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When a competition becomes too much.

PaulusthebritI love social media especially Twitter. It is a great way to meet many good and interesting people, collaborate with projects, share experience, or just to chat. Over the last few months however my experience with social media has become somewhat frustrating to the point that I have felt bullied and have been insulted by other users because I have not supported a particular social media competition. This has reached a stage where I have resorted to restricting access to my twitter account and have started to block and report offending accounts.

Currently in New Zealand a competition is running that would give the winning town access to ultra fast internet access. Chorus New Zealand, the company that is running and promoting the Gigatown competition plays an important part in the infrastructure of telecommunication in NZ and the prize would be positive for the winning town. I have no issue with the company itself but the competition is highly worrying.

The competition works on twitter (should work like )by using a particular hashtag to raise the importance of high-speed internet and its benefits to the entire community.

Initially I looked at supporting the competition, however, some others who support the competition consistently request/reminded me to add the hashtag to all of my tweets. Most of the followers I have on twitter are not in New Zealand and the competition is irrelevant for them so I chose not to use the hashtag.

There are multiple twitter accounts being setup by individuals solely for the purpose of the competition, with tweet numbers that can only be described as spam. New  accounts with 48 followers, following 67 and have 3500+ tweets, most of which are retweets of other people’s hashtags.  Another account is worse.

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 8.47.14 pm

Many of the tweets being sent by the supporters of the competition read like this…

“@[________] : Anyone tried the Sundaes from ____________ in #Gigatown_______? Delicious!”

“@[_________]: At the ice hockey in #gigatown_______! What a game!”

“@[_________]: Great day to try out the new shoes! Feel pretty good and look awesome! #gigatown________ “

(tweets modified to protect the account owners)

Very few tweets actually discuss the benefits of fast broadband internet.

Some supporters are promoting that for every original tweet or reply they should be retweeting four other gigatown hashtag tweets. It might just fit with Twitter rules but in regards to good social media practice this can only be seen as spam. Some accounts are sending up to 1000 tweets a day.

The pressure put on myself (and others) by the supporters of the competition to use the hashtags and the sheer number of hashtags being used has caused much dissatisfaction and annoyance amongst seasoned and long-standing Twitter users like myself.

At no other time in the five plus years of using twitter have I encountered so much pressure that can only be described as stand over tactics against people who are not participants in the competition.

 

Intellectual Property – What’s yours isn’t.

The competition itself has terms and conditions that I strongly object to around the topic of Intellectual Property and submission of material.

the clause reads…

“You grant Chorus a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable (without consent or notification), irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to use anything you post on any platform for the purpose of this Competition, in part or in its entirety, for any purpose. For purposes of this clause, “use” includes (without limitation) promote, replicate, copy, modify, enhance, sublicense, distribute, transmit, exploit, sell, rebrand and market, whether as part of Chorus’s products and/or services or otherwise, without reference or attribution to you.” http://gigatown.co.nz/terms-and-conditions

One major concern as a person in the creative arts is about ownership, copyright and attribution of created works. I have some work which is creative commons (Attribution, No Derivative, Non-Commercial) licence and others that I have chosen to have full copyright by myself.

A concern is that if a third-party submits content of mine to the competition (with or without consent), the conveyor of the competition would then have the rights to it. I reject this entirely. I reserve all rights to my own created works and I will decide who, how and where they are used and what attribution is required.

The sooner this competition is finished the better.

Paul S Allen

I am still on twitter if you are not following you are most welcome to join me, just ask

 Brilliant satire  about gigatown from John McGlashan High School in Dunedin

Summer Sunset Dunedin

Social Media – World Chambers Congress

The following excellent slideshare presentation was delivered by Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist for Intel, at the recent World Chamber Congress in Mexico (June 2011). It features the Otago Chamber of Commerce.

Please enjoy this presentation and put into action any points that are relevent to you and your organisation/business.

Paul S Allen

p.s. Thanks Ekaterina, you lead by example.

Social Media Expanding Chamber Reach

Social Media – Food for Thought

Social Media – Food for Thought

I'm Watching You

I'm Watching You

With the increased usage of social media like twitter, facebook, youtube and blogs, there is an awareness that word-of-mouth comments about a business can spread very fast.

It is one thing to deal with people outside an organisation making comments or criticisms, but what happens when staff within an organisation starts to share their personal opinions and views online?

Where is the boundary of personal freedom (including freedom of speech) and control of a staff member’s ability to express an opinion publicly?

Some issues can be addressed with clauses within employment agreements regarding confidentiality of information and clauses that mention bringing the organisation into disrepute. There is no difference between offline and online activities in regards to this.

For the person who is using these forums it is good to remember a few basic rules about social media:

• Online, treat everything as public regardless of personal privacy settings

• People, including the media, employers and staff, are watching your personal accounts

• It is recommended to think twice before you post anything online, for example those comments and photos of that party last night may not be the best thing for your employer (or employee) to see.

Remember that it works both ways, you may check up on staff but they may be checking up on you.

Now what happens when staff members who have personal social media accounts become known publicly as being part of the business? The line between personal and business becomes blurred. If a staff member expresses an opinion or discusses personal values, beliefs or ideologies or even details about their routine or daily lives, does it reflect on the business? Can an employer insist that staff stop using social media or control/restrict what is said?

There are other questions in this area as well.

• Should an employer be searching a staff member’s account?

• Is it appropriate for an employer to “follow” or “friend” a staff member?

• Should you ignore/decline/block staff members (or your boss’s) friend request?

The question is where are the boundaries? Should it be left to chance or common sense or does it need to be controlled by policy or legislation?

Social media is here, to try to stop it is futile, to control it is problematic, so the other option is to become aware of how it works and educate yourself and others as to the appropriate use of this media.

Food for thought.

Paul S Allen

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I Am Watching You

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