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Category Archives: social media

David Cameron prepares to get the YouTube treatment

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On Friday, David Cameron will be grilled by the users of YouTube. It’s part of the Al Jazeera World View series being run by YouTube which last month saw Barack Obama give a frank but less than earth-shattering interview.


If you haven’t seen World View before, the system is probably as you’d expect: YouTube users go to the World View microsite and submit questions in video or text form. You can also vote on which existing questions should be asked. The questions that get the most votes get asked – apparently with no form of censorship or regulation. Users currently have less than 12 hours to submit their questions.

It’s a nice idea, and I’m all for crowd sourcing but I can’t help but be reminded of early 90s Newsround Press Pack interviews, where an enthusiastic but ill-informed teenager would ask a cabinet member what their favourite colour is and what they thought of Brother Beyond.

Of course there are a few contributions from the inhabitants of Crazyville but I can’t see them getting an airing. I think this one from a young chap who seems to think this is an oportunity to ask the PM for a shout out. (Name and email removed)

Will you make a video, For me. . .Saying, Hello ****** ******* from plymouth in devon, Thankyou and send it too a private email adress *******************

***** ***** Royal Marine Cadet.

Good work keeping that email address private, Private. Also, this isn’t Babestation (whatever that is). What kind of video is he expecting if it isn’t suitable for public viewing… *shudder*.

Crazies aside, if there really is no intervention, why are all the questions so perfect for the politician? I’m browsing the top questions for Cameron and they are mostly relevent but bland and likely to allow the interviewee to say exactly what he wants. Is the voting system geared towards presenting questions that give the politician an easy ride or are crowd sourcing systems innately geared towards the bland and predictable?

Unfortunately I think it’s the latter which is why I’d rather see Cameron being put through the wringer by Paxman or another hard-nosed journo with a desire to see someone squirm.

Incidently if it’s Cameron squirming on YouTube you want, look no further.

The CSR, Foursquare and me

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So the coalition is currently defending the proposals set out in the spending review. The people up and down the land are having their say on how they will be affected and asking why all the cuts couldn’t be focused on people who aren’t them. Well now it’s my turn. There is one particular cut in the military budget that I find very upsetting.

The HMS Ark Royal, for years a literal flagship of the Royal Navy, will be scrapped as soon as possible, 4 years before it was due to be decommissioned.

Why am I upset about this? Because I am the current Mayor of the HMS Ark Royal on Foursquare.

When I joined Foursquare on the day it was launched in Manchester (thanks to a tip off from @martinsfp) I could wander around becoming mayor of all I surveyed. Now that there are thousands of Foursquare users in my city, I’m down to a paltry 6 mayorships. And then Cameron comes along with his budget cuts and cruelly dispatches 16.6% of them.

I’m considering a march on Parliament.

#goals4haiti : Fundraising through social media

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With their new found wealth and a great squad of players, now is a good time to be a Man City fan. It’s not always been the case though – I remember cold weekday nights watching City vs Stockport County at Maine road in the aptly-named Gene Kelly stand – a temporary prefab of a stand, so-called because the lack of shelter provided meant that supporters were often left “singing in the rain”.

One thing that has always been constant with City, and I’d like to think more so than other clubs, is the strong community spirit felt between supporters. So when I saw the below tweet last week from Denise (aka @doc1online) who is a fellow City fan and previous attendee of KMP’s inblackandwhite seminars, I felt the urge to respond.


For those who don’t know, 70077 is the official SMS number set up by The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to raise money for aid to Haiti following the earthquakes. The Disasters Emergency Committee brings together the leading UK aid agencies including the Red Cross.

First of all, I thought this was a great idea to support a great cause and raise a bit of cash for a country that really needs it. But with my Social Media marketing hat on I knew that what we really needed to gather interest on twitter was a hashtag.


So I posted this tweet. I wasn’t happy with the hashtag I came up with, #cupgoaldonate. There are two rules to bear in mind for a successful hashtag. It should convey the main purpose of the tweet associated with the tag and it should be as short as possible to allow for addition comments by users who reweet/quote the message.

#cupgoaldonate is too long and doesn’t include any reference to Haiti or DEC which should be the main focus of this activity. I also didn’t want to restrict this to just Man City supporters because hopefully, Man Utd and even other supporters of Carling cup teams or other competitions may wish to pick it up.

Thankfully, a follower called @bluemoon82 delivered the goods and came up with #goals4haiti. From then it only took a few well placed and retweetable messages to high profile and relevant twitter users such as @mcfc @kaiwayne and @decappeal and we were away.

The sting of City going behind was eased when I thought of the money being raised for such a good cause and the last two donations I made for the City goals – believe me – made me even happier.

You can follow and tweet to the hashtag again tonight in the second leg and please do take part. Remember – text GIVE to 70077 to donate £5 every time a goal is scored and tell your friends by retweeting the below message or just by following this link and updating your status.

I’m giving £5 to Haiti @decappeal for every goal scored in the Manchester Derby. Text GIVE to 70077 to donate #goals4haiti

I’ll do a follow-up post after tonight’s match with a round up of the campaign and my thoughts on what is interesting to a fundraising marketer but for now, I’m just going to ask you to get involved. Tonight and for the final – whoever gets through…

How to lose your job with Facebook

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how to lose your job with facebook

Here is a priceless example of why it’s really important to remember who you add on facebook.

Maybe just as important is to remember why you use Facebook/linkedin/Twitter/Whatevr.

If you use it for work or professional networking, don’t add “Stinky Dave” from uni and certainly don’t comment on his video of his dog trying to have sex with his neighbour’s cat.

Facebook does have settings to allow you do choose which content you share with whom. But it’s complicated and tricky to stay on top of it.

My advice is to use one SocNet for friends and one for work. And never the twain shall meet.

Ashton Kutcher vs CNN – should I care who wins?

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At the risk of sounding like Social Media version of someone’s grandad, do you remember the days when Robert Scoble was top of the Twitter charts? Do you remember? You kids don’t know this but at the time his 25,000 followers were blamed for service outages. 25,000 was a lot in those days and Twitter couldn’t handle the load of all his followers looking at his updates at the same time on Twhirl. You won’t remember Twhirl. It was like those “Tweetdecks” that you kids use now but more green and with smaller text.

Ah May 2008. I remember it like it was only last year. How things have changed since then.

The battle for 1,000,000 followers is on.

Currently, the CNN breaking news twitter feed is Top of the Twops (not ‘arf) with 967,979 followers. Hot on the heels of this broadcasting giant is one man who likes to tweet. So which wit, which philosopher, which inspirational human being is deemed so important by the new Twitter masses that he or she has 959,259 followers and is challenging a global news corperation?

Ashton Kutcher.

(Note to self: try, really try not to be snooty)

So now Ashton, aided by Electronic Arts, is campaiging for followers so that he can overtake CNN and win the race to the big one oh oh oh oh oh oh.

Says Ashton:

“When I saw that I was approaching a million and that CNN was too, I thought this was really significant for social media. For one person to have the ability to broadcast to as many as people as a major media network, I think signifies the turning of the tide from traditional news outlets to social news outlets.

“Because with our video cameras on our cell-phones, on our picture cams, with our blogging, with our twittering and our posting and our Facebook accounts we actually become the sources of the news, and the broadcasters of the news and the consumers of the news. We have the potential on this day to turn the tide.”

Ashton Kutcher’s stance as the ‘everyman’ is a bit galling. As one YouTube commenter rather crudely put it:

He’s not the “everyman” you c**t muffin. He’s a fu**ing celebrity. His dumb face is all over every printed media.

Quite. Thanks to interestingperson121 for that quote. I added the asterisks.

I do like the fact that Ashton Kutcher seems to care about social media as well as the promotion he gets out of it. He obviously does all his updates himself and he also gets involved with video blogging on Qik and YouTube and… well I admit it: I dislike him a lot less then I used to. At least I don’t have to watch him acting when he’s on Twitter.

But I don’t really agree with him that his having 1,000,000 followers is a triumph of social media. It’s still a single source broadcasting to many. So it doesn’t matter if that source is CNN or Ashton Kutcher. In fact, if I had to pick one as the only twitter stream I could follow I’d plump for CNN. They really do have a lot of content. That’s why they are a news network.

The point is I don’t have to choose. I can follow as many people as I like and get content from them all. Whether it’s the BBC or a mate from work doesn’t really matter. I pick my crowd from which to source my wisdom.

And you know what? It goes two ways. I can tell people stuff I find interesting. It might be stuff i’ve found on the web or even thoughts that have formed in my own brain.

That’s many to many broadcasting. Throw in a dollop of conversation and that’s social media.

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daily_mail_cannabisI’m getting sick of mainstream media reporting on non-stories tenuously associated to the internet just so they can write a headline that contains the name of the current “in” social media application. These headlines work especially well if crowbarred into a story about another hot topic that can be easily sensationalised. The resulting hot topic mash-up is guaranteed to sell papers and give Daily Mail readers something to get all frothy and indignant about.

Over the last couple of years the frequency and ridiculousness of these stories has escalated. Two years ago it was MySpace Thugs Trashed my House or similar and in the last year or so Facebook has been accused of being responsible for identity fraud, economic ruinmurder and cancer.

I was most pleased last month when eight newspapers and one news television channel were forced to apologise and pay settlement charges to a family after running stories describing how a “Facebook party” had gone “out of control” and that gatecrashers had “trashed” the house in Marbella. It came out that the news “journalists” involved didn’t know or didn’t care that the party wasn’t gatecrashed, only led to very minor damage and in any case was organised on Bebo, not Facebook.

The worst example of a paper using a web application to fabricate a story was last month when the Scottish Sunday Express, as Graham Linehan put it so well, won the race to the bottom by describing the impish Internet behaviour of Dunblane teenagers as “shaming the memory” of those who died in the Dunblane massacre 13 years ago.  They too were forced to apologise.

This year’s main headline-grabbing SM service is Twitter. So I shouldn’t be surprised that last week a story broke about the upcoming report by Sir Jim Rose that will make recommendations for an overhaul of primary school education. The leaked report features many recommendations including the teaching of health and environmental matters and that certain topics from history, notably WW2 and the Victorian period should not be taught at a primary school level. There is also going to be a recommendation that by the time pupils leave primary school they should be familiar with modern sources of information including blogs, wikipedia, podcasts and twitter. Guess what the headlines were?

Pupils to study Twitter and blogs in primary schools shake-up
The Guardian

Pupils ‘should study Twitter’
BBC online

This is a leak from a report recommending the biggest shake up of primary education in 20 years and they focus on Twitter? There of course followed lots of discussion on public phone-ins, panels shows and editors columns about how disgraceful and silly this was. Calm down everyone!

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The 5 pillars of Social Media

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Seth Godin, in a bit of a D.H. Lawrence moment has attempted to define the 5 pillars of social media success. What makes a successful social web app? Why do people choose to visit online social sites?

He boils it down to these 5 points:

  • Who likes me?
  • Is everything okay?
  • How can I become more popular?
  • What’s new?
  • I’m bored, let’s make some noise

Seth points to Twitter as an example of an app that does all 5 very well. I would also include Facebook and to some extent Friendfeed.

I’m not sure about “is everything okay”. This implies that people are concerned with the status quo or have a certain neighbourly concern. I would probably replace that with “what are the people I know up to?” as I reckon there is more of a nosy neighbour factor.

But then again, who am I to question Seth?