Can phones affect the way our food tastes?


As a digital person most often surrounded by other digital people, I see the backs of a lot of mobile phones and a lot of people see the back of mine. Endless studies have been conducted into the way this little device, which holds pretty much all the knowledge in the world and access to likeminded people from across the world, alters the way we interact with the people sat opposite with us in a range of social situations.

However a new study has shown that aside from altering the flow of conversation with friends, having a phone at the table can actually affect the way we enjoy the tastes and smells of food.

It seems like the sort of statement us tech-savvy lot would scoff at but the results and the study seem sound, with diners invited aboard a restaurant in a disused tube carriage (the unusual setting all the more suited to social sharing) and asked to put their phones away from the second course onward.

After some initial anger and anxiety at being detached from their device, the diners were asked to detail their experience. Fairly obviously the conversation flowed better and more naturally, but many also pointed out that they more actively enjoyed the aroma and tastes of the food when they weren’t concerning themselves with finding the best angle for Instagram.

Interestingly though, only around 30% supported a ban on phones in restaurants but 80% thought they should be put away at the dinner table. Looks like table manners aren’t dead just yet!


Facebook finally create a dislike button


It seems that Facebook has finally given in to the demands of its users and is working on a ‘dislike’ button.

Whilst it seems to be the perfect companion to their world famous ‘like’ system, it’s something that Mark Zuckerberg and his team have strenuously resisted in the past, fearing that the ability to dislike somebody’s news, tastes or updates will create an antagonistic atmosphere.

Of course you can already argue with your Facebook friends to your heart’s content in the comments section but most people are socially aware enough to not just jump in with two feet whenever you don’t like something, that’s usually reserved for more ideological disagreements.

Facebook say they want the new feature to express condolence or sympathy, because lets face it you shouldn’t be ‘liking’ somebody’s upsetting news. I can’t help feeling they should have called it a sympathy button instead of the harsh dislike. Maybe the huge global presence should have tried something different instead of sticking so closely to its brand on this one.

Read more from Danielle and the DDCA team on the DDCA website.

BitStrips: Here to Stay?

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 16.50.17You’re no doubt aware of this latest craze to sweep Facebook, however users have very mixed feelings towards it. I am, of course, talking about BitStrips and the world seems to have gone mad for them!

To give you a bit of a catch up, BitStrips are personalised comic strips whereby users can create an avatar of themselves and/or their friends and compose a still image to tell a story.

Some are using the BitStrips as milestones or to highlight a special event, however others are using them regularly as status updates.

It’s understandable that some are finding the BitStrips annoying: my own newsfeed is inundated with them! Admittedly, at first I found them quite a fun way to communicate and I did enjoy reading them.

However, if like me you find yourself sighing every time you come across one, fear not! They can be hidden from view by simply using the drop down arrow at the top-right hand corner of the BitStrip. Simply select “Hide all from BitStrips” and you shan’t be faced with the comics any longer.

Alternatively, if you’re keen to get amongst the latest fad, I’ve found this useful link on Mashable – it guides you through set up of your very own avatar and explains how to publish your very own BitStrip comic.

Whichever side of the fence you sit on, in your opinion are BitStrips here to stay?



The Perils of Twitter Advertising

As marketers continue to get to grips with the ever-changing world of social media marketing, there continues to be a number of black holes appearing that remain sealed in bureaucracy.

It’s all too easy to be blindsided by the benefits of social media advertising and forget to insure your best interests. Therefore I’ve invested some time this week in researching some of the perils that Twitter advertising could present to brands both big and small.

Promoted Tweets are certainly straightforward solutions to your Twitter marketing needs. As with Facebook advertising, you’re in control of your message and who sees it. But it’s worth remembering that social media marketing is still within the grasp of your man in the street.

Just last week Chicago-based business owner, Hasan Syed, bought a promoted Tweet for little more than $1,000 to slam British Airways following particularly poor customer service. It simply read: “Don’t fly with @British_Airways. They can’t keep track of your luggage”.

British Airways Twitter

The Tweet was not only seen by Syed’s 400 followers, but also 50,000 other Twitter users that were specifically “targeted” during the campaign. By tagging @British_Airways in the content too, Syed potentially exposed the Tweet via search fields to many of BA’s own 303,000+ followers too.

Marty St. George, a marketing executive at JetBlue, Tweeted soon after: “Interesting; a disgruntled customer is buying a promoted tweet slamming a brand where they had a bad experience. That’s a new trend itself!”

He warned that the use of promoted tweets as a form of consumer complaint could be the start of an emerging trend. This acts as a stark reminder that gone are the days where the brand itself is the powerhouse; in this day in age, the consumer is in the driving seat. Social media has proven to be a powerful weapon for disgruntled consumers who are able to act on their freedom of speech to effectively slate the offending brand.

It is proven that people “listen” on social media. When using the likes of Facebook or Twitter, people are typically engaged for long periods of time. So much so that they may often find themselves interacting with the stories of complete strangers.

It only takes a few hours for a post to go viral and in those few hours some serious damage can be done to even the toughest brands.

Another way of reaching your audience, which is growing in popularity particularly in the US, is celebrity endorsement. Stars such as Khloe Kardashian are reported to earn as much as £5,000 per Tweet, thus exposing the product or service to millions of users in one swift go. However, one UK campaign that went awry (but arguably boosted the brand in question nonetheless) goes back to early 2012, when Twitter advertising was still in its infancy.

Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand were amongst various famous faces that took part in a Snickers campaign, which led to a probe by the Advertising Standards Agency.

Katie Price Snickers

‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ was at risk of breaching 2008 consumer protection regulations simply by not clearly stating that the Tweets in question were adverts.

Of course, with Twitter advertising you run a major risk of being “spammy” too. Despite the good intentions of your campaign, it’s likely that your message will find its way onto the news feeds of some of the most irrelevant users on the network. Yes, this counts towards the exposure you’re aiming for, but clogging up news feeds with bumf can sometimes do more damage than good – it’s important to get the balance right.

With so many unexplored risks to advertising on Twitter, it’s definitely worthwhile doing your research.

As the popularity of this marketing tool grows, I’m sure legislation will do its best to keep up. The future of digital relies heavily on social media for both pleasure and commercial uses – however much you may still be trying to avoid admitting it.

If you’d like a chat on how Twitter could help your business, please do get in touch. Why not follow me on Twitter @DanielleDunn_CA to stay in the loop too?