28 August 2013
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?
, social media; crime; peru; drugs; news; newspapers | 2 comments
27 August 2013
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
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.
, one direction; twitter; followers; fans; social media | 1 comment
19 March 2013
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
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
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
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.
Social media, Blog, Social, Reward | 1 comment
07 January 2013
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)
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
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.
Social media, Twitter, facebook, social media guru, annoying, LinkedIn, follow, unfollow, spam | 1 comment
02 July 2012
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.
, Social media, Twitter, Isle of White Festival | 4 comments
14 June 2012
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
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
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
, Social media, Google | 1 comment
01 June 2012
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).
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
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.
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
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.
Social media, Twitter | 1 comment
29 March 2012
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
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
3) Everywhere -
make the process of recruitment and job-hunting a constant
experience through their mobile app.
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
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
Social media, Client | 1 comment
23 March 2012
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
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
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.
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
Social media | Leave comment
16 February 2012
Nowadays you can find just about any brand on Twitter,
Facebook and LinkedIn, as so many have jumped on the social media
bandwagon to engage and communicate with their customers. However,
how many of those embracing social CRM actually have a successful
strategy in place?
Up until last week, I had been having so many problems with my
mobile network provider Vodafone and had been resorting to the old
fashioned call centre for first hand advice and help. However,
having been put on hold for hours on end and being transferred to
different call centres all over the world I officially gave up and
as per usual took to Twitter to let off some steam.
Now I'm a huge fan of Twitter, I use it as a platform to share
my views, catch up on news and gossip, and have the odd rant here
and there. Many a time, I even mention brands within my tweets, for
when I complain about their miserable staff and @NationalRail for
leaving me stranded at the train station for hours. However, not
once have any of these brands ever responded to me or acknowledged
my tweet. I was therefore taken by surprise last week when @VodafoneUK decided to
reply to my tweet within seconds, after having complained about
their call centre customer service.
Within an hour of me complaining, Vodafone had responded to my
tweet, sent me a link to email their web team about my issue and
acknowledged receipt of my complaint! I then received an email
within 24 hours with an apology and resolution to my problem.
Never did I think a simple tweet would be the answer to my
problems having spent hours on the phone to eight different call
centre advisors, neither of which had helped me. It just goes to
show, with a strategy in place and a web team responding to your
tweets in real time, any brand can win over their customer... hats
off to you @VodafoneUK!
, Social media, Twitter, Social CRM, Vodafone | 1 comment
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