How to get trending on Twitter: paper, two dozen ice creams…and a world famous F1 driver

If there’s one sport I’m a big ol’ fan of, it’s Formula 1. And as I have been a fan since I was knee high, I clearly remember Kimi Raikkonen’s first presence in F1. As good a driver as he was, and is since his 2012 return, he’s never been much of a joker.

But if Lotus F1’s PR team is to be believed, he does have a funny, and somewhat sweet, side. Ahead of last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, he personally* sent media and reporters at the event each an ice cream with a letter hoping that it left them “refreshed and ready to enjoy the Malaysian Grand Prix”.

Kimi Twitter ice cream F1

Nice little PR idea, and one that grabbed some significant attention on Twitter – although I must admit the race was on so early I missed it in favour of a strong cuppa. The hashtag #SepangSundae was apparently trending globally over the weekend. Not bad for the cost of a few printed pieces of A4 and a family pack of Magnums. Of course, being a former F1 world champion in one of the better known teams doesn’t hurt your chances of trending either.

Some have speculated this stunt was a follow-on from Kimi’s somewhat (in)famous bow out of the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix, when he retired to his then team Ferrari’s garage and enjoyed an ice cream of his own – much to the amusement of other drivers holding firm on the grid.

Having seen Kimi’s past media interviews, it’s unlikely his own personal brand of humour would stretch this far. But someone in his PR team certainly has a sense of humour.


*note: probably not personally at all

Watch what you tweet, you’re now officially libel

Bit of a landmark in the law and social media worlds came to light yesterday. Chris Cairns, a former New Zealand cricketer, won a libel case against important Indian cricket type Lalit Modi. What’s interesting for none cricket fans (me) is this is the first ever settled libel case involving Twitter.

Twitter libel slander defamation

Some time back in January 2010 Modi made an ‘accusation’ on Twitter (which seems like a fancy legal way of saying ‘tweeted’) that Cairns was involved in match fixing. This being the world of sport, word spread pretty quick and it wasn’t long before Cairns’ career was in tatters. But it seems, as far as Johnny law is concerned, Cairns has never put a thickly gloved finger out of line, and he’s been awarded £90,000 in damages (subject to appeal).

What this does mean, aside from you shouldn’t accuse someone of match fixing unless you have at least a sprinkling of proof, is a solid line has been draw with regards to defamation cases that start on social media.

To grab Wikipedia’s definition, defamation is “is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image”. As is usually the case with legal issues, there are some specific distinctions but broadly speaking think of defamation in two forms; slander and libel. Slander is a statement in line with the above that is spoken (a transitory or non-permanent statement), while libel is written or printed words, images or video – and when it comes up in court we’re usually talking scandalous accusations regarding monogamy-challenged footballers.

The outcome of  Cairns’ case means the content of mine, yours and anyone else’s’ tweets can be tried as libel in a court room setting – and is considered a permanent form of publishing just as much as a physical newspaper, online article to spokesperson video. It’s an important point to note when tweeting, especially considering the ease of access you have to Twitter on your PC or phone, the often impromptu nature tweeting and that fact we don’t always distinguish tweets as either spoken or written (‘He said on twitter’ vs ‘He posted on Twitter’).

For PRs this means you must take extra care when tweeting for a client, and it’s also a good idea to keep an extra tight eye on any high-risk spokespeople’s activity online to boot.


Disclaimer: I have no interest in cricket and have been stretching my brain to its limits to remember the ins and outs of libel, slander and defamation from when I read media law, which was a fair few years ago now. For any inaccuracies this has caused, I am deeply apologetic.

Mobile News Consumption in UK leads Europe: Proud to be British

Last week we posted a piece for fans of mobile news consumption in the US, and now those of us in Europe are getting some of the action too.

After the The State of the News Media 2012 revealed an increase in mobile news gobbling in the US, ComScore thought ‘we need to get in on this surveying of mobile what-not business’. So here we are, a lovely survey showing how mobile news consumption is up in Europe as well.

UK mobile news consumption

And consume we do. You think those yanks like their news on the go? Well, over 46% of us smartphone owning Brits are accessing news through our devices, compared to the European average of 37%. Yep we’re ahead of the curve and beating the our nearest competition the French and Spanish, with 37% and 32% respectively (based on January 2012 numbers). I guess we just want news more, makes you proud to be British.

ComScore mobiel news consumption

Source: ComScore website

There’s no word on tablet-based news gorging. Perhaps ComScore think us Europeans are a little behind the US when it comes to table usage. My own survey based on last week’s queues indicates 100% of ComScore employees did not walk past an Apple store last week.

No insight as to how users are landing on the news pages through their phones either. They survey looked at a mixture of dedicated app and mobile browser traffic. Naturally dedicated app traffic is coming direct through apps, but it would be nice to see if smartphone users are tapping in website addresses or are wondering in through Twitter, Facebook and other social sites.

Regardless, these latest figures show the hunger for news on-the-go is increasing like the clappers on both sides of the pond.


Europe’s Technology Centre?

Chancellor George Osborne announced his intention to ensure Britain becomes Europe’s technology centre in his Budget speech. In order to make this a reality he announced support in two areas: Digital Content; and Infrastructure.

Digital Content

The Chancellor announced the corporation tax reliefs from April 2013 for the video games, animation and high-end television industries. These reforms will be subject to consultation and will need to pass state aid rules. The film industry already enjoys reliefs of this kind.

The aim of this tax relief is to try and retain these industries, and the jobs they create, in the UK. It is also hoped that it will encourage inward investment from the likes of Disney into the UK. Last autumn it was reported that animation studios were planning to leave the UK because of preferable tax breaks and subsidies in countries including Ireland and Canada. This move is clearly designed to address that issue and signal to similar creative industries that they are valued.


On infrastructure, the Chancellor confirmed the selection of Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and London to become broadband Super-connected cities. This move is part of a previously announced £100m investment. The Treasury says that this investment will this will deliver ultrafast broadband coverage to 1.7 million households and 200,000 businesses, and high speed wireless broadband for three million residents by 2015.

In terms of mobile networks, rural areas and selected A-roads will see an increase in the quality of coverage. There will also be a government review to decide whether intervention is required to improve mobile coverage for rail passengers.

The UK’s broadband and mobile phone infrastructure isn’t exactly the envy of the world and improving it is essential. As my colleague Charlotte from our Hong Kong office noted recently, we don’t even have wifi on the Tube. The Chancellor also alluded to the fact our network is sub-par when he noted that, “Two years ago Britain had some of the slowest broadband speeds in Europe.”


At first glance, the creative industries can be broadly pleased with the outcome of this budget. The video games developers and animators, in particular, will feel their voice is being heard and the benefits they bring to the UK are being recognised.

On infrastructure, it’s all a little less clear cut. Additional investment is, of course, welcome but until the details are reviewed, it’s hard to judge how significant these announcements are.

The announcements for technology were underpinned with additional announcements about youth training, business loans and development zones. There were also measures supporting scientific and engineering research. It all pointed to the Chancellor wanting to lessen the economy’s reliance on financial services but keep Britain very much as a service-based, intellectual property creating economy.


This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Media Brand Reps outweigh Facebook and Twitter recommendations

Good news for fans of mobile news consumption in the US – mobile news consumption in the US is on the up.

Mobile news

That’s according to The State of the News Media 2012, which is an annual report on American Journalism from Pew Research, don’t you know.

The report is, according to The Guardian’s Greenslade blog, a “comprehensive analysis of the health of journalism in America”. Results show those in the US who consume news on mobile devices are not replacing their previous news digestion habits, but adding to them. They’re also reading more, and for longer.

According to the report, 34% of PC (desktop and laptop) news enthusiasts now also get their news on a smartphone – presumably when they are not using said PC while on the bus, out for a stroll or queuing up (perhaps to buy a newspaper, just for giggles). Even with one mobile device as a news source, over a quarter (27%) also consume news on a tablet. That’s at least three separate connected devices all used to get their news.

Is this surprising? Not so much. Rather than actively choosing to consume news on different devices, the ease of use and readily available apps means consumers will pick up whatever is nearest / most appropriate for location. For example, when out and about walking to the train station you’ll scroll through news on your phone, and then when/if you take a seat on the train you can switch to your tablet before hitting up your desktop at work.

What is interesting is the perception of a media outlet’s brand verses social media. According to The Guardian piece, “despite the explosion in social media use through the likes of Facebook and Twitter, recommendations from friends are not yet a major factor in steering news consumption” when compared to a publication’s brand and reputation. It seems we’re far more likely to trust an established media outlet with our mobile news than a link with ‘this cat video is so funny lolz’ on our Twitter feed.