Tag Archives: online community

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

1 Apr

Josh Cheesman

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?


social networks: demographics and democracy

27 Feb

by Georgina Leggate


Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya…social media has been the driving force behind most of, if not all of, the 2011 protests that have taken place in the Middle East. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook not only played a huge role in the pro-democracy surge but they have provided a platform of communication, which is accessible to all areas of society. These networks have acted as a starting point for all of the protests and have given eclectic groups of repressed citizens, a taste of freedom.

The rich, the poor, the educated, the non-educated, thousands of individuals have been part of what we now call ‘the revolution’. Social media enabled both the protesters and their followers the world over, to support mass movements against autocratic governments.

Social networking also has the amazing ability to crush and flatten hierarchy. Let’s take the Egyptians for example. It is easy to think that the poor or the unemployed triggered the demonstrations, when in-fact there was a growing culture of frustration amongst all socio-economic classes across Egypt. Due to Mubarak’s repressive regime, class distinctions have become more and more blurred. Low pay, low moral combined with high levels of intellect and motivation created a spark that was going to fire up in to something much more.

The reality was that the individuals behind the progressive movement were young, educated and often, privileged men who had access to the Internet and had the ability to use it. The ever-increasing world of social networks that protesters used, gave them a voice.

The use of these social networks enabled technologically savvy protestors to make extraordinary use of the Internet and mobilise the masses. Despite an authoritarian government, social media gave the Egyptians back the power to the people as they usurped the incumbent Egyptian leadership.

Social media was used as a platform to reach citizens in their own country, neighbouring states and crucial, global, expat communities as well.

Unbeknown to the Egyptians, they were to start something quite spectacular as they gained national and international support. This ‘something’ was the ‘revolution’ which arguably stemmed from a large dollop of dictatorship, a sprinkle of civil unrest, a pinch of the people served with a large spoonful of social networks .

Cross social media communication: from Twitter to Facebook and back again

30 Nov

Caroline James @CarolineJames1

As befits this festive time of year, I’ve been on the hunt for a case study to back up anecdotal evidence about the health and safety menace posed by temporary ice rinks that pop up all over London as soon as the evenings start to draw in. Because the raw statistics wouldn’t make for exciting and visual TV, I wanted to liven my story up with an interviewee who was willing to confess to some ice-skating mishap or other.

To such an end I tweeted a shout out to my followers:

A few days later I got a response but not on Twitter. The answer came on my FB wall:

Why? The obvious answer is that the friend in question wasn’t on Twitter but had linked from my FB profile to my Twitter account:

The added bonus is, of course, she had the freedom of more than 140 characters in which to explain the exact details of her ice-skating related injury.  And those extra characters resulted in an amusing anecdote which I don’t think would have worked had it been cropped, tweaked and packaged into a Twitter-friendly format.

Added to this, I’ve now discovered there’s a plethora of tools that allow us to update our FB statuses via Twitter, meaning the two social networks are more intertwined than ever before.  I recently discovered this app which means cross social media communication’s never been easier.

For the more selective tweeter, there’s also a selective app that only posts tweets with the hashtag #fb.

Steve Thornton of Twitip uses the analogy of Facebook as being like a wedding where you know everyone, conversations are more familiar, the responses you get are from already-made acquaintances. Twitter is like a large party, he says, where you don’t know anyone and you need to make an impression and stand out. The responses normally come from strangers, via the hashtag.

The fact that my responses came on FB perhaps suggests that I, like many relatively new users to Twitter, are using it as an extension to FB, tweeting “what I had for lunch today” style posts instead of building up an online community , as you might do with a blog.

But, the fact that I can cross-communicate, from Twitter to Facebook , clearly says something about the changing nature of social media and the people who are now using it. Journalists need a contacts book that extends further than just the people they went to school with; even if it’s the people they went to school with who end up providing the answer they’re looking for!