Twitter PR Win For Sainsbury’s

This is a particularly good Twitter PR moment from a while back for UK grocer Sainsbury’s I happened upon lately. It works because of the follow-up, and also for the brief interjection of personality and humor:

And then…

But what really counts is that Sainsbury’s followed up the comedy moment with direction for the customer to call them directly.

SainsburysThis has all the makings of Twitter being done right for customer service and PR:

  1. The brand shared an actual human-like response
  2. It was funny
  3. But they take it seriously; hence the phone redirect
  4. We’re talking about it

I noticed this via a LinkedIn discussion from Twitter for PR Communicators about PR Daily, who noticed it through AdWeek.

Also, rest in peace, Ultimate Warrior.

What do you think? Is this use of humor appropriate? Have you ever experienced a humorous interaction from a brand via Twitter or some other channel? Let us hear from you in the comments.

How to Automate Tweets

For the past several weeks I’ve been experimenting with auto-populating my Twitter stream through RSS feeds and automatically tweeting updates. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.”

Automated TweetsYes, I know social media is about interaction and connections, but here’s why I’m OK, philosophically, with this approach: I normally share news items I find interesting all the time. I’ve just set up a way for that a happen automatically, and with more frequency than would be happening if I were doing so manually, and I love it.

I still manually tweet, retweet and reply to tweets, of course, but now I’ve also set up a way for other things to come in that I wouldn’t ordinarily have the time to share.

In fact, I’ve noticed that engagement is on the rise for me using this approach. I’m getting more favorites and retweets, as well as comments and conversations. I feel this is just as good, if not better than if I were scouring my sources for this content by hand.

Automate your Twitter content

This is possible through the magic of IFTTT.com — which stands for “If This Then That.” Here’s how to make it happen:

  1. Sign up with IFTTT.com
  2. Find some RSS feeds of sites with content you would like to share. For example, here are some I use from The New York Times, The Atlantic and CNN Tech.
  3. Set up an IFTTT recipe that posts a tweet each time there’s a new item in the feed. It should look like so:
  4. iftttRepeat this for as few or as many RSS feeds you like. In my case, many of the blogs I follow automatically provide links to their feeds, which are generally in the format of http://nameofblog/feed.

That’s it! Your Twitter stream is about to be hopping, with all the news you see to include from the sources you select. Just don’t let it replace your actual interaction on the site.

Curated Content? Curated Sources.

The stories I share are of interest to me, covering such topics as art, photography, technology, and humor – all things that I would be sharing anyway. So it’s still curated content, since I’m in effect curating the sources.

And I’m on Twitter as much as I was before experimenting with automation. I still respond to mentions, and converse with other Twitter users just as I always have. The only difference now is that instead of five tweets a day, my stream has about 50, many of which I never would have discovered Just in my own web browsing, so it’s also a reading list generation for myself.

This is not to say this approach will work for everyone. Or that flooding your Twitter stream with the same exact headlines as BuzzFeed will make you a Twitter superstar. I’ve just found something that meets my goals of expanding what I would already be doing, which includes more interaction — and isn’t that the point, after all?

What do you think? Have you experimented with automating content before? Have you followed the above steps, and if so, what have your results been? Let us hear from you in the comments.
Related articles

So Deep As The Sky

So Deep As The Sky

There is nothing under the sky
we can’t learn or unlearn
nothing preventing us
from ascending

There’s a deeper understanding
beyond any of us
beyond it all
beyond

Time and reflection can happen
but still we wonder
let it lead us
on down

Time can carry us elsewhere
as it will always do
never ending
irreverent
true.

Let it happen.

Musical accompaniment: Men At Work – Overkill

In The News? LinkedIn Knows!

Perhaps you have a role as a spokesperson for your business or your public relations clients that sees your name, or their names in print, broadcast or on the web. If this is the case, then you’ll want to be paying attention to LinkedIn more closely.

LinkedIn is rolling out a new feature where you or your contacts are mentioned in your email if they (or you) are “in the news.”

LinkedIn Mentioned In The News

I reached out to LinkedIn for details on this, including how to disallow it, should a site member wish to be excluded from the program. I also asked how they differentiate between users with similar names (how do they know to highlight the right Richard Smith, for example?) Here is their response:

We do have back end algorithms that differentiate members with similar names. We also offer functionality to disable this from your settings. You can turn your activity broadcasts on or off and select who can see your activity on their homepage from the Privacy & Settings page.

-Ciara
LinkedIn Trust & Safety

So if you’re already famous, get ready for more exposure. And if you aren’t famous already, LinkedIn can now help you get there – unless you’d rather it not, in which case you might want to review your settings.

What do you think? Are you active on LinkedIn? What are your observations of the site? Do you find this new feature beneficial or intrusive? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Olloclip Macro Lens and Quick Clip Case for iPhone Review

Macro, close-up photography via smartphone opens a whole new world of detail and interesting possibilities for mobile photographers.

Olloclip macro lens and Quick Flip case

Olloclip macro lens and Quick Flip case.

And for the more committed practitioners, I definitely recommend stepping up to the Olloclip macro lens.

I happened upon Olloclip’s booth at the SXSW trade show recently, and after a hands-on look at the lens and accompanying Quick Flip case (impressive engineering in its own right), I bought one on the spot thanks to the show special of getting a free case with a lens purchase. Gotta’ love trade shows.

The whole outfit is deliberately and intelligently engineered. The system is everything an accessory lens should be: easy, convenient, strong, affordable; and the case is really what sold me, since it solves for my major gripe of having to otherwise remove a case or deal with a less desirable alternative (such as an adhesive magnet, or just manually holding the lens to the iPhone). I also dig the futuristic, sleek design of the case — it has almost a cyborg-esque feel and even allows for tripod attachment.

Here’s a video review of the case itself:

And here’s a look at my first project with the Olloclip Macro lens:

Macro Budding Cactus Flower

“Budding Time”
This is a close look at a budding cactus from my kitchen with a little extra lens flare. What’s extra cool to me is that some of the flare spots happened organically, and so that inspired me to add a little more via the LensFlare app. I did some post-processing with Dynamic Light, and voila: surrealism macro magic.

Feather at Regular and Macro View:

feather macro

Here’s a feather from a pillow on my kitchen table at regular view, then at 21x via the Olloclip lens, with no post-processing. You can actually count the individual barbules. Also, I’m excited to use the word “barbules” in a blog post.

These results speak for themselves. While there are a number of macro lenses available for smartphones, Olloclip has gotten it right at every level.

I’ve long been a fan of my previous macro lens made by Olloclip’s competitor, Photojojo, and at $20, it’s still one heckuva deal — a great way to get familiar with the possibilities of macro photography via smartphone. But for a bit more up front ($70 for the Olloclip macro lens), you get much more overall. Pair it with the Quick Flip case, and you’ll be set for some serious macro fun for a long time to come.

What do you think? Ever used an accessory lens for smartphone photography? Or for traditional camera photography? What’s a discovery you’ve treated yourself to lately? Let us hear from you in the comments.

7 Street Art Shots from SXSW 2014

In-the-moment around Austin

Click for locations and full size views via Flickr:

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

austin, atx, street, art, graffiti, streetart, urban, paint, spray, spray paint, artists, artist, unsanctioned, texas, tx, usa, united states, sxsw, sxsw2014, 2014, public, street installation, urban art, guerilla, guerilla art, noedit, iphone, iphone5, austinstreetart,

I had the good fortune to attend South By Southwest this year in Austin, and I made it a point to document interesting street art wherever I found it. Above are the best random examples I discovered in walking about the city. This is by no means a thorough report, but just what I happened to see wherever my feet took me. Some of these have already been painted over, which I think underscores the fleeting nature of the medium.

What do you think? Ever seen any inspiring street art in your city or on your travels? Ever created any street art yourself? Let us hear from you in the comments.

My Art Website: RSMITHINGS.com

So I have this new website for my photomontage artwork: RSMITHINGS.com (Richard + Smith + things = rsmithings). I assign it full blame for the lack of regular postings around here lately. But that’s OK, since I’m my own boss as far as this blog goes. I called a departmental meeting, and we worked it all out.

RSMITHINGS.com - Ephemeral Surrealism PhotomontageBut seriously, check out my art project. If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen fit to subscribe to this blog for some weird reason, and I truly value your perspective. I produce these artworks in my spare time using images from my everyday surroundings, travels, and specially-commissioned photos.

My Super-official Artist Statement:

My process is like carving a sculpture, with the edges of my fingers forming lines to define shapes and reveal serendipitous relationships — not unlike physically placing individual elements as in a paper collage — except I do this through masking, blending and mimicking established photographic techniques like solarization or vignetting. Each piece is meticulously crafted with these and other ingredients, using direct touch to form a hierarchy of narrative. A final composition is the culmination of fusing disparate elements into a kind of empyrean abstract union.

Wow! Fancy, huh?

The hardest thing to do for the site was to write a decent statement like that. The rest of the content I was able to assemble in my spare time in just a few weeks, populating it with pieces I’ve created over the last couple of years, and I’m still adding to the portfolio.

Some Recent Creations:

RSMITHINGS - Portfolio

It’s been a thrill for me to get all this in one place,
and I do hope you enjoy it.

What do you think? Ever created or been featured on an art website? Are you interested In surrealism? Let us hear from you in the comments.