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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.

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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…


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.

Social Media 101: How to Use Twitter, Part 3

1 Apr

Josh Cheesman
@JoshCheesman

So, here we are once again for the third and final chapter in our Twitter odyssey. Having covered the basic philosophy of tweeting, here are a last few tips to help you rise above the rest of the Twitterati.

Part 1
Part 2

VAT – Value Added Tweeting

Investor and author Tim Ferriss wrote a blog post about using Twitter without letting it dominate you. The advice is sound, but mostly along a different track to these articles (the focus is on being able to manage your time on Twitter rather than the substance of your actual tweets).

However, Ferriss does make a good point with the fourth tenet of his creed (“fourth tenet of his creed”? Why am I speaking like a Biblical prophet?):

“Don’t post unless you add more value than the attention you consume (both yours and others).”

Moses

To be fair, these kinds of things would sound cooler coming from Biblical prophets.

 Basically, this kind of leads back to parts 1 and 2. If you expect someone to read you tweets, you have to make it worth their while. Ferriss gives three examples of how to do this:

  1. “Add value if you consume attention.” As I said in part 1, no one wants to know about the mundane details of your boring life. But if you can add something of use your tweeting becomes much more valuable. Ferriss gives the example of providing the address of the restaurant where you got a great burrito instead of just saying you had a nice meal. But you can look at this in the context of journalism as well – don’t just say something like “David Cameron doesn’t know what he’s talking about”, add a statistic or something to prove it. Don’t just blog that violence is kicking off at a protest, tell people on what street it’s happening.
  2. “Use the tool for its best purposes and ignore the rest.” Put simply, use Twitter for what it’s good at – publicising small bits of information to a wide audience. Don’t try and use it to make a lengthy argument about economic policy – write a blog post (which you can of course link to on Twitter). Don’t try and use it to co-ordinate an article you’re writing with a small group of colleagues – start a Facebook group.
  3. “Linking is fundamental to adding value.” Why bother making several tweets covering all the interesting things in an online article when you can just link to that article? Linking not only makes people curious as to where the link goes (as Ferriss says), but for journalists it serves another crucial purpose: it allows you to back up the 100 character statement you’ve just made.

 If you’re taking up space on someone’s feed and not providing any value, don’t be surprised if they decide to stop following you.

Think Beyond Yourself

Another good article is Nate Whitehall’s Top 5 Ways NOT to Use Twitter. Essentially, most of Whitehall’s points come to down to one thing – don’t think about what you want to say, think about what you’re saying to everyone else.

So don’t constantly promote your own articles, promote ones from other people as well. Pose questions, respond to other people’s tweets. Not only will this be more interesting to your followers, it will help you build social capital.

Also, Whitehall advises thinking beyond just saying what’s happening where you are, and posting a picture on TwitPic. Yes, it’s terribly cliché, but a picture paints a thousand words. That’s really something you should utilise when you’ve only got 140 characters to work with. Allow your followers to engage more with your situation.

Final Advice

So this is the end of our little miniseries on producing better tweets. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and to finish off, here’s a final thought about using Twitter. If you take nothing else away from these articles, take this.

Just before you tweet, read back what you’ve said (this won’t take you long), and just think: “would this interest me if someone else posted it?”

(And if you only see one movie this year… you’ve got to get out more often.)

Use social networks for your business communication!

31 Mar

by Ben Miller

@ben_at_city

According to a study by BNP Paribas, 30% of internet users in Western Europe use social networks for professional means, chiefly to expand their professional reputation. This is a figure that cannot be taken lightly, especially when one looks at the rise of social networks, in particular ‘vocational’ ones like LinkedIn. Social communication within business is often seen as an unmanageable risk – you never know who’s gonna let something slip. This might, however, not be something to fear…

The business model has changed

The business model has changed! Today, the tight and traditional business model is fading in favour of greater openness.  Businesses in general must now deal with infinitely more complex systems. Interactions and combinations are multiple, and the set of the interdependence is confusing.

Business is no longer a closed entity. The boundaries between internal and external communication are increasingly fine, and it is difficult to contain information exclusively within your company, whether or not you yourself are an executive. Outgoing e-mails, facebook status updates, Twitter reactions, MSN, Skype… the list goes on. There are so many doors open to the outside that are not necessarily harmful to your business structure, provided that use of social platforms is monitored. A policy concerning what can and cannot be said on social networking sites should be developed.

Proaction in your day-to-day business activities

Many businesses have virtual doors which are communication channels, allowing informative flow both internally and externally. In 2011, it’s definitely impossible to close these doors, given the wealth of cyber communication available to employees. But the flow can indeed be controlled. Over 80% of business leaders don’t include their professional actions on social networks, and this is a shame. Social platforms are the perfect way to advertise and even show off your company in a particular circle, and it’s absolutely free! Andy Beal has defined a list of 12 key of e-reputation points that each company should monitor:

1. Your Personal Name

Whether you’re an independent consultant, or a very small cog on a big corporate wheel, you should absolutely monitor any media mentions of your own name. An extra tip, monitor your user names too: monitoring “andy beal” would likely not include mentions of “andybeal.”

2. Your Company Name

Another “no brainer.” Monitor your company name, but also monitor any likely misspellings or legacy company names. For example, GlaxoSmithKline should also monitor “GSK,” “Glaxo,” and “Glaxo Wellcome.”

3. Your Product Brands

If you’re Google, you should monitor the reputation of your key product brands. What’s being said about “Android” or “Gmail.” The same goes for your product brands. You may not be able to keep track of all your products, but you should track the ones that are the most vital to your business.

4. Your CEO (and other execs)

I’ll make you this promise. At some point in his tenure, your CEO will put his foot squarely in his mouth. You should monitor all possible iterations of his name, so you can be the first to know–or at least know before the WSJ finds out.

5. Your Media Spokesperson

Even if CEO might is a recluse, I’m sure someone in your company is in the public spotlight a lot. If I were Lenovo, I’d monitor mentions of David Churbuck–after all he’s likely discussing Lenovo on his blog and Twitter. (Knowing David, this post made his radar within 2 minutes of being published…hi David!)

6. Your Marketing Message

“So easy even a caveman can do it?” “Just do it!” What if those campaign slogans were accompanied by “sucks” or “I’ll never buy from them again?” Monitoring your marketing campaigns will help you understand if your message is getting across, and what your customers have to say about it.

7. Your Competition

Surely you’d find value in knowing your biggest competitor just got the jump on you. Reports suggest that inside Lenovo, execs knew about the launch of Apple’s Mac Air within minutes–important for Lenovo, as it was planning it’s own ultra-light notebook.

As we explain in the book, Pepsi found itself in troubled-waters over the revelation its Aquafina was nothing but purified tap water from New York. If Coca Cola monitored the buzz for Pepsi’s products, they would see how consumers reacted to the news–and prepared for the questions about its own “tap water,” Dasani.

8. Your Industry

If you keep a watchful eye on industry trends, you can spot opportunities and potential disasters. Everyone’s raving about the iPhone, but some hate the touchscreen keypad? Maybe BlackBerry should offer a handset that offers both a touchscreen and its highly-praised keyboard.

9. Your Known Weaknesses

Your brand has a weakness. If that’s a shock to you, I apologize for being the bearer of bad news. Still, it’s better I tell you now, than a customer tell the New York Times.

Take an honest look at your products and services and ask yourself, what are our weaknesses. If Dell has admitted to itself that it’s customer support sucked, maybe it would have been in a better position to discover–and respond–to Jeff Jarvis sooner.

10. Your Business Partners

If you’re Boeing wouldn’t you want to know if one of your airline customers just declared bankruptcy? How does that effect your quarterly sales numbers? For you, maybe the CEO of a company you did that “co-branded” campaign with, was just snapped leaving a brothel–how would that reflect on your own reputation.

Identify your key business partners and make sure you know what’s happening to their business.

11. Your Clients’ News

OK, for all of your internet marketing agencies–and anyone else that knows the value of keeping clients happy–here’s a tip for you. Monitor the news for your clients and then send them a note to congratulate them on their accomplishments–or maybe “get their back” if you see trouble brewing. Your retention rate will go way up!

12. Your Intellectual Property

If you invested the time–and expense–to register a trademark or copyright your work, shouldn’t you make sure it’s not being infringed upon? Apart from enforcing trademark infringements, you should also make sure there aren’t any cases of mistaken identity. Did someone just complain about how much their Google iPhone sucks? You might want to suggest a correction–or maybe not, if you’re Apple.

Simple!