Why do Mars get football so wrong?

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Ok, so we can all breath again. Roy Hodgson’s team did the business last night and courtesy of a Rooney header and late bit of Stevie G magic I can fantasise that come summer 2014 I’ll be watching England in the World Cup final at some lovely new stadium in Rio.

There was however one thing that took my attention away from what was actually a very absorbing (for England) game and that was the rubbish advertising that Mars displayed on the boards around the pitch.

Talk about cringe-worthy! It gave the impression that it was displaying messages from real punters, presumably harvested from Twitter (I think there was hash tag there) cheering England on. Now they might have been real – but the names like Dave C!? were so generic it seemed unlikely.

Even worse was the content of the messages. They were mainly of the trite Good Luck England variety. In fact one was so bad it became etched on my memory – it said ‘Qualification is our goal.’

Quite honestly which self-respecting football fan would tweet a Mars hash tag such nonsense. It smacks of something rustled up by a Mars marketing executive who really has absolutely no understanding of football and its culture.

I thought the days of ‘dad on the dancefloor’ social media approaches from brands were at an end given that we all understand that brands need to be sincere, genuine and authentic these days. It appears not.

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Forget your social start up – Twitter and Facebook have got it sewn up

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So says Silicon Valley guru Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners, who was one of the first investors in Facebook. The theory is that the twin pillars of social are now so strong that it is almost impossible for anyone to come up with a start up to challenge them. So all those social start ups are a waste of time and won’t be getting any of Roger McName’s cash.

I think this is an over-generalisation, but it is something that I have been thinking for several months now. It seems the only way for a social start up to make any money is simply by being bought by Facebook. Take location-based services. FourSquare had a big head start and loads of media coverage, but Facebook Places seems to have taken the wind out of its sails (in the UK at least).

Also Twitter and Facebook are so ingrained in our lives now that they won’t be disappearing in a MySpace/Friends Reunited style.

The gaping flaw with McNamee’s theory is that he has a downer on Google. It is early days for Google+, but it clearly has the potential to develop into a mainstream social platform.

Besides, if you passionately disagree with him, it is worth noting that he doesn’t always get it right. As WallBlog reports

‘Worth noting that McNamee is also a former Palm investor and once said of the Palm Pre: “You know the beautiful thing: June 29, 2009, is the two-year anniversary of the first shipment of the iPhone. Not one of those people will still be using an iPhone a month later.”

http://wallblog.co.uk/2011/07/25/social-is-over-says-top-silicon-valley-inves…

Might branded Twitter pages be a waste of time?

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There are strong rumours today that Twitter is about to start offering brands Facebook style pages, where in addition to their tweets they can host video, give followers offers and add other types of media.

On one level this seems like a no brainer for Twitter. Branded Facebook pages have become hugely successful and large brands without them are now the exception rather than the rule.

Secondly Twitter is constantly looking for revenue sources that don’t impede too greatly on its core offering and branded pages would tick this box too.

While we don’t really know too much about the pages at present there are some fairly hefty obstacles that Twitter will have to go to to make them work

1 The pages will be inevitably be hosted as Twitter.com web pages. As a large percentage of Twitter users never visit the .com pages instead using third party apps like Tweetdeck or using smartphone apps, it is likely that the branded pages could simply pass them by.

2 One of the best things about Twitter is that it is easy to use. Users follow brands for many of things that they in theory could deliver via a full page eg offers, customer service etc. By adding dedicated pages this will complicate Twitter’s core service for brands which will make it less user-friendly.

3 Twitter doesn’t seem to be making much progress on its existing commercial offerings like promoted tweets or promoted accounts. Call me cynical but I think the company is doing just about enough now to hint that it could make serious pots of money for whoever decides to buy the service this year.

So while I am intrigued by what Twitter will offer brands, I can’t see the pages rivalling branded Facebook pages for a long time yet.

A few Twitter alternatives…

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So Twitter is apparently being hacked by Russians Australians who do odd things with a mouse. If you are too scared to visit the Twitter home page, and it really is fascinating viewing this afternoon, why not take a look at these micro blogging alternatives

1 Plurk – Very smart micro blogging system, puts your posts in a timeline. Deserves to be more popular.

2 Posterous – Proper blogging system that is almost as easy as using Twitter. The downside is that one of the key ways you get people to read your posts is via the site automatically pinging Twitter when you post.

3 Tumblr – Rival to Posterous, but not quite as intuitive and better for words than images.

4 Google Buzz – Google’s micro blogging system. Use it quick before it goes the same way as Google Wave.

5 Dailybooth – This is like Twitter, but is more image focused. You upload an image and add a comment

There’s also 12 Seconds (updates via video), Jaiku (very like Twitter) and some no mark site called Facebook

Do men and women use Twitter in different ways?

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Laura, who is guest posting on Shiny Shiny this week, has come up with a very interesting article about whether men and women use Twitter in different ways? She has analysed her friends’ tweets and spotted a few trends, namely that men are more likely to post tweets with links in and they are more comfortable plugging their own content.

The story is here http://www.shinyshiny.tv/2010/08/do_men_and_wome_1.html