Taking the piss out of Social Media

Through the medium of piss, the essence of each Social Media website listed below has been captured concisely and with varying degrees of accuracy.

The list was inspired by numerous tweets doing the rounds over the last few days, none of which ventured beyond LinkedIn.

I guess it was quite funny up to that point and then I had to go and spoil it.

Mind you, I am quite proud of the Wikileaks entry!

Have I missed any?

Twitter: I need to pee.
Facebook: I peed!
Foursquare: I’m peeing here.
Quora: Why am I peeing?
Youtube: Watch this pee!
LinkedIn: I pee extremely well.
MySpace: Peeeee, maybe the face I can’t forget…
iTunes: Download the single for just 79p.
Bebo: Mummy I need a pee pee…
Urbanspoon: The pea soup was to die for.
Wikipedia: I just passed a liquid by-product of my body, which was secreted by my kidneys through a process called urination and excreted through my urethral passage.


I just peed my pants…

Let’s all pee in a circle!


Ghost blogging

I guess I probably still qualify as social media virgin. Lots of frantic petting as I try to make up for lost time, but the truth is I’ve only been blogging for 5 months, active on Twitter for just over a year and still cannot really be arsed with Facebook.

Like all virgins, I am therefore somewhat by definition a touch naive. I like to believe that when I follow someone on Twitter or subscribe to a blog, I get to connect with the actual individual I’m interested in.

For example, I enjoy following Duncan Bannatyne on Twitter. I have enjoyed reading his books; he has a very interesting life story, which in many respects he lives out on Twitter, and I enjoy the opportunity to feel part of it. Now if I ever had an inkling that he was not responsible for his own tweets and that he employed a ghost writer or even shared the job out with his PA, I’d be off like a shot.

I’d feel cheated. It’s as bad as a doting fan paying big bucks to watch a mega recording artist perform live, only to discover half way through the show she was lip-synching. It’s probably as bad as removing ones wedding ring before entering a singles bar….

I only found out recently that there is a massive ongoing debate on this very issue. It’s been raging for years.

In the red corner you have the PRs, the seasoned command & control communications veterans and the ghost bloggers themselves. These guys think ghost blogging is an honourable and essential profession, given that their clients are far too busy and important to actually write for themselves.

And if they didn’t do it for them the world would be an emptier place because we’d all be missing out from their nuggets of wisdom, and sparkling wit & repartee.

Of course their clients don’t like them to disclose who they write for – that would be embarrassing right? That could lead to reputational damage right? So it’s OK to do it provided no one finds out. Oh dear. So where is the integrity and honesty in that?

So the red corner argues that professional communicators have always supported CEOs, celebrities and politicians by writing their speeches, their books and their letters since time immemorial. It’s true, and I have no issue with that. But these media are not social. They are not blogs; which have fundamentally changed the rule book.

Needless to say, I am in the blue corner. If I want to read facts about a company, I will read its annual report and check out its website. If I want to understand what makes a company tick I’ll subscribe to its employee blogs and follow its staff on Twitter, where I can connect with them directly. And part of what makes the experience so interesting and the connection so compelling is the blend of work and play; the immediacy; the shared pleasure in sharing; and the free-flow of consciousness.

Actually this blog post was triggered off by a comment I read a few days ago in a piece on www.ragan.com called It’s just ridiculous to argue about ghost-blogging

Try the link, it may work for you. I cannot access it now unless I pay a rather chunky subscription fee.

An anonymous contributor added this in a comment in his or her anonymous defence of ghost blogging (spot the irony): “a highly polished, marcom speak-laden entry, is highly preferable to undisciplined, poorly constructed, rambling from a great CEO who is not a writer”.

I’m sorry I don’t buy this. I don’t read blogs to be entertained by brilliant writing. I read blogs because I am interested in listening to that person. I want to feel connected to the author. I can’t do either if I know the blog is ghost written. If you don’t have time to blog, don’t do it. That’s fine. I won’t think any less of you! But if you are going to blog, be genuine and be real.

I like the advice that Kodak give on the subjectin their Kodak Social Media Tips: “Always be transparent. When you are communicating in social media say who you are and who you work for. Don’t try to be sneaky and plant comments, don’t hire people to go out and say nice things about you and stay away from ghost writing. Be genuine and be real.”

I’m going to leave the last word to an old pro who knows what he is talking about. If I’m a social media virgin, I guess Robert Scoble, is the Casanova. In his 2003 blogging manifesto he wrote: “Use a human voice. Don’t get corporate lawyers and PR professionals to cleanse your speech. We can tell, believe me.”  Scobleizer – The corporate weblog manifesto

Wise words indeed from the undisputed heavyweight champion of the blogging world!

Brown’s big toed blunder

The world’s gone barking mad again.

When I woke up this morning, Labour were at odds of 30 to 1 to achieve an overall majority on 6 May. I know this because I work for the world’s biggest and best betting exchange, and our customers are getting more active by the day in the run up to the General Election on our UK election markets.

I spent the morning at a Social Media in a Corporate Context conference and being a good boy had declined the rather sensible invitation of my hosts to cast aside traditional conference etiquette and keep my mobile phone switched on throughout the event.

So imagine my surprise when during the lunch break I reconnected with the outside world to discover that the odds on a Labour majority had drifted out to 46 to 1.

Blimey I thought – something big must have happened to cause a swing of this size. The Labour party had fallen to its lowest level of support in the betting since the market opened two years ago.

The newswires were fizzing and Twitter was full of it. Gordon Brown had insulted a lifelong Labour supporter in a private conversation in the back of his car.

It strikes me that what he says in the privacy of his own car is his matter. The fact that his comments were picked up by the media because the microphone on his tie had not been switched off was unfortunate. But hey – hands up anyone who has never said a bad word about someone moments after smiling sweetly in an effort to avoid unnecessary conflict.

Have you never maintained an air of conviviality with someone you may not see eye to eye with and once you’ve put the phone down said a few choice words to relieve your frustration?

I see absolutely no crime here. What I see is a gleeful over-reaction from an over intrusive and mischievous media, on a mission to make something out of nothing.

That’s my first point.

My second is why the sensitivity over someone’s big toes?  I just don’t get it!

Should this be on the intranet?

When one of your Exec sends you an email with the subject “Should this be on the intranet?” and the body text comprising a paragraph on an external accolade recognising the achievements of one of your Business Process Improvement team’s recent projects, what goes through your mind?

Is he suggesting that this is good news that should be shared with the rest of the company? Or could he perhaps be questioning the appropriateness of the wording of an existing news story.

Wrong numberThis happened to me earlier, and like a half wit, I plumped for the former. The thing is I spend a fair bit of my time encouraging our senior leaders to contribute intranet news stories as well join in the online discussions that accompany them.

So when the said email popped up in my uber congested inbox, it never even crossed my mind (not a long journey at the best of times!) that he was suggesting something already on the intranet may not be as suitable for publication as the author had intended. So what did I do? What do you think? I hastily fired back a cheeky email saying “You should read the intranet more often 😉 I published a piece on this last Friday”. I even included a helpful link to the story I was so sure he had missed.

Yep – you guessed it. I was wrong. Very wrong. And once alerted to my wrongness it was so bleedin’ obvious I still cannot quite believe I didn’t see it.

Some people may leap to my defence by suggesting that the email lacked clarity. I don’t buy it. I write for a living. For my interpretation to be correct, the email title would have had to have been “Shouldn’t this be on the intranet?”

So I’m sitting here right now somewhat bloated by enormous helpings of humble pie, recording this afternoon’s minor  cock-up for posterity, promising never to take anything for granted ever again, and taking some small comfort from the fact that just the act of writing this down has made me feel a bit better – and is damn site cheaper than paying for therapy!