Tapping the Google Play Store icon on my phone earlier this week I was faced with a horrifying sight. Sat staring at me in the ‘Recommended for You’ section was the official Tottenham Hotspur app.
It’s lucky Google isn’t in charge of selecting my Christmas presents. As a man sporting a (tasteful-ish) Arsenal tattoo, I’m on the verge of suing for slander.
The personalisation of the web has taken great strides, with big data helping to draw detailed pictures of who you are based on where you’ve been, but how do companies find the right balance between trying to deliver based on what they know, and what they assume?
I worked on a conference talk called Ban the Blog with a colleague about a year ago. It was a purposefully provocative title and an extreme view, but one I believe many businesses and website owners need to heed (yes, I get the irony of writing this on a blog platform, but hopefully you'll see past that minor contradiction).
Blogs can often become a content dumping ground and despite the rising influence of structured content strategies into the broad digital direction, let's start a blog' is still a statement that is regularly touted in planning sessions.
But creating a blog and chronologically presenting what you produce isn’t necessarily the answer to your content needs.
Putting your content in date order may make sense in some instances (and with some CMS platforms it’s your only option), but just because it's your latest, it isn't necessarily your greatest or the most relevant for your audience.
There are some words in the English language that have huge fluctuations in positive and negative connotations depending on the context in which they're given. For instance, calling someone 'mental' can have a huge number of meanings and implications.
'Cult' is another of those paradoxical terms. To some it sparks visions of watching DVDs of Monk or Twin Peaks, to others it suggests communes, chanting and tall stories of aliens and an afterlife paradise.
But ultimately, building a cult following for your online content is something the majority of businesses are after, whether they explicitly state it in their mission statement or not. "Creating a pattern of ritual behaviour in connection with specific objects", that's what we're all really doing isn't it?
Brazil is set to be a busy place over the next few years with a World Cup and an Olympic Games to host. These grand events not only bring with them some of the greatest sportspeople on the planet, they're now synonymous with money via an influx of tourism and a strong scent of advertising dollars.
This need to satisfy the interests of big businesses could be interesting in São Paulo (the world’s seventh largest city) where in 2006 the local government enacted Lei Cidade Limpa, (the Clean City Law) which banished all forms of outdoor advertising.
Imagine if one day, those who control the web decided that advertising was no more: leaderboards, skyscrapers and rollovers, all resigned to the Wayback Machine.
I've noticed a topic trend start to emerge from tech writers and mainstream journalists over recent months.
The Guardian and The Next Web are two of many publications that have featured articles about the overwhelming nature of online content, sharing their suggestions on how to make the incoming bombardment more manageable.
Paul Miller from The Verge has also returned from a self-imposed year-long web hiatus.
On one of my regular rambles through Wikipedia, I recently came across the Joke Theft entry. It's an interesting read covering joke origins, examples of some fiery comedic feuds, and a South Park reference. I think approximately 43% of Wikipedia articles include a South Park reference.
It discusses how, as the popularity of comedy increased in the 80s and 90s, the first person to tell a joke on some form of media became the one associated with it. And an essential part of finding something funny is the element of surprise - once you've heard a joke, the punch line is rarely as chucklesome the second time around.
Using material concocted by one of your peers is, in any business, seen as a seriously unfunny faux pas.
Take a few seconds to minimise this window (careful now, don't close it!) and find an electronic version of your brand guidelines.
If you don't have any or they're buried deep in the darkest reaches of your company filing system, you should be able to find one from your favourite company with a quick Google, or here's a few to pick from.
Open it, hit ctrl-f and type the word 'fun'. How many instances did it uncover?
Do you have a website? Is there a way you can put content on it so that it can be seen by the general populous? Congratulations, you're a publisher!
It’s quite a responsibility when you consider the Royal Charter on press regulation currently being debated by the media powerhouses and the upper echelons of Government.
We all get excited when we have something new to show off, making sure everyone notices and mentions the haircut you've just paid a small fortune for, or strategically leaving your shiny new phone on the corner of your desk so everyone who passes can coo accordingly.
When you've finally jumped through the necessary hoops to get the go-ahead for a piece of content, is it always the best idea to open the floodgates to let everyone see what you've made right away?
You might've noticed a certain distractedness in your friends and colleagues recently. You may have even picked up that this happens every year around this time.
It's squeaky-bum time, the end of the football season, and it matters...a lot.
This is when the trophies are decided, when you get to find out if you'll be making away trips next year to Villa Park or Vale Park, if your season might be extended into the play-offs and a potential make or break trip to Wembley.
Are you going to be able to claim bragging rights over your local rivals or have months of trying to change the subject every time the beautiful game comes up in conversation?
When you’re putting together an enticing online proposition and battling against the key competitors in your industry, is the content on your website pushing your business towards glory or are you in danger of relegation?