The day I (accidentally) spammed everyone on Twitter

26 09 2009

On Wednesday I attended the #TechPRDrinks night at the Savoy Tup with ‘the great and the good ‘ of London’s tech PR scene, organised by Will Sturgeon. There was lots of drink, lots of banter and a lot of familiar faces. I soon found myself having to answer one of the most important questions of our time:

BatmanSpiderman

Who would you rather be Batman or Spiderman?

Rachel Hodgson from Fleishman-Hillard was in the Spiderman camp, and Tim Hoang of Porter Novelli was representing Batman.  Neither side would give in, so we agreed to disagree. And then Tim and I agreed that Rachel was wrong. Batman is awesome.

The banter carried on to Thursday over Twitter:

SpamBanterSpamBanter2SpamBanter3 - Copy

In an attempt to put this baby to rest, I created a poll on POLLpigeon:

SpamThisEnds

Modest results came roaring in, and the POLLpigeon app sent a few public tweets on my behalf like so:

SpamPOLLtweets

I expected the app would do this much, which I was alright with. Then I shut down the laptop for the evening, and went to the world premiere of Rage with Skype, the world’s first interactive multi-venue film premiere (I’ll post on that later).

spam-boyUnbeknownst to me though, while I was offline and at the movie, POLLpigeon was sending DM’s to anyone following me begging them to enter this stupid poll. Add that to the public calls for participation and I began to look spammy indeed.

Flash forward to Friday morning, when slightly worse for wear, I fired up my laptop to find evidence in my inbox and on Twitter that ‘I’ was indeed spamming people by DM.  I was pleased though that people were either concerned my account got taken over by spambots or reassuring me that they would do the poll by DM. Both reactions, I find quite sweet. A taste:

SpamWarningsSo WTF happened? Well, apparently when I signed in with my Twitter username and password to create the poll, I must have authorised them to send out DMs to the people nice enough to follow me. This doesn’t really appear in their terms of service or anywhere else on the site.  And it’s particularly embarrassing when one creates such a completely ridiculous poll, as I did.

A couple public apologies later during my morning coffee, and a bit of access revoking for POLLpigeon (Settings > Connections > Revoke Access) and order was restored.

SpamSorryI know it’s not the end of the world, and probably not worth a whole blog post. But there was a weird feeling in my stomach as I read the concerned DMs and replies on Friday morning, worrying that people might get the impression that I would purposely spam them.  Not a great reputation to have for people in my line of work.

I was happy I got the benefit of the doubt though, so thanks.

SpamUnderstanding

fbzombie1In closing, screw POLLpigeon. I don’t mind coming off like a bell end sometimes, I just like it when it’s in a manner, time and place of my choosing.  On a more serious note I worry that seemingly harmless apps like this will take Twitter the way of Facebook 1.0, when you couldn’t log in without being informed you’ve been bitten by a zombie.

Oh, and since you’re dying to know, Batman FTW.

pollresults

[Big honking disclaimer, Skype is a client]





Rubbish social media stats let the side down

20 09 2009

It’s been about a month or so since I first came across this video via a post on Mashable called 30+ Impressive Social Media Stats Visualized.  The video was put together by Erik Qualman, author of the upcoming book Socialnomics, and has received over 646,000 views to date.

At first I thought that it was pretty decent, especially if you like numbers and stats and all that (which I do).

But a few things just didn’t seem right at first.

It might have been the use of a Moby as the backing track, which is enough to make me suspicious of pretty much anything. Or perhaps it was the opening teaser question ‘…is [social media] the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution?’ Um, no. That’s just nonsense.

But I looked past all that, and enjoyed the video. It was the sort of thing I could picture myself pulling up in a training session. I even jotted down what I thought were some of the most noteworthy stats, which were to form the basis of this blog post.

SocMedFailWhaleBut focus of this post has shifted completely since I began looking into some of these grand stats more closely. It seems that Qualman has fudged or completely misrepresented a few numbers which makes the video now look a bit sloppy.

Read just a few comments on Erik’s blog and on the original Mashable article and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

Robert Cole has written a fantastic blog post about his reaction to the video and some of those duff stats, and the following summary bears repeating:

…we have accurate statistics mixed in with a bunch of hyperbole that inadvertently undermines the credibility of both the presentation and social media. The video is a perfect example of social media at its worst.

So what’s the big deal? Well, a couple of things.

  1. Some of the stats are just plain wrong. This not only takes some of the shine off the glossy-techno-social-media-love-fest, but also arms those who watch it (and don’t question it) with incorrect facts to perpetuate. By way of example, the Mashable article has been re-tweeted over 450 times.
  2. At a time when social media enthusiasts from PR/Ad/Media circles are trying to determine the best way of measuring effectiveness and ROI, the last thing we need is someone overstating the case for effect (or to sell more books). It’s counterproductive for a start, but also gives anyone who thinks this area is a little flaky the ammunition they need to be, well, right.

I’m sure Qualman’s intentions were good and completely genuine. And I do agree with one of the closing lines of the video: ‘[social media is] a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.’

But huge numbers in social media – like Facebook cracking 300 million users this week – though impressive, tell only part of the story.  I worry that by overstating the numbers to inflate the impact of social media, the Qualmans of the world let the side down a bit.

Related Articles





Upcoming parties and networking events in London: @twestivaluk, @measurementcamp, @overheardatmoo

9 09 2009

In the coming weeks there are quite a few events on the social (media?) calendar that are worth giving a shout out to.  I’m going to do my best to get to as many as possible. See you there?

Twestival Local

Off the top: Twestival. An obvious choice for the Twitterati here, and I don’t know many people who aren’t going. If you haven’t yet got your tickets – buy them now! The London Twestival will be in support of ChildLine, ‘the UK’s free, 24-hour helpline for children in distress or danger.’ Every single penny goes there. There will be free drinks and great entertainment including music from The Hours. Massive shout out to the organisers who have again pulled off something truly global, and great.

Measurement Camp

The monthly open source movement for knowledge sharing and industry collaboration for social media types, from across the marcoms spectrum: Media, Ad, Digital, Social Media and PR agencies.

Tech PR Drinks

The brainchild Will Sturgeon from Lewis  PR, it’s a meet up for ‘the great and the good of the UK tech PR industry’. Missed the last one, so looking forward to this one.

MOO’s 3rd Birthday Party

You can’t seem to go to any networking thing in this city without being slipped a Moo MiniCard, and the funky online printshop is celebrating 3 years in the business. Happy birthday Moo, love your cards.

[Cross posted on: hyperTEXT London]





A day of Facebookery

7 09 2009

facebookI’ve been skilling up my Facebook Fan Page prowess today and thought I would share a few things before shutting down for the day.

First off is the Facebook Fan Page directory which can be found here. As you might expect, you can break down the list of Fan Pages by type of page (e.g. products, TV shows, celebrities, etc.) as well as search them by keyword.

Old news? Yes.

But I often fiddle and search until I find what I’m looking for on Facebook so it’s good to remember that Fan Pages can all be found in one handy place. A treasure trove of case studies for you PR/social media/advertising types (see below).

When you arrive at the page you are greeted by the most popular fan page by number of fans. Top 10?

  1. Michael Jackson – 10,207,298 fans
  2. Barack Obama – 6,689,609 supporters
  3. Vin Diesel – 6,146,520 fans
  4. Facebook – 5,022,715 fans
  5. R.I.P Michael Jackson (We Miss You) – 4,667,851 fans
  6. Pizza – 4,582,169 fan
  7. Will Smith – 4,428,324 fans
  8. I need a vacation!!! – 4,385,516 fans
  9. Dr. House – 4,372,902 fans
  10. Mafia Wars – 3,990,218 fans

Vin DieselI get Obama and the double Michael Jackson entry. I even get Will Smith and that loveable curmudgeon Dr. House. But Vin Diesel? At number 3?

I thought I was Rickrolled.  So I did a quick search and it’s for real:

I no longer have any connection to this world.

Brands

To maintain my sanity, I thought I would close by providing a more interesting list of the top 15 official brand Fan Pages (by # of fans):

  1. Facebook – 5,023,105 fans
  2. Starbucks Coffee Company – 3,827,219 fans
  3. Coca-Cola – 3,677,849 fans
  4. YouTube – 3,582,388 fans
  5. Nutella – 3,297,349 fans
  6. Pringles – 2,784,376 fans
  7. kinder surprise – 2,616,879 fans
  8. Live Messenger – 2,493,152 fans
  9. Ferrero Rocher – 2,409,724 fans
  10. adidas Originals – 2,063,395 fans
  11. Victoria’s Secret – 2,026,758 fans
  12. iTunes – 1,849,655 fans
  13. Disney – 1,835,206 fans
  14. Nike Shoes – 1,592,793 fans
  15. Toblerone – 1,511,744 fans

I intend on spending some time over the coming days getting acquainted with some of these in greater detail. I’ll be looking to get a handle on the types of content that can be found on the pages, how they are organised, the frequency with which they are updated, and the degree of community interaction (if any?).  Do check back for updates.

Callan Green from Bailey Gardiner, a San Diego-based agency, wrote guest post on Mashable back in June covering 5 ‘killer’ Facebook Fan Pages and included Pringles (6), Coca Cola (3), Starbucks, Adidas (10) and Red Bull. That is definitely worth checking out.

Useful Facebook Links:

Face Book Blogs:





Twitter Spam

20 08 2009

Off to a bad start this morning.

I opened my inbox to find a deluge (by my standards) of new followers on Twitter and instead of thinking “Mr. Popular” I thought “the spambots must be hard at work.”

And they were.

Of the new additions, were 12 13 almost identical profiles and each was using Twitter in an inexplicable manner to push what I can only presume is some porn.

And here they are.

twitter a new low

Take it all in, because I fear this mosaic is a metaphor for where Twitter is headed.

Kudos to the spammers though, for at least choosing some ‘authentic sounding’ porn star names like Lauri Maddox and Billie Glover.

At least some thought went into that.





‘Bing… The better way to Google’

11 08 2009

logo-bingThere was quite a bit of buzz a few months ago when Microsoft re-branded their ‘Live’ search to ‘Bing’. Bing, as you probably know, was Microsoft’s attempt at making a search ‘verb’ to rival Google. TechRadar asked:

Will you, as Microsoft wishes, ‘verb up’ and use the word ‘Bing’ to denote searching for something on the internet, much as we have all got used to using Google as a verb?

A few months on, I think the answer is still a resounding no.

I haven’t heard anyone say they ‘Binged something’, nor have I been asked to ‘Bing something’ for someone.

Which is why when I came across this video, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Like writing with a Biro, wiping your nose with a Kleenex or Hoovering the house, you Google something.

I think the video sums up succinctly the futility of Microsoft trying to gain ground on Google by attempting to become part of ‘everyday speech’ / an ‘everyday expression.’

It’s a valiant attempt, but in the end a losing battle for any brand to try and fight (even if that brand is Microsoft).

On the day Bing launched, an acronym made its rounds on the internet that got a lot of laughs.

Bing: but it’s not Goggle.

That won’t get old.

Useful links:





Event: Measurement Camp London

8 08 2009

Measurement Camp

On Thursday 6 August I popped along to another installment of Measurement Camp, hosted at We Are Social’s swank offices and facilitated by Will McInness.

measurement camp

Measurement Camp

There was a really great turnout, though not quite the 96 people who signed up on the events page. As ever, it was a diverse bunch with representation from Media, Ad, Digital, Social Media and PR agencies, as well as a few clients.

Beth Granter from the Good Agency took the stage again to share a campaign case study that she recently completely for the RSPCA. It needs to be said that she stepped up and pulled the presentation deck together only the day before, so her ‘hardcore measurement camper’ status is well deserved.

This particular campaign was all about getting people to sign an online petition in response to the Government’s public consultation on the welfare of racing greyhounds. They used a combination of blogger outreach, forum discussions, Twitter and Facebook ads to make that happen. The campaign looked pretty well thought out from its inception, and social media measurement wasn’t an afterthought, but rather it was built into the execution from the very beginning. Nice one.

This is what I took away:

  • Facebook ads drove the most traffic – Facebook ads appeared to drive the most traffic to the petition by a healthy margin, no doubt due to the precise targeting and segmentation that can be achieved. I haven’t dabbled with Facebook ads much myself, but am increasingly curious as to how they might be employed as part of a PR-led online/social media campaign. (Or is that just cheating?)
  • Twitter/blog/forum users were more engaged – Beth presented a slide showing the source of web traffic to the RSPCA site, and the approximate length of time each user group spent on the site. It seems that people who came to the petition via Twitter/forums/blogs spent the longest time on the site. I found this fascinating and I think you could persuasively conclude a few things:
    1. The audience who either chose to ‘follow’ the campaign on Twitter or read about it on a forum/blog they frequent, are likely to be the most interested in the subject matter and therefore engaged in the campaign.
    2. I think it’s also reasonable to assume that they were also the most likely to fill in the petition, hence all the time that was spent on the petition page of the website

So, to crudely summarise the online behaviour from the tactics above, Facebook ads will give you quantity, but social media ‘content’ will deliver quality engagement.

The Facebook ads seemed to be successful at providing a short burst of high volume activity (visits to the website), but this interaction may have been fleeting (less likely to fill in petition). By contrast, the Twitter/blog/forum audience was smaller, but probably the ‘right’ one and took the time to complete the task at hand.

Very cool indeed.

All in all, it was a good session as evidenced by some of the #measurementcamp comments flowing on Twitter during and after the event.

At the closing of the session Will unveiled to everyone the newly completed measurement camp brand and logo (above) to be licensed under creative commons ‘so you can bosh it on stuff’.  A move so simple and smart, it begs the question ‘why didn’t we do that earlier’?

I look forward to the next one.

Other links: