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:
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?
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.