Going viral: How a throwaway tweet got 100,000 views

After all my time on Twitter the nearest I have come to a viral tweet is a comment made during the Big Benefits Row televised debate.  It was retweeted 116 times and 82 people added it to their favourites list. So it was with sheer fascination that I watched a Eurovision tweet created by my friend Bob trundle its way around the intewebs.  Here's Bob's take on his viral experience.

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The grand final of Eurovision 2014 had it all, from busty Polish milkmaids to bearded 'ladies', along with its fair share of nonsensical lyrics.

As usual, I was watching with subtitles on, as this gives you the English translation of songs sung in their native language - such as Italy's entry, La Mia Citta ('My City'), sung by Emma Marrone. It wasn't a totally awful song, but it was Italy's worst ever, scoring just 33 points and ranking 21st overall.

But for me, the most interesting thing about Emma's performance was the 94,000 (and climbing) Twitter views it got me.

I Love Tweeting Inattentively


First and foremost, I love to tweet anything I find even mildly amusing. Life can be pretty dull sometimes, and you never know what might brighten up someone's day. I'm a writer, so I have a lot of writers as followers, and that also means anything to do with words makes good Twitter fodder for me. So when Emma randomly sang the line 'I love parking inattentively', it was worthy of a quick (and blurry) photo of my TV, tweeted with the not-too-imaginative caption 'BEST LYRIC OF THE NIGHT'.


Over two days (and nearly 100,000 views) later, my tweet is still being retweeted and favorited by people I've never heard of and, apart from the occasional '22 people favorited your tweet' notification, never will.

At the last count, my tweet had been seen over 94,000 times, more than 3,000 people had clicked on the link to the picture (the rest must have just seen it as an image preview within their Twitter timeline), almost 2,000 retweeted it, and almost 1,000 favorited it.

Where Did It All Go Right?


Big events like Eurovision, major award ceremonies, sporting events and so on are prime candidates for going viral - and when there's an obvious hashtag to use like #Eurovision, your chances of being seen are even greater.

In my case, I also mentioned @YPLAC in my tweet, a popular website dedicated to recording examples of people parking like a cu... erm, people 'parking inattentively'. Was it my language-obsessed followers, the @YPLAC crowd or the #Eurovision hashtag that triggered my best-ever tally of retweets?

The answer is, it was undoubtedly a combination of everything - a tweet with several specific areas of appeal can ultimately be more than just the sum of its partial audiences.

Words of Warning


Surprisingly, I didn't get any backlash from this tweet, although a few people made borderline racist comments about Italian people's ability to park attentively under any circumstances. In hindsight, a better, less blurry picture might have done even better, but I'm not really dwelling on that either, it's just nice to have my timeline back under control instead of it being a blur of retweets.

Spare a thought for @merseyboyred, whose tweet comparing the Austrian entry to the guy from the Snickers advert did about ten times as well as mine, but who had email notifications switched on for each of those 20,000 retweets. If you're gonna go viral, or even try to, you might want to switch off notifications first!



And finally, do I wish I'd watermarked my image with my Twitter handle? No, not really. This isn't my first picture to go viral - the Mirror are still using my image of Countdown's 'ITCHYSEMI' moment and just vaguely attributing it to 'Buzzfeed/Twitter'. (See that pattern of lines on the top half of the clock? That's because it's a photograph of my TV, rather than a screen grab, and it's how I know for certain that I took that photo.)

But I don't really own Eurovision or Countdown, and they could easily have got a screen grab of their own from elsewhere - I didn't create the content, not really.

Compare this with content I genuinely made myself - such as my MasterCard #PricelessSurprises Venn diagram, which the Guardian used with full attribution - and I think there's a big difference. You just can't be precious about happy-snapped things off the telly; once you send it off into Twitterland, it's out of your hands. 

Besides, with 20,000 email notifications coming your way, you might be glad for the two or three that don't give you credit.



Bob Bardsley |  Phronesis Freelance
All images reproduced with kind permission

The Best Way To Socialise Whilst Trawling The Web

The internet can be a vast and daunting experience for those of you who traverse across its many sites and web pages alone, so it might be wise to make some friends along the way. How, how can I do that without coming across with many of the same mannerisms of a stalker, I hear you ask? Well the answer is simple; play some games, have some fun and stay away from the business sections.

First though, you must make sure you are comfortable with what you are doing. There is no point in trying to make new friends in a fight to the death on one of the many role-playing games out there, so it may be best to take baby steps and try some more familiar games like bingo first. Today’s technology allows fully functioning chat rooms so you can speak to players in your game room and most people will often have the same agenda as you do; to play a few, casual games whilst engaging in some light-hearted conversation.

Chat rooms are particularly popular on online bingo websites such as Winner Bingo, 888 and Wink where the social aspect is almost just as important as the gameplay. Plus, if you are a lucky bingo winner, then you can share your good fortune with other players and help to spur them on. You’d be surprised at the amount of camaraderie found in the chat rooms – you’ll find that other players are genuinely happy if someone gets a win.

Alternatively, you may find yourself a tad too competitive for online gaming and opt for other web pages, such as lifestyle, health or other sites. These pages will often have comment sections and forums, in which you can strike up a topic and attain answers from all areas of the world, as they look to join in the debate. You might ask a simple question such as ‘What is the best recipe for a cake?’ and be returned more than enough solutions, leaving you with quite a dilemma when choosing which recipe to actually follow!

A positive of the forum chats, is that they are monitored constantly and any comments that are negative or unwanted are simply removed, so you can feel free to say what you are thinking without being mocked, ridiculed or subdued. The resultant friendly atmosphere makes for the perfect place to meet new people and converse, whilst saving you the effort of searching for hours on end through ‘hashtags’ on social media to find people you have things in common with. You ask the questions, they give you the answers, it’s really that simple. Or, you could be the one answering the questions, to which you might find more joy, either way, forums are a sure-fire way to stoke the conversational flames.

This is a featured article. For more information please see my disclosure policy.

Children And Their Internet Use (survey)

I am hoping to pull together a presentation about the way in which children (under the age of 16) use the internet and how much their parents know about it.  The presentation will mainly be centred around teenagers and the freedom (or not) that they have with their internet access both at home and on their mobile phones.  

I would be extremely grateful if you could fill in the survey below (or access it here) to help with my research. Please share it among your social networks too because if more people fill it in, the better the information gleaned. The survey should take about five minutes to complete.

If you would like a copy of the findings send direct to you please ensure you share your email address where prompted. The results will be published here on Geekalicious via SlideShare in the very near future.

Thank you.


How to embrace technology to help creative collaborations

transmagic translation software
Image Credit : Transmagic
Creative industries have always relied on collaboration. Well before the introduction of computers, groups of designers would have gathered together around physical drawing boards to make comments on one another's work. Computers have only made this collaborative process easier.

From graphics in marketing to the design stage in an engineer's work space, technology has become a priceless tool not only for the design, but also for this collaborative element. Here, we take a closer look at how designers can go about embracing technology to help with their creative collaborations.

Using translation software


Each designer will often use different platforms throughout different stages of a single project. Throughout the process, as each design gets filtered through a variety of different pieces of software, as well as through different designers' computers, it's important that you spare some thought for compatibility.

Using Transmagic translation software is one way to ensure that the work you do can be viewed and altered by everyone you send it to. This is the best way to reduce the likelihood of running into trouble in the event that you and your colleagues are shifting between CAD systems.

Take advantage of your network


If you're sharing an office space with your collaborative partners, there's plenty of opportunity to take advantage of your network to help with your work. This could involve sending your work to their printers, remotely controlling their computers for a period of time or even making use of a shared monitor somewhere in the office.

For remote collaborations, it's possible to use the cloud as your own network. This will make it easy for you and your partners to keep up to date with the work that one another are doing – no matter where you are.

Holding regular video conferences


Collaborative projects always work better when everyone involved is able to communicate clearly and regularly. Of course, this is simple enough if you're working with your team in one office but it can be more challenging for those working remotely.

For those projects where you're not sat around a desk, video conferences can be a good idea. Not only will this allow you to feel closer to the people you're working with, but it will give you an opportunity to use visual aids to help express opinions on various design ideas. Where possible, sharing your screen can also be of some help

This is a featured post. For more information please see my disclosure policy.

Google Plus Is Not An Ex-Parrot


Over the past few days I have been tagged in many online conversations with the main question being, "Is Google Plus finished then?"  

Points to note are that none of these conversations happened on Google+ itself, all of the conversations were between bloggers who maybe haven't got to grips with the G+ way of life and most of the participants of these conversations were already wondering if they were about to suffer from social media fatigue.


It's simple.  Google Plus is going nowhere.  The rumours stem from a TechCrunch article - Google+ Is Walking Dead - which is an piece musing about the future of G+ now that the main developer is leaving the fold. I believe it was written purposefully to murky the waters (and has generated many spin-off articles) but you can read it and make up your own mind.

Here are my views. Forced integration of all Google products was maybe a misguided idea because it alienates people who choose not to use all of Google's online facilties. Users want choice. Give them that choice and more often than not they will choose the one you want them to anyway.  Some of the issue surrounds the fact that Google encourages people to use their own (real) name which isn't ideal if users want to use a nickname or blog anonymously (for example). Therefore bloggers installing the G+ commenting system are possibly losing some of their reader interaction.

But moving back to the main event.  Google+ has been in development for a long time.  Remember Google Buzz, Google Talk, Google Wave and iGoogle? Shades of all of these previous projects (and more) can be seen in Google Plus and maybe it was a case of 'suck it and see' to find out what did and didn't work. I agree that doing this in the public arena was a gamble but with an online product you need unbiased testers and you need to hear truthfully what the feedback is. Then you need to adapt and move forward. One thing that Google is good at is innovation.

The main developer of G+ - and all of Google's main players - agree that this system is now fully developed, is working effectively and doesn't need any further adjustment other than minor technical tweaks.  Therefore it makes sense for people to move on and development teams to be moved to other departments to use their expertise elsewhere within the organisation, or even further afield.  As I said earlier this week, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it - take note, Facebook."

You may think that hardly anyone is using the G+ platform; that it is the greatest social media platform that no-one has heard of; that only bloggers and digital publishers are using it.  Maybe they are the best people to use it? After all, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) was built in to the platform to ensure that quality content was incorporated into the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) alongside author accreditation.  And 300 million active users [source] can't be wrong can they? 

It is the same with any social media platform - it will have it's lovers and it's haters. If you don't like it, don't use it. I have Facebook friends who have never set fingertip on Twitter. There are those who don't own an Instagram account or won't spend hours getting lost on Pinterest.

Even though Google appear to have the digital user market by the short and curlies you don't have to use their products. Use a different browser instead of Chrome. Open a different search engine instead of using Google search. Steer clear of their maps and alter your images in something other than Picasa.  It's not the law to use Google, however you have to agree that the time and money they have invested into providing free products to use has to be applauded. 

Google Plus is an intuitive platform and it's one that I've loved learning about. When I post updates on G+ I don't get anywhere near the interaction I do on Twitter or Facebook but the content I read is much more varied and often a lot more (technically) intelligent  than I normally access which encourages me to investigate, research and learn. There are also people that I have had the opportunity to interact with that I would never have encountered on other social media platforms.  

As some further reading, you may find this article about Larry Page interesting. It tells the story of Google from beginning until now.  Definitely not the end.



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When tech dreams become reality...

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Ever looked at a new piece of technology and thought that it wouldn’t look out of place in a science fiction film? Actually, as it turns out, that's where it may have come from...

As the speed of development in science and technology grows ever faster, the latest gadgets are becoming more accessible than ever. Once the preserve of the young and rich, more and more people are able to play a part in this technological revolution – including the elderly.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there has been a sizeable increase in the number of people age over 65 who are using a computer on a daily basis. The benefits of technology for this demographic are clear; it’s much easier to stay in touch with friends and family (leading to reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation) and access services which may be of benefit – McCarthy & Stone homes for sale which are advertised online are a prime example.

Just as the technology of the present inspires older generations, so films of the past are inspiring exciting new technologies. Films and technology have long been linked. The science fiction area of the 1950s and 1960s added fuel to the fire of the space race and now technology that was once the stuff of dreams is entering the realm of reality.

Taking inspiration from TechRadar’s 10 amazing bits of future movie tech that already exist – here is a snapshot of what happens when tech dreams become reality.

Yesterday’s dreams are tomorrow’s gadgets

It’s funny to think that the tablet computer first made an appearance in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey - just one example of how the dreams of yesterday are the gadgets of tomorrow. In fact, many of our favourite tech goodies were actually the work of fiction before some intelligent soul saw fit to make all our dreams come true.

Everything is super

Incredibly, the US army is even attempting to develop an exoskeleton suit not dissimilar to the one worn by Iron Man. With superheroes a popular topic in both written media and film, it’s clear that future technological developments will put a clear focus on all things ‘super’.This suit isn’t the only item from films to be attempted in reality either. The hand from the Terminator movies, for example, could mark a huge step forward for prosthetic limbs as experts look at ways to bring this element of fiction to life.

Unparalleled freedom

Even the sci-fi staple of a futuristic driverless car may not be that far from making its debut on real- life roads. Google has already having tested a prototype of this technology on the streets of San Francisco, while Ford are developing a car that takes control of the steering if you’re about to crash.We might not quite be whizzing around on hoverboards or travelling through time, but technology that awes us in the cinema is slowly beginning to infiltrate the real world and prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that anything really is possible when you put your mind to it.


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