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Prakkypedia

Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide

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December 2012

New digital resolutions

In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, this post is all about “social media resolutions” – or what we can do to improve our digital experience in 2013.

(So, to be clear. This post isn’t about resolving to see your parents more, to stop eating sugar, to tidy your room, stop reading Who magazine, to start watching Lateline, to grow all your own herbs, to learn to scuba, to learn to mosaic and to learn to speak Spanish. All admirable as they may be.)

I asked my Facebook community what their digital resolutions are. Their ideas included:

  • Using social media more efficiently: ie not checking their sites so often, and not allowing social media to be a big distraction
  • Shifting more focus to Google Plus
  • Auditing privacy settings and terms of use
  • Developing a new website
  • Developing a new blog / focus more on blogs
  • Giving up on Facebook ads

See the full comments and context on the Prakky Facebook Page. If you have time up your sleeve, it’s a good idea to sit back and think about how you use social media. It is taking up too much of your time? Are you enjoying it? Are there elements that annoy you? Is there a social media tool you’ve been meaning to use or a community that you’ve been meaning  to set up? Now could be the time to address this. As with any resolutions, it’s wise not to have an overwhelming long list that’s difficult to implement. Keep it simple or prioritise with the most important up top. I’ve created some mock digital plans below, which you might use.

Plan  one: Facebook quick n easy

  1. Check your Facebook  profile’s privacy settings. Go to your profile page. Click ‘view as’ and see how the rest of the world (non Facebook friends) sees your status updates and photographs. Don’t like what you see? Head to your privacy settings and make adjustments.
  2. Consider your Facebook friends. Is it time to lose a few friends, or go out scouting for more? Take a look at your Friends list (bottom left Facebook menu). Don’t be afraid to unfriend people.

 

See 'view as' under your Facebook cover image to see how others' see your profile.
See ‘view as’ under your Facebook cover image to see how others’ see your profile.

Plan two: Twitter promises

  1. Set up Twitter Lists. This helps you sift through the Twitterverse and avoid missing tweets from accounts that are important to you. Have for example a Friends list, a Clients list, a Media list and so on. Whatever hobby you have, put together a list for relevant accounts.
  2. Every time you’re spammed, report and block that Twitter account.
  3. Check your Twitter Favourites list. Is it time to unfavourite some tweets you had saved, or do they still apply?
  4. Try using a different Twitter phone app, to see what they offer and what might suit you best.  There’s the native Twitter app, but also Tweetbot, Tweetcaster, Echofon and Hootsuite.
  5. Look for a regular Twitter hashtag to participate in. This can help you find interesting tweeters to connect to.
Experiment with a new Twitter app, like Tweetcaster
Experiment with a new Twitter app, like Tweetcaster

Plan three: Do more

  1. Look at a service like IFTTT (if this, then that) to do things like saving all your Instagram photos to Dropbox, sending a Facebook update to Tumblr, post a daily cartoon strip to your Facebook and so on.  There are ‘recipes’ to browse or you can build your own automated actions.
  2. Audit your Facebook business page from the point of view of a stranger. Is it easy to immediately understand what you offer? Can people easily contact you? Does the cover image or description need a refresh?
  3. Audit your LinkedIn profile. Is there more you can add? Is it time to ask for fresh recommendations? Do you need to eliminate some jargon from your descriptions?
  4. Join a new group. Explore LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, Google Plus Communities and online forums. Introduce yourself, browse previous discussions, answer questions and participate. If the group doesn’t appear to offer anything of value – after a month or so – leave it.
  5. Look at all of your profile photographs across your social media accounts. Do they need updating? A new year, a new wrinkle?😉
  6. Read, comment on, and like more blog posts. (This is one that I’m doing). Get outside of your own blog and acknowledge and remark on others.  Be a better blogcitizen.
  7. Assess your RSS feed. Are there things you need to unsubscribe from? Are there blogs or sites you should add?
  8. Write down two sites or tools you’ve always meant to try but haven’t had time for. This might include Quora, GooglePlus, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Path, Branch or the new MySpace. Sign up, find friends or interesting topics. Participate heavily for a week or so, then assess your experience and consider whether you want to continue to use it.
Prakky's Pinterest
Prakky’s Pinterest

Of course, not all of your ‘digital life’ involves social media.

Your digital resolutions may also include improving your data back-up routine and password protection habits. You might decide to use email differently, switching off instant notifications, setting up folders and better auto signatures and more. You might change your hardware. Again, write a list of what’s been annoying you and what you want to achieve more efficiently. Adelaide Tech Guy and Packet Networks have lots of ideas for this field.

What are your plans for your digital life in 2013?

Why I won’t be in the audience of the new Jack Reacher film

I’ve read a lot of great literature in my time.

I say that to preface the fact that I’ve also read a lot of Lee Child in my time.

There are occasions where I simply need to get a fix of good old blockbuster action, from predictable characters who I adore and who I know won’t let me down.

Lee Child’s outstanding Jack Reacher character has rarely let me down.

No matter where this hitchhiking, nomadic ex-military police major finds himself – he finds himself in trouble. Or helping somebody else get out of trouble.

“Reacher smiled. He had been raised on military bases all around the world, battling hardcore Marine progeny, honing his skills against gangs of resentful native youths in dusty Pacific streets and damp European alleys. Whatever hardscrabble town in Texas or Arkansas or Nebraska these guys had come up in had been a feather bed by comparison. And while they had been studying the playbook and learning to run and jump and catch, he had been broken down and built back up by the kind of experts who could snap your neck so fast you never knew it had happened until you went to nod your head and it rolled away down the street without you.” [Worth Dying For, Lee Child 2010]

Reacher always gets his girl.

Reacher always wins the fight.

And Reacher always puts a smile on my face.

I’ve spoken to other female fans of Reacher, and despite the predictability and far-fetched nature of the Jack Reacher genre (now with 17 books published), we enjoy Reacher. Because we’ve got a crush on him.

I’ll tell you who I don’t have a crush on.

Tom Cruise.

I’m not the first to write and vent that the casting of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher was a terrible decision. And I wasn’t going to write about this at all. But I simply have to get a few things off my chest about why Cruise is so wrong. So stick with me here.

Lee Child himself has had to come out and defend the choice of Cruise. He’s had friends like Michael Connelly (another great author, creator of Harry Bosch who I adore) come out and defend the casting of Cruise (albeit rather weakly). But their arguments have not swayed me.

The ongoing angst and anger from fans (which I’ve followed on Facebook and Twitter) hasn’t dissipated. Ever since Cruise was announced as the star, fans have vented. For almost any story that is posted on author Lee Child’s Facebook page there will be comments rallying against Cruise. (An ongoing nightmare for the page admins, no doubt).

Cruise is so wrong for the role that this forthcoming movie simply isn’t a Reacher movie, to me. (Also… what’s with calling the movie Jack Reacher? It’s like calling an Ian Fleming movie  James Bond).

Why?

“Reacher is 6′ 5″ tall (1.96m) with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 210 and 250 pounds (100–115 kg). He has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair” from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_reacher

Yes, it’s a size thing. And it’s a voice thing. It’s also a menace thing. I don’t care how experienced and how absolutely dedicated to the role Tom Cruise is, he doesn’t have any of the necessary Reacher elements.

One Facebook comment I read last year (defending Cruise) went something like this: If the Jack Reacher character revolves around his height so much, then he’s not a very good character. If that’s all he is, he’s not worth fussing over.

I beg to differ.

To borrow a cliché, size does matter.

Your size – your physical appearance – has a bearing on your life, and ergo on your character and motivations and what happens to you in life. It’s not everything but – let me emphasise – it does indeed matter.

My 13 year old son knows that size matters.

He’s a big lad. He’s the tallest child at his school. He’s taller than most of the teachers.

When teachers want something lifted and moved at the school, they ask my son to help them.

When people meet him and learn his age, they say “you’re big!”

When family catch up with him, they say “wow, you’re still growing”.

When he visits the orthodontist, the orthodontist remarks on how his legs are nearly too long for the chair.

When strangers meet him they want to know if he plays basketball or AFL. Because that’s what you do when you’re big, right?

Heck, I’ve posted many status updates and photos relating to his size.

Let me leap back to Reacher.

When Reacher walks into a room, people look him up and down and consider his size and threat potential. They start to make judgements about his character. That effects the storyline.

Part of my Jack Reacher collection
Part of my Jack Reacher collection

When he’s about to be arrested or confronted, there’s a team of amped-up and anxious men surrounding him. They expect trouble. That effects the storyline.

When someone is in danger, they feel confident that Reacher may be able to help. They want to confide in him. They want to hide behind him. That effects the storyline.

Sometimes Reacher wants to stay out of trouble. He wants to put his fold-up toothbrush in his back pocket and leave town. But because he’s big and grizzled and war weary and patient and comfortable with himself and his size, he can’t.

And there, the drama begins.

And that’s why Jack Reacher’s size matters. And that’s the crux of fans’ disappointment.

“Reacher was a big man, six feet five inches tall, heavily built, and that night as always he looked a little ragged and unkempt. Lonely drivers wanted pleasant and unthreatening company, and Reacher knew from long experience that visually he was no one’s first choice of companion.” [A Wanted Man, Lee Child, 2012]

What did I want from the Jack Reacher movie?

I wanted an unknown in the role. I wanted to believe that somebody could be Reacher. I wanted a big man who looked like he’d been in too many bar brawls. Someone with a stony face, who could turn cold blue eyes onto the bad guys and make them quiver with fear, and who could also turn warm eyes onto a woman and make her quiver … you get the picture.

I didn’t want Jerry Maguire, Mr Mission Impossible, to pretend to be the big man.

So I’m sad.

I won’t be going to see the Jack Reacher movie. In fact, whenever a preview appears on TV, my younger son (not a big kid) puts his hands over my eyes and says “Don’t watch Mum!” because he thinks that’s funny.

I own every Reacher book. I’ve re-read one or two. They represent an escape which I cherish and I’ll always be grateful to Lee Child for the character.

I wish the movie studio, Lee Child, and whoever else was involved with the creation of the movie had been brave enough to have faith that the big man could carry the flick without having a Hollywood star’s name attached to it.

While I won’t be watching the film, I look forward to many more Reacher books. And there’s nothing that will ever stop me getting a shiver up my spine when I read:

“He put one foot on the shoulder and one in the traffic lane, and he stuck out his thumb, and he smiled and tried to look friendly.” [Lots of Lee Child books …]

The New Year’s Resolution Train …

It’s 27 December and many people are starting to focus on New Year’s resolutions.

I’m not a big fan of making resolutions just because a new year is approaching, but I understand why they’re popular.  A new year provides a psychological ‘line in the sand’ for us and I think it’s as good a time as any to rethink your life and ponder what you might aim for over the next 12 months.

Prakky - New Year's photo 2010/11. Pic by Rebecca Mezzino.
Prakky – New Year’s photo 2010/11. Pic by Rebecca Mezzino.

For me, when January approaches I always feel positive and invigorated. No doubt that’s on the back of a Christmas period away from work and some weeks in the summer sun. However I don’t vow to diet or exercise or ‘give something up’.

What I tend to do is focus on my career and ongoing education and think about how I can take things up a notch. I get a kick of adrenalin and ambition. And that probably sounds like utter wank, but I tell you what: I can’t stop it.

I’ve recognised my January kick and now I try to ride that wave. Why fight it, right?

It does remind me of the scene from Hitch where Kevin James dances for Will Smith and warns him “you can’t stop this .. you cannot stop this”.

It’s exactly how I feel! With less hip swaying. [Fast forward to 2:10 of the YouTube clip below if you don’t have time to enjoy it all.]


Need an example of what I’m talking about?

I will write a new PR plan and outline some communication ideas for 2013. Lots of businesses have plans but  many don’t have a communications plan. This lists what we’re about (our key messages) and our target audience or clients, and how we’re going to get to them (the channels: enewsletters, blogs, traditional media, lunches etc).

I’ll also be looking at my current client list and thinking about how I can provide them with more services and ideas. And brainstorming a list of organisations to approach for new work in 2013.

What about you? How do you feel when January rolls around?

Upcoming post: Things you can do for your digital profile in 2013.

What I tell my children about Facebook

I guess this happens in most professions …

I work in social media. My children aren’t interested in social media.

That hasn’t stopped me from giving them a few words of advice – about Facebook in particular, which is where most of their friends are congregating. We know that Facebook can be great for connecting friends and families, however it can also be a pit of cyberbullying and anxiety (for all ages).

Below: “Cyberslap” from the Australian Government’s Cybersmart YouTube channel.

Here’s what I’ve told my sons:

  • Some people type mean things into Facebook.
  • Just because you’ve read it on Facebook, it doesn’t mean it’s true.
  • If someone writes something mean about you, don’t let it worry you (and tell your  parents).
  • Don’t feel pressured into having hundreds or thousands of Facebook friends. They won’t be your real friends. It’s cooler to have just a few dozen friends who you know.
  • Words can lose context and meaning online. Someone can say ‘you’re  a poo poo head’ and it may sound mean, whereas they may in fact be saying that in an affectionate voice!

What have you told your kids about Facebook  or social media in general?

Resources

Facebook Safety Centre

Cybersmart

Cybersmart YouTube channel

Hashtag champions

Hashtags make life easier on Twitter.

I’ve written about them several times before [see Hashtags Mean Business and Conference Hashtags] but today I’m tackling the issue of how you get a hashtag to stick. After all, there’s millions of tweets being shared every minute and there’s a lot of competition for space and attention.

The most successful hashtags have a champion – particularly long term hashtags. That is, someone who cares about its longevity and correct use.

This person may be someone who has created the hashtag (often for a campaign or ongoing conversation) or someone who has recognised an existing hashtag’s potential and importance, and wants to nurture it.

Mikyla Gilbert
Mikyla Gilbert

Someone who has nurtured a hashtag is Adelaide Hills Magazine Publishing Editor Mikyla Gilbert. She answered three questions for me about the #Adelhills hashtag which she steers:

1. Why does the #Adelhills hashtag matter?

It is important to establish and be part of social media online communities when using social media. The #Adelhills hashtag was set up to separate tweets about happenings, events and information about the Adelaide Hills region from the general, and very busy #Adelaide hashtag. As a media outlet in the region @AdelHillsMag (Adelaide Hills Magazine) just checking the #AdelHills hashtag stream enables us to keep across news and happenings in the region easily. I know of several other media outlets who also regularly check the #AdelHills hashtag for tweets/news leads. As a community we can have conversations using this hashtag that are just related to our community and makes for easy follow.

2. Were there other hashtags ‘competing’ or confusing the #Adelhills hashtag? If so, what were they? The other hashtags used by tweeters regarding the Adelaide Hills region are; #AdlHills, #AdelaideHills or #Adelaide #Hills  – the best thing about the #AdelHills hashtag is that it is smaller than the obvious #AdelaideHills tag, but by ensuring we use the #Adelhill with the E and not the #adlhills hashtag it is more closely related to #adelaide.

3. What sort of things did you do, to ensure #Adelhills was widely and appropriately used?

I always use the #AdelHills hashtag. I monitor the other hashtags used and also search for Adelaide Hills and other words like Hahndorf etc and politely ask Tweeters tweeting about the Adelaide Hills to remember to use the #AdelHills hashtag. I also retweet Adelaide Hills tweets using the correct hashtags.

Thanks for sharing, Mikyla!

For my own part, the hashtag I contribute to the most is #socadl. This steers social media conversations in Adelaide and is a really helpful community for those times you want to ask a question about social media or share the latest news. It mostly takes care of itself, but occasionally  it’s spammed and I let that account holder know what #socadl is about.

How do you take care of a hashtag? You can:

  • Search for similar hashtags and ask tweeters to use your hashtag too (or instead)
  • Find relevant conversations and retweet with your hashtag included
  • Remind people about the purpose of the hashtag if you see it being used inappropriately
  • Include the hashtag in your Twitter bio

Do you have any other hashtag tips to share?

How social media helps at Christmas time

Social media platforms are sometimes criticised for enabling people to easily ‘stalk’ others.

But if that’s the case, it’s makes it immensely easy to find Christmas present ideas for your friends and family!

Sure, you could ask them what they want, but a surprise gift that demonstrates your knowledge of their tastes and interests will surely impress.

So jump online and check out:

  • What they’re listening to online
  • The brands or charities they like on Facebook
  • Their favourite authors on Goodreads
  • What they’re watching via Miso or Get Glue checkins
  • The celebs they follow or interact with online
  • The channels they subscribe to on YouTube
  • The sporting apps they tweet with
  • The things they’re loving on Pinterest

This can reveal the merchandise, tunes, DVDs, books, donations and more that might put a smile on their face.

Grumpy Christmas cat
Grumpy Christmas cat

You might want to grab something more tailored and rare: like something from Etsy, or a t-shirt from Redbubble that captures something you’ve enjoyed together, or their favourite catch phrase.

Or, if you’ve got social media photos of yourselves (especially on Instagram) together from good times this year, try printing them out as a gift using something like Prinstagram, Kanvess,  Mosaic or Canvaspop (note that some are US based and there will be delivery times involved!)

If nothing else, don’t forget that a simple “I dig you. Merry Christmas!” tweet can be treasured.

Socadl: 2012 in review

[Socadl = Adelaide’s social media community. Kind of like a tweet-up gang for people who are socmedia enthusiasts].

Yes, this is Prakky’s blog. Socadl doesn’t have a blog space and Prakky organises most of Socadl: so, welcome!

This month Socadl celebrated its third year on Twitter so it’s probably time for our first reflective post. Enjoy this year in review:

Our first official event was Tweatre, where the Socadl gang headed to The Maid Hotel to take part in the Adelaide Fringe show where the audience tweets what it would like the cast to enact. We helped the show to trend in Adelaide that night and the cast enjoyed drinks with us in the beer garden afterward.

@luluran and @ashsimmonds with Tweatre cast members.
@luluran and @ashsimmonds with Tweatre cast members.

Next up, we had a swarm attempt for international Four Square Day, with Socadl members congregating at the Malls Balls in Adelaide’s city centre. (And no, we didn’t achieve the necessary 50 check ins required for an official Foursquare swarm. Next time, Foursquare, next time!).

Grace Bellavue spoke to us in March on “How new media is driving the adult industry” in a presentation that was delightfully NSFW and in May, members Vern Schulz and Mikael Liddy organised a winter’s meet up at Suzie Wong’s Room. Not everyone was sure about the eye patches, but thanks guys …😉

We celebrated international Social Media Day by watching the CJ Podcast team (Jason Neave, Mal Chia and Sarah Thomas) on stage at the Crown and Sceptre [listen to the podcast here].  Thanks Ben Teoh for being MC that night. [And Vale, Crown and Sceptre].

In September, Orren Puncken talked to us about StartUp Adelaide and Alison Kershaw introduced the South Australian Government site ForwardIT. Big thanks to Ashlee Baghurst for being our MC that night, and thanks to Katie Hannan who organised the venue.

Last month we had a blast at the Adelaide City Council’s new Digital Hub, with the generous support of wine sponsor Lazy Ballerina. We listened to Katherine Shaw (of the Adelaide City Council’s InnovationLab), and Susan Rooney-Harding and Zoe Dreschler (Adelaide City Council’s Digital Hub). Thanks to Michael Roelink for being MC (and the last cog in the Adelaide City Council wheel) and to Dan Popping for the great idea.

@jdtoo and @tiptyjo at the Digital Hug event.
@jdtoo and @tiptyjo at the Digital Hub event.
@zannawho and @amytran010 at the Digital Hub event.
@zannawho and @amytran010 at the Digital Hub event.

Next week, we’ll congregate at the new Franklin Hotel in the city centre for some casual and well-earned Christmas drinks. Please come along!

@aqualung and @mikaelliddy at pub event that we don't seem to have listed ...
@aqualung and @mikaelliddy at pub event that we don’t seem to have listed …

Throughout all this, of course, our #socadl tweetstream has been thriving. Every day it’s a collection of social media questions, answers, support and opinion.

Now: to the results of our Socadl 2012 survey.

We had 34 respondents. Thank you to those who took the time – and what a good Socadl crowd you are. A bit over half (55.9%) said they’d been to 1-3 Socadl events this year and more than 82% said they took part in the #socadl tweet conversation.

Most Socadl survey respondents participate in #socadl on Twitter
Most Socadl survey respondents participate in #socadl on Twitter

Most respondents said they liked what they liked most about Socadl was “meeting others and socialising casually”.

Most Socadl survey respondents want more casual events.
Most Socadl survey respondents like to meet others and socialise.

This motivation was carried through with the next question about what people want from Socadl next year. Most said they wanted more casual social events, followed closely by more local speakers and case studies.

Most respondents asked for more casual events next year.
Most respondents asked for more casual events next year.

We had a fantastic 19 responses to the open-field question about future Socadl topics, which ranged from seeking advice on crisis management and the legalities behind social media, through to apps and advertising and mobile. These will go into our ‘ideas pool’.

There were 3 final comments, with one respondent stating that Socadl speakers “come from a rather narrow pool” and perhaps we could have more who aren’t in PR and marketing. The list of events above is a reminder of the breadth of speakers we had;  however perhaps we do tend to have a marketing/PR perspective with our #socadl tweetstream. This is very much community-influenced and we’d welcome more voices and perspectives.

Thanks to the respondent who complimented Socadl on our activity:

Comment from one Socadl respondent, in final comments.
Comment from one Socadl respondent, in final comments.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to everyone who’s participated in Socadl this year. Looking forward to seeing you this Tuesday 18 December if you can make it. Please feel free to share more feedback below.

What Aussie retailers are doing with their Facebook Pages this Christmas

I’ve looked at a few major retailers on Facebook to see what they’re doing with their communities this Christmas season. From the cover photo, to conversations, to competitions, it’s no surprise that they’re trying to leverage the holiday season.

Take a look at the examples below and perhaps use this as inspiration for your own content (not just for Christmas, but for future seasons and events):

Coles supermarkets

Supermarket Coles's current cover image on Facebook.
Supermarket Coles’s current cover image on Facebook.
Coles has $50 gift cards to be won as part of its Christmas campaign. Leads to an app where you click to 'open Curtis's caravan' and simply get a 'win' or not message.
Coles has $50 gift cards to be won as part of its Christmas campaign. Leads to an app where you click to ‘open Curtis’s caravan’ and simply get a ‘win’ or not message.
Coles has generated some lively Facebook conversations, including this gem about the perennial question: Christmas carols in the supermarket.
Coles has generated some lively Facebook conversations, including this gem about the perennial question: Christmas carols in the supermarket.


Woolworths supermarkets

The Woolworths Facebook cover image features its seasonal competition, with a focus on savings.
The Woolworths Facebook cover image features its seasonal competition, with a focus on savings.
Woolworths hosts this Facebook competition, where you have 30 seconds to drag items into your trolley. Trollies with most value win. Get your mouse-hand ready, it's not as easy as it sounds!
Woolworths hosts this Facebook competition, where you have 30 seconds to drag items into your trolley. Trollies with most value win. Get your mouse-hand ready, it’s not as easy as it sounds!


Dan Murphy’s

Dan Murphy aptly celebrates its product in its Facebook cover image.
Dan Murphy’s aptly celebrates its product in its Facebook cover image.
Dan Murphy's Facebook competition is a simple 'guess the weight' to win form.
The Dan Murphy’s Christmas Facebook competition is a simple ‘guess the weight’ to win form.

Target

Target celebrates family Christmases in its Facebook cover image.
Target celebrates family Christmases in its Facebook cover image.
Target is offering Facebook fans the chance to win $20 vouchers, when you share 'happy snaps' and photos of your decorations etc.
Target is offering Facebook fans the chance to win $20 vouchers, when you share ‘happy snaps’ and photos of your decorations etc.

Myer

Model spokesperson Jennifer Hawkins features in a Christmas/summer cover image for Myer's Facebook page.
Model spokesperson Jennifer Hawkins features in a Christmas/summer cover image for Myer’s Facebook page.
Myer is encouraging Facebook fans to put together a  Christmas wishlist on its website, and a panel of judges choose $500 gift voucher winners.
Myer is encouraging Facebook fans to put together a Christmas wishlist on its website, and a panel of judges choose $500 gift voucher winners.

What about you? Have you seen any interesting activity from brands this Christmas?

I must say: I enjoyed Coles’s simple (and free) query about shoppers’ favourite Christmas songs. What a lot of comments and Shares it generated! So remember to dig deep into what motivates your community, what interests them, and the types of topics they can easily have an opinion about.

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