Google Zeitgeist 2010

Guest Post by: Matthew Rogers

In annual celebration of the year’s events, Google’s ‘Year In Review’ video, Zeitgeist 2010 looks at some of the most talked about subjects.

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Digital Self-Harm and Other Acts of Self-Harassment

Sometimes, things aren’t what they appear to be. And, in those cases, jumping to the wrong conclusion can be a disservice to everyone.

After I first wrote about Formspring 7 months ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about teens who chose to respond to vicious or harassing questions (since only responses are ever posted publicly).

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What Your Dog Can Teach You about Customers

Dogs have many attributes we’d like to see in our customers – they are completely loyal, usually enthusiastic, and are always happy to see us. That might be too much to hope for from our human customers, but a recent study showed something interesting about how dog brains work that we should keep in mind even when dealing with humans.

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Six Selling Secrets from Magicians

If you think that magicians and neuroscientists have little to talk about, you’d be wrong: both deal with issues like attention and consciousness, albeit in a different way. And, as it turns out, marketers can learn from both groups, and in particular, from understanding why magicians can fool us even when we are trying to pay attention.

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Seeing Video Ads Everywhere

In 1971, Herb Simon said:

What does an abundance of information create? Basically a scarcity of attention.

And the interesting thing about the quote below from Samuel Johnson was that it was written in 1751. So, one hundred and fifty years ago, people were complaining that there were too many ads in the world.

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Are You Just Hunting?

Originally published in 2003, before the social media craze started, these are five ideas that every company should still be exploring today. I believe that these five rules are even more important in the social media world we live in today.

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Innovations in Attention: The Need for Filters and Feedback

Howard Greenstein has a nice article on Mashable which notes why feedback and filters are necessary in social media.

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Unconscious Buying

In a fascinating study just published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers have shown that we make buying decisions even when we aren’t paying attention to the products, and that fMRI observation of brain activity can predict these decisions. This new work builds on previous research by Stanford’s Knutson and CMU’s Loewenstein which showed that purchase decisions could be predicted when subjects were shown explicit offers. Here’s the abstract:

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“For the Lolz”: 4chan Is Hacking the Attention Economy

(Newbie note: If you have never heard of 4chan, start with the Wikipedia entry and not the website itself. The site tends to offend many adults’ sensibilities. As one of my friends put it, loving LOLcats or rickrolling as outputs is like loving a tasty hamburger; visiting 4chan is like visiting the meat factory. At some point, it’d probably help to visit the meat factory, but that might make you go vegetarian.)
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Think Video Keynote

So, yesterday I gave a keynote at a Google video event which featured an interesting line up of speakers followed by a good panel moderated by Matt Brittin, the UK MD. It was a lot of fun doing it. Google have kindly allowed me to put my presentation up here. It touches on many of the themes about which I've been obsessing lately plus some points that I've made before, but which I still think many media organisations are missing. My thanks to the people at Google for inviting me to be a part of it.

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