A prefect's musings on digital and social media

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As the 6 ‘o’ clock news bulletin ran across the TV screen back one rainy day in December with the latest update on the Grillo sisters fraud case, I felt a congratulatory punch in the air was needed in solidarity to #TeamNigella, as the domestic goddess walked head high, well-heeled into court to give evidence.

Now, I hasten to add, that this is not a piece that condones illegal drug taking in any shape or form, and indeed, Nigella is being investigated for her substance usage and I shall leave any necessary punishment up to the legal system and the Metropolitan police; yet for her media handling, I feel Nigella should be applauded.

As the Grillo sisters were being tried for their crime, media focus switched to Nigella’s drug habits, creating an environment as, she would later be quoted, being ‘maliciously vilified without the right to respond’.

Her success remains in the detail, even down to her courtroom makeover as dubbed by the Daily Mail.  Her understated, nude makeup shades, the sombre well-cut suit treaded the line between the domestic-goddess we all know and love and the more recently exposed mistreated wife. The entire image giving her an appropriately serious yet confident manner.

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Even before the trial at the time of the divorce, Nigella’s composure has stood at odds against Saatchi’s own erratic behaviour, which brought an intensely personal period into the public eye.  Although some reported Nigella’s lack of response to Saatchi public accusations as a mere admission of guilt, it also rings true to my mother’s playground mantra – ‘if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all’. Avoiding a public mud slinging match, dwindled the Paul McCartney/Heather Mills effect.

Only recently has Nigella spoken publicly about the trial, after a respectful-yet-not-too distant time period, the celebrity chef spoke to Good Morning America as part of her publicity tour for her new show, the Taste.  Under this gentle grilling, her considered answers demonstrated her own humour, ‘I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate’, whilst recognising the distress caused to her family as well as showcasing a humble sense of self perspective:

‘To be honest, to have not only your private life but distortions of your private life put on display is mortifying but, you know, there are people going through an awful lot worse…to dwell on any of it would be self pity and I don’t like to do that.’

I feel that Nigella’s composed and ‘attention-to-detail’ handling of the media furore surrounding her over the last few months has only added to her strength of character; fans rushed to buy the royal blue Diva frock she wore on the opening show of the taste. As David Cameron was so publicly rebuked for stating, I’m still ‘a massive fan’.


A recent study has found that many people regret the things that they post on social network sites:

“Internet users were warned over the dangers of pressing the “send” button in haste as research suggested that millions of people have posted comments and messages online which they later wished they had not.” (Source: Daily Telegraph)

The study really focused on personal use of social networking, but the lessons should apply to business approaches to social media as well.

(Source: Daily Telegraph)

Social media gives you a voice to talk to a wider audience about subjects that you are passionate about and demonstrate your experitise, but it can also be easy to hide behind your digital voice and make rash / unresearched claims that you wouldn’t make in the real world.

So, whilst I would always encourage you to use online platforms to be honest and share your personal views – do think before you type and make sure that the message you are putting out there is one you are happy to live with; both for yourself and for your company.  Your online thoughts and feelings can live forever, make sure they are ones worth sharing!

 


…and this time the chosen outlet (or at least one of them) isTumblr – a blogging platform (or ‘tumblelog’) that allows users to post images, text, video, quotes and links.

But why Tumblr?  Well the great thing about Tumblr is its submission feature, which allows anyone on the web contribute to your blog – the true realisation of a social media conversation!  Or as Obama’s Tumblr puts it:

“We’d like this Tumblr to be a huge collaborative storytelling effort—a place for people across the country to share what’s going on in our respective corners of it and how we’re getting involved in this campaign to keep making it better.”

Of course there is the chance that this could lead to negative use:

“There will be trolls among you: this we know. We ask only that you remember that we’re people—fairly nice ones—and that your mother would want you to be polite.”

But to me I think that this is a brave and meaningful utilisation of social media by the US president.  No doubt other social media outlets will also play a big part, Barack Obama’s Facebook page has more than 23m fans, while his Twitter account has more than 10m followers, but the ultimate question is, will this use of two way communication prove to be as successful as his campaign back in 2008?


There have been lots of changes afoot with our most loved social networks recently so here is a quick summary of some of these, and how they might affect you as a user:

{source: mdjensen.com}

Facebook

Facebook seems to be developing at a rate of knots at the moment, with several changes occurring, some more significant than others.  But most recently:

–                      The Facebook toolbar (which appears across the top of your Facebook news feed) has become locked, so that it continues to appear when you scroll down the page – whether you are on your personal profile or your Facebook business page.  The benefits?  Well it is easier navigation of course….but it is a feature already used by Twitter.

–                      The Facebook subscribe button was launched this week, which allows users to follow the public updates of others, regardless of whether they are facebook ‘friends’ with them.  This can mean a whole host of things, for the celebs amongst us (oh wait, that’s not me really) it can mean that rather than having a personal profile and a fan page, you can have both and just chose which of your updates are public and which are private.  But it could also be a great feature for the average Joe on the street, such as teachers, for example.  Mashable describes it far more succinctly than I could: “Users can subscribe to others without enabling others to subscribe to them. This means teachers can allow their students to follow their public updates about school and classes without actually friending them (and accessing more personal information). That way, students can continue to update friends about their lives without worrying what might pop up in their teachers’ News Feeds.” Useful, huh?  A bit like Twitter (noticing a pattern here) but going that stage further because you can choose for some of your updates to be private whilst others are public for all those that may follow you to consume….

 

Twitter

Twitter has also made some interesting advancements:

 

–                      Twitter announced that it is now available in five additional languages (making the total 17).  The additional languages are simplified and traditional Chinese, Hindi, Tagalog and Malay.  This might not be a move that  effects all of you, but is a necessary one none-the-less….[worth noting that Facebook is available in 70 languages, so Twitter still has a way to go].

–                      A new analytics package has been launched by Twitter to help users understand “How much of their content is being shared on Twitter, how much traffic Twitter is sending their way and how well Tweet Buttons are performing.” I have yet to try out the analytics but this could be a great tool for agencies and in-house PRs that need to provide statistics on their social media activities, watch this space….

 

Google +

Google + has introduced a map sharing feature that allows you to share directions (and other information) from Google maps, though your Google + accounts – potentially useful for businesses with difficult to find offices…

 

 

These are of course just a few of the changes happening, but it is great to see that the big players are not resting on their laurels and continue to develop and improve.  That said, it does feel a little like Facebook and Twitter are in a bit of a war to catch-up and outdo each other, whereas it feels slightly like Google + is actually breaking new ground…..(and let’s not forget that David Cameron, Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg have all ventured into the Google + world).

 

Do you agree? Or do you feel that Twitter and Facebook are still streets ahead?


 

According to digital bible that is Mashable Facebook is currently trialling a real-time ‘what is happening now’ feed in the right-hand panel of the Facebook homepage:

 

(source: Dazeinfo via Mashable)

Although the current news feed allows users to see their friends status updates, posts on mutual friends walls, events friends are planning to attend, page likes and recommended pages, the real-time function will incorporate some of the updates previously included in the news feed as well as allowing users to what their friends are liking, sharing and commenting on in real-time.

In many ways, this seems to be only a slight extension of what already appears in the news feed, but it does create opportunities for businesses using the social networking site; if your company is creating interesting and engaging online content, users are more likely to share it with their friends – and with a wider audience than Twitter’s sharing community offers.

The tricky bit is coming up with a campaign worthy of sharing, but that’s another story….(and that is where Twelve PR come in)!


The news that Facebook has now changed its promotions guidelines to say that the ‘like’ function can not be used for voting in promotions might be a bit of a blow for some digital marketers that have relied on this for their Facebook campaigns…but hopefully it will force us to use the platform more creatively for social media campaigns.

Read the full story about the new regulations here.

(Source: The Wall)


Often the challenge with Digital media campaigns can be injecting a bit of creativity.  It is often the first port of call for many PRO’s to establish Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn pages for their company or brands and invariably, the digital strategy stops there.

Of course these outlets, where appropriate, are quite rightly the foundations of digital strategy, but sometimes what is called for is a creative campaign to spark the imaginations of the public and get your service or product in front of the masses.

Once such campaign that really ticks the creativity box is David Cameron’s Bee Beard.  The campaign aims to highlight the plight of the honeybee to David Cameron by creating a Twitter petition.  Every time someone tweets in support of the campaign a virtual bee is added to David Cameron’s beard.  Once the campaign has received 10,000 messages of support, they will be delivered to number 10 as a petition.

The campaign is effective because it is imaginative and original, but also because it has a clear purpose and link to its target audience.  Always a key consideration to bear in mind when brainstorming your creative digital campaigns…



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