‘I bore of your analogue attitude’

5 10 2009

I came across the video below via Seventy Seven’s Spinning Around blog, in an aptly named post called ‘Social Media Wank.

In James Gordon-MacIntosh’s words:

“This film sums up exactly how I feel about too much social media talk… all you social media specialists could do with watching this because, too often, it’s exactly how you come across.”

Harsh, but fair. Watch and you’ll see why.

I think that anyone who has taken an interest over the past couple years in how social media is impacting the ways brands communicate online would be lying if they didn’t feel slightly uncomfortable at one point or another while watching this video.

But that’s probably a good thing. We should feel uncomfortable if this is how we come across as an industry, and don’t address some of the underlying criticisms in the video.

‘I bore of your analogue attitude’

I came across this video via the Seventy Seven blog, in an aptly named post called ‘Social Media Wank.’




“This film sums up exactly how I feel about too much social media talk… all you social media specialists could do with watching this because, too often, it’s exactly how you come across.”

I think that anyone who has taken an interest over the past couple years in how social media is impacting the ways brands communicate online would be lying if they didn’t feel slightly uncomfortable at one point or another while watching this video.

But that’s probably a good thing. We should feel uncomfortable if this is how we come across and don’t address some of the underlying criticisms in the video.


PUMA pitcrew builds Ferrari F1 out of clothes, generates buzz

29 09 2009

This is nothing if not impressive:

GBH worked with the PUMA retail team at their Carnaby street store to make a Ferrari F1 car using nothing more than PUMA Motorsports clothing, caps, shoes and bags.


A brilliant idea well executed, capturing the interconnection between the brands and the motorsport.

And from the buzz online, it looks like this story played well right across the automotive, lifestyle, fashion, and design titles.

115,000+ views of the YouTube video so far. File this one under inspiration. Hat tipped.


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

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.


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:

Yet another update: United Breaks Guitars

23 07 2009

guitar_Dave_Carr_114321gm-aSeems news of Dave Carroll’s YouTube hit has finally floated across the Atlantic and this morning a number of UK news outlets have been picking it up:

What’s new? Well, this:

[United] has seen its share price plunge by 10%, wiping $180m off the company’s value. (via BBC)

Correlation or causation? Hard to tell but the PR disaster for United keeps rolling on.

If you like the pain, then check out an article by Daniel Finkelstein of the Times which I came across via Will Sturgeon. Finkelstein has “dug out some other classic examples of social media revenge from the archives.” Funny stuff.

Number of views now stand at over 3,650,000 and counting.

Previous posts:

Update: United breaks guitars

11 07 2009

Seems as though Dave Carroll has become something of a hit back home with his United Breaks Guitars video on YouTube. When it caught my attention a few days ago, the video had clocked up 500,000 views. Now that number sits at over 2,000,000.

Due to the success, Carroll has released a statement on YouTube yesterday expressing gratitude, telling people to go easy on Mrs. Irlweg and for United to donate their belated offer of compensation to a charity of their choosing. He also appears to be going ahead with the promise of three songs and to expect the next one shortly.

I think the video update was a pretty smart move on Dave’s part, and he comes off as very likeable (and Canadian?). United’s compensation offer strikes me as ‘too little, too late’ though. I suppose it was good of them to make the effort, but the effort is disastrously late.

Will be interesting to see how this whole story plays out with another few more songs on the way. The second album is always the hardest…

“United breaks guitars”

9 07 2009

TaylorGuitars LogoMore than impressed by the efforts fellow Canuck Dave Caroll who posted a video on YouTube a couple days ago singing about how some United airlines ground crew workers seriously damaged his prized Taylor guitar. The video has quickly picked up steam online, gotten mainstream press on the other side of the pond and created a bit of a headache for United Airlines.

united_logo1According to the Canadian Press: “Carroll spent the past year trying to get compensation from United because he says his favourite guitar was practically destroyed by baggage handlers.” When he got nothing, he made the following video:

The song is actually pretty funny, and reminds me a bit of the ‘world’s best passenger complaint letter‘ to Virgin that made the rounds on the internet back in January.

A story in the Chicago Tribune says that Carroll “spent hours reasoning with United agents in Chicago, New York and India” over a nine-month period to pick up the $1,200 cost and it went nowhere. So he took action. In Carroll’s word (via his YouTube channel):

I promised the last person to finally say no to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world.

I wouldn’t want to be Ms. Irlweg right now.

Apparently Taylor Guitars in California has since got in touch to say they’d be happy to see if they could “repair the damaged guitar and they promised a deep discount on his next purchase.” Well done Taylor (but how about a free guitar for Dave?)

Though United has they ‘liked the video’ and wanted to use it as ‘textbook case on how to handle customer complaints in the future’, they still come off a bit battered from this. Some attempts have been made through their Twitter account to say sorry to their 15K followers but I can’t help but think the damage may well be done.

Ben Mutzabaugh on USA Today’s ‘Today in the Sky’ probably said it best: “The move shows just how quickly the Internet can help a disgruntled customer can turn the tables on a company and its effort to manage its public image.”

At the time of writing, the video has received over 500K views on YouTube. That’s an awful lot of people with the message ‘United breaks guitars’ stuck in their head.

Better get Tweeting some more United…