Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Corporations “Late” to the #Party: Overuse of the Infamous Hashtag

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Hashtags seem to be taking over all forms of social media.  Considering Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have almost 2 billion users collectively, it would be a crime for corporations not to take advantage of this free marketing opportunity.  But many wonder, have corporations taken the hashtag too far?  With recent evidence, it would seem so.


Hashtags are words or phrases preceded by a hash sign, which become hyperlinked on social media, grouping posts with the same words or “messages” together.  Common examples are #throwbackthursday accompanying a picture from the past or #sorrynotsorry used to sarcastically apologize for a guilty act one is actually proud of.  Newly developed hashtags are now popping up in ad campaigns, storefronts, billboards and even printed on consumer product packaging.  By using consistent hashtags as part of an advertising campaign, it can extend the conversation about a product or service and reach a broader audience.  Once a hashtag is launched, corporations monitor its use and those who are using it.  They can also interact with those using the hashtag and engage users with large followings on Twitter to encourage their promotion.

Overall the use of a simple word or short phrase has become more powerful than ever, but corporations have recently failed to launch hashtags worthy of attention.  According to the Wall Street Journal, corporations like Neutrogena and Equinox gyms have recently promoted hashtags, #unseenacne and #preapologize, respectively.  Unfortunately both of these hashtags gained negative feedback for what I think are obvious reasons.  First of all, who wants to tweet about unseen ACNE?  Although the majority of social media users are young and probably victims of acne, NO ONE likes to start a conversation about acne.  Neutrogena obviously failed to consult adolescents on this one or even their own common sense.  If no one likes to talk about acne, what makes you think they will tweet about it for the whole world to see?


Now for Equinox, I will applaud them on one thing- their originality.  I have certainly never heard of the word “preapologize” and it is certainly not in Webster’s dictionary.  Unfortunately, creating a new word can lead to many confused users, as Equinox has received many direct questions about the meaning of preapologize.  It turns out that #preapologize was meant to be a copy of a previously popularized hashtag, #sorrynotsorry, but if your users do not know the meaning of your hashtag, it is very difficult for them to use, defeating the purpose of the hashtag.

Before a corporation exposes a new hashtag to the world, it would be wise for them to ask themselves this question: Would I use my corporation’s hashtag?  If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board.  As corporations seem out of touch, it may be a good idea to consult the corporation where it all began.  Twitter, Inc. has a team that helps companies integrate hashtags into their marketing campaigns and tend to advise them to “tap into organic trending topics.”  By entering a conversation organically, it may seem less like marketing and more personal.  Do you appreciate corporation’s efforts in attempting to enter the hashtag revolution?  Or do you prefer they stay out of your social network?  Perhaps it’s better for some corporations to stay away from the “difficult-to-master” hashtag and focus their attention elsewhere.

Photo credit: ©

‘Til Death Do Us Part: Your Digital Presence After Death

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Have you ever wondered what will happen to your email and social media accounts once you die?  Nope, neither have I… but Yahoo certainly has.  While most people who are aging write their wills, decide their final arrangements, and organize their finances, Yahoo seems to take care of the rest.  A new service, Yahoo Ending, has been launched by Yahoo Japan to help their large elderly population manage their digital presence after death.  The service costs about $1.77/ month.

Prior to death it helps users with funeral arrangements by estimating costs and searching for cemeteries. After death it can stop automatic bill payments through the Yahoo Japan wallet service and loved ones can visit a special bulletin-board page for the deceased and post memorial messages.  Yahoo Ending not only conveniently erases all data in email accounts, but also sends a final message to up to 200 people when your death is confirmed.  It all may sound a bit morbid but in actuality- quite convenient.

In an interview with The Japan Times, Yahoo Japan spokesperson Megumi Nakashima mentioned possible greater development in Yahoo Ending’s services, allowing the deceased to manage their post-life affairs on non-Yahoo Japan services.

“For example, we are thinking of partnering with credit-card companies,” Nakashima said, “so that the user can configure Yahoo Ending to tell such companies to close out the user’s account.”

With the advancement of technology in our generation such services may become necessary to all those digitally involved.  By taking responsibility of our online accounts before death we can assure our loved ones will not have to “care“ for our digital needs.  It may seem to be a premature measure just for an email account but it could prevent harmful phishing and identity theft.  Would you invest in this service for less than $24/year?  Or could you care less about your digital reputation post-mortem?  Given this opportunity, it may be beneficial to invest in deleting your online past… before it’s too late.

Photo by ©


BlackBerry’s Big Breakdown

Friday, October 14th, 2011

While Apple has been preparing to release the new iPhone 4S this week, another Smartphone contender has been trying to mend a communication crisis that started overseas and eventually made its way to the United States.

BlackBerry and its creators, RIM (Research in Motion), have had their hands full after a hardware breakdown happened on one of their overseas networks that soon after created a data buildup. Many BlackBerry users were frustrated to find out they could not send or receive messages or calls, and could not access their emails or internet. The issue was finally resolved on Thursday, October 13th, but did RIM’s crisis communication team handle this well? Let’s take a look.

What they did RIGHT:

  • Provided  a link on RIM’s homepage to live updates about the service outage
  • Held a service update press conference
  • Created a video from RIM Founder and Co-CEO, Mike Lazaridis, apologizing to those affected and ensuring that the company is working restlessly to resolve the problem Watch Lazaridis’s Statement
  • Provided access to a conference call with RIM Co-CEOs

What they did WRONG:

  • Failed to utilize social media efficiently to communicate with their customers as the video apology was posted days after the hardware breakdown occurred
  • Did not provide a sufficient statement on the issue right away
  • Created a video where Lazaridis was clearly reading off of a teleprompter – causing some viewers to believe the apology was insincere

Now that the service outage has been resolved, BlackBerry will have to do a lot to mend their reputation, especially since it’s not the most popular Smartphone on the block anymore. RIM’s crisis communication team did some things correct, but hopefully they will learn from their mistakes and prepare an even better plan if this happens in the future.

Tagging Your Reputation

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Facebook has always been willing to take risks with its business model and develop new ways to enhance the social networking experience for individuals and businesses. Its notoriously unpopular layout changes and constant aversion to protecting personal data, exemplify this fact. In their newest feature, Facebook gives users the opportunity to tag photos with the names of fan pages they have liked. This opens up a whole host of great marketing opportunities for brands. A brand such as Budweiser can have people tag themselves at hip parties drinking the beverage. They receive instant brand recognition and they have created thousands of moving billboards. The possibilities for contests and competitions abound with this new feature. But on the flip side, let’s look at the negatives for businesses.

First of all, as a business on Facebook you must always remember that Facebook is not a contractor working under your terms. Facebook can and will change their policies, functionality and layout with zero input or oversight from your company.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, this feature is here and it is functional. So what can you do to protect your brand against abuse?

1. Know who is in control
The social media manager should not be an intern. Your brand is at stake, don’t play around with it anymore. Give this position to the public relations department or outsource the work. They should have a concrete plan in place for dealing with these issues. Flying by the seat of your pants is never a good idea in public relations but in this case it could be very dangerous.

2. Terms of Use
Providing a social media terms of use for your Facebook fan page can eliminate many issues before they begin. Somewhere on the page, set rules for the page and include rules for tagging photos. Failure to follow these rules should have concrete consequences. People will be less likely to break the rules if they know that they will face repercussions.

3. Remove pictures that show your brand in a negative light
Imagine the risks to liquor companies when fourteen year olds post pictures of themselves enjoying these illegal beverages. This will look extremely bad for the brand and could cause you to go into public relations overdrive. Untag your brand in photos that are in violation of your terms of use. If you do not have a terms of use you will have a difficult time justifying these removals.

4. False or negative branding
Unpopular companies such as Wal-Mart or BP could see false or misleading pictures posted to their pages, portraying their brand in a negative light. Be prepared to remove these pictures and be ready to explain why you removed them.

What other risks can you see with this new feature? How can businesses use this to improve their brand?

Don’t let your Reputation get too Technical

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Cosmo recently suggested that shopping everyday is extremely healthy for individuals in our society. Sure, this may have been a marketing scheme to get more men and women to purchase products that may benefit them, but they make a valid point; shopping forces social interaction that is overlooked in today’s technologically focused society.

How does this correlate to reputation?

The way one represents themselves through social vehicles like Twitter and Facebook is left entirely up to the perception of the recipient of that information. In order to more successfully portray the information that you wish to share with your audience, why not do so in the flesh?

Technical reputations have come to define individuals by how they present themselves online or in the media. Through their tweets, Facebook status updates, blog entries, television appearances and radio shows, society comes to define individuals by the pastiche created through the compilation of technological outlets they use to portray themselves. Real-life reputations are formulated through the discovery of the individuals’ human traits and qualities, like charisma, sense of humor, and passions, through authentic verbal and physical interactions. These lead to longer lasting,higher impact impressions.

What should you remember when you aim to establish a reputation in person? Whether campaigning, giving a speech at a local High School, or simply bumping into someone in the shopping mall, keep these real-life reputation builders in mind!

Real-Life Reputation Builders
1. Body Language:
Market yourself through your posture and your professional presence.
2. Eye Contact:
Make the target audience feel the attention you are dedicating to them.
3. Preparation:
Have your speech prepared and well rehearsed. Make sure you think of potential questions you may be asked beforehand so you are not caught completely off guard.
4. Be Confident, Concise, and YOU:
Get to the point in a manner that proves you know what you’re talking about while being yourself.

Do you think that the world of technology is affecting people’s abilities to socially interact in the physical world? Does this have an effect on public speaking? What about on the formulation of reputations?