It all started during lunch one day. I was happily eating my homemade food while David, a good friend and colleague of mine, was staring at it and paused for a long time. Finally, it started, “Jing, is it true that in China…?”
Hahahahaha! No, we don’t dress like ancient people anymore and we do have cell phones and the internet!! David’s question got me thinking and made me realise how many questions my colleagues must have about this mysterious, unknown Far East land!
I decided to go ahead and tell them more about my country. China is place populated with 1.3 billion people with a high ratio of ‘netizens’, a fast growing economy and some ‘bizarre’ digital trends and behaviour.
It’s hard to understand somewhere’s digital market and trends without acknowledging the local culture and mentality. I guess you can’t talk about China without mentioning our passion for food and self-portrait pictures, our obsession of technology and smartphone products, our busy lifestyle and high pressure living. All these social and cultural factors have a huge impact on our e-commerce, social media and digital behaviour. The popular photo-sharing social media channels, the thriving mobile apps and e-commerce platforms, speed dating and group buy deals are all the ‘products’ born in the big Chinese digital climate.
Starting 14 years ago from icq & oicq age to today’s Facebook, Twitter, and Sina Weibo age. The new era has begun with Sina Weibo integrated into the iOS & Instagram systems , and China recently shared its first ‘home developed’ Wechat app with the rest of the world.
Wechat remains my personal favourite. This app was developed in 2011, managing to double its users from 100 million to 200 million between March and November 2012! This app combines functions of WhatsApp, Skype, iMessage, Instagram and Google Hangouts. Features such as texting, ‘hold to talk’, auto-synch of friends from different social platforms, video calls, group chats, , and you can even use it as a ‘speed-dating’ geo-locator to find people around you! I guess what I love the most about the app is how easy it makes for people to connect and how it manages to provide an ‘all-in-one’ service!
How many of you share the same pain and feel that you have too many apps on your phone? Especially when every single one of them offers a different function but with similar purpose. Good apps and services gain popularity because they stick to the fundamental human truth – make your life easy and simple!
So, do I see China taking over the world? To be honest, I don’t believe in this East/West competition theory. We live in the same world, and we are merging into one. China is catching up on technology and innovation. Instead of being the copycat, they are starting to adapt to and take inspiration from the West. The world is changing, but in a friendly collaborative way. We are becoming more equal and respectful of each other’s culture and knowledge. The digital platforms are emerging but so are our culture differences and technology gaps. The world is spinning like a blender, and our little salad bowl is turning into a lovely yummy melting pot!
I’d sent round a video to the whole office I’d found referenced in an article in the Evening Standard by Gavanndra Hodge. Its genuinely rare that something I read in one of London’s numerous free papers draws in enough of my attention to inspire me to pass it along, but I guess the topic stood out to me.
It looked at the way in which the forthcoming generation are growing up in a world of “iScreens”. It referenced this video posted to YouTube titled “A magazine is an iPad that doesn’t work”. It shows an infant using a magazine in contrast to an iPad and how the touch gestures used on iOS devices have become a more familiar experience than that of her interaction with conventional print media. The end frame of the video claims that its the industry and technology’s fault for creating a situation in which children are adapting to technology at an earlier age than ever, and many people are unhappy about this change. A myriad of viewpoints arise when discussing this topic around the office, and in fact the rest of the world, as a small amount of online research will show you.
An immediate response from many is that these changes are not out of our control and something that is being forced upon our children, and is actually something we ourselves should be taking responsibility for. A child doesn’t miraculously come to own a tablet. Although I’m sure there are special cases, I think it rare that a child of 18 months has enough pocket money for a £300 mobile device. Parents are providing their children with this facility. It’s my view that if they feel there’s a problem, simply stop allowing them access.
Most of us talking about all this are members of the so-called MTV generation. Growing up, our lives were saturated by television, advertising and the rise of the Internet. I think given the number of scientific and technological breakthroughs in our time there’s some justification to claim that we’ve done pretty well considering our supposedly marred upbringings. Is this whole discussion simply a fuss over nothing? After all, who really likes change? Most of us would probably agree that initially, most of the ways in which our lives have been forcibly altered would have had negative views initially, and for the most part everything seems to have worked out okay so far.
One viewpoint consistently appearing is that this change is preventing the physical and mental development in different ways from the supposed educational benefits of children using touch screen devices. Evidence is appearing from left right and centre that overwhelming levels of interaction with the digital world at a young age can have a detrimental affect on a number things within a child’s development. From sub-standard motor skills and 3D perception and understanding, all the way through to links to depression. Some blame the parents directly, saying that technology is being used as a get out clause. Palming their children’s craves for attention off with a bright, glossy, exciting touch screen; instead of supplying them with the affection and simple human interaction they really desire and possibly, need.
So we had a bit of a whip round in the Digit studio for New Year’s Techolutions and some interesting themes arose in the responses. It seems that the traditional aspirations towards weight loss and self-improvement map onto our digital lives. On the whole, people are resolving to use technology to learn more, develop their passions and reduce the noise in their lives. Many people expressed a desire to learn new skills like coding and photoshop. While others hoped to read better blogs, follow better people on Twitter and attend more events and talks in the quest to broaden their horizons.
Conversely, several people planned to dramatically reduce distractions and time wasters – leaving Facebook, avoiding addictive iPhone games and not checking emails as much on weekends.
Most interestingly were a few “new entrant” resolutions that represent a direct response to recent events and perhaps could not have been predicted a few years – or even six months – ago. 3D printing and phasing out Apple were put forward, and who would have listed “using Flickr more” before Instagram-gate?
However, it seems that no matter how fast or how far we progress, or how excited we are for the future, fearing the loss of the past is our greatest concern. The most cited Techolution? Back up, back up, back up!
ps. Best resolution goes to Dan Green, who hopes to find a way to bring digital interactivity to his upcoming wedding. No disposable cameras on tables for our Dan!
“I want to have a feeling; I need to send a tweet”. Well, when you put it that way (and the panellists at last week’s Future Laboratory event on digital addiction did) then the Internet really does start to seem like a scary place where weird things happen to our brains. While it’s one thing to watch a toddler try to “swipe” onto a new TV channel, just like they’re accustomed to on their parents’ iPhones. Or even lose your keys and instinctively think of texting them to see where they are. These are purely practical changes that are the result of new problem-solving methods given to us by technology. It seems like another thing entirely to look to the Internet for emotional sustenance.
By Sorcha Finucane, who is currently interning here at Digit.
So…..entering the Ad World has been tough, but everything I have learnt in the process has been invaluable. In September I was cursing the fact I didn’t apply to graduate schemes last year, but now I think it was lucky I didn’t. Leaving University I thought I was ready to enter the Ad World with a boom. How wrong I was. Even in my first placement I realised how much I needed to learn. For the past few months I have been gaining experience in both client side marketing and agency side. Meeting people, gaining insight into creative processes and the options I have has helped me establish what the right career path is for me.
The past few weeks have already engendered a huge amount of head-scratching and hand-wringing over what we expect from a public service broadcaster in this country. Over and above informing and entertaining us, it transpires that we hold its moral and ethical values in high regard as well. As a nation, we look to TV to be both our voice and our guide. So, with lovely old Auntie transformed into a somewhat pervy Uncle, it’s quite nice to channel surf over to Channel 4 and wish them a very happy 30th birthday.
Of course Channel 4 isn’t without its controversies either but, from Sri Lanka’s killing fields to the weddings of Britain’s gypsies, they are controversies they deliberately courted. Despite being largely self-funded, Channel 4 operates under a public remit to demonstrate innovation, experimentation and creativity in both the form and content of their programming. It’s a remit they have not only delivered on, but taken as a green card to define the contemporary television experience.
Having just returned from a trip to Singapore, I can say hands down, one of the most memorable moments had to be stepping inside Pop artist Ketna Patel‘s home studio. Half home and half workspace, the unassuming building down a residential road is home to 10 people who work alongside Ketna in various different roles. The space also functions as a showroom for some of Ketna’s largest pieces and best of all, her furniture collection.
Ketna’s style pays homage to her diverse upbringing, having spent time in Uganda, India and England, and works to bring a variety of influences and experiences together in her brightly coloured collages and prints.
A self proclaimed cultural schizophrenic, Ketna’s work expresses an ever evolving and overlapping Asian culture, as seen in her multilingual pieces such as Taste Me to Believe which displays phrases and images taken from common signage used on the streets of Thailand, China and India, to name a few.
The Frieze art fair takes place every year in Autumnal London over four days in October. Visiting Frieze is always a great day out, full of visual stimuli and inspiration. It is nevertheless accompanied by a fear that you might walk past or miss a piece of work due to the fair’s sheer vastness.
Our self-initiated R&D project got a lovely shout out in today’s Metro. Citing the post-Olympic exercise slump and the pre-Winter blues, the article points to our City Peaks game as a great way for office-bound Londoners to stay active. City Peaks leveraged the NFC technology in our Oyster cards to track us at the bottom and top of the office staircase. Using major London landmarks as goals (BT Beacon, Shard Pike), each check-in at the top of the stairs contributed to our race to the summits. According to the write-up, “The subtlety is in the balance it strikes between those motivated by personal improvement and those who like a bit of competition to get them going”. Speaking of which, Digit’s Henry completed two ascents just in the time it took to write this post. Show off!
We are very excited to be able to share the news that Channel 4 has selected Digit as one of the nine successful agencies for Fuel 4′s producer placement programme. Out of 63 applicants, we have been chosen to play host to a TV producer in order to develop multiplatform ideas, which will be pitched to Channel 4 at the end of the placement.
In Channel 4′s recent press release, Jen Topping (Online Business Manager at Channel 4) said, “We are hoping that these producer placements will help companies to gain greater knowledge of other creative disciplines as well as come up with new ideas for Channel 4 to commission”. This sentiment is a reflection of C4′s recent restructure under CCO, Jay Hunt, which saw the creation of two ‘super’ departments in a bid to fuse skills and break down barriers between genres.
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a broadcaster dedicated to pushing the boundaries of traditional TV programming, and look forward to potentially bringing our considerable experience in digital innovation and interactive storytelling to a new platform.
Firstly, big big big shouts to everyone who made Resonate awesome. Two days of mashing Art and Culture with Technology featuring some of the greatest artists, coders, designers and musicians around […]