Social Media Top 5: Twitter Loves Developers Again, YouTube Red, & Blame it on Content Shock

Twitter Developments


Credit: Nik Cubrilovic on Flickr

Once upon a time, Twitter closed its legs on third-party developers. I thought that made sense in terms of controlling how people accessed Twitter – and could see ads, but obviously developers, who helped make Twitter what it was in the early days, were put off. The great developments (Tweetdeck et al) were acquired, others were put at arm’s length. All, perhaps, in the name of making Twitter more streamlined, usable, and – oh yes- easier to sell to advertisers.

I have no idea if that was successful, though as a user I found the official apps easier and better to use, so I’m pretty happy. Now, with new CEO (and founder) Jack Dorsey, Twitter is looking to kiss and make up with developers. Hey, why not? Maybe Twitter needs to get more interesting. I don’t know jack. But this is an interesting change.

YouTube Red


YouTube has always been red, as anyone who has seen the mobile app icon knows, but now it has a product called Red. For ten bucks a month, you get ad-free YouTube. Hooray. (?) Hey now,  you can watch cat videos without those pesky ads. That’s all we really need to know, right?

The process is not without its bumps. There are podcasts with embedded advertising that are wondering about what Red means to them; meanwhile, The ESPNLand section of Disneyland* took their channels private, presumably until rights deals for sports clips gets worked out within the terms of the new regime. If some popular video series are locked out because of the way they advertise, that will generate a ton of complaints- I suspect the end result will be simpler than that, even if there is initial confusion.

Meanwhile, I am annoyed by many YouTube ads, but probably not enough so to pay $10 a month.. If I wanted Google Play music, however, that would be another story (spoiler alert: I don’t).

Question: will  there be a YouTube-free ad service? I might check that one out for the right price. Some ads are cool, even if I never remember what products they are pushing.

* I know I used the West Coast Disney reference for east-coast ESPN, but I hear reversing field is good in soccer, so why not?

Instagram Boomerang App: King Migraine in Reverse

So, now you can create 1-second video loops on Instagram that  can run in reverse.  I welcome any creative uses of this, but I think I will sit out the initial shiny object phase. I can’t even bear to seek out a current instance to embed here.

By the way – Instagram’s regular app lets you make 0-second video loops, which I like just fine. #getoffmylawn

Facebook Universal Search

Since Facebook search has been nearly useless to users like me (even searches within groups have been unreliable at best), if this works it could be a chance to leapfrog Twitter in this regard- or at least be as good.

Baseball Fun on Twitter

I love this so much – public libraries in Kansas City and Toronto got to trash-talking on Twitter. Why not? More institutions should have fun online. The key is to knowing the line between fun and offense, but how can you go wrong with showing off book tiles in creative ways?

Content Shocker

This ids #6, which means I can get away with slacking off and doing 4 soon.

Anyway, I saw this post from the Bufferapp folks; an attempt to face up to a loss in referral traffic from social media. Brave talk from a company that is founded on social media content management, so th post brings the promise of some insights on the challenges of social media.



…as i clicked on the post, they brought up the notion of “content shock” or “content crush” or whatever meaningless buzzword you would like to apply – which I still think is a silly notion in many aspects. If you are worried about competing with the tons of content out there, you are playing the wrong game and will lose. If you are creating excellent content, and it serves your audience, then “content shock” is irrelevant, and can be left for the vacuous and shallow, where it belongs.

The people with the best content are not complaining about content shock. Still, the alternate solutions in the post, such as paid placement and, well, being more relevant and high-quality, make this a better post than the initial diversionary talk of content shock promises.

Social Media Top 5: Dude Says Twitter’s Dead Because of Online Abuse – Let’s Get Him!


Image Credit: “Mark” on Flickr

Is Abuse Killing Twitter or Should People Who Say So Shut Their Filthy Pieholes?

Of all the reasons one could give for an eventual downfall of Twitter as a business, here is an article that puts much of the blame (for something that hasn’t happened yet) on online abuse. Of course I agree online abuse is a problem, but if it’s a reason for a social media platform business to fail, then the whole Internet should go down; if you want to find abuse, shaming and harassment you don’t have to go far to find it.

I have a hard time seeing the author’s point- first, is Twitter dying? Sure they need to innovate, and change to reflect the current usage model (see Moments), but abuse is everywhere on the net. So- asking people to “be nice” on Twitter isn’t going to save it. That’s not the same as saying we shouldn’t be asking people to be nicer online, so please go support Civilination (tell them Doug threatened you into coming; they’ll love that).

Side note on the article’s ending: I would never buy tickets to a beautiful town square, but I might to a raging mosh pit. I suppose I’m missing the writer’s point, but I’m doing that on purpose because I thought he made the point poorly (oh no! Abuse Alert!).

Our So-Called Online Lives
The idea that we “fake it” a bit in our social media profiles is not a new one.  And the examples here are tragic; people putting up happy fronts online while the truth is far from it. However, they are great reminders to most of us that most people’s online versions of their lives are far from the complete story, and never as completely happy or successful (or smart!) as presented, even if the usual gap is much less stark (and less likely to sell copies of the New York Post). I don’t see this purely as a novel or frightening aspect of the social web, though- we all market the good side of ourselves, and for the most part, why shouldn’t we? We’re trying to get and keep jobs, friends and reputation. Why purposely expose our angst (go ahead and try, maybe you will be shamed and abused for being an “over-sharer,” and Twitter will go out of business as a direct result!).When looking at my social profiles, you should always assume I am leaving out details for privacy and dullness rather than trying to whitewash my life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t do that too. Is it the fault of the platforms or the people that they whitewash? No. We need to be smarter about how we view our friends’ so-called online lives.

New York Post is Officially the Paper of Record for Social Media News

Another New York Post headline says it all: “Meerkat expert in love triangle at zoo attacked monkey-handler rival.” I honestly read that initially to mean she was an expert in the streaming video app Meerkat, which means I pay attention to too many social media gurus for my mental health (and also means as a “former” Meerkat expert, she must now focus on the Periscope app). How disappointed was I to find that a Meerkat expert at a zoo actually focused on animals? Still, I expect that most “social media platform gurus” behave this way.

It’s Over for IHOP’s Twitter

International House of Pancakes got some (mostly) positive attention for being playful on Twitter recently. However, as I write, my desperate plea to them for Twitter attention had gone unanswered. For an hour. AN HOUR.

Sorry, IHOP, game over.

Final Note: Gratuitous Self-Promotion

For about a decade, I have been a happy listener and rare contributor to the For Immediate Release podcast. With the recent “retirement” of founding c-host Neville Hobson, remaining founder Shel Holtz is continuing with a new panel format, and I was lucky to be included in last week’s edition. It’s always fun to chat with smart people in the industry about PR, social media and other communications topics, and I hope this continues. Anyway, please have a listen to last week’s Episode 4, along with the other episodes in the continuing series.

Social Media Top 5: Overvaluing Trump Tweets; Twitter Moments; Prejudging & Justine

Trump Tweets as Valuable as Media Coverage?  


Image Credit: Mike Licht on Flickr

I am legitimately impressed that presidential candidate Donald Trump composes his own Tweets. I am also legitimately concerned for the sanity of his communications director. However, the idea that he is getting “free press” in a specific dollar amount for each Tweet is ridiculous to anyone (like me) who has had to talk people down from using the ludicrous, and flat-out-wrong, ad-value-equivalency metric. Call it valuable, even more valuable than ads (meh), but do not equate it with paid media. So can it, losers.

Twitter Moments

I love to look askance at new fancy features of social networks (Facebook video profiles, please die), but I have to say I like Twitter Moments. Why? Twitter has become more of an information discovery tool than a conversation one, so putting together a catchier curation of some of the day’s topics of interest makes sense. Some people say it won’t save Twitter; maybe so, and sure they would do well to figure out revenue opportunities, but I can only think of one of the things I like best about the New York Times app: the morning notification of the day’s top stories. If Twitter can figure out how to get me (and a few million of my close friends) to make a habit of checking out Moments, maybe there is something there.

Side note: I first saw Moments posted as a video in Tweetdeck, which did not support the video playback. Twitter, of course, owns Tweetdeck. Oopsie.

ScreenClip Hijacking Web Sites or Annotating Shared Links?

After all the recent outcry about ad blockers and how they will destroy advertising, now I see complaints about a service called It seems that, a URL-shortening and sharing service,  uses frames to let sharers attach a note over the page they are sharing. This can take the form of a promotion or ad, so the question is: is hijacking your web site’s precious real estate, or is it allowing users (including businesses who might recommend good content as a way of getting attention) to annotate shared links with “post-its” for the friends and customers with whom they share? I’m sympathetic to the hijacking argument, but I am not 100% convinced. Would you be mad if a local merchant recommended you a book and gave you a bookmark with an ad for their services on it? Perhaps that’s an apt analogy. I’ll certainly think more on this, but I have learned (from myself) not to instantly take the jeremiads of a marketing blogger as gospel. Let’s debate this sucker.

Parents, Kids & Social Media: Time to Stop and Be Smart

My buddy Jeff Esposito at Kaspersky wrote a post on how parents should think  about privacy (and dignity) regarding their children and social media. While I argue that making your profile private isn’t a preference for a lot of people, I strongly believe that being private about your kids is crucial. It’s great that people are proud of their children, but who really needs to know? It’s easy to set kid photos to private on Facebook, Flickr and other sites, and everyone should do so for kids under a certain age. I always set photos and videos to private for young kids- and that goes triple for other people’s kids. Now that my son is in high school and his teams’ exploits make the papers (notice I’m not linking here, see “dignity” below), I don’t bother with that anymore, but pre-high school there was never a question. That’s smart privacy.

Dignity comes into play when kids are old enough to have their own social media accounts. Kids don’t want you to play along more than necessary (I know- posting a “cute kid” photo when my son first joined Facebook, and tagging him, did not go over well), so don’t embarrass, shame them or otherwise impinge on their fun. That’s not the same as saying don’t monitor and correct bad behavior, but back off, mom and dad.

Leave Justine Alone!

Remember that communications professional who made a tacky, offensive AIDS joke and got fired while she was flying to Africa? Justine Sacco got excoriated – crucified, really, and worse – on social media, to an extent far beyond the reach of her crime. She was even featured in Jon Ronson’s book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, which is a worthy read even if it could have gone further in examining the gender differences in online shaming (that is, what women have to endure is generally far more disgusting and threatening than the abuse directed at men online). Now she’s found good work, as PR for the fantasy sports gaming (gambling?) site FanDuel.

Controversial company? Perhaps. Getting some crisis communications chops as FanDuel (with rival Draft Kings) is accused of the gambling equivalent of insider trading? Definitely

Heap scorn because she is doing her job? Get lost, New York Post

Social Media Top 5: Yelp If I’m Bothering You Peeple


Image Credit: redhope on Flickr

Yelp if I’m Bothering You

I am trying to be positive and find a reason this new app “Peeple” should exist. After all, I’m hardly the only person writing about this and it’s hardly original to simply trash it. Their messaging is infused with a relentless positivity, but the immediate assumption across the Internet was that an app used to rate people (rather than services or companies) would be used for negativity, bullying and all sorts of harassment. Why would anyone think that?

The real terrifying thing might be that a headline calling this app “terrifying” actually passed muster in The Washington Post. A new era, indeed. I’m silently judging everything involved in this story.

Oh, and there’s already an app named “Peeple.” I’m beginning to think this is actually an Onion story. It’s almost too good.

Meanwhile, Slate thinks the real problem won’t be the negativity, but “empty positivity,” in a nice attempt at- empty positivity(?). Ok, I’ll stop trying to defend it.

And if I complain about negative comments on Peeple, will there be a Streisand effect? I now have a headache.

But wait a minute – Snopes is casting doubt on the actual launch of the app, based on the lack of any real information.

UPDATE: Since I took my sweet-flippin’ time writing and pressing publish on this post, the below Tweet from one of the (new)Peeple founders  seems to have happened. Deleting negative comments about an app that is designed to host negative (and positive) comments about real people? I am more than ever convinced that this is performance art and not an actual app intended for release. I’m sure there will be more, and better chronicled elsewhere. I’m getting some popcorn.

Facebook Privacy/Facebook Premium/ Facebook Underwear

I can’t even, as the kids say. First, we need to be mad at people for being naive about the reappearance of the ineffective Facebook “I declare my privacy to be sacrosanct” hoax, then we’re supposed to roll our eyes at people posting rants about the people telling off everyone who posts complaints about their naive friends. Then we’re supposed to laugh at parody versions, like the one that says Facebook will steal your underwear or something- I guess I should like the parodies; one friend even was amazed I didn’t write one. I can’t, the whole thing makes me want to take a nap, mostly because the hoax passed with much less fanfare many months ago.

No. Dear God, No

Facebook is starting to let users make video profile photos. I’m not prone to seizures, but this sounds like something I cannot get into. I’ll be happy to see any creative uses, but I’ll be just as happy to see the fun police who shut down Twitter’s animated gif profiles in 2012 to get back to work.

Check Your Ego at the Draft:

I’m not going to link to a post and call anyone out, as I’m not interested in shaming anyone (who won’t care anyway) nor in feeding egos. It’s no news that social media posts are very self reverential–oops, I mean referential–and often that’s necessary to bring a personal point of view, but I have seen a spate of posts recently that give great points, but could use some editing. I think  perhaps a great editorial job for bloggers could be an “ego eraser.” Would that pay? I’m going to keep it passive-aggressive here because sometimes that’s how it should be.

Now I need to re-read my own writing to see how awful I am on this count.

Twitter removing share counts from sharing buttons? 

Many marketers, publishers and egotists love seeing share counts for posts. Heck, I have them on my sharing buttons. I like to know what kind of reaction my posts are getting. So what should we make of the news that Twitter is looking to remove access to counts from its API? How inconvenient is this (a lot, to a few)?

What else does it mean? Control, most likely. Twitter has a recent history of restricting and regulating what third-party apps does with its content and data (see search result below), so this is not out of character. It would be a shame if this means losing Twitter counts to sit alongside numbers of Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus shares, but I am also curious to know what they are doing if they are going to withhold this particular piece of information.

twitter shuts third party apps Google Search


Man, that was more negative than positive this week. I’m going out to enjoy the sunshine.

Social Media Top 5: Check Out My Peanutize

Here we go: another popular TV show or movie, another chance to change your social media profile pictures in the style of the characters. The latest is to promote the upcoming “Peanuts” movie, so now you can “Peanutize” yourself.

First of all, kudos for not calling it “Peanutsize” (say “I’m posting  my Peanutsize on Facebook” out loud and tell me that’s not hilarious).

Also, mine didn’t go so well.


Long-Form Content Experiment

BuzzSumo did an extensive study of content types to see which kinds get more links and shares. As someone involved in SEO, I appreciate the distinction, and definitely pay attention. One finding, that long-form content (longer than 1,000 words) tends to get more links AND shares, caught my eye. It syncs with things I have been hearing the last year or so, that long-form content is more engaging and that people will share it because it’s substantive. Perhaps you can also assume that the people who do share it have done so more thoughtfully than they would in sharing or linking to, say, a cat photo.

That said, I wondered; if I put some fake long content, would people share it without reading it?  I published the verbal equivalent of two $100 bills wrapped around plain paper, thanks to a handy lorem ipsum generator. The results? As I write this, the post got about 5-6 times the normal share rate of one of my blog posts; it’s not a definitive finding, as I’m sure several people simply got the joke and passed it along, but I do wonder how many people share longer-form content without actually reading it.

Shocker: Another Hashtag Fail

This is obvious and inevitable, but I just wanted to mark it here so I remember it for reference. Yes, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had a hashtag to ask him questions, and yes people trolled it. At this point, I’m not sure anymore that these things are such a terrible idea. Someone like Trump will have hecklers anywhere he goes, so trolls are pretty easy to ignore in this setting, and as easy to embrace. Is it any different from any other campaign event, whether he is an active or passive participant? Probably not. It’s time for any brand looking at hashtag campaigns to decide if they are worth it based on the potential return, rather than the predictable risk. One generally outweighs the other.

Universal New Yorker Cartoon Caption

Apparently, there are “universal New Yorker cartoon captions.” Apparently, there’s a new suggestion that you can apply to any New Yorker cartoon, because that’s a thing.

OK, fine, but these might be better.


On the other hand, we might as well just make fetch happen.

Groupon Layoffs

I saw this coming when I got a Groupon for Groupons. It usually is true for restaurants, so maybe that would have been as good a method as any to announce layoffs.

Social Media Top 5: DisLike-sia and Other Facebook Stuff


Image Credit: Rebecca on Flickr


Is Facebook finally implementing the long-discussed Dislike Button? Of course not. It’s a silly idea that makes no sense, not to mention that Facebook has long said it wouldn’t do that.

That did not prevent people from breathlessly reporting that Facebook was doing just that after some comments by founder Mark Zuckerberg last week. Of course, it was bunk; Facebook is looking at ways for people to express empathy or sympathy when acknowledging someone’s bad news on Facebook- times when a “like” feels awkward or inappropriate). Apparently, simply commenting isn’t enough, which I suppose I can understand (or empathize with).

The real story here isn’t the button, but that people rush off to publish in this age of the continuous news cycle without considering to absorb the actual facts. There was some backlash straightening out the facts, but the damage continued through the weekend, for example the incorrect original reporting being the basis for a quiz question on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”

Reading is easy. Comprehension is hard.

So for now (and forever), haters will have to dislike Facebook content the way they know best – by trolling, bullying and creative hostility.


Signal for Facebook

Meanwhile, in news about products Facebook is actually introducing, the curation (my word) app Signal is being rolled out for media partners. Signal allows media partners to embed Facebook content in stories. I see it as some version of Storify, albeit limited to Facebook, but likely with some better tools for finding and collecting content.

The real news to me is that this product presents the possibility that Facebook is improving its search. If that is true and becomes available as improved search for all users, that would be a huge improvement; and Facebook will have to improve search if they want to become the de facto Web for people.

Strangers in my Facebook Feed

Small bother, but I had recently noticed more unfamiliar names in my Facebook feed. I wouldn’t think too much of it but a few other friends who are power Facebook users definitely noticed the same thing. I haven’t found any confirmation that Facebook has done some tweaks to the main feed to show more friends of friends or something like that, but I’m curious, if anyone knows more than I do.

Crystal- Meh? 

Not a Facebook item, but saw a recommendation for a service called Crystal that analyzes a person’s online social media and recommends how to interact with that person. Not sure of the algorithm or the accuracy, but here’s how you can talk to me, for what that’s worth:


One Last Time – I Repeat: Facebook is Not Introducing a Dislike Button

Please make it stop.

Social Media Top 5 – Slacktivism is Awesome & So Might Be Facebook Mention


Photo Credit: Rauter25 on Flickr

Avatars-For-a-Cause, Now with Extra Lazy Added

In general, I am not a fan of monkeying with profile pics on social networks. Your avatar is the way people recognize you, especially as messages flash by in news streams or list columns. I try to change mine rarely, though have occasionally succumbed to temporary fits of slacktivism, adding rainbows to my photo to mark gay rights progress in the US Supreme Court, or being bullied to use a holiday avatar because it’s “fun” (spoiler: it’s not fun, it’s a pain but I did use a Christmas avatar once or twice to shut up my friends).

In general, my attitude is “don’t mess with my avatar,” an attitude I also extend to lunch and naps. That said, many people like to do it to show solidarity for causes, and I won’t judge them (much). It was interesting to note that one of the smaller pains in the temporary-avatar process has been removed, as Facebook now allows you to set temporary avatars that revert to the original after a predetermined time, so you don’t have to remember to change it back. Armchair activism has now evolved into La-Z-Boy activism, and I approve.

Facebook Mention

Facebook has been rolling out a new livestreaming app called Facebook Mention. My friend Amy Vernon got early access (she is far more important than I am) and posted about her initial experience here. Here is what is NOT important:

  • Celebrities, Internet Famous, and verified accounts got access before you did. Deal with it, you loser/nobody. The hype fodder goes to the hypers.
  • The features aren’t fully fleshed out or functioning. Here is where you get to insult the Celebrities, Internet Famous, and verified accounts by referring to them as “beta users.” HA! GUINEA PIGS, ENJOY YOUR INFERIOR NOT-READY PRODUCT! Amy details a few of the features in her article, and I am sure most will be addressed

Here is what IS important:

  • Owning livestreaming is one piece of owning your life on the Internet. If Facebook can get this right, imagine the time we will spend on their platform consuming media, holding events,  and having discussions. We have already seen the hunger for a good “live chat” app, as people have run headlong to try Blab in apparent dissatisfaction with Google Hangouts. If it works- and more importantly, if they get people to use it- Facebook may have a win here.

Techmeme is Ten

Techmeme chief Gabe Rivera posted about the anniversary – on LinkedIn, natch – and I am reminded at how durable such a simple curation site can be if it simply does its job without being fancy, while still adapting to new times, new sources and new topics. As per Rivera’s article, Techmeme does not rely on clickbait- not that there’s anything wrong with that, but more info/fewer distractions is quite alright as well.

Conference Season Can Be Silly

I’m just wondering who thought it was a great idea to schedule Content Marketing World (a conference I would like to attend some day) and Inbound (which I have attended multiple times but regrettably missed this year) during the same week. I’m sure this isn’t the only case of two events targeting (at least to some extent) similar audiences occurring simultaneously, but maybe these folks should talk before next year. They could each double their take from freelance consultants and professional conference attendees.

I Still Get My News From Twitter

“Twitter is Dead” all you want, but when I am looking for information on what is happening now (as I write this, I was trying to figure out when the rain-delayed US Open Men’s final would start), that’s where I go. Not Facebook, not Google, not even the broadcast. Best search function wins.

Social Media Top 5: Eat Whopper and Die!

A bit of variety in this week’s Social Media Top 5, starting with the Burger Wars, even if it’s not strictly a social media story:


Image Credit: Surian Soosay on Flickr

McDonald’s to Burger King: Eat Whopper and Die!

This past week, Burger King, in a bid for attention, offered a truce to McDonald’s; for Peace Day, they said, why not do a joint burger and donate proceeds to charity? McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook didn’t take the bait, and replied in rather withering fashion, declining the offer.

The reaction? Some people seemed to thing McDonald’s blew it, or at least missed an opportunity. My reaction? McDonald’s is #1, and they have no obligation to participate in #2 Burger King’s cry for attention, however cynically wrapped in a good cause. Perhaps Easterbrook’s reply was a bit rude in tone, but on the other hand “Eat Whopper* and Die” (my words but he is welcome to them) is not an out-of-bounds response. Go give Wendy’s a shot, Burger King. No? I thought so.

I present Tom Brady doing his Burger King impression:


*I actually like Whoppers, not that it matters.

Social Media is DEAD!!!!!

OK, not really (and I hate the “X is dead” tropes), but I read with interest Josh Bernoff’s reaction to Augie Ray’s post on social media’s house being on fire and it needs to be rebuilt, or something. My first impression is that Bernoff is saying “Burn, baby burn,” while Ray sees some new unicorn farm springing up in its place (or something). What I do take away from this, on Bernoff’s side, are two things:

  • That most brands are not worth talking about and should not use social media for that purpose (not a new notion but worth repeating) – by the way, I’m not so sure that Apple is still one of those companies that meets that criterion; and
  • Compelling content is another good use of social media. Based on my work with Stone Temple Consulting, I wouldn’t limit that notion to social media, though I would love to see social have more of an impact on search results.

Social media dead? Should it be taken out of marketers’ hands? We know that most marketers are far too lazy to kill a vampire properly, with all that garlic and wooden stakes and probably some sort of prayer mumbo-jumbo. That’s a lot of work- so we’re stuck with vam- er, social media and the marketers who work in it. That’s not as bad a thing as the “dead” crowd would like to believe.

If anything, this content is fun for tech PR people who get to watch ex-Forrester analysts do battle with each other via blog. Keep it coming.

Instagram lets you post not-square images. Hurrah?

I have always considered Instagram to be the Internet’s answer to crappy photography – hence the neo-Polaroid trappings, the unnecessary-yet-necessary filters, and the emphasis on mobile over desktop ease-of-use. So, is Instagram’s recent announcement that it will tolerate non-square image formats a love note to photographers? Nah, it’s more likely a sop to movie studios and other commercial entities whose content is more Panavision than Ektachrome.

Not that that’s a bad thing…

There has been an awakening… #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

A video posted by Star Wars (@starwars) on

Rules are Terrible Unless They’re Not

Speaking of Instagram: Hayley Bloomingdale has decided that she is the arbiter of what is right in Instagram etiquette.  I don’t much care for people setting rules that others must live by in social media- we all can do what we want. Besides, nobody can replace Kim Kardashian as my queen of vacuous debutantes who actually give decent social media advice.

That said, most of Bloomingdale’s rules are not bad ones, but the last one- no cats? I don’t think so.


Thus guy ate a whole can of food, then caught a bird and ate it. Waiting for him to turn back into Bruce Banner

A photo posted by Doug Haslam (@doughaslam) on

#5: One Last Thought

Whether you do PR, marketing or some other form of communications, measurement is key. If some “measurement guru” shoves advice in your face (or your browser), ask yourself one question: is this a bunch of basic math, or are there some practical takeaways I can use to improve my programs? The answer makes the difference between snake oil and delivering results. That is all.

Social Media Top 5: I Get Positive About Brands Online

As the New Social Media Top 5 gathers momentum, this week I noticed a number of stories about brands online and how they handled a situation well or did something I liked. That’s right, I’m toning down the snark (sort of) to show what a nice guy I can be. Many of these stories are well-picked-over like a yard sale at noon, but I’ll try to find one question or nugget in each that has been less-discussed:

Image Credit: Anne Worner on Flickr

Image Credit: Anne Worner on Flickr


  • What we all know – When a brand makes a controversial decision, the tendency is to stand behind the decision without spending time (and reputation capital) feeding the trolls who disagree with it online. Target recently decided to stop separating toy aisles into “girls” and “boys,” and predictably the mouth-breathing keyboard-peckers decided that was un-American or something and took to the Internet with their fair and balanced opinions. A prankster by the name of Even Melgaard took Target’s decision to ignore the haters out of their hands by setting up a fake account and textually abusing them, using Target’s logo to give the appearance of an “official” customer care channel. Most brands’ first reaction would be to go after the imposter with a cease-and-desist order to protect their trademark; however, the most talked-about reaction was Target’s humorous posting of a sale on troll dolls. Well played, we all applauded.
  • What most of us didn’t talk about – Target’s lawyers are most definitely involved as far as this being a likely trademark violation. As funny as this guy is, I’d be shocked if they don’t ask (if they haven’t already) for Melgaard to stop using the logo. One of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s favorite sports is to force applicants to fiercely protect marks if they want to keep it, much the way the Caesars forced gladiators to fight to the death in Roman times. Expect “Ask ForHelp” to stop using the logo at some point once Target’s lawyers get back from the Hamptons.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

  • What we all know – Kentucky Fried Chicken recently revived the “beloved” Colonel Sanders character. Darrell Hammond, well known as a mimic from “Saturday Night Live,” stepped right in and did a swell job. Apparently some people thought it was creepy (and others thought maybe bringing back a Southern white gentleman dressed like a plantation owner as a spokesperson was a little odd in the same year South Carolina finally decided to remove the Confederate Battle Flag) but to see what KFC did next, I guess the reasons were not that it was like bringing a dead guy back to life on TV like some kind of ad-zombie (who can forget Orville Reddenbocker’s chilling return from the dead?). Instead, they introduced ads featuring fellow SNL alumnus Norm MacDonald, best known for doing cannily inaccurate impressions of Burt Reynolds and making OJ Simpson jokes, to take over the impression. Did KFC listen to its customers and give them what they wanted? Well, they’re definitely listening.
  • What I think – We are all being trolled, and I hope I’m right in thinking that. Norm MacDonald comes off as Norm MacDonald in a Colonel Sanders suit, and if they did that on purpose they are brilliant. Perhaps they will follow with other SNL alums taking their turns doing a poor impression. I’d watch that, if only to see if they’d cast Garrett Morris.


  • What we know – Probably not much: “Cooties” is a flick coming out in September about kids who turn into zombie-like beasts, and we know it will be good not only because Elijah Wood is in it (some of his role choices make me think of Wood as a Crispin Glover, except if people liked him), but because the film is a blender creation from people behind the “Saw” movies and “Glee” (which could have used a few more gory deaths in my opinion).
  • What you don’t care about but I do – On seeing the trailer online, I blew it up on the TV screen for my family and promptly announced that seeing this movie once it comes out will be a family outing- something I posted on Twitter as well:

  • That the writer (and one of the stars) of the movie as well as the director favorited, Retweeted me and followed me tickled me in a way Twitter used to in the old days. This is less the case of a big brand deigning to favor its Twitter followers with responses, but I felt it more a fan acknowledgment by some folks who are working hard to get this movie noticed. I hope Cooties gets some screens in Boston. Who wants to go?

Three is enough; this is getting long



Social Media Top 5: The Triumphant Revival

I’ve laid off the blog so long – not to mention the “Social Media Top 5” semi-feature – that one might think it was “dead.” I dislike when people in marketing declare things dead just to get attention (almost as much as when marketers declare the latest unproven, not-widely-available tool “the next big thing”), so time for a revival and five things that, like this blog, are most definitely not “dead.”


Photo Credit: Maureen Barlin on Flickr

1. “LOL” – According to Facebook, people are not using “LOL” as much to express laughter. Apparently, “haha” is more popular. I understand the emergence of emoji’s as more and more of these nasty critters are a click or so away from making you look hip in front of your friends. I have a hard time understanding why four characters trumps three in this age of brevity and autocorrect; why not the simple “heh?” – perhaps too understated. Also, the Facebook was based on a week’s worth of posts, so simmer down, people. 

2. “Real-Time Marketing” – This one’s not dead because the “real-time marketing” ghost that people have been chasing ever since Oreo’s heavily-planned moment of serendipity happened was never really alive. You either have a marketing or PR team in place that can act quickly to news events, or you don’t. That notion didn’t suddenly become evident at the 2013 Super Bowl (unless you were an attention-seeking social media blogger, then it was the Greatest Thing Ever That Never Happened Before). If you want to give up on “newsjacking” because it’s too hard because you can’t keep up with millions of Tweets, you’re thinking about it incorrectly anyway- find your niche and show up to your audience- not the world. Take advantage of news or don’t, no in-between. Nothing died, nothing to see here. Meanwhile, I will continue to walk out of any conference speech or panel that lazily brings up “Oreo at the Superbowl.”

3. Google Plus – This one is harder for me, as I have long been a skeptic of those who would put Google Plus  alongside Facebook as a viable competitor in social networking. I was never a G+ hater so much as an eyebrow-wagger at those who declared it the Greatest Thing Ever, even touting tutorials on G+ business pages before such things actually existed. So long as Facebook had everyone on the planet, that was never a worthy or realistic goal, or a realistic way to consider it. Google’s habit of pulling the plug on services that a small number of fierce fans love, in the interest of re-allocating resources and focus, has also been a factor in the frustrations many have over G+. Anger over the recent a changes to Google Plus was fed by those recollections, I suspect. But saying Google Plus is dead because they are re-focusing the product (I tend to agree with my colleague Mark Traphagen’s assessment) is not close to true. You may not use G+, you may not like what it was or what it might be, but it is still here and it is what it is.

Bonus plug: my employer, Stone Temple Consulting, recently released a study on what gets engagement on Google Plus– I’m biased, but I think it is good fodder for those who don’t mind the fact that G+ is “dead.”)


Image Credit: Tom Simpson on Flickr

4, Music – Well, maybe music is actually dead. Sinead O’Connor said so. Perhaps she’s upset she never managed to kill it herself, though I suspect music will live past a mass-media entity like Rolling Stone featuring the not-as-dumb-as-we-want-her-to-be Kim Kardashian on the cover.

5. One More – If you want to declare something dead,  I recommend a safer, unassailable bet. Of course, saying that nearly guarantees that Columbia House will return in some form.

Final Word: On the futility of anger: A self-proclaimed optimist says that the next time he sees one of those pessimists, he’s going to take his half-full glass and pour it over his head. His friend replies, “But then your glass would be empty.”  My glass is empty, and the fridge is full of beer. Drink up, folks.

Bonus: I’m not using an image from the Monty Python and the Holy Grail “Not Dead Yet” sketch to illustrate this post. You’re welcome.