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People are Media: Digital Business in the Selfie Era

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Communication is among human beings’ primary needs. In addition to eating, sleeping, and having children, man has always looked for a way to pass on to his peers his thoughts, feelings, and fears. Digital technology has been disruptive even in this field. Nowadays, everybody can communicate with whomever they want, wherever they wish, for free and instantly. Thanks to soc Communication is among human beings’ primary needs. In addition to eating, sleeping, and having children, man has always looked for a way to pass on to his peers his thoughts, feelings, and fears. Digital technology has been disruptive even in this field. Nowadays, everybody can communicate with whomever they want, wherever they wish, for free and instantly. Thanks to social networks we can reach potentially unlimited audiences. E-commerce, chats, selfies, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Youtube: the contemporary world is made of digital communications and virtual, uninterrupted connections. Italians surfing the net are over 39 millions, and they surf it from their PCs for 6 hours a day and from their smartphones for 2 hours a day. We are talking about a huge human capital which needs to be regulated, but also a potentially limitless market where to make business by interpreting big data and using the most refined and efficient storytelling techniques. That is because we live in a time when our needs and requirements are stored in the cache memory of our PCs, the only place where we can never lie.


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Communication is among human beings’ primary needs. In addition to eating, sleeping, and having children, man has always looked for a way to pass on to his peers his thoughts, feelings, and fears. Digital technology has been disruptive even in this field. Nowadays, everybody can communicate with whomever they want, wherever they wish, for free and instantly. Thanks to soc Communication is among human beings’ primary needs. In addition to eating, sleeping, and having children, man has always looked for a way to pass on to his peers his thoughts, feelings, and fears. Digital technology has been disruptive even in this field. Nowadays, everybody can communicate with whomever they want, wherever they wish, for free and instantly. Thanks to social networks we can reach potentially unlimited audiences. E-commerce, chats, selfies, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Youtube: the contemporary world is made of digital communications and virtual, uninterrupted connections. Italians surfing the net are over 39 millions, and they surf it from their PCs for 6 hours a day and from their smartphones for 2 hours a day. We are talking about a huge human capital which needs to be regulated, but also a potentially limitless market where to make business by interpreting big data and using the most refined and efficient storytelling techniques. That is because we live in a time when our needs and requirements are stored in the cache memory of our PCs, the only place where we can never lie.

34 review for People are Media: Digital Business in the Selfie Era

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dee Arr

    For me, reading this book was like taking a ride on a roller coaster. There were ups and downs, times I loved it, and times I couldn’t wait for it to end. The overall premise of the book is not earth-shattering, but it is good to remind ourselves that people are the media “…because communication is ensured by the people themselves, who reach out to other people.” If people (or businesses) can relate content and stories that others find interesting and relevant, sharing will occur. One statement h For me, reading this book was like taking a ride on a roller coaster. There were ups and downs, times I loved it, and times I couldn’t wait for it to end. The overall premise of the book is not earth-shattering, but it is good to remind ourselves that people are the media “…because communication is ensured by the people themselves, who reach out to other people.” If people (or businesses) can relate content and stories that others find interesting and relevant, sharing will occur. One statement hooked me early on: “An algorithm will then send us links and tests confirming that “X” is the best product around, and we’ll believe we found it all by ourselves. Our behaviors are logged. At all times. 24/7.” While it is fact that our behaviors are tracked and that all of us at one time or another are search gurus, the successes linked to our discoveries are not always due to skill or serendipity. For most of us most of the time, we are guided by an algorithm’s examination of our previous Internet travels. At times, it was difficult to understand the focus market for the book. Many of the points emphasized are aimed at folks who already have a grasp of what is happening online, though that leaves a lot of info for all those who haven’t thought much about what occurs when they are looking for a new pair of jeans or a new computer. Perhaps realizing this, the authors periodically would launch into their vision of the future. With few footnotes, though, the predictions are reduced to another danger they warn about: unverified “facts.” Most baffling are the contradictions. In one part of the book, the authors rant about our information being used to further the profits of big businesses, even to the point of stating we should be getting paid because we are supplying the information to sell more products. Later in the book they advocate for RFID tags imbedded in products so salespeople can call you by name if you enter a store with their expensive purse on your shoulder. Even worse is the descent into a nanny state: “I want my Church’s shoes to tell my cookie pack I haven’t walked enough to afford eight cookies. This is innovation. This is the new storytelling.” To me, it’s allowing the products you chose to buy to control your actions. And wouldn’t that also be saying that the companies who marketed those products were controlling us? This is a you-can’t-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too moment. Even so, the book has enough to interest most readers. I found that for every point the authors and I agreed on, there were others that put us in opposite corners. We are at the beginning of a massive change, one that will affect almost everyone, and disagreements will spark scintillating conversation. “People Are Media” is also a good book for those who are not aware of how you impact the Internet with your computer and phone, and how much the Internet goes on (and on) and impacts you. Three-and-a-half stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grady

    ‘It’s important that we try and put technology at the service of mankind, not the other way around.’ Italian authors Aldo Agostinelli, the digital officer of Sky Italia and vice president of IAB Italia, and Silvio Meazza, co-founder of M&C Saatchi are not only astute IT experts – they are also fine contemporary philosophers who deftly analyze how the digital evolution affects our everyday personal and professional lives. From Blockchain to social media to online shopping, Agostinelli and Meazza r ‘It’s important that we try and put technology at the service of mankind, not the other way around.’ Italian authors Aldo Agostinelli, the digital officer of Sky Italia and vice president of IAB Italia, and Silvio Meazza, co-founder of M&C Saatchi are not only astute IT experts – they are also fine contemporary philosophers who deftly analyze how the digital evolution affects our everyday personal and professional lives. From Blockchain to social media to online shopping, Agostinelli and Meazza reveal the ways that digital technology has transformed us and how our future has dramatically changed, and offer an informative and fascinating look into the ways digital technologies are enhancing our lifestyles, how businesses can capitalize on these innovations, and why we—people—are the media itself. In their Introduction the authors jovially inform us exactly how married we are to IT. ‘There are people, businesses, entities and programs that know where we are, what we buy, what we think and what we like. They always know, even now, the very moment we’re writing this and you’re reading it. Their knowledge about us evolves as they analyze our data. They’re inaccessible, invincible and very, very accurate. Digital technology is now an incontrovertible praxis for both consumers and companies. The digital era consumer has created a parallel universe based on noble and less noble devices and on our ability to instantly communicate with the whole planet, to watch any content and carry a full library inside our smartphones, to check whether our home lights are on or out, to pick up and read our medical results from work or home. On the other hand, companies are creating systems and algorithms to monitor and control their own performances and also consumers’ lives. These systems touch and overlap, because all involved parties need each other: companies sell and most of all acquire a growing amount of information so they can follow, trace and understand their customers; consumers get to read a book for free or compare a product price across hundreds of different providers and eventually find the best price, the best delivery option and, via user reviews, even a product’s quality. We’ll analyze the digital era from its beginnings and try to understand how this evolution we cannot yet control is affecting our world; it destroys jobs, it takes the barriers of space and time down. At the dawn of civilization we were quite quick to learn how to use fire to cook food, but the industrial revolution took a million years to happen. Will it be the same for digital technology?‘ Instead of mirroring our behavior with IT on American street, the authors grace their examination of the influences of all the technologies in Venice, Italy – that alone makes the book sensuous and a magnet for our attention. They discuss the omnipresent selfies, addiction to Facebook, communication via text on celllphones (when we are not walking aimlessly tied to an oral conversation with those little devices), communicating with ‘likes’ on the many internet chatting platforms, shopping and buying with a click on the computer or cellphone – in other words, the near complete absence of privacy we have offered the internet. Data, the depersonalization of doctors who are more committed to machines (robotics, EMR, etc) than to patients, money not as coins or bills in the pocket but as ‘ideas’ in the air – all of this is happening, but the authors show us how big data could indeed make our modus operandi easier and better! The closing remarks attest to the quality of this fine book –‘ Our browser is where we can find ourselves. Our cache memory is the flight recorder of our digital lives. It stores the pictures of the holidays we wish we had made, the car fittings we dream we could afford and the names of the people we have looked up on Facebook. We’ve learned that in the best case scenario digital technology has irreversibly changed our lives and a set of behaviors that seemed deeply rooted. We can now have our custom pizza delivered at our address while we’re still on the train. We can have the best products, always, at the best price. Or at least we can believe it is so. We can deceive ourselves and believe that, when people look at the best version of ourselves, the one we carefully choose to showcase, they’ll envy or want us. We can try and believe that our opinions on Facebook will remain forever, carved in digital stone. Therefore we post an epitaph every day, or a precious aphorism. All of this will come to an end, obviously. That’s when we’ll stop feeling guilty if we get bored or disappoint ourselves, or when we feel mediocre for a minute. That’s when we’ll finally be able to start using technology to improve the world, and ourselves.’ Required reading for everyone – not only as an overview of IT and our place in it, but also a ray of hope for those of s who feel as though we are becoming pixilated into unidentifiable wholly public atomic particles! Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    TheCosyDragon

    Digital technology has been disruptive even in this field. Nowadays, everybody can communicate with whomever they want, wherever they wish, for free and instantly… We are talking about a huge human capital which needs to be regulated, but also a potentially limitless market where to make business by interpreting big data and using the most refined and efficient storytelling techniques. ” I hoped that this book would discuss how to exploit people as media. Instead it reads as a list of facts with Digital technology has been disruptive even in this field. Nowadays, everybody can communicate with whomever they want, wherever they wish, for free and instantly… We are talking about a huge human capital which needs to be regulated, but also a potentially limitless market where to make business by interpreting big data and using the most refined and efficient storytelling techniques. ” I hoped that this book would discuss how to exploit people as media. Instead it reads as a list of facts with no actual argument. My wife got half way through this book before she gave up and needed to rant to me about it. She did read the second half (no other books on offer at the time) which had more details and practicality in terms of what will happen next eg. ‘getting lots of likes’ is the way that things are heading. One of the later chapters discusses the ‘Big Data’ of ads – you can give feedback that you already purchased it so that it can predict what you might like to buy. Google not only knows where you are going, it now knows where you park. This data can be used better, and at the moment isn’t good at cross-selling. He writes as if this is a bad thing at two two extremes: ‘everyone wants freedom & chaos’ and compares it to Singapore where ‘a lot of rules and tracking leads to fines when people do the wrong thing, but can also be used to improve traffic’. I don’t believe that the culture in Australia and the US would let the latter happen to us, because we like our freedom, and campaign hard to keep it. We used to be so focused on keeping our data and information private. People used to be secretive and not even mention when they were going on holiday so that people wouldn’t rob the house! But now, we even let Facebook know when we are out to lunch. Technology already knows where I am all the time (with a phone in my pocket), now I’d just like to be more useful – so the only way forward is to improve the technology. The authors don’t feel this way at all – whoever has that data like Facebook and Google can monopolise and use it to control the world. The authors are clearly Italian because they mention it a million times, but it’s not really relevant. With this in mind, perhaps it is typical that I comment on it not being written well with many long sentences a lot of commas. A lot of the paragraphs are a single sentence with no links or reasons for why particular things are mentioned, leading to it reading in a fragmented manner. Additionally, statements are randomly bolded – things that he seems to think are important – but they are just facts, not the point. When you look at past inventions such as trains/planes it was new for the time and considered a huge innovation. The media selfie era is no different to what has already happened in the past. Because it is new to you in your lifetime doesn’t mean that it’s a unique occurrence! The statement of ‘When I was young…’ is something that can be applied to many things. When I was young, my grandparents told me that there were never books about cooking because everyone knew how to, and it was just passed on. Then in my time, and my parents time, cook books were popular. Now, it’s all on the internet. It’s a natural progression of things in my opinion. The conclusion wasn’t a conclusion. It was just what you could have understood from looking at the front (there’s no blurb). The authors ask their rhetorical questions in the conclusion, but don’t actually answer how technology can be harnessed in a positive manner. The point of the book is that we should learn to harness the technology and use it to improve the world, but we have no hope of doing this until… ever. Apparently there is no hope of doing that. This book wasn’t for me or my wife. I’m not sure who would enjoy it or find it useful – perhaps in its native language it is more relevant and well written. Don’t rush out to buy it, have a browse in the bookstore first. Did you enjoy this goodreads review? If so you may find it useful to visit my blog The Cosy Dragon . I regularly post new reviews on a variety of genres.

  4. 5 out of 5

    NIZAR N NAKFOOR

    Yes, each one of us is a Medium! I am always attracted to books with catchy titles but always fear that the content might not live up to it. “People Are Media” by Aldo Agostinelli and Silvio Meazza is a great book whose content truly reflects its title. The mission and theme of the book are best reflected in few quotes: “The silver thread is always us, the people: we’re both the agents of change and the media that experience, tell about and share such change… People are media because communicatio Yes, each one of us is a Medium! I am always attracted to books with catchy titles but always fear that the content might not live up to it. “People Are Media” by Aldo Agostinelli and Silvio Meazza is a great book whose content truly reflects its title. The mission and theme of the book are best reflected in few quotes: “The silver thread is always us, the people: we’re both the agents of change and the media that experience, tell about and share such change… People are media because communication is ensured by the people themselves, who reach out to other people, who in turn share their contents… People’s actions propagate to the sounding board of their contact... People are a brand new medium…” I came across this book when I was searching the kindle store for books about “market research”. It was obvious from the book sample which I read that it is not a book specifically about market research, but I could also tell that it has something to say about the topic, both directly and indirectly. And for sure it did say something big time! While I will not go as far as the authors in stating “Today, we can safely say that focus groups are of no use”, but I agree with their criticism because I discovered the shortcomings of focus groups first hand throughout my career in advertising: “You’ll always have the same scenario: some sort of prefixed dynamics with one individual taking the floor and never leaving it. Basically, the group members … simply agree with a (self-) appointed leader… The amazing fact is that all focus groups end up with an unanimous result. Discussions and confrontations are not encouraged but deemed as useless. Everybody simply says ‘Yes, I agree with him/her’ and maybe throw in a couple of adjectives…”. I would like to see the above as a call for action to the market research community to save “focus groups” from extinction by enforcing stricter standards on subjects recruitment and the training of moderators in order to get the best out of focus groups because I still believe they have something to offer that no other research tool/ methodology can offer. I truly enjoyed reading this book and I liked the comparisons that the authors made between American and Italian consumers throughout the book. Then why didn’t I rate it five stars? Well, for two main reasons: 1- There are lots of typos and grammatical mistakes. 2- There are some contradictory statements in the book. After the authors make the big statement that “When they’re online, people tell the truth”, they say the following statements throughout the book which contradict it: “Our real, true and non-retouched life isn’t the one we show on our Facebook wall or Twitter timeline …. our will to show off and tell a version of ourselves that is close to what we wish we were like, rather than what we really are … In a chat we have the ability to pretend, much more than in person… But that’s what happens on Facebook most of the times. Hard-to-watch scenes are regularly covered in compliments and heart emotes. Can’t we recognize clumsiness and ugliness anymore? Of course we can, but we’re acting in a rambling way for the simplest of reasons: quid pro quo. I make a compliment to you so you’ll return it to me… ‘Myself’ on Facebook is not me, it’s the ‘me’ I wish I always was, and which I allow myself to be for a few seconds a day. Facebook is a huge make-believe…” Despite the above, it is a great book with a positive message and spirit amid all the negatives and uncertainties: “We’re cookies, lookalikes, synopses, heatmaps, a/b tests. We’re targets. And we know what being a target means in a war. Luckily there’s no war, not yet. We’re still the ones in charge, and this new era is still firmly in our hands… That’s when we’ll stop feeling guilty if we get bored or disappoint ourselves, or when we feel mediocre for a minute. That’s when we’ll finally be able to start using technology to improve the world, and ourselves.” Nizar Nakfoor

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bella12

    This subject is not new, however it’s one that needs to be addressed. Technology has become such a huge part of our everyday lives, I would consider it an addiction. However, as much as we like to look at the negative effects of technology and social media, it has also been a vehicle for business growth, marketing and information sharing. Does anyone else wonder how you could be looking at something on Amazon and the next time you’re on Facebook, Amazon ads pop up for things you were looking at? This subject is not new, however it’s one that needs to be addressed. Technology has become such a huge part of our everyday lives, I would consider it an addiction. However, as much as we like to look at the negative effects of technology and social media, it has also been a vehicle for business growth, marketing and information sharing. Does anyone else wonder how you could be looking at something on Amazon and the next time you’re on Facebook, Amazon ads pop up for things you were looking at?! It can be a double-edged sword…. If only we could get a handle on it! This book will make you think and weigh the pros and cons of social media.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aldo Agostinelli

  7. 4 out of 5

    Penny Sansevieri

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Prince

  9. 4 out of 5

    Roberto Lorenzini

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  11. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

  12. 4 out of 5

    Francesco Maccari

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tihana

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dung Do

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Vanaman

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hunt Phan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Gordon

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pascl

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Dienst

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robert Carper

  21. 5 out of 5

    James Adair

  22. 4 out of 5

    Livia Rivolta

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ramona

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Theroux

  26. 4 out of 5

    Angela Randall

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jalimani

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vincenzo Valenti

  29. 5 out of 5

    Spire Metro

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cody Wilson

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sdninou

  32. 5 out of 5

    Orion

  33. 4 out of 5

    Breanna Kellogg

  34. 4 out of 5

    chirag

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