I’m sure anyone who follows politics through social media may have seen or heard about the interview with David Cameron on Absolute Radio this morning, essentially making a jibe at twitter and having a good joke with Chris O’Connell on the breakfast show.
Essentially Mr Cameron was asked if he used twitter and his reply was “politicians have to think about what we say” and the instantaneous nature of twitter can lead to a problem of keeping on message and not being able to get a message across in 140 characters. This is a reasonable and legitimate argument against the use of twitter as a political engagement tool, albeit one I disagree with.
But these perfectly reasonable points led to a bit of a gaffe when Mr Cameron said “too many twits might make a twat.” Oh dear.
Funny at the time maybe and I’m sure absolutely no offence intended -he clearly didn’t call people who use twitter twats, but in the blogosphere and twitterverse, eyebrows have been raised. If you search for Cameron on the Twitter search engine today, most of the tweets are focusing on this. I personally feel it shows a lack of awarness of the medium by the Tory Leader. The fact that this message has spread well-past normal Absolute FM listeners shows the power of social media. Even if you aren’t on twitter yourself, the message is still instantaneously released as Mr Cameron found out. He has since apologised for his slip up.
It also shows an inherent lack of understanding of the medium by UK politicians generally. Tools like twitter should be used to create calls-to-action for public engagement. Examples include asking followers to come to rallies or events, calling for support on specific issues, making people aware of campaigns.
Twitter, politically speaking, isn’t just for stating what you are having for breakfast or with marked frustration, tweeting how many letters you have opened today, as one MP did I noticed, although tweets like these do personalise the user, so they should be interspersed with the calls to action.
The document is a really interesting, well put-together twitter template. It sets out pros and cons, twitter stats, a glossary and a reasonably significant list of influential twitter uses including journos, departments, MPs. It also has devised twitter objectives and metrics, which I’m sure will spur plenty of debate amongst bloggers and tweeters.
Written by Neil Williams (a.k.a @neillyneil), a self admitted “Web strategy geek at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills,” the document advises civil servants, particularly those from the digital comms teams, to tweet on departmental campaigns, news releases, ministerial announcements, highlighting content on other social media platforms such as YouTube and even asking and answering questions.
Amazingly, this all means that civil servants will be crawling out of the shadows of Whitehall and will have a face, albeit a digital one. By encouraging interaction, there will be a transparency and two-way communication that, possibly, has never existed in Whitehall before.
Tom Watson also made the point that many old mandarins still get their secretaries to print out the mandarin’s emails for review.
MPs are similar; we are currently surveying Parliamentarians and politicos about the use of twitter in Westminster. There are indeed MPs like Tom Watson, who was among a number of MPs on the Independent’s list of influential parliamentarian twitter, who are actively involved on the blogosphere and many of those listed have actively participated in our survey. But the truth is many still don’t get it and don’t see the point.
But surely, strategies like this show that social media has been adopted by the main stream and the idea that social media is just for kids, computer geeks and a small sector of society is no longer true. The powers that be have recognised the revolution will be digitalised and they have no choice but to get on board.
If you are interested in this issue and you would like to take our survey on the use of twitter in Westminster and Whitehall, we would more than appreciate your comments. http://bit.ly/10sf8B
The class system in the UK interests me. It’s the whole football vs. rugby, union vs. league, blue or white collar, north/south divide that makes this country so rich in culture - or perhaps I’m a bit naive to think it, not coming from a country that has such distinct social stratification?
This week the government published the report on fair access to the professions. I haven’t read the report in full, but amongst its most publicised findings are the “forgotten middle classes”, lack of aspiration amongst the younger generation, nepotism, and the widening gap.
I’d like to ask the question: what do the “middle classes” and those less better off really aspire to, and are there resources out there to help young people achieve their goals?
I have to admit the issue of “who you know” does play a significant part in getting internships or work experience, especially in certain industries such as the media. But nothing has changed there - why is there such an outcry now? Is it because the gap has widened despite 12 years of a Labour Government continually promising to do something about it?
Call me idealistic, but I happen to believe that the UK is a meritocracy - if you are ambitious, has genuine talent and is resourceful, you will achieve what you want. As mentioned in Question Time last night, look at the last few prime ministers (with the exception of Tony Blair), and that demonstrates class should play no part in achieving one’s highest ambition.
So the next question is, how do we cultivate ambition?
There has been a fantastic response to our survey Why there are less Conservative tweeters than Labour and Lib Dems? With MPs, Prospective Parliamentary Candidates, political activists, PR professionals and many more telling us they have filled in the survey, we are building up a great bank of responses to answer this conundrum. The party political range has also been fantastic with Conservative, Labour, Lib Dems, Greens and UKIP supporters tweeting the survey and passing it on to their colleagues.
BUT, we would love even more responses.
We are going to keep the survey up for a little longer and keep pushing it on Twitter, so please join in and help us get the broadest possible snapshot of how people view MPs’ contribution to Twitter.
Please forward it on to friends, family and colleagues and even your local MP so that we can have truly representative results and get the fullest answer to the question: Why are there less Conservative tweeters than Labour and Lib Dems?
Today is a big test for the government. Even though everyone from local authorities to MPs to civil servants essentially went on holidays this week, the Norwich North by-election is going to cause consternation, exasperation and exaltation for one or another party in Westminster.
The seat, vacated by the widely respected Dr Ian Gibson after he was told he would not be allowed to run in the next election under the Labour flag after the expenses scandal, is now being hotly contested. While a number of news outlets have said Dr Gibson had a very good chance of winning again even if he ran as an independent, he has decided not to and there now are 12 candidates vying for the seat.
There is an outside chance Labour could scrape through by some landmark upset, although when candidate Chris Ostrowski was struck down with swine flu this week, effectively stopping any vital last minute campaigning, the chance of upset probably went out the window. There are suggestions that the Green candidate, Rupert Read could have a chance due to the unusually high number of Green candidates sitting on local authorities in the area. But combined with the presence of the Liberal-Democrat April Pond, any left leaning vote is going to be split leaving the Tory candidate, Chloe Smith, a young high-flying Conservative who is tipped for an extremely bright future, favourite to win.
But the real question is what happens after the election is announced? If the win to the Tories is massive, the leadership rumbles surrounding Brown will inevitably start again. There already seems to be increasing mumblings coming from sectors of the Labour Party. On the 12th of July, a number of female MPs attacked Brown for being ‘laddish’, while just last week Former Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell spoke to the press about his resignation from the Cabinet before the local elections in June. By equating New Labour to Britpop by saying “it was absolutely right for its time, but that time was 1994″, Purnell tried to turn the knife in Brown. These are ominous omens indeed.
While Blair was Teflon Tony, Brown must be likened to an underdog boxcar boxer fighting Mike Tyson. Brown has been pummelled so badly, a normal man would have fallen, but somehow, he has held on. Every now and then, he looks like he has composed himself and maybe fighting back, but then he gets hit again and he begins to stagger. One suspects there is only a matter of time before that knock-out punch comes, but the question is, will it be sooner or later and how badly will he be injured after the Norwich North result?
When I hear the words ‘protest song’ I immediately think of some gnarly old hippy wheezing into a harmonica spouting wordy and ideological rubbish. And musically at least, this song is not much better, but perhaps it will mark the day social media gets taken seriously.
For anyone unfamiliar with United Breaks Guitars, its the work of a musician namd Dave Carroll who was moved to record it after United Airlines, er broke his guitar and were unsympathetic after doing so. Essentially a letter of complaint set to music, he posted it on YouTube and it got a lot of hits a week or two ago.
Since then, United’s share price has fallen by 10 per cent and mainstream media has suddenly shown an interest, with even BBC Breakfast running a story on it today. Is the fall in share price just down to the song? Of course not, although the publicity generated has not done United any favours in what is a difficult time for the business.
But it does bring social media and how companies manage their online brand and corporate reputation much more under the spotlight. When people start connecting YouTube videos to falling share prices (accurately or not) then business leaders will turn their attention pretty sharply to addresing this.
A few months ago Ruder Finn surveyed inhouse PROs about digital communications and a majority were still struggling to see ROI. Perhaps looking at it from this different persepctive - what happens if you don’t pay close attention to your brand online - will scare people into seeing its value?
A: When it dons a fake moustache and dark glasses and poses as an independent or boutique outlet.
So the backlash against the large corporate sterile environment moves up a pace today with news that Starbucks has opened three new coffee shops in the US, all unbranded stores and according to Brand republic “redesigned them to resemble independent local cafes.”
The aim of the move is to rid the company of its image of being overpriced but I think it runs the risk of seeming underhand to its customers with this “Glocal” stealth marketing exercise. With so much focus on supporting your local high street and buying from independent stores in many areas of this country, I think the UK would view this as little more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Following on from my attendance at Mobile Monday last night here are the notes that I made from the presentation by GetJar’s Patrick Mork and the subsequent panel discussion. I have scanned in my original notes showing linkages etc which I thought may be more useful than re-writing them in a more linear manner.
Patrick talked a bit about the GetJar business including the business model. This presentation then set up the debate in the panel around:
Which is better applications or web short cuts?
How do you make money?
J2ME was still the pre-eminent platform of choice for downloads at the moment as GetJar caters for 1,500 different models of handset worldwide.
The panel moderated by David Murphy of Mobile Marketing magazine was Daniel Appelquist - Vodafone, Patrick Mork - GetJar, Andreas Constantinou - Vision Mobile, Joachim Hoffman - Fjord and Mark Curtis - Flirtomatic.
Flirtomatic was held up as an example of a successful mobile entertainment business and Mark Curtis explained about their business in a bit more depth.
Panelists discussing the future of mobile entertainment focused largely on technological change when talking about the future of mobile entertainment. Reposted from my personal blog: renaissance chambara.
In the Ruder Finn UK Corporate and Technology division we love Moo cards and we’ve been blogging about the images we use on the back of ours. Next in line is me.
This shot above is of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. Hugely controversial at the time - should public money be spent on more worthy causes? - and only open to the public in 2005, it has swiftly become a Portsmouth icon. Like many people I have mixed feelings about the town where I grew up and I guess if I loved it that much I wouldn’t have moved out at the first opportunity. But the Spinnaker Tower does give me a sense of pride about Pompey, with its incredible design and the breath-taking views it provides.
Next up is the obligatory childhood shot. I chose this one because, well, I think I look cool - resplendent in 70s knitwear and rocking my grandad’s hat, quite a look. I particularly like this because I can see the similarities between me and both of my daughters, it is quite uncanny.
This next shot looks about as close to paradise as you can get and the reality was the same. This is Mauritius, one of the most relaxing and beautiful places I have ever been. Its also where I proposed to my wife so its a hugely significant place to me, as well being one of the best holidays I’ve ever had.
This final one is very topical, with England having just beaten Australia in the Lord’s test match. This is my ticket from the final day of the Oval test in 2005, aka the day England finally won the ashes. As a cricket fan during the 80s and 90s I watched England suffer defeat after defeat against Australia, so this win was all the sweeter for the long wait. And the ticket was cheap too - far and away the best tenner I have ever spent!
As the late Michael Jackson once sang: “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.” A new study from Ruder Finn supports this hypothesis.
Ruder Finn Intent Index
The Intent Index reveals a new view on why people go online and redefines how we look at demographics. The important concept here for digital business trends is that marketers need to truly connect with their audiences, and not treat their online communications like a checklist of tasks.
As a result, Ruder Finn co-CEO Kathy Bloomgarden has said that “intent is the new demographic.” She continues,
“Delving deeper into the underlying motivations of online behavior is critical to developing proactive strategies. Just being online is not enough to leverage digital channels to drive business imperatives. Audiences must be targeted based upon their intent.”
She recently discussed the Intent Index in a video interview with PR Week in the US.
You can view the results, which will be updated quarterly, with a cool, interactive flash tool here: www.ruderfinn.com/intent
The survey has the capability of being narrowed down for specific industries, and an EU-focused survey is planned for a future quarter. Please comment if you’re interested.
For those of you on Twitter, here are some “re-tweetable” findings (using #intentindex or #rfintent via @RuderFinn):
More than twice as many people go online to socialize (81%) than to do business (39%) or shop (31%)
72% of people go online just to become part of a community
Seniors are going online today for the same reasons younger people are; to have fun (82%) and to socialize (80%)
More people go online to connect via a social networking site (41%) than to post comments or opinions (34%)
More people go online to be entertained (82%) than entertain others (48%)
People seek education and entertainment: most people go online both to learn (88%) and have fun (83%)
Almost half of people (47%) go online to learn to improve themselves and nearly one-third (31%) to find self-help experts or books
The desire to learn drives people to the Internet; top areas are new subjects (68%), the world (65%), a disease or condition (61%)
Three times as many people go online to compare prices (66%) rather than people via dating sites (21%)
E-commerce isn’t dead — one-third of people (34%) go online to purchase an item
Top things people go online to buy: household items (49%), electronics (45%); music (35%), movies (29%)
More men (42%) than women (36%) go online to do business
Women comment, men read: 55% of women go online to find venues for personal expression compared to only 43% of men
The age of blogs: 44% of people go online to create or update blogs and 42% of people go online to read other people’s blogs.
Women (48%) are much more likely than men (39%) to go online to advocate for an issue or position
The Ruder Finn Intent Index is based on a study among Internet users that asks respondents how frequently they go online for 295 reasons. The Intent Index shows that a person’s intent may be a better indicator for how to develop a communications campaign than demographic formulas. This post also appears on Left Brain.