Social Media Round Up – the rise of the bots and the augmented revolution

Silence is not always golden

It turns out that 90 per cent of us watch videos on Facebook with the sound off (probably to avoid the embarrassing scrabble to find the mute button in the middle of an office deep in thought, or to avoid the horrified stares of fellow commuters shocked at your disturbing their post-work torpor).

AmEx and BBR Saatchi & Saatchi tapped into this this statistical knowledge and hid a nice surprise in a video promoting a Guns ‘N Roses gig. For the 10 per cent of fearless listeners who watched the video with the sound on, the voiceover let it be known that the first 50 people to reply with the name of the lead singer would get tickets for the concert.

Augmented revolution

It has been a big week for augmented reality technology news. It’s not a new tech and has already seen a lot of success in slightly more geeky realms (just look at Pokémon Go), but as phones from all the big manufacturers add laser tech to enable depth perception, the quality and intelligence of the superimposition of graphics is getting better and better.

Sir Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame revealed a one minute demo of the cinematic potential of the technology which could potentially transform home entertainment (and offers new opportunities for creative campaigns). Marks & Spencer is working on using the technology to boost online sales by giving customers the chance to see new items in their own homes, and try new clothing on their bodies. The Aspinal Foundation’s WILD LIFE exhibition in Broadgate has captivated passers-by with digital megafauna roaming the City, and the release of the new Lifeprint portable printer and app allows users to print photos that come alive when seen through a phone or tablet.

The PR quick win of projecting an image on to an iconic structure, floating it down the Thames or sending it to space may have to give way to the new kid on the digital block which is very quickly finding its feet. It seems this is the year that AR is going mainstream.

LieRobot

There was a state of panic this week when it appeared that Facebook’s AI-trained chatbots had created their own language that we mere humans weren’t able to understand. We were guilty of pondering how long it’ll be before post-apocalyptic fictions become real life and the robots take over.

Mashable advised us to ‘stop freaking out’, describing it as “hardly the doomsday scenario so many are seemingly implying”. They were meant to be learning to trade and barter with each other, the plan being to create chatbots with the ability to converse, reason and negotiate. As the Mashable article points out, the most remarkable result from the experiment (which had been omitted from other reports) was that the bots taught themselves to lie. Still a sinister outcome even if the new language doesn’t mean we’re soon to be under the rule of the robot overlords.

Instagram’s Stories turns one!

A very ‘appy birthday from team Siren to Instagram Stories which celebrated its first birthday this week.

Stories boasts 700 million users, with a stonking 250 million people using the disappearing content function on a daily basis. Over the last year Instagram has rolled out more than 20 new features including stickers, face filters, Boomerang integration and embedded links.
Unsurprisingly, teens are the main users of Instagram Stories. Under-25s use the app for 32 minutes a day on average, whilst us old timers (over 25 year olds that is) use the app for 24 minutes a day on average. Half of all businesses on Instagram have produced a story in the last month and the most popular sticker of all is the location sticker.

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