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Airline Twitter shenanigans, iDamp, Lyric Videos and this week’s bits and bytes

Social media insight: Social Media Week was on this week. I didn’t go to any events but I refer to @Garyvee‘s marvellous manifesto that pretty much covers the insight you can hope to garner from these events. Unlike these selections.

BU59bthCAAAyQywBudget Tweets, Part 1: This week, Ryanair Chief Exec Michael O’Leary announced at their AGM that the company would look to reform it’s abrupt culture and things that unnecessarily annoy passengers: “I am very happy to take the blame or responsibility if we have a macho or abrupt culture. Some of that may well be my own personal character deformities.”

Did this new found humility and focus on customer service prompt Europe’s biggest budget Airline to launch their own Twitter account? I don’t know. Their first Tweet was promising, showing some of that don’t-give-a-sh*t tone-of-voice they’re so (in)famous for.

Many RTs and responses followed – along with their second Tweet, a day later.

https://twitter.com/Ryanair/status/379944310029811712

Errr… right chaps.

By that logic, you haven’t quite grasped this whole social media thing and many other companies shouldn’t be on Twitter either. Do have a look at the responses to that Tweet – it’s telling to see what people expect from brands who come to Twitter.

I suspect that Ryanair won’t care too much about it… at least until they find a way for passengers to pay for the privilege of receiving Tweets?

Budget Tweets, Part 2: Meanwhile, Europe’s other budget airline also had a turbulent week on Twitter. EasyJet landed in some hot water when they stopped The Drum’s tech law columnist Mark Leiser from boarding a flight because he’d criticised the airline on Twitter.

The Drum have the whole story, here are the pertinent Tweets from Leiser and Easyjet (HT @TomParker81).

https://twitter.com/mleiser/status/382620916708282368

Tweetliner vs. Dreamliner: Completing the aeronautical Twitter theme this week is a rather nifty retweet competition from @BritishAirways, who pitted a Dreamliner and an Airbus A380 against a flight powered by Tweets tagged with #RaceThePlane. The competition was live for the actual duration of the actual flights (suspect they made sure they’d leave on time) and participants who tweeted using the hashtag had a chance to win free flights.

I’ve no idea how many tweets equate to a mile (the official microsite doesn’t seem to provide that info), but in both cases the Tweetliner beat its real-life competitor. The competition generated around 24,000 mentions of #RaceThePlane; the first flight peaked at a little over 8,000 and the second a week later at around 14,000. Reach, according to Sysomos, was around 132 million impressions generated from about 13,000 Twitter users. Not bad for the world’s first Twitter powered flight!

https://twitter.com/BritishAirways/status/382690657887719424

I share, therefore I am? A hypnotic animation from Simi Cohen about how today’s über-connected society could in fact lead to loneliness – even though the illusion of all our social media friends and followers would have us believe otherwise. 

Lyric videos: Remember, in the olden days, when you bought a CD and popped it in your Discman, and listened to your favourite band’s new album (Def Leppard, baby!), and then read the lyrics as the song was playing in the booklet (Pour Some Sugar On Me. They don’t write ’em like that no more)?

Good times.

Since then, the mp3 has killed the album and all we have are massive playlists of individual songs – and no idea what people are singing about.

The Internet looks to have come to the rescue with ‘Lyrics Videos’ – a bizarre, home-made sub-genre where fans combine the music and lyrics from their favourite song with their own footage. And according to the NYT, this trend is now so popular on Youtube, that artists like Maroon 5 and Katy Perry are producing their own lyric videos – often before their official music video is released to get interest in a new single going.

iDamp: Sad proof this week that some Apple fans aren’t terribly bright, when the online community 4Chan generated nine different fake Apple iOS 7 ads claiming the newly released mobile operating system would make iDevices waterproof

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 18.42.104Chan members took to Twitter to spread the word of this breakthrough new feature and troll Apple fans.

And yes, according to the reports, people actually fell for it!

In other Apple news: turns out the iPhone 5s’ fingerprint scanner was hacked by Chaos Computer Club. So much for that then.

Imgur beats Reddit: While we’re on slightly more left-field online communities, Buzzfeed reports that the image hosting service Imgur (built to support the online community and ‘front page to the Internet’ Reddit, because it didn’t provide its own image hosting service), now has more users than the community it was built to support. Even better: it doesn’t rely on venture capital and is profitable – unlike Reddit.

Correction of the year? From the Evening Standard.

Videos of the week: Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake show us how using #hashtags in real life will make you sound like a complete and utter tool.

Adobe asks if you really know what your marketing is doing?

And growing London’s skyline (well, tourist attractions and train stations) with geo-tagged Tweets

And finally: Sh*t PR Ideas [hit refresh to see a new one]

Batfleck, #SaintsFC, Sugarpova and this week’s bits and bytes

Batfleck: As usual, the Internet exploded overnight as the news broke that Ben Affleck will play the new Batman (oh yes, all the hard-hitting news here my friends). Outrage is the best word that describes the reaction, with many people suggesting better caped crusaders on the #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck hashtag. As is often the case with curating the best of the Internet silliness, Mashable compiled their favourite suggestions for a better Batman than Ben Affleck (HT @stangreenan).

Of course, the obligatory fake Ben ‘Batman’ Affleck account already has 13,000 followers – and 1 tweet.

https://twitter.com/AffleckBatman/statuses/370725672244609026

Brands getting in on the real-time marketing bandwagon included Pizza Express and Vue Cinemas but it’s really the less politically correct reactions from the fans that are worth a browse.

#SaintsFC: Gotta hand it to Southampton FC. Not only do they have Rickie ‘I create spikes in Saino’s Beetroot sales‘ Lambert, they ‘get’ social. After they successful campaign to thank fans for getting them across the 100,000 follower mark they’ve now become the first British football club to permanently display its official hashtag within its stadium seating (HT @tomparker81).

Trolls are here to stay: In a tremendous guest post on Wired, @JamieJBartlett argues that trolling and cyber-bullying have always played a part in web culture, a consequence of anonymity and the freedom to say anything – no matter how offensive. The only difference is that while trolls used to be confined to the dark underbelly of t’Interwebs, the proliferation of social media, ubiquitous broadband access and smart phones have brought world’s morons out from their hidden communities and into the mainstream and public consciousness.

A wonderful excursion into the history of trolling, flame wars, and the explanation for why you should never, ever, read The Comments – Godwins Law: “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving the Nazis or Hitler approaches one” – this is a wonderful post that calls for people, especially young people and women, to be better prepared when they ‘go online’.

Social media wins customer support: 80% of customer complaints on social media receive a response within 12 hours, while only 37% of customer complaints on email received a response in the same amount of time. Now, there are a number of questions that I’d like to put to the guys at eDigitalResearch who studied 2,000 consumers, but what should also be pointed out is that the amount of customer complaints coming in via email is likely to be far larger than the amount of social media contacts. Still, it is indicative of the fact that companies are biased towards social media complaints due to their potential to becoming larger and possibly reputationally damaging issues.

Advantage Sharapova: Earlier this week, Russian tennis ace Maria Sharapova announced she might change her surname during the US Open to ‘Sugarpova’ to promote her own confectionary range. In the end, the name change would have meant too much paperwork and hassle so it was dropped – ESPN seemed quite miffed at the whole thing, noting Sharapova should concentrate on Tennis, not gimmicks.

Source: Sugarpova

That however, would be missing the point of what I think was a clever way to spread the Sugarpova brand. After all, the story achieved world wide coverage – without Sharapova ever actually doing anything! The number of Tweets mentioning the word “Sugarpova” jumped from 50 to 9,000 in a day – and I’d argue, with all the coverage achieved and me telling you about it now, you have to conclude that the stunt most definitely worked.

Unfortunately for Sharapova: she’s had to pull out of the US Open due to injury.

Brands on Vine: See what brands are up to with Twitter’s 6 second video platform Vine – and keep your eyes peeled for Sainsbury’s latest effort celebrating being the no.1 for British apples and pears.

Hats off also to Aussie Bank NatWest for their superb use of Vine for customer service – quick, six second how-to clips to either explain how to change the settings in online banking, how to recycle an 4 pint milk container into a dust pale or how you can use an empty glass to amplify the sound from your mobile phone.

Embedded posts: Both Twitter and now Facebook are going big on embedded posts. The feature was already available on Twitter for a long time, but they are now displaying related news items alongside the Tweet you chose to embed. For example, @Eunner’s Tweet about the Asiana Airlines crash landing in San Francisco.

The Tweet should shows headlines that are related to the 140-character-message – although it doesn’t seem to like WordPress). As Twitter puts it: “We think this will help more people discover the larger story behind the Tweet, drive clicks to your articles, and help grow your audience on Twitter.”

Never too far behind in copying Twitter, Facebook has also rolled out their embedded post option to all users (something that you’ve been able to do on Twitter for a few years now).

Content marketing vs. content strategy: A great summary of the difference between two entirely different concepts that are often – and incorrectly – use synonymously. 

And while I’m rocking the marketing buzzword bingo – another thought provoking read via the Wall Blog about the rise of the ‘Always on Consumer‘ (this article also contains the beautiful ‘cross-channel’. Oh yes!). The fact that these people are permanently connected across multiple devices means that they require a communications approach that delivers a consistent and seamless narrative which they can enjoy no matter which of their many devices they happen to be brandishing at any particular point in time.

Videos of the week: I admit I cried when I watched this beautiful clip from British Airways from their ‘Visit Mum’ campaign. I can’t say that I have had a similarly long time away from my mum, but I do know what it feels like to come home to her amazing cooking and embrace after a year or so away. Love you, mum!

Clever stuff from Publicis in the Netherlands who installed a barrier in the carpark of one of the country’s most famous clubs that would only let guests leave if they passed a breathalyser test.

And finally: Hot Dog Legs.

Sharing cool, listicles, an ode to Warsteiner and this week’s bits and bytes

Teenagers want a simple way to share cool stuff: Facebook has not been having a good time lately. An academic study from the University of Michigan has found that people tended to feel worse and less satisfied after using Facebook.

As if that weren’t enough, the article that’s popped up most in my feeds this week has been a piece on Mashable penned by 13-year-old Ruby Karp titled “I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook“.

Bored teenager is bored.

I don’t see this as the death knell for Facebook. Rather more interesting are her statements about how teenagers follow their peers, want what their friends want and prefer simple things.

If that’s true, then the need for complex social interactions and continuous ego-marketing is deemed to be unnecessary and a waste of time by teenagers. Instead, Ruby and her friends prefers to focus on platforms that are relevant to her immediate social circle and allow them to share and curate the stuff they think is cool, new – stuff that their parents aren’t already using or sharing.

Listicles: They’ve been around for ages. On Letterman, in newspapers, the Premier League table. In High Fidelity, Rob spends most of his time compiling them. In Sainsbury’s stores up and down the country, our customers use them to make sure they stick to their budget and don’t forget anything. Hell, this blog is based on the principle of the listicle!

I’m talking of course about the wonderful, powerful and entirely simple list.

We are in The Age Of The Listicle (entire articles based on the the structure of a list). Critics see them as the dumbing down of journalism, as nothing more than link bait and click fodder that generate page impressions to inflate website stats.

Hoever, when you have such perfect executions as this brilliant, entertaining and hilarious effort by Mashable about 15 dating tips from Game of Thrones – you can see why it is that listicles are changing journalism

Fired for taking a photo: Remember a while back when a disgruntled HMV employee live tweeted redundancies in the marketing team? This week saw a similarly painful example of corporate downsizing going viral. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong assembled staff from his hyper local news division Patch (which he founded and brought into AOL) to inform them of impending doom.

During the speech, Armstrong made a point of underlining his view on how leaking information about Patch to the press doesn’t affect him: “I don’t care.”

Moments later, Patch’s creative director Abel Lenz takes out his camera and moves to take a photo for Patch’s Intranet.

Armstrong stops in mid sentence, turns to Lenz and orders him to put the camera down.

Another pause, before Armstrong continues: “Abel, you’re fired. Out!”

Why has everyone from the Indie, Forbes, Daily Mail, Bloomberg to the New York Times covered this story? Because all of it was recorded and uploaded to Soundcloud where over a million people have listened to the moment a guy was fired for taking a photo for the company Intranet.

Armstrong has since issued an apology for the rather crass firing, explaining that Lenz had been warned previously not to make recordings of confidential meetings. Why the whole spiel about not caring about leaks in the first place? Bizarre.

The power of video: A great presentation by @LeslieBradshaw to show why video is the best way to get your message across in today’s time and attention poor environment.

  • With ever smarter phones and portable devices as well as faster data connections, videos are already mobile
  • The moving image grabs our attention and we’re more likely to stick to it. I love the line ‘You’re more likely to be struck by lightning than click on a banner ad’ – it rings true. When was the last time you clicked on an ad?
  • Video bypassess the ‘TL;DR mindset’ – people are scared by long texts are likely to not even attempt reading them. The fact that ‘TL;DR’ is a common web abbreviation for ‘too long; didn’t read’ speaks volumes
  • It seems to always be a video that goes viral (except, of course, if it’s Giraffe Bread…! Imagine if we’d created a video with Lily explaining why we changed the name?)

And while we’re on virulent video: Twitter has published a marvelous piece about how videos go viral, using the examples of “Ryan Gosling doesn’t like cereal”, “Dove’s Real Beauty” and Commander Hadfield’s intergalactic Space Oddity cover.

Why I’ll be drinking Warsteiner from now on: I spent my Wednesday evening watching a rubbish Germany draw 3-3 with Paraguay, and England make hard work of Scotland. Accompanying me were a large stuffed crust Pepperoni Pizza and a bottle of Warsteiner. I felt suitably bloke-ish and decided to tweet this glorious ensemble.

No long after, @Warsteiner_UK responded and retweeted me.

Now. I’ve been doing this social media lark for a good while now, and I know this isn’t hard to do for a company. I suspect that Warsteiner don’t have the biggest market share in the UK (Becks seems to be the German beer of choice here), and a quick look at Sysomos shows that in the last 30 days, 488 tweets from the UK have mentioned Warsteiner – most of those mentions coming from their own account.

Still, I found my choice of beverage validated. I am writing about it here. And you know what, I will be more inclined to keep a look out for Warsteiner the next time I’m at a bar or in the BWS aisle in my local Sainsbury’s (mind you, it also helps that it’s a mighty tasty beer, but that’s another story).

Social media creates many such opportunities for brands and businesses to listen for and respond to the people using their products. I wasn’t looking for a retweet or any other response. I didn’t @ them or # their brand name. But they are quite clearly out there, listening for these types of statements and responding to them. A quick retweet, fave and/or @ response really does go a long way in building a link between a customer and a brand.

Newswires are dead: Google has again updated their algorithm, punishing over-optimised press releases and bad content. Andy Barr from @10Yetis puts it rather splendidly: The murder of PR agencies by Google has been vastly exaggerated

Videos of the week: I’d really be interested to know what women think of the hot, heavy and holy-crap-I-really-shouldn’t-be-looking-at-this-at-work Agent Provocateur ad directed by Penelope Cruz and staring Irina Shayk and Javier Bardem.

The clever chaps at Paddy Power have decided to sponsor the greatest football team in the history of the game, Farnborough FC. Messi, Pele, Beckenbauer, Lineker… you’ll want to watch this great clip (HT @stangreenan).

And finally: Go to YouTube. Watch a video (for this exercise, may I suggest this one). Pause it during playback. Click anywhere on the page and type “1980”. Enjoy.

Twitter trolls and this week’s bits and bytes

Don’t feed the trolls? The big news this week was regarding calls from activist Caroline Criado Perez and others to put Jane Austen on a £10 note. An honour that many agreed was deserved and appropriate. And rightfully, they have received much praise – but also a storm of the most vile and disgusting abuse, rape and death threats via Twitter.

Is it Twitter’s job to police the platform? Yes. Should the police get involved when threats are being made? Absolutely. But as @Euan argues, what about the rest of the Twitter population? More of us should take the often tough decision to stand up and say something when we see others in our circles indulging in unacceptable behaviour.” In the spirit of the age-old mantra for community managers the world over @girllostincity thinks that we’re giving trolls too much attention and should stop feeding them.

Del Harvey on Newsnight

Twitter has been criticised for their slow reaction and for the awkward and desperately defensive appearance on Newsnight of their Head of Trust and Safety, @delbius. It didn’t help that she spoke almost exclusively in corporate bingo phrases, felt it was necessary to outline how long she had been at Twitter in response to the opening question, or that she went on to admit that the “dozens or so” people in her team are essentially playing catch to the “rocket-ship” that Twitter has become.

Critics are calling for many things, one of which is a way for users to report abuse. But is a ‘report this’ button really going to help? @sharonodea argues that it’s likely to create more problems than it solves, as the trolls might treat being reported and banned as a wind-up to be ignored – and confirmation that they are getting attention.

What to do?

Twitter suggests you find the link to the form with which you can report abuse on Twitter on their website – a form that requires you to fill in 11 fields of data and that seems to be largely unknown outside of the US, at least going by the bitly stats on clickthroughs. Definitely needs some simplification here…

However, as @MartinBelam rightly puts it, this isn’t a technology problem – this is a misogyny problem: The abuse directed at woman is a representation of the level of abuse that women are expected to tolerate outside of Twitter as well. It is absolutely right that we should be standing up and saying that this is unacceptable; not just online, but in society in general. We’ll need to work both online and offline to win that battle.

Social media and business continuity: A serious heading for a serious topic – how does social media affect traditional business continuity and crisis communication plans? @stevef2412 notes that the time between an incident taking place and the first tweet about it is about 30 seconds. Depending on the nature of the incident, many more tweets are likely to follow. So what are the critical things an organisation has to get right almost immediately? Read the post to find out.

Hacking your own Twitter: Pretending your account’s been hacked in order to get people talking and increase your followers (what, you think rubbernecking only applies to crashes on the motorway? People love gawking at disasters no matter where they’re happening). Please people: focus on helping, informing and amusing your followers rather than coming up with daft ways of inflating your follower numbers.

Why PR is your best marketing weapon: Not one of the usual posts with top X ways to do Y better. Instead, a helpful and honest piece from @wadhwa about seven ways to get top PR. For those of you who want to TL;DR it – a quick summary below – the rest, I strongly recommend giving it a read.

  • Learn what makes news by – surprise, surprise – consuming news
  • Focus on the needs of the journalist and build relationships
  • Package announcements into a news hook
  • Don’t ignore the small media organisations – they will help build your credibility
  • Make time for journo requests – the first to respond generally get included in a piece
  • Be honest, be yourself and have an opinion

All you ever wanted to know about SEO: A monster deck of 101 slides on the past two decades of search engines (remember Webcrawler?). What we learn is that people figure out how to game Google rankings, they score massive traffic for a short while before Google updates their algorithms and ranking methods and everybody starts looking at ways of gaming the new system. All resulting in where were are today with inbound marketing, where by publishing the right content in the right place at the right time, your message becomes relevant and helpful to your customers, not interruptive.

Google Glass is a journalists friend: In my continuing series of possible uses for Google Glass, I’d like to point you to Vice Magazine, which has published a piece about how Google’s wearable computer has helped one of their journalists report from areas of conflict around the world.

Source: Vice

From streaming live video from Glass, accessing files on your home computer through the tiny screen placed in your field of vision while in the field, to tweeting live from rallies through a clever IFTTT recipe – it really is a fascinating look at what remote working could look like in the very near future.

Facebook content will escape the walled garden: Facebook announced this week that it is launching “embedded posts.” Does what it says on the tin: You’ll be able to take any public Facebook post and embed it in any other site that allows embed codes. It’s been rolled out to the Facebook pages of HuffPo, CNN and a handful of others – so keep an eye out for when it rolls out to more platforms and your privacy settings.

All in the same room, but not really: The living room is making a comeback, with more families watching TV at the same time – according to figures releases by Ofcom this week (I can’t embed the interview with a typical family, but it’s well worth a watch to see the difference between the generations).

Source: IBTimes

91% of us watch their main TV screen once a week – up from 88% in 2002. Unsurprisingly though, while we might all be present in the same room, with the one big screen blaring out some vacuous reality show where the latest crop of annoying attention seekers vie for the judges’ affection, we’re not really paying attention to the telly. Instead, multi-tasking is up, with almost one in two of using smartphones or tablets while watching TV and one in four sharing what they’re watching through social media.

Some really interesting stats about how the Great British public consumes the media, however, two stats really stuck with me. The first confirms that tablet devices really aren’t mobile devices (85% of tablet owners keep it at home), while the second just shows that anybody who thinks their website won’t need a touch-screen optimised device should think again (91% of parents said their children use a tablet).

Holiday season and social media: Heading out to some tropical island paradise? The Guardian looks at the pitfalls of annoying all your friends back home with smug photos of deserted beaches, pouty selfies and self-satisfied Hashtags along the lines of #lifeshardbutsomeonesgotodoit. Also, Please do us all a favour and don’t succumb to the ‘legsie’ – if you do, make them look as awesome as this one (HT @a_little_wine).

Shoshone Point, Grand Canyon

And finally: Going through a rebrand to appeal to younger, hipper audiences? Try the Hipster Logo approach

Royal Baby, Loving every naughty mouthful, the art of Vine and this week’s bits and bytes

Royal Baby: I tried to go all Guardian on this, but I wasn’t able to figure out how to install a ‘Republican button‘ to rid my blog of any reference to the Royal offspring. But it was impossible to escape anything Royal Baby related last week, so let’s have a look at how it all goes down on t’Interwebs?

Even though the Beeb and Sky went into Royal Baby screensaver mode and my Twitter feed was absolutely bursting with tweets about the imminent arrival of the little nipper, the news didn’t seem to go that big on Twitter: while #royalbirth generated more than 25,300 tweets per minute at its peak, this was still way behind the new Pope (130k), Murray winning Wimbledon (120k), and Usain Bolt’s 100m victory at London 2012 (80K). Now, this probably has something to do with the fact that the Royal Baby circus was spread out over a number of days, while all those other events were much shorter. Also, 60 million Brits don’t really stand a chance again 1 billion Catholics.

The Internet loves Zombies. Mind you, it does look like something out of World War Z.

In a nice gesture, Clarence House acknowledged that while the world’s cameras were trained onto the doors of the Lindo Wing, there were other children born on the same day and encouraged people to share their photos on the #WelcometotheWorld hashtag.

I admit I watched Wills and Kate come out of Lindo Wing with baby George in their arms as they were greeted by the cameras. But it was only until I saw this amazing 360 degree shot by Lewis Whyld of the couple leaving the hospital that I could even begin to fathom the terror that the three of them must have felt. To remain so calm, serene and happy in the face of a wall of cameras, flashing lights and screaming journalists really was bloody impressive.

What does the Royal Baby mean for PR? Carte blanche for pitches and releases tentatively linked to baby Cambridge: the Daily Mail newsdesk received 22,000 Royal Baby related stories on the day the little prince was born.

Of course marketers weren’t far behind their PR colleagues in coming up with cringe-worthy, branded tributes to Prince George. Buzzfeed have pulled together some real shockers, and there’s a marvellous Tumblr full of Royally Desperate real-time marketing efforts (HT @Victoriadove). My personal favourite though would have to be this shocker from Ryanair.

To finish, I leave you with the brilliant Jon Oliver from the Daily Show to sum up the wall-to-wall media insanity in the lead up to, during and after the birth of the future King George.

#LoveEveryMouthful: Just a few days before the arrival of the Royal baby and on a day that David Cameron announced his (rather ridiculous) anti-porn filter (pushed by a special advisor that doesn’t know the difference between a screenshot and a hyperlink), Tesco launched their newly launched food campaign with a promoted trend on Twitter. Mirroring the strapline of the campaign, they went with the hashtag #LoveEveryMouthful.

I’d like to think that I’d have spotted, flagged and binned this hashtag before it went live – but hindsight is always 20/20. Either way, the hashtag brought out the snickering, pubescent teen many a Twitter user, encouraging them to let their imagination run wild. Tesco’s juicy melons were combined with all kinds of innuendo, naughtiness and – there’s no other way of putting this – flat out porn. It got so bad that Tesco changed the promoted trend to a more safe #TescoFood by mid-day and then removed it entirely.

Perhaps Cameron’s porn filter would mean that we would have been spared this hashtag?

Hacks on flacks: PR agency Twelve Thirty Eight are at it again with a useful – if a bit repetitive and more than a tad hypocritical in places – summary of what journos find annoying about PRs, their view of PR pitches and press releases. Well worth a browse, but if you just want the key messages in one go (thank you @TreebD):

  1. Keep it short
  2. Keep it real
  3. Keep it neat
  4. Don’t be cute
  5. Do be grammatical
  6. Put the news in the first paragraph

SEO is dead, again:  A provocative post from @dangraziano reveals that a Google search may display only 13% organic results; “the rest is ads and junk”. Rather than concentrating on search engine optimisation, businesses would be better served if they focused on customer-centric interactions rather than pinning their hopes on an ever changing algorithm to drive traffic. After all, we all know that recommendations from friends count for more than what Google tells us!

The Social Media Manager has grown up: A great piece from @sweissman about how the role of social media manager within business has evolved along with the ever-changing digital media world, but that these roles have matured and are increasingly about exercising nimble judgement in difficult situations, continuous listening for possible problems and delivering on-brand and human customer service and stories.

Following on nicely from the trend of experienced social media managers, it was great to see that even a leading business mag such as Forbes wants to know if social media is a career? The answer, I am very pleased to tell you, is a resounding ‘yes’. Just don’t call yourself a social media guru, ninja, Jedi or master. Grounds for immediate dismissal, that.

The art of Vine: I’m a big fan of Vine and always impressed at the possibilities of creating six second looped videos on a phone. It sounds so basic, so rudimentary at first, but in the hands of an experienced producer and using the nifty loop feature to full effect, your imagination is the limit. 

One such Vine master is @origiful, who not only produced the Vine above, but he’s also pulled together six really useful tips for creating better Vines.

Video of the week: A brilliant clip to promote Sainsbury’s Back Tu School range featuring some ridiculously talented kids busting serious moves and breakdancing in their school uniforms.

And finally: You can’t write proper English under pressure (HT @usvsth3m).

PR is changing, ads using bone conduction, social coppers and this week’s bits and bytes

Sainsbury’s favourite tweets: This month’s instalment sees Tweets from the Tu relaunch, the start of the Summer Series and our tasty new pet food (so our furry friends tell us). Check out our favourite Tweets from June 2013.

Why the world of PR is changing: If you have the time, I urge you to read the transcript of former head of comms for Tony Blair @campbellclaret‘s speech at the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs Annual Oration on 27 June in Melbourne. It’s a few pages long, rambles at times, but if Alastair Campbell talks about why the world of PR is changing, it’s a good idea to listen. I won’t summarise the whole thing, but here are some thoughts that stuck with me:

  • Public affairs now covers any interaction between any two people or organisations
  • The product, large or small, is what will decide the strength or weakness of the PR
  • In a world of more choice and more information, people are getting better at knowing reality from spin
  • Too many decision makers define their reality according to that day’s media. It is almost always a mistake (that one is Campbell quoting President Clinton)
  • So good public affairs is not about spin; it is about strategy, and reputation
  • It is amazing what you can survive if you stay true to your own values and you stay strategic
  • So whether you call it PR, marketing, comms, public affairs, or a mix of it all, what I think matters is strategic advice and reputation support

Journalism is now something you do: A wonderful piece by @MatthewI about why it is more difficult than ever to decide who qualifies as a journalist, how it makes for a confusing media landscape and why that is a good thing.

Close to the bone: I found this first one in a list titled ‘10 new reasons to hate advertising‘. Unsuspecting train passengers – resting their heads against the window – suddenly hear an ad for Sky Go in their head. A little device sends vibrations through the glass and these are picked up and interpreted by the brain as sound. It’s called ‘bone conduction’ and it’s actually being used by Sky on trains in Germany to promote their service.

It also means we’re now no longer safe from advertising when we’ve got our eyes closed, dozing on public transport. It’s also why the this video was the only thing on the list of 10 new reasons to hate advertising – it’s terryfing enough to make up for nine other advertising sins (HT @usvsth3m).

Build it and they won’t come: But not all advertising is evil. In fact, there’s a strong argument that without it, even the best products (Rdio) don’t stand a chance against mediocre products (Spotify) because they still believe in that old adage: build it and they’ll come. That might (have) worked for Facebook and Instagram, but it shouldn’t be the rule. A lovely post from @AndrewDumont about how the core team for any product should be made up of a developer, designer and marketer (HT @jcolman).

Websites you visit will influence the Twitter ads you see: Over in the US, Twitter is experimenting with new ways of allowing advertisers to tailor ads for its users, depending on what they get up to when they’re browsing other websites.

Good for advertisers (they have more of a chance to reach the right people with the right message at the right time), but possibly intrusive for users. Mind you, is it not better to get ads that are relevant to your interests? Also, as much as I love Twitter, would I pay for it? Still, Kudos to the Twitter folks who in their announcement post also clearly note that as they support ‘do not track’, you can opt out quite simply from your account settings screen.

Source: Twitter

Note: as this is currently being tested in the US, the personalisation line reads “The feature to tailor Twitter based on your recent website visits is not available to you.”

Credit where credit’s due: A great example of how to win at social media this week from @Tescomobile (I know, those guys).

With their 140-character response to a derogatory Tweet about their service, the Tesco social team not only defused this troll, they received a bunch of kudos (10k+ retweets) and did it by matching perfectly their social tone of voice to that of their above the line campaign, thereby underlying their customer service credentials. Hats off chaps.

Social coppers: Not only have they got better weather and mid-afternoon naps are more or less obligatory, the Police in Spain really do get the benefits of embracing social. Officers in Granada have the force Twitter handle sewn into their uniforms and it’s also on their police cars. Why is this good@HelReynolds believes it demonstrates openness, legitimises social and it’s plain old common sense.

As the BBC has also noted, so-called ‘Tweet raids’ (where the official police account in Spain @Policia calls for witnesses and information on crimes) have proven to be very successful in bringing criminals to justice and have led to the arrest of 300 individuals in Spain last year.

For a British approach to social media policing, make sure to check out the wonderful @SolihullPolice and their best efforts.

Tech Nation: Turns out that according to the Newsworks/Kantar media’s Tech Nation quiz I am a ‘social addict’, one of the five personality types derived from answering 10 or so quick questions about what kind of devices you own and your attitudes to certain tech-related situations. The depressingly accurate definition is below and supposedly significant of the ‘lifestyle-choices’ I’ve made (HT @MindyB_).

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 08.29.42

Newsworks/Kantar have put together this simple tool to promote their research into the tech habits and landscape in the UK. They found that the UK spends more than £50 billion a year on technology products. Unsurprisingly then, £1.5 billion was spent on tech advertising in 2012, up from £1.4 billion in 2011.

Videos of the week: The eMart flying store (or how a Korean convenience store chain promotes home delivery to their tech-happy, mobile-savvy and time-poor customers)

Rory McIlroy competes against an extremely sassy version of HAL (or a Golf Laboratory Computer Controlled Hitting Machine)

And Geico tell us why camels are so happy on a Wednesday

And finally: The Samsung Apex (definitely NSFW, HT @ghensel and @TheOnion).

BVB’s PR masterclass mobbed by Puma, Guardian Coffee and this week’s bits and bytes

BerryLove: Judging by the weather today and last weekend, it looks like Summer might actually be happening after all. The @SainsburysPR team (thank you to @MindyB_ for the art direction!) decided to post our first Vine to celebrate the arrival of British strawberries into our stores. Wooo!

Sing when you’re winning: Dortmund and Bayern played out the first ever Germanic Champions League final last weekend and even though Dortmund lost the game, they clearly won the PR battle. Their Deckchair Tour of London in a big, bright yellow bus was particularly brilliant, placing the chair in strategic locations around the capital (including, of course, the obligatory beach towel).

Source: Borussia Dortmund

Before the game, The Guardian published their excellent interview with Dortmund’s coach, Jürgen Klopp. Even after Bayern were crowned champions of Europe, the indomitable spirit of Klopp shone through in his press conference and the way he summed up the game.

But then came Dortmund’s kit sponsors Puma with probably the world’s worst flash mob: Defeated by the Lederhosen-clad Teutons of Bavaria and on their way back to Germany, the Dortmund squad were greeted at Stansted Airport by a troupe of Puma clad street-stylers (is that what they’re called?), beat-boxing and break-dancing to an audience of utterly nonplussed BVB players.

Again. This was a good 12 hours after the final whistle. So I have to assume that the marketing bods at Puma knew their team had come out second best but decided to go ahead regardless. I suppose the performers had been paid and everything was ready to go. After all, it can’t be that easy to get permission to do this kind of thing at an Airport.

Unsurprisingly, the video bombed and was shared for all the wrong reasons.

But it gets better.

Two days later and in response to some rather colourful language and malicious glee on Twitter, Puma decided to put out this promoted tweet (fair play to them for engaging with the conversation and not just hiding away):

The Tweet takes you through to a poll on their Facebook page where Puma acknowledge that the best time for a celebratory flashmob is when you have something to celebrate. I suspect they deserve some brownie points for apologising – kind of – but I cannot understand why they went ahead with the flashmob in the first place.

Just to finish off on the Champions League final, here are some facts on the match from Twitter: 4.8 million Tweets with Robben the most mentioned player.

The long tail of the press release: Research from PR Newswire shows that the average life span of a press release is about four months. While findings like this from a company that distributes and hosts press releases should be taken with a pinch of salt, it does also show that good stories and releases will be found by interested readers and remain relevant long after they’ve been published (HT @CorpCommsMag).

#GuardianCoffee: Following in the footsteps of TAZNRC daily and the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe, The Guardian launched their own coffee shop this week. No, really. Aptly named #GuardianCoffee, the café popped up in Shoreditch’s Boxpark and is meant to provide journalists a place to work. The reception’s been mixed: GQ thought it more suited to “those more interested in Instagramming their latte art rather than enjoying a conversation”, while Vice felt “the vibe was sterile and deathly”. The best summary of events though goes to Us vs Th3m (HT @stangreenan).

Still, it’s got nothing on the Czechs and their Newsroom Cafés where local newspapers are produced jointly by editorial staff and guests of the café.

Tumblr launches ads: Yahoo didn’t waste any time in getting ads onto Tumblr, rolling out sponsored posts to their entire platform (they’d already been live for about a year on Tumblr’s mobile app). Somewhat predictably, the reception has been negative with some users quick to post ways to remove the ads from their pages.

Updates to both Twitter and Facebook: Twitter updated its mobile app, refreshing the tweet composer screen, making it easier to tweet images. The new layout also makes it easier to see which account your tweeting from (useful for those people who don’t want to mix their work and private Twitter accounts).

Facebook meanwhile took a leaf out of the Twitter playbook (read: flat out copied) and launched verified pages. They’ve not even bothered to come up with their own symbol – they’ve just gone and used Twitter’s blue tick.

What’s in a ringtone? A good one for the next time you’re down the pub with your friends. Did you know that the sound that Facebook makes when you receive a video call is made up of the notes F, A, C and E (HT @stangreenan)?

Google MotoX: Google have announced plans to build a smartphone that will predict what you’re going to do before you do it. Gyroscopes and other sensors will continuously track the whereabouts and movements of the phone so it will know if you’re walking around your neighbourhood and pulling it out of your trouser pocket or if you sitting in the back of a cab on your way to the airport. Expect to be out of battery by the time you get to work (HT @TreebD).

Videos of the week: A brilliant stunt from Samsung in Zurich to promote the new Galaxy S4 and its ‘smart pause’ function.

You and nine of your mates happen to be in flat, open area and have a hankering for some 5-a-side footie action? Nike’s ‘Mi Pista’ app/campaign has got you covered (HT @stangreenan).

Aussie brewer Hahn is working to put an end to all those beer spillages on dance floors around the world.

And finally: Beardvertising. Yes. This is real.

Commander Hadfield rocks, Capcom’s Internet of you and this week’s bits and bytes

7 future comms trends: Last week @drewb spoke at CIPR Wild Wild Web about the seven future web trends that brands should know about – all with a comms slant.

AP social media guidelines: The Associated Press posted an update to their social media guidelines, looking to balance the need for speed in reporting, warning journalists to avoid spreading unconfirmed rumors through tweets and posts.

Google’s still got it: Google’s 6th annual developer conference Google I/O is happening right now in San Francisco. The main event of this 3-day-developer-marathon though was Google’s 3.5 hour keynote where they announced a whole host of new features, updates and even some new hardware. Nothing major, rather an interesting mix of new features as well as leveraging and connecting existing products in Google’s massive portfolio. My faves:

  • Google+ saw a redesign adding a new chat that syncs across all platforms and a new focus on image manipulation called ‘Image Awesome‘. No, really. Awesome. The new in-built photo gallery enhances, categorises, styles and retouches your photos. Oh, and it does this automatically.
  • Spotify, Rdio and other music streaming services will have taken note of the terribly named Google Play Music All Access. The service will cost $9.99 a month but doesn’t have an ad-supported version (yet).
  • Google Search will soon receive a makeover in terms of input: you’ll be able to just tell Google in Chrome to search for something by saying “OK, Google“. No keystrokes or clicks required. The walls are growing ears.
  • My favourite new Google feature though is the combination of Google Wallet and Gmail, allowing you to send and receive actual money to people as an email attachment. So simple, so useful.

There’s always money in the banana stand: Netflix are using the infamous banana stand from ‘Arrested Development’ to generate even more buzz around the show’s highly-anticipated return to the online streaming service on 26 May. It’s already made it to Tower Bridge and Leicester square in London!

Huggies’ Tweetpee app: Not sure if this falls into the category of ‘WTAF’ or ‘pure genius’, but Ogilvy Brazil has come up with a sensor/app combo that tells parents when their babies need a diaper change. The sensor attaches to the baby’s diaper and tweets the parent when moisture levels become too high. But, before you just leave your baby pee, Kimberly-Clark confirmed in a statement that the clip-on humidity sensor is intended merely as a concept device and will not be made available for purchase. Back to manually checking those humidity levels.

The history of Typography: Ever wonder what the hell is the difference between serif and sans serif? Why Italics were invented? No? Well, to be honest, neither did I. Still, this animated short provides a great summary of the history of typography from its invention by Gutenberg through the horror that is Comic Sans, to today’s proliferation of different typefaces in word processing software (HT @willio).

BBM on iPhone? In a move that (to me) smacks of desperation, Blackberry have announced plans to make Blackberry Messenger available on iPhone – thereby removing the last reason for actually buying a Blackberry in the first place.

The Internet of things: The idea of a future where your fridge will order another pint of milk before you run out isn’t new. In fact, Wired Magazine’s @billwasik believes the programmable world is already here, writing in his excellent essay that soon we’ll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, even save our lives.

Remember me: Take the ‘Internet of things’ idea a giant leap further into the future and you land smack bang in the world of Capcom’s new sci-fi action/adventure game ‘Remember me‘. Rather than connecting inanimate objects through the web, this futuristic dystopia (think Bladerunner) has society connecting people’s memories, sharing them instantly via the web. The internet of you, as it were.

Source: The Art of the Game

 

To promote the game’s central idea, Capcom partnered with Youtube videographer Devin Supertramp (famous for his clips of attractive people swinging through giant arches) and produced a clip with scenes from Devin’s very own archive of work together with a speech of Antoine Cartier-Wells, the founder the corporation in Remember who has developed the technology to connect people’s minds. Trippy, geeky – I know what’s next after Bioshock!

Here is today: An incredibly simple, yet brilliantly effective and beautiful site to tell the story of the creation of the world, the universe, everything – across all time.

Gran’s cooking: Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti recently finished a 18-month trip around the world during which he completed a wonderful photographic project called ‘Delicatessen with love‘. A homage to grans’ cooking from around the world, the photos show portraits of grandmothers and their signature dish. The outcome is a cookery book of detailed recipes that mix love, photography and travel amongst the many exotic ingredients from Peru to the Philippines.

Source: Gabriele Galimberti

Satellite imagery time-lapse: Last week we had hyperlapse videos created using Google Maps imagery and data – this week I discovered the Google Earth Engine. Using satellite imagery from Landsat, the chaps from Google have put together a number of time-lapses spanning almost two decades from 1984 to 2012 showing everything from lakes drying out, palm-shaped islands popping up off the coast of Dubai, to the deforestation of the Amazon. Amazing and terrifying to see the often devastating effect we humans have on nature – and in such a short time.

As you’d expect from the search engine, you can also Google any other location – I found the Singaporean landgrab particularly impressive. Keep your eye on the South-Western and Eastern tips (Changi Airport) of the island.

Singapore timelapse
Source: Google Earth Engine

Video of the week: It had to be the video of International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield singing David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ while orbiting our planet. Hadfield has tweeted throughout his mission, sharing everything from Space Station sounds to stunning images of earth from outer space – but to finish it off with the first ever music video recorded in space? Well played.

Acknowledgement from the original Spaceman

I love that this gloriously ‘tached Astronaut has helped NASA land arguably their biggest PR coup since the moon landing – all by engaging the world through social media with fascinating insight into what life in space is all about, a willingness to have a conversation and a healthy dose of Canadian charm.

Here’s a little ‘best of’ compilation of Hadfield in action.

And finally: Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal (HT @a_little_wine).

Flipboard 2.0, collaborative marketing and this week’s bits and bytes

Back from hiking the Grand Canyon – more on the actual hikes in the next few days when I’ve digested the Garmin data. What I found out since coming back: Google has mapped the Canyon and you can enjoy the views from the comfort of your couch. I’d rather enjoy them first hand, but here’s how they did it.

Sainsbury’s on Flipboard: this week, the super-slick content aggregator Flipboard announced their 2.0 version. The big news being that you can now curate your own magazine. Excited to try it out, I quickly put together a Flipboard Magazine about Sainsbury’s. Let me know what you think and if you’re on Flipboard – subscribe! You can find out what’s else is new with Flipboard 2.0 in this video.

Budget screw up: The following is from @tomparker81: During last week’s budget announcement, the Evening Standard tweeted its front page about 20 minutes before the Chancellor had even stood up, thus giving away all of the detail in the Budget. Bit of a screw up really and someone at The Standard has been suspended for it.

Damian McBride, former chief spinner to Gordon Brown, has written a really interesting blog post about it which should be of interest to anyone doing our job. It describes how you brief a paper like the Standard to get them in just about the right place but without enough detail to give too much away.

Paywalls vs. free: The Telegraph and then The Sun announced they’d be moving to a metered model where readers would be able to read 20 articles a month for free before having to pay for access to the online paper. Meanwhile, the DMG Media, presented their latest financials: the MailOnline is set to make £45 million in 2013 and that that figure will reach £100 million in the next three to five years.

Brands can learn from newsrooms: How can a brand keep up conversations that are fresh, relevant and interesting? Our friends at Dare thinks we should learn from the Newsrooms, think like journalists and keep asking those important W-questions.

Bots artificially inflate site stats: brands such as McDonalds and Disney paid millions of dollars a month to show their online ads to websites that had their traffic numbers artifically inflated by automated networks of computers (aka bots). Spider, a London based analytics firm, found that sites such as toothbrushing.net, sodabottle.com and techrockstar.com were showing 20 to 20 million ads in a month – and that these sites were all linked to a network of botscalled Chameleon. Can’t imagine the marketing teams were very happy…

Tracking Facebook: Still on metrics, a quick and sensible guide to what you should be tracking on Facebook.

Remember the Harlem Shake? Only a few weeks ago, the Harlem Shake seemed to be everywhere. It exploded out of nowhere, annoyed the crap out of the Internet for a good two weeks and has since disappeared (if nothing else, please read the ‘What has changed‘ paragraph)

Social chocolate: A case study of how Cadbury does social.

Fashion rules Instagram: a quantitative look at the top 25 brands on Instagram shows quite clearly that fashion brands have embraced the hipsters’ image sharing network of choice. Victoria ‘s Secret (unsurprisingly?) tops the list with over 1.3 million followers. Other fashion staples in the top 25 include Nike, Forever21, Burberry, Top Shop, asos, H&M, Adidas and Gucci. Playboy (surprisingly?) comes in at no.20.

Collaborative marketing: social media, digital, web 2.0 – call it what you want, it is changing the way brands communicate. Simply put, customers want a meaningful conversation and the stage is set for social tech to begin creating real value for companies through deep collaboration with consumers. Fast Company has listed 5 trends driving the shift.

Videos of the week: Remember the flick ‘Catch me if you can’? Spielberg based the film on the true story of Frank Abagnale and in a speech at Adweek, Abagnale talks about how, as a runaway 16-year-old he spent two years defrauding Airlines of 1.3 million dollars, constantly shifting his identity. Without glorifying his actions, he talks about how he did it and how he was caught. After serving time in France, Sweden and the US, the FBI offered him a role in their fraud division. In the Q&A at the end, he provides some fascinating insight into how you can protect your privacy, from when you’re on Facebook to when you’re paying for petrol. Absolute must watch (HT @JoTomlin).

‘Grumpy Cat’ stars in Friskies Youtube campaign.

And finally: a headline and story so chock full of WTF? you just know that it has to be true http://avc.lu/1097xcB (HT @tomparker81).

Happy Easter everyone!

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