Posts Tagged: social media says the spoofing is over (for now)

The spoofers behind are calling it day. Taking their cue from the fact Tories are aping what they’ve done.

Knowing when to leave is a (political) art and in a blog post Clifford Singer, who was behind, says that the spoofing always had “had a limited shelf-life”.

That’s one reason to call it a day. He also points to another highlighting the argument that such spoofs play into the hands of the opposition.

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Twitter users are getting younger

Twitter is slowly changing. Or that is to say it is broadening as almost 30% of its audience is now made up of people under the age of 24.

In particular the 18-24 year old group has grown almost 8% in the last year while the 17and under group is up more than 6%.

Clearly the growing use of mobile and smartphones is driving this. It is a natural progression. As while figures last year showed 79.8% of 18-24-year-olds use instant messaging the number blogging is rapidly declinning. Short form blogging and status updates (more akin to IM) is where the growth is.

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Southwest Airlines in "epic" social media fail with Kevin Smith

If you had been stressing out about how to create your very own social media PR disaster sweat it no more. Southwest Airlines has some helpful tips after it threw ‘Clerks’ and ‘Dogma’ director Kevin Smith off of one of its planes at the weekend for “being too fat”.

That’s your first tip right there: choose a high profile media personality with a cult following on the web, the blogosphere on and on Twitter. Kevin Smith, aka Silent Bob from his six New Jersey based movies (‘Chasing Amy’ is still my favourite), will do nicely.

Smith was flying from Oakland (he’d been to Macworld Expo) to Burbank when he was kicked off of the plane for failing the airline’s armrest test (you have to be able to put both arms down…).

The airline apologised via Twitter (Our apology to @ThatKevinSmith…) and on a blog post but by then it was far too late. It had as the post below states been contacted by a great many people and had been forced to go public.

“Many of you reached out to us via Twitter last night and today regarding a situation a Customer Twittered about that occurred on a Southwest flight. It is not our customary method of Customer Relations to be so public in how we work through these situations, but with so many people involved in the occurrence, you also should be involved in the solution. First and foremost, to Mr. Smith; we would like to echo our Tweets and again offer our heartfelt apologies to you. We are sincerely sorry for your travel experience on Southwest Airlines.”

There are 354 articles coming up on Google News and Smith has been tweeting away heavily to his 1.65 million following.

“Wanna tell me I’m too wide for the sky? Totally cool, but fair warning folks: If you look like me, you may be ejected from Southwest Air,” he wrote on Twitter.

Southwest Airlines in a moment combing bad judgement and bad luck has had its reputation among air passengers generally (and of a particular size more specifically) well and truly trashed.

Smith is taking it to his podcast and talking about it on the Daily Show and his further tweets say it all:

“Sometimes it baffles me how little people think things through. ‘Free publicity!’ = 200 new articles declaring I’m fat. Yay, me. Epic win.”

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BBC news chief Sambrook joins Edelman to head global content

Very interesting news with PR firm Edelman hiring Richard Sambrook, the BBC’s director of global news, as global chief content officer.

What a coup for Edelman to get such a big hitting news journalist. They’ve clearly come up with a new big role for him that will see him work with clients including Bechtel, Coca-Cola, Hoffman LaRoche, Heineken, Nike and Unilever.

It highlights the change in what PR firms and the brands they work for are doing in creating ever more content. Money that might have previously been spent on advertising or other types of marketing is being spent on creating blogs, social media and video.

Sambrook will report to EMEA President and CEO David Brain and will be based in London and Global CEO and President Richard Edelman stressed Sambrooks’s “long-term and personal commitment to social media” and said he understood well how the audience was now “on the pitch (creating content)” and how content and news must be shaped by the needs of the consumer, and the new opportunities provided by social technologies”.

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Digital Peer-to-Peer Exchange

Brand Republic held its first Digital Peer-to-Peer Exchange event on Thursday and it really proved to be a great swap of ideas with roundtables providing an opportunity for people to share their experiences regarding social media.

What was so interesting was that there was a real mix of levels of experience and development in terms what people had done or wanted to do with social media.

What also appeared true was there was still a thirst to have the basic questions answered:

How do get more followers or fans?
How much should I tweet?
And what should I post?

The three speakers provided a lot of really useful insights the top points of which I’ve tried to pick out here.

Nick Gill, head of digital planning at Five by Five started by focusing on data and the central role it plays in what we do online.

Yesterday alone there were 13 hours of YouTube video uploaded onto the web; a million blog posts and around 400,000 tweets. Instead they are big numbers, but when you start to break them down you get somewhere.

What’s important about such stats is they underlie the conversation about metrics and metrics is how we make sense of what is going on. That can mean customers, rivals and colleagues.

He mentioned a couple metric tools that his agency used (such as Radian 6) and had a good line about the use of proprietary tools: “We don’t use proprietary social media tools; we use proprietary brain power”.

Nick talked about listening. Listen before you leap. People forget how important to listen to what is going on in a digital space can be whether it is Facebook, Twitter or blogs.

He tackled the ROI and social media question which was an issue that came up throughout the day. Always a hot topic.

He showed some good ROI examples in relation to gaming, but also stressed that it doesn’t always need to be about making money: ROI can be about engagement, loyalty, fans or followers.

He touched on sharing as all the speakers did. Whether it was a link in a tweet, good content or advice.

Stay the course – don’t start projects and then stop. Listen and think through before hand what it is you want to achieve with social media and then plan.

He finished up talking about integration, which was a theme that echoed throughout the day. There’s no point having Twitter and Facebook accounts if no one knows about them. They have to be integrated with websites and advertising to make them worthwhile.

That is how you drive engagement, win fans and followers.

Marcus Schmidt, director of product management for social media, Yesmail. The focus on Marcus’s presentation was about email and served as a reminder of the smart things you can continue to do with it.

Email can be as social as anything else. It comes down to what you put into it.
He showed how you could use it to drive user generated content by putting links, articles and images in well crafted email communications.

He highlighted how big brands like Burger King and Domino’s Pizza had used social to drive their email address acquisition programmes.

Again it came back to more integration and bringing together various social elements of marketing to create a bigger whole.

Doug Platts, head of natural search, iCrossing – More talk of integration and how important it was for organisations to create a seamless digital journey and how search sat at the heart of that.

He talked about making the best out of your brand collateral to gain the greatest visibility. Part of that was about developing content ideas and link activity.

He highlighted how iCrossing had created a campaign for Ann Summers around the budget based on bidding on keywords like ‘budget 2009’ and ‘Alistair Darling’ and the campaign message: ‘There’s no recession in pleasure’.

He stressed the importance of trends and how they can give marketers insight and help in planning. Ann Summers does that very well.

Think about different platforms and make sure you are addressing them with the rise and rise of mobile and how that ties back into other digital platforms.

Talk to each other – departments, colleagues and customers. And listen.

Some of it might sound incredibly basic but if there are words worth stressing, remembering and building into your social media marketing they are these:

Listen to the market and use that to help develop your activity
Integrate it with your over digital and marketing activity
Talk, share, respond – Take part in the conversation, be useful

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When #hashtags go bad

Yesterday we held Brand Republic’s second Twitter event. There was a good turn out (160) in the room and online as well as a bunch of spammers.

The spammers were a revelation and the event turned into a case study regarding #hashtag spammers and has already spawned a couple of blog posts.

I’d never seen it quite like that before. Some of them were real honest to god merchants of porn while others were followers of some of those in the room.

I can understand the porn spammers more easily but the others were a pain and amusing by varying measures. At best they were being mischievous and at worst opening themselves up to future problems of their own – although why people waste their time tweeting garbage I have no idea (who has the time?).

The day served as a clear reminder that Twitter is very public. You can choose a hashtag like #br140 and encourage people to tweet but the unscrupulous and those with nothing better to do can take advantage of that. When it happens you have to deal with it in the same way you would deal with other negative comments that might come your way via Twitter (btw I enjoyed @stephenatdell’s comments and presentation yesterday but his point about ignoring the negative tweets was quite wrong).

I’d previously seen what some playful tweeting can do at the Media140 conference last year where I chaired a panel. The large Twitterfall screen became the attraction as people tweeted knowing they were in the position to disrupt the flow of events. Fair enough, I mean if that’s what you want to do.

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Google to add social media to Gmail to rival Facebook

Google is reported to be set to add social media bells and whistles to Gmail in an effort to take on Facebook and Twitter.

Google will add status updates to Gmail as well as photo galleries and other sharing options, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

All Google has at the moment is its Orkut social networking site that is big in India and Brazil according to Wikipedia. Being big in India and Brazil is clearly useful as they are big, but considering we never hear about Orkut it can’t be that useful.

I wonder if what it is doing is enough. Sure it is a start, but it has a lot ground to catch up. I also wonder how much space people have in their lives. Do people want to share in multiple places? Well look at Yahoo! It made similar such moves allowing users to of Yahoo Mail to make status updates and clearly on its own that is not enough. As no on I can think of suddenly started raving about Yahoo!.

Sure Google owns technology like YouTube and Picasa but working against it is that too many people use Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or other rivals. Email has become like your bank account and the idea of moving is something most of us don’t contemplate.

I personally think Gmail is the best thing in email. I prefer it to Microsoft Outlook for work. That could be because of the clunking servers we have and the miniscule amounts of space allocated that is designed to make life difficult (yes IT overlords I am talking to you).

That said I use Facebook most days at work (for work; honest) and on the move on my phone. It is more immersive.

I’m not sure I have the time to do more social networking stuff. I mean if you throw in Twitter and blogging then I am just about done. I need the rest of the time to have a life.

The Wall Street Journal says that Google could announce the new Gmail features as soon as this week.

“Currently, Gmail has a chat bar that can display a short ‘away message’ for each user’s contacts,” WSJ reported. “But the new interface will have an area that users can click through to see updates from more friends in a stream — a format popularized by Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., [Google sources] said.”

The move follows new design updates from Facebook last week to make life easier for its 400 million plus members. Apparently Gmail has around 176 million unique visitors. Many of those will doubtless have Facebook accounts as well.

We also heard last week that Facebook was chasing Google as a place where people read news. It is now fourth placed behind Google, MSN and Yahoo!.

Facebook has already over taken Google News and Google Reader. The changes it made to its design recently touch on email as Facebook chases Google on that front as well.

The spill over is putting the two head to head in an increasing number of areas and Google clearly feels the need to respond.

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Marketers with no time for Twitter

Some top marketers in the US have come out and said they have no time for Twitter including Procter & Gamble, Hyundai and Converse.

In a report in Adweek asking how effective Twitter is as a marketing tool it cites several marketers saying they do not think it has anything (or very little to offer them). As well as the three above the piece names other examples of brands that have racked up big fails using Twitter like Delta Airlines (barely updating its account for six months).

What’s interesting about some of those cited like Hyundai is that they don’t think it is for them when rivals (Ford for instance) have had so much success using Twitter.

Joel Ewanick, group vp of marketing for Hyundai told the US ad magazine that: “I’m not a big fan of Twitter. My Twitter meter has gone down.”

He added that for him Facebook is much more useful. He said Twitter had become the butt of a joke. “You start seeing in popular culture people making fun of Twitter.”

Geoff Cottrill, CMO for the Nike-owned Converse (neither brand has much presence on Twitter added to that saying Twitter was overrated.

“Twitter is a little bit overrated. There will be a new media toy that will replace it in a year or two.”

Both put more faith in Facebook as does Procter & Gamble. Last month VentureBlog reported from an event sponsored by P&G the FMCG giant was sceptical about Twitter but had a love of Facebook.

“They described Twitter as much more like television than one might think. To P&G, Twitter is a great broadcast medium — it is best for one to many communications that are short bursts of timely information — but as good as it is for timely information, the P&G folks do not view it as particularly relevant to what they are doing on the brand building and advertising side.

“For those things that Proctor & Gamble thinks are most interesting and important, they do not believe that Twitter will ever approach the value they can get out of a Google or Facebook. But they are open to looking at other alternatives that will have more of the engagement and brand building attributes that they hope to exploit in Facebook.”

That could all be true. With all three, but I also wonder if part of it is that they just haven’t found the right way in to get any momentum on Twitter in the way they have on Facebook.

What’s interesting for example about Hyundai and these other examples is that you know (or at least can guess) that unlike Ford, which has been successful, that they have not invested the budget or the time in developing their Twitter activities in the same way.

Ford has made headlines not only with its head of social media Scott Monty, but with the fact that it is investing 25% of its marketing budget into social media. That means not only cash, but time, resource, hard work and some interesting ideas. On the back of that Ford has won a well publicised return.

Twitter as part of a larger social media campaign can work for everyone, but you still need to apply some thought and creativity to how it is being used. Why I’m convinced of that is partly because of the number of examples of markets where there is a dominant player losing out smaller players (Hallmark and Somecards; JetBlue and Delta are two examples). The question is why are they losing out (with Delta we already know that answer — and its failure brings with it a lot of clues to the success of others).

Even the most basic of activity on Twitter such as news and customer updates doesn’t have to be done in the most basic of fashions. Interesting things can be done with just about anything. I think that’s what people using it very successfully have come to understand.

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Tory bloggers come up short on #Kerryout campaign

If you wanted an example of how negative digital campaigning can fail then look no further than the #Kerryout campaign that is seeking to oust Labour’s new media spokeswoman Kerry McCarthy MP.

Some Tory bloggers have already distanced themselves from it and one has warned it is childish and will backfire. After all the publicity and many blog posts mostly orchestrated by Tory Bear the campaign has managed to raise a grand total of £1,700. So little. So much effort.

As personal attacks go it has created only negative buzz around the Conservative candidate Adeela Shafi. You have to feel sorry for her saddled with such witless enthusiasts as those behind the Kerryout campaign. described it as “embarrassing”.

All it has done is spurred others to engage in tit for tat campaigning and help raise money and sympathy for Labour (okay I am biased but I don’t think that is in dispute). It is all lamentable.

It has led to the story in the Daily Mirror claiming that “Tory star Adeela Shafi has £325,000 CCJ ‘debt”. I don’t have anything to say about that and I don’t know if it is true or not. It is besides the point. What is almost certainly true is that story is a direct result of the efforts of that many of Tory bloggers (Iain Dale among them) who have backed this campaign. Nice job boys (they are all boys).

What is true is that Adeela Shafi is like the poster girl for the next generation of David Cameron’s new generation of Tory MPs, but she is not helped at all by any of this. She has failed to distance herself from this campaign and to disown it. You have to wonder why that is and what that says about Conservative Party, its message and its politics.

What’s most disappointing is that the emergence of digital communications in political campaigning has largely been positive. That’s one of the things that came out of Blue State Digital and its work on Barrack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

It showed the great power that digital has for positive change. It showed its strength in helping to organise and to unite people around common ideas. It showed how you can put the message in the hands of supporters as it brought people with common ideas together both digitally and in the real world. It created a huge groundswell via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube and Flickr.

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Facebook close to 400m users as growth accelerates

It was only two months ago that Facebook announced it had hit 350 million users and now it is about to hit 400 million. Couple that with yesterday’s report that it is now the fourth biggest traffic source for news sites then its significance to all of us appears to be growing by the day.

Back in June Facebook reached 250 million active users and by December Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social networking site he founded had grown to 350m users globally (23 million) in the UK and that his target was 1bn.

That is a big number and it is announced on the site’s sixth birthday. In the space of 60 days give or take Facebook has attracted 50 million people – that’s 830,000 people a day — and its growth appears to be accelerating.

Here’s what Zuckerberg has to say: “Today we’re celebrating our sixth birthday, and this week there will be 400 million people on Facebook. Just one year ago we served less than half as many people, and thanks to you we’ve made great progress over the last year towards making the world more open and connected.”

News of the 400 million club comes as Facebook also announces changes to its design and navigation. There are improvements to search and the way pictures are uploaded and they’ve added a new games application dashboard to make it easier to find these things should you want them.

The focus there is clear. These games are massive money spinners (like Farmville) and traffic drivers, which is in part helping to fuel Facebook’s growth.

“We’re making it easier for you to find and interact with applications and discover new ones, with the new Applications and Games dashboards, accessible via the “Applications” and “Games” links on the home page. The dashboards will surface the applications you’ve interacted with most recently as well as your most recent application activity and your friends’ activity.”

There are already 3,000 comments on the post announcing changes to Facebook’s design. Plus another 2,500 plus saying they like it. That’s an engaged community. The post only went up five hours ago.

Facebook Connect also looks to have played a big part in this and that has barely got going. People have called Facebook Connect a game changer and we are going to see big things with that this year.

As more sites implement Facebook Connect it will doubtless persuade more users to Facebook because it so easily allows people to hop around the web with a single login.

What’s interesting about Facebook Connect and its success with sites like the Huffington Post for instance is that these are sites come with a huge cross section of audience in terms of age and demographics, which underscores Facebook’s success (and MySpace’s failure). Facebook has broad sustained appeal from your mother to your kids.

What’s also interesting is that the growth appears sustainable. It took it six months to get it the 100 million users it needed to growth from 250 million to 350 million, but only two months to add another 50 million. That raises the prospect of Facebook of hitting 500 million users by June.

What will that mean for news sites and the likes of Google News? It could be significant as more and more people choose Facebook as the platform not only where they network with friends, share pictures, play games, but also stay informed.


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