Thursday, 19 February 2009

Kewroad has moved

We've moved our blog to down the road See you there

Friday, 13 February 2009

Twestival and the 2.0 Crowd

Upon hearing the words social media and party, most people would be forgiven for picturing a pack of feral youths causing thousands of pounds worth of damage before being chased off by an army of policemen. However last night Twestival broke that mould, not only did it not require a police presence at the end of the night but it also raised a substantial sum for a worthy charity.

Initially a small gathering of London Twitterers, Twestival became a global phenomenon with more than 175 cities holding events organised by volunteers who have come together through Twitter, showing how effective it can be as a mobilising tool. With the proceeds going to charity:water, an organisation that funds clean water projects in developing counties, the event aimed to raise £700,000 for charity, a figure it now plans to squash.

Here in London the event was heavily attended by tech media, such as Andrew Lim, Mobile Editor at and Jemima Kiss, a reporter for The Guardian newspaper, who have in turn spent a large portion of today discussing the festivities on said social media tool.

One frequent criticism of social networking services and online life in general is that it isolates the individual from the “real world”. Twestival perhaps represents the perfect combination, utilising social media tools to promote and organise the event, whilst the event itself representing an opportunity for “Tweople” that regularly converse online to meet up in the flesh.

This is one way that Twitter in my opinion differs from Facebook, in that it promotes interaction between groups of people that share interests rather than your established social circle. The use of Twitter as a PR tool to participate and generate conversations with new audiences is therefore an attractive offering.

Perhaps I’ll arrange a tweet-up soon, any fellow Londoners interested in bog snorkeling?

Thursday, 12 February 2009

All of a Twitter – Measuring Online Reputations

Despite coverage appearing in media outlets, ranging from The Daily Mail to CNN, the 23rd January will be regarded by many as the day that Twitter became mainstream. This was the day that Britains two most famous Twitterers, Stephen Fry and Jonathon Ross, set the micro-blogging service alight as they discussed their love of the online tool on Ross’s comeback programme. Combined with Stephen being subsequently trapped in an elevator, the media landscape is now abuzz with news about Twitter and its abundance of followers.

With Twitter now being accepted as mainstream, companies are now wondering how to measure and monitor their brand reputation in an increasingly digital landscape. It is now accepted that we have moved from a watch and listen to a search and share society, where people are having active discussions and forming opinions not via traditional outlets, but through social networks, forums, blogs, virals, RSS, UGC, link-building, wikis and of course Twitter.

Actively monitoring this array of digital outlets represents a new challenge to today’s brands looking to not only monitor their presence against competitors, but also to play an active role in these discussions.

For brand managers looking to provide a basic overview of how they are faring in the digital arena against their competitors, TweetVolume, a tool that scans and counts the number of times a word or phrase appears on Twitter, and Addictomatic, a tool that builds a one page summary of results from 18 sites ranging from YouTube to Flikr to Twitter, are great starting points.

With media now sourcing stories from a range of digital outlets, be it a Facebook group or Twitter thread, the ability to measure, monitor and engage with online resources is key to an effective PR strategy in todays increasingly digital ecosystem.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Barry and his Blackberry

Obama has constantly expressed his love for his Blackberry. He’s said he can’t live without it and how they (the White House) can’t take it away from him. Having hesitated on security grounds, White House officials have finally decided to allow him to keep his Blackberry.

His unofficial endorsement of Blackberry is claimed to be worth between $25 and $50 million. This kind of celebrity endorsement is virtually priceless because it cannot be replicated. Whether we’ll see other endorsements now he’s taken the oath of office (twice) is probably unlikely especially given his strong line on restricting commercial lobbying…

Friday, 9 January 2009

Facebook 'gifting' and virtual goods

I’ve recently learned that ‘gifting’ on Facebook is creating major revenue, rumoured to be millions of dollars a month. I found this revelation surprising as I’ve never bought any gifts on Facebook unless they were free. I just can’t imagine spending my hard earned cash on something as intangible as virtual gifts on the internet. For many (me included) the idea is downright ludicrous.

As more users join social networking sites, interactions among users within social networking sites have become more bizarre. For example, poking and superpoking are common pastimes on Facebook. Gifting, giving friends virtual gifts on Facebook, has become increasingly popular since it was unveiled in 2007. Initially many thought that the idea wouldn’t catch on because it was too expensive ($1 per gift) and the gifts were virtual, i.e. not real and therefore meaningless to users. But the idea was successful, with people sending friends gifts ranging from the thoughtful (a piece of cake or a cupcake for birthdays) to the ridiculous (kick me post its, handcuffs and toilet rolls).

On the same topic, virtual goods on Second Life is another market creating major revenue (in the billions). I recently read an interesting article all about the Second Life virtual goods industry. People actually spend money on furniture, clothes and food for their avatars (a computer user’s self representation or alter ego) on Second Life. One may mock the concept but somewhere out there, there is a multi-millionaire who has made his/her fortune from the virtual goods industry. The market is estimated to be worth “approximately $1.5 billion and growing rapidly.”

I generally find the idea of a virtual world difficult to fathom, but it’s very real for some. Second Life even has its own home-grown scandals related to the virtual goods industry. An article in BusinessWeek discussed “a program called CopyBot, which lets anyone copy virtual goods without paying for them, got loose on Second Life, angering the folks who have made the place not only their second home but their main business.”

During a recession, one would think that sales of virtual goods would decrease but according to reports, that is not so. “Digital good sales within IMVU are still going strong," said IMVU CEO Cary Rosenzweig. According to an
article in Virtual World news, "In IMVU, members buy credits which are then used to buy digital goods. Credit sales are still strong. In fact, so far in October, our growth rates have actually accelerated, whether compared to year ago, or month-to-month. Over 90% of IMVU’s overall revenue is from the sale of virtual credits used to buy digital goods…Because our virtual credit revenue is strong, so is our overall revenue."

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Best Media Predictions of 2009

Lots of column inches being filled with journos reading the runes on what's going to fly or flop tech-wise in 2009. Best predictions share a common theme - reality check. Dennis Howlett fleshes out this theme at great length. John Naughton makes a similar point: the computer is the net, full stop; and simplicity will rule. Wise words for all tech PRs. to bear in mind as we're asked to pitch the latest big thing.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Green Tech Getting Lost in Media?

Going green is still on the government’s agenda but recently it’s gone quiet around this subject in the media for obvious reasons. Look how the news of the UK Government’s carbon budgets got lost.

Sustainability seems out of kilter with the times and yet its core messages about saving resources and conserving energy are even more relevant for the downturn.

So, Government and commerce needs to raise their game and communicate their successes in this space. Some sustainability initiatives that should be – and are - making bigger headlines include Climate Savers, Earth Smart Computing and QMU sustainable university.