Category Archives: Social media marketing

Is it time for an independent audit of all social media networks that sell clicks, likes, impressions and reach?

I wrote this post below one year ago, and a few days ago I read that Procter & Gamble, one of the biggest advertisers in the US, are criticising the lack of transparency by all online ad platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

One year ago I asked the question: do we really get what we pay for when buying ads online? Many marketers and small business owners told me about their poor experiences and here is what I wrote then, but never published.

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I’ve been concerned about numbers for a while; specifically, the kind of numbers that marketers and analysts look at when promoting products and services online. Can we be sure that they are accurate?

Is Facebook honest when it says that your post reached 100 people? Did you really only pay for true clicks in your latest campaign? Is LinkedIn sharing your blog post with your network? Or is it hiding it?

I have a suggestion about how to stop the worry that I and many others are feeling. It’s about quality control. All those companies selling us clicks, impressions and reach should be audited by an independent third party. By ‘audit’ I mean that an independent third party body should look through the systems to make sure that all paying customers get what they pay for. Right now, there is no way we can know that the numbers presented by social networks are accurate.

Big web companies are making billions from their customers through advertising and they don’t need to be open about how they gather data. They might have a converter in their technical code that pushes numbers up, as Volkswagen had regarding their pollution software, although in that case they pushed their numbers down.

In the food industry, management systems have been controlling the food we eat for decades; one system is ISO 22000, which focuses on traceability in the food chain and safety, and another is BRC, which manages food safety. The more risks there is in an industry, the more audits they perform every year.

One example of a lack of transparency concerns a small business that set up a company page on Facebook. To get more likes for their page they did an advertising campaign and ticked which countries they wanted to reach. In the end they got most of their likes from Romania and India even though these countries were not on their list. Was there a ‘click bug’ in the system?

I used to share my blog posts on LinkedIn’s platform Pulse. The way that the posts are distributed makes no sense at all. Some get picked up by LinkedIn’s random algorithm, or the so-called LinkedIn Pulse editors, and some are well hidden and hardly get any views or engagement at all. What is the logic behind this, and can it be trusted?

I also wonder why there is a certain author whose posts always appear in the ‘read next’ section on Pulse. After reading more about the issue it turns out that I’m not the only one who always see Travis Bradberry’s posts. It would be interesting to know why the algorithm prefers his posts.

Are the big advertising-driven online companies delivering what they claim? Can we trust them?

I am not sure we can.

The technology behind how content is distributed feels very random to me. Would a standard management system help to control the governance of services customers pay a lot of money for?

 

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Wearable tech, the web and virtual reality – do we need to care about it?

The first time I heard about wearable digital devices was when I was taking a short course in textile management in Sweden in 2003. We were shown a glove prototype from Hestra, a Swedish brand, where you could have your hands-free to your mobile phone inside the glove and talk straight into the glove. Instead of taking off the glove to answer your phone you have the hands-free set right there.

Little did I know that this was going to become mainstream with entrepreneurs around the world inventing new connected devices, virtual reality tools and a jungle of web applications that connect the world.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to test a new virtual reality (VR) headset. I’ve tested it before but that was ages ago, and it wasn’t very good then. This time I met up with leading VR technologist Peder Sandqvist at DigitasLBi in Gothenburg. He has been working with 3D and virtual reality solutions for years and gave me a great overview of the topic. Thank you again 😀

Sofie Sandell wearing VR helmet

My geeky look in VR

How was it? Did I fall over? Did I get motion sickness?

I was thrown into a virtual sea world on a sunken shipwreck. My first reaction was that it was beautiful. It was as if I was in one of the scary scenes in Finding Nemo. I had whales swimming next to me and large rocks all around.

I found it amazing and for sure my experience will stay in my mind for a long time. It was not like watching a video; it almost felt real.

Then I tried out a commercial car experience. It was a virtual way for me to pick colours, wheels and other design extras. I could open the door and sit down inside the car and it was pretty nice. Did it excite me? Well, not that much. I’m not that interested in cars, so I’m probably not the right person to share my opinions about this VR application.

When I was wearing the VR headset, I felt a bit stupid. The gear is pretty heavy and you have other people helping you to move around. I didn’t suffer motion sickness, which I’ve heard is a big problem with VR.

Then I also checked out a game in VR. If you are a gamer and a geek at the same time you are going to love VR gaming.

I try to avoid playing computer games; it takes too much time and I get stuck easily. I realised this years ago when a friend got a new PlayStation, and I suddenly spent all my time playing a crazy skateboard game and a game where a cute purple dragon was looking for eggs. It was fun, but I felt stuck and got stiff in my body.

I think VR is fascinating as a topic. There are lots of uses for it in all kind of areas where we are only starting to learn what is possible.

Imagine watching a video in VR of a new house that is not built yet. In school you may experience a jungle in VR to check out how animals live there. In healthcare there are many studies looking at how you can work with VR and the brain. Tricking the brain is going to be a huge thing, both for forming new habits and helping the brain to disconnect during painful treatments.

A friend asked me if marketers need to care about VR. The answer is, it depends. Companies that want to be innovative and at the forefront of everything digital should go for it. I wouldn’t say that VR will be huge in the next two years, but in ten years I’m sure that it will be part of many people’s everyday lives. Until then I think the market is pretty small. No-one I know owns a good headset yet and I only own a Google Cardboard VR device. I got it for around £10.

Mark Zuckerberg invested in Oculus in 2014. When they, as the biggest social media platform have access to both the VR software and hardware, makes the whole VR thing kind of cool. It may mean that they will connect millions of their users virtually in the future? Who knows?

When you can get a cheap device that doesn’t have to be connected to a computer to work and that looks good, we will be ready, and even people like me may get a proper VR headset. The cousin to virtual reality, augmented reality (AR) is already big with Pokémon, Snapchat and all these funny faces people are adding on social media. Millions are having fun taking semi-real photos and chasing small Pokémon, and it gives anthropologists, even more, to think about why people behave the way they do.

 

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When is it best to post a regular blog or newsletter? Does the day and time matter?

It would be awesome if there were a methodology and blueprint for perfect timing when it comes to sending out newsletters and publishing blog posts. I wish there was an easy answer to this question, but the answer is ‘it depends’.

I find it hard to believe statements such as: ‘If you send out your newsletter between 12.00-14.00 on Wednesdays you’ll get a higher opening rate.’ From my experience working with digital marketing and e-commerce, no best practice applies for the web environment we live in in 2016 when it comes to timing and days to send out newsletters and blogs. Tests from a few years ago are not valid in today’s environment and it also all depends on the organisation and what it is trying to achieve.

When we are online our behaviour is random, we click, watch and share and we are not sure why we end up finding the posts and videos we do.

In general, people like to follow a pattern; we like subscriptions and regular meetings. On TV we are used to programmes being on at certain times and we are used to on-demand TV services. We like flexibility and catching up with our favourite TV programmes when we have time for it. The web shares some similarities with that.

If you share something that is interesting for your readers on a regular basis people will start to expect a new message from you. When communication is done well we listen and look out for the next message. If we find communication annoying we turn off our ears, eyes and brains. I call this ‘emotionally unsubscribing’.

In all online branding communication, great content and nicely written messages matter.

When it comes to newsletters, I think there are some things to consider.

Tip 1: Don’t over-promise.

Branding is a promise made and kept.

If someone makes a promise that they will send out a newsletter every week and then for whatever reason can’t do so for a while, some subscribers will be disappointed. You can teach your readers that there will be something in their inbox at a certain time and day. As long as you keep this promise it will work well for you.

Tip 2: Number your newsletters.

I read a newsletter that comes out every Thursday for years and it’s similar to a long blog post. If I go back and search for the email I find all of them and I can binge read the content. It helps that they have numbered the newsletters, for me it makes it easier to overview. This is an approach I’ve also taken and I’m on newsletter number 60 now.

Tip 3: Schedule your newsletter to be sent during day time.

I think most readers forgive irregular newsletters and it’s okay to vary the day you send out a newsletter, especially for small businesses. It’s smart to schedule your newsletters so most readers in your network will get them during the day time. I have noticed that I have a higher opening rate when I send newsletters in the early morning, at 6.15. Even if I wrote it late the night before, nobody can tell 🙂

 

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How to sell using Twitter if you are in business to business commerce

A few days ago I was interviewed about social media and selling if you are working in a business to business organisation.

The big questions were:

1) if

2) when and

3) how you should use Twitter to sell your products and services.

All online presence and relationships and matter when you are in sales. I used to be a key account manager for a large certification business in Sweden before social media was as big as it is today. Then I had myself, a phone and my email account use when I connected with my clients. If you are working in sales today you have tools such as blog posts, Twitter and LinkedIn.

I have a friend who works in China. He used to have zero online presence and it caused him problems.

He was starting to work in partnership with an American company, and before they did any further business with him and the company he co-founded he had to set up a full profile on LinkedIn. They felt as if he didn’t exist before he did that. Everyone in the company in the US wanted to check out his history and what he had been up to.

Business basics
When you are at the beginning in the business process you are going to check out a few details and background on social media. If you are about to do big business the parties involved will do their due diligence where they will look into credit history and what kind of insurance and certificates a business has.

Some social media experts say that we are not in B2B, but in H2H – business to business, but human to human.

Well, of course that is the case. We are always doing business with people, but the brand and behaviour behind the person matters hugely as well.

I once worked with a journalist at one of UK’s older publications. His way of checking someone’s credibility was to scan the person’s tweets for the last week. If there was nothing there he would look somewhere else.

A friend of mine is quick at googling new people she meets at conferences and events. She walks away and does a two-minute check up, and she forms a picture of who the people are by looking at some of their social media accounts.

Another acquaintance always uses Klout and checks out the score a person has on there as part of his research. If they have a low Klout score they essentially have to explain themselves why. He wants his potential business partners to have an open online profile and be active online.

What you say about yourself and what others say about you online is your ‘live CV’. How you use social media for sharing your knowledge and the way you speak online is big part of who you are.

There are lots of interesting connections to be made on social media and your social media accounts are part of your online passport.

A good profile gives you both credibility and more clout.

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The total creative idea guide for selfies and ‘selfie hashtags’

We are never going to stop taking selfies sharing our lives on social media. Documenting our memories as an online diary is here to stay.

To give you some new ideas I’ve collected hashtags and stories you can tell by taking selfies.

A good selfie is a great memory. An ugly selfie may be even better.

Selfies are involved in our lives from early morning, to late at night. We add our friends to them, the food we eat and the animals we love.

By taking selfies, you share your values, taste, education, intellect, interests and style. There is no limit to what you can express by a simple photo, and it gives you the power to share what you like about your life. Selfies and belonging are also a big thing; we share where we belong, and where we feel we don’t belong in a simple selfie.

Some may choose to share to share only perfectly edited photos online. Others are opening up the crazy side of their personality when they are in the selfie mood.

A friend of mine, Brian, goes nowhere without his selfie-stick. He then takes a group selfie with everyone who’s with him. I love his #groupies, such a beautiful memory to keep for everyone who was there.

Selfies can be ‘totally’ meaningless according to some. And they can be educational and entertaining, you can easily make a powerful statement with just a selfie. You can follow me on Instagram and check out my selfies here www.instagram.com/sofiesandell

Selfie collage

There is a selfie for every moment in life.


Here is the hashtag guide for selfies:

#selfie – the most common tag.

#selfiegram

#selfieaddict

#selfiestick

Check out selfie sticks on the Argos website.

Animal selfie hashtags:

#dogselfie or #dogsie

#rabitselfie

#birdselfie

#catfie or #catselfie

#fishselfie

#horseselfie

#duckselfie 

Had to get a #duckselfie for the 2nd year in a row before the end of the trip 🐤🐤

A photo posted by Bryce Brill (@brycebrill) on

More selfie hashtags to explore:

#groupie
Means many people in the selfies.

#babyselfie

#workselfie

#nudeselfies
This is what Kim Kardashian does all the time, and she will never stop.

#loveselfie

#gayselfie

#LGBTselfie

#lesbianselfie

#footballselfie

#yogaselfie

#artselfie

#artyselfie

#creativeselfie

One more creative selfie. Don’t wait with something important for too long. #selfie #art #artyselfie

A video posted by Sofie Sandell (@sofiesandell) on

#airportselfie

#morningselfie

#breakfastselfie

#touristselfie

#leaningtowerofpisa #piazzadeimoracoli #touristselfie

A photo posted by Dayle Fairclough (@daylef24) on

#weddingselfie

#aftersexselfie

#swimselfie

#JesusSelfie
You and Jesus in the same pic.

#foodselfie or #foodie
People and food. Sometimes just the food. Many people use this technique if they don’t want to share who they had dinner with, but only share that they had a nice social evening.

#drinkselfie

#drunkselfie

#wineselfie

#beerselfie

#surfie
When on a surfboard or the beach.

#cabfie
In a cab.

#carselfie

#bookfie

#bookselfie
Show the world which books you read.

Decided to do a more natural makeup look today! Also, new book! #selfie #bookselfie #makeup

A photo posted by Tamarah Smith (@poutineaddict) on

#newhairselfie

#makeupselfie

#soulselfie

#celebselfie
When you meet a celebrity

#absselfie
Common among gym addicts.

#shoeselfie
A photo of your feet

#handselfies

#footsie or #footselfie
You take a selfie of your feet.

#radioselfie
Aka in the radio studio.

#energyfmsa #dawnexpress haha that’s what I do #radioselfie 🙊📡😋 my tongue need deliverance 😂

A photo posted by Aggrey Lichopwa (@aggrey01) on

#fashionselfie

#sunselfie

#sunselfie

A photo posted by #serigrafía lavapiés madrid (@serialgrafia) on

There is no end to people’s creativity in the world of selfies! Love it 🙂

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I read every email, comment, and tweet that you send me, so please do reach out. To tweet me connect on @Soffi_Propp.

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How to use Snapchat – the guide for people over 22 who finds Snapchat scary!

Social media and where we hang out online is a fascinating topic. Yesterday I had a Snapchat lesson with Leo, 18 to get up to speed. I’ve had a Snapchat account for years. When I started to use it the app was full of bugs and hard to manage, and I became a passive user. Last week I decided that I shall conquer my fear and learn how to snap.

My Snapchat is sofies554 if you wanna follow me. I’ve changed my Snapchat to my ‘normal’ username, SofieSandell. It really confused me when I had that random name which I picked like 3 years ago when I found Snapchat scary. 

Leo and Sofie May 2016

Me and Leo, my Snapchat guru and teacher.

Snapchat for many people is the crazy side of social media. Many who use it are authentic and true when showing snaps of their life. On Instagram and Facebook you see their curated and well thought-through posts, and on Snapchat they share the posts that shouldn’t be saved forever. It’s a great storytelling app.

Apps that makes us creative in seconds are going to be the winners in the future, and this is what Snapchat does, and it is quick. All my other social media networks suddenly feel very slow.

If you are hesitating to use Snapchat or not and find it a bit complicated here is a quick guide. Thank you, Leo, who patiently answered all my questions yesterday 🙂

The quick guide to Snapchat

Open the app and double click the screen, then you can take a selfie. If you press the screen on your face the funny face options will pop up. The different ‘faces’ change every now and then. Right now I have a dog as my fist option, then you can make yourself look crazy with no nose, a new hat, and even a new face. If you scroll through all options you come to the face swap and face mask options. You must check them out!

Press the button and you take a photo, and hold it for longer and you make a video.

You have a few different options how to use Snapchat:

  1. 
send text messages
  2. send symbols
  3. send a photo looking great
  4. 
send a photo looking crazy
  5. send a face-mask selfie
  6. send a photo with text on, and add emojis
  7. send a ten-second video
  8. send a ten-second video with text and emojis
  9. create a story and share it with everyone in your network for 24 hours
  10. and other ways that I’ve not discovered yet.

There is a paint function in the app, perfect if you would like to highlight something in a photo or video. Create a circle or arrow.

When you take a photo, you choose how long time it will be visible, one to ten seconds. There have been some warnings about people saving photos sent over Snapchat, and that made the function of sharing things secretly useless. Now, if you save a snap that someone sent to you, the sender will get a notification on their screen saying that you saved the photo as a screenshot. An example of this is the daughter who saved her dad’s snaps and he lost his job. Not the best use of social media. We are getting used how to use social media in a better way, and hopefully, we will stop shaming people.

One thing that sometimes confuses me is that some of the text messages are saved in the app and then some disappear. And if someone sends you a photo you can replay the Snap twice. Good to know, in the past you could only see it once.

To give you more options you can save the photos and videos that you created on your phone. A smart thing to do is to share them in your social media, add your username, and then people may find you on Snapchat and follow you.

Blog images snapchat and Mi.001

My Story

The best thing with Snapchat is My Story. And you create that by taking a photo or film a ten-second video, then you press the small box with a + ‘plus sign’ on the bottom of the screen and then your followers can see the photo for 24 hours.

Last week when I was opening my Snapchat there was a Live story featuring Gothenburg, my hometown. I clicked on it and saw a lot of different clips in a video that was going on forever. If a brand or event choose to be on ‘Live’ then everyone who is around can choose to add their Story to the Live event. Snapchat has created a fab function where you can crowdsource a video. I had no idea that this was the way they did it and thought it looked too funky and creative for being a promotional video.

How to add friends

Press the little yellow Snapchat symbol on the top of the screen and add friends. I downloaded the video and made it my Facebook profile video. To do that only click on the yellow frame and click the save symbol in the top right corner. You can search for people nearby, so if you are at a party and talk to someone you can just search and then add them.

Snapchat also gives you trophies when you achieved a certain level of messages, and some see it as high status to have sent many snaps.

  1. Tap the little ghost on the Camera screen.
  2. Tap the trophy at the top of the Profile screen.
  3. Tap a trophy to see how you earned it! Some trophies have multiple levels of achievement.

Snapchat may very well become more mainstream now when it’s better. Maybe it actually is mainstream, both The White House and the local newspaper, GP, in Gothenburg, Sweden, where I grew up, use Snapchat now.

For big publishers, there is an option to create a channel in the Discover feature. I don’t think that many users click there. Why would they? You use social media to connect with friends. This function will probably change and be more creative soon, or they may only let people add their videos in the Live / My story tab.

If I was the digital director for a brand I would set up a normal Snapchat account and quickly learn how to get into the ‘Live’ story tab by contacting Snapchat. It’s all about trying, testing, learning and being creative.

An example how BBC News used Snapchat to report the result of the EU referendum.

Happy snap chatting,

Sofie

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Snapchat was founded April 2011, and they launched stories in 2013, and have since then added the partnership function Discovery. In March 2016, they had over 100 million people using Snapchat every day and billion of video views. Headquarters is in Los Angeles, USA. Snapchat has a support account on Twitter twitter.com/snapchatsupport

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Is it thought leadership if someone else has written your blog post?

In an advanced social media course I was teaching, we were debating whether it’s important for people working in an organisation to have a decent social media presence or not.

We were talking about branding and different leadership styles and in what ways the people working in an organisation are representatives of the brand 24/7.

One person said: ‘I’m happy that none of the fools in my organisation have an online presence.’ Everyone laughed.

Another delegate said: ‘Our marketing team writes all the blog posts and then some people in the management team pretend they wrote it.’

‘What?’ I said. ‘Do they outsource their voice?’

It turned out that many people in the room had had the same experience. They knew few people in a leadership position who wrote their blog posts themselves. Instead, they are conveniently outsourcing their thoughts and voice to a ghost writer.

I may be naive, but how can anyone let someone else ‘be their voice’?

In that case, what’s written and shared just adds to the junk online. If you want to stand out you need to use your own voice and your own, personal anecdotes.

In the ‘social media era’ people who use social media well stand out. That’s how it is. Blogging or sharing on social media can be a great tool to let people know a bit more about what’s going on behind the scenes. People are notoriously curious and want to know what’s going on.

To be seen as a thought leader today you need to develop your thinking skills. I know I am asking for a lot here and it takes time, to do this, but without fully thinking your thoughts through you are only going to be a copycat, and that’s not a good start when you’re developing your personal brand.

The world doesn’t need more leaders who put together fake thought leadership content with the help of an assistant. If this is your current strategy please stop now and learn more about the craft of writing and expressing an idea.

You need to be strategic with your writing. There are devices such as smartphones and tablets that you can use to jot down notes and then you can structure your notes in a Word document later. You can collect potential topics in a spreadsheet. You can get help from a proofreader if you are not sure you are getting the grammar right. But please, share your stories and expertise; never outsource your voice.

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In the near future I will be running some workshops in London where we will explore how to use your voice in your writing. Please sign up to my newsletter so you get the announcement when we know the exact workshop dates.

Sofie Sandell

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Big data, marketing and decision-making – what is it all about?


Last week I got asked if I know about big data and how you use it in digital marketing. Yes, of course, I do. I’ve been using big data for years when analysing numbers from websites and social media.

I’ve also been fortunate to speak at many conferences where some of the speakers are fully trained ‘big data ninjas’, and I’m lucky to know some of them personally.

Big data is complex information, and it feels as overwhelming as a huge waterfall. It’s only if you present big data in a meaningful way it helps you to make better decisions.

Big data is inconveniently big. It’s hard to handle. Impossible to overview in its raw form.

On Wikipedia, you read: “Big data is a term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, querying and information privacy.”

Big data and people
An acquaintance who is responsible for all digital marketing for a large hotel chain in the US told me about her struggle to start to look at numbers when making decisions. For years, they had been making most decisions based on prejudices, personal experiences, and their ‘gut feeling’.

Every hour their hotels have thousands of guests who are in touch with them, either online, over the phone or staying in one of their large hotels. The information they collect about their customers is big data.

The information they have about their guests comes in many forms. Some are internal data, and some are external. You have access to the data that you asked your guests for before their visit and during their stay, and then new random data that you collect from your guests.

Their challenge was to use all information they have about their customers in a meaningful way so they could make better marketing decisions. To kick this off, they spent several days in a large conference room trying to figure out every possible touch-point that their customers have with them. What they got was a big complex map that told stories where their customers. The map was not easy to overview, or understand. The next step was to set up data collection points that they could follow and then also improve everyone’s web analytics skills.

Analytics is a vital phase of the big data cycle. The most common tools marketers use is Google Analytics, and it tells you about your website visitors. With the help of this information, you can understand what was successful in a campaign and how many online leads it gave. You can analyse your conversion rate, and see how many visits lead to a sale or an inquiry.

It’s when the data shows you meaningful pattern that you can do something with it. To see those patterns in an excel spreadsheet can be hard. That’s why you use visualisation software to do this, there are amazing and beautiful tools that magically help you visualise data.

To start using web analytics in a meaningful way took a while for the hotel chain. It’s not a one-month projects, but more like an on-going continual improvement project where everyone has to be open for new learning and share their knowledge.

Five examples of big data in daily life: 

1) The Panama leak was a big and complex project with 11 million documents. And to understand them better, see the pattern the journalists used big data visualisations tool. They used Neo4j and Linkurious to follow a pattern and see where the money went.

2) Eye on the Reef program – people, are helping scientists to find out what’s going on with the reef by sending them updates.

3) The Airports of the Future Project

4) NASA earth image project

5) For the health sector, there is so much to be discovered. Last time when I visited my local GP, or ‘house doctor’ as you say in Swedish, the nurse told me that they keep track on patient’s blood pressure, ‘they give us a call and share their blood pressure weekly, and we add it into the patients journal.’ Right now they collect the information manually. In the future, it will be done over a digital application on your smartphone, and you may send it to your doctor if you wish to.

We will use new personal digital technology in the future. We already have the fitness bracelet and different health apps. We will track all kind of body functions, sleep, movement, pulse, blood pressure, periods, hormones, blood, saliva, and weight. Then we will connect this with our smartphone, and start to see graphics and other visualisation tools, and share this with our doctor. There is a lot of medical issues that you can keep track of and prevent this way.

With so many new digital devices we are collecting and storing more data than ever. One question we need to ponder is how we will use it, and how it can be helpful. More tracking tools will be developed, it will give us more data, and they may help us to make better decisions.

How many people who are working in digital marketing are big data ninjas? Not that many, unfortunately. Big data is complex, and by collaborating and sharing skills you can explore what it means to your organisation.

Read more about big data here.

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Thank you for reading. I read all tweets, emails, and messages, so please get in touch if you have any questions or thoughts.

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Why we post – global anthropology and social media study

Last week I started the online course ‘Why We Post‘ with, UCL, University College London. It’s based on an anthropological study of social media conducted over 15 months and in different places across the world. I’m halfway through the course, and you can still come on board if you are interested.

Social media has been around for about ten years now, in its current form, that is. I was a member of a social network in 2000-2001 and it definitely connected us, but not that many people were involved. Now almost everyone who lives in the connected world is using either Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, WeChat or Snapchat. Some are super-connected and use all of these networks.

The course focuses on content and social groups rather than on the platforms and their designers. Anthropologists use a method called ‘participant observation’ which involves taking part in participants’ social life and not just conducting questionnaires or focus groups. But of course, they also listen closely to what people say, and must be fluent in the local language. They want to learn about what happens in ‘secret and private’ social networks such as WhatsApp and Facebook groups, and how we use the more public social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

They also ask participants what they do not share and debate openly on social media. I know some families that have as a rule that no members of the family are allowed to debate politics on open social media. Why? Because they are afraid of being seen as racists or as leaning towards a certain right-wing party, so instead they only share non-sensitive posts about dinners and trips and so on.

For ages workplaces have done their best to stop their employees from communicating with anyone they can. This Tayloristic perspective is still alive today, and many employers are worried that their employees connect too much with the outside world at work. I actually know about a laboratory in Sweden that has very strict communication rules. When at work you are not allowed to make any private phone calls during the day. If you want to do that you have to hide. You can’t even think about going on social media. Their staff turnover is high.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for how to manage social media at work. I know myself that I am less distracted by Facebook when I’m involved and engaged in what I’m doing. Is it more about creating an organisation in which most people are involved and feel that they are contributing? Or would it help to not be allowed to use Facebook?

I’m leaving you to think about a solution; please share your ideas and thoughts with me if you wish to.

Have a lovely day ahead.

Discovery 1

Social media is not making us more individualistic

Discovery 2

For some people social media does not detract from education – it is education

Discovery 3

There are many different genres of selfie.

Discovery 4

Equality online doesn’t mean equality offline.

Discovery 5

It’s the people who use social media who create it, not the developers of platforms.

Discovery 6

Public social media is conservative.

Discovery 7

We used to just talk now we talk photos.

Discovery 8

Social media is not making the world more homogenous.

Discovery 9

Social media promotes social commerce not all commerce.

Discovery 10

Social media has created new spaces for groups between the public and private.

Discovery 11

People feel social media is now somewhere they live as well as a means for communication.

Discovery 12

Social media can have a profound impact on gender relations sometimes through using fake accounts.

Discovery 13

Each social media platform only makes sense in relation to alternative platforms and the media.

Discovery 14

Memes have become the moral police of online life.

Discovery 15

We tend to assume social media is a threat to privacy but sometimes is can increase privacy.

Cat as meme

Leave a Comment

I hope Twitter expands its tweets to 10,000 characters. But their issues are much deeper, and there is no quick fix

In the last month there has been a rumour going around that Twitter will increase its character limit to 10,000 characters, and there is no lack of opinions about the length of tweets.

For those of you who are worried that Twitter will turn into a lengthy essay platform I can assure you that there is nothing to worry about. Just because you can write 10,000 characters doesn’t mean that everyone will start doing so. Look at other platforms and the limitations they have. You can write a long post on your Facebook wall if you want to and, if necessary, you can post over 60,000 characters. But your friends will only see around 250 words until they click the ‘see more’ link.

If Twitter makes the change the platform will add an expansion function and you can still scroll through posts quickly. Giving you the ability to tweet 10,000 characters is only a symbolic move from Twitter. Telling people that they can write 500 characters is not as exciting as telling them they can write 10,000.

Being a good communicator means that you use the right amount of words, both when talking and when writing. People who have explored the art of communication will still have an enormous advantage on all online platforms.

Sometimes you only need a few words to say something whereas in other situations you need thousands of words, metaphors and examples to explain what you mean.

Many users of social media are only looking for quick rewards, quick updates and easy-to-digest entertainment. But there are still plenty of people who are hungry for more information.

What Twitter, and all people who are worried about its existence, should pay more attention to is the hate speech and harassment problems on the platform. Twitter has let the issue of anonymous threats persist for far too long, and that is driving people away.

Many people, especially women because they are attacked more frequently, are choosing not to share a thought or opinion online due to the risk of being flooded with negative comments. Freedom of speech has turned into ‘freedom of hate’ in many online forums. Who do we care most about? People with an informed opinion to share, or those who just want to express their hate?

To fix this problem, you need to change the law to be able to deal with the online ‘hate and harassment problems’, and get all online platforms involved as well.

Tweeting birds twitter tweet

Image by startbloggingonline.com

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Social Media Q&A

Do you have any questions about life in relation to social media?

Send an email with your question to Sofie Sandell for a chance to get it published here.
Email: sofie@sofiesandell.com

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