Posts Tagged: social media

Apr 11

Think before you “Like” – Designing for the Social Web

DislikeI know, I know… “Social Web”. If that term isn’t enough to put you off reading the rest of this post, you’ve passed the first test and are ready for the brave new future.

Just over a year after the launch of the “Like” button, Facebook has announced it’s new “Send” button. “Finally!”, I hear you say. Liking, sharing, buzzing, digging, tweeting and stumbling just isn’t enough these days. Sarcasm aside, the new “Send” functionality may actually be a step in the right direction. Basically, “Send” allows you to share a page/link/whatever with the right group of people instead of all your contacts. (Funnily enough, Google’s Buzz, widely derided as a giant social-networking flop, has had this functionality built in from the start.)

The more interconnected our online behaviours get with our offline lives, the harder it is to do anything online without it potentially being seen by the wrong people. We naturally have separate personas and behaviours in how we interact offline with different groups (for e.g. think how you are with your family, your work colleagues, your gun club), so it’s hardly surprising the model of a single group of contacts or “friends” isn’t a natural fit for all of our online activities.

Likewise, Facebook commenting has tried to tie us all to one online profile that means we lose the freedom to have different personas on different sites.

In its rush to create one social graph to rule them all, Facebook has missed the point of the interest graph. Sure, I’m connected to all these people, but I’m not connected to them in the same way. Hopefully, “Send” marks a return to Facebook getting why 700 million users use their site.

The “Social” aspect of web design isn’t a fad – on the contrary, it’s going to become more and more pervasive in the future – but we need to make sure we add it in the right way. Adding social features to your site has great potential… as long as we bear in mind that the user is connecting your service to their profile for the value they gain from it. There’s no point in gaining a “Like” if it ends up a dislike.

PS: If you have the time, check out this slideshow from a few months back on “The Real Life Social Network” by Paul Adams, it’s excellent.


Follow Shane on Twitter: @shane_casey

Jan 11

Social networks, anti-social behaviour

Obey the bird

The age of Web 2.0 has well and truly arrived. The days of the first few pioneers engaging their users through social media have passed and now every brand, advertiser, celebrity and politician has a social media presence. The goldrush is on and everyone knows they should be in the “social space” – they just have no idea what to do once they’re there.

Everyone knows the benefits – multiple platforms and touch-points mean you can find your audience where they already are. If they’re on YouTube, you can get your own channel there; if they’re on Facebook, why not set up a “Fan” page? This direct access means there are fewer barriers between you and them, you can really engage in an actual conversation. Awesome, right?

But hang on – multiple platforms mean more and more places to manage your message. So often we see social outlets that are all but abandoned, and whatever visitors do come across them can sense the virtual cobwebs of a hastily created  and forgotten social media “presence”. What does that say about you/your brand and how is that any different from Web 1.0?

And worse, direct access to your audience means they can talk back to you. How do you control what they do on your page? What if they don’t say nice things? They can rant and bitch and slag you off and everyone can see it and join in. WTF?!? I didn’t sign up for this – it’s out of control! The first problem’s easy to solve – make a commitment to care-taking your social outlets or, even better, don’t just create them for the sake of it: only make the ones you’re going to use.

Managing the conversation is harder. Here are your options:
- Fake it. Why bother with actual consumers when you could just have your agency create fake accounts and drown out the negative with spin? Sony learned the hard way in 2006 with their “All I want for Christmas is a PSP” campaign that did irreparable damage to their brand with the very people they were trying to win over. The public are wise to advertisers and you will be found out. If you’re going to be alternative, you have to be authentic.

- Edit it. Sarah Palin and her horde of winged monkeys (or whoever works for her) are the ultimate example of this. Palin’s Facebook page is conspicuous, considering what a polarising figure she is, for the glowing “we love you Sarah” tone of every comment you can find  there. In the wake of the tragic shootings in Arizona this week that have left Palin with a PR disaster on her hands, the editors must be working double-time. A social presence like this is the perfect outlet for people to directly express their outrage and anger but it’s all deleted. Check out Obama London’s report on the methodical removal of any dissenting opinions here. And this raises an even more important point – if you’re obviously moderating content, anything you don’t remove can be assumed to have your approval. Like this comment celebrating the death of a 9 year old.

It's ok. Christina Taylor Green was probably going to end up a left wing bleeding heart liberal anyway. Hey, as 'they' say, what would you do if you had the chance to kill Hitler as a kid? Exactly.

You stay classy, Sarah.

- Ignore it. Hey, maybe they’ll just go away? While there is some wisdom in not feeding the trolls, pretending it’s not happening just allows any negative commentary to go unchallenged and gives the complainer (another?) valid reason to be angry with you. The longer a grievance goes unrecognised, the larger it becomes.

- Listen. “The fool speaks, the wise man listens”. This is really your only option. Your social media presence is essentially the town square so if someone’s unhappy, deal with it. And deal with it publicly. You can turn a situation around by treating your audience with respect and hearing their issues. Maybe you can fix it and win them back or at least you can show everyone else watching that you care. Starbucks runs to actively invite criticism and then acts on it. Customers have a clear channel for their dissatisfactions and Starbucks take them seriously. Smooth.


As Confucius said, “With great power, comes great responsibility”. Social media is an amazing tool for anyone with a message for a wider audience but it can potentially destroy you. Everything you do on the Internet is public so behave like it. If you respect your audience and are transparent and authentic, they’ll appreciate it and repay you in kind. And if you can’t do that, then maybe it’s time you had a think about whether social media is right for you or not.

Follow Shane on Twitter: @shane_casey

Nov 10

Animation in Advertising

Editor’s note: It was an epic Show & Tell this week. The first part was Marine’s presentation on the use of animation in advertising. Stay tuned for part 2 with all the rest of the headlines and discussion.

I have a certain passion for animation and whilst doing some research on the use of animation in advertising, Here are a few great ads that I thought I would share with you. I was really struck by the fact that animation is actually a very efficient element/tool for brands that wish to communicate. In fact, animation develops consumers’ imagination, it can be adaptable and become top of mind in consumers’ mind and has also a strong capacity to touch an audience by approaching serious matters in a sympathetic way…

Enough about the theory, here are three ads I have chosen to share:

Amnesty International: Signatures

The first one is an ad done by TBWA for Amnesty International called “Signatures” which speaks from itself, which I found stunning and moving just by using a nice stylish illustration. When interviewing the artistic director Stéphane Gaubert he explained that their choice went towards black and white animation because they thought a simple but fresh illustration would have a great impact on people’s mind, reaching their sympathy. In terms of results the charity got great reviews with 600,000 views on YouTube and €1.8 millions of free diffusions and press articles.

AIDS: Zizi graffitis

The next ad is also one from TBWA for AIDS this time called “Zizi graffitis” which is really sweet and funny. When I interviewed Ingrid Varetz, the creative director who worked on the ad, she explained that animation was the base of their concept, she said “it seemed to me appropriate to use sexual graffiti which is usually found in schools in order to talk to the youth and encourage them to wear condoms. The results for this ad were amazing with 1 million views in a week, 8.5 millions in September so for those who will tell me, this ad is so French, I say, ‘well it worked!’”

Now another way of approaching the same subject but in a very different direction and I personally didn’t like it at all but I will let you judge from yourselves. I just thought it’s a bit wrong to associate mass murderers with people who are HIV-positive

Facebook: Unfriend Coal

The last one I would like to share is an ad from Greenpeace which came out strategically a few weeks before the film “The Social Network”. Light, funny and entertaining it shows you how Facebook’s creator is not doing the right choice by using coal instead of wind farms.

Aug 10

Show & Tell #1: Facebook, anti-Facebooks and cool hardware

"...and then I put it in the bin"

"...and then I put it in the bin"

Had our first digital Show & Tell last night and it went down a storm. Thanks to everyone that made it along – hopefully you all found something interesting in the mix to take from it.

For those that missed it, here’s a quick list of a few of the topics of discussion that we went through and associated links.

Continue reading →

Apr 10

Social Media Toolkit

As Social Media becomes more prevalent within our personal, everyday life, so companies are realizing the potential to utilize this data / information to their advantage.

Businesses are using numerous techniques and programs in order to harness the power of Social Media to help them understand their user base better and how their users interact with their website / service / products.

From collating comments from individual Tweets to data-mining Tweet traffic & usage ( helpful in identifying power users and determining how they use the website / service ) companies are now able to use what was previously seen as “something cool” and “I don’t know what it does but seeing as everyone is using Twitter & Facebook we should too” in order to make serious strategic decisions that can help them to unlock new business potential.

OneForty have compiled a nice list of Social Media Toolkits that may be of use to companies looking to turn that “i’m gonna Poke your FaceWall” into serious strategic advantage and more importantly cold-hard cash!

Take a look at OneForty’s Social Media Toolkit


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