TurboTax’s Super Bowl ad certainly had its pulse on one segment of the population: The part of the audience that thinks that watching the Super Bowl is a depressing exercise in futility, and it’d be a lot more fun to do your taxes, instead. Greg Johnson, TurboTax’s Vice-President of Market, talked to us about the Wieden + Kennedy Portland campaign.
Tor, an acronym for “the onion router,” is software that provides the closest thing to anonymity on the Internet. Engineered by the Tor Project, a nonprofit group, and offered free of charge, Tor has been adopted by both agitators for liberty and criminals. It sends chat messages, Google (GOOG) searches, purchase orders, or e-mails on a winding path through multiple computers, concealing activities as the layers of an onion cover its core, encrypting the source at each step to hide where one is and where one wants to go. Some 5,000 computers around the world, volunteered by their owners, serve as potential hop points in the path, obscuring requests for a new page or chat. Tor Project calls these points relays.
Troy Carter couldn’t get Gaga’s first single “Just Dance” on pop radio, so in 2008 he put his new act on a rigorous schedule—sometimes four shows a night, playing to gay clubs or arty fashion crowds. Gaga and Carter began experimenting with Twitter and Facebook, engaging fans and pumping out homespun content on YouTube. At the time, these channels were seen as enemies to the music business, but Carter saw them as inexpensive ways to reach the masses.
As he did this, he became fascinated with how tech companies approach industries outside of their core—whether it was Amazon with data storage or Google with YouTube. “These are businesses that you can’t quite define and mean something different to different people,” he says. "I said, ‘We’re doing it totally wrong down here [in Hollywood].’"
Because social networks like Facebook are all about who you know, they tend to be obsessed with authenticated identities. From its roots on elite college campuses, accepting only users with .edu email addresses, Facebook has had a “real name policy,” which allows the site to remove the accounts of users who are using pseudonyms, arguing that online behavior is better when people are required to own their words. Google has followed suit, urging users to use real names on Google Plus and on YouTube. (These policies have raised questions from the human rights community, which points out that activists using online tools have valid reasons to conceal their identities, as do youth exploring sensitive questions around gender and sexuality.)
Reddit, by contrast, doesn’t care who you are or who you know offline. Reddit names are unconnected to real-world identities and it’s commonplace for users to create “throwaway” accounts to reveal sensitive information. In this sense, Reddit is more like the pre-social media Internet, when a New Yorker cartoonist could reasonably joke “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”
Read more.[Image: Reddit, by way of Facebook (Facebook.com)]