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The Queen joins Facebook

Monday, November 8th, 2010

With this weekend’s launch of its Facebook page, the Monarchy has again misunderstood the point of social networking.

Whilst we would not expect to befriend the Queen, become her neighbour in Farmville or virtually “poke” her, it’s reasonable to expect more than staid announcements of visits, promotion of other Monarchy web properties and court circulars.

In fact, the Monarchy has not attempted anything it already does on other web sites, bringing into question why it bothered at all.  It’s a classic example of half-baked social networking – riding the latest craze without a cause.

In the Monarchy’s defence, it has opened itself up to comments from Facebook members.   The membership does not disappoint, with the perhaps predictable mix of:

  • Badly-spelled sycophancy (“It’s good to see,things are changeing…good morning royal family,may god keep you safe allways love john xx“)
  • Expressions of disbelief (“omg the queen“)
  • The race to leave the first comment against a picture (“First comment!“)
  • Calls for a republic (“Would be nice if you asked us before assuming you can be head of state…“)

It will be interesting to see if the Monarchy embraces social networking fully by replying to comments rather than simply deleting them, however much at odds with the organisation.

As for Facebook itself, the Queen becoming a member is either a sign that it has reached a critical mass meaning nobody can afford to ignore it, or it has jumped the shark.  Only time will tell.

Fish.Net is hosting the first of two free masterclasses covering effective web marketing later this month.  If you are based in the Oldham area, please contact us to register your interest.

Interweb into the Dictionary

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

The Internet has contributed several new words to the revised Oxford Dictionary of English, which has been released today.

Social Media‘, Interweb and netbook have all joined culturally relevant words such as ‘quantitative easing’, vuvuzela and ‘chill pill’.

The Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) is periodically updated, unlike the Oxford English Dictionary which maintains a bank of words which is continuously updated.  An update to the ODE therefore marks a milestone of common usage and cultural relevance.

With language surrounding technology changing so rapidly, it’s easy to fall behind with the latest jargon.  Fish.Net strives to speak in ‘plain English’, but here’s a guide to some of the words which have made the ODE!

  • Social Media
    The tools (Web sites, applications) used for online social networking.
  • Tweetup
    A group meeting arranged via social networking service Twitter.
  • Microblogging
    Making short blog entries, typically on Twitter.
  • Netbook
    Small laptop typically used for browsing the Web, email and light word processing.
  • Interweb
    Humourous term for the ‘Internet’ or ‘Web’.  Satirises the amount of technology jargon!
  • Paywall
    A restriction on Web sites whereby only paid subscribers can access content.
  • Viral
    Rapidly-spread news or promotion, typically via social networks and email.
  • Defriend
    To remove the status of ‘friend’ from an online acquaintance, typically in social network Facebook.  Opposite of ‘befriend’.
  • Dictionary attack
    An attempt to hack into an account by entering complete words as found in the dictionary as passwords.

Are you confused by jargon?  Do you know of any other technology words which are creeping into common parlance?  Let us know 🙂

Competitors exploit airline demise

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

The travel industry is extremely competitive, so it’s no surprise that the demise of Kiss Flights has led to other holiday and flight sellers scrambling to pick up affected customers.

A search on Google for “kiss flights” the morning after the airline went bust reveals how quickly travel agents’ marketing teams have reacted to the news – take a look at the sponsored links:

Google results page for Kiss Flights, showing competitors advertising rebooking services

We can see three types of adverts here:

“Rebook your flights with us! (Please!)”

First Choice, Jet2, On The Beach and others all want to sweep up customers left in the wake of Kiss Flight’s demise.  They (just about) stay on the right side of line between identifying the customer’s needs and exploiting the demise of Kiss.

I can’t help think that some of the ad writers had a feeling of glee when they found out their competitor’s closure, but they are at least channelling this in a way which will help affected customers!

“Book with us – you can be assured that your booking is safe”

Thompson, Co-operative Travel, TVL4U and Fleetway assuage customer concern by mentioning ATOL and/or ABTA in their ad creative.

With Kiss being just the latest UK travel industry casualty of the summer (right on the tails of Sun 4 U and Goldtrail), customers will be seeking assurance that the risk to their holidays is low and that their money is protected, should the worst happen.

Confidence in the scores of travellers who rebooked with Kiss after Goldtrail’s collapse will be particularly low.

Membership to schemes such as ATOL and ABTA can help reassure customers,

“We don’t want our reputation to be dragged down with Kiss, so we’d better make it easy for customers to get a refund.”

Lost Cost Holidays resold flights with Kiss, and their response is to look after their affected customers.  By advertising 100% refunds on flights, they’re demonstrating customer care and shielding their brand’s reputation from the fallout of customer complaints about Kiss.

Reacting to Events

Reacting to events is a good way to show that you are aware of and care about your clients’ concerns.

Technology such as email, paid search advertising (PPC – Pay Per Click) and social networking bypass traditional PR techniques and connect you directly with your audience quickly and cheaply.

Fish.Net are experienced in delivering messages in this way – call our Web team on 01457 819600 to find out how we can help you.

The Royalr Familyr

Monday, July 26th, 2010

This weekend saw the news that The Royal Family has joined photo-sharing social network Flickr, sharing snaps from various public engagements.

The only problem is that the palace doesn’t seem to realise that there’s a ‘social’ element to ‘social networking’, as this scathing yet spot-on critique from Duncan Geere from Wired points out.

I can only echo Geere’s review; a Flickr account without interaction is just a bit pointless.

Google introduces Real Time Search

Friday, December 11th, 2009

real-time-searchJust days after we reported on Google bringing its dictionary results in-house, the search behemoth has continued to roll out new features with its much-vaunted real time search results.

We have an insatiable demand for instant access for the latest news.  Search engines have not traditionally provided this – it has previously taken days, if not weeks, for search engines to catch up with what Web sites are publishing.

Rolling 24-hour news coverage provides journalistic real-time coverage.  Services such as Twitter and the now established network of blogs has led to a constant commentary about emerging trends and current affairs.  Indeed, it is that content be published so quickly by anyone that makes the Web so unique.

Search engines have taken tentative steps into meeting our demand for as-it-happens content with News and Blog search services.  Google has taken this further with its new Real Time Search results, which amalgamates news, blog and even Twitter tweets related to a search in an automatically updated ticker box.

As I write, the Copenhagen Climate Summit is big news.  A search for ‘copenhagen’ returns not just the usual mash of Wikipedia and News results, but also this scrolling box within the search results:

An example of Google's Real Time Search results

Real time search and your company

Google will evolve the way real-time search works over time – if it’s a hit with its users, it’s likely to become more prominent within search result pages.  The consequences of this could be far-reaching for brands.

Real time search means a higher profile for social network and news content.  Whilst brands could get away with scant monitoring of user-generated content in the past by simply dismissing it as a trend or insignificant, all of a sudden content about YOUR brand which you have little or no control over could now be broadcast on Google.

Monitoring and responding to social media content will become more important.  How you do this – reactively when content appears, or proactively by engaging in social media – will depend on your target audience and the culture within your company.  Fish.Net can advise on the most appropriate method for you – contact us to find out more.

Engaging in social media activity will become more attractive as a marketing option.  Many companies filed social media under “one to watch” as they found it difficult to justify the time cost and with a lack of clear success indicators.  By creating social media buzz, you will be able to generate and somewhat influence content others are posting about you.

Ensuring you publish time-sensitive content not just on your own Web site but also on Web sites seeding the real time search results is also important.  You may be able do this with your existing site content such as a blog or news section – contact Fish.Net to find out how you can maximise the visibility of this content.

Facebook Fiasco

Monday, July 6th, 2009

facebookThis weekend’s overblown story of the wife of Sir John Sawers – the MI6 chief-in-waiting – exposing personal family details on Facebook is the latest in a string of events highlighting the struggle to adapt to the increasing reach of social networks.

Companies and individuals alike must recognise the implications of social networking.

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Web Site Story

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

If any proof was needed that online social networks are now an intrinsically interwoven part of society, this entertaining parody of West Side Story may just provide it.

Despite its US perspective (and occasional college humour), it highlights how the Web is increasingly used for the most basic methods of networking – invitations, dating and socialising.

It also demonstrates the power of ‘folksonomy’ – a method of classification whereby a mass of users collaboratively tag and arrange information (in this case the reference to music site Pandora).

See how many of the name-dropped Web sites you recognise 🙂

Courtesy of CollegeHumor.

Digital Britain – Part One

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Part 1 of 3

digitalbritainEarlier this week, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport published the long awaited Digital Britain report.

Lord Carter’s report covers a broad area of digital services in Britain, from proposing the turn-off of the analogue radio spectrum to ensuring full participation in Internet-based services.

Join us in this series of articles as we explore what the consequences of the report could be for all of us living and working in a Digital Britain.

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