Tick Yes Blog

Tag - social media content

The infamy game

Using social media content to connect with friends. Priceless. Using social media content to boast about a crime. Soooo stupid…
The desire to be ‘YouTube Famous’ is a strong driver in young people these days. So strong, in fact, that apparently it overrides commonsense and the desire to remain un-incarcerated.
Meet Hannah Sabata, a 19-year-old US woman who will hopefully remain in jail for the majority of her child-bearing years, lest she contribute her questionable intelligence to the gene pool. Hannah’s day started off successfully enough (depending on how you view success) when she managed to steal a car and rob a bank.
After returning home, however, her perfect crime seemed just a little too perfect not to share, so share she did. On YouTube. With 26,000 of her closest acquaintances.
Now that criminals are officially stupid enough to record video confessions of their crimes mere hours after committing them, maybe we should take some patrols off the streets and put the money into education to stop the pattern repeating itself…
 
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Instant propaganda

Today’s wars are also being fought through social media content
Propaganda has come a long way in 100 years. Almost a century ago, as the world was heading inexorably towards the Great War (aka ‘the war to end all wars’ and World War I), graphic artists were putting their skills to use by creating inspiring posters that would convince the masses that the cause was not only worthy, but winnable.

By World War II, propaganda was seen as an essential component of the war effort on both sides. Songs were written to maintain morale, more posters were produced and films were made to convince everyone to do their bit…

Fast-forward another 70 years and we see that conflict and war remain far from ended and propaganda remains an integral part of it. The difference, though, is that while propaganda in decades past was carefully planned and took many weeks to produce, these days it is created instantly as social media content.
The current situation in Gaza is a case in point. A historically tense situation moved closer to the brink of another all-out war as a result of tit-for-tat missile and air strikes. One of them, from the Israelis, took place last Thursday and killed Hamas military leader Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari. And, in an escalation of the propaganda war, the Israel Defence Forces live-blogged and tweeted video of the attack, alongside a movie-style poster of al-Jabari with the word ‘eliminated’.
Two hours later, the Israelis retweeted the video of its fatal strike ‘in case you missed it’. It was also posted on YouTube, where it was watched by over 640,000 people before being taken down for violating the site’s terms of service.
Additionally, the Israelis used Facebook and Flickr to promote Operation Pillar of Defence (‘like’ the Facebook material to win an army badge), while Hamas, which has used social media to post videos of its rocket attacks on Israel, tweeted in response to al-Jabari’s death: ‘You opened hell gates on yourselves’.
‘We’re entering a new dimension of warfare,’ defence expert Professor Clive Williams of Macquarie University told the Sydney Morning Herald. ‘I think in the future other countries will do the same thing because they have so many different options these days of putting out the message. All countries want to control the media. It’s the whole point of embedding journalists in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it is a lot more effective if you can put a message out to people directly and not be reliant on the media.’
 
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Body image

This is how brands should engage through social media content…
If you’ve got Facebook friends who like a laugh, chances are you’ve come across this oft-shared post at some stage over the last few weeks:

For those who don’t know, Bodyform is a UK brand of feminine hygiene products and the post (published on 9 October) has already received over 97,000 likes and nearly 5000 comments.
What happened next, however, is social media content marketing at its brilliant best. Bodyform, ostensibly taken completely by surprise at the sudden engagement on its Facebook page, decided to harness the viral power of the post and create a video in response to it. Funny as Mr Neill’s post is, Bodyform’s comeback (now viewed over three million times) is even funnier:

The jug of blue water on the desk is really the icing on the cake for what is an incredibly well-crafted marketing effort. So well-crafted, in fact, that it has many wondering whether Richard Neill was perhaps in on the act from day one, and the whole thing was a sophisticated exercise in viral marketing.
In which case, Bodyform has even more of our respect.
 
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The changing face of content

How social media has transformed traditional media practices
The Message has long published stories and opinion pieces detailing how social media content has transformed traditional media practices. It’s a view shared by many in the media – including Carla Buzasi, Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, UK.
In this insightful address to the International Content Marketing Summit, Ms Buzasi talks about the role of social media in not only informing content and becoming a source for that content, but also marketing that content.

 
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Israel and Iran: Facebook friends

Can online and social media content bring peace in the Middle East?
While the title may seem a little trivial, the sentiment behind what is happening online between these two historical enemies is anything but. We posted last week about the anti-Islam film The Innocence of Muslims and how the way it has been spread through social media is, in effect, a new form of cyber warfare. Well, today we’re bringing you news about a cyber peace-project…
With tensions growing between the governments of Israel and Iran, and talk of war becoming more serious each day, their people – as ever – are the ones who are faced with the greatest threat. So ordinary Iranians and Israelis are attempting to combat the sense of powerlessness they feel with a social media campaign for peace.
‘Israel Loves Iran’ is an online initiative whereby residents of both countries can express their friendship and goodwill towards each other and create ‘a bridge in the Middle East between the people’.
Started by Israeli man Ronny Edri, the initiative began back in March when he posted a photo of himself and his daughter holding an Israeli flag on Facebook, along with an open letter to the people of Iran expressing peace and love.

The image – and the message behind it – was picked up and shared all over the world, promting Edri to start a Facebook page and fundraising initiative to take the messages to the streets in the form of billboards and posters. While the fundraising effort has so far fallen well short of its $150,000 target, it has highlighted the plight of the millions of innocent people in both countries who will not only be forced to fight, but also die, should a war eventuate. This powerful message was featured across a banner on the Facebook page recently:
‘We are millions of people who will be hurt. Will be drafted, will have to fight, lose our lives, our relatives. We, parents from Tel Aviv and Teheran, will have to run with our children to the shelters and pray the missiles will miss us. But they will fall somewhere, on someone.”
Here’s hoping they don’t fall at all.
 
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Facebook to the rescue

Social media content proves to be a lifesaver – again!
Back in April The Message reported that Twitter had turned superhero when it helped save a carjacking victim in South Africa. Well, now it’s Facebook’s turn to don the cape and pull its undies on over the top of its tights…
British businessmen Dan Hunt was ‘speedflying’ (part-paragliding, part-skiing) in the Swiss Alps recently when he went missing after failing to land at the arranged spot in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Mr Hunt’s two friends raised the alarm and a search was launched. However, when Dan’s insurance could no longer cover the cost of search helicopters, it was called off. And that’s when… (trumpet fanfare, please) Facebook came to the rescue.
At least, that’s when Dan’s friends and family members took to the social media supersite to raise awareness – and money – for his plight. The group set up a page called Find Dan Hunt and through it managed to raise over $25,000 to keep the search going.
The money raised paid for helicopters, mountain guides and search dogs to scour the mountainside – until Mr Hunt was eventually found in a cave at the bottom of a 45-metre gorge three days later. Although shaken and hungry, he was uninjured and said to his social media saviours: ‘I am so grateful, touched, and humbled by all the help… thank you from the bottom of my heart.’
Don’t you just love a happy ending!
 
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Trapping the zeitgeist

Why K-Pop is the coolest thing in online and social media content
For some time now, Korean Pop music (or K-Pop for short) has been making its way colourfully, bizarrely and oh-so-entertainingly into our collective consciousness. Interestingly, the increasing popularity of the music is due in a major way to the inexorable growth of online and social media content. So while the genre actually originated waaay back in the early ’90s (a time before online content and social media even existed in the modern sense), it is social media that has made it accessible to a previously inaccessible audience.
K-what?
For those of you not fortunate enough to belong to that effortlessly trendy and in-the-know population sub-sect known as Gen Y, here is a brief explanation…
K-Pop is the kind of ‘so-lame-its-cool’, surrealist, quirky, kitsch concept that is a perfect match for online content (particularly YouTube) and social media. It’s the kind of thing that starts out as an irony and somewhere along the line becomes absorbed into the zeitgeist, to the point where it’s hard to differentiate (even in our own minds) whether it is actually cool or if we like it because we’re trendy and ironic. Like moustaches. And hipsters.
Still don’t know what we’re on about? Then check it out for yourselves:

What you just experienced was Gangnam Style, the wildly successful K-Pop single from Park Jae-Sang (aka PSY). It is the most successful K-Pop single ever, and it has received well over 100 million views on YouTube.
A perfect content fit
As digital distribution and social media begin to play a far greater role in the world of music, it’s interesting to note that the parameters change a little bit. The video, for example, is far more important these days, as it provides the main method of social sharing and word-of-mouth marketing.
Far from being innocently unaware of its humorous appeal, we’d suggest that a vital part of K-Pop’s success has been its main players understanding how the genre translates into killer online content, and replicating the formula.
Whether it’s got staying power as a mainstream Western entertainment form remains yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure: K-Pop has memed itself into the spotlight.

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All in a Twitter

Twitter’s decision to restrict app-makers access to its data is winning it few friends, but makes sense from a content perspective
One of the biggest social networks (and content enablers) out there is making some very anti-social decisions by restricting app-makers access to its data.
Twitter has previously had a very app-friendly presence in the online space, allowing apps to sync with users’ Twitter accounts in order to let them connect with their contacts and followers.
This is beginning to change, however, with Twitter systematically cutting off access to sites and apps it deems a threat. Earlier this year, for example, it banned Instagram from accessing its contact data for the ‘find friends’ section of the app, and now it has done much the same with Tumblr, a perceived (and actual) threat to the site due to its size and burgeoning popularity and size.
In an article for VentureBeat, Jennifer Van Grove wrote:
‘Not a one-off instance, the move has been described as a hostile attack on a partner. Others have called it a necessary, evolutionary step by Twitter to ensure that it maintains its hold over the individual relationships that it can sell to advertisers. It comes down to the value of what Twitter calls its “follow graph”: The data that maps the massive network of connections formed by Twitter users following other Twitter users.’
‘There is great value associated with Twitter’s follow graph data,’ said the company in a statement – actually, understatement would be nearer the mark – earlier this year. In fact, the content that users consume on Twitter is the main differentiator between it and other social networks, so logically, if it gives the data away to other apps and sites, Twitter gives away a big reason for people returning to use it.
Still, its easy integration with other apps and sites has long been a feature of Twitter’s focus on usability – and only time will tell if its attack on the competition will prove successful.
 
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The dark side of content marketing

Far-right political groups in Europe are using online and social media content to spread their message
The Internet (and its offspring, social media) has been a boon for content creators – allowing anyone and everyone who wants to post, blog or tweet to do so. The vast majority of people are individuals, acting independently and sharing their thoughts with other individuals. But it is when online and social media content becomes collective that its effectiveness becomes fully apparent.
Whether that it is a good or bad thing is purely subjective. Many, perhaps even most, people believe inspiring uprisings against a corrupt, vicious and totalitarian Middle East regime is a good thing. But playing a role in civil disorder in a Western country may be viewed rather differently.
Moreover, groups that were once marginalised are able to generate attention and support as a result of how they use content. Far right groups (particularly in Europe) are a case in point. In fact, they are proving to be experts at content marketing, allowing a subjectively unpalatable message to be spread.
Writing in the Guardian recently, Dr Matthew Goodwin, associate professor in politics and international relations at the University of Nottingham in the UK, commented: ‘Today, almost everything you need to know about the far right is online. In fact, its activists have embraced the internet to such an extent that it’s now virtually impossible to track all the bloggers, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages that have, for them, become indispensable tools of communication.’
Credibility through content
Goodwin believes the digital age has ‘facilitated the quest for credibility’ for far-right organisations. He cites the example of the British National Party (BNP). Once only heard about at election time in Britain when a handful of candidates would stand, it has parlayed a dynamic, interactive website through which it can remain in the public consciousness year-round into 85,000 Facebook likes – almost as many as the Liberal Democrats, a member of the two-party coalition government.
Goodwin also says social media has ‘helped the far right sustain the loyalty of followers and cultivate a strong collective identity’. Where once those followers were ridiculed in the wider community, there is strength in virtual numbers. He argues that this is particularly significant because the ‘far right is not simply about winning elections; it also strengthens and passes a particular belief system and collective identity on to future generations.
Online and social media content also enables new forms of far right mobilisation, says Goodwin: ‘Perhaps the most significant is the Immortal group in Germany, which emerged in 2011. Organised around Twitter and other social media, it stages unregistered rallies at night, at which its activists wear white masks, carry torches through urban areas and chant extremist slogans. Shortly after each gathering, a professionally produced video appears on YouTube. Intended to demonstrate the group’s power and support, the imagery harks back to the torchlight processions of inter-war Nazism…
‘While bringing opportunities, the digital age has also brought fresh challenges. In circumventing traditional channels of communication, it seems that we are only at the very beginning of a much broader shift in terms of how far right groups are rallying support. Mainstream parties and other groups will have to be on their guard to ensure their messages of hate do not take hold.’
It is, of course, important to remember that Internet has not created these groups or their opinions, but it has allowed them to get their message across consistently and to more people. The content marketing is good, the product is anything but.

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If you can’t beat ’em

Microsoft revamps Hotmail and puts social media content at the heart of it
Eight years is a long time between drinks. And as anybody who owns a computer or Smartphone knows, it’s an even longer time between updates. For most of us, a pop-up letting us know that there’s a newer, better, safer, faster version of n existing program is a regular occurrence.
Yet believe it or not, it has been eight years since Microsoft (which happily updates Office on a weekly basis) last updated Hotmail. Now, though, the software giant is making up for last time, because it is not simply updating its webmail service, it is overhauling and renaming it. So farewell Hotmail (1996-2012) and hello Outlook (2012-?).
The change has come about in part because Microsoft wants to prevent Google’s Gmail taking any more of its market share, but also because, as Chris Jones, Corporate Vice President of Windows Live put it in a recent blog post, ‘a lot has changed in the last eight years, and we think it’s time for a fresh look at email’.
One of the most significant changes has, of course, been the rise and rise of social media. Individuals are now content creators, companies are now publishers, and Microsoft has recognised that email needs to keep up with the times.
So as well as automatically detecting mass messages (like newsletters, offers and social updates) and placing them in customisable folders, Outlook also lets users link up with their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts, and chat online via Facebook.
Not surprisingly, Outlook also allows easy use of Microsoft’s existing Internet products, including Office Web Apps and SkyDrive. Currently in preview mode, the full service will have Skype video chat as a built-in feature.

Not so long ago, email revolutionised communication, and now it is itself being revolutionised by online and social media content.
 
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