Are you out there?

22 July, 2010

Or are you stuck inside updating your profile on Facebook? As half the population of the UK are signed up users, according to statistics out today, there must be many people doing just that.

Worldwide there are 500 million users, with the average user on the site for over half an hour per day.

So, are you with the half that is in or the half against?  Maybe that could be the new ‘half full / half empty’ glass personality decider?  Interesting, because I am a ‘half full’ person but definitely not a Facebook person. What does that make me? An extrovert loner or just someone who prefers to speak to friends or send them personal emails than sharing my life with the world.

(By the way I put my contact lenses in the wrong eyes today and wandered around for three hours with blurred vision.  I am sharing this with you as I don’t have a Facebook site to put it on.)


Yet *another* Nestlé Hate campaign

22 March, 2010

It seems yet another Nestlé hate campaign has caught the eye of journalists. Not content with making me fat, the international choccie-peddler has been busy censoring critics on its Facebook page, only to cause a firestorm of indignation and attract massive attention to the issues criticised.


I’ve always thought of these Nestlé campaigns as being a bit like Jennifer Aniston movies:

1) They simply won’t go away. They keep cycling around long after you would have thought everyone would have grown tired of them. And terrible publicity never seems to kill them.
2) They all seem bizarrely familiar.
3) They often involve the poorly-thought-through involvement of z-list celebrities.
4) They tend to be surprisingly well-orchestrated and popular.
5) They usually revolve around something sickly-sweet, but ultimately make you feel sad for humanity.

Consider that metaphor laboured.

(Incidentally, as part of our recruitment process at EML Towers we usually ask interviewees to prepare a talk on a notable PR disaster. The boss has often lamented that the Nestlé/African powdered baby milk episode is the one incident that keeps being cited over and over. So be warned…)

While we must be careful not to appear to disrespect the weighty issues involved in the Nestlé debate(s), I suspect Nestlé may have become an institutionalised scratching-post of the anticapitalist and environmental movements, in a similar way to MacDonalds and Nike. They’re a big target. I’m sure there are plenty of other lower-profile companies doing these things.

Anyway, there are some simple lessons to be derived from the Nestlé Facebook page. It’s all too easy to fan the flames of hostile sentiments on social networks. That is, after all, why they call it ‘flaming’. So make sure the people that run the account are Social Media PR-savvy, and that you’re not going to attract undue attention by deleting unwanted comments.

See Digital Inspiration and the excellent for further PR observations on this episode.

Someone’s taken my toys away!

18 March, 2010

I know communication technology is a wonderful thing, and I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t around,  BUT … a rehab clinic for children over 12 addicted to the internet and computer games.

Don’t get me wrong, I have sympathy with both parents and children in this.  I would throw my toys out of the pram if my iMac and iPhone were taken away but addicted to them, I don’t think so. How have relationships within families got so bad that the police have to be called to settle a dispute when a teenager will not get off Facebook or Bebo?

The internet is a wonderful tool for information and amusement but it should never better person to person interaction.

Sense at last

23 December, 2009

It is good to end the year on a topic that regulars will know is close to my heart – social networking.

Lily Allen gave me that warm Christmassy glow when I read that she has dumped all her Facebooking and Tweeting in favour of normal face to face communication. “So I put my BlackBerry, my laptop, my iPod in a box and that’s the end. I won’t use email, I play records on vinyl, I don’t blog. I’ve got more time, more privacy. We’ve ended up in this world of unreal communications and I don”t want that. I want real life back,” she has said.

The burning question is how many of the rest of us could actually join her in this radical move? I am a great believer in the phone call rather than email, especially  in personal situations, but there are times when only the latter will suffice – contacting Charles Arthur for instance.

It is really annoying when you are with someone who spends their whole time checking their iPhone/Blackberry – but it does give you the chance to just sneak a glance at yours!

So, in a social networking way may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a great 2010 – I would call you all personally but I don’t have your number. (Click here for our special Christmas message )

Tweet wars

14 December, 2009

Twitter and social media has always been used by the police to keep an eye on the less than intelligent ones who decide to brag about whatever crimes they may have committed , but now it’s been taken to the next step with the news on The Next Web that gangs in New York are using Twitter to arrange fights and generally wind each other up.

One tweet said ““I knoe bi**hes from oyg that would dead mob yah s–t in harlem,”  wrote one girl.

Erm, yes, what she said.

The obvious drawback is that the Police can see who is saying what, despite the profiles being made private, although they’re also trying to confuse the police by using complicated slang which has certainly bewildered me.

I doubt this is the first case where fights or worse have been arranged through Twitter, but it’s the first time that I’ve heard about it, and I’m sure Twitter will follow the lead of Microsoft and Google by giving the Police access to data to help them out.

Photo from

Street cred?

15 October, 2009

I felt the death knell for Facebook last week when I saw a small ad from Marks & Spencer suggesting that the public visited its Facebook site to see what it was up to. M&S on Facebook!  Homyleene_twiggy_etc-2042w far is that from social networking?  When I mentioned it to under 30 somethings that live their lives through its pages there was a definite “No way, have to move on”.

I know many companies are using networking sites to raise profiles, Twitter, You Tube and blogging but M&S invading Facebook seems a  step too far. Will the ‘youth’ leave in droves or have they already migrated to other sites and left Facebook to the ‘oldies’? Should Facebook be restricting its pages to personal sites only?

Posting bail

22 September, 2009

There have been plenty of examples of less than intelligent criminals getting caught out through spectacular oversights. People have tried rubbing lemon juice on their faces thinking it blurs CCTV images, others have left their wallet at the scene of the crime or tried carrying out an armed robbery in a gun shop. Suffice to say none of these went well.

However the latest is certainly one of my highlights. Earlier this month someone in the US broke into a house, stole some jewellery and then decided to check their Facebook page on an open computer in the room. Already not too clever. Even less clever is leaving your account logged on for the home owner to discover when they get back. If convicted the guy could be facing up to 10 years in jail.

Juliet regularly rants on this blog about  people getting caught out on Facebook and similar sites by posting poorly thought through updates and photos. Only yesterday our attention was drawn to this page full of people managing to embarrass themselves on a global scale.

Previously people have been caught by the police after uploading videos of themselves committing crimes onto YouTube and this is yet another example of how people should really think through just what they’re doing on social media pages.