Sunday, 4 October 2015

Social Media Stand at CHOC Children's Carnival

We had such a fantastic day doing all the Social Media for CHOC Northern Region. Everyone loved the interactive photo booth we had at our Social Media Stand today at the CHOC Children's Carnival. Tag, Share and Like if you are in the photos. Also on Instagram/wehavewool. This is the start of great things to come.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

News from the Field

We send out into the Digital Realm two of our most experienced Black Sheep-s field agents (Brentley and Kally). Their mission-  to find out what is happening in the world of Social Media this week. May the force be with ewe.

* Facebook sets new 1 billion logged in user record.

Brentley: "I was still a little lamb in 2004 when Facebook was just an exclusive small group for Harvard students. 11 Years Later and I was very surprised when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg let me personally know that last Monday 1 in 7 people on earth logged into Facebook on that day."
Kally: "I can't even comprehend that number. Jikes 1 Billion in one day. And to think it's been 11 years that we've been following each other on Facebook. Now, I feel old Brentley. Please just don't call me a brood ewe."
Brentley: "I personally love the video Facebook made to celebrate this achievement, you can watch it here".

* LinkedIn introduces gif and emoji to its messaging:

Kally: "LinkedIn has always been considered as the serious social media channel as you are most likely to communicate with your future employees. I've always found it was a bit stiff and can't wait to apply for the below job offer using gifts and emojis (PS: you should see Brentley's face as I'm typing this, I'm calling his expression shear frustration). 

Instagram gets rid of the 'white space' around photos:

Brentley: “I’ve always had to use a third-party app like InstaSize to get my portrait and landscape images to fit into Instagram.”
Kally: “Only problem with that is that the square cropping will give you irritating white space around your image.”
Brentley: “Precisely, Luckily this requirement is no more as Instagram for both Android and IOS allows users to select a format button and then post their rectangular photos.”
Kally: “As a fashionista I’ll now be able to post photo’s that include my shoes ;)"
Brentley: "You should then go check out Victoria's Secret Instagram account, they have already embraced this new change."

* Twitter goes Creative with the help of Taylor Swift:

Kally: "I recently spotted T-swift talking to some white sheep. They later relayed the 
whole conversation to me."

Brentley: "I'm all ears."
Kally: "Taylor told them that GIF-making on Twitter is getting a lot easier. At the MTV Video Music Awards Taylor got to play around with the new camera tools, including GIFs, stickers and doodling."

* SnapChat helps brands reach younger audiences:

Brentley: “I know Snapchat is not yet big in SA but brands like Coca-Cola are certainly embracing the new Back to School channel that is being offered for targeting.”
Kally: “My gripe with Snapchat was that you could never target a specific audience and they are rather expensive.”
Brentley: “Snapchat used to be similar to TV in that you can’t target a specific audience but the Back to School Channel is perfect if you want to target 13-24 year old audience with your advertising.”

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Women who make a Difference – Pauline Theart

Celebrating Women’s Month we pay tribute to inspirational South-African women and how they are pushing the boundaries.

Featured Artist: Pauline Theart

Photo Credits: Christo Doherty

Pauline Theart is a Johannesburg-based artist who is not afraid to push boundaries or (sound) limits when it comes to her live musical performances where she explores the integral nature of voice. She first caught our attention when we heard her singing a lullaby about Sheep while standing in the heart of Hillbrow. 
The haunting words “Slapie Kanini ons wees in die kraal, almal ons skaapies…” travelled 45 stories up the Ponte tower, a location she boldly chose as a sound instrument for its unusual acoustics. The end result was an ‘unforeseen voice’ that was created by the echoes and refrains of the famous Hillbrow tower. 

When it comes to performing Theart  
is a true Black Sheep who does not like to be confined to a conventional space where you won’t find that ‘third voice’. She explains: “The norm irritates me. I always work in spaces that are often left to uncertainty like the sound pieces I do at public spaces."

"One of my latest projects is a series of sound art interventions in historically and culturally significant architectural spaces in Johannesburg.” As part of this series Theart performed traditional Afrikaans lullabies on the 9th of July 2015 at the old Sky Rink Carlton Centre Johannesburg. These performances at the Ponte and Carlton were not the first unconventional spaces Theart inhabited and grazed with her majestic voice. In 2013 she descended down an open stormwater manhole into Cape Town’s historical tunnels where she performed extended lullabies that were stripped of words. Unsuspecting Capetonians who were above ground where pleasantly surprised by the “Underground Music” that drifted up at them.

I caught up with Theart in a quaint coffee shop in Greenside and she was eager to discuss the role of female artists in today’s society. “I’m thrilled that we get to celebrate women in August and for South Africans to place emphasis on the role of femininity in society. If I had to compare being a woman in 2015 versus when my Mother was my age, I’ll have to say that technology and social media has opened a lot of doors for us. I’ve found blogging and using a platform like Facebook more prolific than any other medium to connect with the audience I wanted to reach.” Media Organisations have supported Theart via their social media channels and she is very grateful for Media 24, Beeld and Die Burger who helped with exposure via YouTube videos and Facebook posts.

Theart is conscious that there are still ‘gender restrictions’ placed on women even in this day and age and expectations from society about a woman’s role. She lights up when I ask her about female role models that inspire her: “I’m interested and closely follow the work of female sound artist like Susan Phillipz who won the Turner Prize in 2010 for her sound installation called Surround Me.”  Local artists who inspire Theart is Diane Victor, known for her satirical and social commentary about pressing issues in the political landscape.  
The best way to connect with Pauline Theart is on her website, where you can follow her journey as she continues to go places with her art where no one has been before. 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Is Instagram throwing their weight around by banning Hashtag #Curvy?

What do the following adjectives have in common? Ample, voluptuous, chubby, full-figured, shapely, robust.  They are all synonyms for the term “Curvy” and they are NOT YET banned on Instagram like the hashtag #curvy that is now officially unsearchable.  Social Media platform Instagram has blocked users from searching for pictures tagged as 'curvy' in order to restrict the amount of inappropriate content uploaded to their channel.  If you click on a photo that was hashtagged #curvy, you’ll now get a massage that says “No Posts Yet.”  

This news was met with outrage as many social media users and media outlets are criticising Instagram for the damage they are doing to women’s body image by banning the term “curvy” but allowing hashtags like “skinny” and “thin”. Plus-size women who want to make a positive statement of self-esteem are now forced by Instagram to use alternative hashtags like #curvyfit.

Doing a quick search on Instagram it’s not difficult to see that there are plenty of much more sexually explicit words than "curvy" allowed on the platform and users are calling them out for unfairly policing content. Instagram users are also finding a way around this ban by using the hashtag “curvee” or positing a photo with the word ‘Curvy’ embedded in it.

Instagram user Brittonyaaa shared her frustration by posting the word “Curvy” as a picture with the following caption: “Because #curvy is too obscure for instagram, while every inappropriate hashtags are still allowed. God forbid someone may be curvy and proud! #imnoangel!”.

Twitter users also made their view known on this subject by using the curvy hashtag.  @MeaghanDowling tweeted: “Can someone explain to me why @instragram banned #curvy, but not #skinny? What the hell.”
User @emiliahedvig concurred with this tweet: “#instagram banned the hashtag #curvy – tags like #fitgirl #skinnygirl #skinny #sknnyisperfect #smallwaist #smallboobs #tinygirl are allowed.” 

An Instagram representative says that the ban has nothing to do with the word "curvy" itself. Instead, they block certain hashtags, making them unsearchable, when many users share inappropriate content that goes against community guidelines. In this case, the hashtag #curvy was used to violate their nudity policy.  

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Losing wool - dealing with a PR crisis on Social Media

What happens in Vegas, used to stay in Vegas. Not anymore as it now lives on forever thanks to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope. 

Dealing with a PR crisis on social media (i.e. KFC South Africa twice in May) can go one of two ways - you can either tame the beast, turn it into your new fluffy pet, or you can feed the beast and make matters worse by ignoring it. In this post we take a closer look at the do's and don'ts of dealing with the crises. 

There are two rookie mistakes any company can make. The first is to not address the PR disaster and hope it will go away on its own. Just because you are not talking about it, or addressing it in a Press release instead of on Social Media doesn't mean it won't go viral.  The Facebook post by Mfumo Bamuza posted on 7 May 2015, was shared 3, 383 times to date and the second video from 22 May 2015 have been viewed 485, 480 times to date.

The second mistake is reacting without having the adequate facts at your disposal.  You don't want to end up being the primary victim if this was a hoax. Right out of the gate you need to assess the crisis situation so that there is no room for speculation.

You want to avoid apologizing or taking the blame for something that had nothing to do with you.
  KFC South Africa did a fantastic job of first investigating the allegations that were posted on Facebook and then they responded on social media.  

Ask yourself - What type of Crisis is this?

Establish if this is an operational crises regarding a service you provide, a crises relating directly to one of your products, stores, franchises, employees, stakeholders or sponsorship. It could also be a confrontation crises that attacked the integrity of your Brand with accusations of racism, sexism, deformation, criticising your integrity or HR practice. Once you've established how your brand is involved you can come up with an action plan and then communicate this to both the media and the public. 

How and where to Communicate? 

Good Communication is Vital during a Social Media PR Crises. You need to communicate with both the media and consumers in order to prevent it from influencing your daily operations and other vital communication activities. The online space where you respond is also important. You cannot respond to a viral YouTube video with a Press Release. If Facebook is where the action is, then it makes sense to address the crises on Facebook.

Follow these steps:

1)  Respond on the arena where the crises was created. I.E. respond with a film if the crises was a YouTube video. 

2) Create a dedicated online space to deal with the crises. You want to avoid the risk of negative comments flooding your Facebook page or Twitter feed that is dedicated for other purposes like customer support. 
3) Make it easy to find i.e. "Brand X responds" and highlight it to the top of your platform.

4) Your message: If you were in the wrong - apologize. Describe the steps that have already been taken to address this and what you will do to prevent this from reoccurring. Keep your message simple and to the point.

The angry mob will soon find something else to be angry about and you'll notice that the negative comments are starting to fall away after a few days. 

Preparing for Murphy's Law

Friday, 10 July 2015

Sheepish Humour - when the joke is on you.

It’s a comedian’s job to be funny and edgy and talk about difficult subjects that’s prevailing in society but like Trevor Noah, Jerry Seinfeld, Daniel Tosh, Chris Pratt and now Amy Schumer discovered - there is a line and if you cross it  - the Twitterverse will explode.  
How you handle this critique is what separates the sheep from the goats.  In this post we’ll tell you how to avoid the title of "virtual village idiot".

Amy Schumer is known and often praised for her controversial jokes about sensitive subjects like race, gender and religion. But like many of her co-workers her work was recently called ‘racially insensitive’ in an editorial and it was Schumer’s reaction that made the headlines as she got very defensive when she should have just laughed it off. She tweeted: "I ask you to resit the urge to pick me apart. Trust me. I am not racist. I am a devout feminist and lover of all people".

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Love is not just Black or White

Social Media have been abuzz with vibrant rainbow colours and the #tag - "#Lovewins" the past two weeks as Digital Citizens all over the world celebrate the US Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage.