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When Soaps Surprise, The Social Media Goes Wild!

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We all have watched the good old soaps, whether you are a fan of the cobbles in Coronation Street, a Dales lover in Emmerdale or a fan of the Mitchell family in Eastenders, you’re bound to have watched at least one episode before realising they either were or were not for you, so it shouldn’t be of any surprise to you, that sometimes the soaps can have a little more up their sleeves than the cast and filming crew let off and that certainly has been the case in tonight’s Eastenders.

I watched Eastenders tonight (25/09/2014) like I do every night and after being promised on Eastenders’ Twitter, @bbceastenders I wondered what surprise would be in store for me when I watched and being a fan of the legendary Mitchell family, it was awesome to see the return or brief appearance of the classic Barbara Windsor aka Peggy Mitchell. I literally jumped out of my chair with surprise, not something I do every night I can tell you. Eastenders sure did let a great surprise out of the bag and just in time to stop Sharon and Phil’s wedding too, I wonder what the princess will say when she finds out her previous mother in law isn’t happy? No longer can she say “get outta ma pub”, so I question whether not bringing Peggy back for the wedding in Albert Square is actually the right decision or not? Anyhow, Peggy told Ronnie that she is going back with Aunt Sal (Peggy’s sister) to stop the wedding. Enough of the soap story anyway, what I wanted to draw your attention to here was the impact of how one surprise from a much loved television show, can lead to a trend on Twitter. That sure happened tonight and “Peggy Mitchell” was trending. With many spreading joy and love for the return of the matriarch who still seems very popular amongst fans of the soap.

It sure does show that when people are happy, shocked or surprised they don’t hold back telling the whole of the world, or the whole of Twitter about their pleased state of mind. Twitter is great for that and maybe sharing your emotions on Twitter isn’t such a bad thing? I mean, it’s only a drama after all, what is the worst that can happen? Below are just some of the tweets that fans mentioned when tweeting about Peggy’s return.

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So has Eastenders’ surprise really surprised? I think it has worked and sure do think that Dominic Treadwell Collins (Exec Producer) did a fantastic job in this. He is just full of surprises lately, he has brought back many popular characters, some permanently and some just for a quick visit, but every time he does this, Twitter users and Eastenders’ Fans tweet and trends start, one I remember was #PoorDot when the lovable Grandma found out Nick Cotton, her son, had died… later to be revealed he isn’t infact dead!! I’d hate to tell Dot that, but no doubt she will find out soon. You have to give it to Eastenders, their top trump lately has been engaging with fans by informing them of surprises and showing they are involved in their lives by offering ‘surprises’, I do think though that perhaps all of the social media from the soap is a good way of winning soap of the year. Immediately after the ‘surprise’ was revealed, @bbceastenders tweeted “Love tonight's show? Then prove it by voting us Best Soap in the 2014” So I cannot help but think that the soap are doing this for votes too. Nonetheless, the awareness of Eastenders sure is had on Twitter, parody accounts of some of the fictional characters are around, Ian Beale for example and trending occurs, it really is a great tactic to gaining popularity and the public’s support, ratings may increase too.

However, one of the funniest tweets of the night, was this one below, that compared Peggy’s return to football, sorry footie fans.

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What has been your most favourite ‘soap’ moment? Can you recall the last time you were left gobsmacked by television? The reaction of one popular character tonight, sure did show that when something on soap happens that means a great deal in a story-line, the fans react, so is it time we started having more of a say in our soaps?

Is The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Really Worth The Money?

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After the long speculation, rumours and leaked photographs, I imagine that all of Apple’s loyal customers and new customers, were extremely happy when the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus came out a few weeks ago. Unsurprisingly, Apple had a great pre-order amount for both of their products, more than four million customers ordered in just 24 hours, how happy Apple must have been! This increase in pre-orders compared to the iPhone 5 was more than double and the sales are still growing in numbers. So what makes Apple’s new iPhone 6 so great? Is it the fact that the new phone is so much bigger than the existing iPhone? After all, the iPhone 6 plus is a whopping 5.5 inches big! A bigger screen than any other iPhone for sure. What on earth were Apple thinking making a phone that big? It must have been a trial for future generations of the popular phones surely? I mean, phones started getting smaller a few years ago, long gone were the aerials that mobile phones used to have, replaced by Motorola flip phones and the disco light Nokia phones, the ‘brick’ depth of mobiles started to decrease, but now the smartphones are getting bigger and harder to fit in any pocket, maybe fashion designers should bear that in mind when designing their spring and summer collections for 2015?

Although the iPhone 6 plus has a bigger screen, that isn’t the only different, of course it isn’t, I hear you say, but can you really want a phone that is just this big? Well, it depends if you like Retina HD displays I guess, the picture, video and visual appearance on the new iPhones must be fantastic for sure. I still have my Samsung Galaxy S2, which came out many years ago without the Retina HD display that Apple uses, but my phone does just the job. I can call people, text and even connect to the internet, plus my loyal phone didn’t cost as near as much as Apple’s phone does. Shocking news, the iPhone 6 costs around £540 whereas the iPhone 6 plus cost starts at £619, so you’d have to excuse my excuse not to want to try it. I am loyal to Samsung anyway and am waiting for their Galaxy S6 to come out, maybe then I will upgrade at last. You’d be forgiven though, if you did upgrade to the new iPhones, I am sure you may be get some great enjoyment out of it, other than the Retina HD display, you also get a larger screen, a quick Apple-designed A8 chip which will make your phone run really fast and very power effective too. I also hear, from friends, that their battery life is much longer than before, apparently almost as twice as long as their iPhone 5, so I can’t help but feel envious about this, my battery only lasts around 6-8 hours when calling and connecting to 3G in a day, not long at all. Another feature that I quite like the sound of, is the secure way to access the new iPhones and making payments by just using your finger, your finger-print enables the phone to know that it is you accessing your phone, so the security here is pretty epic…let’s hope nobody wants your phone bad enough to cut off your hand mind.  But joking aside, Apple has been very security smart here and I applaud that, after the company has received many complaints from annoyed parents previously about how easy it was for their children to run up a bill by downloading apps without parental permission from the Apple store.

So the iPhone may have a hefty price-tag, but can you genuinely say it doesn’t appeal to you? Apple really has gone all out here, although Samsung mocked the company’s effort in their new iPhone by making videos, known as ‘It Doesn’t Take a Genius’ or #notethedifference . View the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vA8xPyBAs_o&list=PLMKk4lSYoM-yi1RcmxhgbkFxIAa577K4A Samsung criticized Apple’s approach to move forward, insisting that their live streams are rubbish, they then show a big screen phone and mocked Apple’s bigger iPhone 6 plus, insisting “that most phones have big screens nowadays anyway.” But despite their attempts to try and mock Apple, it seems that the demand for the products has been extremely high and welcome by Apple, so maybe Samsung were just jealous of the company? I do admit, that the iPhones have a much nicer feel and finish to them than my Samsung Galaxy S2 does. No doubt Apple could flaw Samsung with some of their failings on the Galaxy collections, such as battery life for instance, no way could my battery outdo the iPhones and the quality certainly isn’t high end either.

Although the iPhone 6 may seem better, the price obviously makes it so, there has been a great deal of complaints about the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus just bending. The phone isn’t supposed to be just bending and users have found out that their half a thousand pound and a little more purchase may not be what they was expecting.

According to The Guardian

“A number of users across various forumssites and Twitter have reported – and pictured – that their phones have become warped after they sat or bent down with them in front and rear trouser pockets.

The reports come just after an insurance company claimed that the new iPhones are the most robust ever – though its tests didn't include bending.

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The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus chassis is milled from a solid piece of aluminium alloy whose composition is secret. The weak area of the phone appears to be around the volume buttons, where the frame is at its thinnest and creates a fulcrum point around which the phone bends. Surprisingly, the screen does not break when the phone bends – though it does if the phone is then bent back to a flat profile.

Apple is not the first to have the problem of a large-screened metal-framed smartphone bending under use. Sony’s Xperia Z1, which had a 5in screen and a metal frame, saw users complaining that they bent in pockets”

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So what would you do now, is this a fault of Apple’s creation? Or is this acceptable? I wouldn’t appreciate a bending phone, not only is this odd but it makes me question the durability of the phone just like the many who have purchased it and I haven’t even ordered it. I think I would rather save my money than buying this, what is the point in upgrading every year anyway, right?

#bendingiphone is becoming a popular hashtag, maybe a trend will start soon? Samsung will be happy, I feel another video appearing soon.

Would you buy it now, after knowing the phone bends? You spent the money, so I’ll let you decide! Get in touch, leave a comment below or tweet @mattcliffy25 @GiraffeSM

Is Tesco’s Sarcasm and Insults Damaging Their Reputation?

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Tesco has their fair share of followers online, particularly on Twitter. On their ‘Tesco Mobile’ account, they have over 73 thousand followers! So quite impressive for just their mobile account. Tesco also has a great amount of customers tweeting to them, the customers may want help or assistance with a certain product, store location or some further product reviews and needed the businesses to help them. However, not all Twitter users go to their favourite or least favourite business online for help, some customers go onto Twitter to hurl abuse and dissatisfaction at the businesses, Tesco sure has had this done to them before. The supermarket simply does not get it all right and very often, when visiting myself, I see price tickets all labelled up wrong, I can never find help in the stores and am often left lost and confused. The marketing in-store seems slack. An example of this can be seen in the picture below:

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What a deal! £2.85 each or 2 for £6.00, bargain!

But one thing I have never done, is to complain on Twitter about the businesses, however some people have and the responses they have received are a little shocking to say the least. It kind of makes me glad I haven’t complained to them online through Twitter, I wouldn’t know how to take an organisation I use insulting me, talk about rude customer service. Mary Portas wouldn’t be impressed for sure!

Firstly, we have the case of a customer tweeting to Tesco, Tesco replied to the tweet “tweeting us a 11 o’clock is that not past your bedtime?” To which the customer replied, “Yeah it is! I’m still waiting for the web page to load!”#tescoconnection

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This customer sure did make a good point, Tesco’s online presence, their website in particular, can be very slow. This customer, James, identified that and made his view known. I would have liked to know what he tweeted to Tesco to begin with though, it sure does sound like he annoyed them.

Tesco has posted many tweets like this, another one involved somebody tweeting them about a Tesco Mobile Voicemail. Tesco quickly replied and insinuated that the customer’s mates were ignoring them. Ouch!

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I must admit, even I laughed at this, however if I was the tweeter, I maybe wouldn’t have laughed. But then who doesn't laugh at something they see like this? Even though it may depend on your sense of humour, what happens if you do not have one, or are rather like Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory and just do not get sarcasm! What would happen then? Having said that, Tesco seemed to gain a great deal of popularity with the pictures featured, both of them ended up on the Lad Bible and received a great deal of Retweets (RT) and favourites. So spot on for getting their Twitter followers and hashtag fanatics onside.

One thing I question though, is who in Tesco thought this was absolutely necessary? I mean, you wouldn’t see rivals Marks and Spencer doing something like this, oh no, imagine what would happen to their target audience? They probably would feel insulted and leave to another competitor, such as Waitrose. Did Tesco’s former CEO, Philip Clarke, make this decision for Tesco’s online presence to be hilariously funny and try to increase followers and awareness in the company through insulting Twitter users in their replies? Or was it the online marketing manager’s fault for this? I believe, personally, that Tesco did this to gain publicity and what greater way to increase awareness, than mocking people.

Customer service is something that Tesco prides themselves in, apparently anyway, so is passing remarks like this to customers helping fulfil that vision? Or is it making them stand out from other supermarkets for not caring about customer relations or not even caring for their customers? Of course, not everybody that tweets to Tesco is a customer, but nonetheless, they could be a customer and by patronising them, surely it would damage the possibility of them ever using Tesco?  Tesco needs to remember that they are not the only supermarket around. Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are just a few other supermarkets around, who would happily accept these potential customers and even try to grab them away from Tesco. So the organisation should tread carefully and not try to mock potential customers. How do they know they aren’t loyal customers? Customers that have been using them for many of years?

I must say though, that customer service should be improved in all supermarkets, not just Tesco. When can you ever find people around to help you or even know where products are in such large stores? The online social media presence of Tesco is a great one, but the insults should be limited to ensure customer’s, either potential or existing, are not put off and do keep on returning. Especially after the latest news of a £250 million pound error in their profit, it sounds like Tesco needs to be focussing their energies on that. It seems that Tesco will need their customers now, more than ever, so don’t be bursting with insults on Twitter guys, be nice and help, after all #everylittlehelps .

What are your views on Tesco’s insults? Do you find them funny, have a mixed opinion or find them rude? Tweet @mattcliffy25 and @GiraffeSM

By Content Manager, Matthew Clifton

 

Is Social Media Running Or Ruining Your Life?

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As an internet enthusiast myself, I completely would disagree that social media is ruining my life. I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. All have great communication purposes and enable me to get the message I want to spread out into the public and with my friends and family, more importantly. Facebook helps me keep in touch with my former friends, see what they have been upto and view their latest pictures, whereas Twitter enables me to tweet at almost about anyone, I can tweet to celebrities! Yes celebrities! It is awesome, but waiting for their replies can sometimes take forever and that’s if you’re lucky enough to get a reply. LinkedIn on the other hand is used by me to keep my professional profile updated, stay in touch with old work colleagues and get recommendations for my skills and expertise. YouTube is one of my favourite social media platforms however, I enjoy viewing videos, listening to music and hearing good cause campaigns. I know that there are so many other social media platforms ranging from Instagram to Google Plus to Snapchat, I just don’t have the time to invest…or do I?

Having said that, however, I must confess that it is much easier talking to a friend over the ever growing internet than meeting up with them, so maybe social media is ruining my life, a little.

Facebook may be good for communicating and keeping in touch with friends, but quite surprisingly Facebook can cause stress and a great deal of jealously to many. So your friend could have been taking a GAP year and exploring the world, whilst you are sat on your laptop, iPad or smartphone viewing their pictures, imagine the pain. How badly have you wanted to do this? How annoyed have you became? I can completely understand the annoyance of seeing this, quite a few of my friends have taken the GAP year that I wish I had taken now. Such fun.

Twitter is a great way to talk with random people who share your interests, the famous hashtag enables you to be able to do so. Say for instance you are a music fan, the #chart #music or #NO1 hashtag is a good way to start. By using this hashtag in your tweet, not only can other Twitter users find your views and comments, but you can also find theirs! You may have a mutual agreement over a topic, say for instance The Script’s new album, No Sound Without Silence being #NO1 this week. So Twitter really can help you find similar people who may share your interests. On the other hand though, like Facebook, Twitter can make you feel pretty stressed. Getting stressed with people’s views and taking your anger out on them through a tweet which then leads to a full blown argument with a complete stranger isn’t really what you want. You should not seek confrontation after all, so to avoid doing this, perhaps it is best not to speak your opinion? Wrong! Why should you be quiet on your views, other people should just respect them anyhow.

Oh and that leads to Instagram. The awesome platform that enables you to share your photos and change your picture’s colour at a click of a button. You can even fool friends that your skin has a tan or change to retro effects, you can then also change your image by sizing it and zooming in, even rotating your picture, it sure can change your original #nofilter approach. Similar to Twitter and recently Facebook, Instagram has a hashtag option too. Users can type in a specific item, person or place and be able to see your pictures, maybe even giving you a heart (like) on your pictures. Very encouraging actions for your hard photography skills, even the amateur can get their pictures looking great on this platform.

Finally, YouTube, a platform to share your comments, vlogs (video blog) and videos, it really is a great way to get your message out and be you. Music videos, debates and many other videos are uploaded daily, by the thousands and you sure have a great choice to select from, you may find your interests on YouTube and learn new skills whilst listening to your most favourite songs. YouTube doesn’t have the hashtag option, but is ideal for a lot of interests and people.

So can anyone say that social media runs their life? When was the last time you didn’t take your phone to the toilet to read or visit a family member and say “what is your WiFi password?” It has all very much got out of hand and quickly! I get really annoyed when trying to talk with somebody visiting me and they sit on their phone and hardly say anything, but rather grant, why bother visiting? I also feel social media is one of the reasons that people get ill, but nonetheless, social media has a great impact on many. How many friends of yours are not on Facebook? How often do you not check Twitter?

Now here is the big question, how long have you lasted without social media? Without reading the news feed and without seeing what your friends are doing, you may actually be living and running your own life without comparing it to others. I have a split opinion over what social media does to the millions that use it, but one thing is for sure, if social media didn’t exist today, many businesses, celebrities and people wouldn’t be as reachable or approachable as they are now. Not to mention that without social media, many businesses will not have enough awareness which will reduce revenue and I probably wouldn’t be the content assistant of the awesome Giraffe Social Media, so I guess life isn’t all bad with social media, it all depends on the person and what they use and learn from it.

By Content Manager, Matt Clifton @mattcliffy25

6 Innovative Twitter Campaigns

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#40dollars

December 2011, and February 2012, were when social media was used for the better. When the American people took to the Internet to tell Washington State that letting the payroll tax cut expire was not acceptable. Thousands of Americans tweeted and emailed to remind Washington that politics is not a game to be played with.

Using social media to voice their anger and opinions, on this hot topic. It was not all a waste of characters. Americans won a major victory that month when the American Congress passed another two-month tax cut extension in December that prevented the typical all American family, earning $50,000 a year, from losing $40 each pay cheque they receive.

Even though this was a major feat for normal families the extension had an expiry date and so as before people spoke out—and it made all the difference.

The White House, having no part in the tax cut, took to social media as well and created the #40dollars campaign with a question to the American people. “What can you buy with $40?”

@whitehouse Twitter account has over 2.5 million followers, and so launching the campaign with the above tweet gave this cause the platform it needed to reach millions.

The #40dollars hashtag has also been a trending topic on Twitter in Washington, D.C.

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#Getcovered

“If you have health insurance, tell your friends, family and co-workers why it's important to #GetCovered.”

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 Health insurance is something, in the UK, we don’t have to even imagine, but in the US it is a daily struggle for millions and has sparked some furious online campaigns.

#Getcovered was started by the white house in Washington, D.C. and has roped in 2 extremely talented and caring YouTube stars, Hannah Hart and Tyler Oakley who have previously been to the White House and are being used as innovative tools in spreading the word and educating a somewhat younger audience about health care. The online figures have big influential platforms and spoke directly to their audience about getting covered and the benefits of doing so.

The campaign influenced over 8 million American citizens who decided to play it safe and get health insurance due to the overwhelming results of the hashtag.

Other major celebrities such as, Amy Poehler, Kate Bosworth, Pharrell Williams and Connie Britton also went online and posted their own words of wisdom for the US people.

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#ALSicebucketchallenge

“The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front.  By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.”

The worldwide phenomenon #ALSIceBucketChallenge invaded our computers and social media zones. Maybe one of the biggest campaigns of the time, they raised over $114m for the charity and that is just money from donations linked with the social media nomination success

Again, a lot of celebrities got involved with the ice bucket challenge, which fed the charities reach. But not all celebrities were as willing to donate and raise awareness for the causes. Grimes (Claire Elise Boucher) writes,

"I don’t feel great about wasting water in this California drought, but I will donate money. However I will not donate money to this foundation because of their record of testing on animals."

 

#NoMakeUpSelfie

“No-makeup selfies raise £8m for Cancer Research UK in six days”

In March 2014 the UK was gripped by the #nomakeupselfie. Cancer Research UK, which did not start the campaign, said the #nomakeupselfie trend had resulted in an unprecedented increase in donations. Women, and some men, all across the UK and US posted bare faced selfies to social media and, like the ALS campaign, they would nominate their other female friends to do the same. As all popular charity trends happen they have a flock of celebrities doing the same. Just like us! The list includes Lady GaGa, Holly Willoughby, Beyonce, Lorde and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.

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 #Yesallwomen

#YesAllWomen is a hashtag and social media campaign in which users share examples of misogyny and domestic violence against women.Birthed from the 2014 Isla Vista killings, the hashtag was most popular in May of 2014, and was created as a response to the previous Twitter hashtag NotAllMen. #YesAllWomen reflected a grassroots campaign in which women shared their personal stories about harassment and discrimination. The campaign was to raise awareness of sexism that women experience, often from people they know.

 

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#Cutcakenotwrists

Created by Irish YouTuber BriBryontour the site and campaign is dedicated to those who suffer with depression and self-harm, and to help fund for counselling with those who can't afford it.

By the simple task of purchasing some wristbands from BriBry.bigcartel.com you will be instantly donating and helping this awesome charity reach the people it needs to. Also by watching the link to his YouTube video you are also donating because 100% of BriBry's YouTube revenue goes towards his charity.

“Remember, life is a wonderful, wonderful thing.”

By Content Assistant Todd Lamming. @toddlamming

How Does Social Media Exploit Celebrities?

Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, are just some of the most popular forms of social media and also the best platforms to voice your opinion on celebrities.

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King and legend of using this device to his advantage, on YouTube, is Michael Buckley (host and creator of popular channel "What The Buck") His, now coming on 8 year channel has had over 395,000,000 views since he created it on 1st May 2007 and his career is built on the exploitation of celebrities in the world media and he has a voice and he voices his opinion within the 6 minute videos he creates. But what does Michael Buckley have that teens all across the world don't have? An audience, a platform and a minor celebrity title.

Apps such as Twitter have given us 'common people' a place to vent, rant and use pop culture affairs to exploit celebrity's privacy, whenever we want to, and for free none the less. Anyone can be a blogger and anyone can review a Beyoncé performance, but when another celebrity uses this voice then we all pay attention.

Perez Hilton. As a "celebrity" himself, he uses his blog as a 'meta' tool to post undignified articles about other celebrities - who are on the other side of a clean cut icon - such as Lady GaGa, Amanda Bynes and most recently on Jennifer Lawrence and the private images that were stolen from her iCloud.

 

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Lawrence has still not emerged since the images were leaked and the only person to blame is the hacker and the users who spread the photos around using social media.

This exploitation of privacy would only make minor splashes if it was someone you knew but because Lawrence is willingly in the public eye, she has been objectified by millions with the theft of her private images that suddenly entitles people - who are wrong to view them - to an unwelcome opinion, they don't deserve, on negative body image and negative views towards Jennifer Lawrence directly. This is undeserved.

Celeb on celeb attacks is nothing new in social media land. Other acts of “shots being fired”, by passive aggressive celebrities, have come from Azealia Banks vs. Lily Allen and Rihanna vs. the late and great Joan Rivers but when two queens go against each other someone is bound to get burned.

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These online fights would be fine if either party didn't have over 39 million followers between them and a tiny percentage of that is celebrity peers. Sometimes exploitation of celebrities on social media can be self-executed.

Social media is one the 21st century's greatest tool and recently this has been used as a secret weapon for the recent Teen Choice Awards aired on the FOX network.

This is the first year that the Teen Choice Awards have dedicated votes and nominations for YouTube and social figures/icons such as Tyler Oakley and Bethany Mota. It wasn't all as kind-hearted as we first thought. Yes, this is a great step for team internet, but the Teen Choice Awards have always been in control of the votes and nominations. This is just how TV works, but with the new guests at the live event teenagers were told the, not so, hidden truth behind all the award show glamour.

This sparked a fire on social media and with the Youtubers themselves as they were used and exploited as trendy tools to help bring in viewer traffic by taking advantage of their millions of followers and subscribers to vote and create the buzz for the show. This birthed the worldwide trending hashtag #TeensDontHaveTheChoiceAward. Not such a scratch to Nickelodeon and Fox but the internet feelings were hurt by this infamous act.

As impersonal and transparent as Twitter etc. is I do feel that online society is in the apocalypse and the rules for being kind and thoughtful and our human rights of privacy have all been long forgotten just because we have a QWERTY keyboard.

Social media has a power socially and publicly and also a cultural impact upon society. Used as a healing tool this can clean the wounds of people in the spotlight but used as a weapon, And with only 140 characters, you can bring people down with the ability to reach a wide audience with a strong and influential message. Celebrities are not just people we see day to day they are victims of having their privacy stolen. Social media is the tank of the war but we do not have to be in the front line and exploit these artists and creators further with our, clueless and sometimes, reckless online actions.

By Content Assistant, Todd Lamming @toddlamming

Smartphones Are Controlling Our Shopping!

 

Can you remember the days when you actually visited the high-street? You know the days where towns had something worth visiting for? Be it the much loved Woolworths’ stores or the happiness you got when getting your sweets for being good throughout the week? I remember those days like they were only yesterday, but something has changed and it isn’t just the towns, it is our attitudes and behaviours to shopping.

Smartphone Shopping

Shopping online offers convenience and ease, not only can we access the internet 24/7, but now we can do all of our food shopping, clothes shopping and even banking online, so why bother visiting the high-street and do what we all once did? Many food retailers, to include Tesco offers an ‘app’ where their customers can conveniently shop online and select a deliver date and time to suit their lifestyles, what a perfect way to meet the needs of every person possible! Smart Phones have helped businesses grow through awareness and popularity. How many times do you check yourself checking your phone in a single day? Don’t you know? Maybe it is because it is a lot of times and you cannot keep track. What you might not know is that smartphones are more popular than computers now! Really? Wow! It just goes to show how many people are getting one and using it for the internet. Smart Phones sure are easier to use to shop and communicate with your friends on, you can do this all in one place. Whereas turning the computer on, takes effort, time and isn’t always convenience as you may not be at home to use it, but a smartphone you can.

According to the Telegraph, “Shoppers are spending more time checking out shopping websites on their mobile phones and tablets than on desktop computers for the first time ever, according to new research.

The IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report also found that more than one in three sales are now completed on smartphones and tablets, with clothes shoppers particularly keen to spend on the go.”

This just goes to show us all how popular smart-phones are and the number of users on them is growing quickly. Shopping on this gadget is quicker and saves you a great deal of cash too! The shopper can access all of their favourite brands and businesses online without leaving their house; it couldn’t be simpler. Accessing your favourite shops from home, as long as they are online of course, can be seen as heaven to shopaholics and why shouldn’t it be?  Supermarkets and other businesses, especially clothing retailers have exploited our weaknesses for a great bargain and once you have signed up to their emails, sometimes you cannot be stopped from shopping when they come through to you each week. Only £10 or half price flashing before our eyes, it is hardly surprising why online presence for businesses is a good thing.

So what other ways have smart-phones changed our shopping habits? Is convenience and choice the only things? No, they are not. The marketing mix is a great addition to the smart-phones attracting us to shop. Price, Place, Product and Promotion all are motivating us to shop and it is easier just having a few clicks online then getting in the car, paying for parking and walking, isn’t it? Finding the right product is also easier online, so if the product is for you, then the price likely will be and the promotion may be free delivery or a discount and the place, well that’s your house! Sounds like a perfect calculation!

Did you know that more of us are leaving the high-street now and it isn’t all good, what would we do if the high-street disappeared forever? It is urgent that action is taken to increase our high-streets and that the online retailers return to the high-street, especially if they have left. John Lewis are both online and in the high-street, this is what they think:

“John Lewis online director Mark Lewis said: "We called John Lewis's first ever 'mobile Christmas' in 2013 and we have continued to see customers shop via this channel during the first half of this year. Today, over half of the traffic to johnlewis.com comes from mobile and tablet devices and we've also seen an increase in the conversion rate of traffic to sales.

"We've placed a significant focus on developing our mobile strategy and have more enhancements planned for our app later this year. Customers want to be able to shop seamlessly across all channels and mobile is now the go-to choice alongside visiting our shops."  Impressive stuff here! It seems that smart-phones also are helping revenue and profit streams.

So, not only have smart-phones made it easier for us to spend our money, get our groceries without going out, they have made it easier to stay indoors and have a convenient life, one that doesn’t involve running around the supermarket or dodging people who do not look where they are going… so what is best? Going to the supermarkets or shopping online with them? You can decide!

Is Social Media Here To Stay: A Mozzarella Memoir.

A real pet-hate of mine is restaurants whose chosen table layout leaves you with no choice but to sit within food-pinching distance of other guests. Not that I’m paranoid about random members of the public stealing one of my mozzarella in carrozza when I look the other way, but rather I prefer a certain level of conversational privacy when dining out. One such restaurant is our local Prezzo, the location of the meal that I took my girlfriend for earlier last month, in celebration of her birthday. We deliberately elected for a table in the corner that had a vacant table for two to the left and a wall to the right. Inevitably, within minutes of ordering some drinks we had new table neighbours; a charming elderly couple. We smiled and politely acknowledged each other, then sat in awkward silence for a few moments as if the four of us were now on a double-date that Prezzo had clandestinely organised.

It was what happened next that spurred me into penning this article. The elderly man reached for his pocket and rather than a handkerchief, he pulled out an iPhone 5s. Without skipping a beat, his wife broke the silence by saying; “What are you doing?” I already knew what he was doing. With a stealthy glance towards his phone, I could see he was checking in on Facebook. I don’t think it is unfair to say that this man was at least 70 years old. Suddenly a smile spread across my face. It was at this point that cemented the concept that Social Media is here to stay. Here was a man who is old enough to remember the Second World War and he is checking in on Facebook. Sadly for his wife, he spent the rest of his meal browsing Facebook and the BBC Sport app, occasionally nodding and providing the bare minimum acknowledgements to appease his wife’s conversation. But regardless, this small act provided conclusive evidence of what many already know – social media isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s only just beginning. The first wave of its dominance is ensuring that everyone is using it. As a previous film student, I liken this stage to the scene in Independence Day, where the alien spacecrafts begin to hover over all of the major cities. Social Media is in position and ready to take over, just like those aliens, but with fewer aliens. An estimated 1.73 billion people are already using Social Networks.

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Several years ago, Erik Qualman said that infamous phrase that everyone who works in social media is bored of hearing, ‘The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years’. He said that on the first day of 2013. So technically, if you haven’t already commenced your social media marketing, you have 3 years, 3 months and 24 days from the day this article goes live, to do so. I think a lot of people probably scoffed at this idea when Erik first verbalised it, but as I sat with my girlfriend in Prezzo, watching a 70 year old man check-in on Facebook – it is hard to deny it. No industry can accurately say that their target audience isn’t on social media. Unless your target audience is the Jawara tribe of the Andaman Islands; they’re not on social media; yet.

Social media can be daunting to those who are unfamiliar with it. But that is why Kane and I started our company, to help the 70 year old guy in Prezzo who may run his own company. The countdown has begun to the decimation of businesses who fail to adapt to the new omnipresent digital environment we all live in. I beg you to not be left behind. Giraffe Social Media is the Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum of social media, and we’re ready to save the world’s businesses from extinction.

By Phil Treagus, Managing Director

Rest In Peace MSN, You Will Be Missed!

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Remembering my childhood a few years ago, I recalled using Bebo and MSN. Bebo isn’t the same as what it was when I first signed up, now called ‘A company that dreams up ideas for fun social apps’, Bebo was all about sharing the love and encouraging random conversations on your friend’s or random people’s walls. MSN was another social media tool I used to communicate, now both have changed and are not the same. I was saddened to see that the once widely used and popular chatting website, MSN is now closing its doors and resting in peace. It really reminded me of how many hours I used to sit on it talking to former friends and total strangers, something that I was constantly disciplined not to do, but fortunately they turned out to be genuine people my age, rather than any different.

MSN used to be part of my life as a teen, I enjoyed the fun range of emoticons that they had as well as nudging girls trying to get their attention, yes things really were that hard back then, I daren’t do the cinema date. And, I also remember the webcam chats I had and spent hours using, just babbling on about random stuff with people I cared for at the time, so many memories of MSN, but over recent years I haven’t been using it and instead have just relied on Facebook to message, although the messenger update quite annoys me; I hate clicking on my messages on my iPad and being diverted to a different app, if only it was all one thing that would be much easier for me. However, you may like it and I cannot say I blame you. It is easier and better than Facebook’s former way of messaging and I would like it, if it had the app on Facebook without the diversion.  I haven’t used MSN for a few years now and I guess it shows because until this week, I hadn’t heard of Microsoft’s plans to close it down, it came as bit of a shock if I am honest.

So, after fifteen years of having MSN, what has made Microsoft decide to end the much-loved and popular chat tool? I think the real answer is Skype. Skype has considerably grown in users over the last few years and has become the new MSN for people to communicate effectively over their computers, laptops and tablets. According to BBC News, “Windows Live still had as many as 330 million users as recently as 2009. But those numbers later declined, while users of Skype rose to nearly 300 million by 2012.” So why did they decline? Was it because Skype is easier to use and has an app that users can use on their hand-held devices? Or was it because of the popular increase in users of Facebook, Twitter and My Space? One can debate whether many people prefer these social media websites to MSN and the decline in users for MSN was really down to the increasing growth in their popularity.

I am not sure what everyone else thinks about MSN dying or if anyone will even miss MSN, but I for sure will remember the part of my teenage years that I spent talking to friends over the internet and even looking back and remembering how weird and fun those chats were, MSN will always be remembered. I wonder why Microsoft is just pulling the switch rather than selling MSN? Maybe a rebrand or new direction can help save and increase users and popularity again? I know that there are a great deal of chat apps like: Meow, BBM, Facebook Messenger and FaceTime, so maybe nobody would buy it?

I leave you with an obituary from the BBC:

MSN Messenger was a hard-working internet visionary which taught a generation to touch-type and lol, writes BBC technology reporter Dave Lee.

It touched the lives of millions of teenagers who, in an age before real social networking, were just getting accustomed to what it was like to live on the internet.

MSN Messenger heralded a new era: a time when chatting up a classmate no longer meant the terrifying prospect of actually having tosay something to them.

It meant no longer would young teens have to endure the torture of ringing the landline number of their newest crush - knowing there was a high probability that dad would pick up.

But after all the "ASL?"s and "u there?"s, Messenger's loyal subjects became less dependent. "I'll brb", people said... but they never did.

Other sites, smarter and better looking, would see Messenger cast aside. In an age of exciting digital discovery, Messenger became the web's wooden toy.

After a long career, it spent its final year enjoying a comfortable retirement in China. Its less well-regarded relative, Windows Messenger, still battles on on work computers the world over.

"It's like MSN," office workers say, "…just not as fun."

MSN Messenger is survived by Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Snapchat, Skype, Google+ and Instagram.”

I guess what I am trying to say is REST IN PEACE MSN!

By Matt Clifton, Content Manager

How Will Yahoo’s Purchase Of Tumblr Really Have Affected the Blogging Platform?

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Yahoo is well known to many of us. Be it for their success in making revenue from advertisements, email service, news reports, videos, games or Flickr. So when the company’s chief executive purchased the company for £723 million pounds back in 2013, it may have not seemed like such a bad move to some, but for regular users of Tumblr, there was a worry. One of these worries was that Tumblr and Yahoo were very different and that the ownership may affect the microblogging platform significantly. But one thing showed, Yahoo had the money to improve and develop Tumblr and this was needed, especially as the fast-growing user base did not help Tumblr make enough money to stand alone.

Marissa Mayer: the name that may take the ‘cool’ out of the Tumblr game.

 

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Could this user be aiming his comment at Mayer and Yahoo?

In discussing the $1.1bn purchase, Mayer promised not to “screw it up,” but the word of Mayer has reached the soft-grunge-pale-gothika-punk blogs and they are not pleased with the changes to their beloved sanctum.

Yahoo’s best asset is that they are one of the world leaders in creating advertising and revenue opportunities and so for a microblogging site such as Tumblr – which creates only a small amount of revenue – on the surface, this is a perfect match. David Karp CEO of Tumblr also was expected to stay on which could have furthered Yahoo’s and Mayer’s understanding in developing the well-used and accessed microblogging network. Tumblr users have only seen a small amount of on-site advertising, since it launched in 2007, but this atom bomb sized deal could easily destroy the cool factor that Tumblr holds against other new media and social media platforms.

As a user of Tumblr, who has his own blog, and a reader/viewer of a lot of rapid content from the site. I am sceptical how much resistance Karp – Founder/CEO of Tumblr – will be able to uphold his to allowing ads on the platform.

From Marissa Mayer’s Tumblr page she started her blog post, about the announcement, with this.

“We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.”

If the Tumblr clan except what Mayer has to offer then this could mean great things or it could mean a disaster for the leading fashion blogs as what is expected from the buyout is ads tagged to photos and that is not going to fly with hipsters of the web.

“Both Tumblr and Yahoo! share a vision to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas by focusing on users, design — and building experiences that delight and inspire the world every day.”

Mayer seems incredibly keen on keeping her threatening hands off the in-vogue, super chic, blogging site. Although, bold moves are Marissa Mayer’s key business attack. Is a $1.1bn body slam an over shot when she has promised to uphold a distant approach, whilst also creating a significant and worthwhile ad platform, that doesn’t ruin the holy grail of online diversity and cultural content for the 200.7 million blogs on the site?

Another key question here is whether Mayer has just purchased Tumblr for increasing web traffic to Yahoo and other sites such as their photo website, Flickr. This would seem like a good move that Marissa has kept quiet and a very good tactic too. Imagine developing Tumblr and having a success due to increased awareness and interest in other Yahoo owned services, it sure would help the company.

Since the acquisition of Tumblr, Mashable.com reported a backlash among Tumblr’s user base in reaction to the new ownership, did users feel affected by the change or did they not trust Yahoo and Mayer’s visions for the takeover?

 

By Content Assistant- Todd Lamming @toddlamming

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