Links for October 10th 2010 through October 12th 2010:

  • Simpsonic Business as Usual? [Antenna] – Jonathan Gray’s excellent piece discussing the tensions evident in Bansky’s Simpsons’ opening sequence: “… it leaves us with uncomfortable questions about Groening and co. How are they complicit, and are they simply making this a joke so that they and we can say, “Oh yes, that is bad, isn’t it? But we know about it, so it’s all okay. Let’s just get back to business as usual, shall we? Pass the Cheetos”? I was left with many conflicting responses here myself, on one hand thinking it was a brilliant statement, on the other hand feeling deeply uncomfortable that this is the show’s response to its labor practices – making an opening credit sequence rather than actually fucking doing something about them. Yet, the contestation of authorship in which the sequence engages leaves us wondering whether the American animators (who are largely responsible for the couch gags, by the way – these rarely involve the writers) can do anything about The Simpsons Factory.”
  • Traditional developers look to Facebook games for inspiration [WA Today] – The rise of casual gaming: “While casual games might seem like innocuous time wasters, the sort of drop-in, drop-out games played on Facebook, mobile phones and through web portals have seen revenue grow from $US300 million in 2005 to at least $US3 billion ($3.05 billion) today. The real-time farming simulation game, FarmVille, made for Facebook and smartphones by the developer Zynga, has more than 62 million active users, which is equivalent to about 10 per cent of Facebook users. […] While console-game developers charge a large upfront fee, casual-games revenue is derived through micro-transactions. “You may see 90 per cent or more of your audience never pay you a dime,” Kozik says. “They engage in the game absolutely free and can see if it is something that appeals to them or not. Then the 10 per cent or less who do pay more than justifies the continued expansion of the game.” Casual and social games are less expensive to develop than console games.”
  • Apple Awarded Trademark for “There’s an App for That” [Mashable] – There’s a trademark for that: “Apple has filed a trademark application for the company’s now ubiquitous catchphrase, “There’s an app for that.” Apple filed for the trademark back in December 2009, citing first commercial use of the phrase on January 26, 2009, per trademark documentation. The trademark was filed in the Advertising, Business and Retail Services, Computer and Software Services and Scientific Services categories. The trademark applies to “retail store services featuring computer software provided via the Internet (Internet) and other computer and electronic communication networks; retail store services featuring computer software for use on handheld mobile digital electronic devices and other consumer electronics.””
  • The Search – Is Your Web Identity Hurting Your Employment Chances? [NYTimes.com] – Web presences as (un)intended CVs: “You looked wonderful on your résumé. Your references raved about you. The interview went swimmingly. Yet you didn’t get the job. Oh, no: did they see that Facebook photo of you dancing on a table? Or find out that you’re six months behind on your mortgage payment? You may never know why you weren’t hired, but be aware that background checks can make or break a job application. And in a data-rich world, the person with the fewest red flags may get the job. Little hard research has been done on how hiring managers use the Internet to vet applicants. But you should assume that they are at least looking you up on search engines. So it’s wise to review the results of a quick search of your name. It is very hard to remove anything questionable about yourself from a search engine, but you can at least push it lower by adding positive entries, said Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a career management business in New York. “
  • Short Attention Spans for Web Videos [NYTimes.com] – I suspect the quality of the content matters, too! “After watching an online video for a full minute, 44.1 percent of viewers will have clicked away, according to Visible Measures. But an outsize slice of that loss occurs in the first 10 seconds, during which 19.4 percent of a video’s audience defects. This phenomenon, known as “viewer abandonment,” is of intense interest to those who make online videos or advertise alongside them. Visible Measures studied the abandonment rate of 40 million videos over seven billion viewings. Music videos had especially high rates of abandonment, as did videos slow to reach a punchline — for example, a Budweiser ad about a man humiliated while buying pornography, which loses nearly 40 percent of viewers in the first 10 seconds. “It took a shocking 12 seconds to get to the conceit,” said Matt Cutler, the head of research at Visible Measures.”
  • Keeping Our Distance, the Facebook Way [NYTimes.com] – It’s all about the weak ties: “Facebook is the best distancing tool since the creation of the Christmas card. Sending holiday greeting cards began in the 1850s in England and spread quickly as a way to stay in touch with far-flung friends and relatives. The cards, whether religious or not in theme, went to people you rarely wrote to and even more rarely spoke to, but for whom you still had a measure of affection — or curiosity. You wanted to know what was going on in their lives, and one exchange a year did the trick. The cards kept the people in your social network at a distance, while maintaining ties to them. I recall my parents sending and receiving Christmas cards. I did it for a year after I married, but I stopped because it was just too much work. Facebook, which tries to replicate our real-world relationships online, now helps me maintain those connections. But it does cards one better. It preserves the weak ties in my social network without creating obligations.”
  • 10 Unbelievable Twitter Stories [Oddee.com] – A bit silly, but some useful extreme stories of what Twitter communication is very good for (and very bad for).
  • Bathurst delay angers viewers [The Age] – Interesting idea; I don’t think a social media blackout would work, but there are definitely issues to sort out: “A social media blackout is needed when watching so-called live sport. The poor TV networks just can’t win when it comes to sport. They regularly get canned for cutting away from the action to screen ads. But Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 race was so tight that Seven claims it didn’t want to risk missing too much of the action. Instead, the network started pausing the coverage to drop in ad breaks. As a result, the broadcast was almost half an hour behind the race by the time the cars crossed the finish line. […] Rather than treat viewers like idiots, perhaps the networks should start treating them like a precious commodity that will dry up if not handled with care. This means being honest when live sport isn’t really live.”