Pinterest as professional companion

Pinterest is definitely designed as a recreational tool with categories (animals and pets; hair and beauty; health and fitness etc) that are more passion than profession. That shouldn’t preclude Pinterest’s use within workplace type settings where you’re looking to create relatively unstructured collections of visual materials where text driven tools such as Delicious and Pinboard may well fall short.

The use of the Pin It Button for Chrome makes it relatively easy to grab images and videos (Youtube or Vimeo) straight from a webpage.

Pin It Button

Users also have the option of creating private boards, keeping resources out of the prying eyes of competitors. You just need to remember that you can make a private board public but not the other way around.

Pinterest definitely has some limitations. Unlike with resources like Pinboard or Delicious, you place resources on boards individually rather than tagging them, making it more laborious for resource that have different aspects to them. An example would be a visual which showed mobile commerce usage on WeChat in China.

I might consider adding the resource to boards for WeChat; mobilecommerce and Mobile Messaging but the workflow means that you have to go through the add process for each board rather than simply adding it to three boards in one simple flow.

Similarly when retrieving materials, you’re limited to digging around in each of the folders rather than performing one search limiting by multiple aspects (eg WeChat and Mobile Commerce).

That being said, it’s still a great tool for pulling together photos, graphs, infographics, videos and other visual material.

Below you’ll find a small selection of some of the boards that I’ve pulled together which might give you some clues as to how you might get some value from using the service:

Technologies & Tech Trends

360 Video; Ad BlockingAugmented Reality ; Blockchain, Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies; Device Usage & OwnershipDrones & UAVsEcommerce; Internet of Things; Mobile Ecosystem;  Mobile Commerce; Mobile InternetMobile Messaging;  Mobile & Tablet AppsMobile Payments; Online VideoOnline Video CampaignsPCs & LaptopsQuantified Self; Robotics & Employment AutomationSmart HomeSmart WatchesStartups & Venture CapitalTablets; Television

Marketing & Media

Content Marketing; Experiential CampaignsFacebook & Facebook Based CampaignsInstagram and Instagram Based Campaigns; Media LandscapeMobile Messaging Based Campaigns; Online Video Campaigns;  Pinterest & Pinterest Based Campaigns; Search & Search Marketing; Tumblr & Tumblr Based Campaigns; Twitter & Twitter Based Campaigns;

The Big Hitters

Alphabet & GoogleAmazon; Apple; NetflixUber;

Markets that Matter

China; India;

Audiences

Families & ParentingTeenagersYoung Adults;

Important Issues

Climate Change;  Economy & Wealth; EmploymentGlobalisationMigration & Refugees; Work, Incomes & Inequality

Some Personal Favourites

Classic Cycle Posters & Illustration; Classic CyclingCycle Touring & Bikepacking; Cycling Art & IllustrationRuin Porn & Urban Exploration; Street Art

Good lucky and happy pinning.

The featured image is a Noneck mural in Yogyakarta, Indonesia published in Ekosystem.

Thought Starters

The following is a collection of articles and thought pieces highlighting interesting trends and changes in the world you and I live in.

Benedict Evans looks at which organisations can really benefit from a mobile app based digital strategy:

Do you have the kind of relationship, and proposition, that people will want to engage with  enough to put your icon on their phone? If the answer to this is ‘yes’, then you should have an app – if only because the app store is the way to do that that people understand, and they’ll look for you in the app store.

Nielsen figures point to 30 being the ceiling for the number of mobile apps typically used by consumers:

Mobile Apps

GlobalWebIndex figures point to Pinterest and Tumblr’s rapid growth globally, albeit off a much smaller base than the likes of Facebook:

Pinterest and Tumblr

Providing a more flattering view for Facebook are figures from the UK published by Ofcom in its Adults’ media use and attitudes Report 2015. The report also has plenty of coverage of UK consumer’s use of other media and devices:

Social media sites

There has been a lot of coverage in the media press on Facebook’s launch of Instant Articles. The service sees consumers access content on Facebook’s servers rather than being directed onto the publishers own platforms. This represents a further strengthening of Facebook’s position, but as Vox points out, has a certain inevitability to it.

Eugene Wei contrasts minimalist and frictionless design, suggesting that we should typically be aiming for the latter:

Minimalist design is about reducing the surface area of an experience. Frictionless design is about reducing the energy required by an experience.

Evolutionary biologist Josh Roseneau has looked at the correlations between faith groups in the USA and their attitudes towards evolution and environmental regulations:

Climate vs Religion

The Longform Podcast has been a recent discovery, with journalists interviewed about the story behind the story. A recent episode profiles  reporter Sarah Maslin Nir coverage of the New York nail salon industry and the brazen exploitation of its workforce. You can find Nir’s story over on the New York Times.

Well renowned journalist Seymour Hersh wrote a valuable article in the London Review of Books pointing out major inconsistencies in the United States’ account of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Unfortunately some commentators have chosen to attack the journalist rather than the story as Trevor Timm details in an account for the Columbia Journalism Review.

In an interesting interplay of film and gentrification, Nick Carr provides an account of life as a location scout in New York trying to find a quintessential New York which increasingly doesn’t exist.

Chip Rowe looks at the different design flaws in the human body and suggests some hacks to rectify them:

Evolution constructed our bodies with the biological equivalent of duct tape and lumber scraps. And the only way to refine the form (short of an asteroid strike or nuclear detonation to wipe clean the slate) is to jerry-rig the current model. “Evolution doesn’t produce perfection,” explains Alan Mann, a physical anthropologist at Princeton University. “It produces function.”

The featured image is Vegan To’ona’i by Askew One in Auckland, New Zealand and the photo was published in StreetArtNews.

Thought Starters

A mixed collection of materials looking at societal trends and the impact of technology on the way we live.

The European Commission has released the Sixth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion. The title might not roll off the tongue but it provides a broad range of European statistics including health outcomes, the environment, human development, demographics, crime, the economy and education among other things:

Change in Population The Economist has created an index of where the best country to be born is by looking at a range of quality of life indicators. Care to move to Switzerland?

Where to be born

Retale have pulled together an interactive infographic using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data to providers users with the opportunity to see how the activities of different audiences vary by demographic in the US:

Time Survey

JWTIntelligence has pulled together a report looking at changing family structures in the US. Among the trends highlighted is the evolving nature of the nuclear family, growth in solo living, multigenerational and silver families and the rise of friends as part of family type networks:

The Internet of Things has been getting a lot of attention from the technology sector. The Wall Street Journal looks to pour some cold water on things by pointing out the failure to institute common standards as providing devices interacting that aren’t from the same brand:

Without a common software standard, devices will remain locked into what the German industry experts calls “island solutions”– brands that have a portfolio of products that can talk with each other but won’t be compatible with other brands.

The number of apps available to smartphone and tablet consumers keeps on expanding, but the average consumer only users four according to research from Nielsen:

App Usage

The GlobalWebIndex continues to infographics providing a window into global consumers use of digital.  Recent releases have looked at where WhatsApp, Vine and Pinterest are making an impact:

WhatsApp

Zeynep Tufekci gives an impassioned defence of Twitter in its current form, pointing to the advantages of surfacing content by the human flock rather than an algorithm:

I honestly doubt that there is an algorithm in the world that can reliably surface such unexpected content, so well. An algorithm can perhaps surface guaranteed content, but it cannot surface unexpected, diverse and sometimes weird content exactly because of how algorithms work: they know what they already know. Yet, there is a vast amount of judgement and knowledge that is in the heads of Twitter users that the algorithm will inevitably flatten as it works from the data it has: past user behavior and metrics.

As Twitter broadens its offering to partners by integrating ecommerce functionality with consumers’ Twitter stream with the  trialling of a Buy now button. Whilst the trial is relatively limited in scope at this stage, we can presumably expect to see it rolling out more widely soon:

Research from AOL Platforms points to Youtube as having an important role in introducing products and closing the sale when compared to other social media:

Purchase Funnel

Facebook’s quarterly earning figures released in July pointed to the company as doing a good job of growing its revenues. Analysis from Neustar suggests this position may well continue given that Facebook’s network offering is proving a leader in terms of reach efficiency and average cost although its position is trumped by ad exchanges in the quality of its audience:

Cost Index Online Advertising

Facebook is looking to be more sensitive to consumers’ privacy concerns with the  launch of its  Privacy Checkup to help users better manage their privacy settings:

A report from PageFair points to a 69% increase in the number of consumers using adblock software in the US, raising concerns that online media may be increasingly threatened by declining ad revenues.

Adobe recently released its U.S. Mobile Benchmark Report providing a range of charts shedding light on how users and marketers are taking advantage of mobile. Among the interesting statistics is the use of GPS location data and use of beacon technology:

Location Data

Another interesting data point to emerge from the Adobe presentation is the flatlining of tablet’s share of page views. This provides further ammunition to some commentators’ arguments that tablets are getting squeezed between phablets (smartphones with screen size between 5.01 to 6.9 inches diagonally) and PCs:

Tablet vs Mobile Usage

The growing importance of phablets is given further credence by Flurry’s recently released figures which point to growing market share and TECHnalysis Research’s forecast for forecasted sales in the coming years:

Unit Forecast by Sales notebooks desktops tablets smartphones phablets
Unit Forecast by Sales notebooks desktops tablets smartphones phablets

Apple’s launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is likely to provide a boost to its smartphone marketshare.  Samsung on the other hand is likely to find itself increasingly squeezed between Apple above and a growing array of Chinese based manufacturers (Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei, Coolpad etc) at the mid to lower end:

Smartphone Market Share

Amazon’s Fire Phone was released with much fanfare in late July but the fact that it’s now dropped the price by $200 suggests it hasn’t been a winner among consumers.

Putting this all in perspective is Benedict Evans’ valuable blog post looking at Amazon’s failure to post a substantial profit despite its large revenues:

Amazon Revenue vs Income

Evans points to Amazon’s willingness to reinvest any potential profits back into the business. Some of these investments aren’t going to be an immediate success, but others such as the Kindle have enabled Amazon to gain a market leading position:

Amazon Profit Model

Reddit gets strongly criticised by T.C. Sottek following its failure to take action on the release of nude celebrity photos:

Reddit, he wrote, is “not just a company running a website where one can post links and discuss them, but the government of a new type of community.” So, then, what type of government is Reddit? It’s the kind any reasonable person would want to overthrow.

Tim Harford looks at how we can improve our forecasting, pointing to better understanding probabilistic reasoning, working collaboratively and being open minded as key contributors:

Masha Gessen looks at how the Russian population is being squeezed between declining birth rates and falling mortality rates, pointing towards a loss of hope as a key contributor:

If this is true—if Russians are dying for lack of hope, as they seem to be—then the question that is still looking for its researcher is, Why haven’t Russians experienced hope in the last quarter century? Or, more precisely in light of the grim continuity of Russian death, What happened to Russians over the course of the Soviet century that has rendered them incapable of hope?

The featured image at the top of the page is a PARKER by GoddoG and DelwooD in Biarritz and found on GoddoG’s Flickr stream.

Pinboard, Twitter, Pinterest and Comments

This is a quick update to earlier postings looking at My Digital Footprint.

Pinboard

I have been using Delicious for some years now and as with any service, you get what you pay for. Given the service is free, this now means the appearance of advertising and unfortunately more sluggish performance (having 11,000 links probably doesn’t help).

A recent article by Ethan Zuckerman again brought Pinboard to my attention which for a one off fee of around $10 promises to provide a similar service to Delicious but with faster performance and without the advertising.

If you’re looking for a fully featured service like Evernote with the ability to collect ideas and annotate webpages , Pinboard probably won’t be for you. On the other hand if you’re looking for a simple user friendly tool to collect and index online articles and resources, you may well find it fits the bill. If you’re keen to find out more, I’d suggest you read Federico Viticci’s review over at MacStories .

You can follow my own ever expanding collection of resources here, with the material collected reflecting my interests and the tags reflecting my own idiosyncrasies.

Twitter

If you’re looking for more regular updates on material that’s similar to the blog’s content, try following me on Twitter at @gusjmacdonald.

Pinterest

I may not fit the profile of the average Pinterest user, but I do find it’s a valuable resource for collecting more visual materials.

On my Pinterest account, you’ll find collections of boards around different digital tools and strategies (eg location based marketing), technological and consumer trends (eg device usage and ownership), sectoral information (eg retail) as well as various boards where there’s a personal interest (eg cargo bikes). Feel free to have a browse and follow any boards that interest you.

Comments

The final area I wanted to remark on is the growing torrent of comments I am now facing with the blog. Many of these are more than warmly received but a significant proportion are spam. For the moment I’m letting the current situation continue as is but I may well find myself changing this situation if the time associated with managing comments (rather than writing) continues to increase.

This isn’t something I take lightly as one of the characteristics I really appreciate about the web is the ability to foster communications between author and audience. Watch this space…

The featured image is The Golden Fish by Aleksey Batis in Chelyabinsk, Russia and found on Ekosystem.

Thought Starters: Content that has got me thinking 21

A mixed collection of materials looking at societal trends, the role of technology and specifically smartphones, and its impact and a look at Pinterest and its impact among other things.

 Wall Street Journal’s analysis of employment starkly illustrates the process of deindustrialisation in the US and the growth of the service economy and in particular, healthcare.

Work Then and Now

Mathematical analysis of the prevalence of smoking point to the importance of individualism in the spread of social epidemics.  Sweden with its collectivist society was slower to start smoking and slower to stop compared to the US.

An interview with Intel Labs Director Genevieve Bell looks at  how technology is shaping the world we live in in an interview with the New York Times.

Benedict Evans’ analysis of tablet sales goes on to suggests that tablets’ key competitor is the smartphone rather than laptops and desktops.

Device Sales An interesting companion to this analysis is Evan’s report on the transformative power of the smartphone which isn’t necessarily reflected in a simple comparison of device sales.

When you pull these strands together, smartphones don’t just increase the size of the internet by 2x or 3x, but more like 5x or 10x. It’s not just how many devices, but how different those devices are, that has the multiplier effect

Whilst we are seeing the smartphone transform many areas of today’s economy, the mobile app development sector is becoming increasingly competitive. Max Child looks at how app developers can look  look to differentiate themselves:

Charge them for something that helps them make money.
Charge them for an emotional experience.
Don’t charge them, charge someone else for helping that someone else make money.

As the world takes a more critical view of the role of the tech sector, it’s interesting to see The Atlantic comparing  Wall Street with Silicon Valley.

A new tech bubble is inflating, as anyone living in the Bay Area can attest. But no tech company is too big to fail, at least not by Wall Street standards. Why? The tech giants are exactly the opposite of heavily leveraged. One of their core strengths is how much cash they generate and save. It’s immense.

Comscore’s analysis of US consumers’ consumption of digital media point to rapid growth of mobile app use, less growth in mobile web usage and a moderate decline in desktop usage.

Digital Media

Horace Dediu’s figures point to the smartphone sector continuing to experience strong growth particularly within the other category – something we’re likely to see more of with the growing emergence of new brands selling Android handsets in developing markets. Smartphone Sales

Adobe’s Social Intelligence Report points to Pinterest leading the social field for revenue per visitor in the UK.

Social RPV in U.K.

The Atlantic’s interview with Pinterest’s co-founder Evan Sharp, provide pointers to the social network’s past and future.

Bryan Mealler’s feature article on the fracking boom in South Texas provides an engaging tale of the winners and losers when regions are faced with a resource boom.

Texas

Finding Vivian Maier provides a fascinating look at one of the pioneers in street photography.

The featured image is a piece by Nosego in Los Angeles photographed by Birdman and found on StreetArtNews.

Thought Starters: Content that has got me thinking 16

The following infographic provides a valuable illustration of trends in the business world as companies go up and down.

S&P 500 Churn Over the Past DecadeThomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has raised some important questions in terms of income inequality. The following graph suggests flattening income growth for the majority of Western consumers although the counterbalance to this is the emergence of the middle class in many emerging markets.

Growth in Real Average Income

Whilst on the subject of income, NPR in the US has looked at what professions are likely to put you above (or below) the incomes of your parents.

Household income during Childhood vs Income during Adulthood

Nemo looks at the winners and losers when services like Uber disrupt markets and how regulators can maximise benefits for consumers.

Jason Jacobs from Runkeeper argues that dedicated fitness trackers are likely to go the way of many other devices that have been subsumed within the smartphone.

Steven Sinofsky looks at how many digital services start with a focused offering but see their functionality expand sprawl over time and argues that this shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a bad thing.

JWT Intelligence identify what they see as the ten key mobile trends for 2014.

Felix Salmon argues eloquently for salaries being public, arguing that it is likely to lead to fairer compensation and avoids fueling some of the nastier aspects of  organisational politics.

Harvard Institute of Politics research points to Facebook’s penetration growing among young adults in the US but usage is declining.

Facebook's Reach Among Young Adults is Still Unmatched

Research from the e-tailing group points to social media as only providing a limited contribution towards sales when compared to other digital channels…That’s not to say it doesn’t provide valuable support to other valuable business metrics.

Digital Marketing Channels that Generated Orders for US Ecommerce Sites

A valuable overview of how Facebook is positioning its digital offering can be found in Facebook for Direct Response Marketing presentation produced following recent announcements at the F8 Developers Conference.

Facebook for Direct Response Marketing

Facebook has launched Context Cards on their redesigned iOS app which will look to serve more contextual information based on user location and activities.

Research from RJMetrics points to women dominating among active Pinterest users with 84% staying active after four years.

Pinterest users remain almost exclusively female, 84 stay active after 4 years

Moz looks at how events can be leveraged to grow an organisation’s digital profile.

Are you running low on ideas? Mark Johnstone looks at ways of kickstarting your creative thinking.

The featured image is by German artist MadC in Tahiti where she was invited to paint for the Ono’U Street Art Festival and coverage was found on StreetArtNews.

Messages that Resonate

This is the first of an irregular series of posts looking at communications which have caught my attention. This will complement Thought Starters which will look more at trends, strategies and ideas.

A recent trip to a local hospital made me acutely aware of the dehumanising experience that these institutions provide, despite the best efforts of the staff. Dignity Health is looking to reposition itself as a more humane experience with KindVines.  Consumers are being encouraged to submit Vines  that show moments of human kindness in their community.

Kind Vines

Another brand doing interesting things with Vine is Lowe’s with its Fix in Six campaign which provides six second DIY tips. It shows you less can be more sometimes.

NOMOS Glashütte’s video Look over the watchmakers’ shoulders provides a great example of how beautifully long form video can be used to increase the perceived value of a brand.

American furnishings retailer CB2 is looking to use Pinterest plus a dose of consumer feedback to decide how to decorate a New York apartment.

The election of Tony Abbott as Australian Prime Minister has reinforced some of my more negative associations of the land down under. So I was intrigued to see NAB recruit locals to offer live commentary of that most quintessential of Australian events the Aussie rules final. A great way of reflecting the diversity of Australia where 27% of the population are born overseas.

UNICEF has a campaign to promote access to  clean water by asking consumers to download an app and not touch their smartphones. For every 10 minutes you don’t touch your phone, sponsors will donate one day of clean water to UNICEF.

Amazon’s move to enable ecommerce functionality within consumer’s Twitter stream may not be groundbreaking for Chinese consumers but it does provide an example of expanding what brands can do in social media.

Optic Square in Thailand provide a great example of using the characteristics of an out of home environment to add impact to a creative execution.

Providing something of an antidote to the world of marketing is Honest Slogans which looks to give a more consumer centric view of the brands many of us live with.

Perrier

Feel free to chip in with campaigns that have caught your attention lately.

The featured image is a mural by French artist Mist and was photographed by Big Addict for StreetArtNews.

Thought starters: content that has got me thinking 15

Owen Williams reports on how the smartphone is reshaping the digital landscape as we move increasingly toward a more app centric world with tablets providing an important bridge, particularly for older consumers.

App vs Mobile Site Usage

Matt Hartman provides a valuable look at how the structures of social networks affects users experiences them drawing on concepts of nodes, data/content, edges and jumping functions.

Issie Lapowsky suggests that LinkedIn’s generalist approach may see it being sidelined by more specialised players in the professional networking space.

The Community Roundtable reviews how the community management sector is doing and the opportunities communities provide for organisations looking to engage with customers and other stakeholders.

 

Twitter has enabled ecommerce functionality using the #AmazonCart hashtag. Mark Millan points out that this kind of service has been available on China’s Sina Weibo for around two years, pointing to the country’s innovative mobile ecosystem.

Brian Solis reviews announcements at the F8 Facebook Developers Conference which included Facebook Login, Anonymous Login, App Links, Message Dialog, FbStart, Send To Mobile and Audience Network. After making a slow start, Facebook is becoming a major player in the wider mobile ecosystem.

Mike Elgan looks at Facebook’s growing role as personal data harvester,  using the capture users behaviour across a range of properties to drive sales across its advertising network.

David Segal reports on the  mis-selling of online video with advertising networks frequently failing to deliver the assets promised. Whilst this situation isn’t unique to online video, the complex web of buyers, sellers and traders is making for a far from transparent marketplace.

Josh Constine reviews Foursquare’s launch of Swarm and Facebook’s Nearby Friends service, pointing to ambient proximity as a means of overcoming consumers’ concerns about sharing location.

Ross Simmonds provides a guide to how you can incorporate Snapchat into your marketing strategy.

 

Kevan Lee looks at how to improve your organisation’s Pinterest presence.

Izitru gives consumers and publishers a better chance of judging whether an image has had the photoshop treatment.

Photoshop free zone at Izitru

Danah Boyd looks at the declining importance of the car in young people’s identities and how this could add fuel to the trend towards autonomous cars.

David Epstein compares the performance of athletes from the past with the present day and suggests that changes in performance aren’t quite as dramatic as some people would have us believe.

The featured image is a MAANI GURI NURAH by Remed and was photographed by Sharmila Wood in Pilbara, Western Australia.

MY DIGITAL FOOTPRINT: PINTEREST

This is second post in a series of pieces profiling the different digital tools I’m using to organise information and digitally publish. As mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been a heavy user of Delicious for some time.

Whilst Delicious is great for structuring a large pool of information, it is a text driven platform  is not so useful when you are looking for visual inspiration or assets, which is where Pinterest comes in.  I joined the service in 2010, but it’s only been in the last year that I really began using it regularly, using it as an asset bank for presentations and reports.

The service relies on the use of non hierarchical ‘boards’ with no tagging of content, limiting the ability to develop a more detailed taxonomy. This means that I’m now faced  with a constantly expanding number of boards (currently stands at 275), but the sheer simplicity of the system does mean you spend more time adding content and less time managing it.  The process of adding content is made painless by the use of a Chrome extension.

The service limits users to three private boards which ensures that Pinterest users’ efforts are typically shared for one and all, but it  provides a real limitation for projects where privacy is important.

I’ve attempted to try and order the layout the boards on my profile page to better enable retrieving content. This sees different arrays of folders structured within alphabetical sequence,  just don’t expect anything as robust as the Dewey Decimal System or the Library of Congress Subject Headings.

The first array of boards looks largely at tactics (eg Blogging, Personalisation), the second array  looks at marketing campaigns by theme (eg Humour Based Campaigns, Neo-Luddism Based Campaigns), the third array looks at more descriptive material that typically relates to technology (eg Device Usage and Ownership, Demographics), the fourth array looks at different market sectors (eg RetailTelecoms) and the final array is my playground where you’ll find an assortment of material that has caught my mind (eg ColourMan vs Nature, Old FutureRuin Porn).

You will often find indexed pictures/videos in more than one board. An example would be an infographic that looked at wearable computing including Google Glass which you will find  in the Wearable & Wetware  and Enhanced Eyewear boards. Not necessarily the most elegant of solutions, but it works for me.

You’re encouraged to follow, although the rather broad array of content means that you’re probably much better off following a board than the whole stream.