Engaging Reads: Trivialising Twitter, the New Year’s Honour List, and how social media can be life-saving!

Engaging reads – Our favourite stories and blogs from the Twittersphere last week!

Trivialising Twitter

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John Rentoul penned a brilliant blog on a much bandied around criticism of Twitter last week – that it is so full of trivial information, it’s essentially useless. It’s a view that holds some sway for many people, as shown by the still frequent ‘I don’t use Twitter, why does anyone need to know what I had for breakfast?!’  Skilfully and with humour, Rentoul dispels that myth and illustrates that while many people do use Twitter simply for ‘Jokes…and the joy of knowledge’, they are justified in doing so.  While this article would make a great read for someone unconvinced by the concept of social networking platforms, in a business context it could also be useful in reminding managers that Tweeps exist for jokes, knowledge, and other interesting content – and that if brands want to connect with their customers on Twitter they need to do so through those mediums, rather than one-way communication about their products.

2014 – Already a seminal year for recognising women’s achievements? 

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(Photo taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-25550915)

The New Year’s Honour List media buzz was all focused on one thing: why has David Beckham not been knighted yet?! But, after everyone calmed down, took a deep breath and bravely said ‘There’s always next year’, an even more significant development came to light.  For the first time since its creation in 1917, The Order of the British Empire wishes to honour more women than men – including the three founders of the parental support social network website Netmums.  Although there is still a disparity at the highest levels (Only 40% of CBEs and above are held by women) Sir Bob Kerslake, the head of the Civil Service, said there had been a ‘deep-rooted change’.  Fantastic news, and a great start to 2014 – but won’t there have been deep-rooted change when more women have a place on the Honours List than men, and it doesn’t make the news?

Life-Saving Social Media

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The Australian Government is taking an innovative approach to shark attacks, by fitting sharks with transmitters that tweet! So far, nearly 350 sharks have been tagged.  If a tag goes within half a mile of a beach, it causes a computer alert, which automatically tweets the shark’s breed, size and location from the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter account.  Although there has been some controversy around the project, this system is alerting people faster than traditional methods, and has been instrumental in learning more about these dangerous animals. For example, a local government in Western Australia was planning to cull sharks that swim near beaches, but thanks to the transmitters, scientists have learnt that their migration patterns would make culling futile.

So next time someone indulges in a bit of a Twitter-bash, remember: between all the witty banter, content marketing, tweets about what we had for breakfast and photos of cats, it’s saving lives – so definitely not pointless!

 

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