Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Social Media – Pro or Con In The Riots?

Thursday, August 18th, 2011 by Hannah Newbould


During last week’s horrific rioting it has become clear that social media was criticised as playing a major part in organising these terrible events. With gangs tweeting about meeting spots and bragging about looting family owned businesses, it is no wonder that people are pointing the finger at social media.

However, it is becoming increasingly clear that Blackberry Messenger has actually been a key player in the organisation of these events. In fact, if anything, social media has played a positive role in the riots.

The Guardian reported that the most up to date rallying in the London riots took place not on Twitter or Facebook but “on a more covert social network, Blackberry Messenger.”

In Twitter / Facebook’s defence, it is great to see that there was such a vast amount of people using social media to rectify the problem.  People of many generations are taking to the streets of Manchester, London and all the other affected cities to clear up the scenes of destruction.

Hashtagged as #riotcleanup people have travelled to arranged spots with a broom in hand and with all the passion in the world to clear up what these rioters have created.

Over 1000 people turned up to last week’s clean-up in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens armed with brooms and bin bags alone.

It’s encouraging to see that there was such a great number of people wanting to clear up the mess and they came together via social media channels to arrange this.

The Metropolitan Police have also created a Flickr album named ‘London Disorder – Operation Withern’ in order to showcase rioters in the hope of catching them through the social networking channel.

Stephen Fry also backed the campaign tweeting earlier in the week “I do hope that if I was in London now, I’d be as good & brave & kind as all those who are agreeing to meet & help clean up.”

Ex-Big Brother contestant, Sam Pepper,  also created an anti-riot operation himself by creating a Facebook event page named Operation Cup of Tea which has trended on Twitter all day last Wednesday. ‘Make Tea Not War’ and urging people to stay at home and enjoy a cup of tea and post a picture of themselves at 8.30 pm last night – designed for those who would sooner stay in and drink a cup of tea.

The social media world of football

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 by Jo Rosenberg


90% of football fans have decided who their favourite football club is by the age of 10.

No question then that football fans are fiercely loyal and, unlike the average consumer in most other walks of life, they want to know everything about the club’s supply chain and voice opinions about decisions, whether it’s an on or off the pitch matter.

Yet despite the fact that social media provides a global forum in which a club can engage with every single fan and as a result, improve and develop club fan relationships, it is still, in many cases, practised with caution, and rightly so.

Fans don’t want to be talked at via social media channels, or fed useless, second hand information. They want exclusives, they want debate and interaction with the club and its players and if there’s an opportunity to win money-can’t-buy, club-related prizes then all the better.

To design and host an effective social media platform requires time and effort; yet once a resource is in place and a strategy agreed, the benefits to both the fans and the club can be considerable.

Content is king, relevance is critical and the tone must be friendly and engaging and appear to be opening the door of the club to its fans. It must also provide a two-way conversation, hence a designated role should be created to ensure the content is well-managed and well-timed.

Like many industries, the use of social media in football goes way beyond being simply a communication vehicle; it can also provide revenue driving opportunities. Big sponsorship deals can only be justified if the club reaches a bigger audience and this means international markets which are not easily reached by traditional media.

And when social media is well established, there are potential opportunities via affiliate marketing by adding value to sponsorship deals, cross promotional activity with sponsors, or through direct sales of official kit or unsold tickets.

And let’s not forget how instrumental social media can be in a crisis situation by providing the club with the opportunity to set the record straight.  It might be a player scandal or a controversial boardroom decision. Either way it’s an instantaneous channel to fans which can’t be obscured by journalists.

Manchester City FC is one of the most proactive clubs when it comes to social networking, utilising the obvious Facebook and Twitter networks along with Flickr, in which they encourage fans to share photography, which the club admits has helped inspire new PR and retail campaigns.

But a football club can’t just dip in and out of social media. Fans will feel cheated and will quickly retort. A key and critical point to including social media within a marcomms strategy is to build virtual relationships with fans which must then be maintained. New fans must feel welcome and existing fans must feel valued.



BBC tackles social media open goal

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 by Mark Perry

Could the BBC have been shamed by the power of Twitter and the blogosphere when it decided to show the semi-final between England and France in the women’s World Cup semi-final live on BBC2 on Saturday evening.

Until then all England’s matches at the tournament had been available through the red button or as a highlights package. As the team progressed through the quarter finals questions were being asked as to why the BBC wasn’t showing the team’s achievements on the main channels. The tournament itself was receiving great support with the German tournament organisers getting near sell-out crowds.  

Comments started to appear on Twitter and on blogs with Sunder Katwala reflecting the general view that: “Several of our newspapers are reporting the tournament pretty well. But we’re being let down by the BBC which isn’t doing its job properly – so failing to promote the fast-growing women’s game with the energy we should all expect.”

It did appear as if the corporation’s reporters on Twitter felt compelled to fight back against the flack that they were receiving.

Sports reporter Jacqui Oatley tweeted that “General point to those complaining of lack of media coverage of #WWC, folk should write to sports editors BEFORE tournos to express interest.”

Nigel Adderley who was reporting following the tournament in Germany for 5Live re-tweeted The Guardian’s John Ashdown’s comments; “Worth pointing out while the BBC is getting all this flak that they have made up 50% of the British national press pack over here #wwc2011.” and later he tweeted comments from England manager Hope Powell saying: “I have to compliment the BBC. They’ve been fantastic for women’s football and how they’ve raised our profile”#bbcfootball.”

The general feeling reading those was that they were feeling defensive about the accusations and, lo and behold, less than 24 hours before the game the BBC seemed to turn tail and cleared re-runs of Porridge, Flog it! and Dads’ Army to show the game. But just like the men’s game the team went out after extra time and penalties.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Exclusives, Embargoes…forget it

Friday, July 8th, 2011 by Jo Rosenberg

It’s about time that us PR people faced up to the fact that exclusives are long gone.

Along with the Twitter revolution came a complete shift in communication dynamics. In just 140 characters, a piece of sensitive or ill-timed information can be spilt to the world and there is absolutely no way of it being controlled.

The BBC may well have “clear guidelines” in place for both the personal and professional use of social media by its staff, writers and talent but they can never put a ban on it. And because it’s an incredibly effective communication tool (when they want it to be) they would be fools to themselves should they even attempt to enforce any such ban.

But even “clear guidelines” are somewhat naïve. With so many freelancers working in the media industry, stories, or just little nuggets of PR gold, will always be leaked.

And, in the world of entertainment, if the “talent” (with hoards of followers) sends the tweet – bingo! Multiple media outlets are reached.

Take the recent Sophie Ellis-Bextor debacle; this week she tweeted to her 43,230 followers that she and Sting were to appear in a new Ricky Gervais series, Life’s Too Short. Apart from it irritating the BBC’s PR department, what harm has this allegedly innocent tweet actually caused? Ok, its timing might not have fit with the BBC’s publicity schedule and it may well have put paid to a promised exclusive or timed interview. However, in the fragmented media world we are now living in, it’s time we accepted that this is just the ways it’s going to be.

So how about embracing this shift in communication and see it as a seeding process? Assume that all orchestrated announcements will begin their journey on Twitter or some other social media channel. It’s then the job of the PR person to be clever in how they demonstrate its value.


Twitter and football – a beautiful game?

Monday, May 16th, 2011 by Ghida Basma

Recent years have seen football transform into a multimillion dollar business and footballers become multimillionaires and celebrities in their own right. One of the main consequences of this modern dynamic of the sport has been a breakdown in relationships between football fans and players. The common perception among fans is that footballers are wannabe superstars who are not worthy of their salaries and have been so overshadowed by stardom that they have lost their real identity.

Interestingly, Twitter, is helping bridge these gaps as an increasing number of footballers embrace the social media phenomenon. The micro-blogging site is allowing footballers to voice their opinions and communicate with the public on a more personal level.

Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5), for example, recently reached the landmark of one million followers on the social network, making him the most followed footballer in Britain and a major source of sports news. The player has managed to cement himself as one of the social website’s most celebrated athletes and has smartly utilized the power of Twitter to promote his own brand and reach his fans…and many footballers are following suit.

Among those recently joining the site is Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) who managed to get over 300,000 followers in less than a week. However, not all footballers enjoyed a positive reception from “Tweeps”. Another Manchester United player, Darron Gibson, was forced to close his account just two hours after he opened it, following a series of attacks and abuse from fans for his poor performances on the pitch.

Regardless, the relationship between Twitter and football is growing, and Twitter is proving to be crucial in reviving the lost relationship between fans and football players. It is increasingly seen as a reliable source of news and fans are rejoicing the fact they can tell footballers exactly what they think of them.


I tweet, you tweet, we tweet…Twitter at 5

Monday, February 14th, 2011 by Jon Clements

And so, Twitter will shortly turn five years old.

From a niche club to an estimated 190 million users today; in-depth, double-page spreads in The Observer and a social media platform replete with tales illustrating the positive and negative power of communication.

No doubt, it has changed lives. Sometimes – as in the case of the Robin Hood Airport tweeter and whoever made monumental misjudgements for Habitat and, latterly, Kenneth Cole – probably for the worse.

But for every life changed, how many are still waiting for something to “happen” for them on Twitter? Has it changed my life? Well, yes and no. I certainly haven’t “monetised” Twitter in any way my wallet’s aware of (then I’m not sure Twitter has either, despite the fortune it’s supposedly worth) and there hasn’t been a singular, life-changing tweet I can claim.

What it has been is a vast, virtual lending library in which people are, perpetually, throwing books at me; some of which I manage to read and learn from. But what it’s been more significantly is a great repository of humanity in which I’ve found, befriended, shared laughs with, helped and been helped by people I’ve never met in person. I can’t think of another environment where that’s ever happened. And it’s proven to me that the once derided concept of the “online chatroom”, with all its shady connotations, can be so much more than that.

To get a sense of what Twitter means to people I follow, I asked a selection of them whether they could live without it and, if not, why not? This is what they said:

David Edmundson-Bird, director of executive programmes and principal lecturer (Digital Marketing Communications) at Manchester Metropolitan University: @groovegenerator

“Couldn’t live without it professionally. 1st source of expertise, trusted community, biz dvpt opps. Live and asynchronous method of support for students and great networking opps. I refer to true Tweeters wearing their whole heart on their sleeves. The truth will out. Still needs greater critical mass, but keeps fighting off alternatives.”

Louise Bolotin, freelance journalist and co-founder of InsidetheM60: @louisebolotin

“An essential working tool for me, from shoutouts for contacts to plugging my work, plus I use it to network and socialise.”

Adrian Slatcher, digital development office – innovation, Manchester Digital Development Agency: @adrianslatcher

“If Twitter finished tomorrow (or you had to pay for it) I’d probably wait for the next, not quite as good, thing. What I wouldn’t want to do is spend an age building up my network again on another platform – so that’s the value.”

Hamish Thompson, MD at Twelve Thirty Eight: @Suburbman

“I couldn’t live without it. I’d pay. People underestimate significance. Great provider/democratiser – a human right.”

Adrian Johnson, Umpf: @adrian_johnson

“Could NOT live without it – it’s my news filter. I check Twitter first rather than direct news channels.

Tim Difford, social media consultant: @timdifford

“The answer is yes. I did before and could do again. Most people live without it now. Would I want to? Definitely not. I don’t think it’s going too far to say that it has enriched many aspects of my life… from heightened productivity through to enhanced engagement and greater awareness. What’s more, I’m better connected, better informed and better looking.”

Georgia Brown, Digital Account Manager Connect Group and Director @GeorgiaBrown

“Twitter as a tool facilitates simple, effective, useful interaction with a like minded community of often geographically dispersed experts. But I am sure we would cope without! Nothing beats networking in person at conferences/events, but this isn’t feasible on a daily basis!!”

Nigel Barlow, co-founder and writer for InsidetheM60: @NigelBarlow

“Yes,of course I could live without it,but it provides an invaluable tool for collecting,contacting and broadcasting information at little or no cost apart from time. But, as with any technology, one day it could be redundant-look what happened to MySpace for example. I also worry as a society that it has narrowed our attention span and further eroded our social skills as has a lot of technological advancements and continued a trend towards materiality at the expense of substance.But could I live without it? At the moment No.”


Thanks to my fellow Tweeps, each of whom responded via Twitter in under an hour. Now that’s what I call collaboration!

In my humble opinion (or, should I abbreviate, IMHO) while LinkedIn is all about professional advancement and Facebook – at its best – is a private domain for your closest friends and family, Twitter is like one of those packed-out virtual parties that typified Second Life when it was all the rage. But instead of having to play out a role through unfeasibly flattering avatars with fake identities, in Twitter you are trading only on yourself; to work, that requires authenticity, honesty, and generosity. And we’re all the better for it.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Fortune500’s blogging blues

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 by Jon Clements
Update: friend of PR Media Blog, blogger at PR Communications Blog and head of digital marketing at Pace Communications, John Cass, has produced a useful table of F500 companies with blogs and where to find them
As UK social media practitioners muse about 2011 as the real golden dawn for social media uptake in business, the view from the United States is perplexing.

The latest study into social media activity among Fortune 500 companies, fresh from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, is remarkable mainly for revealing the unexpected.

While 23% of the F500 companies now have a public-facing corporate blog against 16% when the study first came out in 2008, it’s only a 1% increase on last year’s figure, suggesting a slowdown in the battle of the blogs.

And while a third of all blogs among the F500 fall within the top 100 companies, this group has also seen the biggest decline in blog usage, down from 39% to 32% year on year.

While the study hailed blog activity across the F500 as a truly interactive exercise, its companies lag behind the occupants of the Inc.500 list of the fastest growing US private companies, 45% of which have an active corporate blog.

However, blogs aside, corporate adoption of other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook paints a very different picture: 60% of the F500 have an official Twitter account (up 35% on last year) with – according to the study – a high level of interaction with other users. Meanwhile, Facebook now features 56% of corporate America’s leading businesses.

So, what does it mean? This decline in blog activity could reflect the sometimes Herculean effort it takes to maintain a flow of compelling and hard-working (i.e., richly-linked and optimised) blog content. If blog content creation is not an effective mixture of planned posts plus material reacting to a breaking sector topic, it can quickly lose its way and its audience. And if internal ownership of the blog is vague, stasis tends to result.

But is this wrong?

Online marketing consultant, Chris Kieff, seems to think so: in his Social Media Today blog post he asserts that this is a “lack of commitment of these Fortune 500 companies to become engaged, transparent and authentic with their communities in social media” because “blogging also naturally promotes a deeper discourse with comments of substance that would have to be addressed. In simple terms it’s harder to hide when you blog, compared to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.”

While you would expect PR Media Blog to concur with the value of blogging, I think Chris Kieff is wrong to suggest that working in other social media platforms is less “engaged, transparent and authentic”. On the contrary, Twitter and Facebook have the potential to engender a dialogue that many blog comment sections would kill for. Equally, Twitter and Facebook don’t require the posting of new content by a brand for customers to kick off a conversation, whereas a blog needs that regularly refreshed content to inspire engagement. Without it, discussion dries up quickly.

And as far as transparency goes, a blog-based discussion will often remain within its digital walls, unless either owner or commenter has the desire to take it beyond. Meanwhile, the highly versatile sharing capabilities of both Twitter and Facebook mean a debate can literally go viral in seconds.

Clearly, there’s room for all methods of social media interaction. And if the F500 has decided to scale back its blogging, you’d hope it was done on the basis of analytical evidence that the return on effort wasn’t worth it. It might suggest that less is more in the depth of editorial content required by social media consumers.

Whatever the reasons, you can be sure any marketing method failing to provide a tangible return for business will not last long.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Follow me, teases Twitter

Thursday, September 30th, 2010 by Julie Wilson


Twitter ‘follow me’ hosiery; a way to attract followers (and stalkers), or a clever way to promote the Twitter brand to a wider, consumer audience?

If it’s the latter, the social networking site has been effective. The above image featured in this week’s Grazia (in the going down section of the title’s of ups and downs column I hasten to add), achieving reach to over 569,000 fashion-savvy readers.

Intrigued by the innovative brand building exercise, I couldn’t resist running a search to find out more about this word of mouth, or is that word of leg campaign. The results were disappointing. The creative line of hosiery was actually launched back in 2009 and has, until now, generated only a ripple of conversation online.

This got me to question, is this actually a Twitter campaign or in fact one of an innovative online hosiery retailer – one that identified and realised the opportunity of the rising social networking site and its own ‘nylon billboards’ ahead of the big retail players?

I suspect it’s the latter. Either way, given that I’ve not seen them parading down the high street or lining the front row of London Fashion Week, it’s unlikely these tights are going to enjoy a tweeting fashion moment.

If you’re brave enough and looking to boost your followers however, why not give them a whirl.  It’s a nice creative idea if nothing else.

Google Instant, YouTube Instant and now Twitter Instant

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 by Patrick Chester


Following the launch of Google Instant, programmers are having a great time creating ‘Instant Search’ functions on their favourite social media. It can’t be long before someone creates a Facebook Instant to rival

For everyone tracking the Google Instant craze, you can check out YouTube Instant here, and now Twitter Instant (which the company may be officially launching later today).

About Patrick Chester

Patrick is an account executive at Staniforth. He also runs a book review site at

Kurrently searches Facebook conversations

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 by Patrick Chester


Brands can now monitor public Facebook conversations through new search engine Kurrently. Kurrently is a search engine exclusively for Facebook and Twitter, and it works in real-time. For Twitter it’s not so special, but for Facebook, it allows brands to monitor exactly what’s being talked about in user profiles.  

This is revolutionary, as in the world of social media monitoring, Facebook has always been a “walled garden”, or a closed online network, for monitoring brand reputation. Twitter, blogs and forums are easy to access, and brand conversations can be recorded and packaged to clients (media monitoring services already do exactly that). Facebook is much more difficult to monitor however, as the social network covets its user data as much as its users covet their privacy. Kurrently will allow businesses to find out exactly how their brands are being talked about on Facebook. It will be a real boon for marketers, but perhaps to the detriment of online individual privacy. 

For everyone who is not in marketing or PR, it’s a good way to check out scandals ignored by the main press but which often catch fire on social networks (try searching for a well-known footballer, it’s hilarious).

About Patrick Chester

Patrick is an account executive at Staniforth. He also runs a book review site at