Category Archives: Communication

MacBook is home safe thanks to social media

You’ve probably heard about the guy who had his MacBook stolen and used the Hidden application to take photos of his robber. Well his MacBook is home safe now and I thought we could all learn something about the power of social media from this story.

In a nutshell, here’s the timeline:

March 21 – Joshua Kaufman had his new Oakland apartment broken into and his laptop and few other items were stolen.

March 22 – Joshua activated the theft-tracking software (Hidden).

March 24 – Joshua started receiving photos taken by the computer’s built in camera from Hidden, which showed the unauthorised user. Among the photos was a screenshot of the man logging into his email account, which revealed the name of a taxi company. Joshua presumed this was the his workplace and took the information to the police… who were unwilling to help.

May 27 – Joshua decided to take action and set up the blog called This Guy Has My MacBook, including images of the thief, in an attempt to track him down.

May 31 – After not getting a huge response from the blog, Joshua hit up Twitter. Within a few hours, it had been retweeted and liked thousands of times.

Later that afternoon… The local police department was contacted by Good Morning America who had joined the MacBook reclaiming bandwagon. Joshua received a call from the police saying that they were following up the case immediately.

May 31 – The thief was arrested, based on evidence gathered buy Hidden.

June 1 – Joshua picked up his MacBook from the police station.

The bad guy gets locked up, the MacBook is reunited with his rightful owner and we all live happily ever after, thanks to our pal, social media.

Yours in success stories,
Anya

Facial recognition switched on by Facebook

If you’ve noticed yourself being Facebook tagged in more photos by your friends in the last 48 hours, it’s due to facial recognition options being rolled out across Australian Facebook accounts in the last 48 hours. The settings that have changed affect all users and their privacy options, meaning that it is up to Facebook users to “turn off” the option of being automatically recognised in photos shared across the social media site.

Whispers of the new “Tag Suggestions” have been floating around the web since December last year. Mashable has a great story about the new feature which can be read here.

The idea behind the new Tag Suggestions is to make it easier to tag friends and family in photos that are uploaded onto the social networking site. It is in a way, similar to recognition used in programs like iPhoto, in that, the system will “look” at who is in the photo and then make suggestions of who they might be and present the user with a number of options for quicker tagging.

It will be interesting to see how users respond to this kind of default setting being applied to their Facebook accounts.

What do you think of Facebook’s facial recognition?

Yours in Social Media,
Trish

SpareTicket.com.au shortlisted for Qantm Create Awards

spareticket.com.au

Ok shameless plug here: we’re all very excited to have our website SpareTicket.com.au shortlisted for the Qantm Create Design Awards presented by Desktop!

We’d love it if you ‘liked’ or tweeted us here: www.createawards.com.au/shortlisted/round-one/spareticket/

You can see all the round 1 finalists in the latest issue of Desktop magazine available at all good newsagents and bookstores or view the entries online at www.createawards.com.au.

If you’d like to see how we built the brand and website from scratch and utilised social media to launch the brand, check out the behind the scenes video below (including interviews with the Brio team and Rhonda Locke, the creator of SpareTicket.com.au):

We hope you enjoy it!

Yours in building brands,
Janet

Aaron Koblin artfully visualises our humanity

American data & digital artist Aaron Koblin states that: the 19th century culture was defined by the novel; 20th century culture by cinema; and the culture of the 21st century will be defined by the interface.

In his captivating and visually spectacular TED talk, Koblin takes us on a journey of the changing relationships between humans and technology. Every single day movements like flight paths and mobile phone usage are tracked. Now enter Koblin who takes this relatively mundane data and interprets it artistically and visually to provide learnings of human nature, i.e. the rise of text messages over New Year’s Eve.

Another topic Koblin explores in his talk, is the art of collaboration via technology to build meaningful and multi-message art forms, like the Johnny Cash Project for the music clip, Aint No Grave. Contributors from across the globe created eight-second slides that formed part of a complete animation, forming a fan-fused tribute to the late star. It’s moving and beautiful … and can even be reconstructed to play according to genre!

And finally, saving the best for last, is The Wilderness Downtown project: an interactive, personalised short film featuring Arcade Fire’s We Used to Wait. Simply punch in your first address and go on a visual journey via clever Google Earth shots of your old neighbourhood. It’s nostalgia told in the most technologically forward way!

Koblin is using technology to comment on society, and inevitably for generations to come, history. It’s social, collaborative and accessible to the entire world, proving the power of technology and the internet. Whether used in art, social or business form, at Brio Group we’re forever seduced by the possibilies of where we can take technology. And Koblin’s work is an example of what is admirable and artistically beautiful at the same time.

Discover for yourself by viewing Aaron Koblin’s TED talk below.

Yours in art and technology,

Julia

How do you ‘Like’?

So we’ve all learnt to like, add, share, digg, stumble, tweet, flick and tumble all of our favourite websites, haven’t we? Well, just in case you don’t have enough avenues to share your life with Google has now created their +1 button!

If you understand the concept of the Facebook ‘Like’ button then to simplify things the Google +1 button is basically a ‘Like’ button. I have added a video at the end of this post which shows you how the Google +1 works.

I totally understand that Google are trying to make their offering available to the mainstream, but I think that they are taking all the fun out of ‘surfing’ the web, let me explain.

If you don’t use Google.com as your search tool then this may not be so relevant. For a while now Google has had a web page preview button in their search results so that instead of actually clicking on a link you can just hover your mouse over the little magnifying glass icon and you will see a preview of that page with the purpose of you being able to tell from that little picture if the site is relevant to you or not. I have to admit I like this feature, when I am browsing I am more likely to go to a site that is visually appealing to me over a site that is not and has advertising all through it. I don’t think I am alone here! But this has a significant effect on your website if you are tracking the analytics and metrics of the traffic going to your site because if someone only views that thumbnail it doesn’t get recorded as a visit. So you are not finding out that critical data of how many people visited your site for a very short period of time and turned away because they didn’t like you site!

And now with the Google +1 button appearing on all search result items you area able to hover over the magnifying glass, if you don’t like the look of it totally dismiss the page or if you like the look of it you can whimsically click on the +1 button and keep looking for a better option.

Getting back to my cynical intro though, let me ask, how many different avenues of social media rhetoric do we really need? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. My personal opinion is that only a few that concentrate on certain genres such as technology, music, art, science would be ideal but unfortunately there are so many out there now and something new is happening all the time.

As a ‘web guy’ I feel that with a website design you must include all of the mainstream avenues, because so many people prefer to use their favourite means to share links. If you don’t cater for that then you are missing out on opportunities.

Yours in liking, sharing, digging, stumbling, tweeting, flicking….

Paul

The 6 basics of project management

So you’re planning a special event or renovating… to start with, a project must have a dedicated project manager to run, oversee and quality check all aspects of the project in order for it to be a success.

Who are your stakeholders? That’s everyone with an interest or involvement in your project. e.g. Internal stakeholders: employees, managers, business owners. External stakeholders: sponsors, suppliers (utilities, materials), government (applications, approvals), shareholders, boards, customers/target audience.

What is your budget? How much have you pooled together from sponsors, the company’s marketing budget… dependent on your project. It may be the launch of your own business so you’ll need to set aside a start-up amount. Does your project warrant a government grant for funding?

What are your resources? What materials (e.g. skip, paint, soil, signage) are required and when, to tie in with the schedule of events. Who is doing the work? e.g. electrician, artist. Do you need to organise advertising/flyers/eMarketing?

The schedule! Work out your sequence of required activities/approvals and their durations. A project is temporary so must have a start date and an end date. So work back from the actual deadline and map out your deliverables. Think about the relationships of the tasks; which multiple tasks can happen at the same time and also which ones can’t start without another prior. e.g. plastering a wall before painting it. STICK TO THE SCHEDULE!

What are your risks? We’ve all heard of Murphy’s Law. You need to think about what could and can go wrong so you can devise a back-up plan. How will rain affect your project or even the grand event if it rains during the project or even the event on the end date? How will this affect you? What happens if you don’t receive the approvals you were hoping from from the boss, client or even the council building approval.

Most importantly Communication! A successful project requires clear and timely communication amongst all stakeholders – whether it be market research with the target audience at the beginning stages; regular team meetings so everyone is kept up-to-date; phone calls to suppliers to confirm things are running to schedule and materials will be delivered on time; social media to announce a ‘hold the date’ for an event or sending the invites.

Now remember this is just the basics, there are more levels to project management, like the forms which need to be used for recording the accounts, timesheets, waivers, approvals etc. Procedural documentation to ensure quality and safety.

The above are enough to get you started and thinking.

Yours in project management,
Amber van Sloten

Daft Punk mashup visualised in realtime

I’ve always thought that mashups are somewhat of an art-form, but I’ve never properly understood the intricacies of how they are created. Web Technologist, Cameron Adams, has bridged the gap between sound and vision in his project Anatomy of a Mashup: Definitive Daft Punk visualised.

The site is dedicated to a mashup of 23 songs from Daft Punk’s discography and visually explains the nuances that go into constructing a complex mashup from tiny pieces of songs. It shows the cutting, layering and levels, with a timeline down the bottom, showing where songs start and finish. The labelled rings in the centre visualise the music and correspond with the colours of the timeline. It’s composed using HTML5 and CSS3 technology so works best if you view it in Chrome or Safari.

Did I mention that it looks really cool?

Yours in visualisations,

Anya

Communication in business

With so many businesses focusing their attention to an online environment through their websites, have you stopped to take stock of how communication takes place in your business?

Traditional methods of communication such as phone and fax are becoming outnumbered by online communication options such as Skype, Instant Messenger programs and most certainly, email.

I was thinking about communication in business today when reading over a recent study done in the U.S. which found that 24% of adults in the U.S. had used the internet to make phone calls. This has grown immensely over the last few years and it got me thinking about how many of those people had thought about integrating internet communications into their service offerings for clients. Here at Brio Group, we make use of programs like Skype to keep in contact with clients who are in different cities to us and also with each other if we are working from different locations.

Other communication avenues to consider are social media, where more often than not, clients and customers will feel comfortable to engage with your business. These could be questions or concerns as well as positive and negative feedback. All of these comments and ideas from your target audience are excellent ways of communicating your message and having a well rounded customer service effort.

Many large corporations are embracing the internet and using it to their advantage when servicing customers and clients.

How does your business communicate?

Yours in great communication,
Trish