Archive for January, 2011

The political power of social media

Young people – the digital generation – are waking up and participating in unrest around the world. When I was growing up I was the passive recipient of broadcast TV. Young people – digital natives – are always online: interacting, searching, collaborating, and are interacting with the media to get things done and to organise themselves.

Combine this culture with the fact that their high expecations are not being met for political and social reform and you get a potentially powerful cocktail.

Don Tapscott, author of MacroWikinomics, who spoke recently with members of the Social Media Leadership Forum is forecasting more political unrest to come, driven by these factors.

The future for iPad newspapers?

Cheered on by their ad agencies, companies are being encouraged to create iPad applications. But are they really working?

Clearly a lot of companies just want some of the magic dust of Apple to rub off on their brand. Okay, but that is not a long term strategy, and it is hardly likely to create something which makes your business stand out in people’s eyes and minds. And once someone has downloaded it, and been disappointed, then you are going to have to work hard to get the opportunity again.

There is an opportunity I think to create iPad newspapers/magazines which really stand out. No one has done it yet and it will be interesting to see how Rupert Murdoch gets on. It will be a massive cultural shift for his business to pull it off. It doesn’t sound too promising when the project is referred to as ‘Daily’, given that social media is real time!

Many iPad newspapers are being dismissed as simply PDFs of the print version. Which completely misses the point. There are clearly opportunities here though to break the mould and create a new kind of publication which resonates with the target audience: a new kind of music magazine, sports magazine, film magazine for example. Companies too could create titles for specific audiences with the imagination and commitment to provide something genuinely useful – it would have to be much more than a reworked brochure from reception.

With an emerging medium, this is the time to explore and experiment.

First of all, any iPad publication has to be social and show you what people you trust or your friends are reading and passing around; it needs to be realtime- breaking news every second; curating videos; tweeting information for you.

Also, in some cases, a local element is important – depending on the type of publication, of course, and this would serve you information locally.

Of course, the iPad is not the only tablet computer, but it cannot be ignored.

Some more useful thoughts on potential blueprints for new kinds of iPad publications here.

Four Twitter-inspired products

Regular tweeters will know the utter joy of sending the Perfect Tweet. A tweet that gets plenty of replies, retweets and comments. A tweet that has your followers giggling into their iPhones/laptops. A tweet that others love enough to save as a favourite.

If you want to showcase your love for Twitter and your favourite tweets, try one of these products.

From left to right.

Tweet Rings

Twitter Tights,

Twitter Follow Me Necklace

Twitter Knitter

The transparency of tweets

When a celebrity or a popular blogger raves about a product or service, do you consider what kind of relationship they have with the mentioned brand? Many brands now pay tweeters with a high follower count, or offer them freebies in exchange for publicity. But the government’s consumer watchdog is now clamping down on bloggers and Twitter users who don’t declare their relationship with the brand. Transparency is now a requirement, and not just good manners.

Bloggers, and in particular those that review products, are increasingly careful with how they word their blog posts. Many add a disclaimer to each post telling the reader if they’ve purchased the product or if a PR has sent it, to avoid the wrath of the Office of Fair Trading. So it was only a matter of time before micro-blogging sites felt the impact too.

The OFT recently bought a case, the first of its kind, against a PR firm that paid bloggers to write positive pieces on their client’s products. The USA is a little ahead of us, with the US Federal Trade Commission asking all sponsored tweets to contain the words “ad” or “spon.” With some celebrities, like Snoop Dogg and Kim Kardashian, making thousands for each tweet, the move is likely to have a big impact on their income.

What do you think about promotional content? Should it be clearly marked, like all other advertising?

The world before the web

I came across this retro-style comic on Mashable, poking fun at how the world used to be before it became, well…the world wide web.

It got me thinking about what our lives were really like without access to instant information and social media.

Remember when…

  • Sharing your photos would involve a lengthy process of attaching every photo into an email, waiting an hour for it to load, then sending out to the poor sods who had to load every single photo. That, or you’d have to take a trip to Snappy Snaps. Clearly, George Michael is a fan of the old-fashioned method.
  • You didn’t have a mobile phone. Or, at least, your phone boasted only three features: Calls, texting and Snake. I genuinely have no idea how we all coped without them. I guess we were all just better at maintaining some form of organisation – and we actually had to turn up on time to appointments.
  • Checking your email involved getting to a computer or your humongous laptop and finding somewhere to plug your internet lead in. Wireless? Surely that’s some form of techy witchcraft?
  • Finding out some quick info involved a trip to the library. Just think how much time and effort Quora, Wikipedia and Twitter save us!
  • Finding out information on old lovers/friends/enemies from school relied on nosy neighbours and real school reunions.
  • We paid the full price for everything. MyVoucherCloud and Groupon were simply distant dreams for barganistas. As was the concept of shopping in your pants.
  • We didn’t get twitchy if the internet crashed and left us unable to check our friend’s current emotional state/relationship status/virtual farm progress.
  • Your witty commentary of X Factor/Strictly/Question Time would be wasted on the three people in your lounge. Two of whom are asleep.
  • Adding the term ‘guru’ to your job title usually meant you were part of a religious cult, and not a social media expert.
  • All phone conversations took place on the kitchen stairs, possibly on a novelty phone. And, as mentioned onDork Adore, phone calls started with hello rather than “my battery is really low so we might get cut off.”

Do you remember the world before it went online? What couldn’t you live without now?

Jamie Oliver to share social media strategy

Head of Online for Jamie Oliver Ltd, Monisha Saldanha, is going to be giving members of the Social Media Leadership Forum insights into how to build a successful brand using social media.

Jamie Oliver Ltd is a great social media success story. At this members-only session on 3 February, Monisha will explain how she and her team are inspiring customers through social media to engage with Jamie Oliver’s passion for food.

If you would like to take part in this session and are interested in becoming a corporate member of the Social Media Leadership Forum, check out the site and please get in touch:

[email protected]

DIY cinema – some great sample videos

DSLR cameras create some great videos – take a look at these samples.

Google admits search results have seen an increase in spam

Google admits to increase in spam in its search results

Spurned Google imitates Groupon

Google, having failed to tempt Groupon with literally billions, is now running its own daily deals site.

Journey to the bottom of the earth

Fifty-one years ago, Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard and Navy oceanographer Don Walsh descended to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, seven miles below the sea’s surface. It’s the lowest point on Earth, and deeper than any human had gone before – or since.

Here is a new fascinating video chronicling the explorers’ journey, weaving animation with audio from an interview granted by Piccard in 2005, three years before his death.