Comic books are gay(from a fan)

O.k, for those of you not in the know, D.C Comics, publishers of Batman,Nightwing,Superman,Aquaman and hosts of other pop culture icons and recognisable comic creations,recently announced there would be an “iconic-level” superhero coming out of the closet.

Now, this is an interesting topic for a number of reasons to me personally, having gotten into reading comic books only these last two years.

First things first: let’s leave the stereotypical “all comics are nerdy and gay by default” view by the door. Comics ARE seen as nerdy, but they also offer more room for creative licence with characters than traditional novella publishings and almost any other medium. I used to have this view, until Batman Arkham Asylum came out for the Xbox 360 and, to a lesser extent, the Christopher Nolan Batman films came out. These genre-transcending  offering saved Batman from ridicule, and opened the door for other heroes to get repackaged (The Avengers, for example) for a new audience.

The gay issue is something that cannot be avoided. Muscled men, running around in tight-fitting spandex and rubber is something that looks like a Village People comeback.

The Avengers in the Eighties?

However, I would counter this arguement that the comics are not gay, but due to their nature, an exaggerated view of the sexes simplified to it’s lowest common factor. For the male heroes, that means tight costumes and strong jaws, for heroines, large breasts and very little clothes. Characters like Black Canary, Huntress and Catwoman for the Batman comics, as well as Wonder Woman, have always been portrayed as sexy,seductive women,almost as caricatures of real life.

Anyway with these facts in mind, I can now reveal the Gay Iconic Character that D.C has been teasing is…..

Alan Scott!

Wait, what? That’s some guys office flunkie right? Works in shipping?

No, dear readers, and stick with me, cause things get weird form here on.

Alan Scott is apparently the original Green Lantern from Earth 2,an alternate version of our Earth that exists in parallel within the D.C universe. Confused yet? No,o.k then, try this on for size.

Green Lantern has only recently had enough had a film release in 2011(starring the awful piece of man candy that is Ryan Reynolds) wherGreen Lantern is NOT Alan Scott, but is the more universally recognised and accepted-as-Green Lantern Hal Jordan, former test pilot for the United States Air Force.

So, we have a relatively unknown version of a superhero that not everyone is familiar with from an alternate universe turn gay. Shocker, right?

Well,not really, no.

When D.C first made this announcement, I was cheering them on. Having a kick-ass iconic superhero who just happens to like guys would be sucha great role model for kids, showing them that being gay is no big deal and doesn’t define you.

While I knew the hero turning gay could never be Batman(due to his many female love affairs within the comics, films, games and any other media he’s in)Superman(he’s got Lois Lane, famously played by Teri Hatcher of Desperate Housewives fame) or Aquaman(too easy, he’s been made fun of too many times), I was really hoping it was Hal Jordan or The Flash. However, to hear it’s an alternate universe, relatively unknown version of a more popular hero just feels like cheating, and a small slap in the face to both the gay community and the comic reading one.

Aslo, no joke, the weaknesses of Alan Scott’s Green Lantern. WOOD. His strength comes from a FLAMING RING. C’mon D.C, innuendos are only funny when we have to search for them.

So, until next time readers, Live long and Prosper, Keep Watching the Skys, and stay tuned, Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel(or y’know, whenever I feel strongly enough to write again)


What I learned from New Technologies

Here is a list of things I learned while doing New Technologies For Marketers:

  • Max Buckley hates social media
  • Blogs can be useful and actually fun
  • Twitter can be more addicting than sex
  • Ads follow me around the Internet(looking at you Groupon!)
  • Heat mapping(so useful for marketers and ad placement online)
  • The Search Bubble, a scary thought that Google is watching us constantly)

    Google is watching…

  • THQ has one of the worst Marketing and New Product Develpoment sections I’ve ever seen

And much more…

Honestly, this has been one of the most enjoyable lectures I’ve ever been in, for the simple reason that it didn’t feel like a lecture. Playing on Facebook, learning about Twitter, blogging about stuff that’s actually interesting, that’s probably what I would have ended up doing anyway!

While the theory was a little tough to swallow without being able to have a demonstration in the lectures, the labs were such a perfect way to unwind and learn about something that may well be a large part of our future careers.

Does social media go too far?

Ah, the question of the moment, one that has been bandied around by friends, colleagues and the media: when does social media go too far? For me, this is a two-fold question: is this a case of people using social media for all the wrong reasons, inappropriate Tweets and posts, or is this a deeper, more disturbing issue, of membership to social media sites now allowing for exploitation of the user by these juggernauts of the web?

Firstly, the inappropriate posting; this is a much harder factor to analyse, as everyone’s view on what is and isn’t appropriate varies. One man’s lunch post is another man’s loathsome clogging of their precious Newsfeed. Social media photo site Flickr even has an entire page dedicated to food posts and pictures!

I think one thing we can all agree on being inappropriate is posting pictures and posts from funerals, but how about Death in general? Is it right to post R.I.P statuses on Facebook? Personally, I always feel that doing so trivialises the person in question’s death to just another post, but I can understand the reasoning behind it.  A more appropriate action is a simple thank you to anyone who has helped the family and friends of the deceased.

Grandpa died,lol

However, one thing that can surely never be right is telling someone about a death over a social media site.

Such a  personal message should always be delivered in person, and Social Media is one of the least personal and private mediums, where everyone can see your business.

Now, as for the “Big Brother” issue of Social Media(and in particular Facebook), having looked at Facebook’s Data Use Policy, it is very clear to see exactly how Facebook will use your data to target ads according to your interests and denographics at you, however, it does not appear to be the Boogeyman that the media has sometimes made out. That is not to say Facebook is not guilty of slowly fading out privacy on their site, which can be seen from this series of screencaptures. This practice has earned Facebook some flak in the past, but if anyone was really that bothered about the issue, they simply would have disconnected. Instead, they have been growing over the past 7 years.

Facebook: everyone complains about it, yet nobody quits…

On a very serious note, Facebook has been responsible for a number of major world events. Protesters in Egypt organising their rallies over Facebook would likely have had no other method in getting in touch with so many similar minded people, and the philanthropic potential has been shown, albeit slightly misguidedly, with the 2012 “Kony”” campaign.

However, Facebook also has the potential to be a dangerous weapon for those who choose to use it for ill means, such as this horrific tale in Mexico.

Basically, the bottom line is this: social media is what you make of it. I personally don’t think Social Media has gone too far, as it has fantastic benefits available to people. However, I feel the people using Social Media have gone too far, posting very intimate details and using it as a validation tool for their latest break-up or personal problem. The technology is only what you as a person choose to make of it, on its own it sits idle, but the medium is given life by its users, be they food posting socialites, drug dealers, protesters or simply Average Joe.

Social Media has not gone too far, we as a people have.

Twitter: successful operation or future cadaver?


So, it’s another social media site being thrown to the wolves of C.I.T’s New Tech class huh? Facebook and YouTube have been poked and prodded, and now it’s Twitter’s turn on the operating table of Dr Thomas Elliot.

First, a little background information: Twitter is what’s known as a micro-blogging site, where posts are restricted to 140 characters each. In theory, this is supposed to be a headline-style site, where “followers” of a person/organisation can get bite sized updates on their friends, favourite companies or celebs, and are sometimes left links to articles further developing the point.

In other words, consider Twitter the digital equivalent of a Post-It® note.

But the question at hand is this: is Twitter a realistically maintainable, and most importantly, profitable, business model?

Well, there are a number of articles supporting Twitter’s business model, and saying it is ALREADY a profit-making business. O.k, it’s not on the levels of the juggernaut that is Facebook, but Facebook had been established since Feb 4 2004, whilst Twitter is a younger venture at a public launch of July 2006.

Also, on a personal note, I have found myself growing more and more weary of Facebook’s constant advertising and changing of their user interface, making it more difficult to enjoy the site. Twitter has now replaced Facebook as my go-to site when checking my social media sites, however there is one HUGE issue with Twitter:

It doesn’t hold a persons interest for as long.

Don’t believe me, check this graph on social media usage out, which shows that although Twitter is growing its membership, 49% of people don’t bother to check it regularly. This is a huge problem for Twitter if they decide to move into full-fledged advertising, rather than just selling Promoted Accounts.

Overall, whilst I do feel Twitter can be a sustainable business model with a few tweaks to improve retention and up the regular checking rate of accounts (such as the introduction of linking to YouTube à la Facebook), it has work to do before it can maximise its profit-making ventures

Youtube is an important tool for marketers…

Apologies for the lateness of this post everyone, swamped with work over the week.

Everyone knows YouTube as a place people go for videos of dogs running into walls, babies laughing, and outrageous stunts. But what about advertising, viral marketing and creating a buzz about a company and it’s offerings through Youtube?

For starters, videos placed by companies can be seen internationally by many potential customers outside the video’s country of origin. This can spread awareness and lay the groundwork for potential moves into new markets.

But, more importantly, putting videos on YouTube is free, apart from the time costs and how much it cost to make the video originally.Some, such as The Natural Confectionary’s “Bring On The Trumpets” ad, is shot using only still shots from a regular camera, meaning it is relatively low cost, but also low involvement. Interactive YouTube videos are becoming more popular now, such as this Pizza ad from New Zealand chain Hell Pizzas. The ad allows for different endings based on choices made by interacting with the video, and viewers are hooked and want to know what happens, meaning thaty are engaging longer with the brand.

But what makes a viral video, a video that is seen and forwarded by many, something which every firm advertising on YouTube through videos should be aiming? These guys seem to know.

Of course, viral videos need to be seen first, and many of the non-interactive videos started as limited exposure ads on television. This first exposes people to the ad, and makes them aware such a thing exist. Ideally, the television ad should show a search term somewhere on the screen, so interested viewers can find the ad easily.

So, whilst traditional advertising methods may be on the decline, YouTube(and digital media as a whole) are not yet in a position to fully replace the traditional mediums.

Whilst YouTube is the second most popular search engine (next to Google), without traditional media, how will you know what to search for?