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My April Fools’ round-up and a closer look at live streaming in journalism and customer service

At Sainsbury’s HQ, the team came up with yolk free eggs, we had a good giggle mocking up the packaging and our social media team conjured up a nifty little graphic about the benefits of such eggs. Continue reading “My April Fools’ round-up and a closer look at live streaming in journalism and customer service”

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Fish puns, ask Jelly and you shall receive, social news with the NYTimes and this week’s bits and bytes

Fishy goodness: If it’s one thing I’ve learnt during my time in the UK, it’s that Brits love a pun.

Yesterday, @TeaAndCopy tweeted @SainsburysI tried to buy some battered fish from @sainsburys but it didn’t have a bar cod!

David Smith from our social Careline team was quick to respond with this triple whammy: @TeaAndCopy Were there no other packs in the plaice, or was that the sole one on the shelf? Floundering for an explanation! David.

The resulting ‘punversation‘ is a joy to behold and quickly spread via Twitter and onto the HuffPo.

Also, it reminded me of this wonderful ‘Little Story‘ about Sainsbury’s sustainably sourced prawns.

Have a question? Take a photo: If you have a question, somebody out there likely has an answer. Combine that with the fact that most of us have an Internet connected camera in our pocket and you’ve got the premise of the new visual question and answer app Jelly. Jelly allows you to ask and respond to image based questions.

Here’s co-founder and CEO of Jelly, Biz Stone (yup, same dude that helped give us Twitter) who explains it far better than I could. If that’s not enough, there’s more info on Jelly’s blog.

Quick thoughts:

  • The app (at least for iPhone) is still a bit wonky. For example, the only way to switch between Twitter handles at the moment seems to be to delete and re-install the app. Also, it murders your battery life – I suspect this might have to do with the high number of push notifications from the app alerting me to friends in need of answers
  • Jelly works by tapping into your existing connections on Twitter and Facebook – and your connections’ connections – but it keeps all interactions contained within its walls. While they’re likely to open this up in future, it plays to the trend of a) mobile first and worry about the desktop experience later and b) it’s not about getting mass reach or fame, but to help each other out in small-scale yet meaningful interactions
  • Swiping through questions is fun and simple and the wide variety of different questions is astonishing but also confusing. There isn’t a search or sort function and once you’ve dismissed a question, you can’t go back to it
  • There doesn’t seem to be a way to block other Jelly users from asking or responding to questions, nor does the app respect Twitter blocks. Interesting to see how they deal with the inevitable abuse cases and ‘less welcome’ content

Finally, can those social comms bods, please agree to not go for the obvious ‘Would you prefer product a, b or c?’ questions?

Social media news: The team that runs the New York Times’ Twitter feed analysed some of their most successful tweets in 2013 (in terms of click-throughs and retweets), and looked at how they used Twitter to encourage a variety of types of reader engagement with their journalism. @michaelroston, staff editor for social media, sums up their findings and I strongly suggest you give the results your full attention.

For those of the TL;DR mindset (I doubt you’ll have gotten this far, but hey), here’s my take:

  • Managing breaking news is about sharing approved and verified sources. To ensure accuracy, @nytimes will retweet journalists who are directly involvement in events instead of relying un unverified, third party sources
  • They let their journalists break ‘news situations’ – even without links to the NYT: Letting our trusted reporters deliver some news first helps them connect directly with an interested audience, and delivers news in a timely manner without sacrificing our commitment to accuracy 
  • Using social for call-outs for sources
  • Automated tweets are OK (automated in the sense that a new article that’s published to the site is tweeted automatically), but Tweets send via @nytimes performed better when they were written by editors: Twitter is a platform that helps extend The Times’s journalism to an audience that is not always the same as the one that visits our website directly. When we fit our storytelling to the medium, we do the best possible job of connecting with that audience
  • Clearly stated tweets describing the gist of the stories work better than clever headlines

Minimal goodness: A lovely collection of minimal ads that make your brain work just that little bit more to get the point and provide that brief Eureka moment when you get the point. Sent to me by @stangreenan remarking that his favourite was the one for Haribo. I’d have to agree:

Bits and bytes

  • On Vine? Make sure you have your web profile sorted as the six second video app makes the leap from mobile to desktop
  • Don’t know where to go on your next holiday? You could use Sightsmap, a nifty heat map of popular places around the world
  • Why is no-one is outraged about the New York Times redesign (despite the horribly intrusive related story pop-up functionality)? A playful post, but one that will leave anyone who’s ever worked on redesigning a website smiling. Also, you’ll learn what a hamburger is in terms of web design speak (HT @alexcole71)
  • The San Francisco Chronicle will put all its reporters through social media boot camp in an attempt to to arrest circulation decline and remain relevant in the digital age. The two month (!) programme is all about introducing digital metrics and measurement tools. Let’s hope they’re also addressing the required mental shift from print to digital
  • The reason why Netflix walked away from personalisation? The novelty factor: the new and unexpected is what delights customers, not a similar version of what they watched yesterday
  • XKCD provides a brilliant comeback to the question: “Why can’t you just enjoy the view rather than always take photos”

    Source: XKCD

Videos of the week: A case study from Kirby Ferguson, on the back of his excellent 4-part series Everything is a Remix about how creativity resembles remixing. He looks at how when it was launched, the iPhone borrowed from conventions and ideas outside of the smart phone realm to when the recent update of iOS6 was released, it borrowed from ideas within the smart phone realm.

It’s worth taking a look back at the entire series, the first and second films make the point that not only is everything today a remix, creation actually requires influence and that it doesn’t take any expensive tools or even skills to do so (anymore). The third film looks at how innovations truly happen and the fourth finishes on how our system of law doesn’t acknowledge the derivative nature of creativity.

If you fancy a quicker summary of all that goodness, I’d recommend Kirby Ferguson’s TED talk that brings this all together – without the excellent films and animations mind you.

And finally: Movie Code, images of the computer code appearing in TV and films and what they really are.

Content strategy, #GrillMOL, Gifpop! and this week’s bits and bytes

Brandopolis: I came across this spectacular in-depth investigation of content strategy at top brands by @lydialaurenson: this epic, four part report covers everything from content strategy basics, how this obsession with content came about, to the hyper contextual future this trend of ‘all brands are publishers’ is heading towards. Chock full with case studies from some of the world’s biggest brands, I’d rate this as one of the best pieces of writing on digital content strategy I’ve come across.

If nothing else (and for you TL;DR fans) scroll down to the conclusions – best four bullet points you’ll read all year.

GrillMOL: A few weeks ago we welcomed @Ryanair to Twitter. You may recall that I wasn’t to impressed with their second tweet, outlining why they wouldn’t respond to customers:  because, gosh darn it, there’s just too many of them.

This week, they decided to go from one extreme to the other: #GrillMOL was the official Hashtag used for a 1 hour 18 minute live Twitter Q&A with Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary.

I’ve had a quick look at some Sysomos data and the Q&A session from this week did put up some solid numbers: over 1,800 mentions, generating more than 4 million impressions. Interestingly, 72% of the audience was male – which, going by one of the first Tweets that MOL put out during the Q&A, doesn’t surprise me:

Absolutely daft.

However, the majority of his responses had O’Leary responding honestly and quickly to a number large number of questions ranging from that annoying fanfare when their planes land on time, to their shockingly horrible website – all with a healthy does of self-depricating humour.

The Daily Edge has a great summary of the things we learned from the Q&A, the Indie on the other hand thought it was a ‘crash landing‘ (much like their headline).

Ryanair’s reaction?

They thought it was so successful, they did it again today.

Gifpop! Everyone loves an animated gif. Well, I do. They’re particularly perfect for communicating specific emotions such as apoplectic rage, disgust or joy – often using scenes from films, TV shows or popular YouTube clips. Sites like the brilliant London Grumblr wouldn’t exist without them and online communities such as Reddit, 4Chan or Imgur – heck, the Internet – wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

And no, it’s not just silliness.

Have a look at Zack Dougherty’s beautifully trippy gif art.

Source: Zack Dougherty

Problem of course is that these mesmerising, animated, forever looping, wonderful gifs only exists on digital screens.

Not for long though, as a Kickstarter project by @rachelbinx and @shashashasha that uses lenticular printing to bring gifs to life. Called Gifpop!, the service has already crushed its funding target of $5,000 less than 24 hours of going online – with over 400 backers donating over $15,000 (The Atlantic has more about how it all came about).

Can’t wait!

Source: Gifpop! Also, OMG, it’s a gif of a Gifpop!

Jonathan Perelman from Buzzfeed doesn’t like banner ads: Or, to quote him: “You’re more likely to summit Mount Everest than click on a banner ad.” From the Guardian’s take on Perelman’s speech at the the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2013 – it sounded like many other people in the room agreed with his view that banner ads are (on the way) out.

He goes on to talk about ‘native advertising‘ – that dangerous amalgamation of content and advertising – an area that Buzzfeed excels in and has earned them 85 million unique visitors a month.

How do journalists use Twitter? Great little Q&A with @jenniferpreston about how to verifies Tweets when a story breaks and some of the principles she applies to source fast-moving stories.

Mobile or beer? Amstel, the Dutch Brewery company, has developed a clever little app that rewards you with free beer – if you don’t touch your phone for 8 hours. Called ‘Amstel‘, the app simply tracks how long you haven’t touched your phone.

Source: Amstel

Fast Company has more on the campaign – meanwhile, the question remains: could you go eight hours without touching your phone? (Or could you just turn it on when you go to bed and wake up to a free Amstel?).

Videos of the week: “Russell Brand, who are you to edit a political magazine?” So begins the interview on Newsnight between Jeremy Paxman and Russell Brand and my word is it good. That Brand is one eloquent customer.

Never not, part 2 – a beautiful 50 minute short film by Nike featuring some of the world’s top snowboarders, tricks, flips and a hell of a lot of snow.

A fantastic animation by Blank on Blank of an interview with Kurt Cobain on identity.

And finally: Workw*nkers

Twitter biogs, TV ratings, storms; and this week’s bits and bytes

Quiz time: How many Sainsbury’s basics blurbs can you match up with the product they describe? As you’d expect, Lee, Sainsbury’s basics brand manager, scored a perfect 10/10. I scored a respectable 7/10. More of a by Sainsbury’s shopper, me (HT @G3Bowden).

Not enough?

How about testing your knowledge of Ikea and black metal bands in this brilliant (and genuinely hard) ‘Ikea or Death‘ quiz (HT @a_little_wine).

The future of journalism: Katharine Viner, deputy editor of the Guardian and editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia, gave the AN Smith lecture in Melbourne this week. Her speech about journalism in the age of the open web is an absolute must read. And no, there isn’t a TL;DR version of this one.

Remember Mr Cake? You know, the chap that resigned from his job at the Stansted Border Force via a ‘resignation cake‘ in order to pursue his passion for baking and cake decorating. Well, he did go on to launch his own business and now he’s up for a Smarta 100 award for Best us of Marketing. Go on. You know you want to vote for him.

The Twitter bio – a postmodern art form: The key to Twitter is all about compressing your thought, insight or story into 140 characters. It’s a skill that – much like everything else – you learn through practice. The more you tweet, the better you get. But what many people don’t spend as much time on is their 160 character Twitter biography – along with the profile photo and background, the bit that let’s people know what you’re all about.

The New York Times takes a look at the art of the Twitter bio, from @HillaryClinton “Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…” to @TomHanks‘ “I’m that actor in some of the movies you liked and some you didn’t. Sometimes I’m in pretty good shape, other times I’m not. Hey, you gotta live, you know?” – the article looks at pitfalls and cliches to avoid.

While we’re on short form content, here’s a great slideshare by @GinnyRedish about writing for the small screen. It’s well and good to think about responsive design for websites – but what does that mean for content?

Twitter is not real life (well, TV): An interesting bit of data published by Twitter and Nielsen this week shows that the most popular shows in terms of TV ratings and the amount of Tweets they generated do not correlate at all. as the Wall Street Journal points out, it shows that Twitter’s user base “has a very different makeup than the mass-market TV-viewing audience that marketers spend tens of billions of dollars each year to reach. Twitter’s 49.2 million U.S. users generally skew younger and are disproportionately in cities, for example, according to marketers and media analysts.” The full report is out on Monday.

Social is the new coffee-break: Many brands and companies have moved chunks of their budget from traditional marketing channels to digital and social channels. Nothing new there. At the same time, many corporate networks block access to the same social network. The schizophrenic relationship between a select group of individuals who have access to social and are creating beautiful content and social campaigns and with those who don’t have access from their work computer has always struck me as particularly bizarre. Why put all that effort into building a social media following around your brand if you won’t allow your own people to look at it?

Andrew Keen pulls together 5 reasons not to ban social media in the office. And what do you know – they all make sense!

  • It’s self-defeating – everyone has a smart phone, so they’re doing it anyway
  • Banning something that excels at undermining traditional hierarchies? Yeah, right.
  • It’s today’s version of the water cooler
  • Multitasking actually makes us more creative
  • Social media makes us more productive because it opens up our minds

Bullet Journal: For the past two weeks I’ve been using a note taking system devised by @rydercarroll called ‘Bullet Journal‘. Described as an analogue note taking system for a digital world, I thought the video was really well done and the system works perfectly to capture all those wee actions and events that make up my disjointed and disruptive day where I get pulled from meeting to tweet to discussion to blog post – all in the same hour.

I’ve moved away entirely from Evernote and my iPad and now only use this ‘old school’ system and I love it. There’s something to be said about that great satisfaction of ticking things off a to do list, but also for the elegance of how the Bullet Journal system also allows you to build specific pages for projects or collections, track events on a day to day or monthly basis. And all you need is a notebook.

The Twitterstorm: Hats off to BuzzFeed UK for pulling together their post on the 29 stages of a Twitterstorm – based on the recent kerfuffle around online retailer Price Hound selling a rather ill advised kids fancy dress costume.

From initial discovery, anger, confusion, boycott, petition, satire, trending on Twitter, the media catching up, politicians getting involved, social media expert analysis to the official apology – all in the space of a few hours – the post takes us through (HT @G3Bowden).

Scarlett Johansson Falling Down: A year ago, Scarlett Johansson was photographed falling down while filming in Glasgow for the sci-fic flick Under the Skin. It’s taken the Internet a year, but the resulting photoshop meme is rather worth the wait. Knowyourmeme looks at how it happened (the meme, not the fall).

Videos of the week: How do you promote a remake of the classic horror flick Carrie? By creating a telekinetic coffee shop surprise and scaring the pants off of some unsuspecting customers – all while amassing over 30 million YouTube views in four days.

Downside – the mobile app that will get you talking to your friends again.

And finally: The Penis Beaker that brought Mumsnet to its knees.

Iceclimb, Royal Mail’s poultry apology, your brain going viral and this week’s bits and bytes

Greenpeace Iceclimb: In what was an incredibly literal interpretation of the term PR stunt, six Greenpeace activists scaled London’s Shard building to raise awareness of the negative effects of drilling in the Arctic. The news quickly spread on via Twitter (that’s where I saw that The Shard was trending) and media outlets quickly picked it up. By Thursday evening, #Iceclimb was still in the top trending topics and the Evening Standard had it as their front page with another double spread on pages 6/7 including all the key messaging from the Greenpeace campaign.

Poultry apology: A fascinating exchange between a disgruntled Nando’s customer, Nando’s customer service and the Royal Mail about a Nando’s voucher issued in apology that was (apparently) stolen by the postal service – all playing out on Twitter. The chaps running the Royal Mail account show great courage by rolling with the punches and following Nando’s suggestion of apologising to the customer for losing the voucher – by drawing a chicken.

Read the exchange for yourself (it’s worth it!) – all I wanted to point out here is: how bizarre is it that both the Metro and Poultry World ask permission to use the hand-drawn image of the chicken!?

Twitter Media Blog: I suspect that the Greenpeace activity and possibly even the Royal Mail chicken apology will make an appearance on the new @TwitterMedia blog – a place where Twitter promises to showcase the best uses of Twitter by the media industry, including marketing, advertising and journalism. And what better way to announce it than a quick Vine.

Journos going ever more digital: Broadgate Mainland surveyed financial journos and found that they are increasingly seeing digital popularity as a measure of success – while print is falling in importance. Key bits from the study:

  • Twice as many journalists now use digital means to source stories compared with 2012
  • Three quarters of financial services journalists increasingly rely on press releases and PR generated commentary
  • 87% of journalists prefer to be pitched to by email – phone pitches come in at 8%
  • 45% of journalists said Twitter is their favourite social media outlet for sourcing news (down from 57% last year – the novelty might be wearing off?)

This is your brain on viral: A fascinating post about the Temporo-Parietal Junction – the part of our brain that is most active in deciding what we share on social media. MRI scans showed that the TPJ lights up like a Christmas tree when we start thinking about how and who with to share a story, a video, an image.

Google Glass and retail: Google Glass is coming and while some use it to film bar brawls and the resulting arrest, But what could wearable computing mean for retail? Nothing much going by Econsultancy: Google Glass doesn’t offer any more customisation options than todays’ smartphones.

Meanwhile, over on Marketingland, they look at the privacy debate around Google Glass and how much of it has been driven by hype and fear. An interesting (and long read!), but good if you’ve been worried about the army of bespectacled geeks roaming the world and/or the NSA plugging in directly to your eyeballs.

Your Tour: I’m more of a runner, but even I have to admit that Google’s tribute to the 100th Tour de France is quite nifty. To begin with they had a great Google Doodle and now I’ve come across Your Tour a great site that combines Google maps, Streetview and other nifty gadgets to give you a handle-bar-perspective of some of the most famous sections of this year’s and past year’s Tour. Mashable have pulled together a little video to show what it Your Tour gets you.

Videos of the week: The brilliant @MrMichaelSpicer reckons he doesn’t need Twitter, he has a horse

Honda pays tribute the curiosity of their Honda engineers and some of the most successful innovations from the past 65 years

And just ‘cos it was so good, highlights of Murray’s Wimbledon win set against Biffy Clyro’s Victory Over The Serve

And finally: Go to Vogue.co.uk, enter the Konami code (for you non gamer geeks, that’s up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A) and keep hitting A (HT @a_little_wine)

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).

#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.

Facebook Home, pizza box art and this week’s bits and bytes

It’s that time of the month where I compile some of our favourite tweets of the month. This edition contains a hilarious dose of Comic Relief goodness from our colleagues around the country, featuring everything from a gorilla in a mankini to a life-size T-Rex chomping its way through the South of England.

Facebook Home: Facebook is doing exactly what they said they wouldn’t do, launch a phone. Well kind of. Only not. It’s called Facebook Home and changes your phone into one giant Facebook app (I’m most freaked out by your phone’s lock screen becomes a direct link to your Facebook profile, messages and notifications. Privacy?). Facebook Home will come pre-installed on the ‘HTC First’ or you can convert your existing Android handset into a “Facebook Phone” by downloading the new software on 12 April. Unsurprisingly, the people at Twitter weren’t impressed.

Source: Mashable

Classy Brits: Class was the big story this week (isn’t it always?) with the BBC publishing the The Great British Class Calculator. No longer are there just three classes (upper, middle and lower), we now have seven; ranging from ‘elite’ to ‘precariat’. My favourite though has to be ’emergent service workers’, possibly the best euphemism for ‘hipster’ I have ever heard.

Now that’s one pissed off journalist: There is something poetic about beautifully phrased foul language. The Indie’s Tom Peck has provided a cracker.

Social media investor relations: The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week unveiled new rules that allow companies to to make key announcements via Facebook and Twitter – only if shareholders have been alerted beforehand about which social-media outlet they should turn to (as to how shareholders are alerted, the SEC doesn’t say – suppose I wouldn’t be surprised to see @CompanyNameIR accounts popping up soon).

Blogs more influential than Twitter: An interesting post from The Wall Blog (who I suppose would agree) that blogs drive sales more than other forms of social media. Confirmation comes in the Technocrati 2013 digital influence report, that sees blogs come out ahead of Facebook, Youtube, Google+ and Twitter.

Facebook get’s in line: Great news if you provide customer service through Facebook. The big blue social network is launching in line replies on posts, allowing community managers to respond directly to questions. This will of course also make any type of topical interaction such as live Q&A much easier to manage on Facebook, so customer service and social media managers around the world should welcome this with open arms.

Sketchy customer service: Fast food deliveries that come in a cardboard box provide a great canvas and opportunity for fulfilling the demands of your customers. A splendid gallery of pizza box art at the behest of customers from around the world in this gallery.

Source: takeaway.com

Twitter for business: Twitter launched a page chock full of case studies from companies on how they use the micro-blogging service to meet their business objectives – hoping (I suppose) that you’ll end up using their services and tools and spend more money.

Faking it on Twitter: Faking a tweet isn’t the most difficult thing to do. Take a screenshot of an existing tweet from an account you’d like to spoof, modify it in your image editing software of choice, post it to t’interwebs as ‘check out what so-and-so said’ as a screenshot, adding that they’ve since removed the tweet (t’interwebs loves a cover-up!). However, this requires a basic level of image manipulation skills and a bit of effort – until now, with a new web-based software that allows you to fake tweets in a few clicks. Brian Solis looks at why this is a dangerous situation, one that I imagine Twitter can’t be too happy with!

Video of the week: Arthur C. Clarke completely predicts the Internet. In 1974.

Some of my favourite April Fool’s stories from this past week: with its Guardian Goggles video, the Guardian showed that they not only know exactly who their readers are, but that they also have enough of a sense of humour to poke fun at themselves.Meanwhile, Google went slightly OTT with their pranks – here are just three of them: Youtube announced that after eight years, they were shutting down the site to give the 30,000 strong jury until 2023 to announce the best video ever. Google Maps got a treasure hunt upgrade to find Captain Kidd’s treasure. Finally – a way to plug in your olfactory senses into Google search and find that smell you were always looking for. Or, to put it simply: Smell-o-vision! I’d argue though, that The Metro did the best with their made up April Fool round-up. Very meta.

Workplace etiquette in poster form: a beautifully designed set of posters for today’s office population. My favourite: “Respect headphones as a sign of intentional isolation”.

Mad Men Season 6: The penultimate season starts with a double episode in the US on Sunday, coming to Sky Atlantic in the UK on April 10th. To get in the mood I am rewatching season 5 and enjoying this post on Business Insider about how SCDP’s ads compared with the actual ads that ran in the 1960s. And yes. I am hyperventilating.

And finally: three new memes popping up over the last few weeks that are looking to take on the mantle of ‘the new planking’. First, we have Pottering. The trend looks to have kicked off in Oz and there’s a Pottering Facebook page with some quality efforts. I have to admit though, I’m quite fond of Vadering – something that has already made it into The Sun and The Metro. My favourite though has got to be Hadouken. Anyone with a mispent youth playing ‘Street Fighter’ will know the move and the precise flick of the wrist required to generate that devastating fireball will recognise these poses.

Source: The Tech Journal

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