Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide


April 2012

Deadly serious about social media

As we spend more of our lives on social  networks, it only makes sense to ask: what happens to our social media accounts when we die?

A start up called Dead Social has taken this a step further, by developing a tool that will enable people to store Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus messages, for distribution after death. See the explanatory video below:

This was discussed on Michael Smyth’s ABC Drive show yesterday. Some very clever  callers pointed out the dangers of such a service, including hurtful messages that someone may store for later posting, when they’re not around to face the music.

Dead Social pitches itself at the celebrity market, as this YouTube clip explains:

But what about the non-celebs who might sign up? Those who aren’t keeping a celebrity estate earning money, but have more personal reasons for using Dead Social? As with so much on social media platforms, the quality of the content will dictate how well this works.

If you have a marvellous black sense of humour,  but also some warmth in your soul, and a good turn of phrase: your tweets from beyond the grave might delight readers. They may be a way to continue to encourage loved ones, to jibe them, and give them heart.

Alternatively, if your skills and maturity levels are lacking, your tweets from beyond the grave may be vindictive, hurtful or even nonsensical. I  suppose when you’re dead, you can’t be embarrassed by a spelling mistake.

Dead Social is in Beta phase and it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out. Some questions I have:

  1. Can a deceased person’s posts be defamatory? What recourse does someone have, if post via Dead Social slanders them?
  2. Will the posts be earmarked as coming via Dead Social?
  3. Will family and friends be forewarned about someone signing up to use Dead Social? It’d be an awful surprise to get a message from someone you’ve just seen put into their grave.

In the meantime, remember that platforms like Facebook and Twitter do have mechanisms in place should you want to report that a user has died. With Facebook, you have the ability to ‘memorialise’ an account.

Memorialise an account on Facebook
Memorialise an account on Facebook

With Twitter, you can notify the platform that an account holder is deceased and they will deactivate the account – given enough evidence, as outlined in the Twitter screenshot below.

Deactivate a deceased person's Twitter account
Deactivate a deceased person's Twitter account

What are your thoughts on Dead Social? Dead keen, or dead against?

Selling social media to your management or board

A lot of organisations would like to use social media – but they’re blocked by management.

CEOs, board members and others can be wary of social media because they are the guardians of an organisation’s future and its reputation. They constantly assess risk, and social media can appear to be a volatile and risky space.

So how do you convince the powers that be, that social media is worth trying? Here are some tips to help you plan your approach:

  1. Firstly, you have to know what you want to do with social media. Why are you convinced it’s worth trying? How do you plan to use social media? Don’t take the idea to management if you just want to join the social media bandwagon. You need to have objectives and be ready to share them. What is social media going to do for your company?
  2. Forecast the questions and concerns your managers might ask. What are their likely concerns with social media? Are they worried about the time staff will spend on social media? The potential online stoushes? Do they think social media is a passing fad?  Or do they simply think it won’t contribute to the business? Be prepared to answer their concerns.
  3. Research your managers’ social media use.  Do they use LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook? Have a look at their online profiles and try to gauge how much education they may require.
  4. Research your competitors’ use of social media and use them as examples. You could also research what your partners, suppliers or other stakeholders are doing on social media, and share that with your management. Show them that social media is not an unchartered space, but is being used effectively by their peers.
  5. Enlist help from within the organisation. Who are the other social media ‘champions’ who might support you? Conversely, who might stymie your efforts? Do you need to meet with IT staff first to address any technical issues? Do you need to meet with HR to talk about a social media policy?
  6. Use pictures. Don’t understimate management’s lack of social media knowledge. During your pitch, use screenshots of Facebook business pages, industry blogs, LinkedIn Groups or whatever else is relevant, to help them understand how it all works.
  7. Outline how you’re going to measure social media success, and how you’re going to report on this. Management will need peace of mind, and looking forward  to regular reports helps facilitate that. Perhaps you’ll send them Facebook Insights once a month, and screenshots of engaging posts. Perhaps you’ll report on social media’s impact on your website traffic, or its impact on your customer service workload. (Ensure however, that management is aware that social media is a long term undertaking and you’re not likely to get results overnight).

    "Selling Social" to management, Prakky
    "Selling Social" to management, Prakky

For more on this topic, see Connecting Up’s Storify of a recent conversation on Twitter, where we delved into these tips and more.

Have you had to pitch social media to management? What’s worked for you? 

6 ways to enhance your Facebook experience

This is part of the Social Media 101 series. If you’re more au fait with social media, look away now …

Facebook is Australia’s most popular social network, with a user base hovering around 10 million and growing.

But some things about Facebook annoy us, right?

Here are six quick little adjustments you can make to give you a more pleasant Facebook experience.

1. Unfollow a post

This one is a personal favourite of mine. Sometimes you comment on a friend’s Facebook update, then lots of other join the conversation, occasionally over several hours or days with trite contributions. You grow tired of the notifications and you want to leave the conversation. See the screenshot below: you have the option to unfollow a post at any time (and also refollow if you change your mind).

Unfollow a post
Unfollow a post

2. Hide apps or games

Annoyed by updates from friends using Farmville or the latest casino games? You can hover your mouse to the right of that update, and see the choice available for hiding updates from that game or app from now on.

Hide apps or games
Hide apps or games

3. Hide friend’s updates

Sometimes it’s far too awkward to unfriend someone, yet you might not enjoy all their Facebook updates. Again, if you hover your mouse to the right of their status update, you are given some choices about hiding parts of your friend’s feed. Your friend does not know you’ve done that, it’s a completely private setting. (Note, I do not filter any of Laurel’s posts!)

Filter friends' updates
Filter friends' updates

4. Hide brand updates

Similarly, you can choose to hide updates  from brands or organisations you’re following on Facebook. You can even report some posts as spam, or click to ensure you don’t see a post (story) again. That’s a good option in those cases where you may be following a news site  for example, and you find a particular news story disturbing and want to hide it.

Hide Facebook page (brand) updates
Hide Facebook page (brand) updates

5. Change group notifications

Are you a member of any Facebook Groups? They’re a great way to keep in touch with similarly minded people. However the updates can become too much. Once again, you can choose whether to get Group updates  pushed  to you, or choose to opt out and just check the Group page occasionally when you remember to. This can be particularly useful for Groups that have a very active community that posts throughout the day. Just see the Notifications option at the top right of your Group screen.

Change Group Notifications
Change Group Notifications

6. Use Facebook Lists

To tailor your Facebook experience even further, you might want to use Facebook lists. These allow you to categorise your connections and quickly check their particular status updates. A handy example is having a ‘close friends’ list. This may be people whose posts you don’t want to miss. You can quickly cut through to their news and bypass the rest of the Facebook clutter.

Read all about Facebook Lists in Facebook’s Help Centre.

Friends Lists on Facebook are handy
Friends Lists on Facebook are handy

Do you have any Facebook tips you’d like to share?

Why comms professionals MUST use social media

I’m still coming across many colleagues in the communications field who haven’t used social media yet.

And by that I mean: don’t have a Facebook account.

Have never looked at Twitter.

Aren’t sure how to find a blog.

My first reaction is to struggle to keep my jaw from hitting the floor.

The second reaction is one of confusion. I usually ask them why they aren’t using social media, and the most frequent response is that they value their privacy or they prefer to communicate with friends by more traditional needs.

(Of course, that response underlies their lack of understanding. You can choose to have quite a private experience on social media. And using social media does not preclude you from maintaining your current communication habits when it comes to ‘real life friends’. But I digress.)

If you’re working in public relations, advertising, web design, marketing, what-have-you, it’s remiss of you not to be using social media and experiencing what it’s like to be part of an online community, over the long term. The reasons why include:

  • Sooner or later, you’ll be asked for your opinion on a social media idea. You better be ready to offer something realistic and not just unfair vague impressions of a platform that you’ve gained second-hand  from the traditional media and social media cynics.
  • Any morning now, your boss might storm into your office and cry “People are writing bad things about the company on Facebook and I want you to remove it now!” What will you do, if you don’t even have a Facebook account? If you don’t understand how to find things on Facebook? And whether in fact it’s possible / prudent to attempt to remove other people’s comments?
  • There are other, less-talented people than you in your field kicking arse right now because they’re promoting themselves on social media sites, networking the heck out of your industry and being seen to be a leader in their field. Whereas others have never even heard of  you.

So if you’re in communications, can I suggest, in the spirit of continual lifelong learning, that you bloody make sure you’ve got a Facebook account?

Social media is important to communications professionals
Social media is important to communications professionals

And when you have that Facebook account, follow brands there and watch the types of things they’re doing.

I also suggest you open a Twitter account and start interacting with your industry and keeping up with ideas from around the world.

You might even want to hang up on your shingle on LinkedIn, so that on the odd occasion people Google your name, a somewhat professional-looking summary of your career is returned in the search results.

Don’t have time? Suit yourself. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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