So, I was in the paper today. I’ve not been in the paper since I was in the Hamilton Advertiser for playing rugby or something. It was a while ago. Mum may have a cutting I guess.
Anyhoo, I was in The Observer, chipping in my tuppence-worth about sports people and twitter, after all the Pietersen/Mascarenhas/Rice twitter hiccups of late. The article’s here if you’re interested (and you aren’t an Observer reader).Of course, as is always the case whenever you say something, you walk away and think of millions of much smarter, wittier, more insightful things.
It occured today that, in general, sports stars (and other celebs, of course) have been chasing ‘brand’ status for a while… to have the perfect, replicable, sellable image that will reap millions from sponsorship deal after sponsorship deal.
Twitter (if in the hands of the star themselves, unfiltered and unfettered by advisors, managers or PRs) doesn’t help with that.
By putting someone so indefatigably human at the heart of a direct communication to millions, it should be no surprise that they act… well, human. They say the sorts of things that ordinary people say to each other. It doesn’t get ground through the machine into the worthless, sanatised quotes we expect from today’s sports stars.
The main benefit of this (and I think this is kinda of universally agreed) is that it helps bring sporting stars and sporting fans ‘closer together’.
Which is, at the other end of the spectrum, what ‘brands’ want to do. Which is why companies and brand teams up and down the land are trying to break apart this ‘perfect brand image’ and become more real, more connected, more… human.
I reckon that, over the next five years, a lot more companies will end up somewhere in between the sports stars and the brands; unique, talented individuals who’re part of that company will be the brand representatives, but with the acceptance that it’s warts ‘n all.
It’s not just what is being said that’s important, it’s who is saying it.
I was at Tate Modern this weekend, and was really impressed by their new Giant Baby installation in the turbine hall…
Ha, yeah, fair cop… I was just mucking about with a bit of perspective, and using the TiltShiftGen app on the iPhone.
The app replicates some of the functionality of proper tilt-shift photography, which is most often used to replicate miniature photography…
…for instance this shot below from the Wikipedia page is a great example of a real life scene that’s been made to look like a model village scene.
All very fun, but do I have a point beyond just posting fun family pics? Well, maybe.
A while back I wrote a post about how phone apps were beginning to replace hardware things.
Well, Max (PHD’s resident photography whizz) and I were talking yesterday about the implications of apps for the more professional, heavy duty software like Photoshop.
This is a screengrab of Photoshop Elements, which I’m trialling at the moment; since switching to a Mac, I don’t have a copy of Photoshop anymore, as I was using an ancient version (PS7) on my old Windows laptop. I do have CS3 at work though.
It costs £80, it’s very much the stripped back version of Photoshop, designed for the home amateur. To be fair, I’m not found that much I’m missing from the full version, but there’s the odd thing here and there that bugs me when it’s missing.
I’m not sure I think it’s worth £80 though, and that’s probably because my internal perception for the value of ‘mucking about with images’ is being pulled down by various things.
Firstly, of course, there’s the phone apps.
QuadCamera, Hipstamatic, CameraBag, TiltShiftGen… they all do a small element of what Photoshop can do, and in comparison they are just one-trick ponies.
There’s a Photoshop app too, which I’ve got, but only use it infrequently for the cropping tool.
But having the suite available wherever and whenever has meant that I never do what I used to with snappy phone photography, which is go back to a computer and touch up the best ones in Photoshop.
I have the instant ability to either take more interesting photos, or adjust ones I’ve taken already, right there in my hand.
As long as your connected to the web, you can use it. If you’re offline a lot, you can buy the download for about £14. That seems a lot better value than Photoshop Elements…
(Suneil pointed out the irony of something that challenges Photoshop so directly running on Adobe’s other big ‘ting, Flash…)
It’s all made me think that the ‘photo manipulation’ market if fragmenting in much the same way that the print market is.
Imagine Photoshop is the original newspaper; it sells you everything in one big package, you can’t strip out just the parts you want, because originally it couldn’t be served to you that way… and it was just the model they continued with when the interweb came along.
Then something like Sumo Paint is the news website… it gives you most of the content you used to have in a paper you paid for, but for free. The catch? You’ve got to be online to use it. But that actually suits a lot of people, so they stop buying the newspaper…
Finally, the apps are… well, the apps. They take one specific element of the paper, do it REALLY WELL, and sell it to people for a small fee.
I guess Adobe are heading down The Times paywall approach with photoshop; big fee, small audience.Personally, I’d like to see them playing more in the app end of things… let their imagination run wild, and use their excellent tech to make many small, cheap, wondrous things.
But maybe that’s not how big companies work.Read More
While we’re talking about #commutebox…
…the playlists are being successful enough (eg lots of people adding lots of songs, which is ace) that I thought I’d post up some principles to shape the playlist:
So, without further ado…
The commutebox playlist principles.
i) Whatever the playlist theme, think of a connection for the song you add. You may be tested.
ii) Add a track here and there. Maybe two or three. DON’T bulk add, it just looks greedy…
iii) If you’re a-twitterin’, then tweet what you’ve added using the #commutebox hashtag
iv) At a randomly designated time, the playlist will be closed, and I will curate…
Yeah, I know, harsh, when people give up time to add stuff.
But if a playlist is open to everything, it just gets WAY too long. Just a big list of songs. Take your big list elsewhere, sunny-jim. This is commutebox.
Each playlist will be timed, see, to be twice the UK average commute, which some old news item randomly found on t’internet suggests is 45 minutes. Even my maths tells me that’s an hour and a half of music, put together by your peers. Nice.
So, what’re you waiting for; see if you can make the cut at on the commutebox summer playlist…Read More