Less than 24 hours to go until the London Marathon – no better way to get my mind off the 26.2 miles that lie in wait than write my weekly bits and bytes.

This week I’m looking at the biggest threat to the Internet since the Y2K bug, how banning a journalist from a media dinner is a recipe for disaster, how Costa Coffee did a great job with engaging bloggers (but then forgot to tie that good work back into their social profiles), and the new Twitter profiles that will be coming to a screen near you.

Finally, your bits and bytes and videos of the week including probably The Worst Video About Social Media Ever Made – you have been warned.

The Heartbleed bug: what it is, how it works and what you need to do

It’s being called the biggest security threat the Internet has ever seen. The media is freaking out about it and system administrators the world over have been frantically patching the software running their servers to fix the bug.

As is often the case, xkcd has the most concise explanation of the severity of the problem and how it the Heartbeat bug actually works. If you fancy a slightly more in-depth, yet still understandable explanation of buffer over and underflow attacks – you should watch @tomscott‘s film explaining the Heartbleed Bug. Actually, watch Scott’s film and then read the second xkcd comic. That’ll sort you out.

Got it? Cool.

What then, besides going completely off-grid, can you do to keep your private data private? Change your passwords. Mashable has the best overview of which passwords to services like Facebook, Tumblr, Google, Yahoo, Gmail, Dropbox you should be changing, and which are fine.


Leave no journo hungry

Tesco were so upset with FT Retail Correspondent @AndreaFelsted over her coverage of shareholder discontent with CFO Laurie McIlwee this week, that they banned her from a media dinner on Thursday. This proved a very unpopular move among Andrea’s peers:

We spotted a bit of an opportunity and issued this tweet

This generated plenty of retweets among our key stakeholders and positive comment – as well as this diary piece in City AM which noted that “boycotts rarely go well for companies receiving negative attention. PRs are often advised to find other solutions to a problem reporter by experts.

Finally, Andrea responded (perhaps while enjoying a tasty Bistro Meal Deal?)


Costa Coffee gets 10 bloggers to play with their food

@a_little_wine this week presented this great bit of blogger outreach by Costa Coffee, who sent a hamper full of tasty goodies to 10 bloggers with the simple mission to get creative and have fun with their food – and then post them to their respective blogs and share using the hashtag #CostaFoodFun.

Generating over 500,000 impressions on Twitter, the campaign provided Costa with a huge amount of authentic and shareable content. Strangely though, it seems that Costa missed a trick in actually using that content on their own channels – there isn’t a single mention of #CostaFoodFun on their Twitter feed, for example.

Instead, they stuck to their beautifully and carefully crafted messaging on @CostaCoffee – when a retweet here or there would have brought the genuine love for their brand and products exhibited by the bloggers to Costa’s 86k followers, possibly generating more food fun!

Twitter’s new profile pages

Twitter has started rolling out Facebook-esque profiles to users (new users get them now, existing users should have them in the next few weeks). Alongside a new look and feel, the profiles will

  • allow users to pin a particularly important tweet to the top of the page
  • display tweets that see more engagement (favourites, retweets and comments) larger than less popular messages
  • allow users to filter feeds to see only tweets, only tweets, tweets with photos/videos, or tweets and replies (this last one is basically the function that at the moment is only available on accounts with the official blue tick)
  • make the rather large avatar shrink to a smaller size when you scroll down
  • make photos and videos easier to find – they’ve been added right to the top of the page
  • provide a more visually pleasing summary of your followers

@Flotus is one the first to get the new profile (don’t worry, @WhiteHouse is new too). Most striking is the massive header image, and while information is arranged in a pleasing and familiar way, for a platform that sees 75% of use come via mobile, I’m not sure this will make that big of a difference to most of Twitter’s user base.

The move is probably aimed more at new and older (in terms of age) users that are new to the platform and perhaps coming from Facebook. That first contact tends to be via a desktop screen so a new design might help getting new users on board and also have them come back.

Bits and bytes

  • Facebook has announced a further crackdown on like/comment/share bait (Condescending Brand Page won’t be happy about that!) as well as content that’s already been widely shared on Facebook. So hopefully we should be seeing more top quality content. What I want to know is what Facebook is doing about baby posts?
  • Strange one this: Facebook is removing the messaging feature from its mobile app, forcing users to download its standalone Messenger app if they want to chat with their Facebook friends. Preparation for the WhatsApp integration?
  • The Ikea Party Train – a genius stunt by everyone’s favourite Allen-Key-powered furniture house who transformed a monorail line in Tokyo into a moving showroom to celebrate the openie one this: Facebook is removing the messaging feature from its mobile app, forcing users to download its standalone Messenger app if they want to chat with their Facebook friends. Preparation for the WhatsApp integration?

Videos of the week

One of our own this week, a marvellous clip featuring some handy tips (quite literally, you’ll find) of how to spend Easter together; from fun in the garden and arts and crafts to cooking a delicious meal together. Watch the clip below and then head to Sainsbury’s Easter Together page to see all 43 great Easter ideas (HUGE props to @hannah_upton@meeraretna@BrionyIvy and @simonlp for the awesomeness).

Over in France, drink brand Oasis has launched a new site called YouPomm. The logo and UI look surprisingly like YouPorn (so I’m told), the videos feature some rather fruity clips of plums, grapes and kiwis being caressed to a soundtrack of, errr, bass lines and way wah pedals. Tongue firmly in cheek, the site even features a challenge screen asking users whether they’re ripe enough or still green (both options take you through to the site, mind). Chapeau, les mecs. Here are some naughty grapes to get in you the mood for more…

Quite simply the best ad for the best product I have ever seen: Poo-Pourri (I shit you not, this is real).

And then, this. A song about social media performed before the keynote at this year’s Social Media Marketing World. Had this been performed by Siobhan Sharpe from PR agency Perfect Curve on W1A or Twenty Twelve you would have complained that they had taken it too far. But this is real. This actually happened. What’s worse, when the audience is encouraged, in rhyme, to get up and take a selfie with the person next to them, THEY ACTUALLY GET UP AND DO SO (HT @Corporate_Brand).

And finally: Choose your own adVINEture by @Origiful