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Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide

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January 2011

Branching out too far

Thanks to @sarahsocialpr and @mroelink I’ve been inspired to trial BranchOut this week.

BranchOut can be quickly described as LinkedIn for Facebook. It’s all set within Facebook and it can draw in your LinkedIn profile quickly and easily. From there, it’s about extending your BranchOut profile to include Facebook friends, and to start acquiring recommendations, seeking job ideas and so on.

Branching out: is it the right move?
Branching out: is it the right move?

BranchOut launched in July last year, but it hadn’t yet hit my radar. Now that I’ve trialled it, I can put forward a thoughts:

1.       It provides virtual rewards. While these resonate with the Facebook platform and may be taking a leaf out of Foursquare’s success story, it doesn’t make sense in a job-hunting, networking environment.  BranchOut may think the virtual rewards are necessary to propel people to extend their connections, but for me it’s slightly embarrassing to be awarded the Bronze Super Connector Award (even worse, the Junior Super Connector Award. What is this, Lions Club meets Little Athletics?)

2.       It quickly fills your Facebook news feed. And that quickly becomes boring. I don’t necessarily want to know that Jack invited Jill to connect with him on BranchOut. And likewise, I don’t want to bore my friends with my BranchOut activity. That’s why I disconnected my Foursquare from Facebook, for example. Yet I can’t find anywhere in BranchOut’s settings for me to turn off its alerts from my stream.

3.       Is Facebook the right place for job networking? For some, the answer will be yes: but for me, the answer is no. I use Twitter to network, make connections and brand myself (as well as send ridiculous tweets to amuse friends). I use LinkedIn as a personal website to house my CV and learn more about potential clients and partners. I don’t think I need the help of my former primary school buddies and aunties in Perth, when it comes to building my career. I’ve purposely kept Facebook ‘friend friendly’ and my network relatively small.

Other blogs about BranchOut have highlighted its “spammy” nature including BranchOut Lets Users Spam Others and BranchOut Helps You Land Job

For now, I won’t branch out further, but perhaps sit under the shade and see what happens. Have you tried it yet?

How to recognise a Spambina

… Or how not to embarrass yourself by becoming besties with a non- corporeal entity on Twitter.

Twitterland is increasingly populated by spamming bots – smiling ladies eager to share their life’s learnings with you. This is a friendly blog to help you spot the typical “Spambina” and to save yourself time and tears – because Spambinas will not interact with you and frankly don’t exist and make you look silly if you unwittingly RT or reply to them.

Typically, Spambinas have Twitter profile photos that are a:

a)      grainy photo taken in the 70s
b)      thoughtful cleavage-enhancing shot taken in the 90s
c)       obscure shots cropped out of a what appear to be ancient store catalogues or album covers

Their tweets are set apart from the average oxygen-breathing  being, by focusing on topics like car  insurance, how to increase sales, where to gamble in Vegas and occasionally lambasts direct from God himself.

Some Spambinas are hugely talented, like Telma1132 who waxes lyrical on UK pension schemes, antique camel back steamer trunks, and alternatives to fat camps. Is there anything that Telma doesn’t know?

Most appear to have their birth date or their precious lucky numbers beside their name, like Judy 2712, Qiana8418, and megkelley2010 (although not always, as seen with  the laughing Camilla Wan.

Patricia5436
Patricia5436 .

Many Spambinas don’t bother having biographies but their little thumbnails prove that a picture tells a thousand words. Take  Patricia5436 for example.

Pattie is obviously in a band, she’s a little bit bored with the band, she’s looking for a change, she’s also thinking of getting her roots done soon.

Chris9455
Chris9455

And check out the shy but curious Chris 9455 – she’s a playful thing, ready to share information but just not sure you’re going to take her seriously. She’s also a nature lover and vegan.

Spambinas don’t always make sense. Many of their tweets read as odd headlines from letterbox catalogues. When Mozelle 3898 shared this with us “Tomy Hippo Pedalo bath musical play toy” I didn’t know what to make of it, but surmise that she’s pondering her Christmas wish list already, or that she’s keen on that swarthy gentleman that has moved into the apartment next door.

Of course, it’s not only the ladies who inhabit the Spambot tribe. Who could forget the enigmatic Ziaawan1 and his musings about freestanding awnings and home remedies for constipation? Or Gartz 5946, who has time to tweet online marketing tips but sadly very little time to tweet about his six children.

Vada1866
Vada1866

And just finally, what’s with scary weird profile pic this from Vada1867? It’s like Princess Leia meets Ginger Meggs.


Who’s your favourite Spambina friend? Please share a link: we’re all dying to meet her.

The awesome wit of #lameclaimtofame

We’ve all got a lame claim to fame – a story of bumping into a celebrity or politician that we can drag out at dinner parties.

The #lameclaimtofame meme took off on Twitter this week and I enjoyed some truly droll and laugh-out-loud claims. So I’ve collected a few to share here:

threebuttons: Mother just informed me I was once playmates with Jillian Assange. We were five months old. Thought he looked familiar…

xmadsinx: I accidently kicked Richard Gere in the butt when he sat in front of me at his daughters play at summer camp

seanalucy: I spilt coffee all over Sylvester Stallone’s ostrich skin boots in 1988, he was very forgiving

Arj Barker
Arj Barker

@THECHEMISTBAND David Boon told me to f-off when I was 6yo…

fakegovers: Kamahl once assumed he knew me. I had to put up with being called “Shane” and pretend to remember the good ‘ol days. #fraud

amanda_r_3: My dad was on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and won us kids an Atari Lynx woo

bartybookcase: Mumford & Sons’ Dad lived next door and I got all the hand-me-down typical vicarage cord trousers and shorts

PaulAndrews2043: I used to set the VCR to record Neighbours in PJ Harvey’s room when she stayed at the London hotel I worked at.

hayleyyyyyyyyyy I just met and sold books to Rachael Carpani from McLeod’s Daughters

swanny_adel: John Hewson attended my Dad’s wedding. I was an apology.

lynnyew: My friend Michelle is on the cover of a Bunnings water saver brochure

rotech70 Peter Andre asked me to do a music video of him when in High School and I turned him down.

chrissie_: Richard Wilkins once drove past in his alfa romeo.

arjbarker I AM arj barker

Kudos to everyone who contributed to the fun. Do you have a favourite to add to the list?

The pros and cons of newspapers printing tweets

As you’d be aware, Dear Reader, I am a champion of social media.

(Don’t misread me. That doesn’t mean I am a champion, per se. Don’t cue Queen music. It means I like to stand up for social media. Mmmkay?)

So I think it’s a good thing when the ‘traditional media’  (newspapers, TV, radio) takes notice of social media and tries to use it. The more, the merrier.

But I’m in two minds about a new trend of printing tweets.

AdelaideConfidential recently joined The Adelaide* Magazine in printing selected Twitter status updates. In the case of AdelaideConfidential, this began just yesterday – 4 January – with a single reprint of a celebrity tweet. The Adelaide* Magazine has been doing this for some months, and tends to reprint a range of South Australians’ tweets.

The Australian’s @sally_jackson has been writing a Twitter column for some months now. Printed in the Media section, Sally’s column analyses Twitter trends, major topics of the past week and often reprints tweets. These are however all within context and make for educational and snappy reading.

I think there are some pros and cons to reprinting tweets …

Pros of printing tweets:

  • Raises the profile of Twitter and social media
  • Raises the profile of the Twitterer
  • Draws another community of thought into mainstream media
  • Twitter becomes another source for the media, and it’s a positive thing for them to have many and varied sources to draw upon

Cons of printing tweets:

  • Tweets may be out of context and lose all meaning
  • Tweets out of context can cast ridicule on the Twitterer, on Twitter and social media in general
  • Tweets are usually part of a very  topical conversation – most don’t translate well,  especially printed weeks later
  • While tweets are ‘published’ and in the public realm, I’m  not sure that many authors would expect to see their tweets in the mainstream press. Within a different context, platform, and before a different audience, it has potential to unfairly embarrass the author.
  • They have the potential to annoy non-Twitter users (this may be a Pro point).

What about ownership of content? Who owns the tweet? While a tweet is in the public realm (unless it’s from a locked account), most social media platforms have terms and conditions which state they own the contributed content. But interestingly, this is what Twitter has to say:

“This license is you authorizing us to make your Tweets available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. But what’s yours is yours – you own your content.”

Twitter also says:

“We encourage and permit broad re-use of Content. The Twitter API exists to enable this.”

And:

“Twitter respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects users of the Services to do the same. We will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with applicable law and are properly provided to us.”

So, is the mainstream press ‘allowed’ to print our tweets? I don’t have the answer, but am keen to receive your comments.

Do I need to add a disclaimer? Maybe. One of my tweets was printed in The Adelaide* Magazine’s latest summer edition. After a straw poll among some non-tweeters, it was evident they didn’t have a clue what my tweet meant. My tweet was a comment on a trending topic and had lost context when printed weeks later. I am not complaining –I was happy to be in there – but it probably didn’t work for the magazine’s wider, non-tweeting readers.

How to Be The Mayor

I get asked a lot of questions about Foursquare – in particular about Mayorships.

Many people are frustrated that they’ve been loyal users of both Foursquare and real-world establishments, yet haven’t been able to achieve a Mayorship at their favourite venues. In some cases, they’re the only people checking into the venues, so it’s difficult to explain why they haven’t received their virtual crown.

AboutFoursquare has published a very handy blog about Mayorships that explains a lot. In a nutshell, it needs to be a “qualifying checkin”, your Foursquare profile must have a photograph and it can’t be your first checkin to that venue.

Foursquare Mayoral Crown
Foursquare Mayoral Crown

You also need to bear in mind that only one checkin a day counts towards Mayorships. It’s the amount of days you’ve checked in that matters, not the total amount of checkins.

Also, an off-the-grid checkin doesn’t get you a instant Mayorship badge, despite your history at a venue. According to Foursquare “off- the-grid checkins will not unlock a Mayorship, they will count towards the Mayor tally”.

However, from anecdotal feedback I’ve received, there are some disgruntled Foursquare users who have checked into sites daily, never to attain Mayorship, and only to see a new user come along and rudely claim the title.

Foursquare forums have posited a number  of reasons for this: the venue may have been combined with a duplicate venue and the new Mayor brought along a lot of historical checkins with them; or the new Mayor may have recently added their profile photo after many checkins.

Others have said they fixed account information (like correcting their email address) and then became the Mayor. And on one forum, a person with long term Mayorship problems found they hadn’t ticked the “participate in Foursquare Mayorship” box under settings in their privacy profile!

The Foursquare forum on Get Satisfaction was most useful for this blog and is worth a visit.

If you’d like to check how long it might take for you to become a Foursquare Mayor of a venue, there are a few websites that can help, including When Will I Be Mayor and Be The Mayor.  Of course, those sites may not tell you if your account settings aren’t set correctly to receive mayorships.

Have you had problems achieving mayorship? Or have you heard of other solutions?

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