Social Media

27 ways Yodel brings people together on Twitter

Followers on Twitter will know I’ve had two run-ins with Yodel this Christmas. On the first occasion, the delivery man didn’t knock or leave a card. It was only when I’d checked online I realised my parcel had been delivered to a house down the street. The customer services woman was surprised something like this could happen.

Had she looked on Twitter, she wouldn’t have been.

Then came my appalling attempt at sales shopping on Boxing Day. Gap sent the order out via Yodel. Nothing arrived. I checked online at 2.40pm and by chance the Yodel website told me it had been delivered at 2.34pm. Which was a surprise as the doorbell didn’t ring, no card was left and a quick check of the nearby neighbours revealed no parcel left there.

Yodel’s call centre people – who operate on a scale between friendly but useless and incompetent and rude – insisted I’d signed for it. I rang again, and was told it was at a house about five minutes walk away. Only it wasn’t. As I write this, Yodel are still to tell me where my parcel is because they are waiting to interview the driver, and they don’t work New Year’s Day.

But I’ve found my parcel. Or rather, a house down the street did. In the box they sell eggs from at the end of their drive. Silly me, why didn’t I think to look there for the parcel I’d never signed for which apparently was at a house up the street.

Still, I used to think that few things unite people quite like Christmas. Or a good Cup run. But it appears, searching for Yodel on Twitter, nothing unites people quite like having to deal with Yodel.

The 27 stages of Yodel Hell are outlined below. Merry Christmas. And thanks, Twitter!

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Making Twitter work in print

Twitter, as most journalists know, is a great tool for journalists to get stories, share stories, form communities and get reaction.

But making Twitter work in print – a challenge for any newsroom which has to deal with the twin platforms of print and online – can often result in a disappointing experience for the reader.

The problem seems to stem from the fact that Twitter’s character limit – 140 characters per tweet – has resulted in a mini dictionary of short-cut terms which are fully understood on Twitter, but look a little odd out of context.

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Still debating the merits of taking Facebook seriously as a journalist? Facebook might just be about to change your mind…

Facebook’s success depends entirely on the relevance of the feed which appears when people first log in, so it’s no surprise that the secret formula which lies behind that service is constantly under review.

Trying to work out how to make the most of that feed has much in common with some of the more darkish arts which surround making the most of search engine optimisation … with similar repercussions dished out by both Google and Facebook if it thinks people are gaming their systems to get a better show. 

Facebook today announced a couple of new changes to Facebook feeds which should be of particular interest to journalists seeking to ensure the content they produce reaches the widest possible audience.

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Social media: How knowing how Jeff effs gives you a competitive advantage on social media

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Using social media properly means that a last minute dash to the story won’t happen to you.

Swearing. Your parents might have told it’s not big or clever … but when it comes to getting the most out of Twitter, a tactical use of f***, f***ing or s**t could take you a very long way. Joanna Geary, head of news partnerships at Twitter, proved two things when she spoke at the Revival of Local Journalism conference in MediaCity on Wednesday. The first was that the best way to keep a conference audience awake as they enter their post-lunch sleepy phase is to say the thing they least expect. The second was that to get the most out of Twitter, you have to understand the people you are following and how they use Twitter. Which is why a clever Tweetdeck column with a selection of choice words set up as the filter can be the difference between you spotting that first reference to a big story, and just being part of the pack: (more…)

Spin doctors and social media: Can public bodies be trusted to tell it straight?

Harsh but true … but how many public bodies are getting social all wrong?

There’s a theory, normally floated by press officers at organisations who feel they get a raw deal from the the local Press that they don’t actually need the local press any more.

The theory goes that, well, no-one reads local newspapers any more so they don’t have much impact and, well, there’s social media. We’ll talk to people directly! We’re the council/police/hospital, people trust us. And so on.

Previously, that theory didn’t involve social media, it was the rationale for creating council newspapers, with the added benefit of being able to spend tens of thousands of pounds of council advertising budget on getting a one-sided message across.

Now, however, that theory is bust. Reporters who previously saw their stories read by a diminishing number of newspaper readers now know the number reading them online is going up by the day. A story which begins life in a local newsroom can go across the country within minutes. Tesco knows this – which is why its marketing director tells his teams to take queries from local journalists seriously.

Social media is a two-way street for journalists. It makes it easier to get past the myriad of press relation regulations local public organisations have in place,  but it also gives those public bodies the chance to speak to people directly.

The question I want to pose is this:  Is that access to the public being abused?

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Tools for journalists: Playing with tame.it

While following coverage of the International Festival of Journalism in Perugia earlier this month, I noticed Journalism.co.uk’s Alastair Reid using tame.it, a rather fascinating tool for Twitter.

Tame.it since become one of those tools which is part of daily life without even thinking about it, largely because of this:

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Tools for journalists: Rediscovering Twazzup

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New social media tools come, and some go again. Some gain traction and then fall by the wayside when Twitter changes its API, others struggle to make ends meet and introduce subscription service, while others just get forgotten about.

For me, Twazzup falls into the last category, but having rediscovered it a couple of weeks ago, am finding that it’s still remarkably useful. There are a myriad of Twitter monitoring tools out there, some of which look very sleek, some of which are excellent. But here are six things which I think are behind my persistent return to Twazzup:

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Facebook for journalists: Hurrah! Facebook just killed the ‘like if agree’ thing

Google, as we know, works very hard to ensure its search results aren’t gamed by websites which have no right to be at the top of search results for any given term.

Google wants you to find the stuff you need easily, and for all the talk of what is and isn’t a trigger in the search giant’s algorithms, the principle behind it remains crystal clear: If your content appears to be valued (ie lots of people visit you, or link to you, or you exhibit signs of taking that content matter seriously, such as by updating frequently) you’ll get higher up in search.

If Google catches you gaming its search results  – such as through paying for advertorials containing links – it penalises you, and in some cases, the people who did the selling too. Here’s perhaps the most famous case involving Interflora. (I’d still pick them over Prestige Flowers, though).

Increasingly, Facebook is acting in a similar way as it seeks to keep the timeline you see as relevant to you as you want it to be. Lots of marketers are upset by the most recent change, which forces out fan pages unless people are organically interacting with them. However, this is good news for media organisations, who actually need to build loyalty to grow in the future. 

For Facebook and Google it’s about self-preservation. Attention spans online are short, especially when using a mobile, and being the ‘use that first’ website of choice is a status which must be treasured at all costs. People will move on if they aren’t getting the experience they want, and unless they’re moving straight to your news sites, that’s just as much bad news for you as it is for Google or Facebook.

So Facebook has announced another change: Killing off ‘like baiting’ – or the trend of encouraging people to press the like button for any reason other than because they actually want to like a post, such as a post making a statement and then asking people to like if they agree with it.

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Tools for journalists: Using Yatterbox for a different view on Twitter

One of the best things about Twitter – and there are many – is that it can give anyone a voice. That’s huge for journalists, turning Tweetdeck into a modern-day radio scanner, only tailored to just the bits you’re interested in, and involving many more people.

However, the downside to that approach is that it can make verification very hard. If you’ve got a Tweetdeck column, then you know you can see every Tweet which includes an important phrase to you, eg a place, but you need to be looking at it all the time.

To conquer that, you might  use a tool like Twilert ($9 a month to have every tweet involving a keyword which is important to you feels like a bargain) which will ping you an email whenever a Tweet containing an important word or phrase crops up. That solves one problem, to a point, but what about verification?

That’s where Yatterbox comes in. Aimed at people who spend their lives managing the reputations of brands, Yatterbox works on the principle that the Tweets some people write about a brand or issue have more impact that those written by others.

So it set about creating comprehensive lists of the people it feels have the greatest impact with their Tweets, and created three lists: Journalists, UK policy and EU policy. I suspect more are on the way. The help video which launches when you first sign up makes it very clear the aim is to help PRs keep track of what people PRs probably consider important are saying.

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