Author Archives: Eoghan O'Neill

Big Data: let’s bin generalities in favour of specifics

Does anyone else get a little jaded by the levels of Big Data evangelism at the moment?

Too many times I’ve heard excitable Big Data presenters who, when probed, mutter something vague about social media and sentiment analysis. Too many times I’ve heard people describe their Big Data solution as the “next big thing” but are then forced to admit that what they’re offering is little more than what Tesco have been doing with Clubcard for years. Read more on Big Data: let’s bin generalities in favour of specifics…

Twitter upping its game as Super Bowl advertising frenzy strikes again

Every year, hundreds of millions of people get very excited about the Super Bowl. And every year, a smaller, but still significant number of people get even more excited about the breaks in between play. Super Bowl advertising frenzy is upon us again. But, as CNBC report, advertisers are taking advantage of the second screen phenomenon by directing viewers to hashtags rather than websites of Facebook pages, in the hope of driving conversations. Thousands of them. Read more on Twitter upping its game as Super Bowl advertising frenzy strikes again…

How is social media affecting the way our pop heroes are uncovered?

One Pound Fish Man: Muhammad NazirAstonishingly, I only heard of the “One Pound Fish” man the other day, which is proof that even if one’s job description involves a healthy dose of social media, one is not necessarily tuned in to the zeitgeist! (I was pretty slow to pick up on Gangnam Style, too).

“One Pound Fish Man” (who, contrary to popular belief it seems, actually has a name: Muhammed Nazir) is the perfect example of a grassroots internet phenomenon. But is he destined for a brief, if glorious, period of fame? And is there a certain exploitation of the “funny guy at the market”? Read more on How is social media affecting the way our pop heroes are uncovered?…

Leveson Report – what are the implications for social media?

Lord Leveson delivers his findingsI write with half an eye on Lord Justice Leveson’s hefty report the other half on the Twittersphere’s reaction. A few points come to mind. Social media reaction before-and-after is, predictably, mixed; freedom of speech is held sacred by bloggers and this libertarianism may filter through on social media more widely.

The media prepared for the report in different ways. Apparently the FT have urged staff not to tweet about the report at all but to take a more considered view – are they making a special effort to behave themselves? Meanwhile Channel 4 wryly pointed out that we might be missing stories elsewhere: Read more on Leveson Report – what are the implications for social media?…

Tweeting police officers: forces need to make a more relaxed attitude

A series of stories emerged a few weeks ago surrounding several police Twitter accounts being “closed”. First there was a PCSO in Exeter who claimed that she had been “instructed to cease tweeting” following a complaint by a student guild.  Devon & Cornwall Police explained that she had instead been offered training and the account is active again.  Around the same time, a West Midlands officer was demoted, apparently due to Twitter misuse, while five Twitter accounts in Northamptonshire were abandoned following a HMIC inspection.  This worries me: it feels like forces are attepting to shut the problem off at source, rather than considering the cultural role of social media.

Gordon Scobbie, who leads nationally on social media for the police, commented

“It comes down to the culture of an organisation and the degree of trust you have in your frontline officers. You have to allow them to make mistakes and deal with them as a mistake, rather than coming down heavily on them.”

Read more on Tweeting police officers: forces need to make a more relaxed attitude…

Why is the pace of social media change so glacial in some companies?

Glacial Pace of Change in Social Media for CorporatesMany organisations are using social media to get closer to their customers, see what they say about their products and/or services ‘in the moment’ and give their business an opportunity to respond to their customers’ concerns or complaints in real time. But there is a growing divide between companies that use social media and those that don’t. Ryanair has chosen not to engage with social media despite operating in an industry that generally does.

Fully a third of FTSE companies, predominantly financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies, have no Twitter presence.  This seems surprising: even companies which don’t sell directly to consumers still have their corporate reputation to look after. A small piece of research we recently conducted at Ipsos MORI (albeit not in enough depth to draw robust conclusions) seemed to suggest that there is a link between the extent that consumer brands are talked about online in conjunction with their corporate parent, and the relative strengths of both the corporate and consumer brands themselves. Meanwhile, fully 82% of the Ipsos MORI Reputation Council (carefully selected senior corporate communications professionals across Europe) agree that discussions in social media channels can directly impact a company’s overall reputation and license to operate.  So why the disconnect? Or is the FTSE 100 not representative? Or – frankly – do some communications professionals need to put their money where their mouth is where it comes to social media?

Read more on Why is the pace of social media change so glacial in some companies?…

Bond, brands and social: product placement and online buzz

Daniel Craig as James Bond in SkyfallHold on to your seats. Bond is back following a starring role in the Olympic opening ceremony and promises to be better than ever. Expect the clichés: girls, guns, gadgets, glamour. But the question on many lips (have I spent too much time in marketing environments?) is “what about the product placement?”

007 has enjoyed his brands since way back when. We all know about the Aston Martins and the Bollinger.  In recent years, however, the product placement has been significantly ramped up (who can forget his clunky line when asked about his watch in Casino Royale: “Rolex?” “Omega.”) and there is significant revenue for the production company which, of course, leads to bigger and better stunts. I took a quick look to see if there was much social media buzz surrounding any brands linked with Skyfall (my thanks to Brandwatch for providing the data).

Read more on Bond, brands and social: product placement and online buzz…

Is Facebook badly wounded by the “fake likes” revelations?

It must be pretty uncomfortable at Facebook Towers at the moment. The share price halving in four months must have been worry enough. But potentially more damaging from a long-term business perspective are the recent revelations about “fake profiles”.

Rory Cellan-Jones’s excellent investigative piece  is a good place to start. The BBC’s technology correspondent didn’t bother with rumour and conjecture but instead created a commercial account for “virtual bagels” himself. His report was alarming enough for Facebook, but seems to have been just the iceberg of a wider problem which Facebook seem to have acknowledged themselves by purging vast swathes of fake accounts after reports that over 8% of profiles were fake. Read more on Is Facebook badly wounded by the “fake likes” revelations?…

The social dynamics of online forums [Infographic]

In the playground, in the office, on the rugby field, in a political world…social dynamics are fascinating, complex and volatile. Naturally this translates directly from the offline world into social media.

Nowhere are the complexities of online social structures better illustrated than on forums. In many ways forums seem “old school internet” but that’s where many commentators miss the point; social media isn’t about the technology, but the interactions.

There have been plenty of attempts to pigeonhole internet users (as an aside, I nearly typed “web surfers” there, but realised nobody’s used that term since about 2007). This is one of my favourites – not far off the mark: Read more on The social dynamics of online forums [Infographic]…