Trending Topics Exposed

I remember a colleague coming up to me with pride in his voice, saying that we managed to get our event last night on the Trending Topic of Twitter.

I applauded his enthusiasm but then asked him what did it mean for our company and the event?

He couldn’t really explain, apart from saying that theoretically a lot of people would be aware of our event, and therefore our company, because the hashtag made it to the Trending Topic.

I then asked him how does one get on Trending Topic on Twitter. He wasn’t sure but mumbled something about x number of retweets, y of them by users with huge followings.

This incident underscores the difficulty a rational mind would have when it comes to the question of how to measure for success on social media.

I come from an old school tradition that says that whenever a client pays us to help them communicate, whether using media relations or through paid, earned, shared or owned media, the communications must yield a result: it should either increase awareness of a brand or corporation, shift people’s attitude toward it or change people’s behaviour. All else is meaningless.

But because social media is so relatively new, many people do not understand that it is a tool, a channel like any others. Taking advantage of this misunderstanding, charlatans posing as messiahs of a new age have introduced all sorts of fancy terms and measurements so that they can make marketeers feel comfortable in hiring them.

So now in social media we have success measured in terms of reach, impressions and engagement. How these metrics will help a company or brand remain mysterious. Output is mistaken for outtakes and outcomes.

So its refreshing to see articles like this below that strip the mystique of Trending Topics as a measure of success. What do you think?

Trending’ on Social Media Is Worthless

By Brian Feldman  @bafeldman

In the wake of last week’s Parkland high-school shooting, right-wing conspiracy theorists are pushing the ludicrous story that the teenage survivors speaking out against gun violence are “crisis actors” — dupes hired to pretend to be victims of tragedy.

Earlier this morning, the top trending video on YouTube was one implying that David Hogg, one of the students pushing for legislative action on gun control, is an actor. What does it mean, exactly, for something to be “trending”?

YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter all make frequent use of the term, but none of them have a public or transparent definition — let alone a common one. When we sort through our feeds, “latest” has an obvious chronological sorting mechanism; even “popular” has a fairly clear and agreed-upon definition.

“Trending,” however, does not. It’s similar, but not the same as “popular”; generally speaking, it means “popular, in some relative, technically defined way.” That is, the “trending” sections of major platforms are, as of now, algorithmically determined, their contents selected by formulas developed internally at those companies and kept private.

Automated software determines what is trending, and it does so by examining the content according to a set collection of factors. YouTube, for instance, identifies trending videos by examining aspects like the view count, the rate of audience growth, and the age of the content.

A five-hour-old video is more likely to be trending than a five-year-old video; a video that goes from 100 views to 1 million is more likely to trend (yeah, it’s a verb now) than a video that goes from 250 million views to 251 million. Other factors might be considered as well.

A YouTube star with millions of subscribers and hundreds of uploads might be judged on a different acceleration rate than breaking-news footage uploaded by a guy with 19 subscribers.

Read more

Bully for the President

How naive can one get? The Internet can be a powerful medium to communicate and engage with lots of people but it has never been a Utopia.

In fact, from the start the Net has had a culture of crash and burn. It has not gotten any better with the millions of people now using social media. In fact it may have gotten worse as it gets easier to be stampeded by a herd mentality.

All this information has been available to anyone interested in finding out the working of the Net. So it is a bit rich for the President to complain about “bullying”. His social media team should have warned him before hand that the Net is a place for big boys who can take the hard knocks, not crybabies.

Which raises the often-asked question of prominent people who venture into social media use: why did they go in, in the first place?


BBC News – Indonesia: President ‘bullied’ on Facebook

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with his wife in Laos in November 2012

Anti-social network? Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s not happy with some “fans”

Indonesia’s president complained about being “bullied” on Facebook, just a day after launching his fan page.

The press team of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – known as SBY by the Indonesian media – signed him up to the social network, along with YouTube and Google Hangout, on Friday, reports the Jakarta Post . And, having attracted almost 100,000 fans within 24 hours, the president declared in his first Facebook post: “I want to be able to communicate more with my fellow Indonesians.” He thanked all his followers for their input but added: “Sometimes I am being bullied.

He later posted a poem dedicated to his wife, who celebrated her 61st birthday on Saturday. By Wednesday morning, SBY’s page had amassed nearly 250,000 “likes”. However, he still has some way to go to match the 2.7 million followers his @SBYudhoyono account has on Twitter .

What should Obama eat, wear, drink while in Indonesia?

Planning for the visit of the President of America is a big job and the folks at the US Embassy are asking for some help from Indonesians to suggest what local food he should consider eating while here, what color batik he should wear and what local drinks he should try.

They are doing so through Facebook, quite appropriate for the most socially networked US president or any head of state.

If your like most of the Red-and-White-to-the-core Indonesians Unspun knows you probably have some strong ideas about which Indonesian food is best. If so join in the fun at the US Embassy’s facebook app and make your suggestion for Barry’s menu.

The US Embassy made an announcement of this Facebook app on Facebook this morning and it looks like the appeal has struck a chord, or rather the stomachs of many Indonesians. So far there are 609 comments and rising….

Disclosure: Unspun’s firm works with the US Embassy on Pesta Blogger and other projects involving new media

Parents, Sex Predators and Children on Facebook

Hurrah for the parents trying to protect their children from sex offenders on the Net. But the question that needs to be asked is: were the parents negligent in the first place in allowing their children to open Facebook accounts in the first place?

Unspun‘s met many parents who speak with great pride of the ability of the apple of their eyes’ great ability to log in and play around the Net. They huff and they puff about how tech savvy their children are.

Unspun and the missues usually listen in dismay as we hold the view that children are best kept out of the Net until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

This does not mean that we make the Unspunlet a Luddite. On the contrary we encourage him, all eight years, to know his way around the computer and some selected sites. But we try our best to keep Unspunlet’s photo and name out of the public domain as much as possible. The Net can be a really dangerous place as very, very smart and crafty paedophiles and criminals can lurk around, comfortable in the anonymity that the Net provides.

We think that perhaps 13 or 14 may be an appropriate age to start allowing him some supervised web presence but then again we are not very sure. What we are sure is that 8 is still too young for him to fly solo into the Internet wilderness.

So far Unspunlet does not show any signs of deprivation. He’s happy and as normal a boy can be at his age with an Unspun as his father. Kids do not really need to go social networking tht early in life and parents who encourage their children to do so are beling irresposible.

This extract from The Jakarta Globe today:

Parents Log On to Facebook to Protect Their Children From Sexual Predators

As police investigate several recent cases involving sexual predators on Facebook, concerned parents across Jakarta are taking matters into their own hands to protect their children — even if it means violating their privacy.

Nanni Purnama, an East Jakarta mother of three, including two teenage girls, told the Jakarta Globe that she already had access to her children’s accounts on the popular social networking site.

“I know their passwords,” she said. “They also have access to each other’s Facebook accounts.”

“I want all three of them to be open to their parents, as well as to their siblings. I have to know who their friends are and what they put up on Facebook,” she added.

Nanni said she also conducted periodical “surprise inspections” of her children’s cellphones, reading through their text messages and going over their incoming and outgoing calls.

“I am doing this to protect my children from those who have the power to harm them,” she said. “They should have nothing to hide from me.”

Nanni’s youngest child, Fathur, 12, said that unlike his sisters, Irin, 17, and Bella, 15, the only reason he had a Facebook account was because he was asked to open one as part of his computer class at school.

“My mother does not allow me to confirm friend requests on Facebook from people I don’t know,” he said. “All my Facebook friends are just friends from school or from extracurricular activities, such as futsal.”

Evie Komarwati, a mother of four, including a 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, said she had taught all of her children to have zero tolerance for strangers on Facebook.

“I recently opened a Facebook account myself — I needed to know how it works,” she said.

via Parents Log On to Facebook to Protect Their Children From Sexual Predators – The Jakarta Globe.

The Indonesian social media gold rush

Wrote this posting below for Talking Points. Tried detailing the development of Indonesia’s social media scene from about a decade ago until today when every huckster in town, their cousin and their dog, is repositioning themselves as social media experts and consultants. It is as if there’s a social media gold rush in Indonesia.

All of a sudden everyone’s woken up to the fact that social media is where the action is in communications but few people really understand how it works. If you are a marketing executive, how would you be able to tell the difference between a sham social media consultant and the Real McCoy?

Read the article below to find out.

The Indonesian Social Media Bandwagon

November 30th, 2009 | No Comments »

Posted in English, Ideas, PR & Communications, Social Media, Trends | Edit |

The ever entertaining Wicaksono, aka Ndoro Kakung, has written a post (below) that captures the gold-rush fever atmosphere among marketing communications purveyors, including advertising and PR consultants, to cash in on the Social Media craze in Indonesia.

Indonesia began embracing social media in the form of blogs more than 10 years ago with a few pioneers such as Enda Nasution, Priyadi, Josef Ardi, Paman Tyo and Fatih Syuhud….

via admin | Maverick Indonesia.

Teachers are doing it for themselves – on the Net

How do you help increase the quality of education in Indonesia?

Well, if you’re Citibank, (disclosure: they are our clients and we helped in this project) one way is to help set up a forum where teachers can help themselves, learn from each other and discus ideas.

And this was what Citi did in conjunction with their NGO partner, HOPE Indonesia.

The Aksi Guru website

Yesterday, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility efforts under the Citi Peka unbrella, Citi among other things launched the website that it says is probably the first of its kind in Indonesia aimed at supporting teachers’ peer-development and student outreach.

It says high school teachers in Indonesia can, through, embrace social media as a means of communication and a tool that has the potential to facilitate information and experience sharing among the education community. Through the site, teachers can exchange ideas and thoughts, and most importantly interact with their students most of whom are already tech-savvy.  Citi, in is media release, added:

“We hope to boost teachers peer development by launching the website,” said Charles Ham, Country Director Yayasan Hope Indonesia. “The use of internet and social media as a means for widespread communication is remains relatively low among teachers in the country, and we hope to generate teachers’ interest and eagerness in sharing their creative teaching methods with others though this site,” he continued.

“We have seen Indonesian teachers’ ability to create interesting learning activities continues to grow over based on the 4,448 proposals CSF received in the past seven years. Now is time for these teachers to inspire one another through,” says Ditta Amahorseya, Director-Country Corporate Affairs Head, Citi Indonesia “We hope for CSF grant recipients and other high school teachers become role models for each other and their respective schools as well as pioneer education methods that are innovative, creative, and inspiring.”

As with so many sites utilizing social media these days also uses Twitter and Facebook to amplify its messages.

From the response so far, it looks like teachers are taking to this new form of cooperation, co-learning and collaboration.

Related information:

Pendidikan dan guru 2.0

Guru Kreatif

Mengajar Lewat Blog by Ndoro Kakung






Facebook wars over KPK

Forget Mafia Wars. This is infinitely more gripping. Besides it’s a real conflict involving the institutions that have the whole nation agog over the past few days and easily accessible through your Facebook account.

See how social media is being used — either in a concerted way by organizations or spontaneously by individuals — in the KPK-Police/Attorney General’s Office confrontation. This is an episode which is made all the more interesting because the Vice President of Indonesia @boediono has Twittered to ask who this Evan is. Go figure! (Why is the VP asking for information on Twitter when the intelligence services should be at his beck and call?)

The screen grab below is from the posting of a contact in Facebook. Apparently Evan is a Brimob member who had a posting in his Facebook page saying “Polri does not need society but society needs Polri…forward with the Indonesian Police, bury alive the small geckos…”

The response from one other Facebooker (below) was  a posting with screen grabs of Evan’s Facebook with lots of contacts “tagged” with the following comment: “This is Evan Brimob who is arrogant and opposes the citizenry, degrading healthy thinking and contemptuous of the defense of the truth. Spread this photo and search Evan Brimob and send him a message that his arrogance will unleash the people’s antipathy toward the police who have already exposed their rottenness”.

How will this play out? Log into your Facebook account and find out…