Glowing gherkins, link baiting and the Internet of Things: reflections from Digital Shoreditch 2015

Last week, our Marketing Manager Florence spoke at Digital Shoreditch 2015. From the latest developments in Virtual Reality to why link baiting is ruining the internet, the festival certainly didn’t disappoint. In this post, Florence summarises her top 10 takeaways:

Big data and the Internet of Things

  1. The Internet of Things is helping us to build smarter cities, but to see the full benefit of this communities need to take hold of the data and put it to good use, said Richard Channell, Technology Director at Arqiva. The following video, which he shared, provides a good introduction to civic technology:

  1. Similarly, Francesco D’Orazio of Pulsar told us that big data is only useful if you know how to use it, quoting Michael Palmer:

“Data is just like crude. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc., to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so must data be broken down, analysed for it to have value”.

  1. We also need to cultivate trust and reciprocity around personal data and collective memory. A case in point came from Pascal Raabe, who suggested that “if you have an import function, you should also have an export function”, irrespective of the type of platform that you are building.

Emerging technologies

  1. Virtual Reality can provide a window into the world of others, encouraging empathy beyond geographical borders, according to William McMaster, head of Virtual Reality at Visualise Creative Ltd. This has implications beyond the gaming industry, introducing new and interesting possibilities for journalism.
  1. Digital technology can and should be harnessed for the benefit of the natural world. This one’s a cheeky plug for my session on Warblr – an app that automatically recognises birds by their song and uses data to aid research and conservation. You can watch my talk in full here.


  1. Taking risks is the key to good content, according to Catherine Toole of Sticky Content, who suggests that we need to “say what people are really thinking” if we are to get to the zeitgeist – see this clever admission from Crayola:


  1. You can’t build meaningful relationships through link baiting. “Storytelling is about truly connecting with people”, said Neil Bennett of AnalogFolk, and it requires a level of truthfulness – linkbaiting is only a short-term strategy. So lay off “The Best Cat GIF Post In The History Of Cat GIFs” for now…
  1. Real time reactive content is a great way to get your business noticed, but make like the folks at KittenCamp and remember that it should always be Balsy:
  • Balanced: brave and brand appropriate
  • Actionable: (and that action should be brand building too)
  • Likeable: for obvious reasons
  • Long-term: fads are unsustainable
  • Surprising: because the internet is full of clutter
  • You-Centric: focused on the customer, as well as your brand

The weird, wacky and wonderful

  1. Gherkins can conduct electricity. Not very well, it should be added, but we do have evidence of this in action courtesy of Sam Bompas of Bompas & Parr:


  1. This video might just be the best thing on the internet (according to KittenCamp, at least):

And this one might just be the worst:

Does that count as link baiting? Sorry…

Until next year!




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