Kutcher Beats CNN to Twitter Million

17 04 2009

Actor Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) became the first twitter user to achieve a million (1,000,000) followers at 6.12 UTC today.  He narrowly beat CNN breaking news (@cnnbrk) which had overtaken the Barack Obama twitter account as the world’s most popular in the last few months.  CNN became the second account with a million followers just under half an hour later . Both users had been heavily promoting their race to a million, Kutcher using UStream.tv and CNN using their own broadcast channel.  The Huffington Post carried a live counter and follower graph that looked like something from a US presidential election.

This milestone confirms a number of observations about twitter as a ‘channel’.

  • On-line popularity is linked to off-line popularity – both Kutcher and CNN are hardly unknown.
  • Twitter can be a broadcast channel.  It is neither the principal function nor does it reflect twitter’s flexibilty but if enough people subscribe to a feed you can ‘broadcast’ information and links. 
  • Twitter works as a news feed – lots of traditional news meda are bulding large follower numbers. Group them together and you have a powerful customisable news channnel.
  • Twitter is now firmly part of the celebrity PR portfolio.

For those that say that twitter is just this year’s social web fad it’s not about to fizzle out just yet.





McBride & Draper: New Media, Old School

14 04 2009

A month ago I wrote a piece on this blog about Derek Draper and how unsuited I thought he was to lead Labour’s social media campaigns.  I pointed out that he had recently been suspended from the social network de jour – ‘twitter’.   

Little did I know what I had unleashed.  Derek blogged about me using false quotes and misrepresenting my recently published book.  He e-mailed me stating “your legal threats are pathetic,  i can – and will – pour a bucket of shit over anyone’s head who has tried to do the same to me” (sic).  He later the same day emailed many of my colleagues and others in the PR industry with links to his “satirical” blog post.

This was very small beer in comparison to what was in the pipeline for the proposed ‘Red Rag’ site.  Derek Draper and Damian McBride are of the old school ‘command and control’  approach to political media management.   They just don’t get the openness that the social web brings with it.  If you deceive or intimidate there is every chance that it will be made public.  The Guido Fawkes Order Order blog that they appear to want to emulate is anti-government and you just can’t replicate that if you represent the government.

Also of the old school is Tom Watson, the Cabinet Office Minister with overall responsibility for ‘digital engagement’.  The debate rages still as to whether he knew about ‘Red Rag’ but if it had reached the stage where content suggestions were being made by one of his charges then he should have.  The point is quite simple; like Draper and McBride he doesn’t understand the implications for open and transparent politics that come with citizen media.  If you don’t get it, you can’t run it.





Update: In Store

8 04 2009

waterstones

For a first time author (that still doesn’t sound right) there are various milestones that provide a certain frisson. Finding that your just published work is in a bookshop is one of them. 

I had a call from my daughter this afternoon to tell me that my book was available in Waterstones in Piccadilly.  I still haven’t seen the book in-store for myself but via the power of  mobile technology I am able to see a pic …and share it with you. 

I think she may have positioned it a little more prominently than the store intended.





The Sex Pistols – God Save the Meme

6 04 2009

We think of memes or ‘viral’ as internet phenomena but whilst the internet is particularly suited to the spread of memes this kind of effect was observed long before the internet came into being. 

Fashion and music are areas where this is common and there are also crazes like the Rubik’s Cube the mechanical puzzle invented in 1974 but which exploded in popularity during a few months in early 1980 eventually selling over 300,000,000.

Whilst we can not promise to deliver memes as part of a PR campaign we should be able to recognise them and to facilitate their development.  Punk Rock which crash landed on youth culture in the seventies was memetic in its spread; starting as an underground idea but quickly crossing into the mainstream leaving a lasting stamp on fashion, music and design.  The punk explosion was also partly the result of Malcolm McLaren’s  innate understanding of the media and his ability to manage the message and provide press, radio and TV with strong themed stories surrounding the ‘Sex Pistols’.

The creation of memes is often beyond our control but when we recognise the opportunity PR people are well placed to propagate their spread.  (Adapted from the book ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ available  from Amazon and other book sellers).





Follow Friday Five #7

3 04 2009

Five blogs for you to follow this Friday.  In the usual fashion it is a broad spectrum from student bedsit to fame and fortune. Top copy that I’d like to share with you as we wend our way towards the weekend. 

1 Techcrunch the weblog dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies.  Founded by the controversial Michael Arrington.  It’s scoop central – see this week’s story on Google in talks with Twitter for example.  

2 Borkowski Blogs The inimitable Mr B on the lives and times of the rich and famous the place where the worlds PR and the media and “exposed, inspected, sniffed at, dissected, startled, satirised, tickled and occasionally put to rights”. 

3 Flawless Buzz  the work of Adam Lewis, student at York University, my alma mater (no-one acrtually says that do they?) who has set his sights firmly on a career in the PR and communications industry.

4 Jemima Kiss Great pictures and even greater words from the Guardian writer and interwebber. Follow her on twitter too…making anger an artform.

5. Liverpool Culture Blog A Mancunian bigging up a blog from Liverpool? It’s really good and entertaining stuff and more than just scouse culture (no really) from the brilliantly named Robin Brown.   

Go on. Off you go to some other great spaces on the interweb.  Oh and my book should be out today (I think). Did I mention that?





Published tomorrow

2 04 2009

‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (the book to which this blog is a companion) is published tomorrow – although the vagueries of publishing apparently always state the last day of the month as the official launch date (so I’m told).  It is available for immediate delivery from Amazon or can be ordered from Kogan Page (and a range of other booksellers).





It’s April Fool You Twit(ter)

1 04 2009

poisson1April Fools Day has always provided a license to the media to print and broadcast outlandish and far fetched tales.  This year more than ever social media has followed in the footsteps of its conventional cousin. Heres are some of the best. Please use the comments section to add your own and if you are wondering about the fish …ask the French.

Youtube’s ‘Country Filter’ has resulted in UK viewers getting Australian settings all videos they view, resulting in inversion of clips and text.

GMail has introduced an autoresponder that reads and responds to your e-mail so you don’t have to.  The problems kick in when two parties both turn it on “two Gmail accounts can happily converse with each other for up to three messages each. Beyond that, our experiments have shown a significant decline in the quality ranking of Autopilot’s responses.”

 @shengri_la: i changed my birthday on FB to april 1st just to mess with people. and also to see who actually knows my bday.

Labour MP Tom Harris backs a blogging counter terrorism bill “from April 2010, every British blogger will have to submit each post for official approval”.

The Guardian will publish its content exclusively on twitter consigning the print editions to the footnotes of history.   The Guardian and Twitter will also launch Gutter, a service designed to “filter noteworthy liberal opinion from the cacophony of Twitter updates”. 

….Oh and the entire internet is being rebooted.

Press F13 on your keyboard to access a complete list of today’s social web April Fools pranks.








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