Posts Tagged ‘Fuzion Communications’

Avoiding the Snowball Effect

February 11, 2021

The beauty of the flurry of snowflakes falling outside my office/spare bedroom window is magical. Yet experience, and probably age, inspire a level of concern and consideration as to the knock effects a heavy and prolonged snowfall can have.

This may be the start of the snow that we’ve been warned was coming over the past week. We’ve been braced for ‘Beast from the East 2.0’ conjuring memories of the Siberian snowstorm that shut much of the country in 2018.

Little did we know that being restricted in movement would be so passé by 2021, having spent the last 12 months in some level of lockdown and what seems like a constant degree of crisis management and “pivoting” as a result of a global pandemic and Brexit, among other things.

As head of Communications back then for Dairygold, the ‘Beast from the East‘ posed immense risks and consequences to the logistics and operations of the business.

How to reach farms to collect milk when the rural roads were impassable, what of the milk that couldn’t be collected? How to support suppliers when they needed their Co-Operative most? Not to mention, the day-to-day operations of the international business, the welfare of hundreds of staff, its processing and manufacturing sites, retail stores etc.

Business continuity kicked into action early, with planning for such scenarios already in place to as much of an extent as possible. I was proud to have been part of the business continuity task force regularly updating management, assessing risks and addressing the complex requirements of all stakeholders. Again, little did we know that orchestrating remotely with efficiency and in collaboration would become a modus operandi for so many of us two years later.

Communications, both internal and external, is critical to linking the elements together. I’m grateful to Dairygold’s management and in particular its CEO Jim Woulfe who astutely valued and recognised the role communications plays in continuity planning and situation management. They led by example on the value of communication across the business.

Underestimating the importance of communications in continuity planning and situation management is one of the biggest risks to a business that can have serious and long-term consequences to safety, operations, reputation, staff morale, you name it.

If you’re a corporate working with an agency or have communications support internally, it’s vital that you see them as your partner. If you don’t have day-to-day support, it’s important to recognise when you may need it and where to go if/when you need Crisis Communication, Litigation Support Services.

We may not always know, or need to know, the nitty gritty but it’s crucial to know enough to devise a strategy, trouble-shoot effectively and be as proactive as possible. From our perspective, business continuity planning, Crisis PR and situation management is a heady mix of proactive and reactive communications. Above all, for it to work, clear and effective channels of communication must be open.

At times we remind and reassure clients that we’ve got their back.

We’re there 24/7 to support, prevent and mitigate adverse outcomes for our clients but we can’t support if we’re in the dark. A quick call or line to your communications partner helps to identify and tease out the risks and the requirements, if there are any.

It gets the cogs turning and can be one of the most important calls that’s made. Communication is not the enemy, it’s the solution. If you have time on your side, media training is also a hugely worthwhile exercise for preparedness which you’ll hope you never need.

Whether it’s for reasons of a lack of time, clarity, silo mentality or containment, communications support can fall down the priority list and it can snowball from there...

Aoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey, former journalist, is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications and is part of the Crisis Communications team, offering Crisis Consultancy services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

The Importance of Staying Visible..

February 8, 2021

No matter what way you look at it, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a trying time for everyone. But as the saying goes, ‘with every cloud there is a silver lining’ – which in my view has been the drastic business transformation and surge of digitisation that we have experienced over the past year.

There has never been a time when staying visible online has been more important for business survival.

With doors closing around the country due to the on-going Covid-19 level 5 restrictions, many businesses have had no choice but to adapt ‘from bricks to clicks’ in order to remain viable.

At Fuzion, we work closely with the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), to help share the stories of the hundreds of micro-enterprises and SMEs around the country with media – in the hope that it will encourage and inspire others who may be looking to start or grow their business – or for those struggling, to contact their Local Enterprise Office for support.

Through this work, I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing LEO client businesses from all over Ireland – helping to share their stories of how they have adapted / pivoted (…..even battled) through the pandemic and how they have come out the other side with the help and guidance of the LEOs.

The LEO Trading Online Voucher has had particular impact across the country – with over 13,000 TOV’s approved in 2020…… That’s a whopping 13,000 businesses supported with developing or enhancing their online presence!

From this work, my little nuggets of advice to any small business would be:

  • If you haven’t already, contact your nearest LEO – they provide so much support in terms of business advice, mentoring and grants such as the TOV mentioned above, Business Continuity Vouchers, Feasibility Grants and so much more
  • Again, if you haven’t already – get online! A website ideally or a social media channel where you can keep your customers updated, share new products, blogs etc.
  • Try to think outside the box – now is the time to create a new branch for your business or solution for your customers – take the chance it could pay off!
  • Work on your ‘story’ in three short paragraphs & engage with local media to share your story or share via short blogs / social posts
    • How/Why you started the business
    • How your business adapted / transformed – (including any relevant figures such as online sale growth Vs 2019)
    • Any future plans that you have for your business – ie. new employees, overseas expansion, new stockists etc.
  • Good quality, high resolution photography is a must if engaging in any PR / online activity
    • Know your angles
    • Use colourful props or something that explains your business in the shots
    • Images can be taken by a PR photographer or on your smartphone with a family member or friend if taken landscape
  • Create video content – whether it’s short 30’ second “Meet the Team” videos or a “Hero Video” explaining your business proposition – it is an engaging way to reach your audience
  • If you are a sole trader or very small business – it can be an isolating place – join a network or reach out to professionals (such as ourselves 😉) if you need a sounding board or business support
  • Be consistent and persistent
    • Stay visible & keep plugging and reminding people of why you are so great and why they need your products / services!
    • Use social media advertising and Google Ads to your advantage – with so much competition online – it pays off to pay a little!
    • Connect and talk to your audience online – ask them questions and engage – you might learn something new!

Much of this you may already know – but I hope it has helped just to be reminded or re-energised your motivation!

Most of all it is important to know that the opportunity is there for those who wish to dive head first into the challenges – the decision is ultimately yours whether to stay the way you are or take the plunge!

Suzanne Meade, Fuzion CommunicationsSuzanne

Suzanne Meade is an Account Manager with  Fuzion Communications, who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

My Fuzion highlights by Alison O’Brien

November 26, 2020

Irish War Crimes

Fresh out of college in October 2006, having just graduated with my Masters in Public Relations from Dublin Institute of Technology, I moved home to Cork with the ambition of bagging myself my dream job in PR. After doing my research and seeing who was who in Cork, I was delighted when Dee and Greg said they would meet me for a coffee.

I had my first “official interview”, which thankfully was more like having a chat with old friends, in The White Horse in Ballincollig, which incidentally became one of my very first clients!

I liked the sound of Fuzion, and they liked the sound of me, and so my PR career was borne!

On January 7th, 2007, I joined Dee and Greg in Fuzion as their first employee, working from their home. Dee and I shared an office, and I learned the ropes from one of the best in the business. I was thrown straight into the midst of consumer PR working on Danish fashion brands b.young and ICHI

Days were filled with drafting press releases, coordinating advertising campaigns, and creating press packs, which at that time involved hours of burning product images onto CDs, and packing up lovely goodies to send to fashion journalists in Ireland’s top titles. The reward was when I would get big envelopes in the post in the weeks that followed, these envelopes contained press coverage!

Yes actual press clippings; there was no such thing as receiving a daily email with your clippings automatically uploaded onto a server for you – you had to scan each one carefully and save every column inch of coverage for the client – but I loved it. There was the work I was doing, featured in national titles!

Early in 2007, we had our first team planning meeting to discuss how we were going to put Fuzion on the map, and get ourselves noticed. This meeting also happened to be the first ever Fuzion Friday! Ideas flowed, and so did the wine.. and the rest is history!!

Fuzion Friday became a regular fixture on the Fuzion weekly calendar, and to this day is an opportunity for the Fuzion team to sit back, share time together and relax after putting in a hard week’s work. On the odd occasion Fuzion Friday lunches turned into Fuzion Friday after work drinks – but as the saying goes, “work hard, play hard”!

In my early years with Fuzion, I would say that my car could have driven on autopilot to Killarney, as I was up and down the road so often, working on a variety of clients in The Kingdom, from the Killarney Outlet Centre to Killarney Golf and Fishing Club to Christmas in Killarney. All these projects gave me great experience, and I worked with lots of people who were passionate about doing great work in their community. 

The summer of 2007 saw Fuzion work on Tour de Munster for the very first time, which today remains Fuzion’s longest standing client!

Tour de Munster

It has been an honour to work on this charity cycle, which has raised phenomenal funds for various beneficiaries over the years. Today the main beneficiaries are the Munster branches of Down Syndrome Ireland; but the beneficiary in 2007 was the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland (CFAI), and our work with them through Tour de Munster led to us working with the association on an ongoing basis for a number of years.

Working on charity campaigns has been a highlight of my time with Fuzion, but none more so than when we worked with CFAI on what was, literally, a life changing campaign for so many in 2009.

After years of empty and broken promises, the CFAI had lost total and utter confidence in the Department of Health, the HSE and Minister Harney; and decided to take action into their own hands. They challenged the HSE/ Department of Health to honour the commitment given publicly in 2008 to fulfil the promise of having the dedicated CF Unit operational in St Vincent’s by 2010.

We worked with CFAI on a very high profile and evocative campaign, fronted by CF Campaigner Orla Tinsley, entitled  ‘Irish War Crimes’. I was at home one evening when I got a call from Dee to say that the government agreed to honour the commitment to deliver on the vital, dedicated CF unit – this was the proudest moment of my PR career to date and I cried with joy – what we were doing was making a real difference. Our work on this campaign was acknowledged with an Award For Excellence in PR in 2010 for “Best Public Affairs Campaign”.

Mid 2010 saw me take a sabbatical, when I worked with The Hope Foundation for one year as PR/ Media Coordinator, putting into practice everything I had learned on working on charity campaigns to that point. But I missed the variety of working with an agency on a broad range of clients; and so I was fortunate to be able to rejoin Fuzion in 2011 with a refreshed mindset!

Since then I’ve been lucky to work on great clients in an industry that’s changing constantly. There’s so much more to the job than pure PR nowadays, and managing successful campaigns includes everything from strategic planning and implementation to event conceptualisation and management; media relations to sponsorship negotiation; crisis management to social media management, implementing national advertising campaigns to graphic design liaison; so much more, and everything in between.

Over the last few years I’ve been particularly inspired by young entrepreneurs I’ve worked with through UCC’s IGNITE programme and the Local Enterprise Offices’ ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition – these startups are Ireland’s future, and it’s been an honour to help them and advise them on their journeys.

One of the highlights of my time in Fuzion has to be the great colleagues I’ve worked with, many of whom have become what I know will be lifelong friends.

Doreen O’Mahony deserves a special mention as she was my first “Fuzion friend”. She started a few months after me, and was my partner in crime for the first few years. Together, we “held down the fort” when Dee and Greg took a well earned break for their honeymoon in December 2007. We still talk about how we were having nightly dreams about work, so concerned that we would do everything right so that Dee and Greg could return home knowing their baby was in safe hands! 

Today, as Fuzion celebrates 20 years in business, it still is in safe hands, with a passionate, dedicated, and much larger team behind Dee and Greg, helping to “drive the bus”!

Alison O'Brien, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing & Design, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Apple and the iOS 14 Update

October 20, 2020

iOS4 Update - Heather Lordan

Apple have released their latest iOS update – iOS 14, which comes with loads of new features that make your iPhone more accessible and aesthetically pleasing bringing a fresh look to the things you do most often.

The feature I found the most exciting on the new update is widgets.

Surprisingly, Apple was not the leader in this technology, with Android using widgets for years!

With widgets you can choose from different sizes and arrange them however you like. You can also choose what to have in your widget, for example I’ve put my step counter on my home screen to motivate me to walk more each time I open my phone. There’s more you can add to your home screen widget including clock, calendar, photo, battery icon,upcoming events, reminders, temperature, activity bar, sun rise/set and so much more.

Widgetsmith” is the app that tackles all things widgets and “Colour Widget” is what you use to modify your widget with personal preferences and design. I’ve added some prettier icons to my apps, this can be done through shortcuts.

The new App Library is a brilliant addition to iPhone automatically organising all your apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view.

Apps are sorted by category and your most used apps are always one tap away. You can also hide apps so they won’t appear on your home screen but will still remain in your app library. I think this is perfect for Deliveroo and JustEat as I don’t want to see them on a Monday morning on my home screen but I’d like to think that they’ll be there for me on Friday evening when I need them!

There are so many cool additions that I still can’t comprehend!

The new iOS 14 includes a “Home” App which allows you to manage your smart home more intelligently and securely. The new Home Kit accessory includes adaptive lighting which enables you to change the colour temperature of your lights throughout the day, face recognition for video cameras and doorbells that can identify people you’ve tagged in your photos. You can also now unlock and start the car with your iPhone!!

iOS 14 also has new ways to track group conversations as well as keeping up with your most important ones.

You can now pin up to nine of your most important conversations to the top of your conversation list, so you can easily get to them. You can also personalise your group conversations with an image or emoji. You can type a name to direct a message to someone in the group as well as customise an active group so you only receive notifications when you’re mentioned.

There’s a lot of room for personalistion with this new update, and it may also take some time to get used to the new app navigation system, but overall the new iOS update is looking really helpful and user friendly.

I hope you found this post helpful!

Heather LordanHeather

Heather Lordan is a PR and Digital Marketing Executive with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in both Dublin and Cork.

Buy a Newspaper..

September 21, 2020

Buy a newspaper

I was delighted to get a call from my local newspaper recently to let me know they had returned from their Covid 19 closure, and asking me if I had any stories for their next issue.

The local paper has always been the ultimate in county pride – getting the graduation picture in the local rag was bragging gold dust for many’s a mammy and daddy!

Regional media is the community cornerstone, the pulse of the town but Covid 19 has changed the media landscape forever.

It was the final nail in the coffin for many local and regional newspapers that were already just barely surviving. Many were forced to close, simply because there was no advertising and zero revenue. It left many journalists unemployed.

It is fantastic to see some return, but devastating to know that several never will. What a gaping hole those well-loved local newspapers leave.

The local newspaper is one of the most valuable media outlets, as well as one of the most credible. It tells the story of a local audience from an insiders perspective.

No Facebook, Instagram or Twitter will ever be able to do this.

The role it plays is essential to our society, our culture, and our democratic reporting. The free press are the gatekeepers for our democracy. With the rise in fake news, the press has never been more important.

But, we must also remember the reality that local newspapers are also businesses.

They must make a profit to stay alive. And they won’t make a profit if their value is not seen, including their advertising value. Advertisers won’t see their value if the public and the local audience don’t read the paper.

Buy a newspaper. Our democracy depends on it.

Ciara Jordan, Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

Ciara Jordan is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

Body Image: The Covid-19 edition

September 17, 2020

Body Image

At the start of Lockdown I set myself loads of goals including trying to lose ten pounds in two weeks and dropping a dress size in one month.

When these inevitably didn’t work I challenged myself to drink 4 litres of water everyday and I got into a really bad habit of weighing myself everyday, hoping the scales would shift the tiniest bit to fuel my ego.

With so much idle time at home with nowhere to go and nobody to see, the only thing that seemed worth focusing on was bettering myself, and by that I mean my exterior, safe to say I wasn’t trying to improve my mindset!

All this extra time amounted to excess screen time. Endless scrolling through false realities, “Lockdown Glowups”, home workouts and low calorie meals was so damaging to thousands of girls/boys/women/men exactly like me.

TikTok was spitting out exercise videos at me as well as “two week transformations” with amazing results.

As Lockdown was such an isolating experience for everybody, we spent quite a lot of time with our thoughts: What you might have thought about yourself for a split second in February just got heightened by 1000% in April. Suddenly MyFitnessPal felt like my only pal.

To pass the day I spent my time entering the bowl of fruit I ate for breakfast into a calorie calculating app that constantly notified me that I didn’t weigh myself this morning and to “Jump On The Scales!”. The constant restrict-binge cycle was exhausting, but it was okay because my favourite “influencers” said it happens to them all the time (sarcasm intended!).

So as if people weren’t going through enough hardship with a global pandemic and all the frills that come with that, we were given mixed messages regarding health and fitness advice every day; There was – work from home, but don’t sit down all day, get out and exercise – but make sure it’s in your 5km radius and you should have no contact with others.

While at the same time we were bombarded with banana bread recipes, homemade cocktail ingredients and of course that thing that happened in the middle of all this that nobody seems to remember, Easter and those delicious yet deadly hollow brown eggs!!

After a few months had passed and the “new normal” had set in, the calorie counting stopped.

Safe to say at least 100 of the accounts I used to follow online have gotten a big unfollow from me, because they weren’t there for me when I slipped up -They were still drinking kale smoothies and getting their ten thousand steps everyday, while I faced my second serving of carbs that morning.

I asked myself, why would you follow someone who makes you feel bad about yourself?

I’ve learned that you can be healthy without weighing out your spinach, and I’ve learned that I don’t need to look like those girls we see all over our feeds, because that’s how they make their living and I just want to focus on living.

Be careful with who and what you follow..

Heather LordanHeather

Heather Lordan is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in both Dublin and Cork.

Twitter Advertising?

September 15, 2020

I’ve just received some “useful advice” from Twitter about an ad campaign we kicked off last week for a client as well as some performance data.

Twitter Advertising

 

It kindly suggested that we should be running more variations of the creative and also that we should consider adding video as an option.

All great advice Twitter… thank you.

Now Twitter some advice back at you..

We took an hour and a half to run a simple advert on your social media channel that broke our hearts. It is clunky, inefficient and wasn’t working and for no good reason.

It worked in the end … not because we did anything different, but we kept doing what we were supposed to be doing in the first place and it eventually worked.

Considering the budget we were spending on a mini “test campaign” our time spent on it was definitely not worth it and the very painful experience left two of us very frustrated and vowing… never again!

More creatives, add video.?.. as I said, great advice, but we didn’t have a whole day to run a simple advert!    

If your target audience is on Twitter, think long and hard about alternative ways of reaching them and if you do go ahead give yourself an age to create your campaign.

I had no intention of writing this piece but the helpful advice was a straw too many..

Phew..

Greg Canty - FuzionGreg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Social Media Update: Reels, Live Shopping and Snap Camera

September 7, 2020

In this blog post our digital guru, Alma Brosnan, brings us some recent recent developments from the world of social media that you might find interesting and might just work for you and your business!

Changes with Instagram: Reels

One thing that always stands true for Facebook is that they want to be the king in the space of social media and yet again they have duplicated another social media platform into one of their own.

In August, Instagram (which is owned by the social media giant) introduced ‘Reels’ onto the platform, which are short 15 second video clips that can have a musical background…

Sound familiar to anyone? (It’s not so long ago when they literally copied all of the very cool, fun functionality from SnapChat to wrestle young users over to them).

This is Facebook’s attempt to compete with TikTok, the popular short-form video creation app which is especially popular with Gen Z and has garnered more attention from the older generation during the year.

Reels - Social Media Consultancy

The timing of releasing Reels has been perfect by Instagram as President Donald Trump is getting closer to banning TikTok in the United States as a national security threat, and with this popular TikTokers might move to Reels to keep their audience and momentum going.

However, Reels may seem like TikTok but does not have the same functionality and ease of use of the popular app.

Click here for an article from the New York Times that goes through the differences between Reels and TikTok, and TikTok comes out the winner, so we’ll see what happens if Trump goes through on his threat to ban TikTok on September 20th.

The United States wanting to ban a social media platform from another country – that idea is a whole other debate!

Changes with Facebook: Desktop and “Live Shopping”

Have you noticed the new change to Facebook on the desktop version?

From September 1st, the “New” Facebook design was rolled out to everyone. It’s an update to the interface that is now placing a bigger emphasis on Stories, Groups and Events, with the traditional News feed still appearing in the middle of the page, but users have easier access to the above-mentioned activities.

You can also choose to have a “dark mode” as some users prefer to use on their mobile devices but this is usable on the desktop version too.

Facebook changes, Social media consultancy

During Covid-19 and the lockdown periods, Facebook have begun to put a lot more effort in their Facebook and Instagram Shop offerings.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to online shopping has rapidly accelerated, with an estimated 85% of people worldwide now shopping online.

To quote them:: “We want to make shopping easier for people and empower anyone, from an entrepreneur to the largest brand, to use our apps to connect with customers and grow their business. That’s why we’re creating new ways for people to shop on our apps and providing tools to help businesses sell online

With these new tools, they have now added new customisation features, messaging tools and new insights to help measure results.

A cool new tool introduced with all of these features is “Live Shopping”.

The user hosting the live video will be able to tag the product they’re speaking about which will enable the users watching the video to purchase the product directly.

Changes to Snapchat: Clever integration tool for Zoom 

Sick of Zoom meetings? We’ve all been in at least two Zoom calls a week since lockdown and they’ve varied from professional business meetings to quizzes with families at the weekend.

Snap Camera - Social Media Consultancy, Fuzion Communications

Now as the boredom of those kicks in, we have a fun way to jazz up all your Zoom calls from now on! You can download the Snap Camera from Snapchat as a desktop program and play around with all the different filters to make your calls more entertaining.

That’s it from me until next time … 

Alma

Alma Brosnan is part of the Digital Marketing team providing Social Media Consultancy and Training services at Fuzion Communications from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Internships during Covid19

August 31, 2020

Finishing college and entering the workforce is a difficult time in general. Throw in a global pandemic, widespread job cuts and you’ve got yourself the Month of June for over 225,000 third-level graduates!

Trying to seek employment is tough, regardless of qualifications or stage of life.

I spent four years in college, writing reports, working on projects and completing modules with a lecturer always on hand to help. Then, all of a sudden on some sunny, yet wet day in mid-March, I get told to leave the college and go home.

Just like that, I felt robbed of my last year in college.

What I had been working towards for the past four years no longer seemed important. Online lectures, shared Google Docs, hours of sitting in the sun feeling guilty for not sitting in front of the laptop, was the reality of my last few months of education. The focus then was on getting it done. Getting my degree, which I had been so set on. The notion of finding a job only filled my body with anxiety, so I put my focus into doing the best I could to finish my course.

Having completed two previous internships, I am pretty familiar with expectations of the intern and the company. I think they are such a great opportunity, both for the student to get insight into the running of a business and for the business to seek and train new talent as well as getting some fresh insights and enthusiasm.

Throughout my time in CIT lecturers always mentioned Fuzion Communications, a full service PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork. It wasn’t until the end of July that it really clicked with me – Get a job you love, put some confidence into yourself and your abilities and email them!

My mam always told me growing up that I should pick a place I really want to work in and get a job there, easy as that she said!

I have been interning with Fuzion Communications for almost a month now. Time flies when you’re having fun! Initially I thought it would be difficult working from home without being able to ask someone at the desk behind a quick question. However, fortunately for me I work in a communications company and the team here are more helpful and available to talk throughout the day.

Zoom has become my best friend!

Only having to wear office wear from the hips up is a joy. I couldn’t be happier with my first job after college. I’m learning more than I ever thought I could as an intern, and I’m really getting a taste of what a career in PR would be like.

Safe to say I’m very excited for what the future holds.

Heather JordanHeather

Heather Lordan is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in both Dublin and Cork.

Welcome to the Twitter Echo Chamber?

August 12, 2020

 

Pleasantville

BREAKING NEWS: Have Twitter officially gone crazy?

Twitter has just rolled out a new feature that will enable a user to limit who can reply to their tweet!

Have a peep at the bottom left corner of your Tweet window when you are tweeting and you will see a new message:

[Everyone Can Reply]

Click this and you will see two further options..

This is how Twitter has explained how this feature will work:

Here’s how it works.

Before you Tweet, choose who can reply with three options:

1) everyone (standard Twitter, and the default setting),

2) only people you follow,

or

3) only people you mention.

Tweets with the latter two settings will be labeled and the reply icon will be grayed out for people who can’t reply.

People who can’t reply will still be able to view, Retweet, Retweet with Comment, share, and like these Tweets.

This is a really interesting (very weird) development for the platform that can often generate lots of discussion, arguments and often abuse.

Effectively I can now tweet that “Greg is the greatest!” and I can do it is a way that no one can argue with me!!

 

The Rationale

I’m guessing Twitter want this because of the fear that many people have when using the platform because of the aggressive nature of many people using it unchecked, led by some very hateful horrible people such as the wonderful Donald Trump.

In truth they are petrified of expressing themselves on it, and maybe for good reason as reporting abuse doesn’t seem to stop anyone.

Twitter noted that users in their test pool have said “that they feel more comfortable tweeting, and more protected from spam and abuse, which has led to them tweeting longer, more in-depth thoughts, particularly on sensitive subjects

People who face abuse find these settings helpful – those who have submitted abuse reports are 3x more likely to use these settings.

The deeper rationale is most likely a commercial one – more active users will lead to more relevance and a better ability to market it to advertisers.

The Plus 

As mentioned already, it may encourage some people to tweet more, knowing that discussion feedback (good or bad) will be limited to their narrow chosen audience.

It might enable other users to start using the platform for certain posts more like Facebook whereby only friends can see their posts.

It could also be useful for organisations (public bodies) who want to push out updates and other information without getting a deluge of responses (good or bad).

Beyond that I am not seeing any other advantages.

The Minus

This will be a huge frustration for users of the platform, when they can see a tweet and want to interact with it and they cannot because of the setting – the openness of Twitter was part of the magic (even with some of the abusive users).

I think in many cases that might result in you unfollowing the account – I do recall at a social media training once a student saying “I only want people to hear what I say” – good luck with that perspective!!

This is my point, my opinion, my view but I only want a very select bunch to see it” …ah come on, this is surely creating a very warped world on Twitter for that person and for the collective.

Do we really need a very false, extra cosy “echo chamber” loaded with biased opinions and unchecked fake news with soft cushions everywhere, or would it be much better if instead of this strange solution to aggressive, abusive behaviour on the platform, that there was a more robust reporting system that did penalise serial abusers? (bye bye Donald!)?

Note: spotting the “Greg is the greatest” tweet I can easily undermine the soft cushions by tweeting something like:

Did you see what that idiot @GregCantyFuzion just said about himself in his self congratulating protected tweet, what a Wally!!”

Twitter is a place that gives us all an equal voice – unfortunately like so many other areas of society we often can’t control our worst urges, we can be nasty, we can be hateful, we can be abusive, we can be racist and we can be downright horrible!

The Echo Chamber isn’t the solution…what do you think?

(the image used at the top of this post was from the fantastic movie ‘Pleasantville’

 


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