British phone, online casino companies bring the funny to Twitter

Twitter key BetFair Casino

From dealing with trolls to slightly unhinged ramblings, these companies turn corporate Twitter feeds into comedy gold

In today’s social media landscape, Twitter has become one of the primary means of communication between large, faceless companies and their consumers. Sometimes, a corporate Twitter account takes really bad missteps (see the JP Morgan fiasco and numerous other corporate Twitter fails). Sometimes, though, the person handling the account manages to turn it into a powerful marketing tool full of wit and snark.

UK telco Tesco Mobile used to have a fairly run-of-the-mill corporate Twitter feed. That all changed when they hired British agency Jam to coach their customer care team on a tone of voice for their #nojoke campaign. The move resulted in such gems as this:

Another company who is using a similarly hilarious and snarky tone on the Twitter feed for its online casino sites is BetFair; more specifically on its poker division. The feed is decidedly less sales-y than Tesco’s. Much less sales-y, in fact, that among the numerous slightly unhinged tweets on its feed you’ll only find the occasional tweet promoting the company’s services outright.

The online casino’s poker feed can come off as strange to the first-time reader, but as ad exec Phil Adams puts it, there is a method to the madness. The company actually hired comedy writers (exactly who these writers are remains a closely guarded secret) to man the keyboards. Judging by the response, their gamble paid off.

“The trick is to give your followers something they aren’t getting elsewhere,” says online marketing firm Custard of the original poker marketing strategy. The firm adds that while the output of the mind behind the feed may not be to everyone’s tastes, “the chances are his inane ramblings will leave you stifling sniggers behind your computer screen. And stifled sniggering leads to sharing.”

The company has yet to use a similar tone for its main Twitter feed, but judging by the positive feedback it’s received so far perhaps it’s just a matter of time.

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Promoted Tweets Annoy Me

I’ve been wrestling with the subject of promoted tweets for a while and I think I’ve come up with a solution. A solution that makes me feel better, at least.

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Promoted Tweets Aren’t That Bad

They really aren’t. Actually, they’re a good thing and I fully support them. Provided they are relevant to me, that is. Unfortunately this is rarely the case, as you will see if you read on.

Blame Those I Follow

What I’m finding is that a lot of the promoted tweets I see in my feed are not relevant to me. The reason for this is quite simple. If a brand promotes a tweet, one of the targeting criteria is to promote to those who follow the brand’s followers. This seems fundamentally broken to me. It’s as if Twitter assumes I have the same interests as the people I follow. I don’t. It’s as simple as that.

So because of this, my first solution was born. If I saw an irrelevant promoted tweet, I would unfollow the person whom I am following, that is following the brand doing the promoting. I soon realised that if I kept this up, I would end up following no one. So I stopped doing that.

The Winning Solution

Some time later, promoted tweets are still pissing me off. And I realise that there’s nothing I can do to fix Twitter’s broken targeting. My current solution is much more focused on the brand. Now, whenever I see an irrelevant promoted tweet, I block the brand doing the promoting. I’ll never see that brand in my feed again. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

My only concern is that I will now probably be on the receiving end of lower bidding (and probably lower quality) promoted tweets.

Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to nuke them too…

Music for the Masses

For years I’ve been planning a music career comeback. For years it’s not happened. I’m probably not about to change that either but if you think I’m going to pass up the opportunity to shout about or distribute what I’ve already done to a wider audience, you think like a fool. That’s exactly what I’m doing here.

A couple of years ago I wrote a piece of music to celebrate my return to music called “Yes I’m back”. And I was. Although only for the duration of that one song. I didn’t even put that much effort into distributing it at the time. Foolish really, because it’s not bad.

Kind of picking up where I left off, I’ve finally decided to distribute that song on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. You can also give it a listen on YouTube if you wish:

You like that, do you? Good. You can get it here:

Music by Lee Stacey on iTunes
Music by Lee Stacey on Spotify
Music by Lee Stacey on Google Play

As for my long term goal of returning to music… there’s not really been any development on that front. Although I may have a change of heart if my iTunes sales go through the roof. Well, I can dream.

I will be releasing other back catalogue stuff on those platforms too, so keep ‘em peeled. I may even throw out a few previously unpublished treats too. We’ll see.

Please enjoy the music and pay for it if you think it’s worth it. Or don’t if you don’t. I’m fine with either.

sms

Why we are still texting?

This article is in response to Joshua Fruhlinger’s post on Engadget “This is the Modem World: Why Are We Still Texting?

Joshua’s article explains how silly it is that we’re still using outdated, expensive SMS messages in a world where we’re all carrying devices capable of so much more.

mobile phone keypad sms

In my response, I shall state what I believe the reasons are.

1. Not everyone has a smartphone

My Mum doesn’t have one, neither does my Dad. They are a minority these days but there are still thousands of people who just use dumbphones. SMS treats everyone equally, regardless of device.

2. SMS gives good UX

Whatever your choice of phone, SMS works in pretty much the same way. It’s not capable of doing anything but text (MMS is a different topic) so for that reason, it’s simple.

3. Messaging apps are crap

Not all apps are available for all mobile platforms. If your friend doesn’t have a Blackberry you can’t send them a BBM from your Blackberry. WhatsApp doesn’t work the same way across platforms and due to being independent, probably won’t exist in 5 years time. Not only this but how do you know which app everyone will be using in 6 months? “Kik me” What?

4. Email is horrible

Email is fairly standard but it’s horrible to use. For starters, you have to set it all up yourself. It just doesn’t come as easily as text messaging because it does so much more.

Let’s face it, SMS just works and there’s nothing better at this time. With manufacturers and service vendors playing their cards so close to their chest, there’s not likely to be any time soon.

Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity

Movie Review – Double Indemnity

How good can a film about insurance be? These days, a movie plot based around knocking someone off to get your hands on the insurance money is a concept done to death. Back in 1944 that wasn’t quite the case but even then, it wasn’t exactly a new concept. Naturally, I’m wondering if such a thing can fly at all almost 70 years later. That’s almost twice as long as I’ve been alive!

movie poster - Double Indemnity 1944Fast talking insurance salesman, Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) is good at his job and he knows it. He knows the business inside out. He even seems to think he knows how to commit the perfect murder. Oddly, the movie begins with Walter limping into his office, clearly in some discomfort, in the early hours. He sits down to record a memo to his colleague, confessing to his so-called perfect murder. He tells us how he didn’t get the money or the girl. At that point I was wondering why I should bother watching the rest. I know he did it and I know he failed.

Okay, so now I’m curious. How does a man end up in that situation? Perhaps the murder wasn’t so perfect after all. Maybe it was and something else went wrong. I guess we have to leave it to Walter and his beautifully written narrative.

Back to the girl and the money… The girl is Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck), the wife of a businessman who is simply known as Mr. Dietrichson. She wants him dead and would like to profit from it. At first Walter doesn’t take the bait but the combination of his cockiness and her allure get the better of him.

The events that lead to the confession are not as cut and dried as you might think. There are several twists and turns in what ends up being a very clever plot, laced with exceptional dialogue. After being on the edge of my seat for 2 hours, this one’s getting a 4 out of 5 from me.

Double Indemnity on IMDB

Year: 1944

Director: Billy Wilder

Writers: Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler, Charles M. Cain

My Rating: 4/5

Why am I doing movie reviews?

A journalistic mission of movie reviews

I have decided to set myself a mission to review every single movie in the Guardian’s “Greatest Movies of All Time” list.

I’ve started with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. More… Many more will follow. I hope.

Why am I doing this?

Seeing as you asked, I’m doing it for my own personal gratification. I’ve seen a lot of movies. A lot of great movies. I’ve also seen a lot of not-so-good movies. At one point in my life I was watching 1-2 movies every single day. The problem with watching so many movies is that you forget them, at least I do. I often find that several movies will blur into one memory.

To fix my memory problems and make the good ones really stand out, I’m going to review as many of them as I can. Even movies that I have seen before, whether I liked them or not, I will watch again and review.

No, I probably won’t get through the whole list and I will probably throw a few other movies into the mix myself.

It’ll be fun, hopefully. If that stops being the case, I’ll stop doing it.

As much as I love you, my dear reader, this is for me.

I’m happy to share it with you though and I have absolutely no objection to you doing the same!

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - alternate movie poster

Movie Review – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Having never been a fan of romantic movies – just not wired up that way – I approached this film with caution and a completely open mind. Seeing Jim Carrey playing the lead I was the back foot so I wiped my mind of all things Ace Ventura or Mask Related. I hadn’t read the blurb or previously shown any interest in the movie due to my massive prejudice of the genre so I just dived in and watched with as few preconceptions as possible. Somebody stop me! Sorry.

Movie poster: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindAs soon as the movie starts and we wake up with the main character Joel (Jim Carrey) we feel a kind of empathy with his sucky rat-race life, as he heads off to work. Just another boring da… wait, this is romance, obviously something extraordinary will happen. Predictably, something does happen at this point and the romantic journey begins with a rare act of impulse.

As you would expect, he meets a girl. That girl is a neurotic, impulsive and somewhat superficial character called Clementine, played by Kate Winslet. Their meeting has a kind of awkward cuteness and an air of something not quite being right. Trust me, when it clicks as to why, it clicks hard.

Enter the conflict. Not surprisingly, the character traits you pick up on from both characters cause them to drive each other apart. At this stage of the movie, I’m thinking it’s all a bit standard, save for some nice Michael Chapman style photography in the opening titles which seem to come in quite late in the game.

It all starts to get a bit strange when a memory wiping procedure enters into the plot. When I say strange, I’m talking David Lynch strange. Initially I thought the movie might be a mobius strip like Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. Some of the visual effetcs and concepts that are introduced frome hereon in are more in-line with sci-fi than romance. It’s at this point that you have to pay attention because conflict gets added to conflict and a whole new romantic sub-plot (or maybe more) gets introduced. Did you wonder why someone as high profile as Kirsten Dunst was playing a mere secretary? It turns out that she’s more important to the plot than you might at first think.

What you’re wondering now is whether there’s a happy ending or not. It’s a romance so there must be a happy ending, right?

I’m not going to spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it yet because I strongly recommend that you do. It gets a 4/5 rating from me. Surprisingly enjoyable, not too mushy and slightly warped in places. Great stuff, however you’re wired up.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on IMDB

Year: 2004

Director: Michel Gondry

Writers: Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, Pierre Bismuth

My Rating: 4/5

Why am I doing movie reviews?

Moodles In Full Effect

App.net Goes Free – Hardly Anyone Notices

The social network for nerds, App.net now has a free option for users who don’t want to splash the cash. The news seems to have had very little impact on the world outside the network.

App.net - Lee Stacey user profile

Before the change, users could only use App.net if they paid $36 per year or $5 per month. The theory being that if users pay for the service rather than advertisers, the service will evolve in a more user-centric manner.

The new free option is typical of a freemium offer. It’s like try before you buy. Free users can only currently be invited by paid members and only have limited access to the service.

Where paid users get the full spectrum of usage, freemium members have the following limitations:

  • They can only follow a maximum of 40 users
  • Only 500 MB of available file storage
  • Maximum file upload size of 10 MB

If you do receive an invite from someone, check it out and don’t give up if you don’t immediately understand what’s going on. There’s something – I don’t know what – about this App.net thing that seems to resonate with me.

While you’re there, give me a shout. I go by the username of @LStacey. As Bob Hoskins used to say “it’s good to talk”.

 

Google+ is a bloody nightmare

Perhaps the title of this rant is a little unfair. Google+, in itself, is pretty good. It’s me that is the problem. In fact, it’s my dual identity.

I use Gmail as my main mail provider. Can’t fault that, it’s been great for years. Naturally this same account is what’s at the core of my Google+ profile and subsequently all other Google services share this one account. It’s perfect. Except it isn’t…

My work email is also Gmail based. This account also has a Google+ profile.

Therein lies the problem. I have two Google+ identities. People I contact on my work address are usually drawn to connect to my work Google+ account. People I know outside of my dayjob usually connect to my personal account. Usually. Not always. It’s confusing.

I would like, if at all possible, to merge my two Gmail accounts into one Google+ account.

I don’t want two Google+ profiles.

If you know of a workaround, hack or other magic bullet, or want to share your Google+ experience then please leave me a comment below.