Is Facebook the future of the national census?

Is Facebook the future of the national census?
 E very ten years, governments around the world conduct their national census: a count of the resident population. This is no easy task. The 2011 Chinese census, for instance, was a vast operation relying on six million enumerators taking census questionnaires from door to door. Knowledge of a population's composition is crucial for government...
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Best practices for reporting on the far right

Best practices for reporting on the far right @TrumpBabyUK
NY-based research group Data and Society has released a comprehensive report on how the media should report on the far right, called  ​The Oxygen of Amplificiation: Offering extremely candid comments from mainstream journalists, the report provides a snapshot of an industry caught between the pressure to deliver page views, the impulse to cove...
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Google extends its Pay offer

Google extends its Pay offer
​Google Pay has been improved, with new support for both mobile ticketing and peer-to-peer payments. We've always rather liked GPay; it still seems behind Apple Pay in terms of general adoption, but the fact that it works with any contactless terminal makes it much easier to use. The tradeoff is that Apple Pay has greater functionality - something ...
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In defence of the semicolon

In defence of the semicolon
This piece on the ; in  ​The Millions ​ magazine,  is lovely.  Stylistically, the latter half of the 20th century (and the 21st) has seen a general shift toward shorter sentences. This seems understandable on two fronts. First—and this is total conjecture—MFA writing programs came to the cultural fore in the 1970s and over the last f...
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New publication focussed on gaming

New publication focussed on gaming Sam Howzit, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/aloha75/4906597152
Whether you're 6, 16 or 46, the row of game cabinets in an amusement arcade tempts, distracts, and delights. While all human life may not be here, there are certainly characters - both in the games and out of them - whom one can remember, and paint a narrative upon. Whether your era was  ​Gorf, Out Run  ​or the  ​Virtual Fighter...
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Brutalist web manifesto takes things back to their roots

Brutalist web manifesto takes things back to their roots
 The older and more jaded among you will look at this and think  ​"Huh, that's just how the web used to be" ​ but to the less savvy, the manifesto for Brutalist Web Design should be a compelling and rational call for designers and digital agencies to strip the crap out of their websites. The BDW guidelines are: ​ Content is readable on al...
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Life, by an algorithm

Life, by an algorithm
Luke Rhinehart's 1971 novel  ​The Dice Man ​ has been updated of sorts: software developer Max Hawkins has been living his life based on events suggested by a set of algorithms. He's done it in a pretty considered way: rather than just be completely random, he has overtly chosen to reject advice which the algos have suggested ("Kill a dee...
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What happens when people lose trust in the Internet?

What happens when people lose trust in the Internet?
An April 2018 survey by the Pew Research Centre has found that fewer people believe that "the Internet has been mostly a good thing for society" as compared to four years ago. This worsening perspective on the social benefits of the Internet contrasts with the view that these same respondents believed that the Internet continued to be a good thing ...
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Camera draws cartoons by reinterpreting what it sees through a neural network

Camera draws cartoons by reinterpreting what it sees through a neural network
Dan McNish has built a new type of Polaroid camera, and... well, if  ​I ​ was the Polaroid brand manager, I'd be pinging Dan with a chequebook at the ready. The camera is a mash up of a neural network for object recognition, the google quickdraw dataset, a thermal printer, and a raspberry pi. Initially, I began with some experiments on my lapt...
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WhatsApp launches message broadcast feature

WhatsApp launches message broadcast feature
​WhatsApp has launched a feature which we're surprised hasn't been included before. Available to all users, administrators can now broadcast messages to a group. WhatsApp highlights the use cases as: T oday, we're launching a new group setting where only admins are able to send messages to a group. One way people use groups is to receive impor...
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Instagram tests a new "Questions" feature

Instagram tests a new "Questions" feature Tracey le Blanc
Facebook-owned Instagram is trying Questions, a new feature where - obviously - it's possible to run a Q&A from within an Insta story. The new feature is only rolling out to select users at first (let us know if you're one of them), and offers yes/no and slider functionality. The slider, as you might expect these days, uses a scale for an emoji...
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Richard Shotton: burden of proof

Richard Shotton: burden of proof
"The Choice Factory" is the most popular new book for marketers so far this year. Well read, well discussed and well liked from everyone, it casts an eye on the the history of how customers come to given decisions, and the psychological background behind them doing so. We caught up with its author  ​Richard Shotton ​ on the book's themes,...
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The warmth of Net culture in the 1990s

The warmth of Net culture in the 1990s Wikipedia
Before the insane fascist nonsense that currently pervades our networks like liquid shit on a towel, there were some parts of the Internet that were warm, friendly, and intensely personal. People wrote to each other; they met up in real life; and had communities where mutual trust and support were baked in. Helena Fitzgerald reminisces about t...
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Google simplifies brands: goodbye AdSense and DoubleClick

Google simplifies brands: goodbye AdSense and DoubleClick
The big G has overhauled its advertising offer, to focus on three primary brands:  Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ad Manager. ​Google AdWords is now Google Ads. Expanding the service's positioning to the SME market, Google has also announced Smart Campaigns, where media buying is largely automated. (One might see this as a g...
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Windows 95 goes mobile

Screen-Shot-2018-06-28-at-12.52.55
This is a brilliant pastiche. Well, we assume that it's a pastiche, but it's done  ​so well ​. Microsoft has apparently launched Windows 95 onto a mobile handset...
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Astrology domine

Astrology domine
​What is it? An article uncovering the explosive growth of astronomy-based memes. What is it about? The format at least should feel familiar. "It starts with the photo," Courtney Perkins, a 23-year-old Los Angeles–based screenwriter and Gemini sun, rising Virgo, and Pisces moon, told me about her process to come up with memes for her @notallgeminis...
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Facebook wants a share of the creators

Facebook wants a share of the creators
​What is it? Facebook has announced a range of new initiatives in order to steal the "Creators' Crown" away from YouTube. What is it about? Well, quite a lot. ​Interactive video is now available, which contains features such as live polling, and "gamification for live video", although we're not yet sure what that's about. Videos from Pages now appe...
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Trying to make trainers go viral: a tale from Spain

Trying to make trainers go viral: a tale from Spain
​What is it? Spanish resident Philip Sherburne writes in  ​The Outline ​ about the rather haphazard way that brands, in this case Adidas, seek followers and influencers. What is it about? It's great. Here's a snippet: "In this guide I will teach you how to use your sneakers to get more likes on Instagram," George says. "Don't forget to sh...
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Unilever wants influencer marketing to be squeaky clean

Unilever wants influencer marketing to be squeaky clean Wikipedia
​What is it? A call from ubiquitous Unilever CMO Keith Weed to ensure that there is transparency in, and an ethical approach to, influencers and influencer marketing What is it about? Announced at Cannes, Unilever is making three commitments: Transparency from Influencers: We will not work with influencers who buy followers. Transparency from Brand...
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Hotel Alexa: you'll never leave

Hotel Alexa: you'll never leave
​What is it? Amazon has launched  ​Alexa for Hospitality ​, a programme which aims to place its Alexa voice recognition technology and Echo devices inside hotel rooms. What is it about? As you would expect, it's an extension of the consumer Alexa proposition into hotel estates and chains. Marriott is the first chain to run with it, with the se...
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