Skittles Social Media Trial Continues

Skittles have continued their social media/viral buzz marketing testing by today redirecting their homepage to the skittles Facebook group.

skittles-facebook-experiment

Some reports (notably here) have this as a reaction to the defamatory tweets which were being plastered across the homepage during the twitter trial, I beg to differ.  The guys at skittles had to know that by allowing people access to their homepage they were going to get jokers who were going to get a kick out of writing “skittles suck” or much harsher words and seeing them displayed for all to see.  I don’t believe a multinational brand wouldn’t have thought about this.  But the fact is, most tweets were present for less than 30 seconds and so they didn’t get much air time really.

I believe the guys at skittles are still in a testing period and they probably always planned a test with the Facebook page as part of the trial.  After all, there have been occurrences in twitter downtime of it being redirected to a Wikipedia page about skittles.  They are obviously undertaking a larger social experiment than just what we saw with the twitter search.  What exactly they are playing at, and whether it is anything more than a viral marketing exercise, I don’t know.  Hopefully things will become clearer in the coming days and weeks.

Facebook Success Stories

For all the bad press that Facebook gets in the main stream media I was happy to come across a positive story from the BBC last week in conjunction with the social networks 5th birthday.

With all the stories about gangs, bullying, adultery it is nice to come across a story which celebrates the true value of social media, connecting people.

The BBC has picked out 3 Facebook success stories which show the true power of social media and social networks for connecting people who cant be together or have lost touch.

Read the full article here

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Its started again.  No sooner has a new social media tool hit the headlines the rumours are out about acquisition, merger, and how the latest social phenomenon is going to destroy the competition in one way or another.

Im obviously talking about twitter, the latest social tool to be all the range in the digital world, and big news in the mainstream media as well.  I expect the purchase rumours, twitter needs it if it is going to stay ahead of the game and solve its infrastructure issues.  But it seems every second article I read now is about why twitter is going to replace Facebook, or why it is the tool to end the search engines dominance online, but I am not really buying it.

I use twitter, I am on Facebook, I use Google and pretty much any other online tool of any great use as well, and I can safely say, no one of those which I use has reduced the amount I use the others or replaced them in any way.  I use Google for my search activity (or live search if I get bored), I catch up with old and distant friends on Facebook, and us twitter for industry news and general commentary on life.  So why does everyone want to merge them, compare them, or pit them against each other in a social media/online battle?

Fresh Egg ponders whether twitter might take business away from Google, techcrunch taks about Facebook stealing twitters market (although suggesting it isn’t likely) and many other bloggers and social commentators debate why and who twitter is going to replace.  Can they all not co-exist on their own merits without the desire to imitate, acquire or destroy one another?  Or is it just a symptom of the evolving social world we live in where every new venture is set to be bought by one of the more established players?

Social Media – Making us all a bit less sociable

I read a worrying post on the BBC the other day which discussed the evolution of social media and how it spanned the age demographics.  The author described a scene in his house on Christmas day in the living room.  With the TV showing the Christmas special of choice, for the family you had dad (the author) sat on an arm chair laptop on lap, twittering and blogging away.  Mum, similarly adding comments to her forum of choice whilst checking her news feeds for updates and the two children, iPod Touch in hand, using Facebook and messenger to chat with friends and engage with their own private networks.

Now I’m as big a geek as the next man.  I love finding the latest social tool to have a play around with.  I Twitter, use messenger, have a Facebook and a MySpace account (although the latter as been redundant for a long time).  But the thought of a family sat around on Christmas day silently tapping away on iPods and laptops depressed me slightly.

I don’t think I’m being too old fashioned when I say that Christmas should involve spending time with the family and actually engaging in some form of non-digital communication!  And it is not just in this scenario I see this happening, the workplace is just the same.  People emailing and messaging colleagues a question when they are sitting on desks less than 5 yards apart.

It seems strange that the ability to engage and communicate with people thousands of miles away means we communicate less with those closest to home.  Is this the way of the future?  Digital chat and social media replacing old fashioned speech and face to face engagement?

I sincerely hope not.  As much as I love using online social media tools I’m also rather fond of meeting and speaking to people face to face.  I have technophobe friends who refuse to have a Facebook account or personal email address giving the response, “If I want to speak to someone Ill just ring them.”  Whilst I am not going to go to that level of extreme as I see the benefits of social media tools away from connecting with friends, I hope for all our sake that the picture painted by the BBC reporter is not a sign of things to come.

MySpace AdPlatform – will it work?

The launch of Myspace’s new ad scheme myAds into Beta last week opened up the social network as an advertising option for businesses of all sizes.  With a 4 step, simple campaign set up there is no doubt this is aimed at small businesses with little or no experience of online advertising.  And with the super low minimum commitment of £25 they have reduced all barriers to entry for small businesses.  No doubting that this is an attempt to follow in Facebook’s footsteps in attracting direct advertisers and allowing self service and flexibility on ad campaigns (its the future, remember?) but is Myspace in a position to make a go of it in the same way Facebook has?

It certainly has the audience for it, with nearly double the unique user figures of Facebook there is an audience there to be tapped into, but impressions are what the modern day advertiser is after.  It is also most certainly not what the small business advertiser is after, I know from experience that if a small business is investing £100, then they sure as hell want £200 back.  They do not have large marketing budgets and they don’t give a hoot about brand building, they want a return on investment.  And I’m not convinced Myspace can give it.

For a start on Myspace there is less browsing involved.  On Facebook you are looking at news feeds, checking out updated status’ and searching for groups, and this is the time when you are most likely to be tempted to click and ad.  With Myspace there is less of these type of actions involved, at least there is how I use it.  And you are generally there to view a particular persons profile or catch up with a contact, and when you have a purpose, you are less likely to be tempted to click an ad, no matter how well targeted.

Also, the garish nature of Myspace profiles means that it will take something special for an ad to look right on the page, this will make users opposed to the ads and less likely to accept them as useful.

I suppose the idea of the ads, much like Facebook’s similar programme, is to utilise the profile information to target your audience effectively and I buy into this, use all the information you can to show the right ad, to the right person, at the right time.  I’m just not sure Myspace has the layout and the typical user actions to support such a programme.  And certainly my experiences with Google Placement ads on Myspace haven’t shown me anything to suggest otherwise.