Sam Michel's blog

Sam Michel

Sam Michel is the founder of Chinwag and blogs here for work, and more randomly at Toodlepip. He runs Chinwag Jobs, Digital Mission and tends to focus on murky place where technology, community and marketing collide. You'll find him on twitter @toodlepip.

Married People Who Like Prostitutes And Other Unintended Facebook Social Graph Search Results

In Memory 9-11 and Katrina by cobalt123

"Married people who like Prostitutes", "Single women who live nearby and who are interested in men and like Getting Drunk" are just two of the searches unlocked by Facebook's new Social Graph Search. For that first search, there's even the option to list their spouses.

As the saying goes, "with great power comes great responsibility". Safe to say, opening the endless mountain of personal data on Facebook to user search is a bold business move, but as programmer Tom Scott proves, there's mischief to be made.

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Instagram Faceplants, Flickr Back From Dead

Instagram's Head in Your Hands Moment

What a bizarre couple of weeks for the image conscious, or at least the photographically-minded, first Instagram severs it's close ties with Twitter, then ratchets up user anger with a dramatic changes in its terms, enabling it to sell users' photos.

Meanwhile, over at Flickr, the once beloved haunt of pictures the product development wheels have cranked into high gear with numerous updates including a well-received and surprisingly snazzy mobile app.

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Fanboys Ahoy! The Man Who Put the 'i' in iMac, iPhone, iYouNameIt [video]

New Mac by Stefan Yasin

"Snow is falling all around me.
Children playing having fun.
Trains are cancelled. Shops are heaving.
It's the season of MacBooks and shiny iPads. 
Merry Christmas everyone."

I'm in a musical mood, so sue me ;-) And those Applistas everywhere are struggling to resist the urge to splurge on a shiny new metallic toys from the wizards in Cupertino.

But, I hear you cry, who put the "i" in iMac, iPhone, iPad? And did you know that Steve Jobs hated the name originally? And had an alternative...

Ken Segall (@ksegall), the ad-man Apple turned to, talks about his naming fame and his book, Insanely Simple about the principles that guides the company and makes it stand out from its competitors, in this video from Thinking Digital 2012.

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How Can We Encourage People Into Store: Mobile

How Can We Encourage People Into Store: Mobile

It's an issue, a challenge, an opportunity that's been highlighted during today's Enterprising Fashion conference - just how are people finding, trying and buying? What is the future of the bricks'n'mortar store and where's the innovation coming from?

One of today's speakers, Paul Bay, founder of citizenbay has produced a mindmap of thinking around the topic. And you know how we like an infographic, especially when there's some smarts involved.

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Not So Square: Our Eyes Adapt To Reading From Screens

(147/365) Square eyes

Good news fellow screen addicts, turns out those endless hours spent in front of the desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone aren't likely to wreck your eyesite, as long as we don't start too young.

According to Professor Harrison Weisinger, Chair in Optometry at Australia's Deakin University, writing in the Epoch Times:

"Once we reach the age of ten years or so, it is practically impossible to injure the eyes by looking at something–the exception, of course, being staring at the Sun or similarly bright objects. Earlier in life, what we look at–or rather, how clearly we see–can affect our vision because the neural pathways between the eye and brain are still developing."

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Social, Local and Content Song

Little Howard, Hymn to Telford

One of the themes that emerged from the recent Social Media Week London was the importance of content as a marketing tool. Whether it's being used to drive traffic, sell stuff, engage users, building brand equity the brand's hopeful quest to create a meme is a challenge for plenty of marketers.

A campaign doesn't have to be pretty to work. Throw in a little social, make it local and you have a winning formula, surely? Maybe this is the carefully planned strategy behind the marketing for comedian Howard Read's latest tour or he's a prodigious songwriter with a penchant for small town Britain.

For each town Howard and his cartoon side-kick, Little Howard, visit, they're creating a song, complete with local facts, history and irritatingly good ear-worms, "I'm a fool for Poole". Songs include: Hymn to Telford, The Daft Half of Bath, All Will Be Revealed in Sheffield and Song for Poole.

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£150k Grant Announced for Music Apps - Deadline 8th Nov

Music Note Bokeh by Daniel Paxton

IC tomorrow, part of the Technology Strategy Board, have launched a Digital Innovation Contest for Music.

There's £150k up for grabs in this contest to encourage digital innovation in the music sector. The contest has six challenges under three themes: rights and monetisation; digital and live music; and linking digital to physical.

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Chinwag Live: Webs of Influence - New Speakers from Unruly, Digitaria, Oban Multlingual & Science of Magic

chinwag psych 9th may header

Meeting of the Minds by Krissy.Venosdale (@ktvee)

We're delighted to announce the line-up for what promises to be an insightful panel at this Wed's Chinwag Live: Webs of Influence event.

Sarah Wood - Co-Founder and COO/CMO at UnrulyDawn Smith - Vice President, Global Solutions at DigitariaRobert Tezska - Science of Magic, Brunel University, Mind FactoryJon Murphy - Account Director at Oban Multilingual

The panel spans the worlds of psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics and there'll be plenty of time for audience Q&A, featuring Sarah Wood, Co-Founder of award-winning social video platform Unruly, Dawn Smith from Digitaria, the driving force behind KONY 2012's viral campaign, Jon Murphy from Oban Multilingual an expert in country-specific SEO and cultural insight and Rob Tezska, Cognitive Pyschologist and Science of Magic PhD student.

The debate is chaired by Nathalie Nahai, The Web Psychologist and author of Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion. Nathalie will kick off the session with a whistlestop tour of some of the highlights from her book.

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Social Media Week London: Some Choice Events Curated by Chinwag's Sam Michel

chinwag psych 9th may header

Social Media Week London Sep 2012 - Schedule Screenshot

Social Media Week September is almost upon us, next week, and for one year only, London’s playing host to its second week-long festival of all things social.

There’s stack of events, virtually of them free, to choose from, but with just a couple of days to go, spaces are getting snapped up fast. Fortunately a whole heap of events have been added in the last few days.

In a bid to find to navigate the schedule and provide a few pointers, I’ve rummaged through the list of events and picked out a few choice nuggets in a range of topics. Enjoy perusing them, and make sure you snap up a ticket quick smart!

On to the events...

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Pearson International's Lessons in Global Growth: People are the Secret Sauce

Avenue of Flags at the UN Building by Erin Faulkner

On the face of it, it's tough to draw parallels between one of Britain's oldest publishing business and small, fast-growing firms in the digital, or any other, industry sector. But there's some useful lessons to be learnt here that apply to any business, especially those based on intellectual property.

Last week, the folks at Fresh Minds invited me to a breakfast roundtable with guest speaker, Mark Anderson, President of Strategy for Pearson International who took us on a tour of Pearson International's journey from book publisher to one of the world's largest education providers.

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Buffy: The Facebook Saver? From Ads to Apps and Back Again

Facebook App Center through iPhone

The hullaballoo surrounding Facebook's IPO, the eye-watering $100bn headlines and the subsequent bickering, has largely passed by the social giants' 901m users.

Last week's launch of the App Center could make a much bigger impression and may prove a canny move in answering criticism of Facebook's slow progress in monetising it's half-a-billion (yup, you read it right) active mobile users.

If the IPO critics are to be believed, the company's valuation and its future is all about advertising revenue, but the App Center launch launch hints at a longer-term strategy. If successful, it could establish Facebook at the heart of the app ecosystem, as well as seeing the coffers swell with mobile ad and targeting revenue.

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Space for SMWLDN HQ - Can you Help?

Lego Builders

The return of Social Media Week London (SMWLDN) 24-28 Sept will see a number of changes to the way SMWLDN works including the creation of several content-specific hubs and the launch of the SMWLDN work experience programme.

We're on the hunt for some space for the SMWLDN HQ in the run-up to September's event to house the team including the work experience folks and our fantastic volunteers that between them mean we can keep the majority of SMWLDN events free for everyone to attend. Can you help?

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Candidates: 7 Great Questions to Ask at Interview

Probably the most bizarre job interview she has ever had.

You want the role, the interview is going well. You've dealt with the inevitable questions about your faults, where you see yourself in five years' time and, if you had to describe yourself as a fruit, which one would you choose, and why?

There's a pregnant pause and the interview catches your eye and asks "Do you have any questions?". Here's seven cracking interview questions to seal the deal...

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Linkedin 6.5m Password Leak Might be Tip of Iceberg

Linkedin Password Theft Screenshot

When I swung by Linkedin yesterday afternoon to be greated by my Linkedin Today headlines (CNET, Mashable, CBS News) showing that 6.5m Linkedin passwords were now in the public domain. Having spent a good deal of time at Chinwag's Careers Day explaining why building connections, maintaining a profile and asking for recommendations, it provides a salutory reminder that it's not just credit card and bank details that are vulnerable.

How would you fare if you're Linkedin connections disappeared? (If you're panicing enough not to read the rest of the post - here's Linkedin's advice on changing passwords) I bet there's a few recruiters out there who will blanch at the thought. The file of stolen passwords was posted on a popular hacking forum with a request for help in cracking them, which according to data security firm, Imperva, indicates this might just be the tip of the iceberg.

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UX #Fail: Magazines are iPads That Don't Work [video]

A Magazine is an iPad That Doesn't Work

Still working in print? Attached to the product of dead trees splashed with ink and trucked around the country? The next (but one?) generation doesn't feel the same way.

Check out this video of a toddler experiencing full-on user-experience #fail with her magazines. Guaranteed to send a shiver down the spines of die-hard print lovers everywhere.

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