Viral Advertising

Greetings peoples of the internet: today I am posting double, like a boss (or a person who forgot to post on time). Any who, while I was researching my last article I came upon an interesting topic no one has touched on yet: viral advertising. With the idea that memes can become copyrighted comes the opportunity to make some serious cash. Images that are openly distributed (like most memes) would be a free way for companies to advertise – or they could pay writers for the service of creating and distributing memes. Imagine that: making a living writing memes.

I can get paid for this crap?

This about the worst thought a student can have during finals season. Anyways, many companies are already using viral advertising. My personal favorites are the Old Spice commercials with Terry Crews. Even Bounce did a shared commercial with Old Spice, which is an interesting idea I haven’t seen before. Viral marketing is not a new idea, however. It has existed in forms separate from entertainment for some time now – this article by Dr. Ralph Wilson on viral marketing techniques was published in 2000, and updated in both 2005 and 2012. The first viral techniques were quite subtle – in the form of links that automatically appeared at the bottom of emails and in other mass-communicable forms. 

However, now when someone thinks of viral advertisements, they think of viral videos. With the huge popularity of viral advertising campaigns such as Old Spice, commercial makers have become very aware of the popularity of entertaining, comedic adverts. Is this a good trend? Let us hear your thoughts, o people.

Made a meme? Get an agent!

Hello again gang, I hope everyone’s final craze has been okay. I know I have been up since two in the morning – until I realized that I was looking at stupid memes on the internet. In case you have been living under a rock, (or a digital immigrant) memes are viral jokes that are posted online and edited and remade hundreds of thousands of times by other users on the internet. Did you know that there now exists a service that can allow you to protect your own memes as intellectual property? Ben Lashes, who represents the people such as “Scumbag Steve” and the guy who created Keyboard cat in the 1980’s. Guess what? Steve is a actual scumbag in real life, too! Who is bad at rapping!

Conveniently, not pictured is the total lack of a crowd.

Anyway, Ben Lashes is protecting the owners and subjects of memes from people who wish to make money off of them. I was happy to hear this, as he is not trying to prevent distribution of already well-known icons among the internet community. That was my first worry when I saw someone was copywriting memes – as we all know, major businesses are cashing in on the popularity of viral videos and meme. For example, the image of the Dos Equis “Most interesting man in the world” has become a meme – with over 10,000 images in this database alone. So, it is easy to worry when individuals like Ben Lashes begin protecting memes: what if companies begin doing the same? What if Scumbag Steve was the new face for Louis Vuitton?

Do you think it is risky to begin legally protecting memes? Or does protection of the identities of people depicted as memes outweigh the cons?

I am in love with a program.

I have something to admit, guys. Since I finally cashed out to Apple a few days ago, getting a 4S, I have become infatuated with Siri. Siri is a “personal assistant” voice program that allows a user to access create schedules, reminders, send texts, call people, and access many other functions of the Apple phone. Basically, a person can hold the home button until a sound prompts them to ask Siri their query (rhyme!) and they can say anything from “Remind me of my doctor’s appointment at five PM” to “Where is the best place to bury a body?” So, apart from usefulness, it is simply pretty fun to ask Siri questions just to hear the answers. By the way, after asking where to bury a corpse Siri asks if you are looking for the nearest mortuary service or municipal dump (it also suggests metal foundries, aquifers, and warehouses as good locations). Basically, Siri is a secretary that you can ask for anything… with no fear of repercussion.

“Did he just ask me where to bury a body?”

I think Siri is an excellent first step towards a new generation of electronic personal assistants that hopefully allow the common person to have their own secretary. My experience with Siri in the first few days of using the program have been awesome – I have been keeping track of all of my homework, appointments, and other important dates while also being able to find answers to questions on my mind or the nearest restaurant. I think this technology is amazing – and makes me hopeful for the future of artificial intelligence. Perhaps I may finally have someone to talk to!

Don’t make me cry, Siri. 

What are your experiences with the software? Do you use it, or have a friend that does? What are your hopes for future AI assistants?

The Beauty of Google Documents

Hello gang, with Milestone III coming up I thought it appropriate to use my blog post as an opportunity to pay homage to Google Docs. Google Docs is a free Java-based web application that allows you to create documents and upload them to the cloud for storage online. The service is initially free up to a memory cap of 10 GB, after which monthly payments are necessary. This in and of itself is uninteresting – there are many services that provide this kind of data storage, such as Dropbox.

Google Docs is unique for being a web 2.0 technology for its ability for the document creator to share his/her work and collaborate in real time with others. This means multiple people can be working on the same document in real time and have their additions appear as they write them. This feature is a boon for students, as anyone with even a basic computer can access the internet and write text. I have had many a study session with other students by uploading our professor’s study guide, and having everyone fill in the information they know best. It also works wonderfully for projects (such as our upcoming Milestone).

But how did Google Docs come to be? Its origins are in fact two different products, Google Spreadsheets and Writely. Google spreadsheets was a simplified version of the current Google Docs, limited to creating data spreadsheets. However, Google’s purchase of Upstartle in March of 2006, the startup that created Writely, was the major jump into creating the present product. Writely carried the feature that defines Google Docs today – collaborative text editing. Four years later, in March of 2010, Google purchased DocVerse, allowing full compatibility with Microsoft office. Last year, offline viewing was made possible by a web app that automatically uploads your content once connected. The present day Google Docs is a clean, multi-functional product that is fully compatible with almost all common file types.

What have your experiences been with this product, or similar collaborative text editors? What do you think could be done to further improve it? Personally, I think adding speech to text would make it the perfect product. What are your thoughts?