Friday, 18 May 2012

Losing the paper trail

Photo credit: info4security
This week MCC attended the IFSEC 2012 security and emergency services show at the Birmingham NEC, which is one of the key events of the year for a number of our clients. Having attended the show (like many others) for the last few years it’s always interesting to see what changes and what stays the same. Being the Swiss Army Knife of venues, the NEC manages to retain a general familiarity to the visitor, whether it’s hosting a trade show, car show or Crufts dog show - but the content can change radically depending on the topic (or even which year you are visiting the same show!) A lot of shows suffered from the economic downturn over the last few years, with organisers carefully disguising the empty parts of the hall with clever partitions, but IFSEC 2012 seemed to be buzzing this year (certainly when I attended on Tuesday – I had to queue to get in). This year there was a great array of products and services, with the various CCTV and crowd monitoring systems being the most visible (if you pardon the pun!) However, noticeably there seemed to be a lot less printed material available. Whilst electronic press packs are the norm these days, the downturn in paper was perhaps a bit of a surprise. Maybe the growing popularity of web based resources has had an effect on this? There certainly seemed to be more QR codes on display so visitors can scan them on their smartphone and instantly be taken to web-based information (although I found the 3G signal curiously weak for a location that surly must be a prime one for mobile providers?). It’s a question of whether this move from printed to online content will leave a greater lasting impression on the visitor than a handful of marketing materials? Whatever you standpoint, it certainly made the walk around clutching freebies and brochures much more comfortable!
The real value of Facebook has finally become public knowledge with its floatation on the Stock Market, as reported today on the BBC News website. Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s stake has been valued at $19.1bn alone, not bad for founding a website that is used for free by millions of users each day. The article suggests that each user of Facebook only generates $5 per year, but with 900 million of them that’s a lot of loose change to count!

As further testament to the online life becoming even more integral to the daily routine, it was reported this week that Twitter now has 10 million UK users, as covered by The Independent. Worldwide it commands a figure of 140 million users, a huge amount when you consider that is over twice the UK population. Like all social networking websites Twitter offers users whatever they are prepared to put into it – so as well as offering an outlet for fame-hungry celebrities it also gives companies and individuals the chance to have their say outside the traditional media-controlled outlets. The fact that Twitter is ideal for mobile comms must be one of its biggest draws – making it simple to use and follow from virtually anywhere with a fixed or mobile connection.

Staying on the theme of Twitter, The Guardian also ran a story this week looking at the links to news outlet stories hosted using Bitly, the popular URL shortening website which is a godsend to anyone trying to fit a link into the 140 character limit on Twitter. Using a map, the survey aims to show the favourite online news destinations for all the parts of Britain and shows some interesting results. We can all make judgements on the political leanings of viewers of websites for The Sun or The Mirror (and the Scottish and Welsh press respectively) but there are some interesting regional pockets for less obvious candidates -such as The Telegraph and The Guardian, that might surprise you!
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