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Mack the Flack

Our blog, Mack the Flack, explores PR, journalism, and communications trends in the digital age

Archive for the 'Social Networking' Category

Social Media Outrage

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Photo courtesy of entrepreneur.com

A US TV host and bank have recently learned how quickly a social media message can turn around and bite you. Hard.

Melissa Bachman, a TV host and producer posted photos of herself on Facebook and Twitter posing behind a dead male lion she killed in South Africa.

Within hours, a furious online reaction forced Ms. Bachman to deactivate her Facebook and Twitter pages. “You, lady, are what’s wrong with the world”, was one sample tweet.  Bachman was cut as a contestant from National Geographic’s Ultimate Survival Alaska show last year after 13,000 protested, calling her a “heartless trophy hunter”.

When JPMorgan Chase bank asked Twitter users to send questions to #AskJPM it didn’t go well. The bank gave up six hours later after receiving 6,000 nasty tweets such as “Can I have my house back?” and “Is it true “JPM stands for Just Pay More?”

The social media misstep is the latest woe for the bank currently facing at least eight US Justice Department investigations.

Scary News for Facebook

Thursday, October 31st, 2013


The other day Mack’s teenage daughter announced she was “over” Facebook. Seems she isn’t alone with her rejection. The latest semi-annual report on teens from Piper Jeffray reveals that Facebook’s popularity among teens has dropped to just 23% from a high of 42% just a year ago.

Twitter, another social media platform, has become teens’ new BFF, growing to 26% of the market. Instagram has developed into another popular social network platform with teens, tied with Facebook as the #2 choice.

Meanwhile the University of Illinois reports much of Twitter’s traffic is dominated among a small subset of 15% of Twitter users who produce 85% of tweets. Mack suspects his daughter and other teens account for a sizeable chunk of this busy 15% of tweeters.

Image courtesy of Moma Propaganda

The 21st Century Job

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Two years ago, Mack attended a Social Media conference in Las Vegas. As the saying goes, most of what happened there is supposed to stay there but he brought back some information.

Such as, when a presenter asked an audience for anyone under 25 to stand up, then asked those standing to remain on their feet if they were in charge of their organization’s social media. All but a couple of the two dozen of under-25s sat.

Back then social media was still a new and unknown activity which many firms left in the hands of their youngest, and often, newest employees.

That was then. Nowadays social media communications and marketing are better understood and handled. According to LinkedIn, job postings for social media-related jobs have increased by 1,300% since 2010.

The top five social media job titles on LinkedIn according to users are:

  1. Social Media Manager
  2. Social Media Marketer
  3. Social Media Coordinator
  4. Social Media Specialist
  5. Social Media Consultant

Facebook Losing Face

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

As the father of a teen social media user, a new survey from the folks at PEW Research caught Mack’s attention.

Today’s teens, at least the US ones, are sharing more personal information about themselves online, but are more aware of their privacy, using privacy settings and network controls to limit who sees their information.

Good, but 91% of teen Facebook users post photos of themselves and 20% post their cellphone numbers.

Parent’s concerns may be partly assuaged by the news that teens are abandoning Facebook in favour of other social media sites such as Twitter, Tumblr and Snapchat.

According to the survey Facebook is losing cred with teens because of the growing adult presence, endless inane posts and, OMG, the “drama” circulated on the site.

Learn the effective use of social media tools in the Public Relations, Digital Communications and New Media Journalism programs.

Digital Groupies

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Turns out more than 50% of Justin Bieber’s 37.3 million Twitter followers are fake.

According to website Social Bakers only 17.8 million of the 19-year old Canadian heartthrob’s followers are linked to real accounts or true “Beliebers”. This makes him the second most followed person, after Lady Gaga, on Twitter.

Mack isn’t shocked that only 47% of JB’s followers are real. Shady marketers have long used bogus Twitter accounts to spew spam messages with key phrases like “work from home”, “diet” and “make millions in real estate”. The methods may be digital but the pitches have been around for decades.

Learn legitimate digital marketing skills in the Digital Communications program.

Game Over

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Mack noticed a snappy new Microsoft internet Explorer ad online the other day (Watch it on YouTube Here) that recalls the cultural icons of a ’90s childhood.

It got him thinking about the icons of his uh, younger, adulthood that have come and gone. First there was Kodak film with its nice bright colours, then the sweet heaven of Hostess Twinkies, and now Atari, the latest once great icon to slip away.

Atari Corp’s US arm, a pioneering video game maker who created classics such as Pong, Asteroids and Centipede announced earlier this month that it will seek bankruptcy. It’s the latest indignity for the 40 year old company, whose last video game hit was released well before the birth of today’s gamers.

At its peak it was one of the wealthiest and fastest growing technology firms in the world. Something Apple and Facebook should keep in mind in this fast-paced digital world.

Learn how to keep current in PR, New Media Journalism and Digital Communications.

Addicted to Attention

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Turns out Twitter may be more addictive than booze, tobacco, caffeine, sleep and sex. A 2010 study of US college students forced to go 24 hours without a tweet found 72% of participants described the experience as everything from “physically and mentally distressing” to “isolating”.

Mack thinks we’re also addicted to the attention we get from social media.

From the guy who dumps his partner with a tweet from Tim Horton’s to Jason Russell’s (Kony2012 maker) viral YouTube activism video and subsequent personal meltdown, social media has become our (sometimes unwanted) attention drug of choice.

· 100 million active users tweet 250 million times a day, every day.

· The Japan earthquake created 5,530 tweets/second (tps).

· News of Beyoncé’s pregnancy generated 8,869 tps.

· 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every second. 4 billion videos are viewed a day.

Learn about tweets, tube, texts and tactics of the addictive kind.

Apply for SFU’s Public Relations Program

Bound to Happen

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

After 244 years the Encyclopedia Britannica, the 32-volume, gold-lettered reference has gone out of print. The reality of the digital world and competition from the free Wikipedia website killed off the $1,395 US print version.

Mack grew up in a household where Britannica was proudly displayed. All 29 pounds of his family’s prized reference was sold at a garage sale a few decades later. Britannica only sold 8,000 copies of its last printed edition and print encyclopaedias account for less than 1% of Britannica’s revenue.

Perhaps a little sadly, Britannica is the latest of fading print publications – from reference books to catalogues – that are out already out of date the moment they’re printed and have, perhaps, outlived their purpose in a digital world.

Learn more about online references, research and the changing digital landscape.

Apply for SFU’s Public Relations Program

5 Reasons Why PR Matters

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Social media has been both good and bad news for PR. On one hand social media provides PR with an inexpensive killer way to communicate directly to people the world over. Conversely social media has forced old school PR types to adapt or die.

Mack, an ever-adapting PR guy, offers 5 reasons why PR still rocks in the social media age:

1. It’s the message stupid. Social media provides PR with a great means of communicating key messages.

2. Crisis still happen. Crisis management skills, a PR mainstay, are vital in the fast happening online world.

3. Social media isn’t just marketing. It’s about crafting a relationship with others, a focus of PR.

4. It’s cheaper. Many businesses, non-profits and groups can’t afford marketing and advertising campaigns. A social media PR campaign affords a bigger bang for the buck.

5. PR does media relations. As traditional news media shrinks and migrates online it remains a key source of information and a major influencer of public opinion.

Learn how PR rocks. The SFU PR Certificate Program.

Pointless Babble – Cool Twitter Facts

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Mack’s colleague, who just signed up for Twitter and has two followers, faces a common Twitter dilemma – now what to tweet about? Mack’s advice? Just babble.

That, according to Twitter Facts and Figures Report, is what most of the more than 200 million people using Twitter do. Less than 40% of users send conversational tweets and only 9% of all worldwide tweets are passed along.

Five years after the introduction of Twitter we know that of all Twitter users:

  • Almost half are between 18 and 34
  • More than half don’t have kids
  • They occupy all income levels
  • About 4% tweet about news
  • About 6% use tweets for self-promotion

So, what’s all this pointless, one-sided, 140-character, babble worth? Twitter has a current estimated market value of between $8 -10 billion.

Learn all about Twitter and other social media techniques in the SFU PR Certificate Program.