Mariamz

Posts Tagged ‘twitter

Mark Ritson recently wrote, If you think Oreo won the advertising Super Bowl with a tweet, look at the social media scoreboardIn this, he puts forward a bold position: firstly that social media reaches a relatively small number of people, in a relatively light way (in comparison to TV ads) and secondly, that “The players might have changed, but the game has always been the same.” I’d like to briefly tackle these sentiments with some counter-points:

  1. Two-way, multi-way, a new way:  It’s a standard social media point to make, but it’s seems it still must be. The game is not the same, because we are talking about many to many communication, about instantaneous interaction between publics and brands. Broadcast media (print, tv and to a great extent radio) was about crafting messages and pushing them out. Social media is about stakeholders, customers, innovators, product developers, consumers, suppliers, shareholders, customer services getting under eachother’s skin in real-time. It means a wealth of chances to make better products, services, institutions and outcomes, and for a brand to know, in no uncertain terms, whether it is delighting, inspiring, boring, horrifying, losing or poisoning its target customers and (former) audiences faster than ever, ever before.
  2. Broadcast reach vs reach on the brand’s terms: According to Ritson’s calculations, the Oreo tweet reached 200,000 people, which he compares with the 8 million Americans who eat an Oreos cookie during one year. But these sums ignore that social media engagement does not rest on one tweet alone, however brilliantly improvised its content. If an individual likes a brand enough to follow it, to endure its posts, by choice, day in day out - that brand has a chance of reaching that number of people, with what it chooses, on its own terms, and over and over again. It does not have to pay per placement, negotiate partnerships with publishers or pitch to journalists. It decides what to say and how to say it, and gets it out there immediately. And what happens on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter.  According to Exact Target, discussions that begin on Twitter are more likely to appear elsewhere on the web than they are from any other network.
  3. Tiny stories versus big bangs: Ritson challenges the value of Oreo’s tweet on the grounds of its ‘potency’, because he is apparently wedded to the old-school marketing obsession with the big bang, a million eyeballs, that golden moment where a message reaches every heart, and the earth moves for everyone simultaneously. But in the new social media environment, we ridicule and mock big campaigns when they don’t make sense to us – and our voices are so loud brands can’t help but hear. Conversely, we cheer those that listen, move collaboratively, give us choices and help us make our mark. As Marcus Brown recently wrote marketers / social business people need to “watch and listen to all of the tiny noises, the personal moments, the little disasters and the massive moments of personal joy that surround us daily. We should be improvising with the tiny stories.”
  4. We likee, we buyee, and there’s no excuse for metrical ignorance: There are various studies showing correlation between liking and following brands, and propensity to recommend, purchase, and purchase more from them. (And stats showing that poor social media engagement impacts bottom lines.) That given, there is still no need for any marketer to settle for anecdotal or macro-data: from Facebook insights to Google goal setting, tracking the effectiveness of digital communications through the customer and stakeholder funnel, brand by brand, product by product, is a matter of effort and skill, not luck or magic. There is simply no need, with the wealth of metrics at our fingertips, to be asking rhetorically the value of social media activation versus broadcast placements.

On and offline – when there is a surprise, welcome or not, how you respond makes all the difference. For brands and institutions, this can take you down interesting, unexpected and lucrative paths.

Nude Men Leopold Museum

Like Oreos, who achieved 13,734 re-tweets for its Superbowl suggestion to ‘Dunk in the dark‘ after the lights went out. And the Leopold Museum, who has responded to an man stripping off at its exhibition by offering nude viewings of its ‘Nude Men’ collection.

Neat way of showcasing top tweets using a picture gallery on the Capital FM website - as you scroll through each tweet associated commentary appears on the right hand side:

Jessie Picture Galleries Capital FM

 

The London Fire Brigade has revealed it could allow people in the UK to tweet emergencies instead of dialling 999. Some might be concerned that this could lead to an increase in hoax fire reports being made, however arguably more indicative signals about a person can be drawn from their Twitter presence, than can be gauged on the phone.

There are many rapid checks that can be made to verify whether a tweeter is likely to be legitimate – including checking out their recent tweets, their follower to following ratio, and stated location. Another good signal of whether a fire report is genuine, is whether they are having Twitter conversations about the fire with other, similarly legitimate looking tweeters, especially in the local area. This certainly worked for me this year on two separate occasions when I looked to Twitter for information / confirmation: during the riots, and during a local power cut.

London Fire Brigade has used Twitter for information on fires in the past. At the beginning of the year LFB was faced with a lack of information when a police helicopter was unavailable to reach a large fire in west London. It asked its Twitter followers to take pictures and describe the scene. This allowed for a more detailed assessment of the situation and the subsequent dispatch of around 75 fire fighters. London Fire Brigade states without Twitter it would have taken longer to control the fire.

Jennifer Faull

Fire image by Colin Kinnear

This appeared in a Daily Mail piece yesterday in relation to Sally Bercow’s latest mis-tweet. (Bercow - whose Twitter account has now been sucked down the memory hole - had identified an under-aged person in a tweet that a UK court order had banned from being named.)

I’d just like to focus in on the unnamed ‘legal experts’ here stating that using Twitter constitutes publication. In my view it is rather odd and irresponsible for Sally to have named the person in the way she did (and if this was knowingly done, is clearly in ‘contempt of court’). But overall, I maintain we need different rules for sharing and discussing on social media.

On social media, individuals should be treated as citizens, with special protections for their freedom of speech and right to share, until they write or speak with the authority of a collective, institutional platform.

First of all, because restrictions on public civic discourse are generally harmful and counter-productive, and secondly, because collective media institutions have a special legal status (and usually access to far superior legal counsel) which means they can be pursued by authorities (and wronged individuals like Lord McAlpine) as institutional collectives.

Without separate rules for individuals on social media, people will frequently foul of the law at great expense just for airing their views or unwittingly sharing problematic items they have come across in public environments or from bigger media. Or fall silent – and we surely don’t want that..

This is the read-write-edit web, and when we make mistakes, we are told. We are told by our followers, our fans, our enemies, by people we’ve never met, from all around the world. We can correct ourselves, and be easily and swiftly corrected online.

Lord McAlpine, there’s no need to sue so many of my fellow tweeters, we’re all over eachother’s mistakes, and we will lose so much more than we gain as a society if your action means we start pre-emptively restricting what is shared. It is unimaginable to be accused of something so terrible as you have been, and I can only sympathise with the unfortunate situation you find yourself in. But you and your lawyers should take into account Twitter’s unique properties as a peer to peer communications platform, and high value for our civic present and future, before threatening it, and quite specifically threatening the act of reacting to a television programme, discussing it, and sharing what has been said by others (a standard and highly popular way of using Twitter in the UK).

Previous moral panics and outrage about incorrect information being posted on the web have been countered by the fact that as quickly as false information is passed around the Internet, so too is it corrected. Quite famously, this has been used to demonstrate the value and accuracy of Wikipedia as an encyclopaedic resource. And stands in stark contrast to the slower method which has to be used in print media: printing a correction in a subsequent edition to apologize for any error.

Lord McAlpine, I’m afraid your case is one for all of us who care about UK civil liberties to watch as it risks being muddled by those who neither use Twitter or understand how it is used and / or are driven by ruling-elite-political posturing, quite specifically in relation to Sally Bercow – a tweeter whom it is no secret that your side (the Tories) of our political spectrum love to hate. It would be a travesty for us all if this adds up to fundamental curbs on the way Twitter is used in the UK – via legislation and self-censorship driven by fear.

Last week this small commentary that appeared in London’s Metro newspaper shocked me – declaring that internet service providers (presumably Robin Thompson means Twitter here(!!) not the people who run the pipes) should give right of reply (a journalistic pre-publication norm) before something is tweeted – in other words, we may as well pack up tweeting altogether as I’m sure Twitter would rather flip the UK switch off than become some sort of uber-real-time-editor-in-chief-on-steroids. 

In my view, (and, granted, this may be quite obvious to Twitter-natives, but let’s remember we are a statistical minority), we need different rules for social media, because social media is different. And indeed there are some in development at the moment for the UK.

We must beware of the traditional lobby which will straightjacket the democratisation of public political discourse online just as it is beginning if we are not very careful.

We must make the argument and fight for a legislative environment that facilitates a world where everyone can be informed and critically thinking citizens… citizens that make mistakes, of course, but mistakes that should be contrasted with those made by institutions, and mitigated by the fact we can quickly apologise, and put them right.

We must win the argument that it is a better media environment when we can have our eyes and ears and mouths open, and unprecedented capabilities to communicate with one another.

Sure, we should be responsible. But we should cater for errors in different ways when it comes to public, peer-to-peer discourse. A good rule is individuals should be treated as citizens, with special protections for their freedom of speech and right to share, until they write or speak with the authority of a collective, institutional platform.

Libel laws in the digital realm should be focused on policing institutions, or failing this, at the originator of offensive online materials, not on everyone who shares or discusses them.

Our rapidly evolving communications environment may distribute more widely the potential for error, but it also redistributes our chances to learn fast, to hear others, and to be corrected. We don’t need to be gagged Lord McAlpine, we all knew the story was wrong, really, really fast. So please end this revengeful race to the bottom, for all our sakes.

Image Credits: Censorship image by Tyler Menezes; Twitter illustration by Edwards McGowan


This blog is about utilizing and optimizing the social web for business, pleasure and social change

My tweets

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

The views in this blog do not reflect that of my employer
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,835 other followers