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 .

Indonesian Minister’s morbid tweets about Hitler

Whatever he is, Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring isn’t boring, especially when it comes to Tweeting, which he or a team that he hires, does with religious regularity.

Of late, however, @tifsembiring’s tweets have taken a strange, some say morbid turn. He’s taken to Tweeting about Adolf Hitler, you know that guy who killed thousands of people in genocide campaign and brought the world to the brink of chaos with World War II?

First, Tifatul quoted Hitler with this Tweet: “the union between two children, when both of  them complete each other, this is magic “.

Then he tweeted a joke involving Hitler, involving a wordplay of penyakit hidler, which is an acronym of hidung (nose) + meler (runny, as in runny nose). One supposes the humor that Tifatul found was between the wordplay of hidler sounding like Hitler.

The Tweets have unleashed predictable results. Dozens of Indonesia’s Tweeps have written in questioning the sense and sensibility of the man.

At the heart of this broughaha is a central question: what sort of a politician quotes Hitler and makes lame jokes about him on Twitter. What does this say of the calibre of Indonesia’s ministers?

How a cinema blitzed its critics with social media

The Alter Ego has written a piece in Talking Points about how Blitz Megaplex is using social media to successfully engage its audiences and critics instead of pumping out marketing messages and organizing inane contests on the Web. See here

Strange tune: Unknown 1960s Russian singer makes it big among Indonesian onliners

Why is the Indonesian online community paying undue attention to this 1960s Russian singer who, in this very aged clip, sings with a wooden face with lyrics no profounder than trolololololo?

Find out how and why this video became viral in Indonesia’s Twitterverse in Talking Points.

Getting Lunatic over infotainment journos

Apart from the fact that Luna Maya is probably justified to vent her anger at Indonesia’s equivalent to the paparazzi , Unspun‘s always wondered why those reporters are called infotainment journalists.

Why infotainment? The cover the entertainment so shouldn’t they be called entertainment journalists? Unspun wonders what’s the etymology of infotainment. How did that word creep into the Indonesian vocabulary.

Indonesian actress Luna Maya closed her Twitter account after launching a tirade against infotainment reporters.  (Photo: SP File)

Indonesian Celebrity Luna Maya Shuts Twitter Account After Infotainment Prostitute Slur

An Indonesian celebrity has been threatened with legal action by a journalist’s association and has closed her Twitter account following backlash against a heated message where she labeled infotainment television program crews as being “lower than prostitutes.”

Luna Maya, a television presenter, model and actress, apologized to her Twitter followers before closing her account, under the username lunmay, permanently after the outburst.

In a message posted on Tuesday night, she wrote: “Infotainment are LOWER than PROSTITUTES, MURDERERS!!!!! May your soul burn in hell!!!”

“I’m sorry everyone for the unimportant tweet. I thank those of you who understand (my reasons) and for those who don’t, I apologize,” Luna wrote on her Twitter account on Wednesday.

Luna was believed to have written the harsh Twitter message after being mobbed by crew members of infotainment television shows after she attended the premiere of the film “Sang Perimpi” (“The Dreamer”) at EX Plaza in Central Jakarta on Tuesday night.

Luna, who is in a relationship with singer songwriter Ariel from the band Peterpan, was watching the film with Ariel’s daughter from a previous marriage, Alleia, and his father.

When Luna left the movie theater carrying Alleia, who had fallen asleep during the film, the actress alleged that one of the infotainment crew members bumped Alleia’s head with their camera in the jostle for photographs and interviews. Luna had allegedly already asked the infotainment reporters to wait in the lobby at EX Plaza where she would give an interview.

After the incident, Luna vented her anger on her Twitter account at midnight.

Her comments sparked backlash from her followers.

via Indonesian Celebrity Luna Maya Shuts Twitter Account After Infotainment Prostitute Slur – The Jakarta Globe.

A more reliable Indonesia blog ranking system?

Following some discussions in Media-ide and Talking Points about Indonesia’s blog rankings, Patung promised that he would address some of the criticisms in Indonesia Matters‘ blog rankings, which, imperfect as it was, was still the best indicator of a blog’s influence in the Indonesian blogosphere.

Patung‘s made good his promise and the main difference seems to be that he now uses Feedburner rather than Bloglines as one of the parameters. It also adds back Tweets and although it still includes Technorati, the information is not computed in (which is about right since Technorati is on the decline and not relied on much by bloggers to get an indication of a blog’s influence)

Unspun doesn’t know the technicalities of all those ranking stuff but the new list (in which Unspun‘s ranked 10th overall and 2nd in the English blog rankings. woohoo) seems to be more reliable than the last one, which was a bit suss because people who rarely updated the blogs for month still stood quite high in its ranking system.

So the current top 10 are: Indonesia Matters, Anang, Raditya Dika, Ndoro Kakung, Budi Rahardjo, Media-ide, Chicken Strip, Enda NasutionBlog Doctor, and yours truly, Unspun.

Unspun‘s sure that there will be many who will quibble with Patung but as in a recent conversation with some bloggers one of the things we discovered was how difficult it is to set the parameters for blog influence. Do you count the number of visitors, the number of links, the number of conversations, the level of engagements or what. We concluded that perhaps the best system would be a combination of objective parameters and a subjective decision, perhaps by a panel of prominent bloggers, on who’s influential and who not. Even then the garrulous would find grounds to quarrel with the outcome.

Speaking of garrulous, Unspun‘s sure that the new rankings, especially where the English blogs are concerned, would certainly put some noses out of joint. Said persons would then likely profess to the world that they really, really place no importance on such superfluous things in life as blog rankings as they write for themselves and not for some online popularity sweepstakes. LOL if you should hear such protestations as methinks such bloggers protest too much. They are as vain as any of us (yes, Unspun included) bloggers when it comes to rankings. Even when we do not take such things too seriously we gotta admit that some sort of recognition feels good, even if we labor for love.