Social Media - 10/10 - Digital Marketing Agency

Voyeurism in Twitter Beats Participation

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OK, I finally cracked and got myself set up on Twitter. Obviously, if you check that link you will see that by set up I mean registered and nothing more.

I was never very interested in Twitter, but over the last week or so I have been seeing the word ‘Twitter’ everywhere! Whether it is the Prime Ministers Twitter account or the use of Twitter to find out what was happening with the fires in Victoria or the snow in the UK, Twitter has turned into a massive ‘ground roots’ news venue.

But still my account remains unadorned, with no update from me, and not many follows going on (KRudd my first and only). I see no point in updating my own account – I have nothing interesting to say – my Facebook update alone says stupid things like “Tracy is thinking about making pie”. Useless to everyone, and a waste of net-space you might say.

A slightly more useful feature of Twitter is the search. Do a Twitter Search and you can find out what the every day man thinks on a range of topics:

Valentines Day – “saweeet: trying to figure out what I will be doing for “singles awareness day“. That’s valentines day for all you uninformed couples out there.”

Israel – “AlekzS: Israel‘s elections are over, but the negotiations are on”

Twitter is not exempt from spam, with many ads appearing in the listings. For example, if you type in one of the most commercial terms, and my all time favourite for tests like this – insurance:

EZHealthPlans: We have helped 1000s of unemployed Californians get affordable medical insurance… We’re cheaper than COBRA! www.EZHealthPlans.com

As Twitter becomes more and more popular, they are going to have to figure out a way to separate the commercial from the personal, if it is to survive as a social networking forum.

Companies and individuals could benefit, however, from being able to search business names in Twitter. For example, here’s what happened when I typed in NRMA…
oysta: @gga please don’t get me started again on a certain NRMA ad which I will nominate as Exhibit A and rest my case.
oysta: is delighting in the fact that there seems to be a simmering malcontent with the NRMA ‘unworry’ ads on numerous blogs
mmanning13: Still waiting on NRMA for a new car battery :(
drunkenmadman: NRMA guy has no idea what the problem is.

Oh I could go on for a while, there is tonnes on NRMA. So next time you are thinking of a new product or service, it might be worth checking Twitter to see what others think of them? (Just remember, you usually hear more about the problems than the success stories, or times when things went off without a hitch.)

In conclusion, here’s a cute little Twitter Joke.

Social Media During National Crises

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Last year while living in China I wrote about how the Chinese social media community assisted during the China earthquake by providing on the ground reporting, and even identifying resources for the rescuers (e.g. one girl posted that she had a field next to her house which could be used by helicopters, which she was taken up on, and emergency workers could get better access to the area).

After yesterdays horrific fires in Victoria it is interesting to see that the Australian online public has also embraced social media to pull together at this time.

On the weekend, as most people know by now, fires raged across Victoria, devastating tens of thousands of hectares of land, destroying homes and buildings, and worst of all, over 120 lives were lost (a figure expected to climb).

I still can’t believe the extent of the damage, which continues to be updated on the news every minute. There are horrible stories of people being burnt in their cars while trying to escape, fires running up hillsides in seconds to engulf unsuspecting households and the decimation of entire towns.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke on the weekend regarding the fires, and has since been updating his Twitter account, with pleas for donations of money, goods and blood.

CFA has also created their own Twitter account, with updates on the fires.

Facebook has 3 groups commemorating the firefighters or the victims, one of which, “Applaud the CFA heroes & empathise with the victims of the 09 Vic bushfires” already has over 7,5oo members.

Google has helped out by creating a special version of their maps to update people in real time on fire status, in order to take pressure off the Country Fire Association website.

Flickr, the photo sharing site, has also been updated regularly with photo’s of the fire from people in the area.

Social Media is playing an increasing role in reporting, and what it lacks in impartiality, it makes up for in the pure depth and breadth of opinions and communication methods.

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