Twitter Hijacking – Don’t Get Caught Out

1 Apr

JoshCheesman
@JoshCheesman

I thought when I started writing this article that I might be coining the term ‘tweetjacking’. Alas, a quick Google revealed I’d be beaten to the punch (although the accepted definition is slightly different from what I plan on using).

Basically, a Twitter hijack (henceforth Twitjack) is when someone imitates another person – usually a celebrity – on Twitter. Hence why, for example, David Mitchell is listed on Twitter as @RealDMitchell. When it’s done to a company or product instead of an individual it’s known as brandjacking.

Fonejacker

It's basically like being this guy, except they don't have to be as talented,

There are various reasons why someone might do a twitjack – to get attention, to spite the person they’re doing it for, some kind of psychotic delusion that they actually are that person – and it’s all too easily done. After all, I can say my name is Tom Cruise, and Twitter can’t do anything to stop me, because that might be my real name. And if I then upload a picture of Tom Cruise and start making posts about Hollywood and scientology and why tall people suck, well, then it’s hard for anyone to know it’s not really Tom Cruise (unless I make it very obvious). There’s no obligation on Twitter to provide any kind of identification when you create an account.

How does this affect me?

Unless you are a celebrity, it’s very unlikely that someone’s going to Twitjack you. But let’s look at things from the other side of the equation.

If you’re a journalist, Twitter is a great resource for finding out the comments someone might have on a particular issue if you can’t get hold of them on the phone. But, if the Twitjacker is subtle, you may end up attributing a comment falsely, and that could potentially land you in all sorts of trouble (posting a tweet and erroneously linking it to a particular figure  could potentially count as libel).

How to Avoid Being Burnt

Luckily, a few simple steps and a bit of common sense will stop you from making any drastic mistakes. Here’s what to do if you’re not sure whether a Twitter account is genuine or not.

First, and this sounds really obvious, but read through a few of their tweets, You don’t have to read every one, but maybe say 20. Look for anything that that person would never say in public – if you find a Twitter account for David Cameron where he’s posted that he’s planning on spending the weekend shooting immigrants, then chances are that’s not actually the PM. It might not be obvious for one or two posts, hence why a quick scroll could save you a lot of hassle later.

Of course, sometimes you may be dealing with a celebrity whose comments are so ridiculous that it would be hard for someone to invent something more outrageous – *cough*CharlieSheen *cough* – in which case you have to look for other clues.

Check that person’s official website, if they have one. If they do, they may have posted a link to their Twitter account there.

If there’s no clue on that front, then check their number of followers. If you think it’s Brad Pitt and he has less followers than you, then the chances are that you’ve got an impersonator (or possibly Tyler Durden).

Also look at when the account was created – if it was just after a major story broke about the celebrity, then the timing is probably a little  too perfect.

Once again, it’s mostly about common sense. If you’re really not sure, probably best to err on the side of caution and not run the comment. Better than being made to look a twit by Twitjackers.

Twitter. Does your boss check you out?!

1 Apr

by Georgina Leggate @GeorginaLeggate

I went for an interview yesterday, for a work-experience placement at ITV. I was up to date with current affairs, the political situation in Libya and I had been watching ITV news all week. Enough, maybe, but I definitely would have prepared even more if I’d thought about the concept of my interviewer following me on Twitter?! One thing I hadn’t given any thought to was the state of my Twitter page. My profile, what does it say about me? Well I’ll tell you. The picture I have is of me lying on a bed in Beijing, waiting for a foot message. (From my traveling days.) There is nothing rude or inappropriate about the photo, just perhaps not the most professional photo I could have chosen. Also, I have a relatively low number of tweets (for a trainee journalist I suppose)…20 tweets to be precise. I am following 170 and am followed by 57….hardly 497,085 but a good start?!

Damn you Piers Morgan!

Anyway, it’s the first time I’ve ever felt sightly self conscious about any of my tweets, even though I don’t think I have ever ‘tweeted’ anything particularly offensive and/or controversial!  Quite the opposite in fact. In my opinion I use social media for what I believe to be all the right reasons. Journalistically I follow others who are in the know, I absorb the news feeds, I keep up to date with all the latest developments in current affairs and most importantly (in my view) I am able to find information and people, that I wouldn’t be able to, anywhere else. A good example of this was a recent package I produced for local TV station a month ago. For confidentiality reasons I won’t reveal the participants name, but he essentially gave me a lot of helpful and perhaps controversial pieces of information all through Twitter. What I am trying to say here is; just because I don’t use Twitter to report about my every moment, my every outing, my every meal (who would be interested anyway?) That doesn’t mean I am any less interested in social media. Perhaps I should tweet more. Perhaps I should spark up a debate with Lord Sugar…that should up my followers if nothing else!

Throughout all of my blogs, I have discussed the importance of social media in online journalism, AND, (you’ll be pleased to hear) I remain committed. I don’t see papers as ‘old news’ (excuse the pun) and I don’t want everyone to replace newspapers with twitter but what I do think is we have developed an amazing platform on which to transport information….to the world!

A website I visit regularly is www.mediahelpingmedia.com stresses the importance of social media in online journalism. One bit of advice I picked up on recently was the following statement.

‘Try to offer original, stimulating and compelling content’

Watch out for my new and improved tweets..!

Also, I got the placement, so either I managed to impress at interview, or perhaps he hadn’t seen my Twitter page ; )

Could regionalism in Spain be the secret to Tuenti’s success?

1 Apr

by Ben Miller

@ben_at_city

The social make-up of Spain is not dissimilar to that of the UK. We are both comprised of forcedly united peoples who have still not completely managed to gel (ideologically) into one national identity – despite the unification of both nations’ kingdoms and authoritarian counties centuries ago.

Fast-forward to 2005. The distinct ‘native’ ethnic groups of the British Isles are largely content enclosed in one main political border. Sure, there are still a few in the extreme west of Wales and Cornwall and the North of Scotland (as well as the Isle of Man) who are intent on fighting to the death to prevent Saxon infringement on their Celtic way of life, but nothing like what goes on in Spain every day.

Over there, fervent regionalism is still going strong, governing everyday life in the ‘provincias’.

Regionalistic pride is, in my opinion, the main contributing factor to the ongoing success of social media site Tuenti in Spain.

I set myself a mission to find out if this is true:

Xavier – Catalunya

Sofia – Pais Vasco

Joy – Galicia

http://blog.baquido.com/2010/09/badoo-y-tuenti.html

Tellingly, the mighty Facebook is so dismayed by the fact that Spanish under-21’s prefer Tuenti, that they’ve launched a “young Facebook ambassadors” initiative, paying youngsters to promote Facebook to their peers as THE alternative to Tuenti. Unbelievable!:

http://www.trecebits.com/2010/09/18/facebook-va-a-por-tuenti-y-busca-embajadores-jovenes-que-atraigan-mas-usuarios-en-espana/

Facebook does indeed offer translated pages in virtually every language these days, including all the Spanish minority ones, but it’s the feeling of unity that attracts young Spaniards to favour Tuenti.

http://www.meneame.net/story/no-estar-tuenti-ser-paria-social

Blogger Laura Parkinson suggests different reasons for Tuenti’s resounding success (don’t worry, this one’s in English!): http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2011/03/how-tuenti-held-off-facebook-in-spain-with-better-privacy068.html

Though her reasoning may well be valid in its own right, it must be noted that her judgement has been formed in one part of Castilian-speaking Spain. As for the comScore figures, Spain’s enormous immigrant and population, both permanent and temporary (the figure of which stands between 7% and 13% depending on the season) contributes enormously, as they are those of an internet-navigable age are far more likely to belong to Facebook than Tuenti.

Social media in hyperlocal online journalism

1 Apr

Caroline James @CarolineJames1

Hyperlocal online journalism: the local journo has much to learn if they’re to exploit social media the way their national counterparts do.  Check out The Guardian who have a whole subsection dedicated to social networking and the peripheral issues, like the article on U.S. spy software that manipulates social media.

I was granted an exclusive interview with Hannah Keep, who has experienced firsthand how they use social media in the news gathering process on a hyperlocal level, at The Bedfordshire on Sunday. She gives us a fascinating insight into the way the hyperlocal news outfits are catching up with their national siblings.

As Hannah says, the local press have been slow to catch up with the social media trend.  My local paper, The Surrey Advertiser has only been tweeting since July 2009.  Compare that with The Times who’ve been actively tweeting since May 2007 and you see the scale of the catch up they’re facing.

And if they don’t, they’re missing a trick.  City journos will tell you the value of: #islington when on the hunt for a story in their patch.  The story of the Islington vigilantes who warn motorists of speed cameras was broken by two of my colleagues: Katie Satchell and Livvy Bolton.  And then two days later it hit the Islington Gazette.  And ask Katie and Livvy where their lead came from? You guessed it: a Sunday morning #islington on Twitter.  Well, maybe you didn’t guess the Sunday morning part.  But the hashtag delivered the goods, nonetheless.

That’s not to say the local press aren’t writing about social media.  The Surrey Ad. reported on a 14-hour tweeting event which took place at the University of Surrey in February.  But that’s their most recent article on the matter.  Let’s look again at The Guardian and their most recent social media themed article is from today: an interview discussing how the internet has altered the face of journalism.

And let’s think smaller: I’m talking really hyperlocal journalism, here.  Step forward: The Horsley Magazine. What, no hyperlink? We’re old school here, readers: no website, no hyperlink.  But the potential is there: there’s a Horsley Network profile on Twitter and we just need some aspiring journo to connect the dots.

Hyperlocal is the platform where there exists the most room for rapid and broad expansion in journalism, whether on- or offline.  And I’m not alone in thinking so – the Editors Weblog agree!

I think I’ve just found my next project…


Remember when nostalgia was the key to social media? I’m not sure I do…

1 Apr

Josh Cheesman
@JoshCheesman

Do you remember TaleSpin? The cartoon with characters from The Jungle Book, except they were in a 1920s setting and Baloo flew one of those planes that could land on water? And do you remember the theme tune?

Awesome. Now that’s a great intro. What were your favourite cartoon opening themes? DuckTales? Bucky O’Hare? Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles? Ch-Ch-Chip and Dale, Rescue Rangers?

… It’s OK., I’ve not lost the plot. I was just making an effort to stir a bit of nostalgia in the likely demographic of the blog. Why, you might ask? Because according to a new article, nostalgia is one of the most important tools in a social medi-ite’s arsenal.

(You don’t get tools in an arsenal, do you? Well, I guess you might if you were some kind of slasher movie tool box killer. Hey, remember all the old slasher movie killers? Freddy, Jason, Mike Myers before he started doing comedies…)

Yeah, I’ll admit I was trying to do the nostalgia thing again.

“A New Goldmine in Social Media”

So like a said, an article published yesterday claims that nostalgia is “the new golden nugget of social media”.

Golden Nuggets

Pictured: nostalgia.

Using the suspciously made-up sounding example of Michael the baker and his Facebook page, the author talks about how even simple references and questions help foster warm feelings and fun conversation with the online community. It’s done from the point of view of a business getting itself out there, but the article is phrased in terms of community interaction, which is a crucial aspect of being a journalist on the web as opposed to on TV or in a newspaper.

I’m a little sceptical of whether nostalgia is that persuasive a factor in gaining social capital. I mean, there’s only so long you get by on the good will of pop culture history, especially in journalism. Our business is telling people what’s new, not asking them to remember things that are old.

Besides, the internet is drowning in nostalgia, especially for the children of the 80s and 90s (case in point: the fact that I was able to get video clips of all those theme tunes with a minimum of searching online).

On the other hand though, a bit of nostalgia every once in a while can be a powerful tool. In this day and age, with so many websites providing news content, you need to make yours stand out. And if you reference Thunderbirds in a story about the International Rescue Corps, or use a picture of the Emperor from Star Wars to talk about the “dark side” of social media, maybe that’s just the hook you need to get people into your story.

So, let’s finish up with the obligatory question  – do you remember a news article that you read primarily because there was something fun or nostalgic about it?

Business and social networks II – the end of social media’s infancy

1 Apr

by Ben Miller

@ben_at_city

Jonathan Salem Baskin is a well-known US Global Brand Strategist and author. He recently wrote about how brands understand their communication on the social web, and it makes a claer point: it’s bad news for the commercial Big Dogs. Pepsi lost its position as number#2 soft drinks (music to the ears of Coca-Cola!), after having cut its investments in TV advertising in favour of a massive social media campaign, and Burger King axed its collaboration with CP + B.

I think you should consider that the news might augur the end of a fad. No, not the end of social media, but rather the beginning of the end of social media’s infancy. Maybe it’s time to stop talking unseriously and get serious for real. Technology has utterly changed the ways consumers get and use information, and it has completely disrupted how companies create, share and collect it. We’ve had a good run of years in which this revolution has prompted quack science, theory and some good ol’ fashioned mercenary selling, most of it by smart, earnest people who believe that new technology also changed human nature and the very purpose of business function. It did neither. People still need and do the same things they always did, and companies still need to sell to them. Pretending that conversation has any value apart from the meaningful, relevant and useful information within it — fad ideas, like “content” is anything more than a silly buzzword, or that anybody wakes up in the morning hoping to have a conversation with a brand of toothpaste or insurance — is no longer credible in light of the latest news

I agree with the Jonathan’s point of view: saying that social media is key an advertising sense clearly marks the beginning of a more serious chapter for social media. We all know what to do with a Facebook page, we know that having influence on Twitter is no longer a winning strategy in itself, we know how to recognise a true practitioner, and most importantly, we also know that long-term prospects are favourable to the development of a business presence amid the internet’s social circles.

When the day comes that social media bloggers are all community managers, and engagement measures become slightly more standardised (to show to brands that their cause won’t necessarily lead to onsumer buying), one might be able to argue that the social media industry and its followers have entered a fully-matured golden age. For now, the age of reason will suffice.

Lou Kerner: The First Wall Street Social Media Analyst

1 Apr

Josh Cheesman
@JoshCheesman

First off, when I was writing this title (the most straightforward one I could think of – it helps search engines find your material), my mind immediately went to the new film version of Marvel’s patriotic peacekeeper, which is titled Captain America: The First Avenger. I’m pretty sure though that no one is planning on making a blockbuster film called The Wall Street Social Media Analysts. Pretty sure.

But anyway, enough of hypothetical financial superhero crossovers, let’s get to the meat of the article. Last week, Private Equity Hub sent out a press release about Lou Kerner, who they say is – yep, you guessed it – the first Wall Street social media analyst. (The press release is blocked by a pay wall, but you can get the gist of it here.)

I’m going to interrupt the flow a bit here just to clear up an ambiguity – when I first read “Wall Street social media analyst”, I was unclear as to what it meant. Were they saying that Kerner was the first person on Wall Street to analyse social media companies, or that he was the first person to analyse Wall Street via social media? It turns out, they meant the former – Kerner speculates on the stock prices of Twitter and Facebook and whatnot. However, he does post financial comments on Twitter (@loukerner), so technically both are true.

But anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, so Lou is apparently the first social media analyst on Wall Street. I have to admit, this struck me as a bit odd. Why? Well…

It’s Been a Long Time Coming

I guess the thing that most took me by surprise is the fact this has only just happened. I mean, Facebook’s been around since 2004. I first became aware of it in my first year of university (late 2009), and by the end of the academic year it was massive in the UK (Compete.com had already ranked it the most popular social media website in the world in January 2009).

The point I’m making is, why did it take so long for the business world to notice that there might be something in this social media malarkey? That maybe it was something worth reporting on? That maybe there was some money to be made form it? I mean, Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook, for those of you like me who couldn’t be bothered to see The Social Network) became the world’s youngest billionaire in 2008. You’d think that’s the kind of thing Wall Street would hear about.

The Social Network

I mean, I know I didn't see it, but come on, the film of his life won three Oscars.

And it’s not like Lou Kerner stumbled across this stuff over night. He definitely knew about Facebook – he offered to buy a stake in it when Zuckerberg was still at Harvard (Will Wall Street’s social media analyst roll eyes or turn heads?). He’s been talking to the press about the importance of social media since 2003. And yet when he said two years ago that Facebook would one day be worth $100bn he was laughed at.

It seems to me that the world of business – and business journalism – needs to get with the programme. (Or should that be program? Sorry, grammar joke.) I’m not saying social media is the be all and end all of economics, but Facebook is now worth $85bn. Lou Kerner is going to do very well for himself if he stays as Wall Street’s only social media analyst.