Category Archives: Social Networks

Immigrants and Natives

N.b. this is a post I originally wrote for the Lucre Social blog.

So, according to a recent report in the excellent Figaro Digital, those born after 1980, and especially those bright young things born after the year 2000 are officially “digital natives”. For those not familiar with digital jargon, that means for these lucky people, there’s simply no barriers between the digital world, and the ‘real’ world. An interesting thought, especially for marketeers.

So where does that leave someone like me? Being born in 1981 surely means that I’ll forever be playing catch up, lumbering around and doomed to be a digital immigrant forever more? Of course, this isn’t the case for me, but then I would say that. But date of birth aside, for anyone wanting to assess where they fit when it comes to immigrants and natives, here’s my checklist, gathered from recent personal experience.

  • Facebook friends. I’ve got 204 on last count, but have a quick look at an 18 year old’s profile and you’ve got 800+. I’m not sure whether this means I’m unpopular (possibly) but this is certainly a trend; digital natives are totally open and basically, friends with everyone. After all; who really knows that many people?
  • Web TV; ask a digital immigrant watching online video what they’re doing, and they’ll typically tell you they’re watching ‘TV on the internet’. Ask a digital native and they’ll just say they’re watching ‘TV’. You see, they just don’t see the difference between traditional television, and online video.
  • Privacy. Mark Zuckerburg caused controversy earlier in the year when he claimed Facebook’s privacy laws simply followed what’s happening in wider society. And reflecting this are digital natives; a straw poll reveals few Facebook profiles of younger people are locked (not that I’m prying); whereas digital immigrants would baulk at this. The same goes when it comes to Youtube uploads, Flickr accounts and so on. Again it’s back to this notion of total openness; everyone can see everything.

There’s just three that have struck me in the last few days. Don’t get me started on the rest, like handsets being held aloft at gigs instead of lighters. It just makes me feel old ok?

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If Facebook was real life – and other amusing videos

I’ve recently been involved in delivering a social media training session with my colleagues Chris Norton and Jono Marcus for one of our clients. We talked about the importance of community, and what this means for a business. Anyway, we used a few videos in the presentation which summed it all up really succinctly, and in a very funny and engaging way, so here goes.


Advertising versus Consumer

Once you start…you can’t stop

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Filed under Social Networks, Video and TV

mflow – getting paid for your mixtapes

There’s an interesting new music sharing service that’s just launched, mflow, which is currently in its beta phase.

I’ve been interested in music streaming services and internet radio for a while now, particularly as they’ve started to evolve into something more social. A past favourite for example, Grooveshark allows you to stream free music, build playlists, but also share them via links, as well as all your preferred social platforms.

But back to mflow. It follows a familiar model; you follow your friends, and therefore follow their music streams, all of which is free. You can also follow artists, DJs, celebrities and so on and hear what musical nuggets they recommend. You, in return can ‘flow’ tracks to your listeners, returning the favour.

But, here’s where it gets good. If anyone decides to buy the music you ‘flow’ to your followers, you get 20% rake back from the price of the track, which does sound too good to be true, admittedly. But while for the average person this might not amount to much, for more established music bloggers, DJs or artists, this could become a useful revenue stream. And it’s certainly motivation to start building really interesting, quirky playlists, which could breathe new life into art of the mixtape.

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Filed under Audio, Music, Social Networks

Some thoughts on Foursquare

I’ve been fascinated by the rise of Foursquare, particularly as it’s still in its relative infancy in the UK. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s an app which runs from a Blackberry or iPhone, allowing you to ‘check in’ to different venues in a city – highlighted by your phone’s GPS on a Google map. Once you’ve checked in, you can gain badges according to how many times you’ve been to that particular venue, whether it’s a city centre, café or gallery.

Ultimately you can become the major of that location, and certain savvy retailers or cafes are even starting to lay on exclusive Four Square offers to reward check ins (I’ve only seen this available in one part of London so far). As well as that you get to see where all your fellow geek friends are, and track them down on a night out – as if they really wanted you to…

So far, so good. What’s particularly great and exciting is that it’s a hybrid of a social network and an online game, and represents arguably the future of social media. It’s also great for marketeers, and presents great potential for location-based campaign activity. In fact, I’m writing up a proposal right now for a national bar chain using exactly this technology – what a great way to build buzz around a particular venue and reward loyalty.

But unless I’m missing something, the software isn’t quite there yet, and the same goes for the proposition. But, there’s nothing stopping you from checking into random venues when you’re nowhere near them. There’s tons of venues not on there, which is admittedly changing, but more annoying is the masses of ambiguities with venues, for example, the same branch of Starbucks can be featured numerous times with slightly different spelling.

And all this is before I mention the great big elephant in the room that is people robbing you blind while you happily go about your check-in check-out business – as demonstrated by the inevitable site Please Rob Me.

It’s massive in the states as you’d expect, and I’d love to see how people use it over there, where it’s getting much closer to tipping point. But for now, I’ll remain content in being Major of Virgin Active.

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Filed under online gaming, Social Networks

More tips for creating a successful social media contest

Interesting article on Mashable around how to make a social media contest an unmitigated success. I’ve run several successful (and a few challenging) online competitions on behalf of my clients, so I’ve got a few things to add to Clay’s excellent piece.

1) Integration is king

Something of a soapbox issue for me; I believe that for a social media campaign to be truly effective, online activity needs to seamlessly integrate with what’s happening offline. So, Clay mentions that ‘everyone loves a winner’ and it’s important to PR the result of the contest, which I agree with. But why stop there? What happens if you make the contest itself a story – then you get a great PR story playing out in traditional media channels before it’s even launched in the online space, building anticipation, and ultimately giving you a shed load of entries. So make sure it’s the biggest, the best, the first…whatever it takes to give you that all important news hook to appeal to traditional media. Then of course you can PR the entries on an ongoing basis giving you yet more media coverage.

2) Breaking down the barriers to entry

Getting the right quantity, as well as quality of entries is key, whatever your objectives are. You can have the best creative idea in the world, but if it’s a massive effort for people to enter, then they won’t do it, simple as that. So, make your contest fun, interesting, make it so that people want to take part, whether they win the final prize or not. And play to platforms that people use and make the process easy; for example, a photography competition that people can enter directly from their smartphone becomes the easiest thing in the world.

3) Ensure mass adoption

Clay talks about leveraging social channels to make sure it’s a success, and I agree. But also leverage non-social channels. I’ve touched on the importance of PR around the contest, and this stands, but also do everything you can to get people to enter. So plug it on your customer’s e-newsletter, put links to it on their homepage, make sure you mention it in your notes to editors on every press release you issue. James Khan from Dragon’s Den said that success can be broken down into the basic constituents of 10% idea and 90% delivery, and this is so true. And a great prize always helps – high perceived value, low actual value.

4) Rich media content

Finally, something else I’ve found is that the more rich-media content your contest generates, the more lucid it becomes and the more people want to talk about it – which means more buzz and ultimately more entries for your client. So while a ‘traditional’ press competition would simply ask people to answer a question, now you can ask them to upload a video, an image, a playlist…it goes on. And best of all, each these factors gives you great content for your existing social media platforms, and more reasons for people to engage.

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What media does a 15-year-old consume (other than porn?)

I’m a bit late on this one (come on, I’ve been in Belgrade), but, along with everyone else, I loved the story that Morgan Stanley used their summer intern, a 15-year-old boy, to inform them how ‘youths’ consumed media in today’s heady times. Boldly, Morgan Stanley described the report as ‘groundbreaking’ and even went as far as presenting it to their media clients (and charging them for it, I wonder…)

While it’s too easy to take pot shots at this (how much insight can a 15 year-old give us other than how much porn he watches, for example) I think it’s a great piece of PR. For a start, using a 15-year-old to do a piece of work is two fingers up at the plethora of companies charging huge sums for this kind of thing, but it’s also a really strong piece of lateral thinking from someone at MS – I mean, why can’t a 15- year-old give us advice on these kind of issues?

Tim Dowling at the Guardian did a great follow up piece on the story, ‘testing’ the findings on his own ’14 year-old media expert’ (who insisted on anonymity). I’ve listed his comments below – along with (as if you’re interested) the habits of a 27-year-old, male, working in PR (that’s me, ok?).

Television Robson describes teenage viewing as erratic, claiming “they will watch a particular show at a certain time for a number of weeks . . . but then they may watch no television for weeks after the programme has ended.” My expert says: “People don’t go for weeks without watching telly.”

Urghhhh, I don’t ever get home from work in time for TV – though do make time for Mad Men and have a weird obsession with reality TV cop shows like Cops with Cameras, Road Wars, Traffic Cops – I could go on. Maybe this means something?

Gaming With consoles that connect to the internet, says Robson, online chatting between gamers is beginning to impact on mobile use: “One can speak for free over the console and so a teenager would be unwilling to pay to use a phone.” My consultant remains unconvinced: “I don’t know any teenagers who use their Xbox instead of a phone.”

Ha! As if I have time for gaming. But a lot of my friends still do (most of them are ‘between jobs) and they mainly play on the Wi, or Xbox 360. Though I agree with the Guardian, how many people are going to use their consoles instead of phones?

The internet My insider concurs with Robson’s assertion that “many teenagers use YouTube to watch videos” but disagrees with the idea that those videos are “mainly anime”. “It’s mainly people humiliating themselves,” he says.

I’ve got to agree with the Guardian again here, I’m obsessed with Youtube and a quick check on my last search was largely people humiliating themselves, with; “When Swans Fight Men” and “Bears Attacking People”.

Newspapers Robson insists that “No teenager that I know of regularly reads a newspaper.” My own operative has ceased cooperating by this point, but thanks to Robson I feel able to offer my own conclusions safe in the knowledge that no teens will discover them here. Today’s young persons rarely, if ever, pay for anything they can get for free. The big question then, is this: why do we care what they like?

Ok, so along with every other person in PR, I literally read every newspaper, magazine and parish leaflet out there, ON A DAILY BASIS. I fear there is such a thing as too much knowledge and I feel my brain filling up at an alarming rate.

I’m off to sell my report to a large media company now.

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Filed under Industry news, innovation, Social Networks