New Uses for Social Media – Part 7,523

Is it just me or are the attempts to get some real use (and thus value/benefit) out of social media getting more desperate by the day?

Today’s was a facility for the Jewish community to Tweet prayers and have them then – I presume – printed out, folded up and stuck in the cracks in the Wailing Wall. Which is great – a genuine service and all credit to the ‘young man from Tel-Aviv’ who’s responsible.

A great use of Twitter, thereby providing a little more grist for the social media justification mill. Yes, social networks, they get everywhere. In every walk of life. Social networks – they are your daddy.

Only, only – would it be as easy to email ‘the young man in Tel-Aviv’ and get him to print that out? Or, in fact, if you’ve got a friend in Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem, you could email them. Or text them. Or fax them. Or – how about this – you could ‘phone them up and get them to write it down.

It’s a great idea, it genuinely is and it’s a real service. It just doesn’t need Twitter. Or FaceSpace, or MyBook.

Other uses for social media today – publicising Aleksandr the Meerkat (if you’ve been in a hole in the ground for the last six months, this is the eponymous Aleksandr the Meerkat from comparethemeerkat.com, which is a sort of search engine for meerkat-related paraphernalia. I think).

I like Aleksandr – simples! – and he reminds me of a lot of people I work with, but, let’s face it – sorry Alex mate – he’s a fluffy PR stunt. A very, very good one, but a fluffy PR stunt nonetheless – here today and gone tomorrow.

And therefore an absolutely perfect fit for the social media phenomenon.

‘Tis The Season to be Silly

Just a reminder to all that the Silly Season is here and – if you’re not already carping the diem – it’s time to dust off all those rubbish stories that would never make the cut in a million years normally, and get them out there! There’s acres of  gaping media void to be filled and we, the few, have a duty to fill it.

This morning – and OK, it was one of those terrible free papers (but somehow so much closer to the zeitgeist than your average broadsheet, d’you not think?) – there was a story (‘story’) about someone on holiday in Great Yarmouth (I think, could have been Skegness – it doesn’t matter – seaside town anyway) sending a postcard to someone at home in the West Country. On looking at the photo, a view of the seafront, taken over a decade ago, the recipient discovered it included images of her and her daughters, sat on a park bench! What are the chances! Cue much mumbling in astonishment and small-world commentary.

(The fact that the person sending the card sent it because they knew the recipient was a fan of the seaside town, and had visited, at peak season, many years on the trot, and that she and her daughters often sat on the same bench, does actually reduce the chances considerably, but never let logic get in the way of a good story.)

Yes – the silly season’s here. I even read a story about some guy – Peter, I think – who’s managed to become the most powerful man in the country, without going through the boring rigmarole of being elected, or with any form of public consent or (indeed) knowledge at all!

Amazing the old nonsense that gets printed.

Silent with Rage – Better Off Just Silent?

‘Fraid this isn’t very timely – been busy doing nothing, d’you see – but the more I sat and thought (as opposed to just sitting, which is what I try and do mostly) I felt this needed a little exploration/explanation – what with all the current hoo-ha over Directors of Communications for political parties (sorry – that’s the ‘phone……….strange…….nobody there).

Anyway, there I was, minding my own business, consuming some media, when I happen across a (what can hardly, really, be called a) story about Damien McBride and the PM (Gordon, not Peter) and the PM’s reaction (Gordon’s, not Peter’s) when McPoison told him about the content of the unfounded smear emails he’d been circulating. He was (that’s the PM, G not P), and I’m paraphrasing, shaking and silent with rage. Might even have been speechless. Beyond angry, anyway, and out the other side.

Well, you’d hope so, really, wouldn’t you. But, and here’s the thing, why did we need to know? And, more to the point, how come the ‘news’ got into the media anyway (‘cos it wasn’t just one story, no, I saw it run across other outlets, when I bothered to look).

So, was it No 10, trying, as part of a rearguard action, to show G (not P) in a favourable light (speechless with anger and rage and probably coated in mortification also)? And therefore distancing himself further from the evil McPoison? Or was it McBride himself, finding it all a bit difficult on the employment front, making an attempt to rehabilitate himself – a bit ot a tw*t, but honest enough to ‘fess up and take the (silent with rage) consequences? Or was it a half dozen of one and six of t’other – collusion between No 10 and McPoison – ‘this’ll help us both, Damian, mate’? (And if so, was it also testing the waters, laying the first good intentions on that road to Damian’s rehabilitation?)

Whatever, it made me suspicious. (But I’m always suspicious.) For what it’s worth, I reckon it’s McBride trying to rehabilitate himself. I mean, no-one would be stupid enough to fan the dying embers of this unhappy episode, running the risk of re-ignition and all the nightmare that would come with it, on the off-chance that it might have some small positive impact on the PM’s (G’s, not P’s) reputation.

Would they?