Social Networking Blog

Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Music and Twitter


This is an odd one. The Streets, a band in the UK for anyone who doesn’t know, are going to start uploading music and making it available to fans free through their Twitter feed.

10/10 for innovative use of social media, and the same for pleasing the fans. I’ll be interested to see how they can continue to earn a living whilst giving their songs away for nothing, though.

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April 15, 2009 Posted by | social media trends, Unexpected things happen | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Social networks harming morality?

I was going to blog aboutthe reports claiming social networking harm morality earlier on but decided against it – they were too silly, I thought.

Then they hit the National Press here in the UK. And it’s crazy. The idea is that social networks like Facebook and Twitter don’t give you the time to react to a bit of news so you don’t see immorality or sadness as you ought to.

We’ll leave aside the issue of people telling us how we ought to feel – there are occasions on which certain reactions are definitelty appropriate in my view, and I’ll accept that. There are also times when I’ve seen so much death or sadness on the TV news that I hardly notice, which I accept is less than desirable. Social networks can of course amplify that effect by being such a fast medium.

What troubles me is the implication that I’m too stupid, and so are all the other users, to remain in charge of the media I’m watching. More than at any point during my lifetime, I can take my own time watching or reading something. I don’t have to be in front of the TV at a particular time for the news and I can take as long as I want reading a Twitter post, short though it may be.

By all means highlight the danger but please, could we remember the people reading this stuff are intelligent individuals who dictate how they use the new media, not the other way around.

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April 14, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How not to win friends in a social network

Social network
Image via Wikipedia

Some great tips from the Feverbee blog on ways of dooming online communities and other social networks, by extension. It involves things like not planning your first ten members, not befriending people before the launch and making big announcements (so setting expectations when you’ve less to say).

There’s actually something a lot more basic that you can do to achieve much the same level of screw-up, in my view. It’s very simple – you just set the thing up without any clear idea of your message. The times I’ve seen companies decide they need an online community of some sort (they’d have called it a Web forum a few years back) and forget they actually need something to say, thinking of this only when they’ve started telling everyone it’s coming, is embarrassing.

Of course it needs marketing and of course it needs some sort of strategy. But many of the issues associated with an online community become a lot more straightforward if you address the basics first.

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April 6, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twitter overtakes newspapers on G20 reporting

No overtaking
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Well, that’s what it says here. One of the Frontline Club‘s bloggers claims that Twitter is overtaking traditional methods as the place the G20 stuff is being reported.

I’m sure that’s kind of true. Social media is increasingly important and this is a case where it’s being noticed. On the other hand until someone produces an issue of the Times with 140 characters only I’m not sure there’s a direct comparison to be made.Sure, bulletin for bulletin there are more Tweets than reports – but until someone does a word/character count on all the traditional media so we can see how many Tweets it would account for, the position isn’t clear.

You could almost think it’s not really a like for like comparison, don’t you think?

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April 2, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Discovery Engine Coming to Twitter Homepage. Wait, What Twitter Homepage?

SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 10:  Twitter co-founder ...
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Discovery Engine Coming to Twitter Homepage. Wait, What Twitter Homepage?

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This post makes an interesting point – that nobody really looks at the Twitter home page any more. When I first signed up for the service I also signed for TwitAds, the idea being that people who look at your page get to see an advert in the background and you get paid a tiny, tiny amount. Yesterday I had offers from a couple of companies wanting to take me up on this – but I couldn’t help wondering, is anyone actually going to see the ad if I go ahead with this? My guess is not, because people see my Tweets on Twitdeck, Twitphon, Twihrl and all those other applications people use when they are definitely not using a Web interface. The Techcrunch people in the link above are right – Twitter has been outdone by the people writing applications around it.

Which is fine for Twitter as it provides the underpinnings and reaps the benefits. But the people providing the stuff like TwitAds, which depends on someone using the web view, will have a harder task in making anything out of this.

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April 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bloggers self-censoring

My thanks to Josh Halliday for Tweeting about this article on the Guardian’s website about the flipside of many of my comments on bloggers and their need for quality management and self-restraint. The flipside is of course that some will go too far in censoring themselves.

The debate continues – I’ll continue to alert readers (and thank anyone who tips me off) about anything relevant being written.

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April 2, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Twitter going to face a backlash?

An image of a compact disc - Pencil included f...
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No, not just a backlash because it’s successful and people resent it. Everyone gets those. No, this is a backlash from its advocates who don’t like it when they get the fail whale picture. CNN thinks it’s happening and it’s happening right now.

Which of course it is. And it will continue. Not because it’s Twitter but because this is how human beings interact with technology.

We start by being overawed. Take the CD; I remember when CDs launched, they were incredible, we were told, and quite possibly indestructible. We soon got over that – then we noticed that the music industry had managed to double the price of an album without anyone noticing. Then the backlash started – they didn’t sound as good as vinyl, de dum, de dum, de dum. Later on email began which was great – at first. Instant communication with someone the other side of the world – until you get your first outage, at which point email sucks. Big time.

Things move faster now. Twitter’s rise from a tiny minority pursuit has been nothing short of meteoric and lookee here, it can’t always cope. So yes, we get a backlash and it’s a big one – but it’ll move on just as quickly.

Someone on Twitter was just saying their local radio station was speculating that Twitter won’t last another year. My guess is that it will, for people who have a reason to use it, but the simply curious will move away quite quickly and find the ‘next big thing’. The apparent disillusionment when it can’t cope with a squillion users all wanting to get a glimpse of their favourite musician, sportsperson or other hero is all part of this process.

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March 31, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

More over the top Twitter advice

Eschers Coffee Twitter Theme
Image by JoshSemans via Flickr

I appreciate Twitter is great for all sorts of things. I’ve had a book commissioned through my use of it and have picked up literally thousands of pounds in other commissions so even if it wasn’t good for those coffee machine moments I’d otherwise miss as I work by myself – and it’s great for them – I’d recommend it to anyone.

But now Gartner of all people is publishing a guide on how to do it. Gartner, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a serious corporate advisory and research organisation. I’m not convinced microblogging needs a massive corporate infrastructure and advice – so much of it is down to common sense.

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March 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twitter in education

Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning...
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OK, this one hit the headlines yesterday but I was out. It happens. Basically the story is that British schools are considering putting Twitter and other social media into the educational system and throwing out some of the old-fashioned history and stuff. There’s a great blog about it here on CNET, written by someone with scant regard for British education or the idea of traditional school subjects at all. He teases us Brits for inventing American Idol, the Dyson Vacuum Cleaner and all that stuff – I’m not going to start a war but thanks for McDonald’s, the Osmonds and all manner of other cr*p. We’re all guilty, OK?

What troubles me about this Twitter school study thing is that I don’t actually understand why it is necessary. I’m a 43 year old man, right? Right. I learned about Twitter and mastered it in a week or two (when I say ‘mastered’ I mean ‘started doing useful things with it’, not just entering the odd piece of text). I’m also OK on Facebook, LinkedIn and all manner of other social networks, much as you’d expect from someone writing a book on the subject.

Now, 25 years ago I started college and the study of children’s learning was one of the areas I had to look at in my linguistics degree. This was interesting – and I have a friend who’s a teacher, and she tells me the same thinking still applies. Children learn more quickly than adults. They just do. Miracle, no?

And now suddenly they’re going to be ‘studying’ Twitter at infant level. Studying? You enter a short message, people read it, what’s to study? I’ll look forward to seeing some substance in this proposal. But at the moment I’d rather kids carried on looking at their history books where there’s actually something substantial to learn. Social Networking, frankly, is too easy for them, and looking at their take-up of technology in general I don’t think there’s a problem with their existing learning techniques.

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March 26, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Rules for social networking at work

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...
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So I’m presenting at a Twitter-themed event the other week, and someone asks me what the rules are in social networking and how they can control someone who’s posting crazy things about their own employer online. So I have a think about the new rules in this odd new environment…

1. If you’re sitting at your computer but on Twitter, it doesn’t count as if you’re at work. Otherwise you’d have to be a complete idiot to come out with half the stuff I read on people’s Tweets.

2. It’s OK, the fact that your contract of employment says you mustn’t bring the company into disrepute doesn’t count in Cyberspace. It must be true or else people wouldn’t come up with half the stuff (etc. as above).

3. Starting a Facebook site called [Nameofmyemployer]sucks is a fine idea and won’t get you into trouble.

4. If your employer doesn’t have his or her own blog or Twitter feed, use the company logo as your avatar. It’ll be fine.

5. If your premises are open to the public, start a Facebook group about when you get a celebrity come in through the door, particularly if it’s a regular thing. Whatever they say, they love it when unexpected photographers turn up really.

6. Some people will tell you the laws of libel apply in Cyberspace just like anywhere else. Some people are just killjoys.

7. If you’re working on an exciting development for your boss, go ahead and Tweet it, Facebook it and everything, months before the official unveling is due. They love the enthusiasm and never mind their PR schedule going to hell in a handbasket.

8. If you go for a job interview and get the job, always go on Twitter and say the entire panel had halitosis and you don’t want to work for their stinking company in the first place. They never go online and you won’t be sacked before you get there. Much.

9. If you’re going in front of the press, do some practice interviews. Video them for future reference, warts and all. Then sling them onto YouTube. [I know someone who does that with his media training sessions. And no, it’s not me!]

10. Cursebird.com, dedicated to seeing who’s swearing the most on Twitter, is a challenge to which everyone should devote their lunch break. Always mention the company name.

There, just ignore that lot and it’ll be a start.

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March 23, 2009 Posted by | Social media howlers | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment