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Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Eurostar and the Blame Game

December 21, 2009 1 comment

So, Friday night was a bad bad night for anyone using the channel tunnel. Hours spent trapped under sea would in most cases be fatal, but in this case it resulted in a plethora of seriously vexed travelers and Eurostar facing a backlash of epic proportions about their communications throughout the debacle.

There has been various comments across the web not only kicking Eurostar’s arse (which is fully deserved) but also their social media agency – We Are Social, which I feel in this case is harsh. Yes, Eurostar are their client, but everyone seems to have jumped about 5 steps ahead and assumed Eurostar were paying them for a full monitoring, response package. Which according to Robin Grant, they weren’t . social media monitoring and response services come with a cost and it looks like in this case, despite We are Social’s best efforts, Eurostar hadn’t signed up to that, so what do you do? Well, a couple of things could have been done in my humble opinion:-

  1. They should 100% have secured ALL social domains for such a big client – even if they hadn’t asked for it. It should be policy.
  2. If they had hooked the client on the benefits of using Twitter to flog cheap deals and push marketing messages (update: the first link is now being used to answer and inform, which it wasn’t before) then they should have first concentrated on the ‘real’ benefits of social media – I am sure Robin Grant and his team did this and didn’t want to lose a client by being too pushy…but it would have helped the client in the long run. Right?

Kudos to We Are Social for diving into the problem and going, seemingly, above and beyond their pay cheque to help the client…but it would be pretty weak of them to simply say “not our problem, we told you so and you wouldn’t listen”. So I think they win points for not being crap on that one! Plus I doubt they are doing the disaster recovery services free of charge.

This will certainly become an example of a brand self-harming by not seeing the benefit of having as many open communication channels as possible. Especially the ones in the service industry. Doubtless there were many corportate and legal meetings scheduled for 2010 to decide how Eurostar should use these funny little geeky tools to spread their corporate message…now I am guessing they will have been moved forward and the tone of the meetings will be different.

Happy Christmas!

Google real time search – The start of a game changer?

December 8, 2009 3 comments

I think this is a big one! Google announced yesterday that they will   launch real-time search within days. They will integrate the full   Twitter firehose feed, as first mentioned by Mashable back in October, Myspace , Yahoo Answers, Jaiku and the plethora of blogs they already crawl. They will also have public pages from Facebook. There is a question over exactly how much access they will have here  and it is safe to assume they won’t get the same love that Microsoft will, given their investment in Facebook back in 2007.

Many in the industry saw this one coming. At the MSM09 Conference last month, there was talk of Google buying one of the incumbent vendors (I was one of the talkers) and I guess it may have come down to price – cheaper to do a deal with the data sources than to buy a Radian6? Not sure, but it certainly throws up some interesting questions for the many, many players in the realtime / social media monitoring space:-

When will the data be plugged into Google Analytics?

How much will Google charge?

Will Google produce a sentiment engine to accompany the data streams?

Are we screwed?

I also think this is good news for agencies, consultants and coaches who have been struggling to get their prospective clients to see the benefit or need to be involved in social media, to join the conversation. This should make it easier! Get them to watch the video below and then ask again if they think they should be involved.

The End of the Gag?

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

My very first post on this blog proclaimed – “The day new media overtook traditional media”. I saw the Iran Election as the clearest example of how, in today’s world, using the technology available, it is nearly impossible to (easily) control the spread of news or incidents if people care enough.

Last week, the Trafigura – Guardian fiasco broke …not in the traditional press, they had already been gagged from reporting it, but via journalist Alan Rusbridger’s tweet . The result was the Twitterverse went into overdrive and soon, Trafigura was one of the top search terms throughout Europe. The company realized they couldn’t control the spread of the message, pulled their ridiculous gagging order and everyone was free to report the facts.

One conculsion and one question.

Conclusion – Social media is not a joke or fad anymore. Those familiar with the space have known this for a long time, but the sneers and jokes regarding Twitter persist. Alan Rusbridger summed it up best himself,

“Twitter’s detractors are used to sneering that nothing of value can be said in 140 characters. My 104 characters did just fine” .

As with the Iran Election, the Sichaun Earthquake, Obama’s election campaign and now Trafigura we are seeing examples of the power of social media and how cumbersome it can make  traditional media look.

Question – Will companies keep issuing gagging orders against traditional media now they know that there are plently of ways to get the message out using social media? Will cases like this nudge us towards greater freedom for the press and old school journalism?

Sorry, that was two questions!

The young aren’t using Twitter?! Who is surprised?

August 11, 2009 Leave a comment

There were quite a few posts flying around last week about this, for example this from the ft.com and ‘why teens don’t tweet’ from Mashable. Surely, people aren’t surprised about this.

(I am going to generalize about young people a bit in this post) Most young people don’t see the need for some digital social networks because they have their physical ones in full operation. Everyday at school they are seeing, pretty much, ALL their network of friends. They all have mobiles so are using them to chat, text and exchange lurid images. There is nothing that a social network can offer that will drastically improve their social life…so why bother? The real-time engagement that they get from physical and mobile contact means they don’t need to do it on the social web. When you were at school, how many friends were you in regular contact that you didn’t actually see at least every week? Not too many.

As soon as they start to leave school or their social circle becomes more disparate, ie when they go to college or enter the job world, the value of a Facebook becomes much greater. Also, as you get older your social circle increases and you need a repository for that data. Young people should maintain their real social interactions as long as possible but as we all know, eventually your connections and friends start to spread out.

Twitter is becoming a breaking news and social search platform. It is aiming to let users “discover what is going on in the world, right now”, which again, the young don’t really care that much about. The social platforms are maturing and finding their own identities and purpose, so its unrealistic to think all demographic of user is going to adopt every social network available.

Young people are no different to any other age group. They use the communication and connectivity tools which give them the most social value at that point in time.

The week the web overtook ‘old’ media?

June 17, 2009 1 comment

iran The last few days have been historic in  Iran. It has been amazing to watch, and  more amazing is the fact we have been  able to watch! I think we have witnessed  not only a major point in history for Iran  as a nation, but also a watershed moment  for the web vs traditional media.

As soon as protesters started taking to the  streets after Thursday’s election results,  the media channels were quickly stifled. Foreign journalists were sent packing and the state run media channels went into propaganda mode. Ten years ago, that would have been that in terms of information flow. However, in the last few days we have seen a generation of people who have grown up with the web, use it for exactly what I think it was invented for – communication and interaction with the rest of the world. Using Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and various blogs, some via proxy IP’s as the government tried in vain to stem the flow of information, the people of Iran with the help of Iranian exiles have let the rest of the world, and the traditional media, see what is actually happening in Tehran.

The youth of Iran, which make up 60% of the population, will for the rest of their lives see the web, and the websites and tools they have used over the last few days,  as their way to communicate and source information to and from the outside world. Having had state controlled media for so long, I would be very surprised if they ever see TV, Radio or press as their primary source of information in the future. They will rely on the collective wisdom of real people exchanging information on the web.

There have been many articles and an uprising on Twitter, criticising the traditional media’s coverage and Brian Solis writes an excellent post on Techcrunch http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/06/17/is-twitter-the-cnn-of-the-new-media-generation/ , reporting on the 140 Characters Conference (#140conf) in New York. I think Ann Curry’s comment is particularly telling, “…we have to look at whether or not mainstream media is covering the world fast enough and the answer is no.” She then concluded, “Should we be? Yes. But, right now, we can’t keep pace.”

Traditional media will not be dying out anytime soon, which is a good thing but the gauntlet has certainly been thrown down for speed of delivery of breaking news. We still need to filter out the unwanted noise and the bullshit which inevitably finds its way into any online conversation and many have been quick to question how much we should rely on social media as a ‘trusted source of information’ and to an extent I agree. I think the difference here is that the posts on the social media sites are being used by the traditional media. So, I am guessing the professional journalists and broadcasters have done their usual checks and deemed the content worthy.

The social web has democratized information meaning traditional media channels are not the only gate keepers to trusted content anymore.

Hopefully future posts will be more business, brand, PR, marketing, research, future of social media-esque and I think all of the issues above can be related to businesses and how they need to operate in the online world. The balance of power in a marketing and branding sense is shifting (and quickly) from the company to the consumer. It is no use shouting at or interrupting customers with traditional advertising and marketing techniques as future consumers will see right through all the bullshit…and then tell their mates about it! Brands need to be more human in their approach.

Listening to the conversations of customers, talking in the correct way to those that want to talk and energizing the ones who really give a shit will create so much more value.