Tag: Culture

How Coins & Stamps Are Changing Post-Queen Elizabeth II

Photo 157843510 © Aoutphoto | Dreamstime.com

 

As the longest-reigning British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has been a familiar face to generations worldwide, who have all seen her profile across coins, banknotes, and stamps.

Her death on Thursday, September 8, 2022, spelled the end of a 70-year era. Immediate changes were made, including the assumption of the throne by her son and heir King Charles III, who was the longest-serving Prince of Wales and now the oldest person to take the crown.

New Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was welcomed by the Queen at Balmoral Palace for her formal appointment as head of government just two days before, announced outside of 10 Downing Street: “Today the Crown passes—as it has done for more than a thousand years—to our new monarch, our new head of state: His Majesty King Charles III.”

 

This means iconic British items will have to change to reflect the new monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II’s reign saw five depictions of her side profile across coins, with her last representation painted by Jody Clark and unveiled in 2015. The accession of King Charles III will mean that His Majesty will sit for a new portrait for use across coins, banknotes, and stamps.

 

Photo 5189070 © Popa Sorin | Dreamstime.com

It has been royal protocol since the 1600s (Charles III will continue the tradition first started by his namesake Charles II) that the side profiles of monarchs be shown on coins in the opposite direction of their direct predecessor. With Queen Elizabeth II facing right, her heir will be portrayed facing left.

These days, digital currency appears to be the preferred medium of exchange, so British coins now seem more symbolic than they are functional. Centuries ago, however, depictions of monarchs on coins were far more important as these were likely the only way people knew what their kings looked like.

 

With the coins and banknotes primed for redesign, the Post Office will also overhaul its stamps to show the King’s portrait.

It will be a gradual process converting old currency and stamps to the new. This transition will take much longer with the Queen—“at least two years,” says the Guardian—considering her long-standing reign. With that being said, monies portraying Her Royal Highness will still be valid.

Additionally, King Charles II will get a new personal flag to succeed the Queen’s design showing a gold E with the crown on a blue background. This will be raised on buildings, aircraft, ships, and cars at the time they are occupied by the king.

Of course, the national anthem will be altered to include the new lyric: “God save our gracious King.”

 

 

[via The Independent and The Guardian, images via Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420308/How-Coins-Stamps-Are-Changing-Post-Queen-Elizabeth-II/

Here’s How All The Royal Websites Were Ready For The Queen’s Passing



Image via The Royal Family

 

While most of the world wasn’t expecting Buckingham Palace to announce the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, it appears the vast swathes of royal websites were prepared for the eventuality, immediately switching into “mourning mode” once the news broke.

Most noticeably, the official royal website changed to a black background, displaying a picture of the Queen at her coronation, with a notice reminding users that information on the page could be out of date “following the recent announcement of the death of The Queen.” 

As Gizmodo noted, the Royal Collection Trust website and Prince Charles’ page have followed with similar tributes, while the Royal Collection Shop has shuttered for the time being.

 



Image via Royal Collection Trust

 

Notably, the only royal-affiliated site yet to offer a nod to the Queen’s passing is one belonging to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex—Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The page still reflects the coupe’s usual introduction and posts, though it seems it may not belong to the official royal collective of websites. 

The publication reported that even the shift on the websites was part of the secret plan for the Queen’s death, more commonly known by its code ‘London Bridge is down’, which involved the BBC’s announcement both on television and radio.

 

Here is the moment BBC Radio 1 entered The Protocol. pic.twitter.com/VdNnnvwgf1

— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) September 8, 2022

According to The Guardian’s extensive report on the matter, it was already known back in 2017 that should the Queen pass on, a footman would emerge from the palace in mourning clothes, pinning a black-edged notice to its gates. 

Following this, the official palace website and its subsidiaries will “transform into a somber, single page,” all featuring the same text on a black background—which was exactly what happened.

Aside from webpages, the Royal Family has also taken to social media to mourn the loss of the Queen, with King Charles putting out a statement via the official Twitter page.

“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family. We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother,” it read.  

 

A statement from His Majesty The King: pic.twitter.com/AnBiyZCher

— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022

 

 

 

[via Gizmodo and The Guardian, cover image via The Royal Family]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420303/Here-s-How-All-The-Royal-Websites-Were-Ready-For-The-Queen-s-Passing/

Frida Kahlo Musical Is Making Its Way To Broadway



Photo 123698627 © Paulo Quiros | Dreamstime.com

 

The unsung bits of Frida Kahlo’s life, including her more joyful moments, will be immortalized in a new production called Frida, The Musical, poised to head to Broadway in 2024.

As Deadline reports, the bio-musical will paint a picture of the beloved Mexican artist’s journey from her hometown to Paris and New York and back, delving into her rise to prominence, her push-and-pull relationship with Diego Rivera, and exploring her unmatched ability to convert physical and emotional pain into beauty.

The production will be “a full-throated celebration of Kahlo’s joyous spirit of creativity,” says the synopsis. It will be produced by Broadway veteran Valentina Berger, and is the first to get the stamp of approval by the Frida Kahlo estate, which will add color and clarity to the artist’s story with rarely-seen material.

Mexican composer Jamie Lozano will provide the score, with playwright Neena Beber creating the lyrics. Some of the story is based on accounts from Intimate Frida, the memoir of Kahlo’s niece Isolda. In-person conversations between Berger, Lozano, and the Kahlo family in Mexico help connect the dots to details that outsiders haven’t been privy to.

 

Frida, The Musical will celebrate a side of the painter that has pretty much been lost to the past, overshadowed by stories of her injuries and struggles with polio. “She loved life,” Berger emphasizes with the Washington Post. Kahlo was “really, really fun,” the musical’s producer adds, asserting that the Broadway musical will revive these facets of the artist.

 

 

 

[via The Art Newspaper, Deadline, Time Out, cover photo 123698627 © Paulo Quiros | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/419690/Frida-Kahlo-Musical-Is-Making-Its-Way-To-Broadway/

Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Suffers Cracked Marble Floors In Cleaning Mishap



Image ID 20441746 © via Artur Bogacki | Dreamstime.com

 

The Hagia Sophia, located in Istanbul, was turned back into a mosque in 2020, after decades as a historical museum tourists flocked to. 

 

Unfortunately, reports have emerged that the building’s marble floors have suffered “tremendous damage” from heavy machinery used for cleaning. 

In fact, the state of the cultural site is so bad at the moment that Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet quoted a tour guide as saying it resembles “a fairground now,” and that visitors no longer treated it with the same respect as in the past. 

According to Artnet News, the recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was built by Emperor Justinian I, holds religious significance to Christians and Muslims worldwide. 

It was originally the largest cathedral in the world but was later converted into a mosque in 1453, before being turned into a museum in 1935. 

Since being reinstated as a place of worship, many inquiries have been raised about the preservation of the Hagia Sophia, with the floor damage not being the first concerning incident to have taken place recently.

 

As per ARTnews, earlier this year, a group who visited the site documented vandalism to the historic Imperial Gate at the location, with “deep gouges” seen in the wood surface. 

Art historians are calling for Department of Religious Affairs, who took over from the Department of Antiquities, to step up and protect the cultural landmark. 

Marie-Eve Lafontaine told Artnet News she hopes both “religious and non-religious” visitors will treat the architecture with respect, and that the government will ensure the site’s preservation. 

 

 

 

[via Artnet News and ARTnews, cover image via Artur Bogacki | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/419320/Istanbul-s-Hagia-Sophia-Suffers-Cracked-Marble-Floors-In-Cleaning-Mishap/

Queen’s Coronation Coach Travels Back In Time With Hologram Of Her Young Self

Image via The Royal Family

Seated in the Gold State Coach, a 25-year-old Queen Elizabeth II greeted the public as it carried her through a historic procession. The year was 2022, and her graced presence was, in fact, a hologram projected for her 70th year on the throne.

On Sunday, the carriage traversed the streets of London while archival footage of a young Queen Elizabeth waving to the crowd on Coronation Day flashed on the windows. The scene reenacts the day she headed from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, and returned as Queen, in this very coach.

 

A hologramof The Queen cleverly shown sitting and waving in the Gold State Coach pic.twitter.com/nidMWND5eL

— Judith Ince 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🇺🇦🇺🇦 (@judithin77) June 5, 2022

The Gold State Coach was designed by King George III’s architectural adviser Sir William Chambers and built by coachmaker Samuel Butler, and was completed in 1762. Turning 260 years old this November, it is the third-oldest surviving coach in the UK. There have been four major restorations throughout its lifetime.

The carriage is adorned with giltwood—gold leaf over wood. Given its hefty weight of four tonnes (8,818 pounds) and height of 3.6 meters (12 feet), it is only reasonably designed to be drawn by eight horses at a walking speed. Eight horses in majestic garb were also part of this number for the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.

 

What a wonderful way to open up the #PlatinumJubileePageant 😍 pic.twitter.com/EQ7zEM2vB3

— Platinum Jubilee Pageant (@Jubilee_Pageant) June 5, 2022

 

A triton figure in gilded walnut wood sits above each wheel, a symbol of “the spreading of the news of good government.” There are also paintings of Roman gods and goddesses overseeing the Arts, Sciences, Virtue, and Security.

The Queen was crowned on June 2, 1953. She was accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh on the coach. As it was an unusually cold day, a hot water bottle was strapped beneath her seat.

 

🐴 The Royal Mews was a hive of activity earlier today as eight Windsor Greys were put to the Gold State Coach ahead of the #PlatinumJubileePageant.

This is its first outing since The Queen’s Golden Jubilee 20 years ago. #PlatinumJubilee pic.twitter.com/AW0xQzlh95

— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 5, 2022

 

 

[via Metro.co.uk and The Royal Family, cover image via The Royal Family]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/418918/Queen-s-Coronation-Coach-Travels-Back-In-Time-With-Hologram-Of-Her-Young-Self/

Stonehenge Lights Up As A ‘Billboard’ For Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee

Image via English Heritage

 

Stonehenge’s original meaning may remain largely a mystery, but the 5,000-year-old monument has found a new purpose in 2022—albeit one tinged with criticism.

 

To commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, which made her the first British Monarch to celebrate one, the English Heritage charity lit up eight pillars to project a visual timeline of the Queen’s 70-year reign.

 

We’ve brought two British icons together to mark the #PlatinumJubilee! 👑

We’ve projected eight portraits of Queen Elizabeth II onto Stonehenge. Each picture is from a different decade of The Queen’s reign. pic.twitter.com/bnJZeONKXe

— English Heritage (@EnglishHeritage) May 30, 2022

 

The first seven honor all seven decades, while the eighth column auspiciously envisions the next decade.

English Heritage, which cares for over 400 historical sites including the Stone Circle, says the illuminated display pays homage to “two British icons.” It joins a string of brands and organizations who have created tribute pieces for the royal’s Platinum Jubilee, which include an Elizabeth II McLaren supercar, a Barbie doll in Her Royal Likeness, a dazzling tiara by Bulgari, and even a Twitter hashtag that comes with a corgi in a crown.

 

Screenshot via The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

 

Considering the perceived religious significance of Stonehenge for pagans, the act of converting the prehistoric landmark into a so-called “billboard” has understandably fallen flat with many on social media.

 

“It’s Stonehenge, a place of ancient pagan celebrations, a place of tranquility to observe the solstice,” laments one Twitter user. “We really have lost our way.”

Another shares: “I wouldn’t think it was possible for a country to do colonialism to itself, yet here we are.”

Meanwhile, others are disillusioned by the way the setup looks. “They made Stonehenge look like a collection of commemorative pound shop lighters,” writes one person.

 

Needless to say, this wasn’t what the pilgrims had imagined Stonehenge to end up revering those millenniums ago.

 

 

[via The Cut and UPI, cover image via English Heritage]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/418848/Stonehenge-Lights-Up-As-A-Billboard-For-Queen-Elizabeth-II-s-Platinum-Jubilee/

Remote Sicilian Town Is Growing Into A ‘Little America’ Thanks To One-Euro Homes

Photo 179162353 © Peewam | Dreamstime.com

 

With the allure of a change in scenery at bargain prices wafting in the air, people packed up their bags and relocated to some of Italy’s old-timey towns.

 

The remote village of Sambuca di Sicilia is now home to a community of Americans, who rushed to acquire properties that the hilltop town was giving up for the price of a cup of espresso. Sambuca was among the first involved in a 1 Euro Houses project to revive the culture of forgotten towns. These are places whose populations have typically dwindled as younger generations venture out for better opportunities.

 

In 2019, Sambuca began offering up homes for €1 each in hopes to draw in new residents from other parts of the world and supplement its population. The houses would go to the highest bidders, who also had to complete paperwork and foot their own renovation bills.

The campaign proved to be so successful, CNN Travel reports that the town has carved a reputation as something of a “Little America.”

 

Deputy mayor Giuseppe Cacioppo shares that nearly 80% of interested buyers are either American or hail from the United States. Some apparently even flouted COVID-19 travel restrictions to view the houses.

More than converting the abodes into holiday homes, many new residents are instead consciously doing their part to elevate the town’s repute and boost its economy, CNN Travel notes.

 

One businessman, for instance, started a crowdfunding project to renovate his acquired properties, which he’ll then give away. Donations will also help support Sambuca’s infrastructure. Meanwhile, one French-Canadian lawyer is turning her two-story home into a safe space for artists.

 

 

[via CNN Travel, cover photo 179162353 © Peewam | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/418608/Remote-Sicilian-Town-Is-Growing-Into-A-Little-America-Thanks-To-One-Euro-Homes/

Venice Museums Are Sending Supplies To Ukraine To Protect Its Art


The Lviv National Art Gallery in Ukraine. Photo 31166397 © Ukrainian photographer Alexander Solentsov | Dreamstime.com

 

Cultures may differ greatly, but they’re also the bridge that unites us. To help preserve Ukraine’s vulnerable art collections, the circle of Civic Museums in Venice has answered an appeal by Ukrainian art and culture officials to send over protective materials to the Lviv National Art Gallery so that its art can stay safely hidden from damage in the war with Russia.

The plea comes from Save Ukraine Art 22, a campaign run by public and private entities, as well as museums, which asks that allies around the world donate packaging materials that are waterproof, fireproof, and good for safekeeping.

 

In response, the Venetian art institutions are sending protective cloths, high-resistance foam panels, and data loggers to monitor changes in humidity and temperature, the Art Newspaper reports.

 

The Lviv National Gallery, which consists of 18 museums and some 67,000 works, has hidden some of its collection in an undisclosed building, which is subject to damage.

The  Save Ukraine Art 22 network is making a plea for other countries to chip in, stressing that while essentials like food, medication, and medical aid are regularly being flown in, Ukraine’s cultural sector remains heavily exposed to the conflict.

 

 

[via The Art Newspaper and The Italian Insider, cover photo 31166397 © Ukrainian photographer Alexander Solentsov | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/418589/Venice-Museums-Are-Sending-Supplies-To-Ukraine-To-Protect-Its-Art/

UNESCO Confirms 53 Cultural Sites In Ukraine That Are Damaged From Ongoing War



Image ID 152774178 © via Andrew Zimmer | Dreamstime.com

 

War often leaves wreckage in its wake, and as reports emerge detailing shocking civilian killings by Russian troops in Ukraine, another aspect of the country is facing destruction: cultural and historic sites.

Currently, UNESCO has confirmed damage to at least 53 such cultural sites, having assessed claims made by Ukrainian authorities and monitoring the structures via satellite imagery.  

The 53 sites, which are spread across several regions in the nation, include 29 religious sites, 16 historic buildings, four monuments, and four museums.

According to ARTnews, one of the damaged sites is the Drobitsky Yar Holocaust memorial, at which a giant menorah commemorating the 16,000 Jews murdered in Kharkiv was destroyed by Russian forces last month. 

Since the start of the war, UNESCO has enacted emergency measures in an attempt to protect these historical structures, such as by holding online meetings with officials to provide expert advice on how to respond to emergencies.

An agency spokesperson told NPR it has assisted these sites in locating “safe havens” to store important artifacts, as well as in recommending better fire fighting procedures for places that have been hit by missile attacks.

Additionally, UNESCO has reached out to Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, with location details of the heritage sites in Ukraine and a reminder that these structures are to be protected under the Hague Convention

If attacks continue against sites marked with a blue shield—an emblem distinguishing them to be under the protection of the Convention—it’s possible the perpetrator will be held responsible for committing war crimes when the dispute is over.

While most of us can do little to ease the plight of Ukrainians from miles away, contributing to its conservation efforts could be one way to play a part in protecting the country’s legacy and culture. Head here to donate to UNESCO’s action in Ukraine. 

 

 

 

[via NPR and ARTnews, cover image via Andrew Zimmer | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/418296/UNESCO-Confirms-53-Cultural-Sites-In-Ukraine-That-Are-Damaged-From-Ongoing-War/

Venice Biennale Will Persist To Keep Ukrainian Pavilion Standing At Event



Image ID 10563746 © via Navarone | Dreamstime.com

 

Organizers of the Venice Biennale, one of the most famed art exhibitions in the world, have pledged that the Ukrainian pavilion will proceed at the event as planned.

As Ukraine continues to battle against the Russian invasion, which has seen major cities shelled and millions of refugees fleeing the country. Artists working on the exhibition, including Pavlo Makov, have been forced to halt preparations.

Furthermore, it’s unclear how the Ukrainian team will get to Italy, considering all flights to and from Kyiv have been grounded. 

“We are not in immediate danger, but the situation is critical and changes every minute. Presently, we are not able to continue working on the project of the pavilion due to the danger to our lives,” Makov, along with curators Lizaveta German, Maria Lanko, and Borys Filonenko, said on Twitter.

Artforum reported that biennale officials have promised to be “collaborating and will collaborate in every way” to ensure the pavilion does happen, though no details have been revealed just yet.

“La Biennale di Venezia intends thereby to manifest its full support to the Ukrainian people and to its artists, and express its firm condemnation of the unacceptable military aggression by Russia,” the organizers said.

 

 

 

[via ARTnews and Artforum, cover image via Navarone | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/418027/Venice-Biennale-Will-Persist-To-Keep-Ukrainian-Pavilion-Standing-At-Event/

Belgium Begins Artifact Restoration To Congo With 84,000 Historical Objects



Image via KingBaudoin / Wikimedia Commons (CC0 1.0)

 

In a bid towards restitution, the AfricaMuseum in Belgium has sent 84,000 artifacts in its inventory to the Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate the items’ provenance and weed out looted cultural objects from the colonial era. 

The move comes a year after the country’s King Philippe expressed “regret” for the “acts of violence and cruelty” the people of Congo were subjected to under Belgian rule, as per Politico

According to Artnet News, the research will involve experts from both countries as they attempt to identify the true origins of the artifacts. Those determined to have been shipped to Belgium illegally will then be restored to Congo. 

In total, the project will cost the Belgian government €2 million (US$2.3 million) and will take place over the next four years.

“The handover of the inventory of the AfricaMuseum’s collections to the Congolese Prime Minister is an important step in the implementation of the new approach to restitution,” said Belgian State Secretary for Recovery Program, Thomas Dermine, which was translated from French.

“There are some works of art that have come here because of theft or violence. We should not be afraid to look that history straight in the eye,” said Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo.

However, not all are happy that the exchange of objects occurred between the heads of the two states.

Sinzo Aanza, a Congolese writer and artist, said that restitution was part of mending “historical injustice,” and that by returning the items to the government, it would “basically continue the work of exploitation of the country, and pursue it awkwardly.” 

Historian Yasmina Zian concurred, asking: “Why is it given to a member of the government, and why is this USB key not on the museum’s website?”

“Why doesn’t the average person have access to these inventories?” she asked.

 

 

 

[via Politico and Artnet News, cover image via KingBaudoin / Wikimedia Commons (CC0 1.0)]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/417872/Belgium-Begins-Artifact-Restoration-To-Congo-With-84-000-Historical-Objects/

Van Gogh Museum Reopens As Beauty Salon To Defy Confusing COVID Rules



Photo 135213598 © Romanotino | Dreamstime.com

 

Art institutions around the world have had a rough time recovering from the pandemic, and while many have since reopened, museums in the Netherlands were forced to shut down again in December due to the rise of Omicron cases.

 

To manage the variant, the Dutch government has prohibited museums, theaters, bars, and cafés from staying open—but has given the go-ahead to hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms, and even brothels. Its choice of establishments that can keep running has baffled the cultural sector.

 

To address the supposed double standards, some 70 cultural venues—including the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam—staged a one-day protest and converted themselves into greenlighted “contact professions” on Wednesday, January 19, fully knowing that the government might clamp down on operations.

 

The Van Gogh Museum reopened as a “one-off” hair and nail salon that promised to give “both the inner and the outer person a makeover.” Beauty services were offered under the gaze of Vincent van Gogh, inviting guests to do their nails face to face with the post-Impressionist painter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A post shared by Van Gogh Museum (@vangoghmuseum)

True to its muse, nail technicians Loes Appels and Robbin Wilms created Van Gogh-themed art for manicures, while barber Ferry Seksie gave haircuts and trimmed beards too, of course.

 

“We wanted to make the point that a museum is a safe visit and we should be open,” Emilie Gordenker, director at the Van Gogh Museum, told AFP.

 

“We just ask them to be consistent… make the rules in a way everyone understands them,” she shared in a statement published by the BBC.

Meanwhile, the Mauritshuis in The Hague, where Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring resides, temporarily transformed into an exercise boot camp. The Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam provided haircut services during an orchestra rehearsal, as it’s not allowed to hold a real performance; and the Limburgs Museum in Venlo hosted Zumba and yoga classes, Artnet News reports. These were just a few of 70-odd cultural institutions that had worn different hats that day.

 

Dutch museum turned into sport school for the day to protest against what they call unfair Covid restrictions. Museums and Theaters remain closed while sport schools, hair salons and shops are allowed to open #haarlem #franshalsmuseum #covid19 #netherlands pic.twitter.com/pVuQMB2cDX

— Step Vaessen (@stepvaessen) January 19, 2022

 

Kapsalon Het Concertgebouw is van start met de Symfonie no. 2 van Charles Ives door @ConcertgbOrkest onder leiding van Susanna Mälkki. #kapsalontheater #conertgebouw pic.twitter.com/yDyhwVpVWp

— Het Concertgebouw (@Concertgebouw) January 19, 2022

 

Visitors who came for treatments and workout sessions were required to present vaccination proof or negative COVID-19 test results, as well as keep their masks on and maintain a safe distance from one another. 

A barber named Mischa, who participated in this protest, told the BBC it was “crazy” how “people can be in a supermarket with 300 people” while roomy galleries were not allowed to be open.

Marianna, a customer who had her nails done at the Van Gogh Museum, expressed remorse that the nation’s cultural identity was being silenced. “Everyone is in a dark mood; my 11-year-old daughter looks depressed.”

 

“If you take away cultural expression, gathering, then what are we here for, what’s left?”

 

 

[via Artnet News, France 24, BBC, images via various sources]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/417497/Van-Gogh-Museum-Reopens-As-Beauty-Salon-To-Defy-Confusing-COVID-Rules/

Italy Pursues UNESCO Heritage Status For Espresso, A National Icon



Image ID 140422018 © via Radiokafka | Dreamstime.com

 

Italy is submitting a bid to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to add espresso to its Intangible Heritage List, claiming that “coffee is much more than a simple drink: it is an authentic ritual.” 

 

“It is an integral part of our national identity and an expression of our social relationships that distinguishes us around the world,” Gian Marco Centinaio, Italy’s Deputy Agriculture Minister, told Sky TG24.

It’s such a ubiquitous part of Italian culture that the Italian Espresso Institute reported more than 90% of the country’s citizens drink at least a cup of espresso a day.

This isn’t the first food item from Italy that’s been granted UNESCO status, as The Guardian noted. In 2017, the art of Neapolitan pizza-making was recognized as one of the country’s cultural symbols.

According to VinePair, the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry green-lighted the application for espresso last week, with the bid now seeking approval from the Italian National UNSECO Commission.

 

If it’s given the go-ahead, the bid will then be officially submitted to the UNESCO headquarters.

Interestingly, Italy had petitioned for espresso to be recognized by UNESCO last year. However, its bid last year was denied as the application was submitted by two separate agencies, as per the Wall Street Journal

The Consortium of the Protection of Traditional Italian Espresso Coffee had applied for the drink as a representation of the entire nation, but the Region of Campania submitted a separate bid claiming it was indicative of only Neapolitan culture.

 

The two consortiums were told to reconcile their applications into a single bid.

Centinaio is confident that UNESCO will grant espresso a spot on its list, with the verdict expected sometime this spring. 

“The cup of espresso represents for all Italians a social and cultural ritual that is also reflected in literature and that fascinates the whole country, from Naples to Venice to Trieste passing through Rome and Milan,” he remarked.

 

 

 

[via VinePair and The Guardian, cover image via Radiokafka | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/417477/Italy-Pursues-UNESCO-Heritage-Status-For-Espresso-A-National-Icon/

Turkey Is Globally Rebranding To Türkiye To Reconnect With Its Culture & Roots



Photo 52179027 © Nikolai Sorokin | Dreamstime.com

Locally, it calls itself Türkiye, but it is known to the world as Turkey.

A new official rebranding, however, will see the country acknowledged by its culturally-rooted name. It is now in talks with the United Nations (UN) to begin the transition in the coming weeks, Turkish officials confirmed with Middle East Eye.

 

“Türkiye is the best representation and expression of the Turkish people’s culture, civilization, and values,” declared President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month at the unveiling of the global name change.

 

The cultural nuances have been made on a global stage for some decades now—some brands whose products are manufactured locally have been including a “Made in Türkiye” label with their wares, following a recommendation by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly in 2000. Come the rebrand, though, all goods are expected to adopt this labeling.

 

It is speculated that this departure from the westernized moniker is motivated, in part, by a hope to separate from clumsy associations with the Thanksgiving bird and slang relating “turkey” to “something that fails badly” or a “dud.”

Speaking of duds, the government might have encountered one in a bid to have the name registered with the UN. The letter ‘Ü’ doesn’t belong in the nominal Latin alphabet, posing a potential issue for the rebrand. A solution hasn’t been discussed between both parties, though one official told Middle East Eye that a possible compromise could be to replace the special character with the Latin ‘U’, spelling “Turkiye.”

 

As of now, Türkiye hasn’t decided on when to officiate this international renaming, “but the process is ongoing,” said a source. Already, the government’s official website features a “Republic of Türkiye” title, while Turkish foreign missions have publicly adopted the “Türkiye” name.

 

 

 

[via Afar and Middle East Eye, cover photo 52179027 © Nikolai Sorokin | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/417404/Turkey-Is-Globally-Rebranding-To-T-rkiye-To-Reconnect-With-Its-Culture-Roots/

Canon Captures Japanese Edo Art In 4.2B Pixels With Lifelike Touches By Artisans

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Video screenshot via Canon

 

In hopes to preserve Japanese culture and carry it into the future, Canon produces ultra-high-res facsimiles of traditional artworks alongside the Kyoto Culture Association (NPO) in a heritage initiative called The Tsuzuri Project. The latest from this partnership scales up The Wind and Thunder Gods, an Edo-period (18th-century) folding screen by Tawaraya Sotatsu, to an incredible 4.2 gigapixels, with contribution from traditional artisans to replicate its sheen.

The work, Sotatsu’s proudest achievement, was first photographed by Canon for the project in 2011, but the latest edition of the facsimile captures its details in even greater precision using a Canon EOS R5.

Several images, taken in various angles, were joined to form the 4.2-gigapixel piece, which was then printed onto washi silk paper. For a stunningly authentic appearance, Japanese craftsmen applied gold leaf onto the art, as well as finished it with gold paint and isinglass.

The final step saw the screen carefully being mounted onto a sliding door by a master craftsman.

 



Video screenshot via Canon

 

“The paired screens of The Wind and Thunder Gods recreate the tonal variations, brushstrokes, and texture of the original cultural assets as faithfully as possible,” noted Canon in a statement. “Canon’s state-of-the-art technologies, such as image capture technologies applied to create 4.2 billion pixels of super-high resolution data, image processing technology, and printing technology and traditional Japanese artisans’ skills were combined to create unprecedented high-resolution facsimiles.”

 

The Canon-printed screen has been donated to the Kenniji Temple so the public can study the work up close without further putting the 18th-century original at risk.

 

 

 

 

 

[via PetaPixel and Digital Camera World, video and screenshots via Canon]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/417393/Canon-Captures-Japanese-Edo-Art-In-4-2B-Pixels-With-Lifelike-Touches-By-Artisans/

3 Ways COVID-19 is Shaping Consumer Behavior

In just a matter of weeks, the novel coronavirus introduced radical changes to our way of life — fundamentally reshaping notions of humanity and of our industries. We’ve seen it disrupt the way we work, the way we think, and the way we buy. As the pandemic continues, these patterns will further unfold. While the ultimate impact is still largely unknown, it is important we make strides to begin our understanding as to how we can navigate today and prepare for the future.

Foursquare, set out to determine some of these transitions. In the most recent report, ‘How COVID-19 Is Influencing Real World Behaviors.’ unpacked some of the data behind what we’re seeing and the impetus driving these shifts. Emerging from the findings are three major themes where behavioral changes fall including shopping habits, travel, and entertainment. Let’s unpack these a bit further against some of the data:

SHOPPING HABITS

People turned away from brick and mortar stores well before they were instructed to close and a state of emergency was declared by the government. This was underscored by a sharp decline in mall visits going back to the middle of February. These were down 61 percent nationally per the report from the week ending February 13 to the week ending March 27.

Quick service restaurants (QSRs) are also reporting less foot traffic — unsurprisingly — for many of the same reasons. On a national scale, visits to casual, sit-down dining places recently dropped over 73 percent while fast-food restaurants reported an 18 percent decline.

When people are popping in to pick up food, they’re spending fewer than 15 minutes. This applies to 63 percent of visits as recorded in late March compared to mid-February where 57 percent of pick-ups took 15 minutes on average. When it comes to choosing a QSR, most aim to stay closer to home traveling 5 miles or less from their homes. They’re also opting to place their orders upon arrival versus ahead of time.

ENTERTAINMENT

The steep fall of visits to QSRs and casual dining spots coincides with more traffic for grocery stores. While urged to practice social distancing, more people are eager to use free time not spent shopping, dining out, visiting friends or family, to put efforts in honing their cooking skills.

As liquor stories are still deemed ‘essential’ sales shot up 55 percent nationally in the third week of March compared to the same time a year ago, according to Nielsen. This was the same timeframe states including New York were ordered to ‘shelter in place.’ The week ending on March 21 saw a decline, however, indicating most are turning to consume what they’ve already stockpiled.

Movie theatres and banks are also reporting declining foot traffic with more people streaming shows and films from their homes and conducting their banking online when possible. Nationally, theaters saw a drop of 75 percent from the week ending February 19 to March 27 and banks saw a 13 percent dip as of late March.

TRAVEL

With travel advisories in place across the country, gas stations including Exxon and BP are showing declines of 7 to 8 percent.

Instead, people are using Zoom to catch up with friends and family. The company has added over 2.22 million monthly active users so far in 2020. For comparison, in 2019 1.99 million users were welcomed, according to new estimates from Berstein. When they’re not video conferencing, they’re finding new fitness routines with visits to gyms down 64 percent as a result of COVID-19 and are eager to stay fit while practicing social distancing.

A good number are also using this downtime at home to roll up their sleeves and tackle their spring cleaning and household projects. Foursquare reports that trips to well-known hardware stores like The Home Depot and Lowe’s are up 27 percent nationally.

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The post 3 Ways COVID-19 is Shaping Consumer Behavior appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/04/3-ways-covid-19-is-shaping-consumer-behavior/

3 Ways Platforms are Tackling Cyberbulling

The decline of empathetic behavior on social media is a growing issue. Our industry has the opportunity to push for an agenda that offers teens and young adults the ability to understand the choices they’re making behind their devices. Platforms are exploring ways they can play a role in this process and create productive interactions through shared experiences and understanding.

Here are a few recent examples unpacked:

Collaborating with Suicide Prevention Programs

On the heels of its test to remove “likes” from posts and a feature called ‘Restrict’ that allows users to seamlessly shadow-ban others posting harmful or offensive comments, Instagram is continuing its effort to support the fight against cyberbullying.

The photo-sharing platform recently unveiled a new AI-powered feature that notifies users when their captions on photos and videos could be considered offensive and gives them the opportunity to edit their post before it’s live.

Beyond aiming to limit the reach of bullying, a key goal of the tool is to provide education around proper Instagram etiquette and what violates the platform’s community guidelines. In order to create the new system, Instagram partnered with suicide prevention programs.

“Earlier this year, we launched a feature that notifies people when their comments may be considered offensive before they’re posted. Results have been promising, and we’ve found that these types of nudges can encourage people to reconsider their words when given a chance,” the company shared in the announcement.

The stance is an important one that prioritizes limiting the reach of bullying but, more importantly, is one primed to foster more education. The app hopes to inspire people to care about their words and choices online, and understand how they can affect other people negatively and deter from the growth of a positive, diverse community.

Expanding Definitions of Harmful Misinformation

Yet another app putting education at the center of its decisions to combat bullying and harmful misinformation is TikTok.

The video-sharing app recently overhauled its Community Guidelines to incorporate a specific section dedicated to the sharing of misinformation within the app intended to add transparency to how harmful or unsafe content is defined and regulated on the platform. “It’s important that users have insight into the philosophy behind our moderation decisions and the framework for making such judgements,” the announcement stressed.

At its core, the updates outline how violations are grouped into 10 distinct categories, each of which contains an explanation of the rationale and several detailed bullet points to clarify what type of misbehavior would fall into that category. While TikTok’s rules against misleading content have been in place for a while, until this expansion the focus had primarily been around scams and barring the creation of fake profiles.

Here’s a quick outline as to the additional types of content the app is targeting:

  • Content that incites fear, hate, or prejudice
  • Content that could cause harm to an individual’s health – such as misleading information about medical treatment
  • Content that proliferates hoaxes, phishing attempts, or “manipulated content meant to cause harm”
  • Content that misleads community members about elections or other civic processesOne critique that has surfaced since the announcement is that the expanded guidelines don’t explain how TikTok will decipher harmful, “misleading” content and appear to be open for interpretation regarding enforcement decisions.

“Our global guidelines are the basis of the moderation policies TikTok’s regional and country teams localize and implement in accordance with local laws and norms.​”

It will be interesting to see if there are further iterations based on this feedback and how the language and structure of these guidelines will evolve as the community continues to grow.

Letting users define the audience of their content

As part of a broader discussion about the rise of ephemeral messaging and its potential for Twitter, the platform is looking to specific dimensions, such as control around who can see or participate in tweet conversations.

During CES 2020, Suzanne Xie, Director of Product Management, outlined several key changes that are in the works aimed to address these issues and promote a more healthy, positive user experience.

Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour articulated the rationale in an interview with WIRED’s Editor in Chief Nick Thompson. “We’re exploring ways for people to control proactively, not reactively hiding a reply…The philosophical approach we took here is, when you start a conversation, as the author of a tweet you should have a little more control over the replies to that tweet.”

During the presentation, Xie showed the below images illustrating the new process in development. Fundamentally, it allows users to define the audience for each of their tweets, directly from the composer window.

The four core audience settings are as follows:

  • Global: Anyone can reply to the tweet
  • Group: Only people you follow or mention would be able to reply
  • Panel: Only people you directly mention within the tweet text itself would be able to reply
  • Statement: No tweet replies would be allowed

Let’s break down a couple of pros and cons with this move.

Primarily, it seems to go against the idea of Twitter serving as a larger, public square where everyone is given a say. Contrarily, it could pave the way for easier facilitated interview-style conversations or live chats featuring celebrities or influencers that often are overwhelmed by spam. In this way, the conversations can feel more familiar and authentic without all of the secondary noise.

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The post 3 Ways Platforms are Tackling Cyberbulling appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2020/01/3-ways-platforms-are-tackling-cyberbulling/

Here Are GIPHY’s 25 Most Popular GIFs Of 2019

As 2019 comes to a close we reflect with a healthy dose of annual recaps including GIPHY‘s roundup of the top 25 GIFs that took the Internet by storm. What did these tell us about how we exactly felt about the year? “Plenty of joy, a healthy amount of frustration, a dash of indifference, and a LOT of OOP.”

Check out the full list below, feel free to repost on social media, and tell us what is your favorite GIF of the year!

#1: “And I Oop” by Jasmine Masters — 419.1 million views

via GIPHY

“And I Oop” is the best meme of 2019, period. Jasmine Masters, the iconic drag queen from the seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is to thank for this perfect GIF.

#2: “Angry” by Shameless — 382.1 million views

via GIPHY

The most popular GIFs of the year are typically reactions and this GIF from Showtime’s “Shameless” is no exception. There’s no better way to express your anger, disgust, or disapproval to someone than by sharing this GIF with them!

#3: “Say Hello” by Nick Jonas — 289.1 million views

via GIPHY

Nick Jonas GIFs are always popular, but this one he made with us at GIPHY resonated the most. It is easy to see why, it’s a great GIF to send to simply say, “sup.”

#4: “Happy” by Samm Henshaw — 261.6 million views

via GIPHY

This popular Samm Henshaw GIF has such positive energy, it’s no wonder why it’s so popular. It comes from the fantastic video for his song, “Church.”

“Wake up and get yourself to church Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah”

#5: “Great Job” by Bounce TV — 259.6 million views

via GIPHY

“Thumbs up” consistently ranks high as a term users are searching for on GIPHY and Carl Payne’s (from Bounce TV’s Last Call) is a great one!

#6: “Happy Cheering” by Bluesbear — 197.3 million views

via GIPHY

What’s not to love about this animated GIF?! This cutie wholesomely and happily cheering you on is the exact motivation a friend needs to keep going.

#7: Keanu Reeves “Thank You” by Netflix — 195.4 million views

via GIPHY

Keanu’s role in Always Be My Maybe was VERY much loved by fans. The movie was super popular and seeing Keanu let his hair down and show his sillier side made everyone love him even more than they already did… if that was possible

#8: “I Love You” by Mia Page — 181.6 million views

via GIPHY

“Love” is far and away the most popular emotion searched and shared on GIPHY. So it’s no surprise that this sweet animated GIF is included in this list. Our GIPHY Artist community is huge and with GIF artist Mia Page creating these characters to be actual hearts themselves — it’s a perfect and creative way to express love.

#9: “No Way SMH” by Desus & Mero — 179 million views

via GIPHY

The Kid Mero — one half of the Bodega Boys, who host a popular podcast and the “Number 1 Show in Late Night” (self-proclaimed by them) — is always good for a great reaction GIF, whether you want to express Bronx Pride, Dominican Pride, New York City Pride, or just a plain old “No.” This popular one from their Showtime show is no exception.

#10: “Happy Excited Dance” by Khalid — 169.7 million views

via GIPHY

Khalid had a fantastic 2019 and is only growing in popularity, but this is just a great “having a good time so don’t bother me I just want to vibe” GIF from his music video “Young Dumb and Broke.”

#11: “Whatever” by Friends — 168.5 million views

via GIPHY

FRIENDS had quite a year in 2019! Not only did the show celebrate its 25th anniversary, but an official FRIENDS library channel launched on GIPHY! It’s no shock that this funny reaction GIF of Phoebe really blew up, as it’s something that could appeal to both FRIENDS fans and general GIPHY users alike!

#12: “Jack Nicholson ‘Yes’” by Nick Kroll — 162.3 million views

via GIPHY

Nick Kroll’s version of the classic Jack Nicholson nodding GIF is spot on. This year he stopped by GIPHY to recreate a bunch of classic GIFs, including his own take on this year’s top GIF (“And I Oop”).

#13: “Dog Yes” by TikTok — 158.9 million views

via GIPHY

2019 was the year of TikTok (which includes our partnership with them!) and, to be honest, every year is the year of a good dog! This good boy popping up with a solid nod “YES” is exactly what the users want — a surprise, a super cute dog, and a definite reaction. Did someone say, “Treats?!”

#14: “Awkward” by Jonas Brothers — 151.5 million views

via GIPHY

In need of a GIF for that cringeworthy moment? Did you text someone the wrong thing? Are you getting roasted in a group chat? You can’t go wrong with this GIF from GIPHY’s shoot with the Jonas Brothers.

#15: “Kit Harington Wink” by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon — 146.5 million views

via GIPHY

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon topped our list in 2018, and it made the cut again this year! This time it’s for a GIF of Kit Harington winking into the camera. We have a feeling Game of Thrones fans may be responsible for its popularity!

#16: “Meme Scroll” by 2019 MTV Video Music Awards — 146.3 milllion views

via GIPHY

This funny GIF of Lil Nas X accepting the award for Song of the Year at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards is ripe for meme-ability. It immediately went viral on Twitter, with people adding their own funny captions like “Me leaving CVS” and “Me opening The Cheesecake Factory Menu.”

#17: “Killing Eve Popcorn” by BBC America — 144.3 million views

via GIPHY

GIPHY loves drama and OH MY did Sandra Oh deliver. The Killing Eve star gives us a flawless piece of content all of us can use while meddling in other peoples’ business.

#18: “Xavier Woods ‘Nope’” by WWE — 140.7 million views

via GIPHY

Not sure a stank-face can get much better than this. Everyone should take a moment to thank Xavier Woods and The New Day for this epic expression.

#19: “Drake ‘Unimpressed’” by Apple Music — 136 million views

via GIPHY

Almost everything Drake does goes viral at this point, and this reaction from the “No Guidance” music video was no different. It’s the perfect sarcastic reaction GIF.

#20: “Fun Love” by pigx3–135.1 million views

via GIPHY

This GIF from artist pigx3 is the definition of cute! Characters such as this dominate messaging platforms because of their ability to connect with people… Who wouldn’t relate to this GIF when eating something delicious?!

#21: “Excited” by Preity G Zinta — 134.4 million views

via GIPHY

Preity G Zinta is a beloved actress in the Bollywood industry (for the past 20 years!) and she was the FIRST Bollywood actress to launch a custom GIPHY reaction pack. Her expression and the high-quality animation combined makes this a great GIF for celebrities to express themselves.

#22: “Happy High Heels” by Hilbrand Bos Illustrator — 133.9 million views

via GIPHY

We all mope around from Monday to Friday just waiting for the weekend to roll around. Good thing we have lifestyle and fashion illustrator, Hilbrand Bos, to remind us when the week is finally over and the party begins!

#23: “Lizzo ‘Whatever’” by MTV Movie & TV Awards — 133.4 million views

via GIPHY

2019 was essentially the Year of Lizzo, and a lot of that was due to her presence at the Video Music Awards. She gave an epic performance and won viewers over with her hilarious audience reaction shots — case in point, this GIF!

#24: “Disgusted” by HiHo Kids — 133 million views

via GIPHY

We all know that kids do and say the darndest things with absolutely no filter, so do yourself a favor and visit HiHo Kids’ GIPHY page for more reactions like this absolutely perfect “disgusted” GIF.

#25: “Excited Ilana Glazer” by Broad City — 130.7 million views

via GIPHY

Broad City is one of the most GIFable shows ever thanks to its hysterical and expressive co-stars, and this GIF of an excited Ilana is a perfect example of that. The show may have ended in 2019, but it will forever live on in our hearts — and GIFs!

This article originally appeared on Medium via Giphy

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The post Here Are GIPHY’s 25 Most Popular GIFs Of 2019 appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/12/here-are-the-25-most-popular-gifs-of-2019/

Burning Man, Barack Obama and the Founding Story of Social Media Week with Grey Matter, a New Podcast from Grey Group

“How Did You Think of Your Great Idea?” is the single focus for the weekly episodes of the newly announced Grey Matter podcast by the leading creative agency.

In the episodes, Grey experts explore how the most interesting, provocative, and entertaining ideas in the world are conceived through conversations with thinkers, entrepreneurs, activists, inventors, performers, and more. The goal in sharing these stories is to explore the creative process that leads to culture-changing ideas, how individual experiences can shape that process, and identify key themes and learnings to help others in the business looking to come up with better ideas themselves.

In the most recent episode – Toby Daniels, Executive Director and Founder of Social Media Week – talks with Grey Worldwide Chief Innovation Officer, Dan Bennett, about how he devised then developed the idea for the industry’s foremost social media insights platform.

During the conversation, he underscored his passion for unlocking the potential of self-organization around the creation of an experience stemming from his attendance to the 2008 Burning Man event. He also shared how the catalyst for his idea was underpinned by a mission to create an event not only around the tools, technology, and platforms behind social media, but what social media means for businesses, society, and the human experience.

In discussing his encounter of skeptics both back in 2009 when SMW was launched and today, he shared one piece of important advice: “If you can turn someone who is important from a critic into an ally, then that’s worth the time and effort.” Put simply, there will be people who aren’t worth your time and it’s objectively identifying this difference when scrutinizing feedback that is most critical when scaling a business.

When asked how he continues to obtain inspiration for new ideas, Toby emphasized the word ‘conversation.’ “Every problem I’ve ever solved, every idea I’ve ever had, every meaningful collaboration that has happened occurred as a result of my enthusiasm for connecting through conversation.”

“Great ideas are only worth what you’re willing to put behind them in terms of effort and execution.”

Finally, in sharing where he hopes his business will be in five years time, Toby reiterated that he strives to continue to impact and change the world by leveraging SMW events as a platform for driving the necessary — yet sometimes difficult — conversations and movements that fuel positive social impact. “We exist to ask the difficult questions and to move the conversation forward and hopefully provide some leadership to the industry in terms of getting to a place in the future where we feel better about our relationship with technology.”

Check out the full podcast below:

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The post Burning Man, Barack Obama and the Founding Story of Social Media Week with Grey Matter, a New Podcast from Grey Group appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/08/burning-man-barack-obama-and-the-founding-story-of-social-media-week-with-grey-matter-a-new-podcast-from-grey-group/

Why Banning Infinite Scrolling Would Fail to Solve Our Overuse of Social Media

Earlier this week, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) unveiled the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act targeted to combat the idea that “the biggest tech companies have embraced a business model of addiction,” and I wholeheartedly believe it fails to get to the heart of the matter, nor does it offer sensible ideas for how social media needs to be regulated.

Here’s a quick high-level overview of the key proposals in this latest bill (including, you guessed it, the banning of infinite scrolling):

  • Infinite scroll, auto refill, and in-app badges or awards, “if such award does not substantially increase access to new or additional services, content, or functionality” would be banned
  • A native time limit, enforced by the platform and set automatically: 30 minutes. Users could potentially increase the time limit, but it would reset to half an hour at the start of each month
  • A neutral process for users to either accept or deny consent terms — meaning accept and decline boxes would have to be designed to look the same
  • A process for users to more easily track the amount of time they’re spending on their platforms

While the bill wouldn’t kill off social media platforms altogether, it presents an outline for a process through which they’d be forced to change the core ways their products function, one I’d argue represents the wrong approach to how social media platforms should be regulated and the importance of individual responsibility.

The dangers of labeling our overuse of social media an addiction

Regarding individual responsibility, I find it problematic to call our overuse of social media an addiction and would claim that it is even dangerous to use these terms to the frequency they are used today.

In seeking out a more appropriate term to use, I spoke with former Stanford lecturer, and behavioral design expert, and author, Nir Eyal, whose books Hooked and Indistractable looks at how we can get the best from technology without letting it get the best of us, in an age of ever-increasing demands on our attention.

“Addiction is a pathology and when we use the word to describe everything two bad things happen: one, we disrespect and diminish the importance of thinking of addiction as a pathology, and the second bad thing that happens is that the rest of us, everyone who is not addicted, learns that this is something that is powerless to resist. Overuse is much less sinister. It places much more responsibility on the user to do something on the problem versus just blaming pusher/dealer aka the ‘big tech companies,’” he said.

Rather than continuing to operate on the passive assumption and knowledge that the geniuses behind the curtain of Silicon Valley are hijacking our brains and we are simply unable to do anything about it, we need to begin by correcting calling the issue by what it is: overuse.

As far as the regulation itself, I feel it is attempting to address the problem from the wrong perspective for this reason.

Addressing the right problem from the wrong perspective

This bill unduly discriminates against one form of media, while not getting specific enough about each case where you see this problem occurring.

“When we make these generalizations that the techniques are somehow mind-controlling and addicting people, we don’t get specific about exactly what we’re talking about. Are we talking about infinite scroll? Are we talking about streaks on Duolingo? It’s not about the technique, it’s to what ends it is used,” said Eyal.

The bill stipulates that within three months of its passing, social media companies would be required to halt content auto-loading and displaying content without conscious opting in by the user. This would apply to the content itself, in addition to the delivery mechanism. In lieu would be a process for opting in on additional posts by clicking a “Load More” or “See More” option. It wants to mandate that Netflix and YouTube stop using autoplay, but not news outlets like FOX or CNN.

“Why are we discriminating against one form of media, which is a conversation that people are having online with each other via a platform, as opposed to a unidirectional channel like Fox News or CNN that plays all day long?” asked Eyal. The truth is, people can get just as unhealthily addicted to those forms of media as well.

How social media platforms should be regulated: the use and abuse approach

If the SMART Act is not broad enough in its tactics to address the problem, then the question that rises to the surface becomes, what should lawmakers be discussing to effectively safeguard people from the dangers of social media? Eyal has thought about this question for years and personally advocates for a use and abuse policy.

“One of the silver linings of tech companies collecting so much data about us is that they know how much we use these products on an individual level. What I’ve been advocating for is for these companies to have a policy around how many hours per week..whatever this number is..and should publicize this in their terms and services…they’re going to reach out and say ‘you have used this product to a degree that may indicate you are struggling with an addiction. Can we help?’ Mathematically speaking, this figure should lie somewhere within the top 1% of users.

Following conversations with representatives from Reddit, Facebook, and Snapchat, on the subject, Eyal has learned that these people live up to a hundred miles or more of miles from communities. In this case, their ‘overuse’ is simply them utilizing a tool to meet people they otherwise couldn’t. Would this classify as an addiction? Of course not.

So as we think about the individual responsibility we have as users of social media, and the influence lawmakers should have, let’s choose to focus efforts on helping those who truly need it versus propagating a false narrative that we are somehow all addicted.

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The post Why Banning Infinite Scrolling Would Fail to Solve Our Overuse of Social Media appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/08/why-banning-infinite-scrolling-would-fail-to-solve-our-overuse-of-social-media/

This AI-Boosted Survey Tool Helps You “Gauge” Your Brand’s Potential Fallout

The fallout of an ineffective or offensive ad campaign—think Pepsi, Dove, or H&M—can cost brands huge sums of money, as well as hard-earned customer trust. In the eyes of Gauge, a DC-based research startup, a key reason for these gaffes: “they’re talking with the wrong people.” Their app wants to change these conversations, centering the populations who often end up most affected.

Gauge’s cofounders Brandon Andrews and Joshua DuBois met at the firm Values Partnerships, which worked with nonprofit organizations, foundations, and religious leaders to “tackle the intersections of race, politics, media, and faith.” It is frequently at these intersections where brands and marketers are often at a loss- simply because their expertise lies elsewhere. Andrews and DuBois developed a deep understanding of how to listen to these populations and implement their wishes in a smart, sensitive, and effective way. Now they’re bringing this sensibility to the companies that need it most.

Afrotech lays out the approach of the app simply:

Gauge uses focus groups to help companies make decisions and gives surveys to tastemakers and industry experts. Surveyees can download the app and are compensated with gift cards and cash for every questionnaire they complete.

Artificial intelligence is then deployed to analyze the responses given, yielding detailed insight on the potential impact of a brand’s choices. With tastemakers that include Ferguson activist DeRay McKesson, #oscarssowhite founder April Reign, actress and LGBT activist Trace Lysette, YouTuber Brendan Jordan, and many others, the bench of individuals – and populations – consulted on a company’s potential moves is deeper than most tend to consider.

Gauge has already played a major role in Google’s Titan Generator Hackathon earlier this year, deployed to provide user feedback during the event that was supported by March for Our Lives, Color of Change, United We Dream, and the International Indigenous Youth Council.

The event and its resulting solutions “aim[ed] to be a catalyst for a broader coalition of support and action”; Gauge hopes to do the same in a larger marketplace, with the goal of catching potentially disastrous faux pas (often the result of too little diverse input) earlier. “With technology,” Andrews said, “we could create a better, cheaper, and faster way for brands to engage with diverse customers.”

Gauge is available now for desktop, iOs and Android.

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The post This AI-Boosted Survey Tool Helps You “Gauge” Your Brand’s Potential Fallout appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/07/this-ai-boosted-survey-tool-helps-you-gauge-your-brands-potential-fallout/

PODCAST: Brands, Creators and How to Change the World with Ian Schafer, Co-Founder & CEO, Kindred

This week’s episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast features Ian Schafer, Co-Founder & CEO of Kindred, a company that aims to bring together communities of influential creators, platforms, and purpose-driven brands and accelerate the next generation of social movements.

Ian has been at the forefront of media, content, advertising, and marketing for the better half of two decades. In 2002, he started and ran one of the first social media agencies, Deep Focus, which earned him a spot in AAF’s Advertising Hall of Achievement in 2015, and he was also named one of the 100 people “Making Advertising Great” by the 4As.

During the conversation, Ian discussed:

  • What led him to go the events route with regards to achieving Kindred’s mission
  • The emerging group of online entrepreneurs dubbed “creators with a purpose” and why so many brands are now flocking to work with them
  • Kindred’s approach in facilitating conversations between creators who deeply care about missions and purpose and the brands who share that same passion
  • The ways in which we need to evolve so we can better harness our influence and assume our responsibility as storytellers

Listen to the full episode below:

Subscribe to Leads2Scale on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, Castbox, Overcast, or Stitcher.

If you have suggestions for who we should interview or what topics you would like us to cover, please reach out to us at leads2scale@socialmediaweek.org.

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WATCH THE SMWLDN 2019 PROMO

The post PODCAST: Brands, Creators and How to Change the World with Ian Schafer, Co-Founder & CEO, Kindred appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/07/podcast-brands-creators-and-how-to-change-the-world-with-ian-schafer-co-founder-ceo-kindred/

Google’s Latest Social Experiment Wants to “Loop” You In With Local Events

Google’s next foray into social networking won’t be undertaken with a goal of taking on giants like Facebook or Twitter. Their latest experiment, called Shoelace, is designed to connect people offline- and testing is taking place in New York City right now.

Developed in Google’s Area 120, their in-house incubator, Shoelace connects individuals local to an area based on common interest. As Engadget describes it, “you pick your interests, and the creators help you hook up with like-minded people for various activities” (called loops) “whether they’re custom-created or hand-picked.” The mechanism sounds similar to tools like Meetup or Eventbrite, allowing users to create events and then invite friends or publicize them to general users. But unlike Meetup or Eventbrite, or even Facebook Events, these “loops” can be shared with friends, colleagues or acquaintances whether they use Shoelace or not.

The smaller scope of the project seems smart, and is also being reflected in its rollout; at present, Shoelace is only being tested in NYC. iOS or Android users in the area interested in applying to test the product can do so here; depending on its early performance, testing may expand to other cities or even nationwide.

Despite being the product of an incubator, some have recognized that Shoelace bears a striking resemblance to a departed Google product, Schemer, which had a short-lived run helping users to organize offline events from 2011-2014. Time will tell if this app will outlive its predecessor, or evolve into a new form in the months to come.

Google’s last product that was tested in this fashion, Pigeon, never moved beyond the NYC-centric testing; however, its purpose (to help navigate the subway) lives on through key updates to Google Maps. Absorption into an existing Google Product (perhaps Hangouts or Drive) is also a viable future for the project. But in the meantime, we’ll await the opportunity to “loop” our friends in on upcoming plans through the new app.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH THE SMWLDN 2019 PROMO

The post Google’s Latest Social Experiment Wants to “Loop” You In With Local Events appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/07/googles-latest-social-experiment-wants-to-loop-you-in-with-local-events/

Google’s Latest Social Experiment Wants to “Loop” You In With Local Events

Google’s next foray into social networking won’t be undertaken with a goal of taking on giants like Facebook or Twitter. Their latest experiment, called Shoelace, is designed to connect people offline- and testing is taking place in New York City right now.

Developed in Google’s Area 120, their in-house incubator, Shoelace connects individuals local to an area based on common interest. As Engadget describes it, “you pick your interests, and the creators help you hook up with like-minded people for various activities” (called loops) “whether they’re custom-created or hand-picked.” The mechanism sounds similar to tools like Meetup or Eventbrite, allowing users to create events and then invite friends or publicize them to general users. But unlike Meetup or Eventbrite, or even Facebook Events, these “loops” can be shared with friends, colleagues or acquaintances whether they use Shoelace or not.

The smaller scope of the project seems smart, and is also being reflected in its rollout; at present, Shoelace is only being tested in NYC. iOS or Android users in the area interested in applying to test the product can do so here; depending on its early performance, testing may expand to other cities or even nationwide.

Despite being the product of an incubator, some have recognized that Shoelace bears a striking resemblance to a departed Google product, Schemer, which had a short-lived run helping users to organize offline events from 2011-2014. Time will tell if this app will outlive its predecessor, or evolve into a new form in the months to come.

Google’s last product that was tested in this fashion, Pigeon, never moved beyond the NYC-centric testing; however, its purpose (to help navigate the subway) lives on through key updates to Google Maps. Absorption into an existing Google Product (perhaps Hangouts or Drive) is also a viable future for the project. But in the meantime, we’ll await the opportunity to “loop” our friends in on upcoming plans through the new app.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH THE SMWLDN 2019 PROMO

The post Google’s Latest Social Experiment Wants to “Loop” You In With Local Events appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/07/googles-latest-social-experiment-wants-to-loop-you-in-with-local-events/

PODCAST: From FYRE Fiasco to Force for Good: How Andy King is Embracing Virality

This week’s episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast features Andy King.

You might recognize the name as Andy became an internet celebrity thanks to his infamous appearance on Netflix’s FYRE Festival documentary, “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.”

This was recorded live during a Social Media Week Los Angeles fireside chat titled, “Keeping the Fyre Alive: A Conversation with Andy King.”

During the conversation, Andy discussed:

  • His career before FYRE and how he first got involved with the organizers
  • How he embraced becoming an overnight viral celebrity
  • His impression of the Influencer space and how it is changing culture
  • And how he is using his new found celebrity for good

Listen to the full episode below:

Subscribe to Leads2Scale on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, Castbox, Overcast, or Stitcher.

If you have suggestions for who we should interview or what topics you would like us to cover, please reach out to us at leads2scale@socialmediaweek.org.

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WATCH THE SMWLDN 2019 PROMO

The post PODCAST: From FYRE Fiasco to Force for Good: How Andy King is Embracing Virality appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2019/07/podcast-from-fyre-fiasco-to-force-for-good-how-andy-king-is-embracing-virality/