The Twit that made Stephen Fry Quit

31 10 2009

It looks as if Stephen Fry is leaving the social network that he has helped to make famous.  This morning he announced that aggression and unkindness had caused him to give up on twitter.  It seems that an exchange with Richard from Birmingham or @brumplum as he is known was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The spat began with a bitchy if fairly unremarkable tweet from @brumplum in which he described Fry’s microblog contributions as a ‘bit boring’.  Fry replied in kind and blocked the offending tweeter.  Richard announced he’d been blocked and then referred to the national treasure in what might be considered homophobic terms if @brumplum was not himself openly gay.

Fry has left the door open for a return by saying that he’d see how he felt in a few days and there is already a twitter petition asking him to reconsider.  Perhaps frustration with technology was getting Stephen down – both his Kodak printer and a Sony Vaio computer were playing up this morning and he was due to fly to America so the combined stress may have been a contributing factor.  Fry’s follower list is very close to a million so he is a genuine standard-bearer for the network.  We will now have to wait and see whether he is really joining the list of celebs that have lost faith with social networks or when spirits are higher he decides to twit again.

Hacked Off with Twitter Spam

30 10 2009

spam-in-a-canThousands of twitter users have had their accounts hacked in the past three days. The hackers have used the accounts to send a deluge of direct messages with links to diets, sites offering colonic irrigation and the inevitable porn.  It appears that affected users have been the victims of a phishing attack; they have been tricked into giving out their passwords either by registering for a dodgy twitter application or by being presented with a fake twitter login page.

The best response would usually be to change the password on your account but recently twitter has reported that users are being locked out of their accounts after trying to reset their passwords or change their email address or user names.  It is not impossible that these two events are connected as part of a coordinated attempt to take control of user accounts.

The best defense at the moment appears to be to go to the connections tab in your twitter settings page and ‘revoke access’ for applications that are listed.  Only leave access for applications that you know and trust.  If a pattern emerges as to the applications that are being used to hack accounts  this will help identify the source of the attack.

Trick or Tweet

28 10 2009

One of the most powerful, authoritative and influential corporate voices in the world of UGC and the social web is that of Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford Motor Company, Detroit.  He has over 30 thousand followers on twitter and is a genuine trail blazer in the use of social media marketing and PR techniques.

Today he used this voice to give advice on how to carve a Halloween pumpkin. To be fair it is not the only thing that Scott has talked about on twitter today.   He has referenced the fact that Ford management at all levels have taken compensation cuts.  He alludes to plans for ‘mind blowing’ in-car technology and promotes a post which describes Ford vehicles as ‘world class’.

What is interesting about the way that Scott uses social networks is that he blends the personal with the corporate.  It is a clear example of a trend towards greater informality and using human faces, acting in a personal way as part of the corporate brand and culture.  Though to be fair if I wanted to carve a pumpkin (and I don’t) there might be better places to go for advice.  I mean…ice cream scoops?

What is Say What?

14 10 2009

iCrossing Say WhatThe digital marketing agency iCrossing has released an iPhone app that allows users to search Twitter, Digg, forums and blogs direct from their phone.  ‘Say What’ scans social media networks and the user inputs keywords for live monitoring of online conversations.  “Our goal was to put one-click social media monitoring in the palm of the user’s hand” said Rachel Pasqua, director of mobile strategy, iCrossing.

Given that a year ago this kind of search was a novelty on a desktop computer and usually only available with paid for web services it represents a real technological leap and what’s more it’s free.

I downloaded the app to an iPod touch and it works. You can build up a history of searches and you can drill down into the source material; be they twitter streams or blogs.  It does however have real limitations.  Free desktop tools now come with various types of analysis built in and a phone screen is really too small for any meaningful monitoring.  What ‘So What’ really is, is a fantastic marketing tool for iCrossing.  It demonstrates that they really understand social media and they are at the forefront of the business sifting through the social web.  It also puts a reminder of that fact literally in the hands of their target audience.

Who the Fuck are Arctic Monkeys?

13 10 2009

EllipseArctic Monkeys were hailed as the musical standard bearers of the web 2.0 generation.  True, their MySpace presence was part of the package that propelled them to rock stardom but they have always denied that it was the defining factor. The real A-lister for the Gen Y music aficionados is Imogen Heap.

She shared every detail of the production of her latest album Ellipse, on Twitter, posting as she toiled on harmonies into the wee small hours .  For the first time fans could access an artist at work in real time.  Heap gained well over a million followers (more than Stephen Fry or Sarah Brown) on the micro blogging network in the process.  Whilst Lily Allen and Courtney Love are twitter qwitters, Heap keeps piling on the tweets.

Her involvement with the crowd extends to her music.  Last year as part of the Twitter Twestival fundraiser, Heap allowed fans to download all the vocals (track by track)  for a song that was originally composed for a TV programme but was never completed.  Using Soundcloud the vocals for the ‘The Song That Never Was’ were made available for fans and followers to complete the recording adding their own instrumentation and interpretation. There were over 500 versions recorded and uploaded.  That has to be some kind of record.

Top Five Posts – September 09

3 10 2009

Here are the top five posts on the PR and the Social Web this September. They are ranked by number of views with the highest at number one.

Click the titles to take you to the full post.

1. Twitter Profile Picture Gets the Bird

How twitter changed the default avatar and ‘lost’ a ton of profile pics in the process

2. Derren Brown’s Lottery Slips

How Derren gave the game away with his lottery number “prediction”

3. Google Says No Need to Tag Along

Google hasn’t used meta tags for years.

4. Ten Tips for Twitter Fame

A choice of ways to boosts your twitter profice

5. The Sun Won’t Win it

The Sun backs Cameron, but it won’t decide the result of the UK general election

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