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Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide

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January 2010

Twitter iPad Frenzy: Did it Last As Long As You Expected?

It’s no surprise what was hot on Twitter this week: the official launch of Apple’s new iPad.

When I woke the morning after Steve Jobs had shown the world his new baby, my Twitter feed was full of iPad references and little else. What happened to Haiti? Or everyone whining about a new work day?

While on Twitter, I bemoaned the fact that nobody seemed to want to engage in any other topics. But miraculously, by that afternoon, the iPad buzz had worn off. In my friend list of some 300 tweeters anyway.
That surprised me. While there are still occasional tweets about the iPad as more people muse on what it might do for us, it seemed to quickly die down.

Is this a symptom of the new communications world? We’d already been talking about Apple’s imminent new tablet. Then, we were treated to plentiful analysis, following the launch. So much information was available: were we simply sated? And would this have occurred, say, three or five years ago?

I’m not sure if it’s a symptom of social media communications, or the iPad device itself. But over coming weeks, I’ll be looking at this and also the phenomenon of ‘early adopters’. Because I suspect that there are more early adopters out there these days, spurred on by the interactions and encouragement they receive online. There’s less privileged information, and people are sharing their expertise with the masses. For marketers, it’s a dream come true.

Here’s some more reading about the iPad online frenzy:
Mashable: Haiti, iPad and Obama (who incidentally think people will still be buzzing about the iPad a week from now … but as I’ve said, I think this will peter out until they’re in store and we get our hands on them).
Yahoo News: Cyber Crooks Cash in on iPad frenzy

Look at me when I’m talkin’ to you!

Mobile phone etiquette used to be all about whether to take a phone call during a meeting or restaurant meal.

It was good fodder for late night comics and ammunition for disgruntled spouses at the dinner table. We debated when you should ignore a call, whether to turn your phone off or onto silent mode, how loud you should speak while on the phone in a public place and more.

Now, as we use our mobile phones in more ways, putting them away is like holding your breath for 2 minutes. Tricky and uncomfortable.

Today’s mobile phone offers you a window onto the world and it can be tricky to shut that window down. Our phones are our media portals, networking spaces, event listings, maps and more.

And when we’re socialising at nightclubs or restaurants, we’re so used to being ‘social’ via our phones that it’s doubly hard to turn our back on them. What if a friend is trying to find you? What if they’ve sent a tweet and you missed it? Did you remember to check in on Foursquare? Has someone sent you a text?

Then of course, your phone is a powerful camera. You need to take it out, to record the fun you’re having. And you may as well share it instantly, so you visit your favourite app to upload that fresh image to your favourite social media space …

In the end, there may seem to be more reasons TO use the mobile phone than not to.

My thoughts? It depends on the company you’re keeping. If I’m dining with my husband, I know he wants me to look at him, not my Nokia screen. But if I’m with some girlfriends, it’s acceptable for us to have our phones in our palms, to share what’s in our tweet stream, to check in on Foursquare, and to upload ridiculous pictures of each other.

Our mobile phones are part of a fun, easy atmosphere where we share tips for social media alongside gossip about acquaintances. It’s all interconnected. And while we may be having a drink with four or five gal pals, we know there are plenty of other friends on the other end of our phones, tweeting from wherever they are, able to arrange to meet us, or discuss recommendations for our next pit stop.

Judge your audience and have respect for them. It’s simple.

Speaking of audiences: who can forget the episode when Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig had their theatre performance interrupted by a mobile phone in the audience?

It’s essential to turn phones off in cinemas and theatres. I’m also in favour of enjoying a rock concert without filming the whole thing on your mobile. Mosh pits are for dancing and absorbing the moment, not for viewing hardworking musos via a tiny screen. Get real!

Best Twitter bios

I’m constantly impressed by some of the pithy, droll and sarcastic bios people write for their Twitter profiles. I thought it was worth sharing a few of my favourites:

@derekandkong: Born at a very young age I realised almost immediately that I knew very little.

@keithpitt: web developer (Ruby on Rails), geek, gamer and robot from the year 2143

@TheBloggess: I have friends in spite of myself.

@Cathie_Tranent: I am a wife I am a mother I work I blog I photograph I design tshirts I’m tired

@Wang_Wang (panda) : Black and white bear. Omnivore. Likes travel, eating bamboo and origami. I’m endangered, but I party like a rock star.

@bludgingwriter: Trying to finish writing a book while the TV brings up the three kids

@teedubya: … SEO Jedi. Uber bullshittapotomous. Social Shaman. Pompous Windbag. I’m kind of a Medium Deal.

Unfortunately, we don’t always notice these bios, as we visit Twitter.com less and less. Instead, many of us use tweet tools such as Hootsuite. These tend to disconnect you from the bios, background images and other individual touches that people use to represent themselves. It’s worth checking in to Twitter.com now and then to take a good look at your tweet pals.

Does spelling matter when you’re Social?

Have you ever noticed that on social networks the spelling can become, well, a little sloppy?

What does this mean to you? Does it tick you off? Or do you believe that it’s part of the fast-paced, casual atmosphere of the social media environment?

With tweets, I can forgive a typo – particulary if it’s from a mobile application. Those tiny keys on your mobile aren’t always your friend, are they?

But it’s absolutely unforgivable if somebody creates a Facebook group and has mistakes in the group name. So I’ve very happily joined the Facebook group: I’d join your group but there are spelling errors in the title.

Now, I’m no grammar queen. I’ll leave that to my good friends at Leviathancomms. Heck, I know I shouldn’t have started a sentence with ‘but’ (as I did earlier in this blog).

But spelling when you’re creating something, when you’re promoting a business online, when you’re writing about yourself and building your own personal brand? Come on!

I’ve noticed that age makes no difference. I looked up a former colleague on Facebook and read her profile. She had listed her children’s names without capitalising them. She’s in her 50s. What had possessed her? She wouldn’t have let happen in an office document. Why let it slip through on the internet, where people search for you and, frankly, judge you?

It gets worse when texting lingo and shortcuts enter the fray. A family member’s status updates are barely decipherable. Take these examples:

Wld lyk 2 know wtf….happend 2 my hotmail n facebook accounts, it said username/p-w unknown..lyk wtf…so i had 2 reset em both

OMFG..Im getting SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO frustrated, trying 2 load a pic bt its taking 4 eva cuz everytym I load a pic frm my dig. Camera its huge..YYYYYYYYYYYYYY????????

One final thought: social media is about sharing. You’ve joined in because you’ve got something to say. If you want people to read your message, slow down and get the spelling right.

Foursquare: a new game

I’m getting a kick out of using Foursquare, a social network newly available in Adelaide. Foursquare has been another phenomenon in the US, but only recently added Adelaide to its list of cities (read Foursquare Goes Global).

Foursquare is so new, when you Google it, the first page of search results contain references to the old schoolground game.

Foursquare is for mobile phone users who like to get out a lot. Every time you visit your favourite coffee house / restaurant / shopping centre or other venue, you can ‘check in’ there on Foursquare. It gives you points for your check ins, and you can become ‘Mayor’ of the spots you frequent the most.

Your friends on Foursquare (who you find like you did when starting out with Twitter or Facebook), can see where you are. If they’re at that same spot, you’ll both know via Foursquare.

You can add tips about your favourite places, building up a wealth of shared information. (For example, I let people know that Kwiksticks in North Adelaide has ‘kids eat free’ nights every Tuesday).

So it’s part game, part locator, part status update, part venue review.

It launched in the US last year and had an estimated 100,000 users in November 2009.

It’s been called “addictive and slightly creepy”…

Using Foursquare
Here’s some good advice from Jason Moffatt, in a recent review of Foursquare vs Gowalla: if you want to avoid ‘stalkers’, check in on Foursquare as you’re leaving a location. (And remember – when you check in, you don’t have to share with friends at all. You can gain points by checking in, but untick the normal friend feeds that disseminate the updates).

What’s in it for me?
Personally, it’s only week one on Foursquare for me, so with these fresh eyes it’s too soon to judge whether a) I will quickly grow tired of it and let it lapse or b) I become so addicted my family arranges an intervention.

For the application itself, people are really talking up its potential. And why wouldn’t you – for an application that encourages people to get out and about, invite their friends and write reviews? If user numbers grow, it will be of obvious interest to countless industries.

“So far, about 200 venues, as diverse as bars and frames shops, have promotions offering discounts and other perks to Foursquare users in the system …read more.

Get on board, give it a go. Oh, and apparently it’s already overtaken Gowalla in terms of user numbers. Available in iPhone app, Blackberry app and on m.foursquare.com

More good Foursquare articles:

Why Foursquare Might Matter

Now you can play Foursquare anywhere

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