Bits and Bytes

Thoughts on digital, running rambles and photos



#Twitter4brands, breaking news and this week’s bits & bytes

#Twitter4Brands: Twitter’s annual update on what’s what with brands and advertising took place yesterday. Some thoughts about it below, although it is by no means an exhaustive summary. Here’s another view from Matt Chapman on Brand Republic.

The fact that Twitter is the second screen shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it should influence how brands use Twitter to talk to their followers. 80% of Twitter activity in the UK is from mobile phones and people are tweeting about what’s happening in the real world.

I’ve talked before about this trend, so I won’t go into much more except to say that the Twitter TV book has been updated with new data.

The big news was about keyword targeting in timelines. And this one is going to be HUGE. Imagine you’re in a foreign country, your flight has been cancelled, you’re stuck and you need a place to crash. You don’t know anyone. You take to Twitter and voice your anger and frustration. You might tweet something along the lines of ‘Flight cancelled. Stuck with nowhere to go and no place to sleep. I need a hotel’. Perhaps throw in a bit of colourful language to round it off. What if there’s a hotel just down the road from you that has bought a keyword targeted tweet (say to the words ‘need’ and ‘hotel’ and that their message will pop up in anybody’s Twitter stream, provided they are within 5km of their hotel and they’ve used those two words in a public message).

Serendipity as Head of Twitter UK @TonyW called it.

Tone of voice was the big topic for the second half of the conference. The key point being that people expect brands to speak in normal language on Twitter, not in some sort of stilted, formal tone. There were many excellent examples, culminating in O2 winning the first ever Flock award for the most outstanding use of Twitter – interestingly, not for how O2 used the various promotional mechanics that Twitter showcased in the first half of the day, but for how they enter into real conversations with their followers. The most famous example of which was how they dealt with enraged customers during a network outage last year. Other excellent examples came from @The_Dolphin_Pub and @Mangal2.

Still not convinced? It’s not just Twitter who are saying that brands should be human on social media.

Finally, Gary Lineker showed up and talked about England going out to Germany at Italia90 on penalties (which I enjoyed very much) as well as the infamous Poogate (which I may actually have enjoyed more)…

… but he was mainly there to talk about how he uses Twitter to promote brand Lineker, Match of the Day as well as how he deals with trolls (Piers Morgan and Joey Barton received a special mention here).

I’ll leave it to @TonyW’s to sum up #Twitter4Brands – in just 5 tweets.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 19.54.55

Breaking news: There was a lot of it this week. From the Lion Air flight that skidded off the runway in Bali into the sea, to the Boston Marathon bombing, to the exploding fertiliser factory in Texas. The Boston bombing in particular horrified many. Much has been said about how news travels on social media – and that is how I found out about all of the above: from Facebook and Twitter. Interestingly though, in all three occasions my immediate reaction was to turn on the TV. An almost knee-jerk reaction to confirm these things had actually happened. The fact that the 24 hour news channels in each instance were already on the story was weirdly reassuring, yet the longer I watched them, the more facts were replaced by wild speculation and leading questions about all of our safety. It’s nothing new really, just in a week with some much bad stuff happening, I felt very increasingly angry at the media’s fear mongering.

Interesting then to read that news actually bad for you. Rolf Dobelli argues that news causes disruption, anxiety, shallow thinking – basically that it’s a waste of time. And as I’d like to join his movement of not consuming news, that would make my job pretty darn difficult to do. Dobelli doesn’t think that all journalism is useless: he does concede a special place for investigative journalism, reporting that goes deep and uncovers truth.

Now given my chosen profession, it’ll be difficult for me to just abstain from the news, but it should act as a reminder to turn off the incessant news stream every once in a while before we all lose our minds.

Or – you could immerse yourself entirely and join Guardian Witness. Similar to CNN’s iReport, The Guardian is inviting its readers to register, pick their assignment and provide images, video and copy to cover news events. As I write this, The Guardian is calling for stories about Syrian refugees, photos of sleeping pets and how budget cuts have affected you. A simple – and free – way for the paper to augment its eyes and ears and tap into a willing network of eager freelancers.

The news lifecycle: An interesting look at how mobile has not only influenced how people consume the news, but when they consume it. FT data shows quite clearly how people get up in the morning and read the FT on their phone or tablet first thing and on their commute in to work. As soon as they get to the office, desktop readers of the FT website spike and then slowly drop off during the day. Finally, mobile devices spike for a second time as people start their commute home again. On the weekends, desktop use is low, with spikes coming early in the day from mobile devices.

Why do you see the things you see in your Facebook newsfeed? It’s not as easy as just following somebody or a brand. It depends on four factors: previous engagement, the type of content your interacting with, how popular it is within your network and increasingly, how much negative feedback its received. Here’s a clever little infographic that explains what Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm is and how it works.

Facebook Home: It launched, they made an ad, then another one with Zuck in it (bad idea), and now most people are giving it a 1 out of 5 star rating. Ouch.

Geekgasm: HMV have come out of administration and are under new ownership. To celebrate, they’ve hidden Nipper in the source code of their revamped website. Kudos to HMV for this extremely nerdy Easter egg, although I cannot for the life of me understand why you’d check out the source code of a website (HT @TomParker81)?

Videos of the week: Check out this brilliant ad from K-Mart to advertise their new direct shipping service. Ship the bed!

The dove real beauty campaign continues with real sketches

and with an even better parody.

There is much Lego awesomeness in the world and this folding Buddhist temple blew my mind (HT @gin_lane).

Bringing Instagram and CSR together: FoodShareFilter is an Instagram-esque photo filter with a purpose. Download it, and the proceeds go to an agricultural program in El Salvador run by Manos Unidas, a major charity. What better way for Hipsters to Instagram the food they eat and make it worth their while?

Viral cake: If you’ve not seen the best viral cake resignation letter ever, you’ve clearly been living under some sort of rock.

And finally: Every Facebook birthday wall, ever.

HMV’s Twitter meltdown, a masterclass in multimedia storytelling and this week’s bits and bytes

Pinch, punch, first day of the month – it can only mean our monthly look back at @SainsburysPR’s favourite tweets from January 2013.

And while we’re on the topic – Sainsbury’s has landed on rank 6 in the FTSE 100 social media index (up from 27th last year!). The report highlighted Sainsbury’s strong presence across all six channels in the index, especially the YouTube channel with its variety of content from recipe tutorials to playlists on its involvement in the Paralympics and with Fairtrade. Sainsbury’s use of Twitter and how we engage our corporate and consumer audiences through dedicated accounts @SainsburysPR and @Sainsburys was also seen as a reason for the strong performance.

Over on Escherman’s blog, @andismit takes a look at which journalists you should follow on Twitter. He uses data from Twitonomy to look at how The Guardian’s tech editor Charles Arthur uses Twitter (does he RT? Does he @? When is he most active?). This leads to a number of suggestions for how PRs should engage with journos on Twitter. It starts to get interesting though when Charles responds in the comments to the post and provides his own view on how to use Twitter – very useful to read his point of view and also goes to show that while using and understanding data is increasingly important for PRs, it should not be trusted in blindly.

In what ‏@marcusleroux from The Times called the most entertaining parting shot since Stephen Pollard left the Express, HMV’s official account @HMVtweets gained 10,000 followers in the space of a few hours yesterday as a an employee live tweeted the firing of over 100 employees. Apparently, HMV HR had started internal redundancy meetings with the marketing teams, including the person responsible for their social media account. The tweets were quickly deleted, but not before they’d been screengrabbed and retweeted all over the world. The social media manager behind it all later posted her motivations from her personal account. I’ve pulled together a summary of it all together in a Storify about the #hmvXFactorFiring.

You should always read things carefully. Especially when you retweet them, as Capital Hotel learnt when they shared what they thought was a positive review by Jay Rayner with their followers. Oops (HT @tomparker81).

Everywhere there is talk about the old media world dying. Interesting then that it is old media institutions like Forbes and the New York Times that are blazing a trail for the rest of the publishing world. Forbes offer a great insight into the changing of the guard that is evident in both the technology used by the journalists as it is in the their mindset in a great piece titled Inside Forbes: A New Wave of Digital Journalist Is Showing a Profession the Way Forward.

But what really blew my mind is this brilliant project by the New York Times about an avalanche at Tunnel Creek. Titled ‘Snow Fall’, it is already being seen as a seminal piece of work in terms of online storytelling techniques. It combines videos, animation and audio around one specific event and pulls it all together through some beautifully written and exceptionally harrowing narrative to deliver what is an entirely engrossing online experience. Truly magical in its implementation as it keeps perfectly the balance between tech and storytelling. Bottom line: PLEASE LOOK AT THIS. IT IS ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT. I can also highly recommend the Q&A with the author of the piece, John Branch (HT @davidjstocks).

Vine, Twitter’s new 6 second video app launched last week. Imagine Instagram without filters and instead of a photo you record a short video. I played around with the new Vine app myself and also had a look at how brands are starting to use it.

Image credit: Vine

Remember Foursquare? That app where you check in and get to be mayor of a location if you check in most often? Well as someone who was once the mayor of my local pub, my local coffee shot, my local Sainsbury’s, Sainsbury’s Head Office and a number of other places – I never really saw the point. Why? Businesses just weren’t rewarding check ins or mayorships. Launched in 2009, it’s taken them four years to finally come up with an app that allows business owners manage specials and view analytics. We’ll see if that will make checking in worthwhile…

Videos of the week

“Push to add drama by TNT – the sequel”

and “The Replacer”

Awesome. And you gotta love the Fargo reference in the second one.

Image source: Failposters

And finally: anybody who has ever spoken to me about QR codes knows I hate them and, given the chance, will go on a rant full of colourful language. Mainly because of the half-arsed and poor executed implementation. Generally I point people to the brilliant Pictures of People Scanning QR Codes but our very own @SimonLP has started curating these wonderfully painful examples of QR Code fails on Pinterest so I shall from now on point people who mention them there.

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