A Day at the Races

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“This time and they’re racing at the 5000 metres Social Media Market Domination Handicap. First out of the gate is MySpace and she’s pulling away quickly. It’s a fresh track and she’s making the most of it. YouTube off to a slow start with buffering issues. Then it’s blogging, LinkedIn and Twitter in a tight bunch, followed by Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Snapchat in last position. MySpace now four lengths in front, but Facebook could boost at any moment as we’ve seen her do so many times before. YouTube and LinkedIn both on the pace. But wait… it looks like MySpace is changing jockeys – yes, it’s a News Corp executive now in the saddle – a risky in-race maneuverer, let’s hope they know what they’re doing. But oh no, she’s stumbled badly – she’s out! What a pity for the new owners.

“As they approach the 3000 mark it’s Facebook now firmly in the lead. Blogging moves up on the inside rail – what a great performer he is over longer distances. With a 1000 to go it’s Facebook half a length in front of blogging, followed closely by YouTube in third. Google+ now coming up strong on the outside – just look at him go! Google+ is closing on Facebook – four lengths, three lengths… oh no, he’s thrown his jockey! What a bitter disappointment for the Page/ Brin syndicate who have tried so hard to make their presence felt on this track – they’ll be left searching. YouTube now gaining ground – he could be the one to watch. Instagram makes a break looking like a billion dollars. But it’s still Facebook leading the field, followed by blogging, YouTube and LinkedIn, Twitter fifth then Instagram and Pinterest, and Snapchat closing up the rear.

“Into the final straight and Facebook’s the one to beat  – she’s looking mobile, showing true responsiveness. Now with 140 meters to go Twitter throws it on, but has she left enough room? Instagram still looking for a way through. Now it’s Snapchat coming on – wait, yes, he’s done  a face-swap with LinkedIn – have you ever seen anything like it folks? Screen-grab that one while you can! Twitter left with no room to fly as Pinterest has her pinned against the inside rail. It’s Facebook in front by a length followed by Instagram neck-in-neck with Pinterest. But it’s Facebook! it’s still Facebook! Yes it is! Yes it is! Yes –   Facebook takes it all the way home! Instagram and Pinterest in a too-close-to-call photo-finish for second and third places.

“Congratulations to Facebook and her Wall St owners. A beautiful 12-year old mare by Zuckerberg out of Harvard. And thanks to the tireless support of the fans, investors and advertisers, without whom this race would not have been possible.”

 



@shakespeare

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“Now is the algorithm of our discontent.”

Richard III

“The course of launching a website never did run smooth.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you fill our newsfeeds with self-serving promotional content shall we not disengage?”
Merchant of Venice

“To boost, or not to boost, that is the question.”
Hamlet

“If content be the food of social media, publish on.”
Twelfth Night

“Brevity is the soul of Twitter.
Hamlet

“Love all, trust a few, have a social media policy.”
All’s Well That Ends Well

“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have no social media assisted conversion insights!”
King Lear

“When online detractors come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.”
Hamlet

“False Facebook must hide what the false heart doth know.”
Macbeth

“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that post fast.”
Romeo and Juliet

“So foul and fair a heavily filtered Instagram post I have not seen.”
Macbeth

“Give every major social media platform thy ear, but few thy voice.”
Hamlet

“What’s posted can’t be unposted.”
Macbeth

“Out, damned stock image! out, I say!”
Macbeth

“Video, video – wherefore art thou video channel?”
Romeo and Juliet

“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this trash website.”
Macbeth

“Facebook fans sought is good, but given unsought, is better.”
Twelfth Night

“The complaining fan seeking something free doth protest too much, methinks.”
Twelfth Night

“There’s many a brand has more fans than wit.”
Comedy of Errors

“Give thy personal thoughts no tongue online.”
Hamlet

“Your endless sales posts are as tedious as twice-told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.”
King John

“Brands do not care that do not demonstrate their care online.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona

 



Dear Little Miss Social…

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Dear Little Miss Social

The professional value I derive from LinkedIn is diminishing as it starts to look and feel more like a second Facebook. Is that just me, or has something happened over there?

Maxine Jeffery
Flummoxed networker,
Melbourne, Australia

 

Dear Gentle Reader

On occasion Little Miss Social delights in a robust metaphor, and this one of them. Whenever I hear mention of LinkedIn I cannot but help think of the plight of Rome in the first century AD. For alas Gentle Reader, I fear the sack and decline of LinkedIn is upon us.

As uncouth as the Gauls, Visigoths and Vandals may have been, they are nothing on the modern-day Barbarians who wield their destructive power from inside of LinkedIn’s own city walls! What possible defence pray-tell do we have against fellow-denizens bent on recycling inspirational quotes from Richard Branson and Steve Jobs? Or the publishing of endless streams of math problems and the first-word-you-see letter plays? Or the spamming of one’s own group members with unsolicited in-mail? Or the pitching of dubious or odious business propositions from one’s newly acquired connections? If I may be permitted to paraphrase Augustus, we may have found LinkedIn built of marble, but we leave her today clothed in bricks.

Little Miss Social’s advice for the continued use of LinkedIn is simple: build and maintain your own house and let the city populous at large endure the Barbarian rampages. Grant access only to your chosen and build a safe-haven around them. Be vigilant of peddlers, serial sharers and the Bransonites. Do not be afraid to cast out transgressors – use the ‘unfollow’ option at the first signs of trouble or ‘disconnect’ the connection altogether. Do not engage with low-quality posts – that is how the Barbarian makes his presence felt. Do not post inspirational quotes – they depress our collective sensibilities (and it is how we know you have too much time on your hands or are just manifestly unhappy in your current job role).

But do play your part – be useful and ever-considerate of what you are directly and indirectly posting onto the newsfeeds of others. I will do the same and we will both once again enjoy Rome as it was when Caesar was a boy.

 



Don’t pay the consultant man – until he gets you to the other side.

 

 

It was late at night on the world wide web,
Facebook had our brand on the run,
Little time had we spent preparing for this journey;

He is closer now that the rules have changed,
But he’s reading from a map undefined,
He wants us to pay his bill,
And in return he’ll promise to deliver.

But when the engagement numbers came down,
We heard our CEO howl,
There were voices in the night, “Don’t do it!”
Voices out of sight, “Don’t do it!
Too many brands have failed before,
Whatever you do,

Don’t pay the consultant man,
Don’t even fix a price,
Don’t pay the consultant man,
Until he gets you to the other side”

In the new media mist, then he gets on board,
Now there’ll be no turning back,
Beware that bearded hipster at the rudder,
And then our newsfeed flashed, and our fan-base roared,
They were calling us out in shame,
And dancing memes that jabbered and a-moaned
On our wall.

And then the consultant man said,
“There’s algorithm trouble ahead,
So you must pay me now,” “Don’t do it!”
“You must pay me now,” “Don’t do it!”
And still that voice came from beyond,
“Whatever you do,

Don’t pay the consultant man
Don’t even fix a price,
Don’t pay the consultant man,
Until he gets you to the other side;

Don’t pay – the consultant man!”



Problems with Eventbrite’s Online Ticketing Service

If running an event or course, online booking and payment options are standard offerings – you can either set up your own booking forms and merchant gateway or use a one-stop-shop third-party platform. I’ve used the Eventbrite booking gateway for my Australian courses, but not any more. Here are my main beefs…

The Fees

If you’re running a low-ticket cost event, the fees are what they are: acceptable. But if you are selling higher cost tickets, e.g. $300 plus, the fees add up in a hurry. If you use their credit card processing facility – the main reason many people would use a platform such as Eventbrite at all – a $500 ticket will incur a fee of $27.45 (2.5% plus $0.99 per ticket to a max of $9.95 plus 3.5% of ticket value). Selling 10 plus tickets will whack a dent in your sales revenue. There should be a sliding fee structure for higher priced events.

Five Days to Payout (and the rest).

A five business day payout after the completion of the event is in the terms and conditions, but… the five day period starts in US time, i.e. an event run on Wednesday in Australia, is Tuesday in San Francisco – so Eventbrite doesn’t start the count until Thursday, Australian time. Five business days becomes eight normal days; and add an extra day to that if there’s a bank holiday in the US. And of course the international transfer itself can add another day or two. There appears no reason to sit on the money this long except to gather maximum interest on other people’s money.

Extra Fees from ANZ & HSBC

If a person makes a booking using Eventbrite’s processing facility using an ANZ or HSBC credit card that person gets charged an additional ‘foreign processing fee’ of $20-25. I have had to refund this fee to close to 20 people in the past who have booked my courses using these cards. Both ANZ and HSBC say the problem is with the credit card providers; the credit card providers say it’s a bank charge. Eventbrite, despite being told about this problem in Australia have ignored it. This is fundamentally an Eventbrite issue and they need to sort it – being their apologist is no fun.

Over The Top Self-Promotion

Sure, if you’re running a free event you should expect some form of provider self-promotion, but not when hundreds of dollars of fees are being paid. The ‘Powered by Eventbrite’ branding and self-serving calls to action on all of their (your) ticketing touch-points are anything but discreet. You could forgive a person for thinking they were about to attend an Eventbrite event.

 



Amazing True Facts!

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100% crazy, 100% fun and 100% certified true!

Since 1997 there have been 28 recorded incidents of websites spontaneously combusting! Totally unexplained!

North Korea is close to launching its own private internet which will be powered entirely from potatoes! Whacky!

Google spelt backwards is ‘Elgoog’. Creepy, but true!

At the sub-atomic level a social media post can be on someone’s newsfeed and not on anyone’s newsfeed simultaneously! Quantum spookiness!

NASA research reveals that cat memes are remarkably persistent, even in zero-gravity environments! Watch out Mr. Astronaut!

The world’s smallest website weighs only 4.6 grams! Unbelievable!

The word Instagram originates from the German ‘instag gramute’ meaning goose fat. Weird huh!?

In the early days of social media people commonly believed that posting a selfie would take their soul away! LOL!

Most people don’t know that old Facebook posts can be stuffed into shoes to keep your feet warm in winter! Try it out!

Hashtags originally contained small amounts of hashish, hence the name! Don’t tell your parents! 🙂

5000 average-sized social media posts draw about the same amount of energy as does a single-bar eclectic heater. That’s a LOT of joules!

QR codes are still commonly traded in some African nations despite a 2009 international ban on their use. Not cool kids!

Lab rats repeatedly exposed to Richard Branson quotes will stop eating and eventually die. That’s toxic!

The word ‘hyperlink’ is actually two separate words put together: ‘hyper’ and ‘link’. Who would have guessed!?

With some basic at-home tinkering Google Analytics can also be used as a two-way radio. Chat long-distance with your friends!

Even today no-one knows how GIF’s actually work. Modern mystery!

Scientists believe they have isolated and can suppress the over-sharing gene in humans. Social media breakthrough!

 

 



Mellow Yellow

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The Australian Department of Education and Early Childhood have released a report for public discussion entitled Emoji – the New Language of Life. The key recommendation is for the social and business applications of emoji to be taught as formal topics in Australian schools through to year 12. Emoji are ideograms and smileys used in electronic messages and across many social media sites. They first gained popularity amongst Japanese schoolgirls during the late 1990’s as a counter-culture derivative hip-hop underground street-movement form of expression. The loose Japanese translation of emoji is ‘ears of puppy-dog’.

Dr. Jim Marin, Chair the Department of Education’s Committee on Emerging Things, is a vocal supporter of bringing emoji into the classroom, “They are the franca lingua of all electronic mediums. Australian children must not only learn the emoji building blocks of facial expressions, common objects, places, types of weather, flags and animals – but they must master the subtleties of the idiom. In Sweden for example there are 7 distinct emoji which express different qualities of snow. In Australia many children would struggle to use even the standard emoji snowflake in its correct context. If Australia as a nation wants to compete internationally we must teach our people 21st century skills and competencies – we should be investing heavily in all five STEME disciplines: science, technology, engineering, math and emoji.

“And we need to start early. By the time most Scandinavian children enter school they are already conversant with over 250 different emoji, including animated variants. Is it any surprise that Ikea now provide alternate assembly instructions for their products fully in emoji, and many people find them easier to follow?”

But the Department of Education’s report is not without its critics. Professor Peter Standage, Head of Linguistics at the University of Melbourne is damning in his appraisal of emoji, “They dumb down our collective emotional repertoire and hamper meaningful communication at all levels of society. Whenever I see an emoji within an email or text I despair… are we losing the fine art of nuanced communication? There are also Orwellian overtones – how can we possibly engage in open political debate concerning the important issues of the day if the voice of the people has been reduced to a yellow facial expression? I don’t support the use of emoji in any context whatsoever – they give me a sad face… a big old-fashioned one.”

 

advisory



When email newsletters go bad…

Hi [insert first name]

Well there’s no doubt about it, [insert current season] has arrived and [insert next yearly milestone] is almost upon us! Where does the time go!?

We’ve been super-busy here at [insert organisation name] – there’s certainly no rest for the wicked! [insert smiley emoticon].

We had a great time at the recent [insert event name] – if you couldn’t make it along maybe we’ll see you at our next one!

The latest news from us: we’re super-proud to have been [insert self-congratulation #1] and also to have achieved [insert self-congratulation #2]. We also got a nice wrap from [insert media outlet name] – you can read the full article [insert hyperlink] here.

And don’t forget [insert first name], we’ve still got plenty of [insert sales pitch]. After all, you can never own too many! So give call us today, we’d love to hear from you!

And here’s a little something we just couldn’t resist! [insert baby rhinoceros meme]. How cute!

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So that’s it from us – see you all next time!

Cheers,
From the whole team at [insert organisation name]!!

p.s. don’t forget to Like us on [insert social media platform name]!