Category Archives: Twitter

Burger Wars

In the wake of the horsemeat fiasco, it has today emerged that Burger King’s Twitter account has been hacked with the profile picture being replaced by a McDonalds logo and a message that the company had been sold to the rival hamburger chain.

Burger Wars

“We just got sold to McDonalds! Look for McDonalds in a hood near you,” one post read.   It also posted messages such as: “If I catch you at a Wendys, we’re fightin!”

The tweets stopped after a little more than an hour and meanwhile McDonalds tweeted in response to the apparent hack: “We empathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.”

It is not known who might be responsible for the breach but I do wonder if it has anything to do with the Animal Rights Movement … after all, isn’t hacking a horseriding discipline?

Witness for the prosecution

When prosecutors recently asked for an account of a crime from a “PC Peach”, they didn’t realise that Peach was the name of a police dog!  Officers were extremely irritated at the request and so they completed the form as it if had been written by the Alsatian – and signed it with a paw print!

The form was then pinned up at a West Midlands Police Station for the amusement of colleagues who are frequently at odds with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over their handling of cases.  Another officer then posted it on a Facebook page but quickly deleted it, though not before it was seen by colleagues in West Yorkshire police who liked it so much that they posted it on Twitter and the image has now gone viral, having been shared over 150 times.

PC Peach

The CPS, however, failed to see the funny side and officials are believed to  have complained to police that their mistake has been turned into a very public joke.

The original officer has referred himself to the internal discipline unit but sources say he is unlikely to be reprimanded, despite new guidelines in the last week for police on the safe use of the internet which advises officers against sharing “operational material” online.

PC Peach declined to comment as anything he might say could later be used as evidence against him!

Hashtag #hashtag

NewsweekSo it’s official!  Hashtag has been voted ‘word of the year’ by the American Dialect Society.

While the word has been around for decades, hashtags initially became popular on Twitter, where users would put them within tweets to make a larger comment or joke.   From there, it spread onto Facebook and everyday speech and a tipping point came when the only three words used on the cover of Newsweek magazine’s final print issue were preceded by a hashtag, making the cross over from web to print complete.

Twitter hashtags are a great way to organize tweets for common subjects or events, but people also use them as a way to connect to others over a good laugh. Once the twitterverse starts putting in their two cents, you get crowd-sourced, viral comedy. I’ve put together what I think are five of the funniest hashtag PR disasters that I’m sure will make you laugh:

  1. #Susanalbumparty:  Susan Boyle’s PR people are probably wishing they had re-read their promotional hashtag after missing its alternative message to Twitter users.  Causing great mirth on the social network, the unfortunate hashtag spawned a deluge of mock invites to the party until it was hastily renamed #SusanBoylesAlbumParty.
  2. #McDStories: Back in January, McDonald’s #McDStories hashtag backfired when instead of offering “good news stories” about the fast-food chain, users began flooding the tag with claims of fingernails in burgers and other nasties.
  3.  #WaitroseReasons: When the supermarket asked shoppers to complete the sentence: “I shop at Waitrose because …” using the hashtag #WaitroseReasons in September, it perhaps should have expected the subsequent tirade of jokes about the brand’s posh image – though many have said the way Waitrose responded turned the campaign from disaster to success.
  4. #MadeMeSmile: Vodafone was left bemused when Twitter users redeployed the PR #mademesmile tag to publish tax avoidance allegations directly to the company’s website.
  5. #QantasLuxury: Airline Qantas won the accolade of PR disaster of the year at the end of 2011 after opening up their promotional hashtag #QantasLuxury at a time when thousands of passengers were stranded overseas.hashtag

Purists will of course say that hashtag isn’t in fact a word but a symbol (like exclamation mark or question mark) and that the real name for this symbol is octothorpe – not quite as catchy though is it?

Holy hashtag!

The big news of the day seems to be the fact that Pope Benedict XVI has joined Twitter, although he won’t be sending his first tweet until 12th December – just in time for the Christmas messages I presume?!

Using the handle @pontifex, I am sure he won’t be sending the tweets himself [there’ll be a man for that in his entourage of course] but I’m probably not the only person who’d really enjoy seeing him bring out his Blackberry or iPad from underneath his cassock during an open air Mass!

Pope on Twitter

#ridiculous

The world really has gone mad!    We read today about another poor baby being given THE most ridiculous name I’ve heard of to date!  Crazy baby names are nothing new, in fact they seem to be almost de rigueur in some circles but Hashtag?  As in, well, #hashtag?  Really?

“Hashtag Jameson was born at 10 o’clock  last nite,” the proud parent announced on Facebook  last Saturday night. “She weys 8pounds and i luv her so much!!!!!!”  Spelling-challenged friends started leaving equally creative congratulations in the comments.  “Aww babes you finally had youre Tweetybird xxx,” one wrote.

Now this could of course be just another poorly executed viral marketing campaign but it’s well within the realms of possibility – if Frank Zappa can call his offspring Moon Unit and Gwyneth Paltrow call hers Apple, why can’t a non-celebrity chose an equally ridiculous moniker?

The internet has of course been awash with some slightly cruel hashtags of their own, including #Foolishparents,  #YourParentsHateYou, #StupidestNameEver but despite the initial shock of this most recent naming debacle, parents have always named their kids after things that are important to them, whether it’s a beloved relative, a hot celebrity or, today, social media.  In 2011 a couple in Egypt named their daughter Facebook, while in Israel another was named Like.  Now that little Hashtag has arrived, all we need is a tiny Twitter, a sweet little YouTube and a delightful Digg and the social media baby name trend will be properly established!

Let us hope that little Hashtag will find a way to avoid problems in the playground that will surely happen when you carry such a mighty burden, but you can’t help but wonder what it will be like for her in 20 years time when she has to explain what a hashtag is!

Farewell old friend

BBC Ceefax, the world’s first teletext service, has taken its final bow as the UK’s digital switchover is completed.

Ceefax was launched on 23 September 1974 to give BBC viewers the chance to check the latest news headlines, sports scores, weather forecast or TV listings – in a pre-internet era where the only alternative was to wait for the next TV or radio bulletin to be aired.  Its premise was to give viewers free access to the same information that was coming into the BBC newsroom, as soon as the BBC’s journalists had received it.

Initially developed when BBC engineers, exploring ways to provide subtitles to enable viewers with hearing problems to enjoy BBC TV programmes, found it was possible to transmit full pages of text information in the “spare lines” transmitted on the analogue TV signal.

It was called Ceefax, simply because viewers would be able to quickly “see the facts” of any story of the day.

Its audience peaked in the 1990s when it had 20 million viewers who checked the service at least once a week. Since the launch of the National Lottery in 1994, dozens of jackpot winners have revealed that they first learned their life had been changed when they checked their numbers on Ceefax.

Anyone who grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s will be familiar with Ceefax but because of the wonders of technology, these teletext-type services are no longer our go-to resource for the latest news and weather.  ITV and Channel 4’s Teletext was shut off in 2009 and now those with a soft spot for the BBC’s Ceefax have been cut off, too.

Today we’ve seen Twitter users are sharing #Ceefax memories and wishing the old girl farewell. The image below is currently doing the rounds.  I’m not sure who’s behind it but it certainly gave me a smile.

The launch of the UK’s TV digital signal, and the announcement that the analogue TV signal would disappear in a staged switch-off over five years meant a slow withdrawal of Ceefax, ending with the final broadcast tonight in Northern Ireland when Olympic Gold Medallist, Mary Peters, had the dubious honour of ending the service.

Another happy memory consigned to the virtual rubbish bin after 38 years of loyal service – what will we see disappear next?

Going down?

I’ve been reading an article today about the reasons why we behave so oddly in lifts.

Many of us use them several times a day without really noticing.   And yet the way we behave in lifts, or elevators as they are known in the US, reveals a hidden anxiety.   Most of us sort of shut down.   We walk in. We press the button. We stand perfectly still.

So why are we so awkward in lifts?

It is probably because you don’t have enough space.  Usually when we meet other people we have about an arm’s length of distance between us but that’s not possible in most lifts so it’s a very unusual setting.  It’s unnatural.   In such a small, enclosed space it becomes vital to act in a way that cannot be construed as threatening, odd or in any way ambiguous.  The easiest way to do this is to avoid eye-contact completely.

But perhaps there is more to it than just social awkwardness.  Perhaps it is more about being trapped inside this small enclosed space if the lift breaks down.  Regular Twitter followers will remember Stephen Fry’s amusing tweet when he got stuck in a lift at Centre Point in London in 2009 – it made the national news!  The reality of course is far from amusing as you have no idea how long it will be before you are set free from your incarceration and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be desperate to go to the toilet as well!

One thing I always do now when entering a lift is to read the name of the manufacturer which is usually displayed on the plaque where you find the buttons to operate the darn thing.  This goes back to when I worked on the 4th floor of a building in Edinburgh and each time I got in, I smiled inwardly, saying to myself “Schindler’s Lift”!  Not very mature I know, but it always made me smile [and colleagues groan!].

For what it’s worth, if the thought of travelling in a machine that’s moving and over which you have no control, you can’t see its engine and you don’t know how it’s working fills you with dread – err on the side of caution and take the stairs!

Think before you tweet!

I am all for freedom of speech but there are a few basic rules to follow when you decide to use Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook or if, like me, you want to also blog as well.  The main one being:

Think before you hit the Post or Publish button!

This advice is never more important than if you are a person who is already in the public eye – footballers especially please take note!  Some of the worst offenders have been:

  • Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand who was fined £45,000 in August for bringing the game into disrepute after responding to a racially-suggestive tweet about Ashley Cole
  • Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong was also fined £6,000 in the same month after he used a derogatory term about Tottenham fans
  • Then Liverpool winger Ryan Babel was fined £10,000 in January 2011 after he linked to a mocked-up picture of referee Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt

So there was little surprise this morning when I read that Ashley Cole has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association in relation to a Twitter comment he posted about the governing body.   Responding to the FA’s judgement in the John Terry racism case, he tweeted on Friday: “Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFT***S”.   He has now deleted this tweet and issued an “unreserved apology” to the FA but the damage has already been done and he has until 16:00 BST on Thursday, 11 October to respond to the charge.

However, when former England captain Alan Shearer told the BBC at the weekend that Cole should be banned for Friday’s World Cup qualifier against San Marino as a punishment, Cole, 31, then responded by retweeting a message which criticised Shearer.  When will he learn?

Former England left-back Graeme Le Saux is working with the FA to guide players on how they communicate.  The former Southampton, Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers defender Le Saux is currently helping to make videos for the FA which will be shown to players about how the governing body operates and the punishments they can hand out for unacceptable behaviour, including the use of social media.  He said this weekend – “The whole pleasure and access that social media gives you is that you are in control of what goes out there, but you must be sensible enough to hold that back.”

Social Media is not for people to bully, insult or intimidate, it is for communication.  My advice to these players is straightforward.  Instead of using your hands to type insulting messages for all to see, try just using your feet to kick a ball – this is after all what you’re being paid for!!!

Book ’em Danno!

I don’t pretend to fully understand America’s political system or what is happening in the latest Presidential elections and I have no idea whether the USA should stick with Obama or vote in Romney instead.  What I do understand, however, is that the behaviour of the individuals themselves, like our own less than savoury lot, always manages to regress back to their childhoods with the sort of playground bullying tactics coming into play that make us all want to cringe with embarrassment.

Putting Romney’s tax affairs to one side along with Obama’s dope smoking whilst at High School, the latest row seems to centre around Obama’s heritage.

Mitt Romney firmly believes President Barack Obama was born in the United States, or at least he says he believes it. But apparently he also believes there’s no harm in jokingly implying otherwise.  At a campaign stop in Michigan, the presumptive Republican nominee happily pointed out he’s a native and that ‘no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.’ 

The usual partisan fireworks ensued with an Obama spokesman claiming Romney had chosen to ‘enlist in the birther movement,’ (don’t you just love these made up words?) and Republicans crying hypocrisy over Democrats ‘feigning outrage.’ 

The best response however may have come from the President’s Twitter account which posted the following tweet: Song of the day: ‘Born in the USA.’

If Obama (aged 51) does lose the campaign in November, may I suggest an alternative career for him?  If he was indeed born in Honolulu, he could perhaps take the lead role in a new TV series called Hawaii 5-1!!!

Better luck next time!

Amir Khan wasn’t quite as successful in the wee small hours in his fight against Danny Garcia in Las Vegas.  Amir Khan wanted to prove he is the best in his class by beating Danny Garcia and then moving up to welterweight to face Floyd Mayweather.

Khan, 25, went into this light-welterweight bout with WBC holder Garcia as WBA champion after Lamont Peterson was stripped of the title.  Some readers will remember that Khan lost his WBA and IBF titles to Peterson in a controversial defeat last December but the American subsequently failed a drugs test. 

Unfortunately though Amir Khan suffered his second successive defeat as he was stopped in round four by the unbeaten American.  He was knocked down three times as Garcia claimed the British fighter’s WBA light-welterweight belt and held on to his WBC title.  After a strong start, Khan was floored in the third by a counter and could not recover from shots in round four. 

People have been quick to call for Khan to retire after this unexpected defeat but let’s not forget he is still only 25 years old and has only lost 3 of his professional fights, having won 26 with 18 knockouts.  Perhaps we should leave the final words to the man himself who said on Twitter:

“Can I apologise to my family, friends and everyone. I got caught with a shot and I know millions of you are upset but that’s boxing for you.”

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