Category Archives: Twitter

Random Media Notes

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  1. I concede. I have long insisted that media is the plural of medium. But, based on common usage, I now accept that media can be a singular term as well as plural.
  2. The New York Times “Truth” ad campaign is genius on many levels. However, just because a story appears in the New York Times, that alone does not make it necessarily true.
  3. Memo to those whose Twitter bios contain the words “Retweets are not endorsements.” Actually, they often come off that way.
  4. Judging from my Twitter feed during the Oscar show, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Love is Love is Love” thing does not apply to Mel Gibson.
  5. PriceWaterhouseCoopers is the world’s second largest accounting firm. Not only will they will survive the Oscars flub, awareness of the firm’s name and services it provides will actually increase.
  6. It’s easy to understand why Charter would want to rebrand as Spectrum. But it seems that the changeover has been glacially gradual.
  7. Speaking of branding, it turns out that the real name of the actress Cush Jumbo is… Cush Jumbo! Great name.
  8. Speaking of branding, it was clever to repackage DVDs of old romance movies (such as Somewhere In Time) with black and white graphics similar to the now familiar 50 Shades graphics.
  9. Have you noticed how the attention-getting power of the term “Breaking News” has been diminished over the last couple of years?
  10. If I were in the news biz and wanted to do something related to immigration, I’d do a feature on Global Foods in Kirkwood (MO).
  11. The most recent Nielsen radio ratings strongly indicate that St. Louis listeners prefer older music to newer music. Have young people stopped listening to radio?
  12. Can you find yourself on a map? No, not on your phone. On a map. In an atlas. Or on TV. Apparently, many otherwise intelligent people cannot. Click HERE for link.
  13. Got an email recently that said it was from “Hamilton, the Musical.” It was NOT from Hamilton, the Musical. I deleted. But only after I unsubscribed.
  14. Am I the only person in the English-speaking world who detests the word “eponymous?” It just sounds so pretentious.
  15. If you write for money, please obtain and read the book Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg. And put its guidance into practice. Thank you.

Photo credit: squidsoup.org. http://www.flickr.com/photos/8191354@N04/8704884335, via http://photopin.com, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Blindsided, Via Social Media

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In football, a left tackle protects a quarterback’s blindside. Sandra Bullock explained this in the opening of the movie Blindside, the story of Michael Oher, a young man who became a left tackle at Ole Miss and in the NFL.

Another Ole Miss left tackle, Laremy Tunsil, was himself blindsided last week. Just minutes before the NFL draft began, on his own Twitter account, a video was posted showing him smoking via a bong hooked up to a gas mask. The presumption is he was smoking weed.

Soon after, on his own Instagram account, screen shots were posted that purported to show text messages from Tunsil to an Ole Miss coach in which Tunsil asked for money.

Here’s How It (Might’ve) Happened

Who did it? As a projected high (no pun intended) draft pick, Tunsil had already hired and fired agents, lawyers and other advisors. It is now believed one of those dismissed (and disgruntled) individuals did the deed.

After these social posts, the Ravens, who drafted Oher in the first round in 2009, chose not to select Tunsil with the sixth overall pick. The Giants, picking tenth and needing offensive line help, also passed, due to the posts. The Dolphins nabbed Tunsil with the 13th overall pick.

Some Takeaways From The Incident

  1. Always know who has access to your social media account passwords. If someone other than you is posting on your behalf or that of your organization, pay attention to what they are posting.
  2. Change passwords frequently.
  3. If you leave your phone unattended, use a lockout code to prevent unauthorized access.
  4. Young people in college are likely to smoke weed and/or drink.
  5. People with extraordinary talent and/or extreme physical attributes can get away with certain misbehavior.
  6. Despite dropping down in the draft, Tunsil is still a first round pick who is likely to earn tens of millions during his NFL career.
  7. Of all the players taken in all the rounds, he is the one who has received the most attention, even more that the top pick. Yes, much of that attention was dubious (doobie-ous?), but it all adds up to name recognition.
  8. Don’t blame this episode on “social media,” like ESPN’s Jon Gruden who said, “This whole social media scene makes me sick!” Blame it on the human (or humans) who did it.

 

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PR Quiz: Social Media Edition

The correct answers to these 9 PR/social media questions may be obvious. But not always.

 

A team member schedules posts around the clock on your client’s Twitter feed. The content is good. One night a breaking news item is dominating TV and the web, especially Twitter. What do you do?

  1. Let the scheduled tweets be sent, figuring that more people than usual are checking their feeds and will see this meaningful content.
  2. Hijack one of the hashtags being used in breaking news tweets to get client tweets before more eyeballs.
  3. Cancel the tweets for fear of being perceived as out of touch with what’s happening and/or insensitive to the situation.

 

Your new client who hired you to do social for her business continues to tweet in the first person singular on the organization’s account, even though in strategy sessions all parties agreed the Twitter voice should be first person plural. What do you do?

  1. Delete all her tweets that begin with “I”.
  2. Help her get more than 62 followers on her personal account (so she’ll be more likely to share her thoughts there).
  3. Don’t worry about it until the business account hits 2,000 followers.

 

A customer has posted an unfavorable comment about your client’s business on the organization’s Facebook page you manage. While the post is written in a calm, measured tone, it points out a problem that needs to be looked at by ownership. What do you do?

  1. Delete the post.
  2. Reply to the post with an apology and word that the issue will be addressed.
  3. Copy and send the comment to owners/managers in an email and ask them to respond.
  4. Do nothing.

 

A savvy manager for your client’s business has a great eye for compelling visual content and posts wonderful pics to the company’s Instagram account. However his descriptions are too long and always get cut off when are copied to the 140-character Twitter feed. What do you do?

  1. Insist that Instagram posts DO NOT get copied to Twitter.
  2. Teach him to write shorter.
  3. Don’t worry about it; lots of folks do it this way.

 

The owner of the restaurant you consult posts photos to the Facebook page but her photos are not good and the food items she posts are unappetizing. What do you do?

  1. Tell her to take the pics near a window to get better light.
  2. Ask her to get a phone with a better camera and stop using the flash.
  3. Ask her to hire a professional photog and stop taking food pics herself.
  4. Monitor the feed and delete those images that are off-putting.

 

A post you made on a client’s Facebook page gets a large number of likes, shares and comments. While you personally thought the post’s content was not extraordinary, you are aware it resonated with your target. What do you do?

  1. Try to create more posts just like that one
  2. Share it on your own personal page.
  3. Have the client cough up some bucks and promote the post to others in the chosen demo/area.

 

A client has a daughter who is obsessed with Pinterest. The client repeatedly insists that you begin sharing content for his business via Pinterest (a move you feel to be of minimal value for his particular business). What do you do?

  1. Do the Pinterest thing as requested, warning that it may turn out to be time and effort wasted. (After all, he is the client!)
  2. Continue to brush off the client’s wrongheaded guidance as long as you can, so you can focus on social platforms that have delivered results.
  3. Resign the account.

 

Your client emails you a blog post he saw suggesting that all Facebook posts ask a question to generate comments. You have found that questions asked on his company’s Facebook feed generally get very few comments, whereas other content gets good response. What do you do?

  1. Say thanks but ignore the blog recommendation.
  2. Ask questions on his Facebook feed on topics that are polarizing, though not controversial, to generate comments. (Even if questions do not directly relate to client’s business.)
  3. Point out to your client that the “ask a question” strategy works better for some than others.

 

A team member makes a Hootsuite mistake on a Friday night and accidentally retweets a friend’s party pic to your client’s Twitter feed. It receives no mentions from client’s 3,000+ followers, but is clearly inappropriate for his feed. It stays there all weekend until you delete it Monday morning. What do you do?

  1. Apologize via the feed to all the account’s followers.
  2. Chastise the team member for using Hootsuite while drinking.
  3. Let the client know what happened and mention steps being taken to prevent it happening again.
  4. Say nothing.

 

Here’s my hope that you do the right thing when faced with similar situations. Right for you. Right for you clients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Not About Me, It’s About My Clients

Think about the best TV spot you’ve ever seen. Can you name the agency that did it? Probably not.

Think about the best print ad you’ve ever seen. Any idea which agency it came from? Not likely.

When you read a profile of a successful individual in print or online, does the PR person who arranged the piece get mentioned? In almost all cases, no.

But when a social media firm posts content with links onto a client’s Facebook or Twitter feeds, is it okay for the URL shortener to include the name of the agency?

To me, it appears that the agency is promoting itself along with the client. It also seems less authentic, less organic. It may even distract from the message if, before clicking the link, a person wonders, “what is this agencyname.com?”

I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. Do followers really care whether a link begins with bit.ly, ow.ly, goo.gl or agencyname.com?

In my social media work for clients, I try to remain transparent. If I post on a client’s Facebook or Twitter channels, followers should have no awareness of my involvement. It’s not about me, it’s about my clients.

Yes, I’ve posted links to media coverage obtained for clients on my own social accounts. But my involvement should not matter to viewers, listeners and readers.

Bud Light, K-Mart and others have had successful edgy commercials that never aired on broadcast or cable, but were shared online. If you saw them, you likely accessed them via Youtube, not through the websites of the agencies that created these viral videos.

Those agencies know that content for consumers is not about them, it’s about their clients.

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Dead Media? Maybe Not!

In recent months I have been told:

Newspapers are dead. No one reads the newspaper anymore. But I saw tons of posts and shares of that full-page ad by the Red Sox in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Even if most people saw it on Facebook instead of on newsprint, it was considered important enough to generate enormous social love.

Radio is dead. No one listens to radio anymore, only Sirius and Pandora. But it was interesting to note the volume of outrage when Texas governor Rick Perry recently ran ads on St. Louis radio stations inviting businesses to move to Texas.

Television is dead. Everybody gets their video entertainment from Netflix and Youtube. Yep, let’s skip the HD telecast of the Super Bowl on the 52-inch screen and watch the live stream of the game on our iPhones.

The press release is dead. Nobody responds to a press release anymore. Apparently traditional and online media outlets are now learning about events via ESP.

Facebook is dead; all the cool kids are now on Instagram. Also, Twitter is dead; everybody’s on Facebook.

Magazines are dead. Please mention that to the clerk at 7-11 when he puts the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue on sale in a couple of months.

Phone calls are dead. Everybody would rather email or text. If you ever need to summon an ambulance in a hurry, will you text 9-1-1?

Before you exaggerate the rumors of a medium’s or network’s demise, remember that the channels of communication are constantly changing. Ebb and flow happen. Hotness fades. Comebacks occur.

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Hold That Snarky Vent!

Before you tweet that smart-alecky tweet, before you post that snarky Facebook post, hang on a second.

Is there a chance that what you are planning to share can be taken the wrong way? Will it cause anger or resentment? Will it come back to bite you in the butt? Will you have regrets shortly after you post it? (Of course, you can delete posts but sometimes that correction comes too late.)

Do you KNOW that your followers will get your subtle attempt at a jest? Might your sarcasm (which may easily be detected in your spoken delivery) be taken as totally serious when seen in print? If it gets retweeted or shared, will your new wider network think you’re funny or clever? Or will they judge you as dumb?

Lately I’ve noticed more personal-type tweeting on organizational Twitter accounts. Not a good idea. A local St. Louis media outlet has posted several tweets in recent weeks that have raised eyebrows. It’s one thing when an individual on Twitter criticizes, say, a ballplayer for a misplay. But when a media outlet’s online voice is snarky and mean-spirited, followers may find the posts inappropriate.

Humor is subjective. What you find hilarious may offend others. I recall showing the infamous Bud Light Swear Jar spot to a coworker about five years ago. I was surprised when she recoiled and said, “That’s horrible!”

I find the spot hilarious and laugh every time I see it. (You may be offended, so be warned before you click HERE to watch it. Though the spot has only been available online, it won an Emmy award in 2008.)

Regarding personal venting, it can sometimes feel good—for a moment—to slam a cellphone provider, an airline, a restaurant, a media outlet, etc. that has caused you grief. But often, those complaints come off as petty. Sometimes the incident that upset you was simple human error. And we should consider that not all large organizations are as uncaring as you might believe. Think twice or maybe thrice before you vent.

An important consideration: Think about your audience. Do they care?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Appearance of Bias

Another St. Louis media figure bites the dust over a social media posting. In late 2011, a local radio host who didn’t understand how Twitter works, was suspended for obscene replies to listener tweets.

Now, in 2013, a veteran TV newsman has been fired for doing what he apparently believed was the right thing to do. According to stltoday.com, Larry Conners had been “encouraged to write ‘personal observations of news events’ and decided to write a Facebook post about his IRS problems.”

Because of recent stories of IRS actions against political conservatives, and because Conners had conducted a tough interview of the president, Conners commented on Facebook about his personal dealings with the IRS. KMOV and its owners deemed that posting improper and chose to terminate his employment.

The station’s general manager claimed that Conners’ Facebook comment creates an appearance of bias. This is the same station whose new 10:00 p.m. male co-anchor is the radio play-by-play voice of the St. Louis Rams, a team that has been engaged in recent confrontations with local taxpayer funded agencies over stadium issues.

I would not be the first person to point out that there could be an appearance of bias in any KMOV reporting on the Rams (on the field and off).

My suggestion for managers and owners of media outlets is to explain clearly to your employees where the line is in social media. If you want your reporters and on-air personnel to engage with readers, viewers and listeners, give detailed guidance.

My suggestion for employees in any job, anywhere, is to be careful what you post on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. Especially if you are an older, highly compensated employee in a high profile position.

In this instance, there is an appearance of bias by KMOV management against employees whose termination might positively affect the bottom line. I’m not saying that’s a true fact, but it’s my perception. And you know what media folks say about perception.

 

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Does The Social You Match the IRL You?

I worked several years ago with a young radio personality whose on-air persona was that of a smart-ass punk. Unfortunately, listeners weren’t accustomed to hearing a smart-ass punk on our station, so his was a polarizing tenure. On the other hand, listeners who met him in person found him charming. In real life encounters, he was warm and friendly. My daughter, then 5, thought he was the coolest thing going.

In the social media era, is your social media persona close to what you’re like in real life? It is sometimes surprising for me to meet a social media friend/contact IRL and find that she or he is a bit different from what I expected. More (or less) serious. More (or less) friendly. More (or less) engaging. Younger (or older).

Do you converse freely with others on Twitter when, in reality, you’re more of an introvert? Do you mainly just share thoughts about your business/profession on Facebook when, in fact, you’re a person with many interests? Do you brag about your accomplishments on LinkedIn when most people know you as a generally humble person? Are you a person who spends hours honing a simple business presentation but launches spontaneous social media rants with much less forethought?

Are your social media photos from years ago or are they of recent vintage? I’ll admit that my Twitter avatar was from late ’07 until I updated it last fall. My LinkedIn pic is from that ’07 session and due for an update—that’s on my long “to do” list for spring.

I hope I’m the same person when I’m posting on social media that I am when I’m chatting with you over coffee. Social media gives us an opportunity for self re-invention (which is not necessarily devious). It gives us an opportunity to put our best foot forward. But the social you (and I) should be not far removed from our real life selves.

How NOT to Use Twitter

On Monday, I happened upon a Twitter account that had just 8 followers but had sent out an amazing 31,000 tweets. How is that possible? The account aggregates blog posts on its particular subject and sends links via tweets to all 8 of its followers.

I chose to make one of the Twitter accounts I handle follower number 9. I observed this “high tweet output/low follower total” account and its modus operandi. Because they send out tweets in high volume, indiscriminately, a follower’s timeline gets inundated. Presumably, the tweets are sent automatically each time a blog post is added to the aggregator’s home page.

I speculate that those who followed this account in the past got tired of the excessive tweeting and chose to unfollow. OR those administering the account set it up and left it alone, choosing not to work to grow its followers list.

I recently spoke to a local small business owner who said he is doing all his marketing now via social media. The business has been on Twitter since September, 2012 and has 27 followers. Eight tweets have been sent since Thanksgiving.

Each of these two examples demonstrates wrongheadedness and wasted effort.

The first account (with 9 followers) is following no one. One way to build followers is to follow other appropriate accounts and to engage in a conversation. Retweet and reply. If you’re following no one, it can be hard to grow your list of followers.

The second account (with 27 followers) needs to grow his list by recruiting followers via Facebook posts and email blasts. He should also include his Twitter handle on his customers’ receipts. And he, too, should follow, reply and retweet. If he doesn’t have the time, he should find someone who can help.

Growing a list of Twitter followers does not happen overnight, unless you’re a celebrity or a novelty account. It takes work and consistent effort. Tweet content is important, but the key word is “engage.”

(Update: In the past three days, the “high tweet output/low follower total” Twitter account has added a tenth follower and has now sent out 32,427 tweets.)

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Who’s Doing Your Social?

For the last few years, organizations have been told, “you’ve got to get involved with social media.” So, they hire someone. Or they sign on with a third party provider. This allows them to participate in social media conversations. But they may be placing too much trust in these individuals who they believe possess the smarts to represent them on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms.

Recent incidents provide warning signals that organizations leaders must be aware of. Last week, a tweet sent on the Twitter account of Kitchen Aid appliances caught the nation’s attention. The content of the offensive tweet made reference to the death of President Obama’s grandmother. As it turns out, the person responsible meant to post it to his/her personal Twitter account, but sent it to the wrong set of followers. Despite its being deleted almost immediately, the damage was done. Kitchen Aid, to its credit, issued apologies quickly.

Another incident occurred last week in St. Louis. A person who works for the local Catholic Archdiocese posted content following Wednesday’s presidential debate that could be deemed offensive onto her personal Facebook page. The Archdiocese made it clear that the woman’s Facebook opinion was her own.

Just this past weekend, a local marketing company posted over 30 tweets regarding Vladimir Putin’s birthday to the firm’s Twitter account. The remarks may not have been offensive, but had nothing to do with this firm’s work for its clients and might even suggest a lack of focus and discipline.

What can organizations do to minimize risk so that social media mistakes do not cause damage?

  1. Hire responsible people. Your teenage nephew may be wise in the ways of social media, but may not be mature enough to exercise self-control. He may also be more careless than a grownup.
  2. Monitor what is being said. Just as you want to be aware of content of your advertising messages, you need to keep an eye on what’s being transmitted in the name of your organization on social media channels. When something is posted that may not reflect your goals or values, deal with it quickly.
  3. Have a crisis plan in place to handle issues if they should arise.

Also, those of us who handle social media for multiple clients must take extra care to be sure that what is being posted is going to the proper account. We must closely monitor what is being said about our organizations. Responses must be considerate and empathetic. We need to know when and how to send direct messages to followers.

We must take care not to post tasteless or profane content on any of our accounts—not only in case they should be sent by mistake to the wrong account, but also because they may reflect badly on our own personal reputations.

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