Social Media – Vodafone Twit Highlights Need For Corporate Social Media Control

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – corporate use of social media is a dangerous thing, and if you are going to dip your toe, then you need a frankly medieval ‘corporate use of social media’ policy in place to ensure the wingnuts do not scupper your dinghy.

As happened earlier this month over at Vodafone, a rather large purveyor of telecommunications services to the global community. Vodafone’s on Twitter, d’you see, and although it’s only managed to garner some 9.5k followers with its 5k-odd tweets, it’s pursuing its strategy with verve.

Suddenly, last week, a tweet was tweeted suggesting that – avert your eyes, those of a sensitive disposition – “@VodafoneUK is fed up of dirty homo's (sic) and is going after beaver”. Well. Here’s commentary from www.pocketlint.com, suggesting that Voodoofone’s Twitter account is internally compromised.

Of course, it wasn’t, and – whether you choose to believe it or not, you have to give credit to Mojambofone’s crisis management people – pocketlint posted this yesterday, recounting Jujufone’s official explanation. For those of my blog snorkellers what is hard of de clickery, the explanation is pretty much ‘a big boy did it and ran away’. Only in this case, they appear to have found the big boy, and I can only imagine that he (or she, even) is in a small room somewhere, tied to a chair, while some HR lovelies get all 16th century on his ass.

 Moral of the story? There need to be rules. Perhaps Blackmagicfone has a ‘corporate use of social media’ policy, but it sure as hell ain’t working. As I’ve postulated before, there’s always a proportion of employees – and of the general public, as it happens – terminally afflicted with Twitterette’s. This is the unholy urge to shout ‘bum!’ and ‘poo!’ in public places and at inappropriate times. Generally when confronted with a mass medium (like Twitter, or Facebook), the implications of which they do not fully understand. They do not understand that their ‘bum!’ has a potential audience of – ooooh – everyone. (Luckily, in this case, it was an immediate audience of 9.5k people – although you can still find the post, because it’s been re-tweeted and re-tweeted – whatever that means.)

Anyway, bottom line – a proper use of social media policy, with proper rules, is absolutely imperative. It won’t stop this sort of nonsense altogether, but it may make the f*ckwits think twice. I recommend really, really serious disciplinary action. Boilings in oil. Skinnings alive.

But really, the way to deal with it – folks – is NOT TO GET INVOLVED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

How many times do I have to say this?

Social Media – Another Top Twits List

I am sooooo lazy. It makes me feel almost unbearably guilty. It is linked in to my innate shallowness. (Shallowance? Shallocity? Or is that a characteristic pertaining to a small onion?) Anyway, what it all means is that I simply cannot be bothered to re-invent this splendid (but metaphorical) wheel. It’s a post by communications and customer services blogger Rich Baker (nice blog Rich, keep up the good work, excellent content, opinion and thinking – worth a read, blog snorkellers mine) which gives the full listing of Klout founder @JoeFernandez’s Top Twitter Influencers in the United Kingdom.

(No. You don’t listen. I’m lazy. You will have to research Klout for yourself. And Joe Fernandez.)

Anyway, the point is the same as the point I attempted to make when I posted this – which was a similar list, posted by INQ Mobile.

The point – or, rather, the question, dear blog snorkellers – is this. Do you really, really want to live in a world which has, as its Top Influencers, the likes of Lily Allen, Chris Moyles, Duncan Bannantyne, Peter Andre and Dougie Poynter? I’ve nothing against them, but they’re hardly at the apogee of intellect, culture, education or morality, are they?

Sadly, it merely underlines the vapid, transient and shallow nature of Twitter, and the medium’s arrogant and misguided belief that it actually has an influence.

I read yesterday, elsewhere on the net, that Pepsi is spending/has spent $20m on social media marketing. Some wag had posted a comment which suggested that the company should have held on to its money, because it would probably be able to buy Twitter for that amount in the not-too-distant future. I have a suspicion this might be nearer to the truth than anyone thinks.

Twitter – Are You Sure You Want To Be Involved? Certain?

Today, dearest blog snorkellers, more light is shed on the essentially trivial, vapid and meaningless nature of Twitter. For yesterday INQ Mobile – a purveyor of social media-friendly mobile devices to those with too much time and too little life – released its Twitterati List. This list – which you can find here, clickety-click – purports to rank the most influential celebrities using Twitter – not the most well-known, or those with the most followers, but the most influential. (No, I’m not sure how they did it. Stop asking silly questions.)

Pleasingly, because it saves a little effort, there is a UK and a US list. What it shows, I guess you could infer, is the level and depth of influence that Twitter has. Put another way, it gives an insight into the average Twitterist, if the average Twitterist is genuinely ‘influenced’ by the celebs on the list. (And before some pedant says – ah, but it’s celebrities, isn’t it, what did you expect – may I point out that it appears, because it includes politicians and business people, it might also have included authors and intellectuals. Tellingly, it didn’t.)

You can read it yourself and draw your own conclusions. And I acknowledge that the US list contains Al Gore and Barack Obama. However, seriously, what value do you put on a medium that has, amongst its most influential users, the likes of Russell Brand, Peter Andre and two members of McFly (in the UK) and P Diddy, Ashton Kutcher and Mariah Carey (in the US).

I ‘umbly submit, yer honours, that Twitter is no more valuable – in terms of an information-sharing medium that may have an impact on the future of communications – than an issue of Grazia magazine, received on your mobile device of choice, in instalments of 140 characters.

Tell me it’s not so.

Social Media – Nothing More To Be Said

“Fry warns on social media” – yes, it’s PRWeek again. (Or, if you’re in the States, it’s PRWeek – but monthly. Of course.)

Englands most treasured national treasure, the warm, mellow, avuncular and perhaps, even, a little tweedy, Stephen Fry (for all those of my faithful blog snorkellers who are not familiar with this afternoon-tea-and-crumpet of a man – he’s a middle-aged, rather camp, comedian) has pronounced on social media. This is the same man who made a complete Twit of himself – he had a Call-me-Dave moment with a surfeit of Tweets – not many weeks ago, so I suppose he has the experience to back his pronouncements up. Anyway PRWeek pounced on the pronouncement (I’m channelling the spirit of Stephen here) and published it (issue dated November 27 2009 – if you haven’t seen it, go out and buy one for £4.22, or whatever spurious cover price they’re featuring this week, it’s a collector’s item, in that there’s not going to be a print version for much longer). (Apparently.)

Anyway, summarising wildly, dear old baggy, arch, loveable Stephen has (apparently, again) ‘warned communicators of the risks inherent in using social media as a new type of PR channel’. (Welcome to the party Stephen! Better late than never, I suppose.) He went on to say (according to t’Week) “All new means of communication have been derided and decried because they are seen as encouraging demagoguery of the worst kind. It may be that there will be dark days when social media are seen to cause genuine damage and even death by inflaming people wrongly.’

By which I think he means that every new type of communication that comes along gets hi-jacked by the snake oil salesmen and the charlatans, and, if a majority of people continue to insist on using social media as an extension of the nasty, murky dark bit in their heads, then there could be fisticuffs.

And it’s not that he’s wrong – rather that what he’s saying is so dreadfully obvious and has been done to death on fora around the world. As Mr Fry is an enormously clever man, I can only take from this that there is nothing more interesting, relevant or current to be said about social media.

The conversation – which, after all, is what social media is all about – appears to be over.

Social Media – Twitter – Is There Really A Point?

Or, as this post would seem to imply, is it just an artificial ecosystem made up of the vain, the docile, the needy, the under-resourced and those who’ve take bad advice?

Comments on the back of a tenner to the usual address.

Twitter – I Can Do That, Gis A Job

Came across this, which is a look at the American political Twittersphere – I know, I know, sounds horribly complicated and not a little worthy (and it is) – but actually worth a quick look – if only to see who’s using it. Anyway, it’s not the point of this post, so don’t waste too much time.

While I was looking at it, I was drawn to @schwarzenegger (like a moth to a flame, or a fly to dog poo, or a small child to an unprotected electrical socket) and my morbid fascination, dear blog snorkellers, was amply rewarded. Do, please, have a quick look.

Quite clearly, The Governator is not going to tweet himself. No, he has a team of tweeters – and judging by their performance over the last few days, they have fallen foul of ‘Call Me Dave’s ‘too many tweets makes a twat’. I’m sorry – I don’t know Mr Schwarzenegger (although I am a great fan of his oeuvre) (serious) but there is no way on God’s green earth that he is going to post “in case you missed it, here is a clip from our water press conf. That’s what I call bipartisan.” He’s just not. Sorry.

So, I may have missed the point. 1) Maybe it is him, and I’ve been suckered by his monosyllabic silver screen routine. 2) Maybe he dictates it. 3) Maybe no-one cares what the words actually are – it’s the message that counts.

Actually, none of this. What we have here is failure to communicate. Governor Schwarzenegger, publicity-hungry, comms-oriented soul that he is (and I believe he is, and for most of the right reasons) has been advised to ‘do Twitter’. So he’s said yes. And he clearly can’t do it himself, so he’s got someone to do it for him.

Nothing wrong with that – I think most people would expect it – but it throws up a fundamental rule of corporate communications which perhaps the social media strategists have yet to learn. It’s a simple one. Ready?

If, in your communications, you take on the voice of someone else – the CEO, or the Governator – make sure that you approximate their usual delivery (either spoken or written).  Most people understand that this stuff is written by a ghost writer, but no-one wants their face rubbed in it.

Anyway, based on the Governator’s twitter feed – I could do better than that.

Dear Mr Schwarzenegger, can I be your twat?

Social Media – A Presence On Youmytwidioboobespace

Some time ago, I suggested the imminent coalescing of one or more social media – as the only real way that they can survive individually is by broadening their offer and thus encroaching on each other’s space. (It’s my space! No, it’s not, it’s TwinkedIn.) Just in case you’re not an avid follower of my random – but increasingly accurate – musings, you can catch up here.

Hurry up, the rest of us aren’t going to wait all day.

Right. Anyway, the point is that I’ve just received my first request though LinkedIn to be someone’s bitch follower (or was it that she wanted to be my follower?) on Twitter. Oh, but yes. The gradual merging of media has started and who knows where it will end. As an aside, I cannot see how the Twitter/LinkedIn deal is going to work – LinkedIn has already taken on some of the aspects of Facebook, as people forget that it’s a business tool and post quick updates on their musical tastes – and the culture of Twitter (the Twattish behaviour, if you like) will not mix well with the orignal culture of LinkedIn.

Be that as it may. This is the beginning – as I’ve said several times before – of the end, specifically the end of the social media free-for-all that exists now. So – if you’re a corporate, and you’re thinking of dipping your toe – perhaps even investing something in it – is now the time?

Remember Betamax. You don’t want to be Twitter-savvy, if it turns out that Wave is the future – and yes, OK, I know that’s a bit faux-naif. (Qui? Moi?)

But social media, as a business tool – marketing, comms and to a certain extent, sales – does not deliver tangible benefit. And while it’s still sorting itself out, it’s unlikely to. So curb your enthusiasm – because I know you’re just busting to get involved – and let’s see how it shakes down.

It won’t take long, mark my words……..