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Four Ways Social Media will Revolutionise London 2012

19 Dec

The Olympic Games are a marketers dream – the audiences are humongous and there is passion in abundance. In the words of Nelson Mandela (yeah I’m quoting Nelson)… “the Olympics has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does”. The 2008 Beijing Olympics generated a decent amount of buzz in the social media world. There is no doubt that social media will play an even greater role in the London 2012 Olympics experience, game-changing you might say. It will be exciting to observe the first “fully digital” Olympic Games in history.

1. Behind the scenes reporting

Fervent athletes at London 2012 have been given the green light to use their Twitter accounts during the games. There are rules of course – the International Olympic Committee has warned athletes tweeting for commercial purposes or using “vulgar or obscene words or images” (no pissing Paula), and only from the first person. However, athletes are “actively encouraged to take part in social media”, which even includes photos and videos (that’s rich media to you). There is no doubt in my mind that we will hugely benefit from having a direct line of communication to an amazing group of diverse people, all with unique opinions and experiences to share with the world.

2. Yoot engagement

Integrating social media into the heart of London 2012 has the power to bring it to a critical mass audience and increase its popularity – particularly among the younger digital generation (the yoot). Let’s face it – love it or hate it, it will be unavoidable in social media when it all kicks off. Could social media make the greatest difference simply by getting the yoot – first-timers – to engage with the games and their community? A far cry from this year’s riots. Olympic silver medallist and former world champion Roger Black, has said “London 2012 is a great chance to get kids and young athletes involved in technology as they enjoy sport”.

3. Sharing

The sharing aspect of social media will make it easier than ever to pass along talk-worthy Olympic content and stories to your friends, family, and the world. Who knows what it will be – highlights, lowlights, spoofs, whatever, but I’m expecting everyone to jump all over this one. Plus BT plans to increase the number of Wi-Fi hotspots in the capital to 500,000 in time for the Games, which will make sharing stuff in real-time even better.

4. Unpredictability

With an Olympics that everyone has been able to see coming for years, organisers and sponsors have had plenty of time to get their social media “ducks in line”. However, if they didn’t already know, that users of social media are anything but ducks; if you try to direct them to think in one way, they’ll go another. And then some. There is no telling what will go right or wrong, but we can be sure as hell that social will be at the heart of it all – fanning the flames and spreading the word. This is the really exciting part, and we don’t even know what it is yet.

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Driving and social media just don’t mix

2 Aug

Now that’s one mayorship I’d like to avoid.

Via adsoftheworld

Meet Eater – the first plant that needs Facebook fans to survive

8 Sep

Meet “Meet Eater”. A real plant that needs Facebook fans and wall posts to survive. Admittedly, looking at the number of Meet Eater Facebook fans, the idea hasn’t really caught on (yet?). But I still reckon there’s something incredibly exciting about digital interactions directly influencing the real world. Anyone with me??

Wheat Thins rewards unsuspecting tweople

13 Jul

When it comes to social media, it’s really important to reward your online advocates. Well US snack brand ‘Wheat Thins’ have taken this to the extreme with overt gestures to people tweeting about the brand. Tabatha Tweeted about Wheat Thins, watch the clip to see how they returned the favor…

If this entertained you, there are more videos you can check out on YouTube here. With half a million YouTube views on this video alone, the power of advocacy and word-of-mouth is plainly evident. Kudos to Wheat Thins for making such a powerful (yet simple) social idea that people want to pass-along (I did and we don’t even have Wheat Thins in the UK!). It’s one of those ideas that makes me think…

Facebook knows where you live

17 May

Facebook are upping their game yet again as they’re set to roll out location-based status updates, any time soon. Users will be able to post their location right into their status update (i.e. I’m sitting at my desk!). 

Facebook has become a significant part of our social lives, and now they’re adding a whole new dimension to connecting you with you friends. I’m hoping to see lots of useful applications. Apparently McDonalds are building an app that allows Facebook-ers to “check-in” at one of its restaurants and have a featured product appear in the post. I can’t say I’ll be using that particular app, but I am excited about the possibilities.

And could this mean the death of foursquare?? Sorry, I haven’t heard a good ‘death of’ in a while, so I wanted to get that in there…

Friendships in the Digital Age

25 Mar

Social networking sites are multiplying at an unprecedented rate. But who needs 100, or 1,000, friends? And what is the boundary between virtual and real world friendships?

This survey professes to reveal great truths about friendship in the digital age. It claims that 60% of online adults have formed a friendship with someone they have met online. But also that – shock horror – 3 in 4 have met their online friend in real-life. Adults worldwide have met an average of 13 online friends in person. Quite right too. The benefits of forming friendships online are obvious, so why is the idea treated with such contempt? I’ve made friends online I now consider real-life friends – mainly through blogging, and yet when I say this to people they look at me as if I’m a social misfit. As though faceless friends on the internet are not “real”.

Let’s not forget that human beings are social creatures. We seek to connect with people, and technology gives us abundant new ways to connect with lovely “real” people. The Internet is full of like-minded individuals, not just a bunch of oddballs. In the digital age, we’re now able to pinpoint friends by rounding up people with amazingly similar interests. Bucking this trend, by/association is a new social network with a difference.  It seeks to eke out the ego-driven accumulation of strangers for the sake of hand-matching a ‘friends’ list. While some might say it’s elitist, others would say it’s a great way to forge genuine connections with like-minded people for friendship.

As our online connections continue to grow at unprecedented speed, is there a limit to how many friends we can practically manage? According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, the human brain can only remember 150 meaningful relationships. While we obviously like the kudos of having hundreds (maybe thousands) of friends on Facebook, in truth we maintain ‘active’ relationships with an inner circle of no more than 150 people.

While the Internet allows us to make new connections like never before, it is also a means to improving existing friendships. According to this report, over two-thirds of people worldwide believe that the Internet actually improves relationships. Technologies such as IM and Facebook chat are being used to strengthen friendship bonds. And four-in-ten adults use webcams to interact with friends or family while online.  It seems that in reality, we are more likely to stay connected with people in the digital world – with over half of adults claiming to have reconnected with a friend online.

Given the huge amount of time we spend online, there are misguided fears that we are becoming increasingly disengaged from real-life. Unsurprising to me, this survey proved quite the opposite. Heavy users of the Internet are in fact particularly socially active, having the highest number of friends both online and offline. I suspect that those with more friends use the Internet more often in order to keep connected and deepen relationships.

Call me naïve, but I’ll continue to convert virtual friends into real ones (and vice versa). That is, until I permanently morph into my digital self.

IKEA Facebook Showroom

25 Nov

I came across this brilliant (yet low-budget) Facebook campaign for IKEA. Despite the ubiquity of the world’s favourite social network, very few branded Facebook campaigns actually grab my attention.  This one is  simply brilliant.

It uses the default ‘tagging’ tool on Facebook to spark conversations and create buzz for an online competition. Users were invited to the new Facebook profile page of the store manager (Gordon), who’d uploaded pictures of his new showrooms. People were told that the first to tag their name on any item, would win it. Simples!

So why do I like it?

Rather than re-inventing the wheel, the idea amplifies what consumers are already doing – i.e. tagging Facebook photos

The idea is inherently social – as the moment you tagged anything, everyone in your network instantly knew what was up for grabs

Social Media is about conversations, and IKEA created something worth talking about (and they openly engaged in conversations with their consumers…)

And quite simply it answers the brief  – which was to engage people with the IKEA Malmö store opening

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