Archive | September, 2009

Inching down that horrible ‘Unread’ number

16 Sep

I’m now sitting down in the evenings and dedicating an hour to slowly inching down the ‘unread’ number that always mounts so quickly on Google Reader. Mashable is the biggest offender, and when I started reading blogs using Google Reader, I would always avoid reading Mashable because the number was so daunting! I’ve realised now that this was a huge mistake, as the majority of the posts that I find interesting come from the amazing dedicated team at Mashable, who consistently bring an intelligent mix of social media news and humour. A perfect example is the Top 10 Kanye West Interruption Parodies – of which my absolute favourite has to be the video embedded below. Update – the video has since been made private – go to the Mashable link above to find other genius versions).

On a more serious note, David Meerman Scott (who I was lucky enough to hear speak at the last Social Media Club in Sydney) has posted a very interesting blog – Social Media and the Cotton On baby T-Shirt Crisis – about how essential it is for companies to maintain an active as well as interactive presence on social media sites. The outrage about inappropriate baby T-Shirts started off on social media sites like Twitter, but quickly made traditional media papers such as the Sydney Morning Herald. In situations like this, I have always believed that it is important for the companies involved to respond to the criticisms in the same medium, and to do this effectively you need to have an existing and ongoing communication in these mediums. While Cotton On does have a Twitter account (@CottonOn), as David pointed out it is mainly used to convey marketing and advertising messages. I made this point myself a few months ago in a presentation about Online PR, using the example of Domino’s pizza’s crisis ‘Disgusting Domino’s People’. While they had the right idea, and responded using YouTube, the same medium that the the original video was posted in, they didn’t have an existing presence and conversation on social networking sites, and it took a long time for their responding message to get through and calm the crisis down.

Finally, I was drawn to a conversation/debate on Twitter this afternoon between two people that I follow and respect, @trib & @sammutimer, centered around the video embedded below.

If you work in digital, or just even have an interest in social media, you have probably seen that video. When I watched it, my thoughts were “Wow! That is an amazing video that I will show to anyone who believes my passion for social media is silly.” Truth be told I haven’t shown it to anyone yet (because I forgot about it… oops) but now I’ve had it brought to my attention again I can definitely think of a few people who have said “Ohhh Tash, you’re not on Twitter are you?” in a very condescending tone 😛 they’d definitely benefit from watching it – I think. That is the issue that was the core of the discussion on Twitter today, and @trib brought to my attention some very interesting points. Firstly, in his blog post Right Revolution, Wrong Revolutionary he points out that the focus of the video is very much about how much money all these mediums can be worth to companies – and I agree with him that the focus should be more about who we can connect with using these mediums, and the relationships that we can create, rather than just the profit. Yes there are opportunities to make some hard, fast cash, but I fully believe that social media should, and eventually will, be about long term goals and relationships (even in instant mediums like Twitter). Secondly, he points out that the video is very much geared towards people who are already interested in social media – see his Tweet. So maybe I won’t be showing it to those doubting friends after all!

Phew, that took me a while to put together. Meanwhile, an essay about the Federal Lobbying Register is still unwritten – why oh why can’t I be this passionate about Lobbying!


The Danish government’s video hoax

14 Sep

I had a sense of deja-vu when I read this evening on Mashable about the Danish Government’s attempt at publicity via social media.

A video of a woman ‘Karen’ looking for the man with whom she had had a one night stand, and who was the father of the baby in her arms, went viral with over 800,000 hits on YouTube. There was an outpouring of sympathy for the woman, and support for ‘Karen’ as a single mum were very apparent in the comments on the video. The story was apparently picked up by much of the Danish media.

It turns out the video was created by the Danish government’s tourism agency, VisitDenmark.

I can’t help but be reminded of the very similar ploy used by Naked Communications to promote the new Witchery Man line, with the video ‘Are you my man in the jacket?’

Since the ‘Karen’ video was discovered to be fake, the media in Denmark have slammed the government. There was a similar reaction to Naked’s campaign the Australian press – after covering the story believing it to be real, they then were outraged when the video was discovered to be fake. Naked has since stated that the campaign was a success, with overall knowledge of the new Witchery Man line increasing and a majority of positive feedback from the general public. I personally have to thank Naked, because I used the ‘Man in the Jacket’ campaign as an example across almost all of my subjects last semester, from ethics to an analysis of the issues in Online PR – it never failed to get people talking!

It will be interesting to see how the discussion around this latest video develops – in the half an hour since I watched it, YouTube now displays a ‘Removed by the user’ error. It seems that the Danish government didn’t like the mainly negative and angry comments that were being posted, but I doubt that will stop people talking. When I viewed the video it had also just passed the 1 million hit mark.

(Thanks to Mashable for bringing this story to my attention, read the original here)

*Update: Mashable has since posted that the video is available on our very own NineMSN – you can view it and an article about the hoax here