Obama’s victory tweet makes social media history – 7th November
Barack Obama was voted in for a second term as US President this month after a hard fought campaign against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. When the jubilant leader took to Twitter and Facebook to share his feelings with the world, we saw the power of social media well and truly unleashed. His celebratory ‘hug photo’ tweet preceded by the words ‘four more years’ became his most retweeted ever, with a staggering 817,039 retweets and 299,128 favourites to date.
On Facebook, the same photo received over one million likes within just 53 minutes of being posted. It has been liked by over 4.4 million people, and shared 581, 954 times. It may seem like a staggering statistic, but this actually touches under 0.5% of Facebook’s active user base, which stands at over one billion. For brands and digital marketers, this shows the full power of social media sharing and virality, without even scratching the surface of the true potential of platforms with such huge user bases.
UK to end financial aid to India by 2015 – 9th November
The rapid economic progress of India has led to the UK phasing out the financial aid it has historically provided, which in the last decade has risen to over £200m a year. The decision is reflective of India’s progress as one of the world’s leading economies, with Bangalore now being viewed as one of the top 20 cities for start-up companies to thrive. Not only that, it is one of the most attractive international markets for UK start-ups in the technology and digital space to do business.
Later in the month, Boris Johnson touched down in India on a week long tour to promote UK-India business relations, well and truly shining the spotlight on the region as a ripe opportunity for the UK’s savvy entrepreneurs.
Despite fierce competition from the eagerly anticipated Halo 4 launch earlier this month, Activision’s hottest brand Call of Duty wowed the gaming world with Black Ops 2. Breaking with tradition, Call of Duty’s latest offering is set in the future, and has a storyline that Eurogamer has described as ‘absolute nonsense, of course, but still devilishly entertaining.’ It’s a huge month for the gaming industry with the two biggest launches of the year happening within weeks of each other – whipping up a fever pitch just in time for Christmas (you’d almost think they’d planned it).
Perhaps it’s a little naïve to put it down to a PR standoff between Microsoft and Activision. After all, Halo has a stalwart community that would not be put off splashing out by a looming Call of Duty release. On the other hand, Call of Duty has no work to do in appealing to the mass market – it’s the more cynical hardcore gaming community that proves more difficult to impress. Of course, that isn’t to say that they won’t both be working tirelessly to bag a bigger slice of the gaming industry pie.
Digital switchovers: TV done, now to car radios – 19th November
Towards the backend of October, the digital switchover for television sets in the UK was officially completed, which of course meant the death of Ceefax, one of the first forms of digital on-screen communication that aired from 1974 through to 2012. Now that the dust has settled and analogue television signals have been cast into the UK history books, we turn our attention to radio, which looks as if it could be a lengthier and more complex process still.
After all, digital radio sets still only account for just over one third of all radio in the UK – a bit of a disappointment considering that by 2013 the government hoped that the figure would be more like 50%. There is also a lack of understanding of digital radio, perhaps with so many people only ever listening to radio in their cars. Clearly, before we can even consider flicking the analogue radio switches off for good, the public is in need of a new education campaign to prevent a backlash. As it stands, an estimated 25 million cars would be left with no radio signal if the switchover happened tomorrow. Will three years be enough to turn it around to meet the target radio switchover date of 2015?
Energy companies restricted to offering four tariffs – 20th November
It has been reported this month that utility companies will be restricted to offering just four tariffs each for gas and electricity, in a move to simplify billing for consumers who often lose out by not being on the most appropriate tariff in the current bewildering system. However, the plans have come under criticism as this does not necessarily mean the tariffs will be any cheaper – indeed, they could rise – and they will not come into force for almost two years.
One saving grace is that the impending rollout of intelligent energy monitoring through smart meters will give consumers greater transparency as to whether or not they are getting a good deal. It will also mean utility companies can measure bills more accurately in real-time, which should eliminate over or under-charging issues of old. However, lack of consumer education on these benefits and an ongoing need for myth-busting about smart meters mean most people are still left in the dark when it comes to getting to grips with energy bills.