the real-time web is impacting brands. The guys at Media140 recorded my session on why & how brands should listen to Twitter (and other areas of the web) and you can check it out above.

It went pretty well although at one point the fact that I’d spend the Saturday night talking to friends in a bar so busy I’d had to spend most of the night shouting came back to bite me on the arse. Or the throat to be more exact.

As I desperately guzzled the last few remaining drops of water in my bottle and started to see visions of myself having to finish the presentation using semaphore, a lovely lady in the audience ran up & gave me a Strepsil. My vocal cords’ rapid return to life should be enough to disprove any who doubt Strepsil’s efficacy.

In my presentation I held up examples of brands monitoring Twitter & the real-time web for mentions of their products and then responding: Glasses Direct & Comcast were two of the companies I touched on. And yet if I were doing it today I’d use a much sweeter example.

Not long after Media140 one of my colleagues celebrated his birthday by bringing in a load of sweets for us all to eat. The sweets included Rowntree’s Randoms, something I’d not had before. After eating, or, more accurately speaking, inhaling a pack in about 3 minutes I posted a tongue-in-cheek but still truthful tweet. Much to my delight, and to my complete surprise, I very quickly received a response from Jimmy, a corp comms guy at Nestle. And, yesterday, after some postal strike related delays, I received a package full of Rowntree Randoms. How cool is that?

Twitter may not have been able to bring democracy to Iran, but it did bring me a much needed sugar hit on a rainy Friday afternoon, and you can’t really ask for more than that.

DISCLAIMER: When I first tasted the Randoms I had no idea that Rowntrees are a Mindshare client. The fact that they are only makes their response that much sweeter still.

Sterpsils image by rahego on flickr


Mobiles & Twitter Put The Ladder On Its Side

Well, what a week that was. Trafigura, Jan Moir and Ian & TFL: three separate incidents, all unrelated other than the fact that, to greater or lesser degrees, mobiles & Twitter played a large part in their being resolved/gaining mainstream coverage.

In the case of Trafigura, Carter-Ruck almost certainly caved more quickly than they would have done otherwise; The Daily Mail was forced to pull advertising from an article which was, let’s be honest, no more horrible than many of the other hateful things they publish on a daily basis; and Ian, the TFL worker, finds himself sitting at home this morning wondering if it was such a clever idea to suggest throwing a customer under a train (with someone actually claiming I helped it hit the big-time. Blimey). Then again, anyone who, in this day & age, thinks it’s cool to wear fingerless gloves and have a pony-tail probably isn’t going to be battering down MENSA’s door demanding membership any time soon.

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Many people have written about all of these events already, and with much more insight than I could hope to provide. However, one thing has kept popping into my mind again & again over the last few days: Forrester’s ladder is broken; the ladder is now horizontal, not vertical.

For anyone not familiar with it, the ladder (above) is Forrester’s way of categorising the different types of users of social media. I use it a lot when talking to clients and think that it makes a reasonably complicated topic quite simple to explain. The reason that they chose a ladder is obviously because the idea is that it takes more effort to be a creator than a spectator, hence Creators being at the ladder’s top. And, in the days when creating a web-page, or filming & uploading a video, or even just writing a blog post, took a vague amount of effort, that was a valid metaphor.

But, as we’ve seen over the last week, all you need to be a Creator now is a half-decent camera phone & a Twitter account. This trend can probably be traced back to the London bombings back in 2005, when most of the iconic images came from the camera phones of people trapped in the Tube tunnels, rather than the professional camera crews ‘trapped’ outside, away from the story. But now, with the exponential improvement in the quality of camera phones, especially video ones, and the ease with which Twitter allows someone to ‘upload’ that content, the whole game has changed.

So, to paraphrase Clay Shirky if I may:

So forget about mobiles and Twitter and tweeting and focus on this — the cost and difficulty of instantaneously publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just dropped as close to zero as makes no difference. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is already proving to be vast.

Ladder image by Bohman on flickr