August 2016

After 13 years of providing an unfiltered look at society, closed its figurative doors on 22 Aug. To be fair, I'm sure there was a brick and mortar office with real doors that was similarly shut, but I digress.
Gawker released an excerpt of a sex tape featuring Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, and Heather Clem. While the video footage is only a minute long, the article is essentially a play-by-play of the video, the entire 30 minutes recounted for eager readers. According to the publication, the footage was given by an anonymous, uncredited source. Apparently, Bollea didn't take kindly to Gawker spreading this intimate moment far and wide across the internet.

In all, apart from holding a claim on the company and personal assets, $140 million has been awarded to Bollea after a trial court judgement in his Florida privacy case. The former editor and author of the damning article, AJ Daulerio, has a $230 million hold on his checking account.

The financially-crippling Bollea v. Gawker lawsuit bankrupted the media outlet. Even still, Gawker Media Group had several still-breathing publications under its control - Lifehacker, Deadspin (sports), Kotaku (games), Jalopnik (cars), Gizmodo (tech), and Jezebel (news and gossip). Staffers from collected their words and woes before migrating to other avenues of work within Gawker Media Group. These separate media outlets have been adopted by Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications for $135 million. Senior Writer Hamilton Nolan of Gawker has gone the way of a ship captain, accompanying the sinking flagship of to the bottom of the ocean, complete with a final word on the matter.

Maybe this seems above board, suing a publication for sullying your good name, but the waters muddy when Peter Thiel's hand appears strumming the strings of fate.

The History

Gawker has made it their mission to systematically expose the underbelly of the world through unmitigated blogging. Without a baseline in sight, the ultimate goal of Gawker was serving the truth, generously peppered with shock value. Unsurprisingly, this struck a chord with some, especially those who fell victim to the Gawker rampage.

It all begins to make sense when we review 2007 articles, where Gawker outed Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and tech billionaire, as gay. The piece Gawker wrote is somewhat inspiring, albeit a total breach of privacy. In it, Gawker condemns old boys' clubs for their rigid views and speaks to Thiel's gumption for rising against the grain ... all without alluding to the fact that Gawker was outing a powerful venture capitalist player.

Consumed with revenge and murder, Thiel began to fund other offended people's lawsuits against Gawker. If you look closely at the Gawker page, you can just make out a pair of steepled hands and a Cheshire grin in the margins as a legacy of straight-out writing crashes down. In the words of Hamilton Nolan, "Gawker was anarchist journalism at its finest. Every day, a page to be filled; every day, a chance for greatness, or idiocy. This site contains the very best and worst things that many writers have written. This fact drives many people mad."

It wasn't until March that Thiel's scheme began to hold water thanks to his beneficiary, Terry Bollea (a.k.a. Hulk Hogan). Once the former wrestler locked Gawker in a strangle hold to the tune of $140 million, the company had no choice but to declare bankruptcy. Though Gawker is appealing against the decision, the likelihood of it resurfacing from the depths is slim. Bollea won the lawsuit because the invasion of privacy was so extreme.

Thiel has won. His revenge has come to fruition. He has put a stopper on freedom of speech by snuffing out a publication that has prided itself on screaming out what others would ignore. Gawker has suffered a killing blow, and so ends an era.

The Aftermath

Thiel's outing isn't the first Gawker story to bring the media outlet under siege. They were known for being mean and brash, judging the world on their own terms before they took other views into account; but they stood against the current and that was to their detriment.

If a media outlet can be brought to its knees by a billionaire set on silencing a voice, what now?

The death of Gawker wasn't some grand scheme carried out beneath the consciousness of lawmakers, it was orchestrated by the legal system. Bollea attempted to bring the lawsuit to court twice, where the judge ruled the publication newsworthy and protected. Somehow, though, the case made it through, piggybacked on  the publications' repeated "push the envelope" mentality. The monetary sum awarded to Bollea was more than he asked for, enough to send Gawker spiraling into financial ruin.

There had been one too many ventures to the wild side, where exposure was more important than relevance. An internal struggle between the business and editorial sides of Gawker split the publication in more ways than one, including causing an internal upset in CEO Nick Denton.

In an article discussing the final demise of Gawker,  Executive Features Editor Tom Scocca says, "There is no freedom in this world but power and money."

CBS News
It wasn't long ago that we were reporting on how Facebook was doubling their efforts to try and remove any fake stories. Back then we said it would be impossible to do completely but we thought that perhaps they could at least prevent the hoaxes from being spread too far. Now it's been proven that they couldn't even do that and a hoax news story actually made it into the trending topics for US users.

The story in question is about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly claiming that she'd been kicked off the channel for backing Hillary Clinton in the election. Now if this was true then she'd have a pretty clear cut case for unfair dismissal but it isn't. Her political views aside, Kelly hasn't been fired from Fox News and viewers will continue to see her on their screens. The article came from a site called Ending The Fed, a pro-Trump and Right Wing site that seems to republish articles from other sites. We don't know whether they have permission to do this or if they're just plagiarising to get more views for their own site but this article has been the most popular. It seems weird that they would attack someone who does seem to support the same political party as them but maybe they were going for the shock factor.

On Facebook, the trending topics are chosen by an algorithm. It checks to see what Facebook users in each country are sharing and posting the most about. This was obviously one of those stories so it wound up slipping through the cracks with real news stories. It makes you wonder if Facebook did the right thing in choosing to remove any human interference with the trending topics. Where Facebook used to show a little human-written description, now they don't, and you have to assume in cases such as this that they'd look into the story to write about it and would then realise it was fake. To some users, this might seem too much like interference though and that is what got Facebook into trouble over trending topics previously. People thought they were slipping in topics no one was talking about as that's what Facebook wanted people to read, if they were removing others before users knew it was fake, they might have claimed they were picking and choosing what they wanted to share.

Facebook have since apologised and removed the article. It's not something Facebook seem to be able to prevent easily and it most likely will happen again in the future. This might be great news for hoax sites but not so much for everyone else.

There is a lot of conflicting advice out there for nonprofits engaged on social media platforms. Some say charities need to be doing more to socialise and create a buzzing community of followers, while others are sceptical as to whether the time investment needed to properly manage updates is worth the benefits.

The voices advocating social media are probably louder, with a quick search producing dozens of guides and tips on how to ramp up your organisation's presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Snapchat. The benefits are the same as for any other brand: creating conversations about the issues, raising the profile of the company, gaining a dedicated following and keeping them informed of relevant developments and news. 

The theory is of course that a bustling social media community translates into clicks through to your website, sign ups to your email list, and the potential for more donations and support.

However, articles like this one in The Guardian are cropping up, arguing that nonprofits should be restricting their use of social media and instead investing resources into other more effective channels. 

Matt Collins points out that while it may sound like an unmissable opportunity to connect with the 1 billion Facebookers and 320 million Tweeters, the figures of who actually sees your posts are significantly lower. A study of entrepreneurs covered by this Telegraph article found that two thirds of the 1000 UK small business owners and directors surveyed said that there was no evidence social media was having a positive effect on business

Posts on Facebook may only reach around 2.6% of the charity's following, whereas tweets generally reach around 10% of followers. This may sound better, but the average click-through rate for tweeted links is only 1.6%. These kinds of figures indicate that very few people will see your post, even if they are already following your brand, and even fewer will click onto your website through the social media platform.

The argument is, I suppose, that people are on these sites to socialise, and prefer to use Google for searching information.

Collins advises to invest more time on SEO, increasing visibility through GoogleAdwords and commonly-searched terms, and making use of the extensive email databases of interested individuals.

He summarises:

'It’s time to step away from the belief that charities have to be on social media and need to invest in it. It’s not the best marketing tool we have. Let’s look at the data, and focus our limited resources on what we can prove works.'

On the opposite side of the debate, there are many who vehemently urge nonprofits to keep up with modern methods of technological engagement, and to be strategic about what they share

Chara Odhner at charity:water points to an issue with how nonprofits are handling their communications:

‘The most powerful thing about social media is something many companies and organizations often forget: It’s social.’

She adds that organisations are not getting the engagement which translates into the support that they might, and instead are ineffective in their strategies and ‘use social media as a broadcasting platform.’

A HubSpot survey in 2014 investigated the social media marketing habits of over 9000 small to medium-sized nonprofits in the US and Canada. The results showed that nonprofits are catching up reasonably quickly to the potential of social marketing, but still show that the nonprofit sector lags behind for-profit in the levels of social communication.

In terms of time dedicated to social media, 38% of the nonprofits surveyed were spending 1-2 hours a week, compared to the 43% of for-profit small businesses who spend over 6 hours a week communicating on the platforms (VerticalResponse survey, 2012).   

The most alarming statistic of the survey by far was that 67% of the businesses had no social media marketing strategy, policies,or goals in place. So, while a large portion of nonprofits are embracing some social platforms, they are not making formal plans or being intentional about how their online updates and content feeds into their overall communication strategy.

This seems doomed to be ineffective, and might well be a waste of limited resources. Half-hearted, disorganised social media engagement just doesn't cut it, and it might be worth setting targets and planning just a couple of platforms to make sure you are generating the maximum traffic for your time.

The study showed that 44% had just one person monitoring social media, so time and resources are of the essence. It also emerged that 53% were not measuring the outcome of their online social activity.

On a positive note, 48% of the companies rated social media marketing as 'Very Valuable', which shows recognition of engaging a community is growing. 98% of the nonprofits use Facebook, with a massive 80% saying Facebook is their primary focus for social media.

More generally, the survey found that sharing news about the organisation, sharing information about the cause, and raising brand recognition are the top three goals of nonprofits' social media efforts. In fourth place came fundraising, which is encouraging, as it indicates brands are understanding social media platforms to be more beneficial when the updates are not limited to appeals. 

Content Strategy

As with any strategy or long-term plan, make sure you set goals that are achievable and measurable. For instance, if your aim is to engage with the non-profit online community, set specific targets for the number of posts from other accounts you will share, or for the online campaigns you could tune into.

Analytics can help you gain a better understanding of your current following, so you can shape your content to your demographic.

Bridgett Colling from See3 Communications, a digital agency for nonprofits, outlines a difficulty:

‘A lot of nonprofits say, ‘Well, our audience is the general public,’ but if you think you’re speaking to the general public, you’re probably speaking to nobody.’

She recommends developing ‘audience personas’, which are basically representations of potential supporters based on the characteristics of current donors, volunteers and board members. Some even suggest constructing whole character profiles with names and individual interests, to help you focus your attention on what matters to your audience, and how you can engage them.   

With a better idea of your target demographic, you can focus limited resources on being active on the two or three networks where your audience is most active, rather than trying to cover all bases. Facebook is number one in this sector, with an overwhelming majority of non-profit communicators rating it as their top platform, followed by Twitter and YouTube.

What to share is crucial to improve your chances of successful engagement. One option is to take a storytelling approach, sharing the experiences and perspectives of those within your organisation and of people you work with. The public is more likely to respond actively when they feel a personal, one-on-one connection than if they see broad mission statements and appeals.

Kivi Leroux Miller, a specialist in non-profit marketing, suggests that your content be motivated by questions like ‘What problems do people have in their own lives when trying to live out the values they share with your organisation? What tips or tools can you give them that make their lives easier as they try to be a better environmentalist, animal lover, parent, etc.?’

It is widely agreed that content should be balanced, with posts serving a mixture of purposes. Broadly speaking, you need to make sure your social media output is more varied than just appeals to donors.

Some propose the ‘Rule of Thirds’, dividing content evenly between posts about your organisation and appeals, curated content of interest, and conversation-generating material. Others, like blogger Steven Shattuck, suggest a system based on the three A’s: Appreciation, Advocacy, Appeals.

If each of these takes up a third of your updates, he says, then you can create a strategy that recognises supporters, donors and volunteers, acts as a voice for other nonprofits, and asks for action and financial support.  

It seems to me that social media can be valuable in achieving specific goals, but it must be used wisely and as part of a larger strategy of communication. It has the potential to reach a wide range of people, and shared posts can quickly multiply the networks that become aware of your brand. But approach with caution.

WhatsApp is supposed to be the app to use if you really want privacy in a messenger. It has end-to-end encryption and there's been so much trouble over Facebook telling governments that they can't and won't hand over message information as they don't know what they say. Now those messages should still be private but unfortunately, some of your information will now be shared with Facebook.

If you don't want Facebook to have your phone number then you'd better uninstall WhatsApp now. However, if you don't mind them having some information, provided they don't use it to target you with ads, then you can do a partial opt out either by clicking to read the full terms and conditions and skipping to the bottom of the page to uncheck the box there. If you've already ticked that box and you wish you hadn't then you have 30 days from when you agreed to opt out. To opt out later then you need to go into your settings then into account. You should see an option saying share my account info and you purely have to uncheck that box and you've opted out. Unfortunately, Facebook will still be able to access your number as well as when you last signed into WhatsApp, but it means they can't use your information to improve the ad experience among other things.

A lot of people are upset by this and though some people will say you should have expected it, that doesn't make it any less frustrating. WhatsApp is great because you know your messages are private and because of that, you kind of expect everything to be private. For WhatsApp to turn around and say, actually, we're going to share your information with Facebook is like a slap in the face. If you do like WhatsApp though, this shouldn't stop you from using it. A partial opt-out is better than nothing if it makes you feel uncomfortable and it's still one of the best apps out there for message encryption.

When it comes down to it, the most important part of your privacy on WhatsApp is still encrypted. It seems unlikely that Facebook would expect to read your messages because they know they'd lose a lot of users. This means that it's probably okay to keep using WhatsApp for now. If this breach of privacy is too huge then it's likely someone will get involved soon enough to try and stop this.

I can't be the only person who has at some point visualised being able to turn on a song online and force friends to listen to it whilst we chat online. There's something immensely amusing about that idea and now thanks to Lisn it's actually possible to listen to music with your friends online though the app does have it's limitations.

First things first this app is currently only available for iOS and has only been live for around two months. Due to this, it might not be perfect but the co-founders all want this app to be about the experience. They currently have no plans for monetization so you won't have to worry about ads or paying some sort of subscription fee. The selection of music at the moment is quite small but it does allow you some options. You can share songs either through SoundCloud or Spotify. The only problem with the Spotify streaming is that if you don't have a premium account with them then you can only share 30-second previews of songs. That's kind of disappointing considering other services that allow you to share Spotify music let you share the entirety of a song, however, this limitation could be down to Lisn not really making any money. If you enjoy a song you're shared on Lisn then you can add it to your SoundCloud or Spotify libraries.

The beauty of this sharing is that the song is synced so you listen to it together. When your friend tunes into the song then if you've already started listening to it then they can listen in. This is like sharing an earphone with a friend without having to worry about wires getting tangled up and finding the right ear. As well as this you can forward a song through another app to encourage a friend to come listen. If you want to listen to a song a friend shared through the app when they're offline you can also do that and listen solo. The friend will receive a notification that you're listening to it so they can join in if they want but it's not necessary for you to listen to the track.

Now if you're going to listen to music with a friend then you're going to want to talk about it. The app does offer a simple messaging platform along with the music. This means you could sit there sharing music for a few hours whilst chatting about whatever you like, not just the song you're listening to.

This app was a pretty genius idea and it was #2 on Product Hunt. Lisn is trying to bring their app to Android as well as introducing things like group chat, queued music, searchable playlists and so on. They'd also like to introduce more music services for users to share from including Apple Music. We'll just have to see whether they manage it. The idea of social listening has been tried before but it failed. Hopefully, Lisn will succeed where others failed.

Social media is such a huge thing that posting links to it on your website can be incredibly useful. Not only does it mean they have an easy way to access your account but it means they can privately message you if they need help with anything at all. Not all businesses will like this but in the social media age, this can really help your business along.

This update follows on the recent change to business pages. Not long ago Twitter made it so that business pages on the site would have a large message button where there used to be a tweet to and message button side by side. Twitter are trying to encourage users to privately message businesses rather than just tweeting them. This could be so that if you follow their accounts your timeline isn't filled with them helping other people but it's more likely due to the fact Twitter's direct messages have a 10,000 character limit compared to a tweet's 140 characters. This means that you can go into more detail about what your problem is and may help you get personalised help rather than just told to look somewhere else or email them.

A message button that links to Twitter could replace the traditional contact boxes that many websites have. It means that you won't have to leave an email, provided you have a Twitter account. All you need to do is message them on the service and you'll be alerted when they respond. This is pretty practical if you need a response quickly but that'll only work if the company has people who spend a lot of time monitoring Twitter. For people who refuse to use the service, on the other hand, this could wind up being more trouble than it's worth. Twitter might be hoping to gain more users this way but it could just wind up frustrating people more than anything and put them off Twitter,

Sadly the buttons aren't working perfectly yet. Some people are getting error messages when they try to test the feature but it is still pretty new. Eventually, this feature could become something incredibly useful so it's definitely worth trying to use it.

By video editor, I don't mean anything to do with Facebook Live. No, it turns out that when it comes to video Facebook don't really know what they're doing. On one side we have Facebook Live with its MSQRD filters, we have Instagram's video editor which is both easy to understand and easy to use whilst giving great results, but then you also have Facebook's general video editor. This is for the non-live videos you might want to share, it might be things like a video of your child blowing out candles on their first birthday or something hilarious that happened on a holiday. The problem is that if you want to share that video, you can pretty much only share it as it is.

Facebook are claiming to put video first in an attempt to encourage people to start sharing their own thoughts and videos again rather than just links. That's fine and we understand why they might need to do that but why haven't they improved on their general video? It's not like they can't design a better video editor as they previously had Slingshot which was a video editing app in itself. No one knows why Facebook have let their video editing fall so far behind but now Apple are planning on overtaking them. Apple is more known for their gadgets rather than the apps they put on them so it really is rare that Apple could actually beat Facebook in this area. All we know for the moment is that they're building a lightweight video editor which allows users to make videos in one minute that they only need one hand for and Facebook has nothing like that.

It would be so easy for Facebook to improve their video editor. They obviously have the technology and the knowledge but at the moment even the photo app Moments is more of a video editor with its slideshow making tools than the actual video editor is. They wouldn't need to do much to improve on what they have. They just need to allow users to add multiple clips, transitions and music or sounds if they want their video editor to work at it's most basic. If they want to improve on that then they could add filters, allow users to add drawings and stickers, make it possible to play music whilst you're recording so you can lipsync or add jokes that way, give the users the chance to stabilise shaky video and so much more. We aren't asking for them to make the best video editing tool of all time, we just want to actually be able to make our videos look good. If Facebook wants users to get big streaming on there then they have to remember that good quality pre-recorded clips could help draw users in to watch or start streams too.

Considering how Facebook tend to be one of the fastest companies to pick up new technology and improve on their own, this is kind of shocking. If they really want to get ahead of the game, then they need to go back and fix their video editor now or they could have some problems in the future.

Facebook is generally the social media service with the most well-targeted ads. Generally, they tend to be advertising something that you're at least semi-interested in, even if you don't click on the ads themselves. But every now and then ads might pop up that have nothing to do with you and what you like and let's face it, those are the ads you want to get rid of.

In the past, you had no clue what Facebook thought you liked unless it was something you'd liked yourself, but a recent update has changed that. If you see an ad that you're curious about then you can click the little downwards facing arrow in the right-hand corner and click why am I seeing this ad. They'll give you a reason and then you can click view ad preferences. In that section, you can see all the topics that Facebook thinks you're interested in. Chances are you might see some things that you don't actually like but you should be able to click a little x in the top right corner and get rid of this topic.

This is a really simple thing to do but obviously, it's not completely necessary. If you ignore all the ads anyway then it doesn't matter what they show you. But after the recent issues with Adblock no longer working on Facebook, it might be worth looking into you if irrelevant ads do bother you. It shouldn't take you long and by doing this you're telling Facebook that I am only interested in these things.

Most users won't bother with this but for those who do, it is kind of practical. When Facebook knows your preferences, they can be used for more than just advertising. In the future, it could help with event suggestions or even with bot conversations on Messenger as the company knows what appeals to you and what you want. Especially when you consider the adverts you see here you could see elsewhere such as Instagram and any other services that Facebook wind up buying in the future.

Adverts are such a small thing but they bring in so much revenue that it's important to Facebook that they get them right. So next time you complain about an ad you see, remember you can choose what ads you can and can't see.

Tech Crunch
Facebook introduced their slideshow ads as a form of a lightweight video where video otherwise might not load. They were introduced back in October and they allowed publishers to share between 3 and 7 images that would make a little slideshow in the ad carousel. Now Facebook has decided it's time to improve on that.

The first improvement that needs mentioning is that your ad can now contain up to 10 images within one slideshow. More images allow for more movement in the slideshow and also provides businesses with the opportunity to share as much of the necessary information as possible. The best thing about this update is that you're no longer limited to pretty much just using those few pictures to advertise your business or product. Now you can also add text and music, you'll be able to choose from templates and customise colours and you'll be able to upload your own music or even use photos from Facebook's stock gallery. These new options give you a much better chance of being able to  sell your product well as you have all these different aspects you can make attractive.

It might be worth remembering though that a lot of these ads will be viewed mobile. So you want it to be the best ad for someone who might be watching it on public transport on mute as well as someone sat at home with the volume up loud. Music is a nice touch but it shouldn't be the most important aspect of the advert.

Some of you might be asking, are they even worth making as they're so basic? The answer is that they definitely are. Not only can they be strung together in a few minutes if you don't have much time but you can also create these adverts yourself whilst you're mobile.If you're someone who doesn't have much time or who needs a more cost effective way to advertise then this could be the perfect way for you to get your business out there. These adverts can even be seen with people on a 2G connection so you may get more of a response than ever before.

For the moment these new features have only been rolled out to Android users but it is a global release so if you're and eager Android user looking for more ways to advertise your services or products then check the features out now.

So many people use Facebook Messenger now that it's probably one of the more common ways to keep in contact with people. It means you don't have to worry about trading numbers, you can contact them for free provided you have internet access and it's a neat little app. However, aside from being able to contact people from your phone on there, you've not had easy access to people on Facebook who you need to message but aren't friends with.

Okay, yes, you can message people on Messenger even if you're not friends with them but they don't stay on your list if you're regularly contacting other people. Facebook have realised that this means you might contact people a little less on Messenger if you don't want to be friends with them. So now they're trying to fix that by introducing an add contact button to Messenger. If you choose to add someone to your Messenger contact list this way they won't become your friend on Facebook, but they will be on your contact list. This means that you can easily keep in contact with them without having to worry about seeing what you're saying or doing on Facebook.

This is pretty practical if you have to keep in contact with a business regularly or you're planning something with someone for a project that you don't particularly care about and so on. This is the essentially the sort of network that Facebook are hoping to encourage with this new feature.

By now everyone knows that Facebook wants to take over mobile. Changing Messenger to your default text messenger is one step but they really needed to make Messenger stand out as a way to contact people you might not want to have access to your Facebook. Some people are of course pointing out that if you message them on Messenger then they'll know what you're known as on Facebook anyway and can search for you. In a way this is kind of a point, it might be useful if Messenger could allow you to change the name that people see you as on there without changing it on Facebook. Still, if you're taking to someone on Messenger then you know you're taking that risk anyway.

Generally, this is a good idea and it will be more practical for a lot of people who use Messenger but it's hard to say whether it will grow Messenger as much as Facebook expects. This feature is still being tested so we don't know how soon they'll be rolling it out.

There is an ever-dwindling something that Earth depends on for its very existence. That something serves as the building blocks for life and allows sustenance to flourish. What ever-so-important something is pulled from a tap, frothing and clean(ish) at one end of the spectrum while at the other end, finding even a dirty puddle to imbibe from is a brutal struggle?

Ah, yes. Water! The lifeblood of our small world. Without it, we would be but dried husks of our former, moist selves ... and yet, we don't respect this limited resource nearly as much as we should. Just consider that in 2016, a two-person household in the U.K. uses about 72 gallons of water a day. Those gallons quickly add up, from washing your hands after a trip to the bathroom to a watering session in the garden, resulting in a large quantity of water used by day's end.With nearly 98% of all water on Earth not fit for human consumption, how can we possibly afford to keep frivolously using it?
Five students, four from VCU Brandcenter and one  from San Diego City College, have taken the first of many small steps soon to be carried out against water waste with their project, "Cap the Tap." Hellbent on making a difference, the team designed a utility water bottle cap that consumers can attach to any residential or business tap once they've finished their bottled water.

In this scenario, rather than recycling the water bottle whole, the cap is saved. Once attached to the tap, the cap will increase water pressure and reduce average flow. By simply reducing the flow, from 2.2 to 1.5 gallons per minute, water waste is is reduced by 33%.

"A campaign to end water waste," is broadcasted loud and clear on the project microsite. In order to spread their message, and pitch the ingenious invention to Dasani, a social media campaign was devised (#capthetap). According to Yelena Sophia's website, Junior Art Director for Cap the Tap, it was important to take into account the healthy rivalry between Northern California and Southern California, Norcal and Socal respectively. A visualization of social was promised on the microsite, using Twitter API.
The cap has won the hardworking group Best of Show in the student category of Adweek's Project Issac Awards. Winning entrants must submit an innovative invention, product, or concept that creates new possibilities in an accepted field: media, advertising, marketing, or technology.

According to their article covering the caps, the average American household uses 27 gallons per day from facets alone; the specially-designed cap "could mean a savings of 9 gallons per day - or 3,285 gallons a year." If every Californian home had these funky green caps installed on their taps, 7 billion gallons of water could potentially be saved per year.

A large number of countries, affecting over 4 billion people, experience water scarcity for at least one month out of the year. Whether physical or economic, the problem cannot be understated. Currently, California is experiencing the worst drought in 1,000 years. Cap the Tap is a proposed solution to the problem. The utility caps serve as a solution and reminder in one; enlightening consumers about the dire situation while simultaneously prompting them into action with little effort (install the cap and you're done!).

The Games this year have been spectacularly entertaining. The gaze of the world has been fixed on the sporting excellence and impressive abilities of more than 11,000 athletes from 205 countries, competing in 42 different sports. It’s been a feast of nail-biting action, somehow truly loved by sports fans and the less sportingly-inclined alike.
We’ve witnessed memorable moments: 19 year-old Simone Biles conquering gymnastics and winning four gold medals; Rose Nathike Lokonyen carrying the flag for the Refugee Olympic Team into Macarana; Team GB doing better than ever, placing second on the medals table with 27 golds and 67 overall; Kohei Uchimura’s mum fainting at his victory; the pleasure of seeing Bolt sprint ludicrously fast, which never gets old; and, of course, watching the celebrations of athletes and coaches when the years of hard work pay off, big time.

My favourite of these victory moments was Japanese wrestler Risako Kawai, who celebrated her gold medal triumph by slamming her laughing coach down on the mat twice, before parading him around the arena on her shoulders. Look it up.

The Olympics have a way of uniting unlikely pairings, and bringing out a national competitive streak you didn’t even know you had.

Here’s one such pairing, posted on Instagram by gymnast Ragan Smith, of her meeting basketballer Deandre Jordan:

A photo posted by Ragan Smith (@ragansmith) on

But one aspect of Rio 2016 which hasn’t represented the peak of human progress so far has been some people’s attitude towards female Olympians, who have suffered somewhat more than the male athletes this year, at times even treated in disgracefully out-dated, sexist ways.

The outraged public took to social media to call out instances of unequal treatment and to vent its frustration that female athletes are still not getting the respect their hard work and astounding achievements deserve.

Let’s take a look at some of those sexist bulls**t moments that provoked shock and disgust from the online community. I can’t bring myself to rank these major blunders, so, in no particular order, here they are.

Murray’s Heroic Correction

Often criticised for his lack of charisma in interviews, Andy Murray won respect and many hearts at this Games when he pointed out John Inverdale’s mistaken praise. When Inverdale congratulated him on being the ‘first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals’,  Murray quickly replied ‘I think Venus and Serena have won about four each.’

You might remember Inverdale from a couple of years ago when he wondered whether Marion Bartoli’s father had told her when she was young that she should be 'a scrap', as she was ‘never going to be a looker’, like Sharapova. This was just after she won Wimbledon 2013.

He later sort of apologised, but blamed his slur on his hay fever, which I heard makes you sneezy, not sexist.

Bartoli’s response brushed off the comment heroically: ‘It doesn't matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes.’

But back to Rio.

The Final Five Team USA Gymnasts Shopping Scandal

This moment came just after the world was knocked off its feet by Simone Biles’ routine on the beam, and the athletes were waiting for the scores.

Seeing this team of world-class sportswomen gathered together, an NBC commentator couldn’t help but be reminded of a familiar sight, and commented that the Final Five ‘might as well be standing in the middle of a mall.’ Oh dear. Twitter did not like that.


Takes the Gold for Mansplaining

The Internet reacted with outrage when one male viewer decided to tweet his cycling tips to Dutch Olympic cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten. Condescending, much?


Corey Cogdell, Wife of…

The Chicago Tribune’s congratulations post was not received well, mainly because it referred to Olympic medal-winning shooter Corey Cogdell as ‘Wife of a Bears lineman’. Will a woman ever be able to achieve without the media focusing on her man?

On that note, did we all notice how Simone Biles was called ‘the Michael Jordan’ of gymnastics, and how her success was compared to Phelps’

Or how when Hungarian powerhouse swimmer Katinka Hosszu won gold in the 400-meter individual medley, smashing the world record? Cue NBC camera to pan to husband/coach: ‘And there’s the man responsible.’ What an embarrassment.

Unlucky Ledecky... but Nice Nails

Swimming champ Katie Ledecky is awesome in her own right. Sadly, coverage of her amazing world-record-breaking victory was overshadowed by news of Phelps’ tie at a silver. We understand that Phelps is a big name, and might sell a few more papers, but this is a shameless under-celebration of female achievement.

However, Ledecky can be grateful that major networks focused on her sporting achievements, right? Wrong. They were amazed by the swimmer’s nail care abilities, instead.

The offending NBC tweet. Deleted, but not quickly enough.

Women Fighting = Catfight

Majlinda Kelmendi won gold in the judo final, scoring Kosovo’s first ever medal in the Olympic Games. No-one could possibly take away from this history-making achievement. Except that a BBC presenter referred to the incredibly technical sporting event as a ‘catfight’.

A since-deleted tweet by @jaggings read: ‘I was bored when I thought this was a serious event between two athletes, but it’s good now I know it’s a catfight.’

Never mind that this is a massive moment for this athlete and her country, which was only admitted by the IOC in 2014, having declared independence from Serbia 8 years ago. Now now, that’s not nearly as important as the entertainment value of two women fighting, right?

I will stop before my blood actually boils. I know the list goes on far further, but I’d love to hear in the comments section if I missed the moment that made your skin crawl the most.

The world is left reeling at the inhumanity of the murder and rape of transgender woman, Hande Kader. A 23-year-old LBGT activist and sex worker, Kader's death has sparked indignation and a massive protest in Istanbul, Turkey; the horrible circumstances even drew opposition MPs and political leaders to the protest.
In early August, Kader's badly-burned and maimed body was found in the affluent Zekeriyakoy village in the Sariyer district of the Istanbul municipality. She was last seen getting into a car with an unidentified client. Davut Dengiler, Kader's flatmate, identified the body at the city morgue. Before her brutal end, Kader was submitted to torture and repeated rape from a gang.

A hashtag, #HandeKadereSesVer (Give a voice to Hande Kader), started trending on social media last week. The hashtag revolution served as a precursor to the protests on the 21st of August, which were sparked in response to police inaction. Even still, no one has been held responsible for the obscene crime.

During the 2015 Istanbul Pride parade, police came to shut down the event, firing rubber bullets, water cannons, and pepper spray into the gathering crowd. In this moment, Kader became the face for LGBT rights in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, as she stood against the police in unyielding resistance. Additionally, she was a regular protester of violence targeted at the trans community and was documented as such. She spoke against journalists for standing by,

"You take pictures, but you do not publish them. No one is hearing our voices."

In Turkey, homosexuality is legal; however, discrimination still exists and homophobia is a very real problem. Similarly to India, transgender men and women are discriminated against so much so that work is a scarce commodity and living arrangements are naught to be found; "They don't give us any jobs, they don't even let us rent a house or a flat in a decent neighbourhood. So we have to go and look for places in crime-ridden neighbourhoods," says trans journalist and activist Michelle Demishevich in an email to The Guardian.
Turkey has the highest documented rate of transgender murders in Europe, according to a speaker at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Worryingly enough, this issue has become so widespread that there is a documented trail of killings of trans and gender diverse people: the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project.  Murder, suicide, and torture have become a pox, stemming directly from unfounded discrimination and bigotry. In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, they found that 78% of Turkey thought that homosexuality should be rejected.

This is not the only sexuality-related hate crime befalling Turkey. Just two weeks after Kader's murder, gay Syrian refugee Muhammed Wisam Sankari was found near the same area Kader's body was discovered.

When we found out about Google's new messaging apps, Allo seemed like it was going to be a pretty good one. The addition of the Google Assistant and the offered extra encryption sounded like a really good idea. And now we finally get to see how it's going to work.

To start with you can't use the Google Assistant in incognito mode. This means Google can't take context from your conversations to help you book reservations and so on. You can still do basic Google searches but it pretty much just turns it into a normal messenger in this way. When you're in Incognito mode you'll know as any messages you receive will be on a dark grey background with a mini-version of the Incognito symbol from Chrome. This means you should know when you're private or when you can use Google Assistant.

The Next Web

As well as this there are also timed messages. These messages do exactly what they say on the tin so you can only see them for a certain period of time before they disappear. You can set how long exactly you want messages to be visible but it won't be on each individual message. You simply change the length of time in the chat and then any messages after that are only available for that period of time until you change it again. You can set the messages to show for 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week or if you don't want to limit your messages reading time, none. The only problem with this is that whoever you send it to doesn't have a timer so if they don't notice when they receive the message, it may disappear before they've read it or when they're in the middle of doing so. That could be incredibly frustrating so you may have to warn people before sending such messages.

Other than that there are some issues with not being able to back any messages up, but you can search within your conversations if you need to. Overall it seems like a pretty neat app but it is still one of many.

We’re all aware of the marketing potential of digital media online, but what about in the streets? It’s clear from one look outside that businesses are still pouring sizeable portions of their advertising budget into the good old-fashioned billboard.

Billboards fall under the umbrella of ‘Out-of-Home’ marketing (OOH), which is pretty self-explanatory and includes anything you might come across outside of your home, such as ads on transport (buses, taxis, trains, subways, Boris bikes), street furniture (phone booths, kiosks, bus shelters) and guerrilla advertising, as well as all the images on buildings and roadsides.

Prominent marketing agencies like IPG Media Lab, 360i, and Anheuser-Busch InBev are upping their budgets for outdoor ads, and they are not the only ones. The figures show that spending on out-of-home ads is growing in the US, while newspaper print and magazine ad spending is falling.

A well-placed outdoor ad can do wonders for brand awareness and broadcasting bold, clear messages. Usually billboards can’t do all the work, but can work effectively in combination with other forms of marketing to add visibility to a campaign.

But how are agencies managing to make ads that stand out and are memorable, especially in cities where every available space seems to be devoted to similar ads selling similar products?

Billboards are most effective when they are concise, smart, and simple. The most common billboard mistakes include using overly wordy messages in small font, posing complex puzzles to a viewer, featuring long email addresses, phone numbers and addresses, and causing traffic accidents with distracting content. I’m talking to you, ‘Hello Boys’ Wonderbra ad campaign team.

Eva Herzigove’s cleavage famously caused drivers’ eyes to linger a little too long, causing numerous crashes.

Get Creative

The most memorable ads manage do something different, unexpected or shocking, like this campaign in Colorado. It was designed by Denver-based agency Amélie Co. and uses a crumpled sheet of metal to create the 3D effect of a crash.

Colorado State Patrol was pleased with the reception of this eye-catching ad, and it enjoyed even more visibility through online sharing. This is key. A daring or poignant billboard has the potential to reach very large audiences, and might even go viral.

Here's another example of a striking ad from Indonesia:

Or this classic Austrian billboard you literally can’t avoid:

There are loads of ways to follow suit and make a high-impact static ad.

Get High-Tech

Technology is rapidly changing the game of outdoor advertising. Many brands are choosing to spend a bit more to make sure their ad really engages with individuals. QR codes, apps like Snapchat and Instagram, and augmented reality can be used to interact with members of the public and bring people into conversation with the ad.

How about this from the UK's own The Economist?

Increasingly, more sophisticated technology is being employed to obtain more data about potential and actual viewers.

The recent GM’s Chevy Malibu campaign in Chicago had a camera that recognised the grilles of passing cars, and could identify Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, and Ford Fusion models. It would then flash up on a screen 1000ft away how exactly the Chevy Malibu was better than the driver’s model.

Drivers might be told that the Malibu has ‘more available safety features than your Hyundai Sonata.’
This shows how effective it can be to reach out directly to your audience, and make them complicit in the advert.

Tracy Stallard, senior director of media at Anheuser-Busch InBev agency, commented on the developing form:

‘This kind of connected user experience, underpinned by data, has the potential to drive greater return on outdoor advertising and truly reshape the future of media’.

Campaigns such as the Pepsi Max ‘Unbelievable’ animated bus shelter screen, and the TNT ‘Push to add drama’, work based on a similar logic. They bring the viewer out of a passive stance and into the middle of the action, in an attempt to be remembered and noticed.

As a result of various kinds of ‘audience measurement’ techniques, digital billboards are becoming a form of targeted advertising.

Last year, Posterscope launched a platform on which ad space could be traded and sold seconds before appearing on a screen. This real-time engagement allows companies to specifically market to demographics that are likely to be in a particular place at a particular time, say, coming out of a rock concert, or queuing for an event.

Data from mobile devices is also being used to give brands an idea of who is seeing their boards.

Clear Channel Outdoor Americas is working on the advertising possibilities this would allow. Its recent program Radar is said to use information like transactions and location check ins to gain a sense of who is seeing which billboards. Apparently, Radar is working on classifying billboards according to their visibility by 1800 audience ‘segments’, and could be able to tell which boards would be seen by, say, people who have been to a car dealership in the last few weeks.

CMO Dan Levi says:

‘What we've done is leverage the mobile data to be able to identify people who are in the market for a car—where do they go, how do they move throughout the day and what are the opportunities to most efficiently engage with them’.

Understandably, there are concerns about privacy that go with these developments, but it could be argued that this is no different to what we experience everyday online, with filtered searches and ads tailored to our gender, interests, age, and so much more. I suppose we just don't expect it from a sign so big it covers the side of a gigantic building.

Unfortunately, the name Twitter is now synonymous with harassment. So many people go on there and they get attacked for saying something, for being something or for simply having the wrong name. It's completely unfair and it's something that so many people want to not happen anymore but Twitter doesn't seem to be able to do anything about it. Now Twitter has put two new tools into place that should hopefully help at least a little.

Essentially what Twitter has just introduced is a filter for both quality and whether you see tweets from users you follow or users you don't. If you turn on one setting you make it so you only receive notifications from users you follow. This means that you'll only know if someone you follow tries to contact you. It doesn't mean they can't re-tweet or say nasty things about you but it does mean that you're less likely to see it unless you go looking for it. The other feature is a full-on filter that should stop you from being notified about any spam. This will include duplicate tweets or anything that appears to be automated which could be useful if you tweet a lot. This is supposed to also appear in places other than your Twitter notifications as well so this might stop you from being spammed a little.

Both of these features should work on desktop and mobile Twitter so you don't have to worry about being hounded if you switch between your phone and computer. The only problem could be if your harassers don't behave like spam or they manage to get someone you do follow to say something horrible about you. It's good that Twitter is trying to do something but considering people can make new accounts just to target someone, I'm not sure how much help a filter can be even if it only tells you things that the people you follow say.

Twitter still have a long way to go when it comes to dealing with its abuse problem. We get that it can be difficult to patrol but the fact is that they still need to be trying more than they are. If Twitter has any sense then this must be the first of many steps otherwise people are going to step right back into harassing them to actually deal with this.

The Next Web
Pandora isn't as well known as it used to be on the music streaming circuit but it's still a pretty big app and service. Provided users don't mind listening to a randomised radio station, it's not a bad service and of course, as usual, users can pay to gain access to special features. However, Pandora has realised that if they want to be successful they need to get back users from other services like Spotify and Tidal.

This seems to have been in the works since Pandora brought the now defunct Rdio for some of their key features. Now Pandora is putting them to good use by allowing users to finally choose what music they listen to. But only if they're willing to pay a $10 a month to subscribe. I'm not sure whether this is really smart or really dumb. For people who still use Pandora, this might sound like a good option. They already use the service and the bonus features will probably sound worth it but will it draw in new users as well as people who have already abandoned it? I'm not so sure about that. What this will do however is bring in some much-needed revenue, provided users are willing to pay them rather than their competitors.

As well as this Pandora are also offering new features to their $5 subscription users. For the moment, we don't know what these features will be. This isn't even really an official announcement so we can't even say when they might start offering this. We do know that they'll allow users to skip more songs than they could previously as well as the fact they'll be able to listen to music offline as well, which is always a good thing but we also know users will put up with ads to keep the service free if the subscription doesn't sound worth it.

When it comes down to it music streaming is stiff competition right now and as people grow sick of the music rights battles and the limitations of YouTube, users are going to have to pick somewhere else to find their music. Pandora does stand a chance of gaining these users but only if these paid services prove to be worth their price. It might save them to copy what Spotify for now but that'll only last so long. These updates should be released as early as next month.

Digital Gurus
We all know that LinkedIn can be used to help you find a job. You can cultivate business contacts and build your own company up if you want. But is that the only way people socialise on there? It turns out, no.

I'm not saying get on LinkedIn if you're looking for love with a professional. You do that and you can risk getting in trouble, but that doesn't mean that something can't happen. If you're networking then you might start talking about business and hit it off more generally. No one's going to be mad if you exchange contact details and start dating later. Relationships start in the workplace all the time, you just have to remember that LinkedIn is like that too. Treat people you meet on there respectfully as if you're at work, but if you become friends or start flirting remember you can take it elsewhere.

Something like this was bound to happen. It's called social media for a reason. LinkedIn isn't going to turn into a dating service anytime soon but we'd do well to remember that any relationships on there whether business or more are real. You're entitled to break off a business meeting if they hit on you and make you feel uncomfortable but you can also realise that you might not want a professional relationship but do want something personal. If there is some place to talk online then you aren't only going to talk about the things you're meant to after all.

All this comes down to is the fact people need relationships in all forms and that's why we have social media. It's not explicitly to date or to find work but that doesn't mean some services don't focus on it. You'll get people using dating apps to find friends just like you'll find people looking for dates on LinkedIn. All you have to remember is to respect the rules of the service and on LinkedIn, that means to try and keep things professional whilst you're contacting someone on there. There's nothing saying you can only talk there and nowhere else.

So yes, LinkedIn can be used to find romance but people within the company don't want their users to focus on that aspect. If you get lucky you might find both a job and partner on LinkedIn, but you also might not find either and that should be okay too.

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