Two Great Examples Showing the Versatility of the Social Media Platform

Two completely different and completely brilliant uses of social media.

This week has seen two perfect examples of why social media has become so huge in recent years. On the one hand we had a political party using Twitter as a tool for a live questions and answers session. At the other end of the economic spectrum we had Orange launching their ‘Spot the Bull’ competition. How did I find out about this comp? Twitter of course.

Put Your Question To David Cameron:

Conservative party leader David Cameron had an early shot at connecting with the ‘yoof”, but this ended in media ridicule following his ‘Hug a Hoodie’ speech. 

On Tuesday May 26th, the Conservative Party website hosted a Q & A session allowing members of the public (with internet access) to ask questions by leaving comments on the page or via Twitter.

conservative live

Using the functionality of CoveritLive the Conservatives pulled off a slick and well worked method of conversing and interacting with their online audience. Will it gain them any voters? Probably not but it improved my opinion of them.

Orange – Spot The Bull

Orange launched their now annual Spot the Bull competition, giving people the chance to win tickets to Glastonbury. Heres how it works (courtesy of Suzanne Bearne at NMA) “The competition, in its third year, challenges players to guess the location at 3pm each day of a bull, Desmond, whose position in a field is being tracked online…On choosing a location, players will be given specific information about the percentage of time Desmond has spent in that area and the percentage of people who have chosen that part of the field.” I’ve entered every day and am yet to guess the correct square but its still fun none the the bull

Orange have employed a PPC campaign with ads appearing for search terms such including ‘glastonbury tickets’. There was also mention of it round the Twittersphere and there is an Twitter feed called @spotthebull. This year Orange have made good use of mobile by allowing people to submit their guess by text. There is also a widget  “available to download for personal social networking profile pages and blogs, this features a countdown to the next ticket giveaway, the Spot The Bull twitter feed and images direct from Desmond’s field.”

Digital agency Poke are responsible for this great campaign.

So all in all two very innovative social media campaigns used in two very different ways going to show the versatility of social media as a platform.


Twitter – Break it down now

Some would argue that the internet offers a place with no social boundaries and no glass ceiling. ‘Blue sky thinking’ is a certain term that is used (I would never use this phrase.)

Twitter however appears to me to be a complex world of friendships, allegiances, cliques. Socialisers, broadcasters and spammers all have different agenda’s concerning their use of Twitter.
Socialisers use Twitter to:
  • Locate people they don’t yet know, who can add something to their Twitter profile. It may be that being seen to follow a certain person gives you kudos or it may be that you actually want to keep up to date with what someone of interest is doing.
  • Engage with existing friends, colleagues and acquaintances on another level. Twitter allows you to keep abreast of what colleagues out of the office are dong or it allows you to see what friends did at the weekend.
  • Share information. Third party Twitter apps are facilitating easier sharing. Applications such as Twitpic for photos and URL shorteners like Tweetdeck’s allow for quick link sharing. Who needs social bookmarking sites these days when Twitter allows you to catalogue your favourite links in the favourites folder and share your favourites via your status update? People can show their interest by retweeting (surely this is the same as ‘digging’ something?)
Broadcasters use Twitter to:
  • Disseminate a message to a large number of people. The people have to ‘follow’ the broadcaster and so must therefore have some kind of interest in what they have to say. Examples of broadcasters are; @bbcnews @google @twitter. They have an asymetric stream of information and tend not to interact with followers but more act like an information source (replacing RSS feeds?)
Spammers use it to:
  • Spam! They follow everyone and hope that they will be followed. They can be following tens of thousands of people. Twitter admin do not like Spammers and they very often have their account removed.
The above profiles are the norm but are not mutually exclusive. Many celebrities broadcast what they ate for lunch to a large number of people but then interact with them on a social level, albeit humouring their fans.
There does appear to be a social hierarchy within Twitter which bears a relation to the number of followers a user has. If their followers to followees ratio is high i.e. Following 100 with 9000 followers then they are high up the Twitter hierarchy. Offline influence can very much affect your social standing within Twitter.
Below is a list of what I believe the social structure of Twitter to be:
1. World leaders eg (@barackobama)
2. Real celebrities – huge stars in the real world eg (Ashton Kutcher @aplusk, Lance Armstrong)
3. Early adopter celebrities – not so well known in the real world but well followed on Twitter (Stephen Fry, Russell Brand, Phillip Schofield)
4. Key influencers/bloggers etc (Seth Godin, Robert Scoble)
5. Journalists for major broadcasters online and offline (@jemimakiss -Guardian Rory Celan Jones @ruskin147 -BBC tech
6. Business leaders/key figures within organisations (@emilybell -Guardian
6. Smaller scale bloggers and journalists –
7. Civilians – You and me @rob__murray @joebloggs
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100 best blogs (arguably)

Following on from a great Sunday roast yeasterday at the folks house, my wife threw Times newspaper supplement at me shouting, ‘YOU’LL probably be interested in this!’ (as though it were an accusation?). I flicked through the pages of the ‘Culture’ magazine to find an article on the top 100 blogs in the world/on the web (same thing really).

This list must be read carefully and with a pinch of salt. As Steve Clayton, London commented on the Times’ website “The UK has more to offer from blogs than fluffing up the careers of these folks. This list proved to me that The Times is the best Sunday Paper but The Guardian has it’s finger on the the tech pulse.” Couldn’t have put it better myself. Personally I prefer the work of Jemima Kiss of the Guardian.

The Times has tried to be trendy with an article on blogs but what we are presented with is a shallow list of blogs…Richard Madley, Paul Daniels anyone?! The article itslef is a well written and incisive piece of jouranlism if you ignore the shameless self plugging “I am also, thanks to Thought Experiments (the title of my blog)” It is a great way of making the ‘real world’ more aware of whats going on on line which can only be a good thing for those of us who’s careers depend upon it.

Here are some of the cream of the crop:

A blog updated by staff of the British ebassy in Harare. A place where actually saying what you think can get you killed. Well they say what they think and it’s great.

I know, I know Lily Allen is not cool and not clever. But hey she does say some funny stuff about other celebs and we all like to laugh at celebs don’t we?!

A wonderfull insight into the life of Eric Arthur Blair. Had he known that Big Brother would actualy become an inane show, synonomous with attention seekers and weirdos, he may not have written the novel 1984 to prevent Big Brother the TV series ever being born!

Quite simply the Blogger’s Blog

Thanks to Bryan Appleyard for the original article in the Sunday Times.

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Top 100 Social Media Brands

Ive been searching for this for ages; a list of the biggest brands making the most of social media. It has been compiled by Vitrue and posted on their blog.

The list includes all the names that you would expect (Apple, Disney, MTV) and heavily features all American brands. I don’t have a problems with this. After all, the worlds biggest brands are from the USA as are the worlds biggest social media brands (Digg, Facebook, Techcrunch). I’m not sure whether Vitrue chose which brands they wanted to monitor (include list) or monitored different social media channels to find the most talked about? Surely brands who’s demographic are also the bulk of social media users will be the most talked about? Brands whose target market is the over 5o’s will never have as much online chatter about them but surely this doesn’t make them any less of a brand? They say “We apply a series of algorithms to reflect the frequency of usage, the size of the social media environment, and the magnitude of the conversation. The result is a single numeric score for each brand: the Vitrue Social Media Index (SMI).”

I’d like to have actually seen each brand’s SMI. Crucially, we don’t know if this is positive or negative chatter which only adds to the slight ambiguity of this study. See my post on Buzzdaq which was an attempt to dynamically monitor brand names. However everyone likes a good list and this one has been a long time coming.

Enough already – heres the list (top 50) – For the full top 100 visit Vitrue

For more insight read Adage’s blog

  1. iPhone
  2. CNN
  3. Apple
  4. Disney
  5. Xbox
  6. Starbucks
  7. iPod
  8. MTV
  9. Sony
  10. Dell
  11. Microsoft
  12. Ford
  13. Nintendo
  14. Target
  15. PlayStation
  16. Mac
  17. Turner
  18. Hewlett-Packard
  19. Fox News
  20. BlackBerry
  21. ABC
  22. Coke
  23. LG
  24. Best Buy
  25. Honda
  26. eBay
  27. Sharp
  28. Lincoln
  29. NBA
  30. Pepsi
  31. General Motors
  32. McDonald’s
  33. General Electric
  34. Walmart
  35. NFL
  36. Mercedes
  37. BMW
  38. Samsung
  39. Nike
  40. Subway
  41. Dodge
  42. Pandora
  43. CBS
  44. Mercury
  45. NBC
  46. Disneyland
  48. Toyota
  49. Cadillac
  50. Chevy

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Flick on Radio1 and its not long before you hear something along the lines of ‘I was at Sainsburys the other day…’ and then a producer interjects with ‘other supermarkets are available.

There has been furore over the BBC’s stance on not televising an appeal for Gaza. This they say is due to impartiality issues.

Now the Mashup learns that the BBC has launched a travel portal linking to Lonely Planet and will feature 3 ‘editorially selected’ news items.

The travel module will appear on the BBC home page for users outside the UK from today and will provide access to the destination pages from the Lonely Planet website and a picture gallery for inspiration on places to travel.”

This is a great coup for Lonely Planet as it will be linked to from one of the most well known brands in the world.

This move by BBC online may be an indication of their future plans to monetise (cash in on) their readership. That said, this is a bold move by such a highly regarded corporation and it is not only innovative but shows that they can embrace the specialities of niche companies (Lonley Planet).

The winner in this partneship can only really be Lonely Planet.

Mashup out.
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Youtube have been hd

Thats right the most famous video sharing network of them all has gone HD. Is this a necesary addition? No. does it look and sound good? Yes

This seems to be part PR behaviour and part future proofing. As we all know, eventually there will be just a single piece of kit in your living room through which you can access all media formats; TV, music, the internet (and so Youtube) and probably all manner of other things things that haven’t even been thought of yet.
This has garnered a lot of attention and so has done the PR bit well.
By providing videos in an HD format Youtube is making itself the video browsing site of choice for the home viewer of the future. As we have all believed the hype that our non HD TV’s will soon be obslete we may feel validated by the fact that such a market player is heading in this direction.
Glanceable content. Thats the media of the future. Its all around us with Youtube clips, mobile/web only TV shows and mainstream TV programmes like Rudetube being born from the web. As I believe it though, the videos have to be recorded in HD form to be then shown in HD. This can only be done on expensive camcorders. Youtube is the land of the cameraphone so until we have HD quality camera phones…this may be ahead of its time.
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Make money from your Twitter account…again?

I was afraid that headline might look slightly spammish but then I though ah forget it yo home to Belair!

Look it up yourself. Ad Cause is the slightly schizophrenic site that is half aimed at money grabbing Tweeters and half at charitable folk.
The site is pleasing to the eye with clear initial instructions on how to sign up and make money. The page seemed to show the main content out of the page area on the right so frustratingly to view any info I had to keep scrolling over to the page. Also, when signing up and choosing my country, I was given the options of living in Great Britain or United Kingdom….hmmm
How it Works:
It’s not a way of monetising your Twitter background, its about showing ad’s in your Twitter stream for companies who have signed up.
1) Visit AdCause and sign up. Write a bio about yourself to attract advertisers and make sure you’re signed up to Paypal beforehand as this is how you’ll get paid.
2) Choose how much you charge per ad and how long you want the ads to show for.
3) (and here’s the catch) Wait for an advertiser to select you to advertise through. You’ll need to be a poplular fellow with plenty of followers in their target market. I would estimate you’d have to have over 500 relevant followers (don’t quote me!).
4) Sit back and wait for the dollar bills to start pouring through the letterbox.
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