Brit Is World’s Fastest Texter. Or. Get Ready to Feel Old and Slow.

I’m not sure whether or not this PR stunt was planned, but it seems a young woman in the UK is soon to be dubbed the world’s fastest texter and the people at Samsung have been quick to muster around their SWYPE keypad.

An impromptu challenge while shopping with her boyfriend near Manchester, UK had 27-year old Melissa Thompson text:

“the razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human”

Try it. You’ll soon feel like a neanderthal trying to text using a tomato. Ms. Thompson did it in just 25.94 seconds.

Europe trails only Asia in SMS usage and the US isn’t far behind. We’re talking billions of messages sent each month which is why Brits may knock out the rest of the competition. And the growth of mobile in the hands of parents and grandparents will only underline the need for easier, (read: arthritic-free) texting solutions. SWYPE may be onto something.

Will SWYPE kill QWERTY? Will consumers soon groan at having to pick up their fingers while typing the way we  criticize multi-touch keypads? Pressing a keypad three times to yield a single letter? I mean, REALLY.

Full story here.


Stephen Fry: 1, Mankind: 0

I giggle and clap when the offline waltzes with the online, but practically turn to gelatinous  when it involves none other than the alabaster-tanned, sex-pot genius, Mr. Stephen Fry.

While Down Under promoting his autobiography, The Fry Chronicles, rumors have been rampant in Thames-land that Mr. Fry will nix his traditional book tour plans in place of multiple readings that are video-taped and prompted by his weapon of choice – Twitter.

Per The Evening Standard:

“Instead, for three nights only, he will sit sedately at the Royal Festival Hall and two other venues and read selected nuggets from his book under the gaze of video cameras. A live satellite link-up will then beam Fry to 60 cinemas where, the producers hope, up to 12,000 more fans will slap down a credit card in exchange for a non-ringside seat.”

Stephen is one of the most followed individuals on Twitter with his agog 1.6 million (that’s MILLION) followers. He also blogs, writes, acts, even can’t avoid some drama.

He’s like Madonna wrapped up in a ham sandwich.

He’s bound to sell millions of copies of his book after the readings, not to mention reap the rewards of the jovial McSwipes of just as many credit cards. Those who don’t make it to a virtual reading will no doubt Google his name, catapulting it to SEO superspace.

So how does the host of QI do it? Well, he IS a genius.

Full story here:

Politics 2.0. Politicians Compete For Twitter Followers

Living in England, I do find myself missing my NPR. Tonight I had a rare moment to sit back and relax and an interesting story about American politicians leveraging social media caught my attention.

Did you know the GOP and the Democrats are going neck-and-neck encouraging representatives to get on Twitter? It’s not that surprising that the Blues are embracing social media, with President Obama as the lead example in connecting millions and with right-hand man David Ploeffe a household name. But, the GOP? Seriously?

This got me thinking and further prompted me to visit the GOP web site. They’ve got blogs, a social network, video and what looks like a steady stream of content so they more than deserve a passing grade. But it all stops there. The content is nothing more than a steady stream of spoofs and mock-u-mentary style mud-slinging. It takes up most of the home page and places news and updates at the sides. Really?

A rule of thumb in digital media is that anything you do MUST enhance the user’s experience. If getting a few chuckles is their goal, then they’re right on track.

Meanwhile the Democrats have promised a Twitter bird trophy to the constituent who generates the most followers. I say any engagement via Twitter is a good thing as it opens up one more channel. However, it must REMAIN open.

On this side of the pond, check out Tweetminster an excellent resource for all things politics and public affairs, including the increased number of politicians on Twitter — no doubt by the Clegg/Cameron digital face-off earlier last month.

Can Social Media Fast-Track Your Career in Mar/Comms?

The promotion of NBC Page Alumn Ryan Osborn to Director of Social Media for NBC News is inspiring.

Here’s a guy who started off no doubt spending his early days fetching coffee, picking up dry cleaning and organizing the social calendar for very, very busy execs. Eight years of sore feet and thankless hours, plus several years in the trenches as a top producer, and he’s gone from blazer to boardroom.

It’s safe to say his days of Ramen are over.

The industry-wide clamour for digital media has made those with event a glint of aptitude coveted soothsayers. One could even argue that social media is the easiest way to fast-track your career in Mar/Comms. Before you start signing up for an online course, understand that just like any other specialty area, you still need years of experience to do it WELL.

Digital media prowess isn’t born overnight. It takes years to learn and master only to have a new app, gadget or regulation reform turn the industry on its head. You have to be ready for that. You have to be ready for a demanding, heavy workload (because, let’s face it, we are still few in numbers).

For those of you who work with digital media mavens, consider grabbing them a free coffee, cookie or just saying thanks. It’s no surprise that you’ll often find a very passionate, creative soul behind your average digital media professional who spends many off-hours trolling the feeds, spends their own cash for the latest gadgets and hours of patience teaching colleagues how to speak the “language.” Nobody asks them to do it, but for many of us, it’s an investment and one we bring into your brainstorm last-minute amazing strategy session.

So props to Ryan, who I don’t know, but share a kinship love for digital media. And props to NBC for recognizing the talent among it’s own hallways and giving a guy a chance.

Are You Participating In Foursquare Day on April 16?

This Friday (April 16), more than 100 cities around the globe will participate in Foursquare Day, a day where “mayors” will surely be un-seated, unique badges awarded and swarms of iPhone-clad digiratis will flock to public places and do only God knows what.

From PC World: “Check-in at more places, and at the same place more frequently, than other users to generate the highest amount of points in your area and earn special badges for specific kinds of check-ins. For example, a user who checks into 20 different pizza places can earn the coveted “Pizzaiolo” badge, or the “Swarm” badge for checking into a Foursquare venue with at least 50 other users.”

Will you participate? C’mon. You know you want that “Pizzialo” badge. Although, college frats may have dibs on that. Also, what LA? not participating? #shockedbummedsad

For the working bit, check out the nifty list of participating businesses and sponsors:
Smart People List #1
Smart People List #2

Full piece here.

Facebook Fairytales Share Real Stories

Being in the trenches of MAR/COMS, it’s sometimes difficult to take a step back from the branded CPMs and recognize the incredible things happening in ordinary lives — made possible by ordinary people — thanks to the power of social networks.

I was pleasantly reminded of this when reading an interview with Facebook Fairytales author Emily Einhorn Liebert. Liebert’s book is stacked full of 25 heartwarming (some tragic) stories of amazing reunions, love stories, adoptions that have been made possible thanks to Facebook.

You can learn more about Leibert and her book, Facebook Fairytales in her own group. Why do I get the feeling we’ll see her on Oprah?

The next time you’re wrapped up in the latest political dust-up, celebrity scandal or international crisis, it might do you good to pick up a copy.

How To Handle A Customer Complaint: 101 – Or I Heart Richard Branson Part III

The latest entry on my series, Why I heart Sir Ricky B is really a no-brainer in customer service.

Picture it. An air passenger receives poor service, dodgy food and amenities, but rather than take it out on the nearest attendant, uses a pinch of humor to send a message of woe to the big boss. Blink and it’s 2010, his complaint has gone viral and it’s learned Branson personally telephoned the author.

What could have easily blown into a lawsuit or Crisis PR dream, was easily diffused by kindness, humor and a little forgiveness. The next time you feel like taking out your anger on an innocent employee, consider mom’s advice and write a letter — and answer your phone.