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Chris Brown – How To Use Twitter To Cultivate Your Identity

Chris Brown Leaves Twitter

This weekend’s Twitter furor involving Chris Brown and his misogynistic tirade towards a comedian who instigated an online slapping fight, has seen further petrol added to the fire which so, so many want to burn Brown on. As a result, the “foul-fingertipped” musician has deleted his account, leaving his fans attacking the comedian, Jenny Johnson, through the network. Many critics point to his tweets (not just from this weekend) as a clear representation of his character as a whole. Even if they are not a clear representation of the true person, then this is at least how many perceive him to be, or at least it gives substantial evidence for him to be viewed in this way. It just shows the power that Twitter and social media has in shaping identity. Reputation management by agencies like us, has become it’s own service, thanks to the proliferation of social media in the last decade, because now, people can talk about your business, publicly (the horror!).

This got me thinking about how careful one must be on Twitter today, whether an individual, public figure, or organisation. If you asked 20 people to give an example of “Twitter gone wrong” where a private tweet has been made public, an account has been hacked, or someone has simply tweeted something they shouldn’t have, I’m sure all respondents would give a different example they’ve heard about or seen (with many, many more out there). It’s understandable when you involve factors like consuming too much alcohol, getting caught up in a “flame war” from the safety of your bedroom, or simply not being able to navigate the tiny keys on your phone.

The Aftermath for Brown and JohnsonChris Brown has left Twitter

Brown, for the time-being, has lost a key promotional tool, having dropped off the light blue radar. He hasn’t been forgotten about by any means, as he is still being discussed both on Twitter and elsewhere online (in fact screencaps of his tweets to Johnson were saved and are floating around). Though he is currently on a big European tour, his name has a lot of mud attached to it due to his previous crimes against girlfriend Rihanna. Something like Twitter is incredibly important to preserve the bond a figure has with their audience, especially for Brown and those who still support him. This is probably because Twitter is so direct and personal. Perhaps we will see someone in his management team take the reigns of his account, should Brown return. It would seem incredibly odd in 2012, for a contemporary, popular musician to not be on Twitter.

But what if you’re public profile is limited at the moment? Jenny Johnson has exponentially increased her exposure from where it was, just a week ago. Out of all those comedians out there who has made a crack about Brown in the last three years, her 144-character tweet has made the loudest noise because it got a reply from her target. She’ll be known as the comedian who led to Brown’s Twitter-exile. While she has received an enormous backlash from Brown’s fans, Twitter has proven once more to be a platform for anyone trying to make a name for themselves in our celebrity-obsessed culture;. It will be interesting to see how many of these new followers she can keep, by either exploiting the situation and making it a key focal point of future tweets; or converting those new followers into fans by promoting her material and projects correctly via this platform (and naturally).

How To Use Twitter

The approach one takes to Twitter can be viewed as a choice of several “magical” mirrors into a person’s life; each with a different level of distortion of the public image they have already carved out for themselves, through their work. Below we look at these different approaches, weighing up the pros and cons:

The Straight-Forward Handles

There are those handles which are a tad boring. If you’re already a fan of this person, and have them liked on Facebook, subscribe to their newsletter etc., don’t expect to get anything juicy by following them. Tweets won’t stretch further than being a promotional tool, with little creativity in the language, so it feels a little static or robotic (very Stepford Wife-esque). They may not even tweet themselves, instead having a  “Tweetmaster” tweeting on their behalf; perhaps their management, a publicist or a close friend they trust. The reason for this might be that the individual has little to no clue about social media or technology, and are simply on Twitter because they’ve been told that it’s essential today. Tweets will be strictly about upcoming or ongoing projects, like a new episode of their TV show airing that night, or an upcoming gig. If someone looks after the account for them, they’ll be upfront about it, referring to the figure in the third person. Charlie Sheen has recently revealed that he has a Tweetmaster, which is probably a good thing!

Handles That Go A Little Further

These individuals score higher for effort, embracing Twitter to promote themselves, but will go a little further to put their own personality into their activity. The account may still be managed to some extent, and perhaps verge on being a little too promotional at times, but this kind of Tweeter does try. They might conclude a tweet with a unique sign-off, to indicate it’s actually them tweeting on that occasion e.g. Hulk Hogan signs off with a ‘HH’. These are sometimes the best kind of Tweeter, as while they promote their projects they give you just enough insight or peek behind the curtain, so you feel valued as a follower.

The Pro-TwitterJGL's Twitter feed

These handles mean business. Perhaps to the point where you wonder how they possibly have time to do their job and live the lavish private life that goes with it. You might even get a little sick of seeing their tweets appear so often in your feed. One positive is that (depending on how popular they are of course) there is a slightly better chance they’ll reply to you, if you mention them. What’s also great about these more extensive handles, is that they often give you a completely new perspective of someone, if they’re synonymous with a certain character or image they portray. For example, Rainn Wilson, from The Office, is actually very philosophical which might strike you as odd when compared to his rigid and unsociable onscreen character. Joseph Gordon Levitt heavily promotes his side-projects, often more so than any of his film releases (his handle even takes the name of said project). Zach Braff is another tweeter who is very active on the social network, tweeting pretty much every day. For particularly engaging personalities who hold strong views or can articulate them in a funny or thought-provoking way, like Stephen Fry, these are terrific handles to follow.

If you would like our help maintaining, and even setting up, your social media accounts, browse our social media services or contact us to discuss any problems you may be facing.

 

 

 

Snoox, Google+ and How Social We Really Are

What is Snoox?

Today I read about Snoox; a new social network which allows you to view recommendations from your friends on things like films, books or places. It is very similar to a network like Letterboxd which does the same, but specifically for films. Snoox goes further than Letterboxd with what you can recommend,  but isn’t quite as focused on being a timeline or personal history.

Snoox allows you to follow others, whether you know them personally or not (nothing new there). Twitter took the Facebook status and amplified it into its own model. Similarly, Snoox adopts the ego-maniacal activity of  “liking” a film or TV show on Facebook to show that you’ve watched it and/or are cultured and/or hip. If it can remove the necessity for all those Netflix updates on Facebook courtesy of friends, providing a specific place to go to find out what people are listening to/watching etc., then all the better.

Would You Trust Your Friends?

Snoox and its facility to recommend provides the opportunity to users to write a mini-review in the same vein that Google+ Local invites users to rate local businesses. This got me thinking about how much I would trust my friends’ opinions. As someone who has a very diverse set of online friends in terms of socio-economic status, location and tastes, this would probably not help me find something I like. Taste isn’t based on these factors exclusively of course;  a good film is a good film, and transcends barriers. However, I definitely have those friends who I would consider as having “bad taste”. I like most of my friends for the people they are, and not what they watch. There are a handful of exceptions; those friends of friends who I can put up with because we have a TV show in common to save the conversation. Generally, though, I wouldn’t take the advice of a majority of my Facebook or Twitter friends about where to go to eat or which books to read, because there is a big gulf between what we respectively enjoy.

Google+ and The Question: ‘How Social Are We?’

Google and their outlook of ‘Search n’ Social’ seems to have this belief that we’re all a trendy bunch, with money to burn at the whim of seeing a friend post a five star rating for a bar; that we’ll jump straight online at a moment’s notice to find a restaurant at which to spend all this free time that we have falling out of our ears. This was parodied brilliantly when Google Glass was previewed earlier this year. That’s just not the reality for many of us, who are struggling to save money, like to stay indoors or just don’t live very interesting lives.

The social aspect of search seems more applicable to a wider segment of users (provided they are logged into a Google account) when it comes to essential services, like looking for a respectable plumber, than leisure. Indeed, this is one of the ways that we can help with managing social media for your business. ‘Social’ feels the wrong word for these services.  Those who do leave constructive business reviews, are very much appreciated and this can make a difference; but in terms of empowering users to shape Search, its utility is somewhat limited.

 

 

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

 

 

What is “Distasteful Content”?

The recent story of an individual in America, who was “outed” for moderating content deemed to be offensive on Reddit,  has sparked yet another round in the debate as to what is and isn’t allowed online.  Should internet users suffer real-life repercussions, such as the loss of their job and negative worldwide public attention, when they haven’t done anything illegal?

This brings me to the subject of content and what you put out into the public sphere. Usually, we talk about what kind of content you should post to encourage more followers. This requires looking at the audience you wish to appeal to and developing a marketing plan, with clear objectives, strategies and metrics. What are they talking about and where? Usually for us, this begins with speaking with your business and working closely on this, before slowly taking the reins as you feel comfortable with what we’re doing.

Just as important is what NOT to post. This would definitely be anything that might offend or cause controversy, and of course this can be very subjective. Some say that ‘controversy creates cash’, but this is a bit over-the-top and can be dangerous; especially so when you run a simple business with a traditional customer base. A good rule of thumb is not to post anything related to drugs, sex and violence, but you may also wish to stay away from issues such as race and class which can be a minefield to navigate.

Though you can bet your competition is already making full use of the various social media networks out there, there are those out there who aren’t (that might even be including you). In some cases, this is because they don’t know what they would tweet, or what photos to post if they did have an account. This can lead to some treating the company Twitter as their own personal dalliance with social media, which can be risky. While it’s always important to be personable, how long is it before you start bringing into play your personal social or political views? Could you be alienating a section of your customer-base with what you’re tweeting? The point of social media is for new customers to get to know you, invest in you and turn to you when they require your services; not to learn why you disagree with the Tories. It is possible that you can put a bad taste in the mouth of your audience if you affiliate yourself too closely with a particular ideology. No one wants another person’s views pushed on them.

Many who come to us looking for social media services simply require their networks to be maintained, with queries answered and to build an audience. We can also help with driving traffic to websites and establishing relationships within key circles in your industry. Most clients aren’t looking to set the world on fire, or become the next Martin Luther King; but simply grow their business and stick their flag in the social media moon.

 

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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