Facebook Extends Messenger to Non-Users

In an apparent attempt to corner yet more of the mobile market, Facebook has rolled out new functionality that will allow Android users to use its messaging service without signing up for an account.

social media managementThe Messenger Android app will now allow smartphone users to utilise the Facebook service by submitting a name and phone number. This move is thought to indicate a desire to snare those who have deleted their account, but who still have friends who are users, and will shortly be rolled out to the iPhone.

By relocating its messaging app into a more open market, the Californian giant is competing with widely-used services such as WhatsApp and Google Voice, and may hope to bolster its mobile credibility with a view to increasing the reach of its advertising. The development may have a beneficial effect on business, either through increased paid advertising potential or the wider spread of ‘viral’ material. If you want advice on how Facebook could help your business, or on any other type of social media optimisation, drop us a line and we’ll have a chat.


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.

How Has Barack Obama Used Social Media During His Presidential Campaign?

Obama Takes To Reddit

Last Thursday, President Obama took a break from his schedule to take part in an AMA on Reddit. It caught many of us Redditors by surprise and we all flocked to the social networking site in droves to see what he would say when confronted by the site’s loyal and unflinchingly witty users. For many who simply heard about it because it was Obama-related, this would be their first exposure to these strange terms.

What is Reddit?

Reddit is a social media democracy which is broken down into smaller sections for different interests. I’m not going to lie: things can get a little rude. Reddit works by users up-voting or down-voting topics and threads which are submitted by members so only the most relevant and worthwhile make it to the top where most eyes will see them. Comments can be left, which can also be voted on accordingly allowing for the most sarcastic, dry or plain wild humour to thrive.

What is a Reddit AMA?

IAmA stands simply for ‘I am a’ while AMA for ‘Ask Me Anything’. Reddit users can post an AMA whereby users can ask them… anything, firstly introducing themselves ‘I am a so-and-so, ask me anything’. It can be anyone from a cameraman who worked on Sooty in the 70s, to someone who is going through a terminal illness at the moment, to even the President of the United States as evidenced. The most popular AMAs can be scheduled and promoted in advance so more questions can be submitted, and usually these are for actors or writers who are popular on the site.

Is it Popular?

As Reddit has grown in the last few years, with membership now in the millions worldwide, it has become more popular and mainstream, and has drawn the eyes of many notable personalities to use it as a means of good karma with their most dedicated fans. Reddit’s humour or tropes synonymous with the site have slowly crept into various cultures because the site accommodates  so many different interests. Using Reddit can effectively humanise a world-famous figure who would normally be seen as untouchable. It is generally a good public relations option, without the tacky plugging which chat shows can descend into. The likes of Louis CK, Dan Harmon and Zach Braff have all taken part in an AMA successfully fending off the onslaught of questions from users, though not all make it out as well.

Rules of a Reddit AMA

If someone is overly promotional during an AMA, or starts ducking certain questions which are voted as being ones that users want to be answered, their image online can suffer. The same if it is clear that it not actually that person but someone from their PR team. While Obama was photographed supposedly during the AMA, it is likely that everything he wrote was supervised closely by his PR team. Woody Harrelson most recently is a prime example of a Reddit AMA going wrong, as he promoted his new film Rampart at every opportunity and avoided answering questions about his family history, which annoyed users. As a result he has become a joke not only on Reddit, but on other social sites too. The influence of Redditors can be felt when things go wrong as much as it can when things go well.

The Influence of an AMA and Reddit

Obama in AMA-mode Courtesy of

Of course, the appeal of all things considered underground is the fact that they are unknown, niche or a secret. When AMAs become more popular amongst bigger names, and more frequently used as a tool by publicists to recommend to their clients, they may lose their appeal. With the way things develop so quickly in social media, it is likely that something new will have come around by then too. The AMA formula might even be adopted by other sites or sources like television chat shows, though a legal battle could result – Reddit actually holds a patent on the use of ‘IamA’.

Reddit’s users are a sarcastic bunch, but overall are fun, and it’s their sense of humour, reactions, and most importantly, questions, which make the experience so entertaining to witness either in progress or retrospectively.

If you’d like to know more about harnessing the power of Reddit for business, contact us!

Exciting work with The Princes Trust : April

As part of my desire to help within the local community, I pay a visit to The Princes Trust Enterprise course each month to give and inspirational talk about how I started I Say! from home, and to carry out some training on social media for small businesses. Each month I see a fantastic new group of budding entrepreneurs that really reminds me of how passionate I feel about helping sole traders and small businesses to suceed in their marketing.

Yesterday I met a really diverse group, including a magician, a window cleaner, a guitar teacher and some fashionistas to name a few! Each time I deliver the course, which I do very informally, I always find the conversation steers in a different way depending on the delegates level of experience using Facebook and Twitter, Blogging and using Pinterest, and of course based on their business ideas.

This month we talked a lot about using Twitter for start ups, and many of the group also wanted to know the best platform to start a new blog or completly new website on. Of course we talked about WordPress which I strongly recommended to all our clients for its simplicity and very many useful plug-ins. I then realised that I could fill a whole hour on the benefits of WordPress alone. I would love to spend a whole day with the group discussing their online marketing ideas as they are always so enthusiatic about learning, and have such great ideas for their websites and blogs.

We touched on SEO a little, and as usual many of the group were surprised to hear that new websites don’t just magically appear in the search results. I did however furnish them with a few tips to get started on their own SEO for free in their spare time, as well as some top tips for Tweeting. And naturally I have asked for all of the groups’ Twitter addresses so that I can add them to my next #FF! (Follow Friday) I also encourage everyone to read our blog here for continuing tips on using social media for business and SEO>

I also always try to stay in touch with the members of the group that want to, because it’s great to see how they develop their ideas over time.