Tag Archives: twitter

Alan Jones and Destroy the Joint: A Case Study in Social Media Activism

As Alan Jones continues to descend into his own PR hell, the role social media has played in sending him there cannot be denied.

We all know there have been brands, organisations, NFPs and individuals who have used social media as a means to reach their goals (Kony 2012 being a perfect example) and Destroy the Joint is not different.

What is different however is the movement’s reach, the speed with which it gained popularity and the impact it has had.

I’d like to take a pause, and take a moment away from the media frenzy and melodramatic progress of the Jones issue to explain the impact of social media in the campaign.

Background

Late August 2012
Most people (except for Alan Jones) will see the irony behind the name “Destroy the Joint”. Taken straight from Jones’s statement about women destroying the joint (AKA female politicians destroying Australia) the movement began as a Twitter hashtag where people could express their thoughts and opinions about this statement.

September 2012
The founder of Destroy the Joint, Jenna Price then created a Facebook page. A month later the page had over 10,000 fans. Five weeks after the page was created it gained a total of 14,684 fans.

Late September – October 2012
Destroy the Joint ramped up its campaign against sexism in the Australian society, when the media reported that Alan Jones told a Sydney University Liberal Club that Julia Gillard’s father died of shame because of the lies she told in Parliament.

After this comment,focusing on Alan Jones and making him accountable for his words and actions as part of a broader movement to challenge sexism.

The Campaign

Facebook
The Facebook page of Destroy the Joint movement became the virtual “gathering” place of every person who wanted to be involved. It was used for:

  • Sharing news related the campaign
  • Asking people to share information that could be useful for the campaign – most importantly information about how to contact 2GB advertisers

  • Delegating tasks to support the campaign – people were asked to contact advertisers and ask them to stop support for the radio show

  • Managing people and setting the guidelines which they were to use to conduct themselves “”be calm, be kind, be courteous”

But that’s not all. Since the campaign was taking place on Facebook, the advertisers who pulled out from the show also informed their fans about the decision on Facebook, amplifying the message through comments and shares on their pages. Some examples include:

Woolworths

Telstra

Twitter

Twitter was a conversation starter and a discussion forum for anyone with a comment about the issue.

  • Getting the attention of influencers and having them participate in conversations is another way social media can increase its reach and impact – which is exactly what happened when influential women in the media joined the conversation.
  • Influencers such as Mia Freedman (28,794 followers), Catherine Deveny (23,429 followers) and Anne Summers (5,385 followers) had become involved in the conversation. Every tweet they re-tweeted, every response they made about the issue had the potential to be seen by their audience of thousands.

Destroy the Joint

  • Topsy was also used to estimate the activeness of the conversation around Alan Jones. After news about his latest comments hit on 29 September, Topsy estimated over 1000 mentions of the issue per day.

Change.org

Apart from Destroy the Joint, other campaigns have sprung up against Alan Jones. Political science and international relations student Nic Lochner created Sack Alan Jones Facebook page which wields overwhelming popularity with more than 17,000 fans.

Over 114,000 people have signed the Change.org petition he also created asking 2GB and its advertisers to “cease association with Alan Jones” .

The considerable number of signatures provided evidence that a significant number of people were concerned about the offensive comments made by Jones and were willing to put that in writing.

Transition to mainstream media

When ABC’s AM show asked Destroy the Joint creator Jenna Price to speak about the campaign amongst Jones’s allegations that he was cyber bullied.

2GB also interviewed Jenna Price on 8 October to confront her about the public backlash inspired by Destroy the Joint. It was a clear sign that social media has done enough damage to be noticed.

Other media channels such as Women’s Agenda and Leading Company spoke about social media siting it as one of the reasons advertisers had pulled out from the show.

Concluding thoughts

What sets this campaign aside is its ability to target and to attract the right audience and to act as a focused and united front. You could almost call it a localised and targeted social media campaign – a campaign that managed to connect with the relevant influencers, inspired the public to act and brought the Alan Jones issue to the attention of media and government.

As the result of the pressure applied to advertisers through social media Macquarie Radio Network has suspended all advertising from Alan Jones’s show.

Mercedes Benz went as far as confiscating Alan Jones’s sponsored car to dissociate themselves from the radio host.

Awareness of the Alan Jones issue sky rocketed causing the public, the media, politicians to question and debate attitudes towards women in the Australian society.

I think this might be a glimpse of what we will see in the future – the public using social media as the weapon of choice when it comes to making their voices heard about particular issues.

However it remains to be seen if the power of the people in this case is stronger than the power of Alan Jones.

VIDEO: Alan Jones opens advert-free show

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Two Ways Twitter has Changed the Way We Consume Information

The way Osama Bin Laden’s Death broke on Twitter gave rise to new questions about its role  as an informational hub and the role of the audience in generating news. In my opinion,

  1. Twitter has changed the way in which people search for information
  2. It has also provided certain individuals with the power to influence and generate news

The truly innovative aspect of Twitter is that people are able to search for and find news that have not yet been broadcast, written about or published.This was the case with the news about Osama Bin Laden’s death.

According to Fast Company the interest of the public was sparked when the White House announced an urgent presidential address. Amongst this demand for information  Keith Urbahn’s news breaking tweet about Osama Bin Laden’s death was spread freakishly quickly.

Urbahn’s power to create  news came because his information responded to the public demand.

It was only because his tweet coincided with the most talked about topic and the time at which it was delivered that it had such prevalence. This demonstrates is that unlike traditional media that used to ‘push’ news towards the consumer, Twitter provides a place where people can ‘pull’ the right information from their network.

Just want to show you a Twitter visualisation that demonstrates how information networks are created on Twitter. I know the topic has nothing to do with what I’m talking about but I thought it was a good visual example!

It seems that information is trusted when it either comes from a variety of unrelated, unbiased sources or if it is provided by influential and credible individuals.

This guy’s quote, published by Arnnet perfectly describes how info trust is built:

“After first seeing one or two tweets on the subject, I quickly did a hashtag search to verify that what I was reading was being referenced by a large number of people and linked to a reputable news source. After that little process, I felt as though I could trust what I was reading and that I had been informed of the news from many different vantage points, each with independent motivations, backgrounds, national histories. I find that process much more trustworthy than listening to a single TV station.”

The way the news broke also makes it possible to suggest a profile of the twitterer who can successfully act as an influential citizen journalist. The key individuals in the OBL case were Keith Urbahn, the former Chief of Staff in Donald Rumsfeld’s office and Brian Stelter, a digital media reporter for the New York Times, who re-tweeted Urbahn’s tweet.

Both were professionals in their respective fields and both were active on Twitter during the crucial time. Although Urbahn had a relatively small following of 1016 people, according to Social Flow he “had the right combination of influential people reading his tweet and confidence in the accuracy of the information.” This of course included Brian Stelter who was not only a reliable source but also had a huge Twitter following of 57 535 people. When he re-tweeted Urbahn’s tweet it was spread by his following, making the news viral.

Based on this information I am suggesting that the successful citizen journalist on Twitter must be credible and reliable, he or she must be timely in providing information and they must have the right twitter following. This can either be a very large following but most importantly it must contain the right people.In other words the twitterer must have influence.

Here is a list of most influential twitter users.

You can use Twitter Grader to find out how influential a particular twitter user is.

I found this tool really cool too. It lets you search for influential people who are interested in the same things you are.

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Osama Bin Laden and Twitter

At this point we are all familiar with this:

I could rave on about Osama Bin Laden related issues for the next five hours. I could tell you that I want to write a letter to the American government saying something like “shhhhh, please be quiet and stop celebrating the murder of a terrorist master lord! You might hurt Al -Qaeda’s feelings!” I could ponder the pros and cons of releasing the photos of OBL’s dead body or re-watch old September 11 documentaries in morbid fascination.

Instead I’m going to say what Osama Bin Laden’s death has done for Twitter. In the international relations/war on terror scheme of things, the way his death broke on Twitter is a trivial matter BUT it is important for the future of news and information spread. It’s important for us, the people who have never had much control over news, to recognize that we can all create news now, one tweet at a time.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

Because if you know how information spreads on Twitter, you can spread information on Twitter. Fast. Like wildfire. Like the ripple effect. Like a Lamborghini on the freeway.

But it ain’t easy.

How did people find out about Osama Bin Laden’s death and when? May 1st around an hour before the official presidential announcement by Barack Osama (oops Obama). Here’s good timeline.

People are naturally inquisitive and people who use social networking are neurotically inquisitive. They are addicted to information and they hunt for it like…hunters…SO speculation about what-the-hell-is-going-on began as soon as the White House announced that there would be a presidential address. It was after a bit of a wild guessing game that people began to mention Bin Laden. But at that stage it was still just the blind leading the blind.

FINALLY Keith Urbahn (sorry people, not the singer/husband of Nicole Kidman) tweeted the tweet that made the difference.

Urbahn was a reliable source because of his position as Chief of Staff in the Office of Donald Rumsfeld. The trustworthiness of his information meant that it was re-tweeted by 80 people in the new minute.

His tweet also got re-tweeted by Brian Stelter, a very influential tweeter (he is a machine. I’ve never seen anyone do that many tweets in one day).

And that’s how it took off. The crazy tweetering, digital river of information. And then Obama gave his speech.

For the twitter universe, he was a bit too slow (and a bit too triumphant for my liking).

But you know what? I’m glad that he was too slow. Down with the controlled media. We don’t need it to tell us everything anymore. We can tell each other whatever the hell we want. As long as we have access to information and the right twitter following, we can break news. Of course a lot of elements come into play, but that’s the essence of it.

Social flow did an awesome analysis of how OBL’s death broke on twitter zoomed through the wired world (I just like the pretty graphs). Actually I gonna insert the pretty graph;

Based on what I’ve read and the Social Flow analysis this is the way to break news on Twitter:

  1. Have the information
  2. The news has to be timely. No one will care if it happened a week ago (unless its something massive) or if no one knows about it or its significance.
  3. Be well connected on Twitter. That doesn’t necessarily means have millions of followers, just have the right ones.
  4. People must trust that you’re not the boy/girl crying wolf. Reliability is the key.

I actually think that by using Twitter as an information hub, we are making a statement about the world we live in and about our own role in it. We are shrinking the world and growing our individual significance. News is no longer decided by journalists and the media, nor should it be.

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Twitter-Where Art Thou?

It always baffles me when I see a company website that does not have a twitter account. That’s so much additional exposure lost, yet I see this again and again on Australian websites. Let’s face it people, Australians don’t like Twitter. I can say this with certainty, having heard it said repeatedly at:

1. University (UNSW): My media lectures bring up this deficiency whenever they have the chance saying something like “But of course no one in Australia really uses Twitter” with a  condescending snicker of  disapproval. (UNSW of course has Twitter)

2. Journalists: Annabel Crabb (writing for ABC’s The Drum) and Julie Posetti have both bagged out other journalists for being caveman-like in their ignorance about new media and especially Twitter.

3. People @ TCO (where I intern): When I timidly suggested that they use Twitter to promote their clients, they shook their heads sadly and told me it would never work. It wouldn’t be worth it. “People don’t really use Twitter in Australia”.

I was doing a news story on climate change (why, why,why the hell did I pick that twisted spiderweb as a topic??) and saw that both companies I interviewed for the story didn’t have a Twitter account. I think of it as an opportunity lost, even if not many individuals use Twitter. Companies should still do everything they can to get exposure for their services. Have a look;

Company #1: CO2 Australia: is a carbon offsetting service for companies. Has a blog, yet no Twitter. I would rather look at Twitter than read a long blog entry. Especially if the company is new to me.  Especially if I am another company that HAS Twitter and I am looking at CO2’s services.

Company #2: Get Up! Australia: is a grassroots NGO. Their goal is to hold governments accountable for their policies. And have heaps of ppl join up. No Twitter though.

To me its simple. Yes not many people here use Twitter. Or they have an account and don’t log on (most of my friends are like that). But all people search for services online at one time or another. If they see that little ‘join us on twitter’ thing on the page often enough, they might just do that. And companies might just benefit. Like they do in America.

Everyone wins. So use the damn thing.

Here’s a quick video about why Twitter matters. This dude is way better at explaining it than I am

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Social Media Analyst- A Brand New Job on the Market

At one of my media lectures the term “social media analyst” innocently uttered by a media savy lecturer (Kate Crawford) floated around the class, causing confusion and chaos. Most people had never heard the term. Some (like me) have, but were left with only a vague idea of what it means. One girl said she was working as one.

It’s not surprising. After all a social media analyst is a new role. So have a look.

Social Media Strategist for a university in USA

TO SUM IT UP: A social media analyst works for a company, any company that uses social media networks in some way.

He/she looks at HOW people interact with facebook, twitter, myspace and others.

BASED ON THIS: he/she comes up with trends and conclusions.

TRENDS: are used as a means to achieve different ends, depending on the given organization.

The data is USED STRATEGICALLY AND CREATIVELY for coming up with a plan to help the organization achieve what it wants.

FOR PR/MARKETING COMPANIES:

If the company is marketing a brand such as PEPSI, it might want to promote awareness and get more fans on its facebook page. Analysis of facebook user patterns will help the company and Pepsi to target specific groups; interact with fb users more or on a different level; come up with ways to engage people and get more exposure.

FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC SECTOR COMPANIES:

If the social media analyst works for a media outlet such as Sydney Morning Herald, it might want to make sure that the reputation of the newspaper stays intact or that journalists know how to use social media in their work. Analysis of twitter will help journalists tap into a rich informational data base and help them utilize the tools of twitter to find sources or spread information correctly.

So that’s all I can say for now.

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