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A world without Twitter…

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It’s no secret that I have a lot of love for Twitter. Particularly these past few days, with people tweeting from all over about the riots spreading across the country, I find the microblogging social networking site pretty addictive.

ANYWAY. I just came across the following amusing infographic ‘A world without Twitter’ created a few months back by HubSpot and wanted to share it:

Dramatic as it may sound, but I often think of how different my life might be without Twitter…

It was on Twitter where Cre8ive Wisdom’s Neil and I first got in contact about me joining the team for a work experience placement last year. Through Cre8ive Wisdom, I met a man who got me in contact with a landlady looking for a tenant in her brand new flat – when we were looking for somewhere to live. And now, after finishing my university degree, I am back working for Cre8ive Wisdom full time… My career started from Twitter!

I’ve also ‘met’ some very lovely & helpful people on Twitter who I probably wouldn’t know existed if it wasn’t for my random following and tweeting! The very lovely followers of mine helped me get a huge number of respondents for my dissertation survey, which gave me a great, robust bed of research for the study, helping for me to gain a First! Also among these followers of mine are some lovely locals who helped out by coming along & participating to focus groups for this research.

It’s strange to think how different things could be if it wasn’t for this social media platform… that’s the (social) butterfly effect I guess!

I hope it’s not just me, anyway…! Is there anything in your life now that would be different without Twitter? What do you think a world without Twitter would be?

What happens on the Internet in 60 seconds?

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Introducing Communications Whizzkid!

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So today was the first day of my six-week work experience placement at Cre8ive Wisdom. Honestly, I was a little bit nervous! But Neil, Wendy and Steph are all really friendly and made me feel very welcome : )

This morning I wrote a press release about me joining the team and attempted to gain more followers for the recruitment agency Bond Williams’ twitter account. I also started putting together some ideas for a new sleep story for clients Leggett and Platt. Along with various bits and bobs I’ll be assisting the team with, I’ve been given my own personal six-week project which I’ll be getting stuck into!

To become a true member of the team I needed to have a ‘CW’ name, so I’m now known as the  Communications Whizzkid… and I have my very own company email address!

At midday, I took a break with Steph and walked along the seafront in the sunshine to Boscombe Pier and back. It was lovely but I made a mistake wearing shoes I haven’t worn for a long while and now have huge blisters on both my little toes! : (

In the afternoon the Cre8ive Wisdom team took a stroll down to the seafront again to take some individual and team photos. As much as I dislike my photo taken, it was a bit of a giggle, and nice to be out in the gorgeous weather again!

After my first full-time day for a long time, I am completely knackered – but looking forward to the next six weeks! : )

Usability analysis: Freud Communications

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It is important that a website fulfills the need to complete tasks by the target user. There are many elements that must be considered in order to create and sustain a successful and beneficial website. Freud Communications is a large public relations company with large, world famous clients such as Nike and Pepsi.

Assuming the main purpose of their website is to provide information to potential clients, the usability and effectiveness of the site has been analysed.

The Freud Communications homepage

Searchability

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) means maximising the use of key terms the target user of the website is likely to enter in a search engine.
  • Searching ‘Freud Communications’ in Google produces the website as the first result, ‘Freud public relations’ and ‘Freud London’ shows the website third. This proves successful in SEO for users searching for the particular company.
  • Similar searches with more information regarding the type of company, but without the word ‘Freud’ gathered no results on the first page.
  • SEO is only present for users already knowing the name of the company, not for potential new clients looking for public relations and marketing companies.
  • Most of the text on the website is displayed as images, meaning there is less opportunity for keywords to be picked up by search engines.

Navigation

  • Information is easy to find under a straightforward list of links: ‘Our Services’, ‘Our Clients’, ‘Our Beliefs’, ‘Our People’, ‘Contact Us’. All links work well and take the user to the anticipated section of the site.
  • Sections are colour coded which may help in increasing memorability
  • The whole website is on one page, with the links changing the text and image on that same page rather than directing to a new one. This causes problems with the way that people are used to moving around the web – the browser’s ‘back’ and ‘forward’ buttons to not function within the site.

Design

  • The Freud Communications website is attractive and looks sophisticated, mainly due to the simplicity of it. The light colours on the black background enable the site to stand out from the majority of other pages on the web.
  • Most of the text on the site is clear, although some sections contain grey, red, purple and green text on the black background which is more difficult to read.
  • A good feature of the site is that it uses a “liquid layout” where the frame and the text size changes according to the size of the window.

Content

  • Web-users aim to complete a task as quickly as possible, meaning pages are more likely to be scanned for keywords rather than read.
  • Text on the Freud site is minimal and words are sometimes highlighted using size and colour. However, it can sometimes be difficult to tell what is aimed to be highlighted when the text on a page is in three different colours.
  • There is little information about current or previous clients. The homepages of some major competitors to Freud Communications PHA Media, Splendid and Shine Communications highlight recent news and events – Freud would benefit from including this. Video and audio examples of work would also benefit the company.

Interactivity/User Generated Content (UGC)

  • The website offers no UGC or opportunities for users to interact with the company or other visitors. The only way to communicate with the company is the provided telephone number or email address (which is only found under ‘Job Opportunities’).
  • Another way companies successfully use interactivity and UGC is through social media. Freud Communications currently do not have active Twitter or Facebook accounts (the Twitter account is protected and has zero following and followers).

To read the full, essay version click here.

Timeline: General Elections 2010

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It’s official that we now have a hung parliament. I’m still not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, or even completely sure what it means, the only certainty is that we still don’t know what’s going on, and it may well be a while.

Here’s a look back at some key, and interesting, events in the run up to polling day.

6 April 2010 – The Queen agrees to the dissolution of parliament. Brown announces there is to be a general election on May 6 2010. The race begins.

8 April 2010 – Both Labour and Tory accused of infringing copyright by using a picture from Ashes to Ashes on their campaign posters.

Conservative campaign poster

Labour campaign poster

9 April 2010 – Labour candidate Stuart McLennan forced to stand down after posting offensive comments on Twitter.

12 April 2010 – Labour launch their manifesto.

Jeremy Paxman interviewed Nick Clegg (so far, unsuprisingly, neither Brown or Cameron agreed to be interviewed by Paxman).

This is when my personal interest in Clegg and Liberal Democrats began, after being impressed with his ability to give somewhat straight answers under Paxman’s interrogation – an ability that politicians usually lack.

13 April 2010 – Conservative and Liberal Democrats launch their manifestos.

The leaders battle it out on live television

Richard Hughes of Keane was unimpressed with the Tories playing their song at the launch.

15 April 2010 – The first leader’s debate makes history as the first time UK party leaders have gone head to head in front of a television audience.

It was this debate that saw the beginning of ‘Cleggmania’ – various opinion polls showed that Clegg ‘won’ the debate. ‘I agree with Nick’ (#iagreewithnick) became a popular phrase after both Cameron and Brown’s use of the phrase.

21 April 2010 – David Cameron gets an egg thrown at him by a 16-year-old in Cornwall. The yolk unfortunately stained his fresh shirt.

22 April 2010 – The people of Twitter decided to blame pretty much everything on Nick Clegg, adopting the hashtag #nickcleggsfault. This fights back at newspaper bias of stories in the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Express and the Sun.

#nickcleggsfault

The hashtag #nickcleggsfault used across the world

The second leaders’ television debate. Brown and Cameron didn’t agree with Clegg as much – perhaps recognising him as a slight threat now.

Marmite threatened to take legal action when the product is shown in a BNP broadcast.

23 April 2010 – Jeremy Paxman interviews David Cameron. Cameron states he wouldn’t join forces with Clegg in the event of a hung parliament.

27 April 2010 – Conservative candidate Philip Lardner is suspended after claiming on his website that homosexuality is ‘not normal behaviour’.

28 April 2010 – ‘BigotGate’, or ‘Gordon’s Gaffe’. The press goes crazy after a microphone was left on and recorded Brown in his car calling a bigotted woman, well, a bigot. He is later followed by a crowd of reporters to her house to apologise.

Gordon Brown talking to Mrs Duffy, who he later brands a 'bigot'

Gordon Brown talking to Mrs Duffy, who he later brands a 'bigot'

29 April 2010 – The third leaders’ debate in which, according to opinion polls, David Cameron seemed to be the favourite.

30 April 2010 – Controversially, the Guardian announces it back the Liberal Democrats. It differs, at least, from Murdoch’s famous Tory-backing empire, but again raising the issue as to whether or not newspapers should be impartial.

Jeremy Paxman interviews Gordon Brown, quizzing him about the economy, the expenses scandal, immigration and ‘BigotGate’

Voters queuing at polling station (from guardian.co.uk)

Voters queuing at local polling station

2 May 2010 – Another homophobic strike for Conservative when it comes out that Tory MP Philipa Stroud ran prayer sessions to ‘cure’ gay people.

4 May 2010 – Labour candidate Manish Sood states that “Gordon Brown has been the worst Prime Minister we have had in this country.”

6 May 2010 – Polling day – the talk of the night being that thousands of people across the country were turned away at 10pm and not allowed to vote – even after some had been queueing since 7pm.

I stayed up to watch Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night. This way I felt cultured without being bored half to death. No matter how interested in politics I’ve become over the past month – waiting for 650-odd constituencies to count some papers is never going to be that exciting! Comedy is a godsend

7 May 2010 – Results show that there is officially a hung parliament. The wait begins!

Clegg: Tweeting his way to victory?

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I’ve caught the election bug.

When I heard there was to be a general election next month, I immediately buried my head in Wikipedia, and various other web pages, teaching myself the basics of politics. I decided I wanted to grab hold of my first opportunity to vote – and make sure I used it wisely.

After finally managing to understand (well, kind of) the whole left-right-centre thing, as well as the main ideologies of the three leading parties.

'X' marks the spot.

I’ve never before been interested in politics (I’ve always shared the popular opinion: ‘it’s boring, and they’re all liars and cheats anyway, so what’s the point?’). However, I’ve suddenly grown a slight addiction to watching, reading and listening to politics news coverage, checking policies against each other and watching and reading manifestos as they come out. I wasn’t brought up with a particular political stance – my parents pretty much have the same opinion that I did, so it’s completely up to me to decide, from scratch, where I put the ‘X’ on May 6.

I think the most important thing we need is change, to get us out of this economical mess and move forward as a country. So for real change – parliamentary change for starters – many people believe that Labour should be out of power. Then there’s their main competitor, the Tories. Conservatives are all about traditionalism, and seems to favour the upper classes by ways of hierarchy. The recent proposal the Conservative Party has put forward (£150 tax break for married and civil partnered couples) to me, seems a massive step backward for our society. This favours traditional 2.4 families over single-parent families as well as modern couples who feel they don’t need or want to wed to lead a happy life. So can we really expect to move forward with Tories in power? For me, that’s them out. That leaves the Liberal Democrats, who don’t really have a chance anyway.

At least that’s what everyone thought.

Nick Clegg was adamant from the beginning that this election was not going to be a two-man race, and it seems that since the very first TV election debate between the three leaders, Lib Dems may actually have a chance. Opinion polls show closing gaps between the parties, some even placing Clegg on top. While watching the Leaders’ Debate, I was following reactions through the masses of tweets flooding with the hashtag #leadersdebate. A recurring opinion is that Clegg came across as the most genuine and calm out of the three (it seems Cameron and Brown would rather directly insult each other than discuss policies).

'Facebookers': Campaigning for the impossible?

10 Downing Tweets provides a snapshot of Twitter’s party preferences, currently showing Clegg as leading with 39% of the vote. Following the success of getting Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name to Christmas No. 1, Facebook users are attempting a similar campaign attempting to win Lib Dems power this year.

Social networking and microblogging seem to be playing a big part in this year’s election. An increasing amount of political organisations, politicians and local MPs (and even Nick Clegg himself) having Twitter and Facebook accounts, ‘keeping up with the times’, communicating with many first-time voters, and fighting for the most fans and followers.

So can we expect a huge change in parliament? Or even a hung parliament? Who knows… but I do believe social networking may well be very influential in the outcome.

Tweeting?

Some suggestions of accounts to follow

in the run-up to the elections:

@tweetminster

@10DowningTweets

@BBCElection

@GdnPolitics

@UKLabourParty

@Conservatives

@libdems

@nick_clegg

Twitter: Why do we use it?

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If you choose ‘Other’, please elaborate in a comment on the blog post : ) thank you!

I’ve been a member of Twitter for quite a while now – long enough to manage 1,788 tweets.

My tweets mainly consist of random blurts of useless information, how I’m feeling, what I’m up to etcetc. However I like to use Twitter to share interesting links, news and blogs.

The famous Twitter 'fail whale'

My following list is at 140… I try to keep it fairly low so I can actually keep up (I always have at least 5 new tweets every couple of minutes ÜberTwitter refreshes on the BlackBerry! – It can be fairly time consuming to go get up-to-date when I haven’t checked it for a few hours!)

The list of those I follow consists of friends, randomers – around Bournemouth and elsewhere, celebrities, big bloggers and a fair few within the marketing, PR and social media industries.

I think I’d say my own main use of Twitter is to keep up with current affairs, general news but mainly within the media world – the world in which I’m aiming for a career.