Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cheezburger network buys "know your Meme"

How interesting, seeing as I plunder lolcats on a daily basis I found this quite interesting. The Cheezburger Network has published "Know Your Meme"

"Meme catalogue website Know Your Meme has been swallowed by Ben Huh’s The Cheezburger Network this morning in a seven figure deal, Tubefilter’s Marc Hustvedt reports. The site, which has 3 million unique visitors per month and 20 million page views per month will be joining sites like Fail Blog, The Daily What and LOLmart in Cheezburger’s march towards total meme domination." source:

Know Your Meme is a site that researches and documents Internet memes and viral phenomena.
Founded in December of 2008, Know Your Meme's research is handled by an independent professional editorial and research staff and community members. In just a short 2-year period, the site grew to reach more than 2.5 million people every month and is considered the most authoritative source on news, history and origins of viral phenomena and Internet memes.
Much like wikis, any registered user can submit a meme or viral phenomena for research at Other users and staff researchers can contribute to the research of the topic and discussion about a meme. The research staff then confirms the meme or invalidates the meme by putting it in the "Deadpool." The editorial and research staff at KYM also provides interviews or Q&As with the people involved, such as Magibon or Scumbag Steve in addition to the research.
Internet memes have risen in popularity with the rise of Internet Culture as more and more people identify with and participate on the Web as their primary method of expression and content consumption. (An Internet memes is a piece of content or an idea that's passed from person to person, changing and evolving along the way. A piece of content that is passed from person to person, but does not evolve or change during the transmission process is considered viral content.)" source

Don't know what a Meme is? "The term Internet meme (pronounced /ˈmiːm/, rhyming with "cream"[1]) is used to describe a concept that spreads via the Internet.[2]" - now you do.

To be honest this was all an excuse to post up some more lolcats...

No Mouse, No keyboard - two screens

I said it would happen, here it is - 2 screens, no mouse, no keyboard -via CrunchGear the Acer Dual-Screen Iconica "touchbook":

It just makes sense - keyboards are great... for typing (and some games) - but what if you want to use it like an iPhone, what if you want to use it to produce graphics...

Watch this space - we'll see devices that use this concept coming out in droves soon I'm sure. Still, I reckon this is a pioneer in how we use laptops.

And as a bit of a tangent - the ability to speak to your computer, becoming mainstream, is finally just round the corner in Chrome 11 - that is if it works, it never has before but if anyone can get voice recognition to work surely Google can? 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brand new shiny website for Claire's

Blood, sweat, tears, glitter and sequins! It's been a busy fair few months, but after writing a painstakingly organised 29 page "Website and Technical Solution" document (it was mostly wireframes and designs with explanatory text), producing some very refined and carefully constructed Visio wireframes, many iterations of  interface design, a 50 page copy deck, several meetings and a thorough build and QA cycle the reward is here - a brand new careers website for Claire's - see (Which they love!)

The old site (see below) was off brand and clunky. While a great piece of work when it was launched it had dated.  The biggest challenge I saw were bring a fashion brand like Claire's to life online while at the same time providing a clean and quick user experience for what is essentially a very content heavy site. The solution, jumbo-drop down.

The new site features at the top level large seasonally updated background imagery to position Claire's Careers not just as a recruitment site but to highlight it's a recruitment site for a fashion brand! As you drill deeper into the content the images become banner headers, randomly selected on page load, so that it is the copy and not the image that dominates. Still, Claire's products and seasonal photography dominate every element of the site from the backgrounds, page heading to the drivers that help guide users to related content on the right hand side of every page.

The jumbo nav lets users drill down to the content most relevant to them in one click rather than a convoluted search through landing pages and various navigation elements.

We wanted to introduce a social element to the site so every page features the latest tweets from the Claire's Career's twitter account. Every page, including job postings, contain share this links to Twitter and Facebook and "Add this" which covers most of the other major social networks.
To encourage engagement with the Claire's Careers channels every page also gives the user the ability to quickly join their Twitter, YouTube or Facebook channels. 
The site has been built to be as accessible as possible. While it is not mobile optimised, the way it has been developed means it will work on most smartphones to a degree. Every element of the site has been built with a layer of graceful degradation in mind. If you don't have JavaScript, no problem - you can still use the nav, you can still view video, and any flash components are not core to the journey and are politely hidden from sight. The navigation will need some tweaking to get it fully working on an iPhone, but not much.

To offer a level of interactivity, and to make a break from the tedium of reading through reams of copy, we've introduced video profiles to give an insight into what some Claire's employee's do. To avoid hosting costs, and because it just works, we decided to use YouTube instead of building a bespoke player. By default you will see the video played in full, for example see Glenn Pollards video profile, but you can skip to individual questions from a menu below (our MD's idea, a source of much grumpiness from me, but worth it). Each segment is supported by a transcript for those who are hard of hearing or just sneaking a look while at work.

All drivers are content managed from a central library and all the random seasonal images pull from a set folder. When we want to add the next seasons imagery it will take 5 minutes rather than running through everypage changing individual images.

The homepage features a carousel of drivers, easily content managed, to promote urgent roles and key content in the site. To make it flexible there are different driver types - big image with a link, big image with text and a link (two layouts), or a flash box (with an image fallback). Watch that space for some creative promotions in the future.

Online application - of course one of the biggest parts of the old and this site is the ability to apply entirely online using ThirtyThree's very powerful, and all ours, Applicant Tracking System. And if you don't find what you want today you can sign up for job alerts - forgotten your password, that's a new feature too (surprisingly!).

What else? A global search, links to the many European sister sites (Claire's a transnational company btw), site help, application help and a plan to roll this site out across Europe.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this project is Phase 2. I can't tell you much, it's a big secret at the moment! What I can say is we'll be trying something that, to my knowledge, has never been tried in the recruitment comms industry before. Fingers crossed it'll be a rip-roaring success and we'll be seeing some big accolades for Claire's Careers and ThirtyThree.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Leading the gay in social networking

When I was a young teen I was social networking before anyone had heard the words "MySpace" leave alone "Facebook". I was using chatrooms and messaging services at a time when most people my age were still using Encarta to do their homework. Of course back then "Social networking" was called online dating and to my friends it was the domain of geeks and dodgy types. And in all fairness, quite often it was.

The reason I was happy to embrace this new technology was because I had figured out at an early age that I'm gay. At the time I thought I was the only gay in the suburbs. These niche sites helped me to talk to people with similar interests... you know, bums, willies and Steps. With retrospect I could have done without Steps. The important thing for me it was a way to make friends like me, not just finding dates.

When sites like MySpace, Bebo and Facebook came along we slowly saw a shift in people's attitudes to who goes online. It was no longer for nerds and people who like wearing long trench coats, now you could connect with your mates and share your movie and music interests... and eventually you could poke them, tell them you've brushed your teeth, that you've just checked into the gym, that you're outside their window wearing nightvision goggles and touching yourself (whoops, back to the trench coats again!)

The idea of online dating, in the straight market, is becoming less weird. I know a fair few older couples that have gotten together via Friends Reunited and I know a few people who have started using sites like PlentyOfFish to meet and greet online. They are starting to realise that there is nothing dodgy about doing this, or there is but it's probably better than getting trashed in your local and waking up with a whale who's name you never bothered to learn.

But my point is I believe the gays led the way with social networking. Simply because we had to. It was that or cottaging (never done it, never will!) If you're a straight teen you can meet girls up the park, or in your local getting served underaged.

And once again the gays have been leading the way for awhile with social networking/online dating/finding a shag (what ever you decide to use it for) in the mobile market. The most prominent app is Grindr (cleverly promoted by Stephen Fry). A gay networking mobile appthat lets you meet other guys in the area (by geolocation) and start a conversation with them via instant messaging. Originally only available on the iPhone it has recently been released on Android (and the number of lads has doubled...) It's a simple yet clever bit of software that is massively addictive and just does exactly what you need it too. There is no web version at the moment, it's all about meeting people in the palm of your hand (giggles at the inuendo).

Now I'm getting excited by the prospect of a new project from the Grindr team who are moving into the straight market. The project is soon to be launched at SXSW. I think we're going to see the next big trend emerge from Grindr in the form of "Project Amicus" (Spanish for friend).

I don't yet know the specifics of Amicus yet but Grindr's blog says it's "the codename and website for a new location-based mobile app that lets users discover, interact, and meet with nearby people. This app is for everyone – straight, gay, and lesbian."

If it becomes as popular as Grindr, and is indeed "straight Grindr", then I fully believe this is going to be huge. It'll be interesting to see if they stick to a purely mobile based platform or are considering moving into a web-version too. I'm sure there are lots of ways they could expand their offering further, the app is great - but it could be part of a suite of web services... let's wait and see. Either way, I think this is going to be big!

Why not get onto the beta list and sign up here.

Just remember, never let your Lolcat on Grindr or Amicus:

Friday, March 04, 2011

Special - cats with thumbs edition

Cat's with thumbs? A frightening possiblity... it is true we are one digit away from being wiped off the planet by our feline friends/foes:

Scientists beware, do not attempt to give cats thumbs. Society will regret it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Velociraptor with Jetpack and scisssors - Tuesday LoL

Velociraptor with a jetpack and scissors. When you absolutely; positlvey got to kill every motherfucker in the room. Tuesday Lol to put a smile on your face.