Published on Friday, December 7, 2012

Kate and Wills, the Pope - everyone's realising the power of Twitter

Less than three weeks to go until Christmas and the cold weather has hit. So, take a load off, grab a cuppa and read up on all the social media news that's fit to be writ...

You knew we had to start with it... The biggest story in the world this week was undoubtedly the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy. Shortly after the news was broken by Clarence House it was revealed that the Duke and Duchess had made the announcement early amid concerns that it would become public on Twitter and repeated on other social networking sites. Their decision comes amid growing concern that the internet appears beyond the reach of regulation, reinforced by Lord Justice Leveson's report last week which labelled it an "ethical vacuum". Indeed, the Duchess's pregnancy has been the subject of fevered speculation on the internet ever since the couple married and showing no signs of slowing down, within hours of the announcement hundreds of Royal foetus' had taken to Twitter, tweeting from within the Royal womb. Have a look at a few of the better tweets here.

Staying in the Twittersphere, with the announcement that His Holiness Pope Benedict has launched his own Twitter profile, it's clear that Kate and Wills aren't the only ones taking note on the social network's ever growing clout. Promising 'pearls of wisdom' in the Pope's own words, the Vatican has said that the Pope's decision to join Twitter was based on his firm conviction that the Church must be present in the digital arena which represents the 21st century's forum for exchanging dialogue and ideas. The Pope, who has chosen the handle @pontifex (meaning 'Pope' and 'bridge builder' in Latin) has said that the tweets will be delivered in multiple languages including Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish with more languages potentially being added in the future. Within hours of it launch, @pontifex was trending and had more than a hundred thousand followers. No word yet on whether the Holy Father will prove to be more popular than Lady Gaga who currently holds the most followers at 31,797,340.

One minute, you're the toast of the town; the next, you're toast. After being heralded last week for their creative Middle Earth inspired safety video (which has racked up nearly 10 million views on YouTube), Air New Zealand was thrown into the spotlight this week after an embarrassing PR blunder — the airline published a joke on its website that implied a disgraced female shot putter had testicles. The joke about Belarusian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who was stripped of her gold medal at the London Games for doping, landed the company in hot water on social media where it was accused of transphobia. Twitter users hammered the airline, calling on it to apologise for the "unbelievably offensive" joke, and pledging to boycott its services. Deciding to gloss over the incident rather than apologise, Air NZ responded by tweeting: "not everyone likes our xmas cracker jokes so tell us your tacky kiwi jokes & we'll add our favourites into the cracker".

A report looking at social media in the FTSE100 has found a correlation between social media performance and daily share price movement. The report suggests that the companies doing better at social media are seeing positive changes in their share price. The Social Media in the City study also found that two-thirds of FTSE 100 companies perform below average on the main social media networks. There will also some surprises among the top ten best performers in that they come from some unexpected sectors; for instance mining firm Vedanta and computer chip maker ARM Holdings are both in the top 10. The report also looked at social media performance by industry, revealing that pharmaceutical & biotechnology companies and oil & gas producers are the most social media savvy amongst the list of 19 industries while the travel and leisure sector comes in at 11th. Looks like we all have some work to do...

Finally, to round out the week, Unruly Media have released the top 20 most shared social video ads of 2012. While household brands such Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, P&G, Nike and Volkswagen all feature prominently in the 2012 chart it was a little-known non-profit that scooped the most amount of eyeballs this past year. Kony 2012, created and released by the not-for-profit Invisible Children, was by far the most shared ad of 2012, generating 10.1 million shares since it launched on March 5. What's interesting to note is that while for years big brands put their pounds into the 30-second ad, the success of Kony shows that with engaging content and a comprehensive distribution strategy, the right 30-minute video can be even more powerful.

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