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Social Media – Instagram Disables Twitter Functionality

According to Mashable.com, rumours abound that Instagram and Twitter are at each other’s throats over issues encountered by users who try to share images using the micro-blogging platform.

Social Media Management

Instagram, who were bought by Facebook for the princely sum of $1 billion earlier this year, reportedly disabled key functionality that allowed users to share their images via Twitter. This fueled speculation that a war was beginning between the two blue giants of the social media world, with Instagram’s new owners encouraging a break from a key competitor.

However, Instagram’s CEO appears to have put paid to the rumours, promising that the two platforms will “always be integrated“. Despite this public denial, keen observers will note that Twitter had earlier stung the photo-sharing site by denying it the ability to use its API. Regardless, it would appear that users can depend on stability for the time being.

The fact that these kind of conflicts crop up in this constantly-evolving field only lends further support to the argument that your business needs a team who are always up to date with industry developments. If you want to know how we can boost your social media presence, give us a call – I Say! Digital are the social media experts in Brighton.

 

Social Media and the Law – Or, ‘What Not to Say Online’

Today, Tom looks at what you can, and can not say, on social media:

 

Imogen Thomas' football lover was hot gossip on Twitter in 2011If you’ve read Paul’s recent blog post concerning Chris Brown’s Twitter PR disaster and subsequent departure from the platform, you’ll be aware that what you say online can have a real impact on your reputation. That might sound obvious – after all, much of the time, anything you put your name to online is in the public domain, for better or for worse. Much to the chagrin of those who treat social media sites as forums for political debate (or, in some cases, pure mudslinging), anything you write in a public place online is treated as being ‘published’ in the same way that a newspaper article or book is published, bringing millions under the weighty gavel of defamation law. But this simple truth can distract us from the fact that the line between public and private in the online world is becoming increasingly blurred.

Is a Facebook Status Private?

What if, for example, you post a defamatory status update on Facebook; one that is only viewable by your friends? Is this to be classified as public, and thus subject to the full force of the law? Or is it more similar to the oft-referenced ‘conversation in a pub’? What if your privacy settings mean that your friends’ friends can also see the message? For the moment, it would appear that the law is falling on the side of free speech – see the case of Adrian Smith, who expressed a belief that gay marriage is ‘an equality too far’ and who won his case against an employer that penalised him for saying so. It seems obvious that this is not a problem which will go away, and that advocates of free speech will have a difficult fight ahead as test cases are fought in the courts.

Libel in 140 Characters or FewerTwitter and the Law

Twitter seems much more black and white. Though the average user might not think of it as such – after all, people are always braver behind a keyboard than in person – it is a completely public platform which warrants care. However, because of the fact that so many users ignore its public nature, the law faces yet more test cases. If 10,000 English users retweet a defamatory phrase, are they all liable? Practically speaking, how would a claimant gather the details of so many users in order to sue them? Could Twitter itself be held responsible for a failure to censor offending tweets, and if so, is there a certain number of retweets beyond which it is safe to assume that the site knows something is going on?

Steer Clear of Trouble with Social Media Advice

The law almost always lags behind evolving cultural trends, and the increasing usage of social media is no exception to this rule. Libel law is just one more reason why it’s essential to have a solid social web strategy. Users of these platforms would be wise to watch their words, and social media management professionals should be careful not to get their clients into hot water.

YouTube: What Can it Do For a Business?

YouTube and Digital Marketing

A discussion broke out earlier this week in the office about YouTube.

We were talking about life before the site, and how as recent as 2005, we dreamed of a place on the internet which would act as a magical wishing well for whatever niche or interest you had: ‘I want to watch my favourite childhood TV programme’ or ‘I want to see that goal again’. With YouTube, these aims are achievable. Yes, we probably use it mainly for cute cat videos or the latest film trailers, but one shouldn’t exclude YouTube from any discussion of useful social media.

How Social is YouTube?

Yes, YouTube is more widely considered a video-streaming site (which it is); but there is a huge social element too, which gets lost in the shuffle. Visual items, such as video and infographics, are a lot more likely to be shared and go viral than a long, wordy article; and because social is becoming more and more decisive in SEO, creating something that people will want to show off to friends is becoming vital. YouTube users have a profile which they can play around with; made easier with its integration with Google, to the point where you can now have your own name (which will please anyone who came up with an immature username at the age of 15). Unfortunately, a strong majority of users don’t bother to contribute or even read comments, because they’ve already seen a related video that they want to click on to. You’ll have your usual trolls with their all-caps, swear word-infested arguments, but you can find some very thoughtful, well-structured back-and-forth replies as well. You just have to scroll.

Like Facebook or Twitter, you can also see relationships built up over time. Someone posts a video here and there; someone else replies with a ‘cool video dude'; more people see it, and want to throw in their two pence or expand on your reply. A comment strikes a chord and gets a “thumbs up”. If you keep at it as a creator, promoting your video on the other proper social networks, and tagging your video properly, your uploads will spread further. People will post a link on forums, or even sites like Reddit, and in turn, YouTube will register that your upload is getting a lot of views, and give it a nudge.

Soon you’ll have subscribers (i.e. followers) who’ll look forward to your next upload. They can even see it pop up by making YouTube’s homepage a port-of-call, along with Facebook or Twitter. If they’ve decided to follow you on those platforms, you can post a link there to remind them you’re still around and have uploaded fresh content. Like the concept of ‘followers’, ‘subscribers’ assumes that even if you don’t personally know someone, it’s socially acceptable to follow their activity. So whereas some businesses struggle to earn likes from those beyond their friends and family, YouTube is a bit more lax in that you don’t have to wait for someone to accept your request. This way, strangers can observe you from a distance for a while before making a decision to take on your services.

How YouTube Can Be Used By Business

Only a small majority of our clients use YouTube, because it captures a visual element of their services which they wish to demonstrate and which is not as applicable to other industries. How-To tutorial videos, for instance, builds up authority as a knowledgeable or capable source if you’re in the building trade. Viewers can put a face to a business and get to know you as a personality – which can be endearing, provided you pick the right person to represent you on camera. Videos are also an alternative route to posting images on their own on Pinterest or Facebook; putting together a slideshow to music can be easier on the eye, and show that much more effort has been put in.

If you’re interested in seeking out this, or another of our services, browse our services or get in touch with us.

 

Social Media & the American Elections

Social Media and Politics: Going Where The Crowd Is

Some interesting points on social media have arisen from the American elections, from which Barack Obama has emerged the winner. According to experts, social media has played a major hand in encouraging more people to vote, which is always a positive notion. As in business, if you want to speak to a particular audience, like the younger voter, go where they are. For a business stepping into social media, this requires entering certain key conversations where your clientele are. For political candidates, this can equate to simply having a Twitter presence.

Is Your Use of Social Media Biased?

Looking at my Twitter feed last night, I had the impression that Obama could not lose the election. It seemed to reflect the opinions of many pundits who saw the election as Obama’s to lose. But then Obama is incredibly popular with younger voters, who are the main proponents of social media. Perhaps there’s a reason why the two juggernauts of Facebook and Twitter share the blue of the Democrats….

Maybe this is a little too broad a statement to make. It’s important to consider that anyone’s feed is already skewed by who they follow or are friends with. This effect is seen most strongly on Twitter, which is more of a passive tool used to absorb the opinions of others. At least this is the case when you compare to Facebook which is generally more focused on back-and-forth interaction between friends. If you are a young Republican at university, and your social circle revolves around your fellow society members, then the chances are that you’ll see more in your feed who are pro-Romney (or at least there would be more of a balance).

Limitations of Social Media

There are some limitations to the relationship between social media and politics. While this is changing increasingly, social media tends to be a young person’s playground. Many websites made infographics and maps to plot what Twitter was saying about Obama and Romney in the run-up to yesterday. These are useful but somewhat inaccurate. While The Guardian said that Obama was on the lips or fingertips of everyone on Twitter across America, who says they were all saying good things about him? Let us remember also, that Twitter is only 140 characters; the decision of who to elect to lead a nation should depend on many more factors.

Lessons For the Future

We can take a lesson from this and perhaps be a bit more open as to who we follow. Twitter was an important tool for all political candidates to speak directly to the electorate. But how many individuals followed both? Isn’t it more likely that individuals followed the person they always backed or the candidate who represented the party they voted for in 2008? Why bother with the person you don’t agree with, right? It’s a fair assessment, but unfortunately this slightly taints the statement that social media has allowed candidates to speak directly to the voters; they’ve only been able to speak to voters who would listen. To un-follow someone is just the click of a button; so in the future we ought to at least consider both sides and make our feeds a two-horse race.

Similarly, businesses with a Twitter presence would be wise to follow competitors and critics as well as customers. This allows you to take stock of opinions and strategies from all corners, which can only be good for your bottom line. If you want help in setting up or managing your social media accounts, contact us here for advice.

Barack Obama's Twitter profile

 

 

Free Speech on Twitter: How Should Businesses Use Twitter?

President Obama’s recent defence of free speech and the ongoing discussion about what we can and can not say on Twitter have been rife. After all, it is the internet, which is supposed to give everyone poetic license, surely? There have been stories about people venting and making light of circumstances, and then being charged with inciting criminal activity; the most well known example would be that of the poor man who took to Twitter “threatening” to blow up an airport. Some are a bit more specific and hurtful, such as those tweets directed to Tom Daley which referred to his deceased father.

So where does businesses and Twitter come into this? Well, when a business decides to utilise social media to promote themselves, they have to decide a few things. Will they have a purely business Twitter account? Should they just use their own personal account? What is the best way to serve both if you decide to split your account between the two objectives without alienating lots of followers? Are you in a position to even handle your own Twitter account or realise fully the potential for your business needs?

There is a delicate balance to maintain when you comment on popular, trending topics from a work account. Logistically, there is ensuring you’re using the right account, as well as coordinating your posts across different platforms (what works on Pinterest might not go over so well on Twitter). The timing of posts is also something to consider. However, you must also understand the tone or angle you want to take; or more importantly, that which you want your company to be seen to take. You want to add to conversations and show personality, but don’t want to offend.

This is why many businesses come to us asking to either teach them Twitter from the beginning, or simply manage their Twitter and other social media accounts. Our team has a wealth of experience managing the accounts of various clients, and understand when to interject into a public conversation, which ones to stay away from and how to communicate with those taking part. Of course it’s not simply about making a comment here and there, but building a relationship and converting them to sales for you.

If you are interested in learning about Twitter for your business, beginning with the basics, we are running a free Twitter drop in session where you can learn directly from professionals who use these networks each day for clients (and their own personal use). Get in touch and book your place now before they all get booked up.

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