Fantasy Animals, Pets and Pretzels More Popular Than Businesses

If you frequent the “twittersphere” or Facebook you’ll often come across businesses and their staff trying to market their products and services to you.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Of course, how they actually do it is another matter entirely …

But how successful are most of their attempts to “tap in” to “social media” and “maximise” their “potential”?

You’d have to wonder at times, especially when you look at how few “fans” or “followers” some of them actually have.

Fantasy animals, however, manage to get a reasonably respectable following..

Common Unicorn, for example, has over 1400 followers on Twitter and is listed 50 times:

Twitter's "Common" Unicorn

Twitter Unicorn

The unicorn is eclipsed by a Squirrel, however, who has managed to attract over 13.5k followers – being listed 660 times!

Twitter Squirrel

Twitter Squirrel

What about Facebook?

Facebook seems to be a great place to find oddly named “groups” for just about every possible “idea” under the sun, but a Danish pineapple has managed to get over 167k fans! Not to be outdone, Germany has a pretzel with over 379k !

And we shouldn’t forget that even cats, dogs and other pets are also finding a following on Facebook…

Why do I bring this up?

Well to start with it amused me, but also it puts things into perspective. A lot of people seem to be making a lot of money from businesses that want to “tap into” social media as part of their marketing. While there is nothing exactly “wrong” with that you’d have to wonder what kind of metrics they are using to sell their services to their clientele.

If a fruit or a pretzel can get  huge following on Facebook without it actually selling anything to anyone, how well can a “normal” business expect to do?

What is a measurement of their “success”?

The reality is that there probably isn’t a simple way to “measure” success. There are a lot of different factors that come into play.

But I digress..

Maybe the real “takeaway” from these rather silly examples is that they all share one thing in common – fun. They’re all frivolous fun. People use and interact with social media sites in their spare time, as well as during office hours. If you look at the kind of links people share, the pictures they post etc., you quickly realise that they don’t go to “social media” to buy or to be “sold to” or “marketed to”.

If you can instill some level of “fun” into your “presence” maybe you’ll find that you are actually more successful, though getting the balance right might not be that as easy for a business as it is for a fantasy animal.

Christmas Is A Time For Sharing With Your REAL Friends

Social media networks; Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace etc., etc.

How many of your “friends” are actual friends? How many of them actually care about YOU?

If you’re completely caught up in the “follower count race”, then you’ve probably already entered “social media hell”.


There is light at the end of the tunnel

You can disconnect.

You can reconnect with real people. I know this may sound shocking, but you could try to actually interact with a real person for a change.

Forget about vampires, random farm animals, mafia members or fantasy beasts (Twitter is infested with unicorns.. )

Removing yourself from all the social network sites takes time, so some nice person has actually automated the process – the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine does it all for you

Here’s how it works:

WEB 2.0 Suicide Machine Promotion from moddr_ on Vimeo.

So there you are. You can save yourself from social media. You can get back your REAL life.

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Quality Vs Quantity?

No matter which social networks you may choose to use you may find yourself being criticised for what you say (or don’t say).

Should you say everything that pops into your head?

What should you filter out?

How do some people find the time to “tweet” everything?

So now even cartoon characters are “using” Twitter .. maybe the end really is nigh … …

I’m not sure if one word a day would work for a lot of people, but maybe it’s better than the thousands of nonsense “tweets” that some people share every day ..

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or simply a blog people sometimes forget that their audience is fickle.

If you spend too much time and energy “planning” and making grandiose promises of “things to come” will anyone really care or notice?

With Facebook “pages” there is little to be gained from putting up a “holding page” – you can simply choose not to make your page public, so you can tweak settings and layout privately.

With Twitter, however, it’s not that evident. Granted, you could choose to “protect” your updates, but you wouldn’t be able to hide your profile page and if you plan on using Twitter for your business “protection” may seem odd.

There has been plenty written about what Twitter is and isn’t, but ultimately if you don’t actually use it nobody will either notice or care.

Of course, conversely speaking, if you used it badly people would notice and probably criticise you …

However if your business’ Twitter status is frozen with a “coming soon” style tweet, then maybe you’ve really misunderstood the medium completely. A blank account would probably seem saner.

Twitter Is Not A Private Phonecall

Companies have embraced Twitter (or at least tried to).
You’ll find companies of all shapes and sizes attempting to get to grips with the new medium.

Unfortunately not all interactions will work out well for people, but they can always try again.

But one thing people need to remember is that Twitter is very public. It is not private.

If you wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing certain details in public, then why would you do it on Twitter?

Even if you felt comfortable talking about things it may not be appropriate to do so. So while it’s fine to give and discuss general things, would you really want a supplier discussing your account’s finances?

I know how I’d feel about that….

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Hype Gone Mad – Facebook Custom URL Madness

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Earlier today Facebook launched their latest “service” – custom URLs for your profile or page.

Talk about hype gone mad!

While a lot of the other social media hubs have offered people the opportunity to use a short and memorable URL to reach their profile page for ages and done it as if it were “no big deal” (it’s not really!), Facebook has managed to make a simple “feature” appear as if it were “the next big thing”.

Expect to see lots of inane blog posts about in the coming days…

Reality check.

Facebook is, in many respects, a “walled garden”.

If you are not “friends” with someone chances are you either can’t see their profile at all or you can only see a very small and not particularly useful page.

In order to see everything you need to be logged in.

The “pages” are a different matter and have been reachable via relatively “sane” URLs for ages.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Frankly, I can’t understand it, so I had to giggle when I read Anil Dash’s post on the entire thing. One to bookmark!

It’s the summer – maybe people just need to go lie on a beach for a while with a good book instead of worrying about their usernames ….

Don’t Annoy Your Followers

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Remember all the “wonderful” messages you used to get on Facebook? “You’ve been bitten by a vampire” etc., etc.,

They may have been fun if you were a twelve year old, but if you spend any length of time online these kind of interruptions just become annoying.

Now over on Twitter the same kind of thing happens.

This time round the latest annoyance is called SpyMaster, which is supposedly in “private beta”.

In typical web 2.0 fluffy language they’ve got the worst kept secret in Twitterville. Not only does everyone know about it, but they’ve also setup their application in such a way that it spams thousands of other Twitter users via “direct message”!

End result – not only has the application managed to alienate potential users, but it’s also managed to upset thousands of users who weren’t even playing the game.

You can see all the “tweets” from people playing and people complaining about the game here

Moral of the story – don’t annoy people

How To (Ab)use Twitter

So you heard on the “grapevine” that lots of business were using Twitter to promote themselves. You read a couple of articles on well known sites or maybe in your favourite newspaper.

Armed with your new knowledge you signed up for a Twitter account.

30 seconds later you entered the fray.

You had a “Twitter page”! Success!

Now to start making money…

So you “followed” Scoble, cos he’s visible and then you followed another 1000 more Twitter users. Some of them even followed you back!

Now you had an audience!

Maybe you’d even read about using Twitter’s search tools, so you keyed in a few terms related to your business and found even more people to follow.

And now you start blasting your sales message at everyone.

Your product was amazing, so you simply had to tell everyone about it, so you kept shouting about it to all and sundry.

Days go by and you’re following more and more people, but nobody is following you back…

You had failed!


Sick Of SnakeOil Salesmen? Self-appointed Experts?

The internet is a wonderful thing. It’s a great leveller. The CEO of a multinational corporation can “talk” to a startup and vice-versa..

Unfortunately it’s also far too easy for people to take advantage of others. The “web” is full of self-appointed “experts” and “gurus” who charge stupid amounts of money.

Enough already!

Just because you’ve read a couple of articles about marketing doesn’t make you a “professional marketer”

So what if you can record your own voice on your laptop. You’re still not a “professional podcaster”

And as for Twitter, Facebook and the plethora of other “social media” sites .. they act as magnets for the vocal yet inept.



The reality is that there are a lot of very talented people out there who know what they are doing. Who really “get” online business, marketing and social media.

Let’s cut through some of the “bull” and the rubbish and help people without assaulting their bank accounts

Want to help? Let us know by sending an email to ninja (at)

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