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Bits and Bytes

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trolls

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.

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

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