Friday, 26 June 2009

Traffic surge as news of Jacko's death spreads

As word began to spread around the world of Jacko's demise, traffic surged causing site shut downs and server crashes.

For the first half an hour after the news broke on, traffic levels on google news were so high that Google presumed an attack on their systems. 36 out of the top 100 Google search terms were linked to Jackson's death and his music. The BBC reported a 48 per cent increase in traffic.

According to Twitter tracking software, Twist, at the height of the traffic surge nearly 30 percent of all Tweets were Jacko related as people turned to the site to try and confirm reports of the suspected death.

Interestingly enough, when I first heard the news in a restaurant last night, everyone's first reaction was to reach for the iPhone and get on twitter - not the BBC. I suspect this illustrates how people are beginning to trust people more than they trust the traditional news agencies. Or perhaps it's a matter of speed of WOM. Either way, it proves yet again the value of social technology to help people communicate.


All you need is love: the Anonymous Hugging Wall, designed by Keetra Dean Dixon as part of the Methods & Apparati for Social Facilitation and Mood Elevation project.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Play my piano

Artist Luke Jerram has found 30 pianos and left them around the city for Londoners to indulge inimpromptu summer concerts. Originally in Birmingham, Play Me, I’m Yours was designed to act as a catalyst for strangers who regularly occupy the same space, to talk and connect with one another.

So it's a social media project really. In fact Luke says:"Like Facebook, ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ provides an interconnected resource, an empty blank canvas, for the public to express themselves and share their creativity."

Locations include the British Library (lunchtime singalong anyone?), Tate Britian, Soho Square (midnight singalong anyone?) and Liverpool Street Station.

I love the idea of bringing music to the capital, for the people, by the people, getting strangers to talk to each other, to have a shared experience, to make people smile. I hope they're allowed to stay.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Next Floor: Hell

Civilization by Marco Brambilla is a fantastic video installation for a New York hotel, which takes elevator passengers on a trip from hell to heaven (or vice versa). Click the link and see how beautiful it is.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Strongbow Bankers

Shortness at Tate

St. Luke’s spent a cultural day at Tate Modern on Saturday twittering live updates from their conference on Shortness. This was the first time the Tate has ever generated live updates from its events, with a projector displaying a live stream throughout.

Shortness, ‘a very short conference and a very long dinner’ brought together practitioners and theoreticians of the humanities, arts and sciences to discuss and explore shortness in all its manifestations.

Speakers included DJ Spooky, Sadie Plant, Lia Perjovschi and Tom Shakespeare. Compère Nicholas Parsons even tried his hand at Twitter:

RT @naomiwv With Nicholas' permission, his first tweet: 'Shortness at Tate is proving a very successful idea.'

The twittering was led by St. Luke’s creative Tim Collins, author of "The Little Book of Twitter", which gives an insight into the worldwide internet craze offering tips and tricks for getting tweetwise.

Follow @short_at_tate and click here to watch interviews with the speakers.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Happy ever after?

I've always wondered what happened after the happily ever after in fairytales. This fallen princesses photo series goes through the Disney dramas and shows what happened next - with some pretty devastating consequences. I like it.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Digital Britain : what's the impact?

llustration: Tobias Hickey via The Guardian

So the long awaited Digital Britain report is out. It details the economic importance of the web and related industries, as well as plans to eradicate piracy and illegal file sharing.

Headlines include:

2Mb broadband links for all (woo-hoo - that's about as fast as your nearly dead hamster could power a hairdryer)

Boomerang Kangeroo - C4 and BBC back in talks (why did they veto it the first time round??!)

Digital industry key to our economic recovery (a ten year old could have told you that)

BBC licence fee to help fund broadband and ITV local news - and a 50p 'tax' on phone lines. (smartphones anyone?)

Analogue radio switch-off set for 2015 (scary for those who switched off their DAB platforms last year - most recent victim: Birdsong FM, blub)

Internet service providers to cut illegal filesharing by 70 - £50,000 fine and jail time for sharing a file(erm, just not going to happen!)

Reactions so far have been fast and pretty furious from the digital community, twitter followers calling it "short-sighted", "umimaginative" "naive". Personally, I think there's been little innovation here, and a sometimes scary lack of understanding about the evolution of the internet and what its impact will be. It's a shame really, especially when the govt seem to be trying to re-brand the country to rival Silicon Valley. It just goes to show what happens when bureaucracy gets in the way of innovation - nothing.

Follow the feedback on #digitalbritain

For a shortform explanation see the wordle version.

Monday, 15 June 2009

USPS Priority Mail Simulator

Finally, a very useful way of making augmented reality mean something more than pretty.

Thursday, 11 June 2009


To promote Vodaphone's summer of free roaming, they've set up this site which tracks where people are going on holiday, via twitter declarations. Nice, simple us of twitter, and a good way to assemble data and a few pr stories.

Arson, social media and the onion


Wednesday, 10 June 2009


From Spreading Sparkle to Earning my Bowtime... its been fun.

Thanks St Luker's x

The millionth word

Web 2.0. At 10.22 this morning, the term officially the millionth 'word' entered into the English lexicon.

The Global Language Monitor acknowledges new words when they have appeared 25,000 times in the global print media, the web, the blogosphere and sites such as Twitter and YouTube.

Linguistic experts disagree on how to classify words, but under Global Language Monitor's criteria a word is generated every 98 minutes. The 1,000,001st term to register 25,000 citations is 'financial tsunami', it said.

Despite having more than a million words at our disposal, the average person's vocabulary is fewer than 14,000.

I like the word discombobulate. What's your favourtite word?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


After receiving a letter from Faith Hines - the actress who starred in the first ever Avon UK television ad - requesting a copy of her ad, Avon set about searching their archives to send it to her.

And continued searching.

Disaster has struck - despite hunting through TV archives across the country Avon can't find the ad anywhere. So, Faith and Avon are launching an online campaign to try and locate the ad.

Please join their Facebook group 'Help me find my Avon ad!' and follow Faith's updates on Twitter. Let the hunt begin!


Twitter on Paper is a free service that sends you your requested Twitter on paper. Twitters are hand written and one of a kind.

Twitter seems to be sparking lots of alternatives - see Russell Davies' 'slow' social networking project dawdlr where updates occur every six months. Mail a postcard to Russell answering the question 'what are you doing, you know, more generally?' and he'll then update the blog. Twice a year.