| 0161 465 3302

Why are website designers giving us simpler and more stress-free user experience?

If only life were more simple right?

In a world filled to the brim with information, communication and smartphone planners, how do we hit the stop button and take ourselves off warp speed? What even got us on the priority lane to burn out in the first place?

It’s a sweet paradox that the latest technologies are hungrily consumed because they promise to save us time and energy but are actually the main instigators of fatigue, stress and yes, having less time.

Our lives are so busy and littered with tech that we are now going full circle by wanting a mammoth sized time out from it all. Users are now logging off and bouncing away from websites much more easily and without a moment’s hesitation.

Build me a road to paradise

How does this affect website design?

A functional website is no longer enough to stand out from the crowd. A website now needs to be beautiful, seamless, and completely in tune with how users surf and interact with a site.

In the fast pace world of 2018, the main challenge coders and UX designers face is successfully ridding us of unnecessary time-wasting features and navigation. The most popular sites and the highest user retentions now come from the dream of dreams – quick and easy information that leads us on a beautiful trip directly from A to B.

Users no longer want to scan through a site to find the information they need, they don’t have time to find the needle in the haystack. They want the right information thrown at them, and preferably within 2-5 seconds.

The harsh reality is that browser back buttons give people an all too easy exit strategy to your other 15 competitors sitting pretty on Google.  People are more willing to opt out and try another website if you give them a crystal maze style website journey.

Over the rainbow

The most popular time-saving designs hit the right balance between simple but not oversimplified. Good designers create enough complexity to keep someone’s attention span but not too much to burn out their already highly charged brain sockets.

Linear design is one of the most popular website design styles because it follows a chronical or beginning-middle-end format. Instead of just having a drop-down menu at the top of the screen, linear websites have all the necessary links or nudges to other parts of the website throughout the homepage.  As you scroll down suggestions follow you along, reminding you that there are plenty more pots of gold within the website. Linear design is also continually adapted over time by analysing user experience and wrapping the website journey around the user.

Some other popular time-saving features include:

  • Minimalist inspired navigation – design that encourages the minimal number of steps needed, from when a user clicks to when they take the intended action. Proactive design, eye-catching and optimised buttons, nudge features and easy-access menus are all added to produce Hansel and Gretel style bread crumbs, so you get right to where you need to be and don’t get lost on your way.
  • Automated suggestions –  basically personalised suggestions which are based on a user’s former navigation history, and works best with member based websites. Coders and UX designers can using past user experience data, to predict what someone might like in the future and which will increase the likelihood of suggesting something that peaks the user’s interests and in turn, improves user satisfaction. 
  • Visually rich content – combining engaging content with pictures, videos, moving graphics and fluid design to help break up information and guide the eye to the intended information more quickly. The idea is to sprinkle bits of sparkle across a site by combining multiple visual mediums. Visually rich content works particularly well if you want a user to focus on a call to action or a part of the website which encourages interaction.

Knowing me, knowing you

In the end, websites need to mirror our own lives. A good website design has to be both technically awesome and in tune with the modern Zeitgeist. Building a successful website is about blending ground-breaking design, elegant imagery, swish code and listening to your audience.

Putting the spotlight firmly back on the user and having your ear to the ground is paramount for predicting any impending stampede towards change. In 2018, people need stress-free convenience, and savvy websites designers are building exactly such a world for us, brick by streamlined brick.

Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

Where is your phone right now?

Mine is flashing next to my laptop as I write this, never too far away and always patiently waiting for me to over use it. I’m not the only one who feels like they’re on their smartphone too much, with 50% of teenagers admitting that they are probably addicted to their phones.

Shockingly, our handy digital helpers have only been around for 18 years, that is a shorter amount of time than most people have spent on this earth, yet they’ve managed to turn our lives inside out within a blink of a screen shot.

Like any 18-year-old, smartphones are fresh faced and doggedly shaking up our way of life. How much time we spend on them, the way they’ve changed our hobbies, what we view and read, how we search for information and communicate, and even our attention spans have been deeply affected by our clever devices. But the influence that smartphones could have, has the potential to become a lot deeper and weirder.

Through the looking glass

We type our thoughts, habits, conversations, relationships, passions, hatreds, careers, and hobbies into our screens. We use it as an extension of our own brains, to help store information, jog our memories and communicate.

You may think that we keep a lot from our phones, but it’s a lot less than you think. Smartphones aren’t just about apps or social media, they also monitor what you look for and how you use your phone when you are alone and left to your own devices. And all that information isn’t lost or static, it’s stored and, according to experts, gives each smartphone user a unique code or a digital personality.

It might also explain why we feel strange being away from our new best friends for too long or why we feel such a compulsion to use them as much as we do. We aren’t just addicted, we are also developing a symbiotic relationship with our phones.


Symbiotic smartphones might sound like one of the new Black Mirror episodes, but it’s actually something that is already happening to us. We might not yet put 100% of everything we think and feel into our phones, but we are relying so heavily on them that they are becoming our surrogate brains or at the very least an external hard drive for our thoughts and lives.

Relying on our phones to do what our brains are actually good at, means we are systematically using our brains less. Our cerebral supercomputers are being side-lined for an external device and experts are warning it could have an irreversible effect on how our brains work.

The smartphone revolution is moving so quickly that it is becoming a slippery beast, and the scope of information at our fingertips is enough to overwhelm and affect even the most ardent memories and those who still know how to focus.

Beam me up

And things aren’t going to stop there. Smartphones are already IoT enabled with software such as Siri, and so if you choose to have voice activation on your phone, it effectively listens out for keywords so that it can instantly react to your instructions. What if in the near future the likes of Siri become an obligatory function that stores your every conversation to predict how it can help you with your daily life and long-term goals?

Even weirder, what if smartphones could start recognising and recording our body language, all in the quest to become the dream personal assistant. Face recognition software is already a well-established tool that is used for passports, law enforcement and less serious apps. It isn’t a huge stretch to assume that one-day technology could also start to recognise body language and blur the line between us and our phones so much that the line won’t even matter anymore.

Cycle of Life

Everyone likes a happy ending, so you’ll be glad to hear that it isn’t all doom and gloom.

We always do the same thing when inventions change our way of life. We tend to go full throttle into a movement, panic and then end up finding a balance between the old and the new, and eventually even strengthen our roots with the old ways. Think chains vs. independent businesses, the industrial revolution vs. environmentalism, fast food vs. clean living, capitalism vs. ethical consumerism.

Technology’s opposite, physical engagement, will come back to the forefront, because our current relationship with our phones is unsustainable and because we always go back to our innate needs.

We can already see the tide starting to turn. Huge watchwords such a tech fatigue, digital detox and tech free days are storming their way through the smartphone clouds. We might still have our heads firmly stuck in the digital sand, but we will never be able to alter our need for physical interaction in the real world. And this intrinsic need will create a future where will hopefully find a much-needed balance between pouring ourselves into our digital soul mates and actively searching for those healthy and brilliant moments when we live completely free from our digital devices.

Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

Look out Mystic Meg! Bamboo Mcr’s got hold of a crystal ball, and we can see…

Smart Technology

First things first, everything is going to get a lot smarter. We aren’t just talking about Bamboo’s brilliant website building skills (ahem), but about the entire breed of technical devices out there on the market.

As predictions go, you might feel like it’s a pretty safe bet to assume technology is going to get a bit more quick witted. Technology has consistently become smarter since we started putting together techy stuff to make even better techy stuff. It’s the kind of horse you’d bet on to get a sure-fire win.

But, what we think will specifically make tech even smarter in 2018 is the internet of things (IoT). Now, the internet of things may sound like a loopy science project or a deep space mission, but what the internet of things means is connected objects that can exchange and collect information via the internet – think Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri or your fridge that suggests you might want to make an omelette with the egg and cheddar combo on your shelf.

We are obviously right at the start of the IoT movement, but experts are predicting that 2018 will be the year of IoT and where we’ll start to see real changes to our lives. IoT is going to create a completely connected world where all devices and products will form mass networks that communicate with each other and form integrated services and data troves. The internet of things will basically become the backbone for all our consumer goods.

The movement is so huge and set to tip over into our every waking moment that in 30 years or so, we’ll actually look back at the likes of Amazon Echo and have a little giggle about how quaint our IoT systems were, kind of like how we look at the 80s bricks that were apparently mobile phones or existential life before Google.

Two huge IoT examples set to change our lives are smart homes and smart cities. Most of us are already familiar with smart homes – thermostats, lighting and security systems that you can regulate with your phone, or fridges that predict food running out, and fire sensors that contact emergency services when triggered. Smart cities are also set to revolutionise our urban lives by freely exchanging live data as we go about our days. IoT cities have the potential to reduce traffic congestion, noise, crime, and pollution.

User Experience

User experience or UX design has been coming up on the rear for a very long time. User Experience has always been important, with 88% of users less likely to return to a website if they’ve had a bad experience. A UX designer’s principal role is to make your journey from A to B as smooth and pleasant as possible. As technology gets smarter and more connected, seamlessly smooth user experience across multiple channels, devices and systems will become even more important.

UX designers are also the real Mystic Megs of the digital world, because a huge part of their job is to predict how people will want to use a system and how that might change over time, which is a crucial asset in the quickly evolving technology sector.

So, what will this mean for our digital spaces in 2018? Time saving nudge features, voice-activated experiences, augmented reality, and modern passwords such as biometric activation, are all being excitedly whispered about along the UX grapevine.

Social Media

No we aren’t going to predict social media happening, that ship has long since sailed past the billionth duck face selfie. What we are going to predict for 2018 is that social media channels are going to become even more integrated and connected, just like user experience and smart technology.

Social channels are already merging their identities to eat up their competitors and keep their valued users. Instagram stories copied Snapchat, LinkedIn news looks very similar to the Twittersphere newsreel and Facebook is now a video tidal wave, akin to the original video titan, Youtube.

Social media will also continue to eat up traditional T.V viewing. Since the birth of Youtube, Netflix and On Demand streaming, the young’uns and the tech savvy have switched off their family tellies and flocked to their portable devices to stream from the internet wherever they want and to their hearts content. It’s very similar to the previous shift from CD to mp3, everything is getting more online, connected and instantly accessible.

TV channels and television producers have been tracking this colossal shift and have done what all savvy business people are now doing – they integrate the competition. Most television boxes now have the option to watch programmed television or go onto on-demand viewing, because it’s set to become the mainstream way of watching our most bingeworthy television programs.

The Future’s bright

So what’s in store for Bamboo in 2018?

Drum roll please!…… We are very excited to reveal our plans for a brand spanking new website, scheduled to be live and kicking early this year. Since our move to Manchester city centre, we felt like a new look was in order, it also gave us the chance to integrate lots of snazzy new user experience and design features as well as a Manchester bee inspired logo!

We are also going to continue to eat cake and live our very own coworking experiment in Ziferblat Edge street. Working in the northern quarter and being around friendly and creative people has definitely brought about some surprising opportunities. We’ve found new clients, friends and even branched out into photography and video creation.

All we can say is, roll on 2018 and let’s hope it builds on the brilliant year we had in 2017!

If you ever want a chat with us about our uncanny crystal ball skills or maybe even how we build great looking functional and modern websites, we are always available via phone, email or even for a cup of tea at Ziferblat Edge Street!


Why Google Rankings strategies matter

Your site is up and running, it’s looking sleek and shiny, ready for the whole world to see. You sit at your computer waiting for the thousands of visits and leads that are going to come knocking on your digital window.

So why have the weeks gone by and you’re yet to receive the tidal wave of requests you expected, and your views are struggling to hit the 100 per week mark?

First things first, you are not alone, many companies navigate through the choppy waters of website traffic and have no idea how to bring the boat into port in unchartered territory.

Google is effectively the gate keeper of high search rankings and organic traffic. Meeting Google ranking requirements is one of the most important things for high website traffic, and ultimately lead generation.

What then is the magic Google recipe to put you above all your competitors and become the cream of the Google ranking crop?

Tell me the truth

One of the most important and relatively easiest ways is with quality content. Writing engaging and relevant information on your website which is often refreshed (i.e. with a blog) is a sure-fire way to see your Google rankings rise.

People react most to genuine content that hits a Zeitgeist or speaks to their values. Which means that no amount of hyperlinking or SEO can replace interesting content that attracts your core audience. You can even attract long-tail traffic, which is basically attracting visitors that are interested in what you do but weren’t specifically looking for you.

A good example of this is if a restaurant, which has a website and blog, posts weekly trend setting recipes. A person might research a recipe that is on the blog and stumble across the post, like what they see, look at the whole website and decided to visit the restaurant.

SEO my heart out

Another way is through SEO, a term which is being bandied about a lot and is being propelled as the new way to write content. Away from the marketing jargon, SEO is just writing compelling content for your brand which contains words that people are likely to search for when they are looking for what you do.

It’s important though, to firstly write quality content and to secondly concentrate on SEO. The worst mistake a lot of websites do is to try and drive content by solely concentrating on searchable words, this often created conceited and jumbled up sentences which tends to lead to high traffic but also very high bounce rates.

SEO works when you can’t tell the searchable words are there. They should never be the gravitational pull in a sentence but should instead sit calmly behind the scenes in a genuine piece of writing.


It’s also not just about the words you write for the whole world to see, it’s also important to get your back-end in order. All I mean by back-end, is the page settings in your editor suite, where you can view each of your pages and write meta-tags or searchable terms which help Google understand what your site does, raised your profile and directs the right traffic towards it.

It is also important to do this for pictures and videos. Google is basically a very complex algorithm and reacts to data (a colossal 20 petabytes per day). If Google processes a picture or video without a back-end description it is basically invisible to Google and won’t help your rankings.

Social Space

Social media also has a big part to play, because it can help drive more traffic to your website. Having various social media accounts for your company effectively shines a stronger beacon towards your website by picking up visitors from a wider angle.

You are quite literally providing more opportunities to be searched for on the internet, and Google likes knowing that traffic is coming to your website from multiple sources. A bit like the popular high school kid, who decides whether you’re worth their attention based on how many friends you have.

Picking which social media platform is right for you is also important. If you’re a design company, Pinterest and Instagram are probably the way to go, if you’re a street food company Instagram and Snapchat will probably get you genuine engagement, where a data analyst organisation will probably look to Twitter and LinkedIn as a more appropriate route.

The key strategy with social media is to get your branding streamlined and to constantly generate compelling content which will, if all things go to plan, drive increased traffic to your website and give you a healthy boost on Google.

Rising Star

In the end, raising your Google ranking can feel a bit like a shooting star, some days your rankings soar and some days you are left scratching your head and wondering what changed from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Don’t lose faith though, the best sign that your google ranking strategy is working is that the long-term pattern is one of growth and that you are enjoying writing your content. Sometimes that can be a reader’s individual feedback, an average increase in session duration or a few more contacts via your website or social media accounts than last month.

Whenever I write for myself or for companies I always stick to a genuine voice and write about what is genuinely interesting to the core audience, and then I back it up with metatags and SEO. Just like in real life, when you are faking it, people can tell, and tend to back away. The need for genuine conversation reaches all corners of our life, including the internet and our websites.

Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

Why coders are today’s rock stars

Every decade we have a ‘cool’ job gang. And every decade there are a set of people that go from working behind the scenes to rocking our professional world overnight.

This decade is the age of the coders. Gone are the socially inept stereotypes and in its place, are hip tech-savvy individuals working for futuristic Google-esque companies and changing the world as they code.

Tech is now seen as cool and as a by-product the people that have kept it afloat are the rock stars of this shiny new world. Coding trendy new apps, inventing social media, birthing websites, working with governments, or developing ground breaking software has transformed the classically introverted coders to completely different social creatures and given them public relevance.

Coders were the belly of the digital beast, but have long since walked out of their computer filled backrooms and onto the media stage. Coders are now talking about their achievements and are rightly seen as an integral part of the future of digital.

Code of Fire

It comes as no surprise really. The internet is built by and dependent on coders, as is all software, most modern technology, and is used in music and modern art.

When what someone does becomes so crucially important across our entire lives they have much more room to fulfil their potential. In turn, this attracts more rising stars and helps make the industry even more ground-breaking.

Art and science is also becoming very blurred. The omnipresence of technology means that the new generation will have a much deeper interest and knowledge of basic tech and code and will use that to create, invent and innovate.

Even now, artists actively use creative software tools and web developers learn how to use the arts to create inspiring digital platforms. And because this generation’s coders are the first to pioneer the marriage between creativity and technology, they naturally become the Johnny Cash of code.

Here comes the sun

Coders were working underground for decades partly because it took society a long time to realise that coders aren’t strange people typing a string of incomprehensive letters and numbers.

Our access to technology has raised our awareness of code and its importance in our daily lives. This naturally peeked our interest in who makes our smartphone apps or how a website is built and makes us want to know much more about coders. We have that same thirst for celebs, and which makes them systematically cooler than the average joe.

Because technology is revolutionising our daily lives, it is also creating social and pioneering movements just like rock and roll did and still does. Being the first of a mass movement makes you ground breaking. Hackathons, big data and the internet of things are all trendy buzz words for a reason.

The idea of ‘geek’ is also finally being turned on its head. Scientists, tech inventors, mathematicians and coders are finally having their day in the sun because of the technological advancements they are creating and the digital movements they are pioneering.

Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

The modern human attention span often gets compared to that of a gold fish, or sometimes shown to be even worse. Whether it’s true or not, one thing web designers are all too aware of is that it’s a very tricky game to keep someone’s focus.

Our attention is being grabbed from literally all corners of our viewpoint. We are so bombarded by information, images and sound that our clever brains are forced to bring up the drawbridge and only allow a certain amount of information through to our conscious or subconscious mind.
Our brain literally creates a filtered reality of the best or most useful information that we come across in our daily hectic lives – like sifting through mud to find diamonds.

Relax, just do it

Think about it. If we actually listened to every single word of every conversation, read each advert, drank in every honk and screech of the city and saw every single pixel of colour and image – we would, at the very least, need a sleeping beauty style nap.

The brain has become so good at phasing out certain parts of reality that many people are now talking about the brain taking over too much and creating chronic ‘auto-pilot mode’. A good example is when you walk, drive or bike on a route and you don’t remember the process of actually doing it because you were too lost in your own rambling mind.

Apple of mine eye

So how are websites supposed to extract people out of their thoughts long enough to actually see and engage with their information?

Our eyes aren’t just windows to the soul, they are also one of the main ways we receive information and play a crucial role in how we perceive design. Our eyes actually have a very narrow focus, and although we think we are noticing everything around us, we are actually only really seeing what is right in front of us – which is also a nice metaphor for life in general.

Translate this into web design and a user won’t be able to see the whole website at once, but will take in various elements of a website, adding them together to make up the bigger picture or overall experience.

Most sites now have their main content in the middle of the page and let the user scroll down instead of looking freely around, because they know that people tend to look slap bang in the middle of a page and then read down, like a book. Any information in the peripheral corners of the page can be the equivalent of an attention holding graveyard.

Even though our peripheral vision is poor, it does help guide our focus, is very good at picking up motion and is one of the main reasons why videos create such great engagement wherever they are on your page, especially if they run freely.

The simple life

Another consequence of our frazzled lives is that we need things to be really simple. We don’t want to spend more than 2 minutes reading most articles, we don’t want a million flashing images or adverts bombarding us with irrelevant slogans.

A user doesn’t want to search for anything, it should be handed to them on a digital plate. If they can’t find how to contact you in less than 3 clicks, they treat it like a personal scorn and will generally go back to google and start their search again, stepping over your google ranking pop up.
This is why website designers now design with a shrinking attention span in mind and typically have a ticking time bomb to contend with when it comes to users bouncing away from the site.

Something that helps keep users on websites for longer is fluid UX design, or in other words, that the user journey is tailored towards how people naturally navigate around a site and that a simple but stylish design creates focused searching or quick retrieval of information.

Branding is obviously crucial and I’m a huge believer in memorable design, but substance will always supersede image and should never be put on the backburner. A great web design effectively puts the digital footprints in place to help the user get to the pot of gold at the end of a sleekly designed rainbow.

Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

Getting through to your audience has never been more complicated.

We are living in an age of hyper-communication where each individual, on average, processes the equivalent of 174 newspapers and is exposed to an estimated 10,000 adverts every single day.

The hurrier I go the behinder I get

Cutting through the noise and grabbing fickle attention spans means that content must be engaging, digestible, genuine, and quick.

People essentially want to know the core point of any online content in under 2 minutes. 80% of people won’t read to the end of your page and most of your audience will only read 20% of any web content you post.

With these depressing statistics to hand, the only way to persuade audiences to read on is to galvanise your page titles and make sure that your first few points really pack a punch.

Made in his image

And let’s not forget the colossal importance of videos and images that give the reader a quick energy boost between grammatical constructions.

Infographics came on the scene to transform deep data into visual short hand. These visual ‘word bites’ are an extremely effective way of sharing a lot of information in an easily digestible and shareable format.


So why use infographics?

  1. Visuals boost engagement

    The human eye is naturally drawn to images, users pay more attention to graphics and are more likely to linger and retain more information because you have engaging visuals.

    ‘Engagement’ is banded about a lot on marketing sites, all that it really means is that there is a two-way interaction between the audience and the source. Infographics are the best of both worlds because they combine detailed information with images so that you get the necessary attention and engagement from your target audience.

    Crucially, they help move your content away from static results nestled in lengthy paragraphs and elevate data to build a visual information grid that captivates the reader.

  2. Infographics are more likely to go viral

    When a reader is engaged and believes that the information will also help others, they are more likely to share and generate a social media snowball effect.

    Visuals are a great way to highlight important information that your audience might not have time to read or even skim through in the body of your text.

    Without visuals, especially infographics, insightful and shareable information can often be over looked and can disappear into the pool of content swirling around the internet.

    Infographics help users immediately process and instantly relate to what you want to get across, which are the building blocks of social engagement and ultimately creating a viral post.

  3. Infographics are highly shareable

    Some people don’t actually need to go viral and just want to create enough awareness to start attracting new customers or increase their followers.

    Infographics are a great way to achieve sustained awareness and increase web traffic to your page or social accounts. They are a great tool to reach every corner of the internet and spread awareness far and wide.

    You can pin infographics to Pinterest, tweet one via your twitter account, share via private message or embed an infographic into your blog.

    A relevant and useful infographic will increase your site’s traffic because the people that share it will also link to the source and you will create organic traffic back to your site. You can also add HTML coding to your infographic so it becomes searchable and helps increase your google rankings.

    You can even let your infographic loose in the real world and print it for marketing campaigns, presentations, posters or leaflets. In fact, it’s a wonder an infographic isn’t taking over the world as we speak.

The Circle of Life

The reason infographics work is because they don’t just emit out information, they use engagement to push people to share which draws the audience back to you, your company or your online passion.

The circle works because, when you do it right, the traffic loop should never end. Your information is out there and every day someone is picking it up, and the more its shared the more it will attract users right back to the source.

Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

How social media and the digital world are inspiring social movements

The concept of society has always existed in some form and has been social at its heart, but what is different now is that we are simultaneously living in two different social worlds.

World Wide Web

The internet was at first very separate from the physical world and a means to finding and disseminating information. We then very quickly became active participants in evolving it to a collaborative interaction between individuals and their digital device.

Every personal interaction is now uploaded onto a connected worldwide network which transforms how the network is used and interacts with others, an ever-evolving framework of communication. A platform that grows and adapts with every emoji we send, every article we skim read or cat video we share on Facebook.

Our innate social nature is what has inspired us to create a digital world in the image of how we see society and ourselves. And so as soon as we invented the internet, social media was inevitable.

We have slowly but surely let the lines between the physical and the digital become very blurry, our digital selves are becoming more representive of who we actually are and what we stand for, we are using the internet to achieve our career ambitions and realise personal goals, we are even using it to find love. Our sense of self is now directly affected by both worlds.

The negative side of such a rapid change in how we interact and communicate is that we become too engrossed in what is happening on our smartphones and stop engaging in the physical present.  Zombie smartphone walkers, your friend who is on the phone while listening to you, rising anxiety levels and technology compulsive behaviour are just some examples of how we have not yet found the right balance.

Hear me roar

On the flip side, if we are investing so much of our time and ourselves into our devices and on our social accounts, then the power social media holds is unilaterally phenomenal.

We now live in a world where you can tweet a company about your negative experience and they either respond to you and remedy your problem or they lose customers and negatively affect their image. Anyone can now start a campaign at a click of a button which can catch the attention of the public, start a huge online movement and force the government to debate it and in some cases actually change the law.

We can shine a spotlight on an issue when we form digital collectives, the power of the people finally being heard through the internet.

Huge political and historic shifts can be tracked and directly linked to social patterns happening online before an event occurs. The landslide victory of French President Macron who has no previous experience in government, the shock rise of Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K, and the defeat of the powerful far-right in Holland can all be linked to how social media use and article sharing through social media portals affected public opinion. Trump and Brexit are of course the colossal elephants in the room.

No truer word said

If social media has such sway on geo-political events, then propaganda has an even scarier hold on public opinion. The rise of fake news, or propaganda, is now considered a world-wide digital pandemic. From hackers planting fake information on news sites which create political unrest or change election outcomes to baseless viral articles inciting racial hatred, violence and community division.

Information is now quick, readily shared, and easily accessible and we are running the risk of believing manipulations of the truth on a massive and detrimental scale. The problem is now so acute that governments are setting up fake news taskforces before elections and referendums and social media giants such as Facebook are investing in fake news teams and algorithms to try and fight the propaganda tide.

The technological revolution is moving so fast and dragging us along for the ride that we can’t really understand the true ramifications of how it is affecting the world and where it will lead us. Perhaps like the eye of a storm, we need to be prepared to hit rougher terrain before we find a calmer and more responsible way of living with and using social media in the future. And, like most things in life, finding the balance will be key.

Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

Are Millennials actually 21st century hippies?

Millennials are receiving a lot of, sometimes unwanted, attention in the media. The privileged, digital dream seekers that are shaking up the modern business age.

Millennials though are much more than social media inventors or hipster café owners. They are part of the new technological revolution and are helping to forge a new way of not just running businesses but how society thinks and views itself.

The historic change we are seeing in collective mentality is actually directly linked to how the hippies influenced the 1960s and still have huge relevance to this day.

Power to the flower

The 1960s hippies and the baby boomers in general, were living in a time of social disquiet and heightened war. Hippies were a generation born into a world they didn’t agree with and felt disconnected from, they were misunderstood by the previous generation and felt both voiceless and helpless in the face of injustice.

If we raise a mirror to our own time we see a very similar thing happening now but with a 21st century twist.

The hippy solution was to campaign for the humanitarian ideals of love, justice, and equality. Hippies passionately believed if enough people united on these three common beliefs the government would have to act and the world would change for good.

We all hopefully agree that love, justice, and equality can only do good in the world. But I am sure we also all agree that the hippy dream fell flat on its well-meaning face circa the 1980’s power suit wearing, capitalist mega-boom.

The hippy dream, was in the end just that, a dream; and it lay bubbling below the surface for decades.  Something happened though to slowly re-awaken us, and that something was the world wide web.

Equality Uploaded

The children of the internet and specifically social media were of course the Millennials. This generation grew up with idea that global networks and open, mass communication were not only a norm but a birth right.

Millennials subconsciously wired their brains around accessibility for all and formed their identity around global social connection. Millennials could talk to someone from any country and any background instantly from their dial-up home computer for the first time in human history.

What this openness and accessibility created was the idea that we are not just individuals, forced to be part of an economic dog-eat-dog chain, but that we are in fact a plateaued communication network, which can and does work outside of the current status quo.

This by nature had the hippy fingerprints of equality, love and justice built into the framework. The hippy ideals were effectively uploaded onto our digital world and its main ambassadors were and still are the children of the technological revolution, the millennials.

I am you and you are the internet

Millennials, as a generation, also share that same hippy hunger – to do something good and to make a difference in the world. This innate nature and a digital world at their fingertips, meant that Millennials unintentionally managed to do what the children of the revolution failed to do – they found a practical way to disseminate humanitarian ideals.

Instead of trying to create a shared, ethereal belief to shake up the government, they side-lined the powers-that-be and went straight for tools of the people.  What they helped to create is a living and social hub of connectivity which is so powerful it is now holding authorities, businesses, and social norms to account. It has turned society on its head without the majority of people even realising.

You can see proof of this everywhere. Here are 3 hippy concepts that have been adapted for the modern age, have become mainstream through technology and are widely propagated by millennials:

  1. Conscious Capitalism

Something that sets modern day apart from the 1960s is that we have come to the pragmatic conclusion that necessary evils can’t be avoided. Conscious capitalism was born out of a need to stop the rampant injustices of money over people but also being fully aware of the complexities of overthrowing such a deep-rooted system. Conscious capitalism tries to find a balance between the two, some examples include:

  • Fair Trade
  • Social Enterprise
  • Corporate Responsibility
  • Collectives and cooperatives
  • Ethical marketing
  1. Reinvention of Currency

The idea of currency is changing. The internet has given rise to the question “if we can exchange information freely, shouldn’t we be able to exchange everything else without using money?”

Huge movements have sprung up from this very idea, including bitcoin, streaming, free apps and online courses, skype and even WhatsApp. The very fact that we are trying to find a way of helping each other and running a business at the same time without necessarily paying each other is the modern version of a hippy colony.

  1. Social Media changing Political Landscapes

Social media has inadvertently created a worldwide platform for the common man to be heard. Inadvertently because the main goal of social media in its infancy was to solely connect people. It is now a digital megaphone to shout, debate, laugh about or cry into our opinions, hopes and wishes.

Because major social platforms are free and accessible to all, they subsequently have huge audiences, followings and create immense public awareness. This means that if a social issue creates a buzz or goes viral on the internet it now puts pressure on governments, who need to act because they are voted in by the people angrily typing on their twitter account.

Social media has created the seemingly impossible, it has given a voice to the individual and the government has to listen.

There are of course negatives to the story – fake news being one of the biggest issues of our time and arguably one of the main causes for Trump and Brexit as well as heightened violence and racism in many parts of the world.

However, the overriding point remains that we are now more in charge of our future than we have been before and we are actively using technology to finally push for what society should be – more just, more loving and more equal.

Sara is a freelance writer based in Manchester. She owns the commercial and creative content company Fraiche Ink, focusing on think pieces and marketing content.

Breaking Ads – Google Adwords Heisenberg Effect

Setting up a Google Ads campaign is exciting for any business, generally it’s the first time they’ve advertised their website online and the whole prospect seems a little nervy as well as being exciting. Everyone likes to see how the ads are performing and who else they are competing with. But if you do not search and analyse your ads the correct way, you can, and will affect your ads and search results.

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle says:- You cannot measure observe something without changing that which you are measuring/observing.

As an example –  If you have an ad campaign setup for ‘Your Search Term’ and you google your search term to see where your adverts are but do not click your advert then you have inadvertently affected your ads relevancy for ‘Your Search Term’ in a negative way.

It doesn’t stop there either. I have heard many times people ask me “will my competition click my ads?” and “If I click my competitions adverts will it raise their bill and waste their budget?” – Both of these approaches will damage your own google ad campaign and improve your competitions ad campaign.

How? If you search Google for  ‘Your Search Term’ but click on your competitions adverts and not your own, you are inadvertently telling Google your competitions adverts are more relevant than your own. This will improve their ads relevance compared to yours which will make their adverts appear higher than your own, and also lower their cost per click.

Whilst clicking your competitions adverts Google track IP addresses, use cookies and probably track much more information such as MAC addresses and other geeky data that help them to analyse if your ads (and your competitions ads) have received any invalid activity.

What is Invalid Activity?

Invalid activity refers to clicks and impressions that Google suspect aren’t the result of genuine customer interest. Google don’t charge you for invalid activity on your ads and credit those ad click costs back to your account.

For Example – Invalid activity includes clicks and impressions performed by automated tools, as well as accidental clicks – for instance, if someone double clicks your ad.

If you want to track your ads and search results without receiving skewed results due to cookies and ip data then you need to use the Google tools that available in your ad account. The tools Google supply allow us to monitor and track your ads and Google positions the right way 🙂