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Courts are now interpreting emoji as evidence, some old man yells at all the whipper snappers doing social media advertising, tons of great new music, and more.
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[No. 042] How should courts interpret emoji?

  • Be sure to check out November’s playlist (link at the bottom).
  • Do you own a Vizio smart TV? Yeah, it’s watching you.
  • MEDIA FIGHTS! Nate Silver (data-whiz, founder of FiveThirtyEight) throws shade at Vox.  
  • Here’s a map of every college football stadium where you can buy beer. None in Michigan. A lot in Texas.
  • Now you can say “Thanks, Obama” on the President’s Facebook wall. Actually, you can’t. There isn’t a public wall. But you can in the comments of his photos!
  • Real America, as told through a random sampling of Periscope broadcasts.
  • Volvo is testing kangaroo avoidance technology for Australian drivers. Because Australia.
  • The case for bad coffee as a great American comfort food.
  • OK! Let’s get it rolling. Today’s edition features a crotchety man shitting on social media (let’s just keep making TV spots and call it a day!), courts are increasingly having to evaluate emoji in cases (“:-P” can mean a million different things!), a great newsletter you should check out (Prompt!), and some good, good music.

THE LEDE

How the Mad Men lost the plot [Financial Times]
The author bemoans the advertising industry’s lost art, creativity, and the diminishing tole of TV in favor of digital and social medias, which are inherently technology driven. Really, it just comes across as an old-fart shaking his fist at social media for trying to get consumers to “engage” with brands, when some research suggests that digital media targeting existing consumers doesn’t build brands. And that’s fine, if you look at social media as purely an owned, advertising platform.

But it’s so much more. An auto brand, for example, uses social media as a PR outlet, a forum for engineers or executives to have conversations with fans, as a customer support channel, and many other things. Paid social media can put creative work in front of fans/customers of competitors (conquesting) and then there are influencer campaigns, whereby users with large followings adept at creating content do so on behalf of a brand and share that content with their communities, potentially reaching a mass audience of entirely new consumers.

This article has gained traction in ad/marketing circles, and has been one of Financial Times’ most read items of the week. It’s an interesting read, if only for its outsized, dated, but romantic view of the TV spot (and the author desperately clinging to the importance of “TV,” without so much as a nod to streaming services or mobile video consumption).

Look. I simultaneously love and hate advertising. Most stuff on TV is garbage. Most social media posts are garbage. But I do crack a smile when something is done right, pulls at the heartstrings, or cleverly pulls me in. And that’s done in so many different ways in 2015, mostly delivered in a digital context, and on numerous channels and various sized screens.

If there is a “problem” with advertising, it’s not that it’s so technology-driven. It’s that advertisers and agencies aren’t using integrated technology in clever, emotional, or useful way to get people to care.

GOOD STUFF

Courts are evaluating emoticons as evidence - but nobody really knows what they mean [Slate]
Language! It’s constantly evolving! Meanings are constantly changing! Emoji and emoticons are making language wayyyyyyy more complex, and now interact with law, where formal rules and interpretations are still taking shape. There have been multiple cases this year with text-based evidence (social media postings, text messages) where the defense argued that the meaning of “:-)” or “:-P” made what appeared to be threatening messages merely jokes. 

So courts are learning how to interpret these symbols. Researchers are working on an “emotional scale” for charting the likely sentiment attached to emoji, and there is already a group that has ranked emoji by sentiment. While sentiment ranking is a good start, it doesn’t address instances in which emoji are used ironically or to counter the emotion present in text.

It’ll be fascinating - exciting, scary - to see how this plays out.

How Jamaica Fell for the Desert Boot: The Story of Reggae’s Love Affair With Clarks [Vogue]
So, a few of you know that I’m sort of a big shoe fan. While Nike sneakers will always reign supreme for me, the British brand Clarks is probably my second favorite brand, for two models specifically: the Desert Boot and the Wallabee boot. Both were crafted to resemble the boots British soldiers wore as they fought the Japanese in Burma in 1941 and during their North African campaign during WWII.

Initial sales of the shoes were sluggish but, in the 1960’s, they were embraced by Britain’s post-war Mods. By the 1970’s and into the 1980’s, it was Jamaica’s reggae/dancehall scene the fueled the popularity of Clarks’ desert boots. In the 1990’s, Ghostface Killah (aka the “Wally Champ”) and Liam Gallagher, among others, continued music’s devotion to the legendary boots.

They're the kind of boots that will always look good. You should get a pair, if you're in the market. 

NEWSLETTERS

Prompt [Hello Prompt]
You are clearly a champion and connoisseur of newsletters and you regularly tell your friends to sign up for this one. But I know what you’re thinking: “I need another great newsletter to read.” Enter: Prompt. It’s a daily newsletter that sends out a new prompt each day. Subscribers respond to the prompts and those responses are aggregated - anonymously - into the next day’s newsletter. It’s a phenomenal glimpse into how people think and differently interpret the same prompt and the responses cover the whole human condition. 

MUSIC

Album: Martin Courtney - Many Moons [Domino Recording, 2015/Spotify]
Martin Courtney is lead singer/songwriter for the band Real Estate, who have put out two supremely superb albums of simple, dreamlike, pop-rock songs. “Many Moons” is his first solo album and it sounds exactly like a Real Estate album. Which is to say… it's really great. There are actually some more subtle differences, going through it: some additional instrumentTikn beyond the usual Real Eatate guitar-bass-drums. A few songs have strings, there's a vibraphone, and the some lusher harmonies, including lots of “ahhhhhhhs” in the background.

A great, consistent listen. Easygoing start to finish and a wonderful soundtrack to walking around on a sunny day.

Playlist: GREG’S PLAYLIST - NOVEMBER 2015 [Spotify]
Added a whole bunch of good stuff from all over - JJ Cale, Marvin Gaye, G Unit, and more. Up to 26 songs and almost two hours of goodness. Enjoy!

Copyright © 2015 Greg's Newsletter, All rights reserved.


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