WIP Instagram – Good for Business

“With the Facebook ship all but sunk,” Begins a 2015 article by Ivan Adriel in the Veterinary Ireland Journal, “businesses are now on the lookout for a platform where they can actually be seen and heard”. Facebook, however, is not the only platform that is becoming oversaturated and hard to market with. Navigating Google’s SEO methods can be daunting and confusing, almost forcing you to dig deep and pay someone else to get you at the top of the listings. Digital directories such as Gumtree are becoming borderline extortionate to put your businesses above the competition.

Enter Instagram – still quite new territory when it comes to being used by businesses as a platform for advertising. It can be hard to think of Instagram without prejudice as the platform makes headlines – how selfish selfie-takers ruin spots of national importance for ‘that’ shot, how “influencers” are gaming the system to gain free merchandise or accommodation, how the platform perpetuates a culture of body image that negatively affects mental health – but looking beyond that and learning how the platform truly works can be truly beneficial to not only creative-based businesses, but all businesses.

With all platforms, Instagram has it’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s accessibility can mean that it is hard to stand out, and it may become tempting to pay for post boosting. This can seem counter-productive when trying to minimize cost but maximise effectiveness of reach and getting the message heard to drive profits. Among the challenges is curating the message in a way that the Instagram crowd will actually interact with it – it can be done, however.

point 1: Other platforms are dying.

 

point 2: Instagram is accessible

 

point 3: It is beneficial for ALL businesses

 

point 4: Pros and Cons and what to look out for

 

Conclusion: Reiterate how easy instagram is, that it IS beneficial

 

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ICP/BCM206: Blog Post 11: Week 12

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The internet of things: from networked objects to anticipatory spaces

In the last blog post I mentioned how the ‘Internet of Things’ was being hijacked in a new age of cyberwarfare. But what exactly is the internet of things?

At it’s most base level – it is things connected to the internet, far beyond your standard user-based interactive console. The explosion of ‘smart devices’ and appliances has boomed since mobile connectivity has improved. You can now have your toast popped, kettle boiled, and house a perfect temperature with all the lights on before you even leave your bed, controlling it all with that little, powerful device we all keep in our pockets.

This was not convenience we ever really needed, yet now we continue to find new ways to streamline our days with thanks to the internet, micromanaging our lives by connecting everything together. But such convenience comes at a cost – by merging our everyday lives more and more into the digital, by relying on our devices to run everything, we open up vulnerabilities that only would have been thought of in cyberpunk fiction years ago. As we go down this rabbit hole, privacy becomes more scarce. Surveillance becomes easier.

We even become less human.

ICP/BCM206: Blog Post 10: Week 11

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Dark fiber: hackers, botnets, cyberwar

Did you know your toaster could be mining bitcoin for someone else?

As though we weren’t already in a dystopian cyberpunk future enough, we discovered that if it could connect to the internet, it could be hijacked and used for malicious intent – no matter what it was. Thus began the age of toasters spying on you.

As trivial as it sounded, internet-connected appliances around the world – fridges, cctv, baby monitors – were all vulnerable to be hijacked and used for botnets, as the Mirai malware incident showed us. On a small scale it doesn’t sound like much, but when linked up, the ever expanding botnet was able to launch record breaking and incredibly high scale attacks.

The internet of things has become a new way of waging cyberwarfare, drawing inspiration from the early days of internet network distribution to take down centralised networks. Once again the nodes rise.

 

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ICP/BCM206: Blog Post 9: Week 10

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Digital resistance: hacktivists, whistleblowers, #AfterSnowden

In 2013, Edward Snowden released information we all suspected but never confirmed: all of us were being watched.

Our phone calls, our browsing histories, every bit of data was being analysed by the NSA.

It shook the world and the ripples are still bouncing off the borders of every country to this day.

Previously digital activism went largely unnoticed by the masses – hacktivists fought for the freedom of information and protested censorship by mounting DDoS attacks and defacing websites. Occasionally they would bring down major companies, either because they disagreed with their policies – or as a warning to their investors and customers that their data was not as safe as they thought it was.

We’d all had our suspicions that we were being watched but it was mostly shut down as paranoia, or dismissed with a non-chalant “I have nothing to hide” wave of the hand. It divided the US; some believed we had a right to know why they were watching us, to what degree, and not entirely satisfied with the ‘because safety’ response. The others called Snowden – and others such as Julian Assange – traitors to the American people, traitors to humanity for blowing the whistle on top-secret government practices that were to keep us safe.

Just as we were beginning to forget, the Facebook data breach happened. It didn’t matter our privacy settings – everything that we shared, Facebook logged and kept, then sold to the highest bidder. We were being watched all over again – but not for safety – for corporations to profit off of us. It was an outrage.

How long until we forget again?

ICP/BCM206: Blog Post 8: Week 9

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The social network revolutions: #mena #arabspring #maidan

Remember Corey Worthington?

A careless teen who posted an open invite to a house party in 2008 that soon saw his parent’s house and his neighbourhood trashed as mass mobs converged on the property.

We began hearing about more parties being crashed due to careless or accidental oversharing on social media. We began to see social experiments about what the consequences of public information was. We all learned a valuable lesson: learn how to use privacy tools – and keep your address off the internet.

Then we began to see that power used to rally together.

The rise of social media as an organisational tool began to terrify oppressive governments. It was rapid and fast; the attempts to silence turned into mass protests.

And then we saw an entire country fall into silence. Unable to control the internet – they took it away. Still they protested. And the governments learned a valuable lesson: you cannot keep your corruption silent in this digital age.

 

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ICP: BCM206: Blog Post 7: Week 8

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Bridges made of pebbles: social media and the transformation of journalism

It’s no secret that traditional news media is struggling to keep up with the digital age.

Now there is an abundance of information freely flowing, it is hard to maintain attention. With so many voices, it can be hard to remain relevant.

We see trends of the truth being twisted and warped by chinese whispers through bloggers and Facebook sharing. Fact becomes muddled with opinion.

Thus, we find the value in truth and information: is it true, is it quality, is it relevant?

Through this, we find the rise of clickbait articles. Headlines that grab your attention for the cheap click, with next to no information of value hidden within. We see massive media companies hiding their quality ‘truth’ behind paywalls.

We see the rise of microblogging platforms like Twitter becoming legitimate new sources by following a hashtag and pulling the truth from a million different collaborative voices, disregarding the outliers.

 

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ICP/BCM206: Blog Post 6: Week 7

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iOS vs Android: the two futures of the mobile net

I was always a sucker for free stuff.

I could never afford Photoshop as a teenager and used GIMP (an open source alternative) for quite some time before the wide world of P2P sharing was opened to me.

And so, when the battle of iOS vs Android gained traction, I watched with interest at the two platforms developing. I wasn’t able to invest in either at the time to try them for myself, but friends around me battled as to which was the superior platform.

I got myself a touchscreen smartphone embarassingly late, not wanting to let go of my precious buttons. Previously, I was seen on busses with my hands full, iPod nano in one hand, and Nokia e63 in the other. That Nokia was a tank and even survived a salt water swim – the nano felt light, dainty and fragile.

By the time I joined the smartphone world I had developed quite a creative soul and a desire for customisability – and thus I was drawn to the Android crowd.

After working in a phone store for a couple of years, I found it very hard to even consider wanting to use an iOS device ever again. It felt stifling, too simple, too guarded. I liked the freedom Android gave me.

That said though – it seems both platforms are now converging. Apple’s “usability” and Androids “freedom” seem to be going both ways, with Android no longer as open source and updating as frequently, and a lot more regulated; while iOS seems to be pitching itself to creatives more and more.

It would be interesting to see what the future holds for both platforms – whether or not they’ll even be recognisable as separate entities.

 

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