Why it pays to have a quiet week on Twitter

spawn-of-the-devilIn spite of the furore over Nick Griffin’s appearance on last night’s Question Time and the running commentary provided by almost everyone I know during the show’s broadcast, it’s been a quiet week on Twitter.

Quiet, that is, when you compare it to last week. There has been acres of web space devoted to the double whammy of Twitter-power in the previous 7 days.

First, there was the now infamous Twitter campaign to embarrass lawyers Carter Ruck and their client Trafigura to lift the quite bewildering gag order on reporting in the House Of Commons.

Being part of the constant Twitterthon on Tuesday felt rather special. It was like going on a student demo without leaving the comfort of your own living room. Populace action using the web in a way that had previously been unimaginable.

And the Twitter community had only just recovered, when the second huge ‘scandal’ of the week erupted. Namely, the now equally infamous Daily Mail article, penned by Jan Moir about the ‘strange, lonely and troubling death’ of Stephen Gately.

My partner read it very early on Friday morning and said, rather presciently, ‘That’s going to cause a bit of a stink’. Too right – a stench that Jan Moir herself and the Daily Mail could never have imagined.

In an even greater show of strength than the earlier Trafigura moment, the Twitterverse went into meltdown. The level of astonishment at the column’s content was quite something to behold.

When a friend of mine tweeted that Moir had quite rightly breached the PCC code and forwarded the message to Derren Brown, the die was cast. His retweet flooded Twitter and the PCC was deluged with complaints – in itself a delicious irony given the relentless Daily Mail campaign against Ross and Brand last year – a number that currently stands at around 25,000.

Every development was noted. When the article headline changed and the ads were removed, tweets went round everywhere. When Charlie Brooker published his comment on the whole sorry saga, a link to his article achieved almost equal saturation.

But all good things come to an end. At lunch the other day with some friends, we noted how quiet it had been on Twitter this week, in comparison to the fire and brimstone of the previous seven days.

And we all agreed that actually a quiet week was actually really important. A sense of order and decorum has returned. Changing the world, or at least a couple of small parts of it, takes energy and emotion that cannot be continuously maintained.

Twitter needs time to gather itself before the next assault on freedom of speech and the erosion of liberal values. Let us get our breath back!

Firefly phones: The difference between UK and USA

Firefly mobile phoneThere’s been much talk in newspapers recently about the new Firefly mobile phone that’s being aimed at 4-year-olds!

Naturally the middle market is outraged that such young children are being targeted with such propaganda, but the Firefly phone has been on sale in the US for a number of years.

I spoke at a Marketing Conference 4 years ago alongside the US marketing manager for Firefly phones. He explained how they had promoted the phones and the efforts they’d gone to to ensure healthy sales and a good brand image.

Now this all sounds very dull, until you discover that the age range that Firefly targeted in the US was around 4 years older.

You see, the mobile phone market in the US has always lagged behind that of the UK and consequently, Firefly’s market in America was somewhere around 8-11-year-olds, rather than the 4-7-year-olds it seems to be targeting in the UK.

Yup, American kids aren’t anywhere near as cell-savvy as UK children, apparently, so they don’t need one until they’re much older.

If the marketing tactics they employed in the US are anywhere near as effective in the UK, I expect to see a whole raft of Firefly phones sold – can’t say I’ll be getting one for my girls, though!

Why buy mince pies in October?

M&S mince pies

Outrage in The Daily Mail today, as M&S have been ‘exposed’ for selling mince pies that have a best-by date of November.

Now on the face of it, this is a perfectly valid story. If you’re buying an obviously Christmas-themed product, you’d expect it to last till the festive season, wouldn’t you?

But then I stopped to think. I know we’re in credit crunch (god, am I fed up with those two words) time and people like to start buying things early, but why would you buy mince pies now – in October – to use on Christmas Day?

I can understand buying crackers or stocking presents. But mince pies?

When I make a batch of mince pies at home, they’re lucky if they last 2 days before starting to be past their best, not 2 months!

What must manufacturers be putting in these pies that allows them to last so long? And more to the point, what are people thinking that makes them decide to buy mince pies in October and expect them to be OK to eat in December.

Let’s face it, it’s the Daily Mail’s fault!