On Sharing Opinions On Social Media

I’ve said it before: “Opinion Shortage” is one headline you’ll never come across. This is because we all have them. In this post, I wrote about what to do with other people’s opinions when it comes to who we are and our endeavours. I haven’t written about sharing opinions on social media, as a standalone topic or post. After witnessing many bungles recently, I think it is (perhaps) always worth talking about sharing opinions on social media.

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Overrating The Hashtag

Overrating The Hashtag

In our social media age, it’s easy to forget that a movement does not rise and fall on the basis of a hashtag alone – @saiidat (in Nigeria Won’t Bring Back The Missing Girls)

I couldn’t agree more. The hashtag is overrated. The success of your / a hashtag doesn’t necessarily mean success of your ‘campaign’ (however you define that). One of the dangers of any marketing or publicity strategy is making the hashtag the goal of campaigns.

Failure is also imminent when you mistake your hashtag as the end and not the means. Hashtags must only be part of the campaign. A hashtag, for the sake of it, (I’m not talking about fun stuff, I’m talking about things that matter) is a week strategy. If a campaign is completely anchored on a hashtag, it will fall apart at its failure.

Always carefully consider what the object of your campaign is. Never give credit to a hashtag than is warranted. There are many case studies of failed hashtags. You know, when hashtags that were supposed to be a great campaign for causes or organisations, became against in most damaging ways.

As with many things, there is always possibility for failure for your hashtag. When you hashtag campaign fails it doesn’t mean your cause is insignificant or unimportant. It just means your hashtag campaign has failed.

Great causes can be undermined because the small thing called the hashtag has failed. Don’t let important things get undermined.

The other side of the coin is that your hashtag succeeds. Keep in mind that the success of your hashtag doesn’t necessarily mean success of your campaign. Don’t be naive. You can have a successful hashtag and a failed campaign. (Of course, just as you can have a successful campaign with a failed hashtag).

Your hashtag has succeeded when it enhances or pushes you toward the desired outcomes of your overall campaign.

Don’t lose focus on what the hashtag means for you and your cause… Don’t place all your bets on the hashtag horse. Find other ways to add value to your campaigns. Recognise and clearly articulate how a hashtag fits into your campaign and its significance.

Win or lose, the hashtag must not be king, but your objectives

[image by Quinn Dombrowski | cc]

Published via DeskPM

Stop Complaining About Ads & Privacy Changes On Social Networks

Google+ is now introducing ads. Also, unless you tell them not to they are going to use your face to endorse some stuff. That sound familiar?

And, in the other corner, all content on Facebook is now searchable. Oh, did I mention Instagram serving ads. Awesome. Yes, awesome, for them that is.

Once I was the guy who was outraged by this. I mean, “How could they use my content like that? It was my content, my family picnic photos, my wedding and my creative artwork. And, they’re just going to use it anyhow, not even without my permission.”

Like I said, I was once that guy, then I grew up.

Stop Complaining About Ads & Privacy Changes On Social Networks

Complaining about what social networks are doing with “your data” is naive [Click to Tweet]


User Agreements and Privacy Policies

Firstly, like 99.9% of most people on them you never did read the user agreement and privacy policy. You just lied; you claimed you had read and understood the terms. If you had read it carefully, you would’ve seen the clauses that said they could amend the policy and the user agreement.

You would’ve been aware that you were at the mercy of the network you would commit the memory of some of your precious moments in life. How do I know? I did that. I didn’t read the long, boring, legal jargon that the “agreements” are written in.

My take is that they, the user agreements that is, are written to protect the social media platforms more than the people who use them.

Stop complaining about the change of privacy and advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and the rest. They told you, in their complicated way and incomprehensible way that they would do what are doing.

It is their house you went to play in and you have to play by their rules. For me, it is that simple. But I didn’t just arrive at this. It was journey. They need to keep their lights on and want some sort of reward for allowing you to play in their house.

Is it that simple enough for you?


One of the ways I chose to grow up and stop complaining about all these changes is to put more “stock” on my blog. I now place more value on my blog in that I have chosen to concentrate on putting more of my personal stuff where I have complete control of my stuff.

I do still use Facebook, Google+ and others, because a lot of people are there, but I use it to point to my blog. My pageviews, including photo posts, are now too important for me just give away to Facebook, Google+ and the like.

Again, if you’re happy for someone else to call the shots on your stuff that is fine. But it is not for me. I use self-hosted WordPress for my blogs. I don’t like the free blogging platforms (e.g. wordpress.com, Tumblr) because I don’t know what bee is going to be in the bonnet tomorrow. I also don’t have complete control about what ads show on “my blog”.

My writing, precious memories in photos and other works are that much more valuable to me that I want where I can protect them and do as I please with them, without being a share price pawn for Zuckerberg or Schmidt.

I am grateful for Facebook, Google+ and others in that they help us connect with friends and family. I’m also grateful that they’ve helped me in building my platform.


Like I’ve said, I now choose to focus my content more on my own platforms. Besides my blog I’m also placing great value on apps and platforms that share the philosophy of complete ownership and control of works.

Hence I use Pressgram. I’m also on the look out for apps and platforms that share a philosophy akin to Pressgram’s.

Side Note

Anyone serious about influencing in any significant way must know how to leverage the different platforms. However, this must be done in way that also enables their own platform, of which they have autonomy to do as the please with.

Your strategy to influence must never be at the mercy of social media platforms you have no control over [Click to Tweet]


Quit complaining about ads, privacy policy changes. You can’t go to someone’s house and make demands. Didn’t your momma teach you better?

Focus on building your own platforms such as self-hosted blogs where you can put your realty. Use the Facebook, Google+ and others like them to enable your own platform.

Your take?

[image credit: clasesdeperiodismo]

Ditch The Superfluous

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 12.06.37 PM

I mean, seriously?! I have lamented about how stupid “poke” is in Facebook. What I find more absurd is that it still lives on. One day someone poked me and I was shocked that the “poke” feature still existed. But why?

Did I mention, after expressing my shock that “poke” still existed I start getting poked. Well, you know why…

Early today, I thought to clear notifications and I was poked… Then I scrolled down and, whoa! Facebook is now giving “poke suggestions”!

This makes me think:

Of all the features we build into products and experiences of those we serve are we aware of the superfluity? [Click to Tweet]

The sad thing about the superfluous is that it takes away from the experience of those we serve as leaders or organisations. Not only that, it takes away valuable resources in time, finance and man hours. The irrelevant, the superfluous we entertain detracts from our mission and robs focus on what really matters.

Some leaders allow the superfluous to live on because of nostalgia. In the early days “poke” was a fun feature. The lesson:

Be ruthless with the superfluous in the present despite its value in the past [Click to Tweet]

Another important lesson:

The really cool and awesome today, can be the “unnecessary superfluous” tomorrow [Click to Tweet]

I don’t use the feature, unless to make fun of Facebook. You know when someone thinks you’re making a joke with them but the joke is actually on them? That! I think that is what most do when they push “poke” on Facebook.

Perhaps the more absurd is that people still poke others. The lesson:

“Superfluous” sometimes lives on because we entertain those who encourage it [Click to Tweet]

Some organisations are held back from innovation because they’re stuck nursing “superfluous” [Click to Tweet]

(By the way, I’m slowly divorcing Facebook. More later)

Social Media and The Law In South Africa | Who Owns Followers?

Last night 27 Dinner rocked. Not that it never rocks, but because it touched a nerve on one of the most pertinent issues as far as social media and the law in South Africa are concerned.

I had many thoughts, as i’m sure many others had, after the discussion. I thought I’d write them down but realised there were too may for one post I’ve decided to work on a series, this being the first post from my thoughts.  (We’ll see how the rest goes son enough…)

I have no legal background and the substance of my post is from that of a writer. A blogger. I will not be prescriptive, I’m only trying to make sense of social media and the law in the South African context.


Let’s get to it then…

The Panel

The line up comprised Paul Jacobson, Emma Sadlier, Sipho Hlongwane, Mike Stopforth and Consilium Legal (My memory fails me. I seem to remember Twitter handles better. Eish..)

Mike Stopforth was the host and facilitated the discussion. The only person on the panel who wasn’t a lawyer was Sipho (aka) @ComradeSipho. (To his credit he did study law but never completed).


It became very clear early into the discussion that the lawyers in the panel had different views on a number of issues. This gives insight into some of the challenges involved in court cases involving social media, in South Africa in particular.

Platforms have their own policies that need to be filtered through existing laws for new platforms that evolve faster than laws can be created.

“Who Owns?” Discussion

The discussion I knew would definitely be discusses at the dinner was one of ownership. That is, if an employee had a social media account that got associated with his employer’s, and as a result built a following, who owns the followers? And, should the employee cede the account when he leaves?

Like Sipho, I find it rather absurd that we can have a debate about who owns followers? Really? Is that a valid debate? I will humor you, and myself and attempt to engage the question.

Unless the employer, can prove that the reason followers followed the employee was due to their association to their brand and that it was a result of marketing on their time, only then can they claim followers.

I still cannot make sense that followers can be ‘owned’ by a brand. If anything, it is the other way round. It is a privilege, for a brand, that its users choose their product over another.

Another assumption that companies or brands could be wrongly making is that people following their brand actually use their brand. With that they also make the assumption followership is akin to endorsement.

The first question that needs to be answered is do brands / companies really own the followers on social media? Can followers really be owned?

There are some brands I have followed as a case study of how terrible a brand could be. Some people follow brands as means to snoop on their competition.

Which brings me to this:

1. If employers insist the employee who’s leaving cede his account on the grounds the own followers, employers will need to prove that each follower followed the employee solely because of their association and position with the brand.

The reason I use ‘solely’ is in the event where tweets of the employee, for example, would’ve been a mixture of personal tweets and brand tweets. . Think about it…

2. Prove the monetary value each of the followers. This may mean need to prove that the individuals’ following results in financial gain for the brand, which an employee may be now taking away.

With all this being said if people were following an individual solely because of their brand alignment or position in a company, and, are loyal to that brand, surely they will unfollow the individual and follow brand other ways. Right?

If the followers really are loyal brand followers they will continue to follow the brand.

On Another Note; Brand Reputation

Could the fight for followers by brands in the aforementioned context, a sign of unhealthy and insecure brands? If a brand is healthy and strong enough it shouldn’t need to worry about losing followers due to an employee leaving.

I understand that brands need to protect themselves. However, this needs to be defined… Or can it be? At what point can we say the brand is acting in its best interests or is it being unreasonable?

When brands get involved in a fight for followers with leaving employees they must assess the risk that action can have on their image.

Followers can have a single or dual affinity to an account. To either the individual and the brand or both… An ‘attack’ on the individual could result in shunning the brand by the followers that were influenced by the individual.


There’s obviously the contract dynamic which, is a game changer and another discussion on its own…


Of all the panelists at the dinner, Paul Jacobson made the most references to understanding context when it comes to lawsuits related to social media. As with other law related things, there is limited room for general responses, as each instance will have its own dynamics.

Your thoughts?

[image by ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd. | cc]