Friday, March 25, 2011

Natural Disasters and how Social Media responded

Natural disasters are a terrible occurrence, and two huge earthquakes in as many months is a reminder of how unstable and unpredictable our environment can be at times. The most recent, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake not far from the coast of Japan early Friday morning on March 11th, certainly gave me a personal pause for thought.

Having a number of friends living and working throughout Japan led me to dive on to Twitter and Facebook with vigour that morning and within two hours, much to my relief, I had worked my way down my list with one case of concussion and a few power cuts and swaying buildings between them but in the grand scheme of things, a good outcome.

Without social media and the communication capabilities we have at our fingertips today, rather than a mere two hours it could’ve been more like two days, or even two weeks before hearing anything back. With the Japanese government advising reduced phone use at the time and rolling blackouts across the country, other methods of communication exploded; Tweet-o-meter reported peaks of 1,200 tweets per minute coming from Tokyo alone, after the countries phone system was taken offline.

As other countries began to wake up, news began to spread and updates travelled exponentially, with users sharing reports and video streams, more often than not, faster than official news sources could verify and update. Mitchell Cuevas posts on the social media blog Salty Waffle about how a friend in Hawaii had Tsunami warnings out on Facebook before any articles and another had warnings for the West Coast of the US before any major news networks had information out. Inevitably Twitter’s trending topics of #tsunami and #prayforjapan were both throwing out thousands of tweets per second discussing the event.

Google is also playing its part in supporting and aiding the flow of information, releasing a Japanese version of its Person Finder, as it did when the fatal earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand last month, alongside its Google Crisis Response.
The Person Finder app allows members of the public to upload information about themselves or others, and allows anyone to search through the database for specific individuals; within the first few hours over 4,000 records had already been logged.
The Crisis Response is a fluidly updating all encompassing report for those in Japan, including weather warnings, disaster bulletins and blackout warnings.

When it comes to outside help, it’s not just a matter of donating via the conventional means; there are so many more ways of helping out no matter how small. Mashable put together a short overview in their article Japan Earthquake & Tsunami: 7 Simple Ways to Help, with suggestions from Facebook to iTunes. Sony Online Entertainment's Playstation Store has also been acting as a donation platform, receiving direct donations or offering virtual goods, where each item bought ensures a $10 donation from Sony to the American Red Cross to help the relief effort.

Bloggers have also been keen to jump in with aid, not just in spreading information, but on the donations drive too. One of the prominent movements for bloggers, the Silence For Japan campaign, which you can read more on here, has gone on to raise (at the time of writing this) a phenomenal $59,952 for ShelterBox, a charity which provides emergency shelter and supplies.

Whilst my friends and colleagues have escaped relatively unscathed, many others haven't been so lucky. Our best wishes go out to those in Japan and if you're interested in donating, the Red Cross is running an ongoing Japan Tsunami Appeal.

If you're considering making a donation, then be sure to read this article on donation scam emails, and remember never to divulge your card details to unofficial sources.

Author: Alice Cheetham

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Twitter Security Feature

Via a Re Tweet from the top content seeder Chris @techzadar we read over at Gizmos for Geeks this morning, that Twitter is promoting the "always use HTTPS" feature in the account settings.

We and Gizmos for Geeks advise that you enable this now.

Reason being it will improve the security on your account. Gizmo for Geeks say that
“this security feature is particularly important when you are out and about and using public WiFi networks that could have some bad guys looking at your connections and waiting to snap up your passwords”

So that we don't duplicate text, please read their blog on Twitter HTTPS feature here.

Thanks Gizmo for Geeks for bringing this to our attention. We are now following you on Twitter @gizmosforgeeks

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why you should mobilise your website?

Studies are indicating that people are increasingly likely to leave their laptops at the office and use their mobiles for web browsing on the move. We are advising our clients to mobilise their websites, so that their customers can find them from mobile search and most importantly be able to access and navigate their sites with ease from a mobile.

In creating a mobile site the Flashlight Search Marketing team are also encouraging social share of news, offers, and deals via the mobile site owners established social networks.

Along with talking to our current clients, the Sales Team are making new contacts with companies (local and national) that have websites, to gently encourage them to make the small step to consider creating a mobile site.

We have a blog coming soon from Fiona and the Technical Team on "How easy it is to create a mobile website" - watch out for it.

Talking to the Sales Team today, they let me know that when talking to mobile website prospects, they have found that people are generally surprised at the low cost of mobile website development and once the UK mobile statistics are laid out with the price of development, then they are then keen to begin scoping out the mobile website development further.

We would like to share with you a selection of the UK mobile statistics which the Sales Team use when a client, or prospect asks whether they should mobilise their website.

We have invited Sales to add further links to the latest UK mobile statistics on this blog (comments section).

If you would like any further details on why your business should create a mobile website, or alternatively, or additionally create a mobile application, then please contact the Rocktime Sales team to discuss:

Sharing a selection of UK Mobile Website Statistics

It was reported this morning on BBC Breakfast News that Ofcom is auctioning off parts of the air space to enable the adoption of fourth generation technology (4G) which will make mobile phones more internet ready than they are. They also reported that Smart phone ownership grew in the UK by 58% 2010.

Interestingly, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has decided to include smartphones and their applications (think "Angry Birds") within the UK inflation basket / consumer price index but has taken out mobile phone downloads. (, March 2011)

Over the past 12 months the number of handsets that have the (mobile augmented reality) enabling technologies has risen from about 8 million to just over 100 million,” (Windsor Holden, principal analyst at Juniper Research UK, 2011).

Note that Alice (at Rocktime) regularly talks about Augmented Reality Applications on our blog, do watch out for her posts.

In November 2010 the UK was reported as being the 5th biggest mobile internet market globally (Silicon Alley Insider, Nov 2010)

There are 15,375,945 mobile media users in the UK (3 month average to January 2009). (Source: M Metrics via Orange survey, March 2009]

7.1 million Brits now access the internet through their mobile phones (Internet Monitor Survey, 2010)

60% of UK online shoppers would be more likely to shop at a site that rewarded them for reviews or recommendations (Immediate Future, 2010)

14% of UK mobile user watch more TV because of mobile video access. (Orange, via The Guardian, October 2010)

15% of UK adults have mobile broadband (Ofcom, October 2010)

Take-up of mobile broadband increased by 8% among 15 to 24s and by 3% among 35-54s in the UK (Ofcom, October 2010)

Smartphone usage is up 70% and growing faster in the UK than Europe.
(comScore/GSMA MMM, via AOP Digital Landscape Report, June 2010)

AdMob reported 253,737,396 mobile advertisement impressions in the UK during January 2009. (AdMob, January 2009)

Around 70% of mobile internet users use a traditional browser, 55% use an app. (Orange, via The Guardian, October 2010)

47% of daily mobile internet users live in urban areas. (“Brandheld” study, Essential Research, December 2009)

11.5% of all UK shoppers use their mobiles to research before they shop (

Mobile advertising is expected to grow to £355m in Britain by 2014 (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2010)

In the UK, 81% of mobile media users access mobile media more than once a week with 46% using it daily (MobiAd News, 2010)

27% of children (aged between 5 and 15) owned a mobile phone in 2009. (Source: Office for National Statistics, November 2010)

89% of the UK population have (or use) a mobile phone.(Ofcom, October 2010)
– 14% live in a mobile-only household.

People that use Facebook on their mobile device are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users (Facebook, 2010)

In May 2010 90.4% of British mobile subscribers used their phones to send a text message. The second most used activity in the UK is accessing news (35.5%), followed by using a browser (35.2%). Social networking is used by 22.6% of mobile subscribers in the UK in May 2010.

According to an Orange study, when clicking on adverts on the mobile internet, the next stages which are most popular are: going straight through to the brand‟s website (47%); receiving voucher codes or coupons (43%); clicking through to another area of the site (36%); being entered in a competition (34%). (Source: Orange via Econsultancy Blog, March 2009)

If you would like to talk to us further about creating a mobile website for your business, or would like to discuss marketing your mobile website or application then please give the Rocktime Sales team a call.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

The above image is from the Rocktime New story: FJB Hotels lead the way in Mobile Marketing. If you are local to Rocktime, you may have noticed that we ran a short ad and article on Mobile Websites in the March edition of the Business Magazine (Dorset, West Hant, Salisbury), with an advert on page 5 and article on page 16.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Twitter promotions explained

Back in April 2010 we discussed the new paid for models being proposed for Twitter, under the blog title Twitter Simplifies it's Business Model - #not.

We have been monitoring take up of the service. On the 4th of October Twitter officially launched the promoted accounts; View related article on Mashable here:

We are talking about this now, as a client recently enquired about the differences between the Twitter advertising models, as is potentially interested in promoted accounts.
Find out all you need to know about them here:

The Promoted accounts model on twitter allow brands to gain more followers by being placed within the "who to follow" section which appears on right hand bar.

The news of the launch of promoted accounts didn't go down well in New Media circles and many looked at it as shameful that brands would pay for followers.

Due to this we haven't pushed promoted accounts to our clients, as in our opinion, what brands need to do first is write useful and interesting tweets and gain credibility from engagement with others. Then in the future when they have reached a plateau of engagement and created the buzz, well then they can move onto paying for a few more followers...maybe.

It is a concern that asking for followers could cheapen a brand, or indeed make them look slightly desperate.

Alas, we have ourselves been turned around recently and have found ourselves clicking on a few promoted accounts that appear in the side bar. Twitters computer rules /algorithms of finding a twitter account you would like, seems to work well for us @rocktimesocial.

We are still very sceptical of promoted trends and tweets, and currently monitoring case studies of people using these methods of advertising.

We are aware that the majority of people see Twitter as a closed experience and are not jumping up and down with glee with the ads right now, even the Twitter Sales Rep on this 40 minute video (35 mins in) from All Things Digital states to be aware that some people may not like the ads and to take note that it they don't like them that they will be vocal about it.

It is this backlash that concerns us, as unlike Paid Search in the content networks or Facebook advertisements, these ads are realtime and the promoted tweets will be in your feed (rather than side bar). Thus on starting a promoted tweet campaigns, please do make sure you have the resource to deal with any nasty, back off with your advertising @ mentions.

Working on our client's social media portals, we do have a lot of insight per client on what messages go down well with their audience groups so we can advise appropriately.

In summary any type of successful promotion campaign needs to be focused on goals, be planned / strategised and integrated to a wider plan.
Fiona (at Rocktime) has found a great example of integrated approach using promoted ads on Twitter, she will be sharing with you next month.. so remember to visit back.

There is a summary below of the difference between promoted accounts, tweets and trends:

Promoted accounts
Twitter looks at your account and followers to identify similar accounts and similar followers. You then appear in the Suggestions of Who to Follow.

Promoted Tweets
You send a tweet then ‘promote’ it - When you promote it, users will see your Tweet when they search for one of the keywords you’ve attached to your Tweet

Promoted Trends
When a user clicks on the Trending Topic, they are taken to the conversation for that trend - with your Promoted Tweets pegged to the top of the timeline

If you would like to find out more about advertising within the social networks, please contact the Flashlight Search Marketing team.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Monday, March 14, 2011

TwitRelief: Bid for a Celebrity Follower

If you are on Twitter, you may have noticed the launch of the Celebrity Twit Relief Campaign for Comic Relief. The concept being: you can bid for Celebrities to follow you on Twitter for 90 days, they re-tweet one of your tweets, plus there is a chance to also win amazing ‘extras’ in a celebrity auction.

The #Twitrelief celebrity auction is in aid of Comic Relief’s work in the UK and Africa and ends on the 20th March 2011. The campaign is fun, easy to join in with and is a great idea for generating awareness of the event.

A special eBay page has been set up for the auctions and includes: a signed manuscript, a character named after you in the book and dinner from Emma Kennedy, a chance to hang out on set with Kirstie Allsopp and her Phil, Suzi Perrys Bike Jacket, Silverstone passes and meet up with the Perry, plus a walk-on part in the next film by Notting Hill writer Richard Curtis (courtesy of his partner Emma Freud).

Rocktimers have been invited to dig deep in their pockets after we received a tweet from our favourite Gadget Show presenter Suzi Perry. We can’t quite describe how very overjoyed we were (esp: @sarahgriffiths), when we received an @ reply followed by a Direct Message with a “X”. See above image.

To find out more about how you can contribute visit the Red Nose Day site here. Whilst mentioning #Twitrelief, it suits to let you know that we were impressed with their Red Nose Online Giving pages, enabling all the sponsored transactions to be sent in via individuals unique fundraising personalised pages. Nice work.

If since reading this blog you have identified that the celebrity you wanted to engage with is too expensive, then look for another one. Alternatively find out more about how you can donate and join in with the Red Nose Day activities here.

The Flashlight Search Marketing team at Rocktime, are always on the look out for innovative campaigns that use social media. We track other's successes in which we then seek to implement into our own. If you see anything fun or innovative in Social Media that we might miss, feel free to tweet us @rocktimesocial.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Geek Video of the month

The Search Marketers here at Rocktime liked this Video on Youtube. The video which was listed in Mashables 10 most innovative viral videos ads in 2010 shows a race between Google Chrome loading up a webpage and a potato getting turned into Chips.

It certainly gets the message across.

If you are finding that your web pages load slowly or don’t load at all in Google Chrome then view the suggestions why over at Google Chrome Help.

Author: Alice Cheetham