Top 5 freaky animal ad campaigns

I had a nightmare last night about Thumb Cats.

For those of you aren’t aware Thumb Cats are, well, cats with thumbs.

The invention of milk producers Cravendale’s genius ad team, Thumb Cats are the latest furry friend to see huge viral success.

But, quite frankly, they freak me out.

So, on that note, here are my top five freaky animal ad campaigns.

1). Cravendale’s Thumb Cats campaign

This campaign features cats with thumbs – what more needs to be said? Check out the advert below or, if you want to be really terrified, head over to the official You Tube channel to see cats with thumbs playing tiddlywinks, blending and splitting atoms.  

 

2). Compare the market’s ‘Compare the Meercat’ campaign

You wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of this furry creature – he looks a bit stern to me. Then again I’m not sure I’d like to get on the wrong side of any animal which can talk, and wears glasses.  And is really small.

 

3). Andrex toilet paper’s computerised dogs

Used to like this advert. Little puppies, running around. What the hell happened? Who are these computerised imposters?! According to the Daily Mail the move to scrap the real puppies was down to the, ahem, bottom line.

 

4). Müller corner ‘Thank you cows’

Anyone who has the pleasure of knowing me knows I’m terrified of horses, following an unfortunate incident in the New Forest as a child. Up until this advert I liked cows. Thanks Müller for ruining that one for me.

 

3). Dairy Milk’s drum playing gorilla

Massive gorilla plus Phil Collins. Enough said?

How to get more Twitter followers – the definitive list?

How do you get maximum Twitter followers?


I received an email from a friend yesterday asking for my advice on how to get new Twitter followers; and I thought I would share my response.

It’s by no means a definitive list, but I hope that my advice is of use to Alex (follow her here NOW!) and also to any other Twitter newbies.

The topic of how to get new followers has been covered a lot – but I’m interested in seeing what other people’s answers may have been.

What have I missed? What would you add/take out if a friend asked you the same question? Indeed – are there any hard and fast rules?

I’d love to hear your comments – perhaps we can make this a definitive list after all?

So, here’s my response:

1.       Twitter followers take time – a loooooong time to build up. I would say that you have to choose what you want to be known for, and stick to it where possible.

2.       For example I tweet about public relations and social media – so most tweets that I post are about these subjects and share some kind of value to others who are interested in those subjects too (i.e.: links to blog posts, interesting news articles, podcasts, videos, hints and tips etc). This is where a lot of time is spent – trying to source interesting stuff to share!

3.       You should also use hashtags where possible – for example if I search #PR on Twitter then loads of tweets come up from other people who have used that hashtag – you should then follow these people if they interest you (and hope they follow you back) and also start using the hashtag yourself to try and attract people to you. There’s hundreds of hashtags – play around and see what ones are suitable for your industry.

4.       Search for people who work in the same field as you who you find interesting and follow them – re-tweet their posts and reply to them (try and engage them in conversation) they should then hopefully remember you and eventually follow you back.

5.       Add your Twitter handle to emails/business cards/LinkedIn profile/ blogs etc.

6.       Create your own content – if you have a company blog or personal one tweet this content so it’s completely fresh and you’re not always relying on third party content.

7.       Try using a system like Hootsuite which allows you to shorten links (meaning when you’re sharing content you aren’t using up loads of your 140 characters) and track the statistics (so you can see what posts people are clicking on and therefore find interesting).

8.       Try and get involved in a Twitter chat that’s around your industry – for example #commschat is a weekly Twitter chat about PR and communications (try Google to find suitable ones)

There’s loads more tips but hopefully that will get you started. I think it’s worth saying that it does take a lot of time but don’t get disheartened. It took me ages to understand Twitter!

On reflection I would also add the following:

9.       Tweet regularly – not too much and not too little.

10.   Learn how and when to use the ‘@’ signs and ‘DM’ function. I.e.: If you put the ‘@’ at the front of a tweet it will only go to the person you are speaking to – it won’t show up in the news feed of other followers. If the tweet is aimed at someone in particular but you think it would be of use to others too, use the ‘@’ function at the end or in the middle. And DMs should definitely be used when a conversation is becoming irrelevant to your other followers (organising a jolly down the pub with friends or something).

FINAL POINT: Follwers aren’t everything – like many things in life it’s quality not quantity!

Churnalism.com – churning out what we know already?

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The website Churnalism.com was launched last week by the Media Standards Trust, and allows people to paste press releases onto the site and compare the copy with articles published by national newspaper websites.

I’ve found the site interesting, and had a bit of fun playing around on it, but I’m not really sure what the point of it is.

If Churnalism’s purpose is to highlight the fact that press releases are used in newspapers – then it will of course succeed. But the fact that press releases are copied by journalists will come as no surprise to anyone in the industry and is hardly front page news (excuse the pun!).

Nor do I think it’s a bad thing if press releases are copied – after all if a story is good (and accurate) then it shouldn’t matter where it comes from.

As a PR practitioner I feel a bit insulted by the site – as though it is suggesting that all press releases are crap which should never make it to print.

The other thing I’m not clear about is who exactly Churnalism is aimed at?

I expect PRs will love having a go – a fun, free way of tracking coverage anyone? Plus, if you find your release has been copied in its entirety then that is a PR score surely, and a sign you’ve produced something newsworthy?

I can’t imagine journalists wanting to check – after all if they’ve copied and pasted a press release do they really want to be called out on it?

Churnalism describes itself as ‘an independent, non-profit website to help the public distinguish between original journalism and ‘churnalism’. But do the public care (and how would they even have access to most press releases in the first place?).

I decided to find out, and as such did an impromptu survey with friends – specifically asking for people who didn’t work in the PR or media industries.

I asked the question ‘As someone not involved in journalism or PR – do you care?!’ Admittedly getting the answers from 20 friends on Facebook isn’t going to give in-depth analysis but it was interesting to see that actually, only half really gave a shit.

 

Churnalism - do you care?

Some of the ‘other’ comments also gave food for thought:

It depends on the press release. Every area of work allows for using work already done. If it is a large percentage of copied work it seems wrong that they should be allowed to do this, is it that hard to re-write something to say it another way? Isn’t that their job?”

I love this comment (and I must stress this was an anonymous survey – though I’m sure my friends will tell me who they are when they read this post!)

It’s a very good point – writing and researching is what journalists are paid for. But then on the flip side, it’s also what PRs are paid for – to create newsworthy material for their clients.

The issues surrounding the Churnalism website, and the reasons behind it, are age old – the love/hate relationship between journalists and PRs (many journos say they hate PRs but would then struggle to fill pages without them) and also the ‘purpose’ of a press release.

Is a press release a fully formed story, or a taster of a subject which the journalist should then embellish and build upon?

And if a journalist runs a press release word for word does that make them bad at their job, or does it make the PR good at theirs?

Or perhaps it doesn’t mean any such thing – perhaps it means that the PR/journo relationship is working.

Churnalism will clearly help demonstrate lazyness in the media (and indeed unimaginative PR) but it also makes it look as though every story comes from a press release. What would be a fair representation would be seeing how many original news stories there were on a day – COMPARED to those that came from a press release.

With regards to the effect the site will have I’m not sure – as I don’t think it’s doing anything that people didn’t know already.

It’s fair enough if they want to raise awareness to the public that this happens – but they should also make it clear that many press releases are well written, accurate and have a place within the news agenda.

What do you think of Churnalism.com?

Diary of a Cornish Pasty: fight for brand recognition

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Cornish Pasties - the new Champagne

When I heard that the Cornish Pasty – the meat and potato filled comfort food which has been a staple of British diets for years – had been given protected status by the European Commission earlier this week, I thought there must be something we can learn from this humble food stuff.

The protected status means the pasty now has the same standing as French Champagne and Jersey royal potatoes. It can only be called a ‘Cornish Pasty’ if it is actually from Cornwall.

Now that’s strong brand positioning.

Putting my bloodhound nose and journalistic instinct to good use I managed to track down a diary belonging to an authentic Cornish Pasty and discovered that there are some vital lessons that brands and communicators can learn from his journey.

Mr Authentic Cornish Pasty’s Diary:

2008:

I tell you what I am fed up with imposters trying to steal my identity. Only I am a true Cornish pasty – what gives these other meat filled pastry’s the right to use my name when they’re second rate citizens and prepared no where near Cornwall. Pff! That’s it. I’ve had enough.

So I’ve approached the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which has agreed to give me support to take my case for Protected Food Name (PFN) status to the EU.

I’ve always been passionate about who I am and what I’m trying to say to my customers. I know what it is that I offer and why people should choose me over anything else.

But what gets me is how many brands there are out there that are trying to sell themselves when they aren’t even sure who they are or what sets them apart from others.

In a world where every man and his son are fighting for acknowledgment and attention from consumers, peers and potential business partners, finding your own brand identity and protecting it above all else is vital.

Finding your differentiator, your USP, is imperative; and it needs to be portrayed in everything that you do from your website, to your business cards, to the quotes you give to the media.

2010:

I’m going to fight for my identity – but first off I need to think about exactly what it is I want the world to see me as. What messages am I conveying?

The Cornish Pasty Association (CPA) have described me as ‘a pasty with a distinctive ‘D’ shape and crimped on one side, with a chunky filling, made up of uncooked mince or chunks of beef with swede, potato and onion and a light seasoning’. I should be slow baked.

Not bad, hey.

Now apart from making me hungry, this level of detail got me thinking. Communicators really could take a leaf out of my book. Prepare some proper strong, detailed key messages and make them the foundation of everything you do.

After all what’s the point in liaising with media, tweeting, doing email campaigns and updating your website and blog if you aren’t actually clear on what it is you’re wanting to say or what it is you want to achieve?

It’s like me promoting myself and people thinking I’m a sausage roll.

Positioning yourself properly is imperative. Take the time to really think about your place in the market and what sets you apart from others. These in turn become your key messages.

2011:

Yay! I’ve won! You can now call me ‘Mr Authentic Pasty’, thank you very much. My Cornish counterparts the ‘Cornish Clotted Cream’ and the ‘Cornish Sardine’ won the status last year so I feel I’m in good company.

Now I’ve got my identity sorted I’ll be keeping a close eye on my competitors to make sure no one is infringing it.

If you aren’t quite as high brow as me with your own ‘stamp of authenticity’ then it doesn’t matter. You should still be keeping an eye on your competitors and market and making sure that you are consistently fine-tuning your brand and ensuring that your USPs and key messages are still clear and valid.

Communication tips from a 5 year old

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I’m not really a girly girl. I don’t like the colour pink, fluffy dogs or babies.

But there are two things in my life that can make me go ‘ah’ and that’s my nieces, who are 4 and 5 years old.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to see them as often as I would like as they live a few hours away. But last weekend I had the pleasure of looking after them.

Between the reading, painting, Disney Princess snap, Dora the Explorer computer games and splashing through rivers in the forest, I realised that actually, as communicators, we could learn a lot from the younger (well, much younger) generation, and their way of viewing the world.

1). Don’t lie

Shame on me, but I might have told a couple of white lies over the weekend. ‘Yes, I’ll play Disney snap with you after dinner’, and then not following through because I had to go out. And there is nothing quite like a 5 year old to make you feel guilty!

Honesty should be a core trait for any communicator. Despite the reputation that the PR industry sometimes has as spin doctors, what we do, and the messages we send out should always be truthful. This should be the essence for everyone you deal with, from clients – telling them truthfully what results they can expect – to journalists. In fact, especially journalists. If you don’t know something, say so. If you can’t make a deadline, say so. It’s much better to be honest, and then try and rectify the situation, than it is to lie and be caught out when you don’t deliver.

2). Put your foot down

My nieces putting their foot down may have transpired into tantrums! But, they might well be onto something with their belief in what they were standing up for. Often clients ask us to do something which we know isn’t going to work. If you go ahead, simply to please your client, then you risk damaging your reputation with third parties (for example spamming newsdesks with crap, non-newsworthy press releases), and also the client, who will eventually wonder why your outputs aren’t getting results. We’re consultants, and should act as such.

3). Be creative

The weekend was full of reading, drawing and painting. Things I actually used to love to do but never make the time for anymore. Being creative is a core part of communication; no one wants the same tired approach over and over again. Make time for creative brainstorming with your team, and to read publications relevant to your clients for inspiration.

4). Pay attention to detail

It’s amazing what a 5 year old can notice. One of my favourite comments ever said by my youngest niece was ‘Your earrings don’t match your dress’. She was 3 at the time. Now, I personally believe that they matched fine, but this attention to detail can often be overlooked in a busy working environment. Always double or triple check everything you do – from ensuring you’ve got the right people CC’d into emails, making sure you’ve brought biscuits for that important meeting, and of course right the way down to written copy. This attention to details is what sets apart a great communicator from a good one.

5). Don’t give up

My eldest niece is an amazing reader, and when she got stuck at a word she stopped, took a long look at it and broke it into sounds. Nine out of ten times she got the word right. Seeing the attention paid to the task, and how determined she was to succeed was really inspiring. I know myself I often dread making certain calls, or doing certain things – that follow up call to a journalist, or that final chase to a client for approval – but it is important not to give up. The results are worth it in the end!

Valentine’s Day: Love letter to social media

Dear Social Media: I love the way you make me feel connected

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Dear Social Media,

I know you don’t know who I am, but I know you. In fact, I’ve been trying my very best to get you to notice me for the last year.

But I know I’m not alone in my admiration of you – there is something about you, your way of making people feel connected, which means that there are many others vying for your attention too.

But I wanted to take this chance to tell you how I feel.

For years I watched you from afar. I think I was too scared, like many people, of embracing you and letting you know that I wanted to get to know you better.

In fact, I’m still trying to persuade people that by being near you I’m not going to get hurt – and nor are those closest to me, like my colleagues, clients and friends.

I’m trying my hardest to explain to them that yes, although through your connections we may at some point encounter hardship – the odd bad mouth comment, or mudslinging match – that this is far outweighed by the positives our relationship could bring.

I honestly feel that as long as we have the right principles, and we handle our relationship the way that people should handle every relationship, then we’ll be fine.

People also tell me they’re worried about how much time I and others spend thinking about you. But I know that I need to invest the time in our relationship for it to work. I don’t expect to snap my fingers and have overnight everlasting love and success with you. In fact, in my eyes I don’t invest enough time in you. I’m trying my hardest to give you the time you deserve at the moment, but sometimes it’s hard with everything else that’s going on.

Ultimately, the negatives of us being together are far outweighed by the positives. At least if we are together for the right reasons, and we know from the outset what we both want to achieve.

You make me feel as though anything is possible, as though everyday there are new people to reach and something new to learn, to see and to experience. You’ve made me more creative, more able to think outside the box and be innovative.

But I also know that you’re not everything. Although I want us to be together I know that to make it truly work I must balance you with my over loves. I cannot rely on you; I cannot get you to carry the burden of all that I want to achieve for me and for everyone else.

And most of all I must be willing to except that you aren’t right for everyone; perhaps you are not even right for me.

But I think that if I proceed with caution, fully aware of your good side and your bad, then I truly feel that we can be successful together – that we can help each other achieve our dreams. Or at least make them that little bit easier to reach.

Yours,

@brooke_nolan

Photo by Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot via freedigitalphotos.net

Tips for selling your real life story

Thinking of selling your real life story?

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I read with interest a guest post on No Sleep ‘Till Brookland’s Blog earlier this week, which told a fellow PR Juliet Shaw’s experience of selling her story with a national paper.

For those of you who have ever been bored enough to click on the ‘about me’ section of this blog, you’ll know that I previously worked as a real life features writer at a news agency. A brief stint where I discovered I was actually pretty good at it – but also that I hated having to exploit people and tell the odd ‘white lie’.

Whatever your reason or motive, selling your story – be it as a case study such as Juliet, or your personal story (HAVE YOU BEEN THE VICTIM OF A CRIME? HAD A LOVE RAT HUSBAND? GOT A DISGUSTING DISEASE?!) – can be a rewarding experience, especially when you (eventually) get the cheque at the end.

But you have to think seriously about whether it’s worth it. There is no excuse for a story turning up which bears no resemblance to what you’ve said, but there is always the chance that things will get embellished, and that an ‘angle’ will be chosen that you’re not comfortable with.

With that in mind here are my top three things to remember if you’re thinking of gracing the pages of a magazine or newspaper anytime soon.

1). Most newspapers don’t do read backs

If you sell direct to a newspaper the likelyhood is that they won’t do a readback (read the copy over the phone to you to make sure that you’ll be happy). However, if you go through an agency many will. It’s one of the good things about going through a features agency. It’s worth remembering though that they will never send you the copy via email. Or at least that’s what I was taught!

2). You will be named and pictured

It’s very rare that newspapers and magazines will publish anonymous stories (unless incredibly juicy and contentious). They want real people, real places, real faces. If you’re not prepared to have your name, location and picture splashed across the nationals then it’s probably not for you. It’s also worth remembering that although ‘yesterday’s news is tomorrows chip paper’ it’s not the case with the internet. Not so much for women’s mags (unless the story gets picked up elsewhere) but if you do a story for a national paper be prepared for it to keep popping up every time someone Googles your name.

3). There will always be an angle.

Although the journalist may be being sympathetic to you and your cause (there is always a cause – it’s how they’ll persuade you to sell your story in the first place), ultimately their job is to keep their editor and the reader happy. That means delivering a juicy story by finding an angle and exploiting it – often at your expense. Husband died of a heart attack on Christmas day? Not enough. Headline reads ‘Husband died while glazing the gammon’. Gave up your big house and moved to Africa to help orphans? Headline reads ‘Gave it all up for sex in a mud hut’. (And yes, these are stories I actually had the pleasure of working on). Look at the publication that you’re being asked to appear in. If they’ve made other stories sensationalist then the likelihood they will yours too.

Have you ever sold a story or been a case study? What were your experiences?

10 reasons NOT to be on Twitter

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Now, don’t shoot me but I’ve been feeling a bit ‘social media outed’ (yes I know that’s not a real word) over the last few days. It seems as though it’s ‘social media, social media, social media’ constantly – with Twitter being the Holy Grail for many. Or at least many who suddenly feel it’s the time to join the Twitter masses.

Yes, Twitter has its good points – and I’m enjoying starting to learn more about it and increase my own activity. But just because everyone’s talking about it doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

With that in mind here are ten reasons NOT to tweet.

1). You don’t have the time

One tweet a week is going to achieve nothing – it needs consistency, not complacency. If you don’t have the time yourself then create a team of ‘tweeters’ who can help create and post content. Vodafone does this particularly well –and signs off with initials which is a nice touch.

2). You have nothing to say

No one cares that you can’t get the kids to sleep or that you’re off to buy a chocolate bar (unless you’re planning on buying them one too). Think about what you’re saying – does it give value? The odd personal or sales tweet is fine but you also need to source third-party articles, and multi media – videos, SlideShare presentations, and podcasts. Build up a bank of websites suitable to your sector which you can draw on for content – useful for when you have nothing to say yourself that day!

3). Your customers aren’t there

If you sell microwaves would you go to a networking event for baby clothes retailers? No – because your audience isn’t there. You know your industry well enough (or should do) to know if your clients and customers are on social media. If not, why bother?

4). You don’t bother listening

You want to tweet but you don’t want to listen. Not good. Run searches for your brand and industry and respond where you can.

5). You ignore everyone

I’ve seen some classics of this the last few days. It’s basically like someone saying hello and you, at best, ignoring them and, at worst, saying ‘p*ss off’. Check your DMs and @ messages everyday and reply! RTs you can get away with although I always think it’s nice to say thanks if you can.

6). You’re not ready to let go of the approval process

If you’re going to outsource your tweeting or leave it to the marketing department you HAVE GOT TO LET GO OF APPROVAL!!! Twitter should be about instant engagement and speaking to real people – not track changes and streams of amendments. A good approach is to set out a social media policy stipulating tone and content. If there are any tricky situations – that’s where approval becomes necessary.

7). You aren’t going to evaluate

There’s still lots of talk about ROI in social media – but as a minimum at least track the rise in followers, RTs, @ mentions and DMs, as well as clicks on the links you’ve posted (check out Hootsuite which creates some great graphs).

8). You’re doing it because you feel you should

If you’re only on Twitter because everyone else is then is it really worth it? Because the likelihood is that you’ll certainly not be spending the time and effort on it that it needs to work.

9). You’re not willing to wait

It takes time. Loooots of time. Not seen a return in three months? It’s really not surprising – it’s those who persevere who will see results.

10). You can’t take anyone seriously who speaks the Twitter language

If you hear someone saying the words ‘Twitter’ ‘Tweet’ ‘Tweeters’ etc, and you instantly think the word ‘tw*t’ then the whole thing probably isn’t for you! In fact I’ve had a fair few conversations with people where part of the reason they aren’t on Twitter is because it ‘sounds ridiculous’. Which, you can’t argue – it really does.

Quality or quantity when it comes to social media accounts?

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I had an interesting discussion with a fellow creative earlier this week, about whether a brand should be utilising all of the social media channels available to them, or focusing on a chosen few.

His thoughts were that as marketers we should utilise every channel available for our clients – even if they don’t seem relevant to their product or service. That way you can continue to engage with the target audience on one or two main platforms, but you also have a presence on others in case they happen to look for you on there.

I suppose there is some truth in what he is saying – after all social networking sites are increasingly being used as search engines – but should this shift in the way networking sites are being used mean that you should compromise a brand’s identity?

For example, should a serious technical brand really have a Facebook or Flickr profile – and does a fashion brand really need a presence on LinkedIn?

I was, and still am, of the stance that you should choose a few key platforms, which reflect the brand’s personality and aims, and do them well. It’s important to explore new trends as they emerge – but these should be analysed to see if they fit into a brand or organisation’s overall marketing strategy.

You shouldn’t just jump on the bandwagon – which would surely result in a poor presence across a whole host of sites instead of a sustained, focused, coherent presence, with quality content, on just a couple.

What do you think is better?  Not having a presence on every platform, and potentially missing engagement if someone only uses that platform? Or using social channels which aren’t quite right for your purposes or brand and which don’t get as much content TLC as others?

Here are some pros and cons of each strategy – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I’m on every social media site going and its great because:

  • I can be found everywhere
  • I have maximum exposure
  • I can have all of the pretty icons on my website – which makes me look active and current

It sucks because:

  • I find it hard to update all of the sites with fresh content regularly
  • Not all of the platforms suit my brand messages
  • I find it hard to create meaningful connections across all platforms

I am selective with my social media sites and it’s great because:

  • I have a very strong presence on the ones I use
  • My time is spent well – I’m not spread thinly across lots of social networks
  • I am able to build up real repertoire with peers and customers

It sucks because:

  • I may miss customers on other sites
  • I may be too far behind on other platforms when they really gain popularity
  • I am not fully aware of other site’s capabilities and often worry I may be missing out – even if I think on the surface they aren’t suitable, or that I wouldn’t have the right content

Social media doesn’t just break the new latest news – it IS the latest news

Having a flick through the papers this week I noticed an article on celebrities who are using Twitter to promote products – without letting their followers know that they are being paid to do so.

Now, to me, that’s not a particularly interesting story.

But it got me thinking – we all know that more and more frequently news is breaking on social media instead of via traditional news channels – but when did social media become news itself?

Below are 10 examples of social media hitting the headlines:

1. Man arrested for threatening to bomb airport on Twitter:

Paul Chambers, a 27-year-old accountant from the UK, was arrested under the terrorism act for ‘threatening’ to blow up Robin Hood airport in Doncaster. The tongue-in-cheek tweet, which was sent after the airport was closed due to snow, said “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” Despite appealing the judges decision Chambers was made to pay £2,000 in legal costs and lost his job. The judge called him a ‘menace’.

2. Foursquare stalker:

An anonymous 26-year-old male from Edinburgh in Scotland said he was stalked relentlessly by a female admirer for nine months on location-based platform Foursquare – sparking a warning from the Crown Prosecution Service which now promises a ‘tougher crackdown’ on cyber stalking.

3. Celebrities threatened with suing after promoting products on Twitter:

Celebrities including Lily Allen and Liz Hurley face possible court actions after tweeting about products and failing to mention to their followers that they (may) have been paid.

4. Facebook friends blamed for woman’s suicide:

Simone Back, a 45-year-old woman from the UK, killed herself after posting her suicide note on social networking site Facebook. At 10pm on Christmas Day she wrote “Took all my pills, be dead soon, bye bye everyone.” There has since been controversy around why none of Back’s 1,048 Facebook friends raised the alarm.

5. The general election – how social media swung the vote:

The 2010 general election was called ‘the social media election’ and there was speculation throughout the campaign about the role it played. Of particular note was the use of Twitter during the first ever televised election debates.

6. The Social Network:

Social media didn’t just make the news last year – it made the big screen too. The Social Network was the hit blockbuster film about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and it sparked a series of newspaper reviews and features.

7. Woman sacked after abusing boss on Facebook:

One of the older examples but a good one nonetheless. Back in 2009 a woman known only as ‘Lindsay’ was sacked after moaning about her boss on Facebook – forgetting he could see her comments. I have one word. Doh!

8. Tory Councillor arrested after stoning tweet:

A conservative party leader was suspended after publishing a racist tweet. The offending comment said “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.” The comment, which (now ex) councillor Gareth Compton, described as an ‘ill conceived attempt at humour’ is a stark reminder to think before you post.

9.House trashed after party advertised on Facebook:

I’m pretty sure that kids trashing a house isn’t particularly newsworthy. But thanks to Facebook it is! The above link is just one example of this sort of story hitting the headlines.

10. BP oil spill:

The BP oil spill was one of 2010’s major controversies – and the multi national firm’s poor handling of public relations also hit the headlines – especially after a fake Twitter account @BPGlobalPR was set up. The account, which still has 180,000 followers made a mockery of the oil giant’s already dwindling reputation.