Archive for tag: Social media

21 March 2014

Twitter reminds you of your first time

Everyone has done something on social media that is utterly cringe-worthy in one way or another.


Thanks to Twitter's latest endeavour, that first tweet you thought was buried deep in the murky depths of 2009 has a chance to resurface and force you to face the shame that perhaps you weren't always as brilliantly witty or funny as you are today.


Like a baby giraffe walking for the very first time, you stumbled onto Twitter, made an account and typed out something thought-provoking and insightful… Or not.


We've included some of our favourites from fellow Octopedes below, including our very own, which, as it turns out, is actually very insightful and about a Twitter application that is no longer available:




My personal favourite, back when Katie was a Twi-hard



Oops - eloquently put, Jon!



Rebecca was feeling a little unsure



Meanwhile, Steve remained diplomatic and cheery



Four years on, and Helen must be disappointed this is still not the case



Carolann sharing the empty feeling you get when you finish an amazing series



Classic writer's block from Russell



Little did Alice know that she loved social media so much she'd do it professionally



Erm… No comment.



Natasha was less than convinced…



Steevan wishing on a Twitter-shaped star



Setting expectations high



Jen was getting political #HockeyMoms



And Crystal was seeking assistance (I'm pretty sure she's mastered it now)



Big thank you to all those that were willing to share their first tweets.


This was great fun and there were plenty of hilariously embarrassing first tweets being shared both in our office, and all over the internet - if you had a particularly horrifyingly shameful one, share it with us on Twitter!




28 August 2013

Are we going crazy or just going viral?

Something is going desperately wrong in the world. I'm genuinely worried that we're all becoming desensitised to craziness and that the more stories we see of violence, sex and serious crime, the less, well….  serious it becomes. Can it really be the case that the more news stories we see on crime and bad behaviour, the less we're bothered by it?

Here's just one example. The plight of the two women caught with 11 kilograms of cocaine on them has dominated news over the last fortnight with serious questions being raised about their guilt, foreign diplomacy and what happens to young individuals in trouble in a foreign country. Who knows whether they are guilty or not but there are certainly some people out there who are guilty of making light of the story.

It started last week on the 'ever-giving' Daily Mail website where the comment below, posted in response to a picture of the accused girls, was not only made, but liked…. 743 times!! And in very un-Daily Mail fashion by like number784 it didn't have a single red arrow against it.


Today, a picture has emerged of two kids dressed up as the 'Peru Two' at a local fete brandishing a sign saying 'drugs is for mugs'. Okay, it is a little funny and there's a serious message there, sort of, and actually maybe kids saying no to drugs isn't a bad thing BUT let's just stop and think about this for a moment. These are kids, under the age of ten, having a dig at serious crime, including cocaine as part of a fancy dress outfit and possibly most criminal of all……applying poor use of grammar on their sign! Shouldn't they be dressed up as fairy princesses or having a picnic rather than being trussed up as drug-mules?


Now, admittedly I grew up in the Home Counties in the 80s where the local fete meant hoopla, maypole dancing and 'Splat the Rat' but surely this can't be right!?

It may not be right but is it normal? Has the world gone crazy or are we just more aware of how crazy we all are thanks to 24 /7 news and social media?




27 August 2013

How Twitter helped One Direction's rise to fame

Love them or loathe them but you definitely know them. 1D (One Direction) recently premiered their new movie This Is Us which took place in London's Leicester Square.  It's a documentary-style film directed by Morgan Spurlock, the brains behind the infamous Super Size Me. Digital Spy has reported that 3.6 million tweets were sent relating to the group and the world premiere.


With thousands of screaming fans outside of the premiere in London, some having camped out since Saturday, I questioned what are the catalysts behind their rise to fame and 37 number ones around the globe.

Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson have equated 62 million Twitter followers between them, just a couple of million less than the UK population.

When The Beatles first came to fame they too had an abundance of screaming fans following them everywhere they went. However with the rise of social media, we see that virtual fans can bid for the attention of their favourite boy band around the clock, with fans going above and beyond the call of duty to try and win their affection. With 'Directioners' praying for a retweet from one of their idols it provides a clear explanation as to how they trend so often on Twitter.

Fans gain positive experiences from interacting with the band and other Directioners on Twitter. This spurs the attraction of others becoming followers, allowing fans to gain an insight into the life of the boys. Ultimately this drives popularity, keeping One Direction in the limelight and creating droves of advocates for the band.

Social Media is also a good indicator of public interest; this is then reflected in both print and online publications. This popularity across Twitter allows One Direction to maintain their position in the limelight. It almost seems like it is a never ending circle, for now it's hard to see when it may end.



19 March 2013

Micro-monetising content

You may have seen the (re)launch of flattr this week, a service which has just becoming bigger and better from the idea first proposed in 2010. The basic concept is that, providing there are the (pre-paid) funds to do so, anyone viewing a post, a picture, a blog, or a video can give the creator of the material a flattr credit by simply clicking an icon - essentially heralding the era of microdonations. The service is compatible with nearly all major platforms, including Instagram, flickr, twitter, Facebook and various blog platforms.

What this means is that there is, perhaps, finally a small scale monetisation opportunity for everyone creating fresh, engaging content, through a broad all-encompassing service - such a reach that means the reliance on individually monetised silos could be obsolete. This has long been one of the biggest challenges for content creators in the social era; how do you make yourself profitable as a blogger or occasional commentator?

This 'Oyster' card approach is one which could become hugely effective in that it could break down the barriers to siloed content - you can't help but wonder whether if newspapers got together and created a similar approach they'd be able to monetise their content collectively rather than in individually subscribed services.

If you could pre-pay to read a finite amount of content across a variety of news sites (which then divvied up the proceeds based on reader behaviour) then you'd browse more. As it is, the increasing number of subscription-based models merely means people get tied to one title only - or, as seems to be the case, simply find the news for free elsewhere rather than pay multiple subscriptions to be able to browse multiple sites. There's power in working together.

For individual bloggers, it provides a nice opportunity to see tangible rewards for your work (albeit rewards that are unlikely to allow you to retire), as well as be able to give flattr credits to others you enjoy reading, watching or reposting. It's a novel idea, and it'll be interesting to see it progress.



07 January 2013

Social Media Guru? Pull the other one…

It shouldn't *really* be a surprise that people tweeting ad infinitum about social media techniques and tips should describe themselves as 'social media gurus', but the report from What's Next Blog shows how ridiculous this self-aggrandising chest thumping has got.


Over 180 thousand twitter users describe themselves as 'social media gurus' in some shape or form, with some of the worst perpetrators being those who modestly dub themselves 'warriors', 'mavens', and (strangely, given the industry's relatively nascency) 'veterans'.

What would be interesting would be to assess the *actual* guru-ness of these people. In my experience, accounts who boast such a title are often the worst culprits for spamming linkbait blogs repeating the same old nonsense - let's be honest, there is a genuinely finite amount you can write about how to run a good social media programme or engaging twitter account. It doesn't need a dozen posts a day to explain it. Furthermore, they often have tens of thousands of followers, but rarely a RT - they're not practising what they preach by means of engagement.


What really annoys me though is that these accounts follow people, then, within 24 hours, unfollow if they're not followed back, or unfollow you the moment you do so to them (when you get bored of being spammed crap blogs).

Twitter isn't about reciprocal follows, it's about following people you find interesting, funny, or informative; 'follow me if I follow you' is the wrong approach, yet so many self-styled 'social media gurus' do just that - harvesting followers to increase their perceived popularity.


We're all, individually and as an industry, constantly learning about the opportunities social media brings and finding new (and not always perfect) ways of using platforms in the best way possible. However, calling yourself a guru is perhaps arrogant at best and when you fail to grasp the basics, downright annoying.


02 July 2012

‘Silence isn’t always golden’

This time last week I was at home, recovering from the Isle of Wight Festival and basking at the sheer joy of being home, and clean, and on a proper bed, and clean, and having had more than three hours sleep, and importantly…being clean.

The idea to go the Festival was first seeded over a bottle of wine, when I asked my friend whether being the tender age of 32 and 13 months made me too old to go to a festival. A gentle 'No babe' was given in reply and a plan was hatched. Yes it might rain a bit, yes it would involve camping and I'd be cold, but we'd have each other and booze, which would make it all okay, right?


Our plan first seemed at risk when the weather report in the week ahead looked shoddy at best. 'No fear', I said. 'I have a Kagool and Jack Daniels, it will be ace.' The closer it got to the event, the more it rained and the more nervous I became about it being a mud-fest. So, I put my hope into modern communications to aide me. After all, knowledge is power.

I became obsessed with weather reports and following anyone vaguely useful on Twitter, from official festival organisers and ferry operators through to anyone tweeting about their journey. Come Thursday afternoon, day 1 of the festival, tales of woe were literally flooding in and there was a Twitter frenzy with people complaining of being trapped in their cars and on ferries in the Solent.  No one could get into the festival site due to mud and social media was awash with panic. Rumours were spreading that thousands were trapped, the main stage was sinking and the whole thing had been called off.

People wanted answers. What they got were two tweets. One at 2pm in the afternoon saying that there were some difficulties getting people on site. The next one six hours later saying 'Cerys Matthews is opening the Big Top' which was understandably met with a torrent of expletives from people who were still stuck on the road and hadn't moved in eight hours.

It comes down to this. If you have a Twitter presence, use it. If people have questions, answer them. If you have nothing to say or update people on, tell them. Just keep in touch. The organisers said that they were busy helping people get on site which is why they were unable to talk to media or put updates on Twitter. This sounds noble enough but just doesn't cut it in an age where everyone is online. Knowledge is power but if you opt for radio silence, you lose that power and the online world will make up their own reality.

In the end, after purchasing an extra groundsheet and an extra bottle of Jack Daniels to see me though, we had a surprisingly easy journey to the festival. Yes we renamed it 'Mudfest 2012', yes the mud will haunt me for years to come and yes it was a brilliant weekend in the end, but poor social media management meant that we could have called it off altogether.

So, my two 'take-aways' from the weekend are as follows. Silence isn't always golden, and white isn't always a sensible choice for festival attire - evidence below.

IoW Festival

Helen @fablett


14 June 2012

Big Brother is watching you…. Or it could just be Google/Facebook/Twitter?

It's been all over the news this week - Google falling foul of Britain's privacy watchdog over the misuse of personal data. The online search engine has been accused of using their Street View cars to gather information from unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Big Brother is watching you

Scary stuff! Even scarier that George Orwell told us extreme surveillance was going to happen - fair enough he is about 28 years out in his predictions, and we aren't all being controlled by the dictatorship of The Party - but still this 'Big Brother' state is a little worrying.

Yesterday, I frantically made my Facebook profile private in as many ways as possible, without removing the ability for people to write on my wall... which is actually just a space for me to post things that I/other people find funny.... I digress; I suddenly became very worried about who had seen my photos and who had been trawling through them, although in reality it is probably just my mother taking a peek at what I have been up to. Still, I do know people who take great pleasure in extracting information from people's Facebook pages -  "OMG did you see she liked his status? I am defo looking through her photos!" The thought of someone doing that to me worries me greatly, especially as these are individuals, not companies, who are following our online movements! **Shivers**

Let's face it; if Google weren't going to extract data from unsecured wi-fi networks then they would probably just get it from our online movements. Both of which are creepy. My advice? Everyone should get offline and go play in the sunshine…..Oh wait? It's raining? I better update my Facebook and Twitter and tell everyone just how much it's raining #EnglishWeather.

Rambo (aka Kelly) @KelRams


01 June 2012

Fixing a chip with a smile

Driving to work this week enjoying the sunshine with my window down and music turned up I was not best pleased when a stone bounced off of a passing lorry straight towards my windscreen.  I closed my eyes but knew from the sound of the stone hitting the glass that it had chipped.  I decided to take the mature route of cursing at the chip and at the lorry which had now long gone and continued my drive to work. What a crap start to the day.

When I got to work I vented my frustration on Twitter as most people do (we all know that's what it's really for).

Becca Twitter

Within an hour I was surprised to see a reply from @Autoglass - especially since I hadn't tweeted them directly or hash tagged them. My first reaction was that it'd be a sales punt that would've caused my frustration and annoyance to spiral. But I was pleased and shocked to see it was a charming, friendly personal note. It cheered me up.

I replied, thanking them for the tweet, and said that I'd speak to my insurers and give them a call if I needed any further help. Turns out my insurers work with Autoglass anyway. So I gave them a call, booked an appointment and they repaired it. Simple.

But what makes this even more remarkable is that it has very little value for Autoglass (it only cost me £10 to have it fixed). I was so impressed with how personal and effective they had been that I've been telling everyone about it (as will this blog!). My experience shows that using Twitter correctly can really help to engage customers and help shape brand perceptions.

I later found out that Autoglass are using Radian6 which is how they came across my tweet.  They simply monitor tweets that contain words like 'chip' and 'cracked' together with 'windscreen' and 'car'.  Specific searches are set up so that irrelevant tweets such as those that include the words 'chip' and 'fish' are ignored. People tweeting about their dinner obviously won't need to be contacted.

I think this is a fantastic example of a brand engaging with consumers through Twitter successfully. Autoglass listened and understood my tweet before responding, were helpful without being pushy and made an effort.

Becca @beccakennett


29 March 2012

Getting LinkedIn with......LinkedIn

Customers, employees and journalists came together this week for a Taleo breakfast event discussing the impact of LinkedIn on recruitment, which I was lucky enough to attend.

The event saw a series of insightful sessions from speakers such as Dan Dackombe (EMEA Enterprise Sales Manager Hiring Solutions at LinkedIn), Richard Doherty (Head of Business Transformation, Taleo) and Chris Phillips (VP EMEA Marketing, Taleo). We all know how social media is transforming the game in terms of PR, so it was interesting to see it applied to the world of recruitment.


All about LinkedIn, from LinkedIn

First up, I was really interested to hear Dan give some great insight into LinkedIn itself, and he impressed the audience with some serious stats on the business. Take these for example; in the past 14 months, the number of employees working across EMEA for LinkedIn has grown from less than 50 to an impressive 350. And for anyone doubting the impact of LinkedIn, Dan told us that 62% of all UK professionals now use the site.

He also explained how LinkedIn works to the following three objectives;

1)      Identity - to help recruiters, companies and individuals create an online identity that is constantly evolving.

2)      Insight - allow potential candidates and recruiters to learn more about the individual or the company through various groups and references.

3)      Everywhere - make the process of recruitment and job-hunting a constant experience through their mobile app.

Best practices:

As ever, the Q&A session brought up some nuggets of vital information, and one of the biggest questions for employers, it emerged, is how to engage employees in social media participation? However, the Q&A threw up a great number of things for employers to consider when it comes to social media. Creating groups within your network, thereby allowing employees to own a group by contributing content, beginning conversations and forwarding invitations onto friends was just one idea, as was giving employees the chance to talk about their company or about relevant topics. This allows employers to carve out their identity amongst the greater community and reach their target audience of potential employees, even if they are only passive candidates.

What I definitely learnt is that social media means that the world of recruitment is undergoing massive change, led by the expansion of social media recruitment and the acceptance of new mobile applications and platforms. It's not just PR that social media is changing.

As the morning concluded, many recruiters were left excited about beginning or expanding their journey into the world of social media and all were full of delicious mini eggs Benedict and hash browns! Yummy!

Lindsey @lindsey_hemming


23 March 2012

Friends Reunited – could they be ahead of the curve again?

The creators of Friends Reunited were arguably pioneers in the social space. And it wasn't created by some Harvard geeks, oh no, it was the brainchild of Steve and Julie Pankhurst from Hertfordshire in our very own Blighty.

When the site launched in 2000 Mark Zuckerburg was only a wee nipper at 16, and whilst he was hardly collecting his pension when he launched Facebook four years later, Friends Reunited had already established itself with 20 million members and a bit of a reputation as the go-to community site to reunite with old school mates.

Their success didn't last long sadly, and despite a lucrative buy out by ITV for £175 million - lucky Steve and Julie - it went on to be sold to Brightsolid for only £25 million (ouch for ITV).

But news announced this week says Friends Reunited is on the cusp of a re-launch on March 27th. Interestingly though it's not planned to be just a new look and feel site but a whole new approach to the very nature of social media - private content focused on digital memories, firmly planting the control of content back with the user.

Locked computer

With momentum building against Facebook's vast monopoly over an incredible amount of the global population's data (845 million active users at the last count) and some rather questionable privacy policies, it most certainly is quite a different proposition but can they pull it off?

They certainly have a bit of a challenge on their hands shaking off pre-conceptions of Friends Reunited of old but it might be worth shaking the dust off your old username and password and checking it out.

With the frenzy around Pinterest, visual led social media interaction could be the next big thing and a site that gives control back to the user could be the next evolution of social media.

Helen @helen_carroll