June 7, 2012 11:16 am

Warning: Online content can seriously damage your reputation

Three days, three different stories, three examples of online content catching out the unwary…

Trial and error

Exhibit A comes, appropriately, from a courtroom. A Norwegian courtroom, to be precise, where a judge at the trial of Anders Breivik – the man (or psychopath) responsible for killing 77 people, many of them teenagers away on camp, last year – was caught on camera playing online solitaire.

Ernst Eielsen is one of three judges hearing the case. During testimony from a Swedish professor, he was seen playing cards on his computer – a picture that has, predictably, become Internet fodder.

‘The judges are attentively following what is being said and what is being presented to the court,’ said an Oslo court spokeswoman. ‘There are different ways of staying focused.’

Which is true, but given the high-profile nature of the trial and the global interest in it, Mr Eielsen is doubtless wishing he’d chosen some other way of staying focused.

Nooking the books

It seems it’s not only ebook publishers seeking to gain an unfair advantage from the trend away from traditional, printed books. Now, the manufacturers of ebook readers appear to be getting in on the act…

The Nook is the e-reader made by Barnes and Noble and is in direct competition with Amazon’s better-known Kindle. And so fierce is that rivalry that even the mention of the word ‘kindle’ is strictly verboten in Barnes and Noble-land.

‘So what?’ you say. Well, it seems that this sort of anti-kindle sentiment even extends to changing classic works of literature – as blogger Philip Howard discovered when reading War and Peace on a Nook:

‘As I was reading, I came across this sentence: “It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern…” Thinking this was simply a glitch in the software, I ignored the intrusive word and continued reading. Some pages later I encountered the rogue word again. With my third encounter I decided to retrieve my hard cover book and find the original (well, the translated) text.

‘For the sentence above I discovered this genuine translation: “It was as if a light had been kindled in a carved and painted lantern…”

‘Someone at Barnes and Noble (a twenty year old employee? or maybe the CEO?) had substituted every incidence of “kindled” with “Nookd!”

‘I was shocked. Almost immediately I found it hilarious… then outrageous… then both. It is definitely clever…’

Sure enough, all eight instances of ‘kindle’ in Tolstoy’s masterpiece had been changed to Nook in the Barnes and Noble electronic version. A software cut-and-replace mistake or clever content marketing? You decide, but we bet ol’ Leo himself wouldn’t be amused.

Going soft

We all do things we wish we hadn’t, but most of us don’t have our mistakes plastered all over YouTube and turned into viral content that will haunt us forever.

For one American woman, though, that’s not the case. At a charity softball game in Wisconsin, famed American Football player Donald Driver of the Green Bay Packers threw some of his sports gear to cheering fans.

One of Driver’s target recipients was clearly a young boy later identified as Stephen Wagner. Only… a nearby grown woman barged across, grabbed a shoe and ripped it out of young Stephen’s grasp.

Happily, Driver later saw the footage – hard to miss as it was plastered all over both mainstream and online media – and, after taking to Twitter to identify Stephen, met up with the lad to give him replacement shoes, plus a jersey and a baseball bat.

‘Glad I could put a smile on his face,’ Driver said, adding: ‘Let’s remember the woman who grabbed the cleat from Stephen is human. We all make mistakes.’

Whether the woman in question has learned from her mistake, though, is questionable. She supposedly wrote on her Facebook wall: ‘Donald is missing a shoe!!! thx Donald!!!!!’

We say ‘supposedly’ because that page has now been taken down. Funny that.


The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.



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