Discoveries that shaped the digital world

Discoveries that shaped the digital world

Discoveries That Shaped The Digital World

we’ve got a lot to thank this guy for…

Today is Loomis Day, a day that celebrates the life of a humble American dentist, who set in motion ideas that would eventually pave the way for everything from radio to wireless internet.

Unfortunately, as so often happens during the passage of time, Mahlon Loomis’ name has faded into relative obscurity – despite how significant his findings were in the world around us today.

Today, with this in mind, we will take a look back at some of the key discoveries that were instrumental in creating our digital world.

The computer

At this exact moment I am writing a blog on a MacBook, and though it would be all too easy to sing praise about Steve Jobs and Apple, the real success is found further back in the early 19th century. Mechanical engineer Charles Babbage has long been considered to be the ‘father of the computer’ after he invented the first ever mechanical computer.

Thank goodness for Babbage, and computers, for creating a platform for people around the world to catch up on the latest news about the Kardashians.

The smartphone

Though the Android V.s. iPhone battle may continue to rage (at least it does in our office) the title of the first smartphone is held by IBM – Simon Personal Communicator. Simon was the first phone to blend the functions of a mobile phone and PDA and had a number of features, including the ability to send emails and faxes. It could also run third-party applications, which marked it as far beyond its time.

It may not have been as user-friendly or widely-loved as this generation’s iPhones (though it carried a similar if not greater price tag!), but we think it still deserves a place in our nerdy hearts.

The digital camera

Where would our Facebook and Instagram feeds be without the advent of the digital camera? Whilst scanning in polaroids does have some sort of hipster appeal to it, it certainly isn’t as convenient.

The first digital camera was created back in December 1975 by an engineer named Steve Sasson who worked at Kodak. The blocky device was able to record 0.01-megapixel photos and could only capture in black and white. Photos were saved to a cassette tape which could then be displayed on a television. All kinds of retro.

The internet and the World Wide Web

The internet has no single creator and was instead started in the US in the 1950s – rapidly evolved by contributors around the world over time. For many people, the internet and world wide web are synonymous, but this is not the case.

The difference is that internet is a networking infrastructure, whereas the World Wide Web refers to the platform used to access information over the internet. This was invented by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee, who introduced it to the public in 1991. The interconnectivity and ability to share information kick-started the mass popularity of the internet, and lead to the interconnected world we live in today. All hail the World Wide Web!

Radio signals

This brings us right back to Loomis himself, whose discovery of radio signals was actually somewhat of an accident. All the best discoveries are though, it would seem.

Loomis believed that the Earth’s upper atmosphere was separated into discrete concentric layers and that you could transport electrical current through the air. Though many of his original theories ended up being wrong, the results he achieved through his tests lead to the creation of the ‘wireless telegraph’ – and countless digital innovations since.

In summary…

These are just a few of the stories behind some of the beloved tech tools we take for granted today. Hopefully, you learnt something new, and if you know an interesting origin for a digital tool that we didn’t feature, make sure to share them with us by messaging us on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #LoomisDay.

Ben Hawkes

Ben Hawkes

Digital Creative

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!

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Optimising your YouTube videos

Optimising your YouTube videos

Optimising Your YouTube Videos

optimising your YouTube video content for maximum effect

We’ve all got caught up in the whirlwind adventure that is the suggested videos bar on YouTube. One after another after another… six hours later questioning your life choices. But how do you go about optimising your video content to be seen there?

The bar in question, that sits on the right-hand side of the video you’re watching, is usually composed of three things:

  • Suggested videos from the creator of the one you’re watching now (these are algorithmically chosen)
  • Related videos that are similar to the ones you’re watching at that very moment (these are made by other creators)
  • Recommended videos that are based on you, the viewer, and your history

We’re talking about the bar to the right of the video!

The ability to appear in this YouTube bar as one of those related videos is based on a few metrics and your ability to optimise your video content. Crazily enough, as marketers, we’ve got some advice on how to optimise!

Never underestimate the power of video, no matter what your business is. It’s hardly a secret that YouTube is the second most popular search engine, just behind Google itself. With statistics such as the fact that 46% of viewers saying they’ve made a purchase as a result of a branded video, you really can’t ignore the medium when it comes to your digital marketing strategy.  

Some of the metrics considered by YouTube algorithms when deciding who to place on the East of the website are; watch time, relevancy, viewership history and engagement figures/types. There are many more, we’re sure, but as you may know, Google updates their algorithm so regularly that there is a lot of trial and error with optimising content. Really though, it’s all fun and games.  

Making cool, engaging and inspiring video content is down to you – although we can show you how in our DIY Video Marketing workshop – but we’re here, in the form of words, to help you when it comes to uploading your masterpiece to YouTube itself.

Let’s begin!

So, you’ve made a video. Great! Now open up YouTube and hit the upload button that, on a desktop, sits on the top right of the window. Drag in your video and let’s get started.

First up, Video Titles.

This is one of your first chances to explain the content of your video and entice the user to click, so make it juicy (and relevant, of course). It’s also somewhere you can use keywords to improve the reach of your content.

Use tools like Adwords Keyword PlannerAnswer the Public and Google Trends to identify popular keywords, topics and search terms. Title your video accordingly. You can also use this data to inspire your future content.

But remember to not only optimise your video titles for search, but for people. Don’t stuff the title full of nonsensical keywords in an attempt to appear first. People won’t click if they don’t understand.

Rather than ‘camera unboxing video’ you could title it ‘Unboxing my new camera | Canon 60D’. Including the name of the camera narrows it down within search when a user is looking for that particular make. It’s also more likely to then appear as suggested content next to other Canon reviews and unboxings.

Secondly, thumbnails.

If someone is on YouTube watching video content, then it’s kind of a given that visuals are a stimulant for them. In the suggested bar the first things a viewer will see are the title and the thumbnail. The thumbnail should be able to tell them all they need to know about the type of video it is before they even get to glance at the title. If you mislead them with a thumbnail that is not relevant and they click away from your video, it will affect your algorithm performance.  

What makes a good YouTube video thumbnail? Well, as with most things, consistency is key! Using similar colour palettes, font sizes, styles and general format mean the content is recognisable to the viewer. Similarly, keeping it branded with either a style or logo will mean the videos are more identifiable and therefore, the viewer is more likely to click through to watch. Check out the lesson on YouTube Creators to learn more about what makes a good video thumbnail.

Thirdly, tags.

Rather than stuffing your description with keywords that, whilst relevant to your content, aren’t necessarily easy to put within context, you can use the tag field. These are nice and simple, just add relevant keywords and phrases to the field. Don’t put in irrelevant ones or you will be penalised by the platform.

We suggest ten to fifteen keywords, despite the 500 character limit, to avoid it looking like you’re keyword stuffing. There are even algorithm-friendly patterns for adding your tags. At the beginning of your tag list include the longer tail keywords (usually three to five word long phrases), then medium length, and single length. But don’t ask me to explain why this works – it just does!

Fourthly (that’s a weird word?), video description.

Well-written descriptions and the right keywords can boost the visibility of your content, views and watch time as they appear more in search results. As mentioned in the video title section, you should research relevant keywords that you can include in the description that still do the job of describing the content and boosting your reach, whilst remaining relevant to the content.

Make sure every description is unique so YouTube and viewers can clearly understand the difference. We then suggest adding something about your channel and your social links at the bottom. You can set a default description that auto-populates when you upload – check out how here.

You can also use hashtags within video descriptions in the same way you’d use them on Twitter or Instagram. Viewers can find your content this way. But don’t overdo it, YouTube will automatically ignore the hashtags in your description if there are more than fifteen of them. They’re a great way to jump on trending subjects.

These are just some of the many things you can do to help optimise your YouTube content in the first stage of uploading video to the platform. If you want to know more, we recommend checking out the YouTube Creators Academy that is jam-packed with lessons on making the most of the platform, just like Google’s Digital Garage.

We’d love to subscribe to your YouTube channel to see how you’re doing. Tag us into a post on social media that links to your account and we’ll subscribe.

Once you’ve learnt the basics of search engine optimisation, you can transfer these skills to other formats too. Check out our mastering search workshop to, well… master search.

Amber Vellacott

Amber Vellacott

Content Marketing Lead

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!
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5 benefits of a digital education

5 benefits of a digital education

The Benefits Of A Digital Skills Based Education

digital skills are essential… and no, we’re only slightly bias

Digital skills, no matter what type, are the functional skills of the future. And, as massive advocates for digital education, we’re here to tell you why.

If you develop a passion for education, you will never cease to learn and, well, why on earth would you want to stop?

Without a doubt, we all learn something new every day, whether that be something insignificant or something life changing. We’re built to learn, that’s why we never stop from the minute we enter the world to the moment we leave it.

You can probably quite easily divide the nation by asking “who misses education?” because a lot of people associate learning purely with experiences of school (and a lot of people hated school – we understand, don’t worry).

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X.

Maybe we’re biased as a purely educational based business, but we’d like to share with you a few reasons why digital education is the best – and we’re not just talking about online learning platforms. Rather, we’re sharing the benefits of learning digital skills.

1.) Digital is the futureeeeee!

We were founded on the premise of tackling the digital skills gap addressed by the UK Government in 2016. You can read more about this in our last blog. The strategy to help bridge the gap has many goals, all of which aim to help the fact that it’s estimated around 1.2 million new technical and digitally skilled individuals will be needed by 2020 to satisfy the future skills needed. That’s a lot. So skilling yourself up in digital now makes you a key part of the countries future. We found that the biggest gap we could help to tackle was that of the digital marketing skill set, hence all our awesome courses.

2.) The STEM generation is coming…

STEM education has been pronounced as “the foundation of future economic success”. Schools are focusing hard on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, inspiring new and current generations with what can now probably be classed as functional skills.

Similar focuses have been seen over in America which almost outweigh those in the UK. Therefore, British industry has been seen to be taking a first-hand approach to inspiring individuals on STEM subjects. For example, Rolls-Royce set itself the rather high target of reaching a whopping six million people through its STEM education programmes – all by 2020. Then there’s us, starting locally with our digital education, but slowly ebbing out across the world through some big clients and our work with Google Digital Garage.

3.) We no longer go online, we live online…

There’s no point pretending anymore that the internet isn’t the best place to be, full stop. Come on, there are cat videos EVERYWHERE!
You can no longer afford to place a digital strategy far down on your to-do list. Take social media, for example, people think of it as just one of those things we all bury our heads into our phones to scroll through. But there it is… your customers are doing it.

Through our training courses such as social media for business, you can learn to turn a passion, or perhaps hatred, for social media into a strategy that you can use to get in front of these potential customers when they’re living through the internet.

Imagine someone came into your store, picked up a pair of shoes but put them down and walked away to ponder the purchase. You can’t follow them around town with a massive sign that says “Hey Amber, here’s 20% off those shoes you love”, but you know that offer will attract that custom. Grow your digital skills and learn how to do this across the web, it’s much less creepy.

4.) Digital skills = “dolla dolla bills y’all”

When they put together the UK Digital Strategy, it was found that of 1,000 UK-based businesses, having digital capabilities helped boost revenues by 4.4% and reduce costs by 4.3%. They’re some pretty attractive figures, right? We reckon they’ll only ever increase too as we see more and more digitally knowledgeable generations join the working world.

One of the many things we’ve found over the last couple of years is that so many businesses overspend with their pay-per-click advertising. Our PPC workshops show you how to do it for yourself in the most cost-effective and result-effective way.

5.) Social media is the future (in our opinion)

A lot of people don’t see the benefit of social media or see it as any particular skill to be successful through the multitude of platforms available. But we seek out to learn something new about a platform every day, staying on top of the game.

Especially relevant, and something we discussed a lot when we attended Kent Vision Live, is the role LinkedIn will now play with GDPR coming into place. Not only is it a form of social media, it’s also one of the best social selling tools available. But again, don’t just jump at it blindly, grow those digital skills and master in it.
Coincidentally… we’ve got a LinkedIn workshop coming up. It’s your lucky day!

Those have been five of the many reasons we believe digital education is the best. Not restrictive to digital as a subject matter, we also think online learning is a massive *thumbs up*. Especially since you can sit on the sofa in your pants and do a course online in pretty much anything… that’s all we feel needs to be said on the matter.

 

If you’d like to enhance your digital skills then get in touch by emailing us at hello@giantcampus.co.uk
Amber Vellacott

Amber Vellacott

Content Marketing Lead

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!
3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...

Closing the digital skills gap

Closing the digital skills gap

Closing The Digital Skills Gap With Giant Campus

we were quite literally bred to do this

Giant Campus was started with the intention of personally helping to close the digital skills gap identified by the UK Government in 2016. And, well, we reckon we’ve definitely assisted in attempts to do so.

Following the release of a big project we’ve been working on over the last year, we’d like to share with you some of the ideas Campus was born from. More than anything, we’re quite proud to have achieved what we have so far as a startup business, so it’s nice to reminisce.

Having been set up in response to the UK government’s Digital Strategy released in 2016, we’ve since worked tirelessly with Google on their Digital Garage e-learning platform, a project mentioned in the business-led digital skills section of the report. The strategy recognises the importance of digital skills, addressing a gap in digital education for many generations, as well as a gap in positions for those digitally-minded looking for jobs that require their specific skill sets.

“If we want to increase our overall prosperity, to enjoy higher real wages, and if we want more opportunities for young people to get on, we have to raise our productivity. In a digitally-driven economy, that means ensuring that everyone has the skills they need to flourish, with nobody left behind.” Source: UK Digital Strategy 2017

The work we did with Google’s Digital Garage gave us a great outlet for sharing our passion and know-how of all things digital and online business-like. 

It was found that it was 24% more likely that unemployed adults lacked the basic digital skills than high earners. And, that in order to satisfy the future skills need by 2022, an estimated 1.2 million new technical and digitally skilled people are needed. That’s a lottttttt.

A survey conducted for the UK Digital Strategy found that of 1,000 UK-based businesses, having digital capabilities helped boost revenues by 4.4% and reduce costs by 4.3%. So, as a business, our digital marketing training courses, delivered to businesses and individuals, aim to help other businesses become giant. Invest a little in our training and, if you implement what you learn, you’ll see a return on investment.

As you may have seen, our courses range from using search engines to help your business be found online, using analytics to monitor results as well as give your business actionable next steps, to using social media to increase brand awareness and help towards your sales and marketing strategy.  

Danny Windsor, who heads up Giant Campus, said:

“Giant Campus is such an exciting project. It’s a business unlike any others in Kent. We have a mission to achieve and that mission is everything to us. The digital skills gap may sound like a problem we can ignore, but realistically businesses are going to be at a disadvantage against those larger in scale unless companies like ours take digital skills seriously. Formal education providers, such as schools and colleges, struggle to keep up with the ever-evolving digital agenda. By the time a curriculum is designed most of the knowledge in it is out of date. It’s hard to teach digital unless you live and breathe it day in and day out. And that is exactly what our professors and Giant Campus do.”

A year after we began, we have seen learners in the hundreds attend our workshops and enquire after bespoke training for their business. This has seen the formation of relationships between countless Kent businesses, as well as the opportunities for us to deliver digital training across Europe and the US.

As the digital landscape evolves, so do we. No two courses delivered are the same as digital grows at an exponential rate that we pride ourselves on being able to keep up on.

We don’t just do this in an attempt to make a profit either, we have a pure education first focus. We understand the value of learning, with members of our team holding a strong background in both the education and digital sector.

We believe we’re the only training business in Kent with this approach, with our trainers being practising experts in the subjects they teach. We believe the skills gap can be closed with efforts from both parties, the educators and the educate-ees. The work we’ve done with Google provides free and certified education to millions of learners, so it’s now down to them to get learning.

The future is digital, so it’s time to embrace it and get educated *mic drop*.

Amber Vellacott

Amber Vellacott

Content Marketing Lead

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!
3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...