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THAT selfie, tech shabbats, private photo messaging and this week’s bits and bytes

THAT selfie: Danish PM Helle Thorning Schmidt was caught in the act of taking a selfie of herself with British PM David Cameron and President Obama at Mandela’s memorial service. The photograph capturing this display of inappropriate behaviour went mega-viral and was plastered across the front pages of the Mail, Telegraph, Sun and Times the next day – and going by the reaction of Michelle Obama, the flight back on Air Force 1 may have been a frosty one (she was quick to get Barry back).

The shocking display by the three heads of state caused a divide in the @SainsburysPR team. Was it, as the The Sun called it, a “cheesy pic”, a show of no “selfie respect”? Was it really “so out of keeping with what the day was about,” as Daily Telegraph media writer Neil Midgley believes? Or was it a show of how even world leaders are just human beings?

Esquire online deputy editor Sam Parker probably summed it up best:

All this media (social and otherwise) coverage and @a_little_wine did bring to my attention the wonderful collection of selfies at funerals on the very appropriately named Tumblr selfies at funerals. In existence since August, Jason Feifer, the site’s editor, explains how this social media curiosity came about:

Just to see what would happen, I typed the words “selfie” and “funeral” into Twitter’s search bar. Staring back at me was a global parade of mostly doe-eyed teens, photographing themselves and writing things like, “Love my hair today. Hate why I’m dressed up #funeral.”

Feifer goes on to explain why the Thorning Schmidt/Cameron/Obama selfie is a fitting end to his Tumblr that had at that point already garnered a bit of media indignation. Rather seeing it as proof of the moral and social depravity of kids today, he puts it rather differently

“When a teen tweets out a funeral selfie, their friends don’t castigate them. They understand that their friend, in their own way, is expressing an emotion they may not have words for. It’s a visual language that older people – even those like me, in their 30s – simply don’t speak.”

So rather than give our triumvirate more grief, we should commend them for being so down with the kids.

So.

A selfie at a funeral? All good.

A selfie at a funeral WITH DUCKFACE? You disgust me.

Technology Shabbats: @TiffanyShlain shares how living in today’s over-connected world has led her family to unplug for one full day every week. She calls them their “Technology Shabbats,” they’ve done it every week for over three years, and it’s completely changed her family’s life.

A thought-provoking clip that speaks to the dangers of consuming too much information via digital screens, of being ‘always on’, of continuous distraction by devices, social networks and the desire for that next like or retweet hit.

I also recommend having a look at Shlain’s channel on AOL ‘The future starts here‘ – and her thoughts on a variety of things including motherhood, tech etiquette, and the creative process of film making.

Private photo messaging: Over the top messaging platforms such as What’s App, Snapchat, Kik and Viber (named as such because they work on the service provided via an app but that is not provided by your network provider) are becoming more popular as teens move away from conducting their social lives through open social media networks and move into platforms that allow 1-to-1 or 1-to-few interactions where they can control who receives the information they’re sharing.

The rising popularity of services that allow the user to send private images updates to your friends in particular has resulted in Instagram and Twitter launching their own version of private picture messaging this week.

For Twitter, this isn’t the biggest leap – direct messaging has been around for a while. But as of this week, you can DM images. For Instagram however, it’s always been about publicly sharing images. It’s never really been a channel to have a conversation with, private or otherwise, so the addition of a private image messaging – or Instagram Direct as they call it – is quite a shift.

Twitter’s update is very basic. You can attach an image to a DM. With Instagram, they’ve added another layer: After sending, you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video, see who’s liked it and watch your recipients commenting in real-time as the conversation unfolds. A clever touch – and I suspect one that will resonate with the Instagram user base. More thoughts on these two changes over on the NYT.

Crispy fried smartphone: Every once in a while I come across a story that shows why you should never censor or tell an angry customer that he cannot vent his frustrations. Samsung is the latest company to fall afoul of the Streisand Effect, after trying to stop a customer posting videos of his defective Galaxy S4 – and by defective, I mean burnt to a crisp after the phone’s battery had caught fire while charging. Rather than killing the story, all Samsung managed to do was make it grow and spread.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QHd-_qncEU

Watch the second clip here (over a million views at the time of writing), where the customer talks about his interaction with Samsung. The Daily Dot has more on the exchange and some of the rather bizarre demands of an overzealous legal department that do nothing more than add fuel to the battery fire.

The case for NGOs to get Redditing: A great read from @RowanEmslie about why NGOs should get involved with hyperactive networks of influencers such as Reddit to get their message out to wider audiences. Emslie bases his argument on the key insight that “people want and expect to be a part of the process, to be communicated with on a more immediate level, and to be able to get involved if they want to” and that while Reddit might be smaller than Facebook, it’s a much more active network made up of people who have influence outside of Reddit.

Videos of the week: Canadian budget airline WestJet decided to make Christmas wishes come true for some of their lucky passengers in this impressive and perfectly executed stunt. On their blog, the company says they’d donate flights to a family in need if the clip got more than 200,000 views. It’s at over 22,000,000 as I write this. And yes, the guy who asked for new socks and pants is still kicking himself…

Klingenberg Farm in the US wanted to show people a bit more about what life as a farmer was like. Rather than a boring to camera piece explaining it all, they decided to parody the most bizarre yet strangely popular YouTube films of the year, Ylvis’ “What does the Fox say“, to produce the brilliant “What does the farmer say?” (HT @a_little_wine).

The Marketing Anthem celebrates the brave marketers who’ve made us become friends with a cookie, ask us rhetorical questions on Facebook, and that “-vertising” can go at the end of anything.

And finally: The *Santa* brand book – includes the brand guidelines, promise, values and all the tools you’ll need to get into the brand approved Christmas spirit.

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.

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