Welcome to the Ampersand Blog

The peeps at Kel & Partners have a lot to say. After all we are public relations and social media zealots who thrive on sharing interesting news and great stories with the public. The Ampersand Blog is really the voice of our Peeps – the kick-ass team of people that work at K&P. Whether it’s a story about the way PR works NOW, the social media universe, our families, beloved pets or quirky travel experiences, you’ll find it all right here. You may laugh, you may cry, but the best part is you’ll leave feeling “wicked smaht” as we like to say here in Boston.

Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

  • Facebook

    Kendyll Messina | Monday, June 2, 2014 1 Comment

    Get in the Social Know: Emerging Hashtag Definitions

    Hashtags. We see them all day across the social media landscape, not just on Twitter and Instagram. Most are simply combinations of phrases or abbreviations of words we are already familiar with, but then there are the other Hashtags, the ones that leave us thinking… “WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?!” I dedicate this article to those of you that struggle with these less-than-obvious hashtags. Don’t remain dazed and confused in the land of social media, check out the definitions of the latest and greatest in Hashtag lingo below, and let’s get in the social media know together…shall we?

    #mcm = Man Crush Monday

    • Definition: That one guy that as hard as you try, you simply cannot stop thinking about (whether he is attainable or not is beside the point). For example – Leo, Bradley, George, Justin, Adam, David… you get the picture

    #TT = Transformation Tuesday

    • Definition: Most of the time this will come in the form of a before and after photo. The “transformation” can be interpreted many different ways, whether it’s a photo of someone who has reached a fitness goal, or has finally cleaned up their extremely messy desk.

    #wcw = Woman Crush Wednesday

    • Definition: Similar to man crush Monday, this is when it’s most appropriate to post about a woman you find attractive or admire.

    #tbt = Throwback Thursday

    • Definition: Features a photo from the past, whether it’s an embarrassing photo from childhood or from just a few nights ago at the bar, which may still be embarrassing – but most importantly memorable.

    #FBF = Flashback Friday

    • Definition: Because you just didn’t get enough on Throwback Thursday…

    #FF = Follow Friday

    • Definition: Mainly on Twitter, this is when a person recommends that you follow someone they follow. This can be anything from a friend or celebrity, to a particular brand of clothing or restaurant.

    #SelfieSunday

    • Definition: When people take selfies on a Sunday. If you don’t know what a selfie is, you may just be a lost cause at this point…

    #ootd = Outfit of the Day

    • Definition: When someone shows off or shows approval of an outfit, which they or someone else is wearing.

    #ICant

    • Definition: Something you simply cannot handle, so you just “can’t”.

    #FoodPorn

    • Definition: Referring to an incredibly attractive food item of the healthy or not so healthy variety.

    #sorryimnotsorry

    • Definition: A way in which one says that they are “sorry”, but don’t really mean it… like at all.

     

    I’m personally a fan of using Hashtags as long as it’s clear to me – and my potential reading audience – what they mean.

    How about you? Have you seen any other Hashtags recently that have your head spinning, wondering what the original poster was trying to convey? Feel free to share yours in the comments below!

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  • Facebook

    Ginny Pitcher | Friday, January 3, 2014 4 Comments

    Social Media’s Next Generation: Disappearing

    Allowing Trey, my 11-year-old son, to create a Facebook profile at the age of nine seemed like a smart, savvy move. As someone who preaches the benefits of a connected, socially enabled world, I had no fears about prematurely turning over the keys to the largest social network on the planet. I figured that I would be able to monitor what he posted, gain insight into his relationships, and truly see – through his interactions – what type of man he was becoming.

    Yeah, well, that was a short-lived experiment. The only one who posts to Trey’s Facebook page is me. Every picture, sappy testament on how proud I am as a mother (completely self serving), or forced-family-fun event where Trey is tagged, litters his Newsfeed. There are no girls popping on asking if he likes them. There’s no picture, where he tags all his bros and waxes poetic about their friendship. Good luck finding a statement about his beautiful, supporting and funny mother. It just ain’t happening.

    @TroubleBrown isn’t interested in chronicling his life through Facebook or even shooting out snippets through Twitter (oh yeah, I already pushed that on him when he was eight, http://ampersandblog.com/2011/03/28/is-tweeting-at-8-years-old-too-young-one-mothers-confession/). Trey and his comrades have chosen to become the disappearing generation – where content isn’t captured for a lifetime in a newsfeed or content stream. Trey and his friends skew toward platforms like Snapchat (snapchat.com), where content fades once viewed, and ask.fm (www.ask.fm), where users hurl anonymous questions at one another.

    Scrounging through his profiles on both platforms, here is the fun stuff I can tell you:

    • Sixth graders are obsessed with dating
    • Words like “swag,” “idk,” and “baller” are used a lot
    • Even though Trey couldn’t articulate what an adjective is, he can describe most kids with five
    • Every so often someone from another country will post a question and they are always thoughtful, like: “what historical figure do you most despise?” or “what would you grow in your imaginary garden?” (Trey’s honest answer: money trees)
    • Trey likes a lot of girls and uses the adjective “funny” as one of his top favorite traits in liking a girl

    And here is the not-so-fun stuff I can tell you:

    • Anonymity gives people balls and let’s them say unkind things
    • Photos that disappear means that sometimes you do stupid things and don’t worry about the repercussions
    • There’s just the slightest veil of secrecy with all of the anonymous, disappearing content that makes me uneasy, a little scared
    • For the most part, I have no idea what Trey communicates or says about his friends, his life, me

    So, where does this leave me? While I probably thought I was being progressive by letting Trey establish his social profile early on, I’m find myself at the same crossroads as every parent (even those more conservative than me…shutter). Just because you turn over the keys to the social kingdom, there is no guarantee that your kid will take the same path. New technology, sometimes driven by the faults of old technology, will be developed, adopted and appropriated by different generations. And sometimes, that means that you just won’t be part of it. Ultimately, if I did my job right, Trey will respect the boundaries of what is good and suitable content. It will mean that if he were to save every photo he shared, every comment he posted, every interaction he had, his story would be that of a kind, fun and loving boy.  So, I’m not holding my breath on this one…but I’m pretty sure I got most of it right.

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  • Facebook

    kandpeeps | Monday, December 30, 2013 No Comments »

    PR & Social Should Be Friends

    Relationships often start with less than 140 characters. A cleverly timed Twitter mention or a sly retweet has the potential to sprout a bond – not just personally, but professionally as well. From a PR perspective, finding ways to interact with reporters on a more personal level can be a secret to success – and Twitter can be a great way to do just that.

    Working in the rapidly changing field of PR requires media relations specialists to readily pivot their approach to communicating with reporters and adapt to new styles. The following are reasons why PR professionals should stop neglecting their Twitter account – and start using it as an important tool to interact with the media.

    They’re Already Active Users

    In a world where Facebook feels too personal and LinkedIn feels too formal, Twitter can be the perfect medium to strike up a conversation with a journalist. And according to MediaBistro, 59% of journalists worldwide actively use Twitter.

    It’s Their Pulse-Checker

    Twitter allows journalists the opportunity to reach out directly to sources that would otherwise be unreachable. Most importantly, it is through Twitter that journalists can feel the pulse of their target audience and stay on the cutting edge of their industry – and breaking news.

    Kind Words Go a Long Way

    The Internet has unfortunately enabled disgruntled readers an easier (and often anonymous) forum to vent their frustration. Comment trolls are lurking in the depths of online articles waiting for a journalist’s single misspelling, misstated fact, or opinion that doesn’t align with their belief system. On the flip side, you can offer thoughtful responses and insightful commentary to spark conversation through Twitter or via the web. Include the reporter’s Twitter handle to give credit and to make their work feel appreciated.

    Create a Lasting Relationship

    Journalists are barraged by hundreds of pitches a day filling their e-mail inboxes. Standing out from the crowd requires not only highly targeted and creative pitches, but building a trustworthy relationship with the writer so that they actually open the email you send. Does that mean you should pitch them on Twitter? Probably not – unless there is a breaking news story where you can provide an immediate source.  What it does mean is that you should develop an affiliation where he or she associates you with positive feedback or helpful insight – instead of just another pitch.

    Low Barrier to Entry

    Finally, unless the reporter has a private account or blocks your Twitter handle, the recipient will see all @ mentions from your Twitter account. This means that all well-informed responses have the potential of being seen by the reporter – no more spam blocker.

    Building a mutually beneficial relationship with members of the media is the goal of all PR professionals. Fortunately, in 140 characters or less, Twitter has made it much easier to build a rapport. It’s right at your fingertips, so give it a try – instead of always just sending an e-mail.

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  • Facebook

    Julia McGovern | Wednesday, October 30, 2013 No Comments »

    Twitter Feed Now Includes Photos, More Fun

    Twitter update includes photos and videos in feed

    Remember the days of texting your tweet to 4040 from your flip phone under the desk in third period English? That tweet was only text. And only 140 characters of text.

    Since then, Twitter has turned into a virtual laundry list of links that lead you off channel into the wild, wild West of the World Wide Web. Are you clicking on a link that will lead you to a photo? To a video? To a news article? To porn? You’ll just have to click the link to find out.

    Well yesterday, Twitter announced that users will now see images and videos directly in their timeline. The experience is similar to the likes of Facebook, Instagram, or Vine.

    https://vine.co/v/hDntvwpnenh (via Twitter’s Vine)

    Moreover, Favorite, Reply, and Retweet buttons are more readily displayed between all tweets. No more are the days of needing to click on a tweet to engage with it.

    The barriers have been lowered for interacting with tweets. This is huge for brands who seek retweets of their content in the hopes of virality. On a channel where sharing was already as easy as one, two, three (scroll, click, retweet), we now have sharing as easy as one and two – just scroll and retweet. Imagine the speed at which visual content will be shared! It might have just given me chills.

    Quick recap: Twitter took the most sharable content on the internet, visual content, and made it even more shareable.

    Visual is now vital in content curation. Facebook, Instagram, Vine. The once text-focused channel of Twitter is a whole new playing field for brands.

    Happy scrolling to all users who no longer have to click through to their content! What does Twitter’s update mean for you?

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  • Facebook

    Julia McGovern | Wednesday, October 16, 2013 No Comments »

    The FYI on Twitter’s New DM Settings

    Extra, extra, Tweet all about it! Listen up! Twitter is rolling out a new option and you’d be a liar if you said you didn’t like options. Historically, you could only send direct messages to someone who was following you, and you were in turn following back. Now, Twitter allows users to choose whether they want to be able to receive direct messages from any follower. With the click of this box, you open the door to all sorts of visitors, both welcome and unwelcome:

    DM Opt-In Checkbox

    DM Opt-In Checkbox

    What does this mean for you as an average Twitter user?

    It does NOT mean that you’ll automatically be receiving boatloads of spam. You have to remember it is an opt-in feature. In fact, I don’t think this will have much impact on you, Mr. Average Joe Twitter User.

    What does this mean for you as a manager of a brand handle?

    Marketing blogger, Jim Connolly, sums it up better than I can: “People complain all the time about bad customer service experiences over Twitter. Now, those grievances can be dealt with privately from the business end.”

    Only community managers will know this pain…that of a 140-character-or-less complaint coming in about your client. The pain of then having to inconvenience your displeased customer by asking him/her to take an extra step to DM contact information so you can take it offline, knowingly putting the fact that there is an issue on blast. All we, as a community managers, want to do at this point is do something for this guy, not ask them to do something for us.

    After this Twitter update, as long as the displeased customer is following you, you can remedy the situation in immediate privacy right off the bat, without the gaze of your followers, and without inconveniencing the user. It opens the doors for immediate customer service and instant private management of whatever situation.

    Will you open up your Twitter account to allow direct messages from any follower?

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  • Facebook

    Kendyll Messina | Thursday, December 15, 2011 No Comments »

    Santa Has Elves, You Have Social Media

    With the holiday season upon us, it is crunch time for most when it comes to holiday shopping. When you consider the amount of time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, and foursquare why not use your favorite social media sites to help cross everyone off your holiday shopping list?

    It can be as easy as following the brand names you know your best friend likes on Twitter to see what is hot and new for the holiday season, to get some “giftspiration”, or getting a gift card to the bar your brother is the mayor of on foursquare. A lot of stores are also giving great coupons and discounts once you “like”,” follow”, or “check in” at a particular spot!

    It’s super easy to “like” a page on Facebook, but did you know that a lot of pages give exclusive savings and giveaways to their Facebook fans? Check the home pages of your favorite stores /brands and look for a link to their Facebook page. “Like” them, and you could get your brand name gifts for less!

    Not sure how to find the best deals on Twitter? A quick search on popular hashtags such as #deals and #coupons will show you what discounts other people are sharing and talking about. For more, just follow the professional deal seekers! A few of my favorites are @CouponTweet, @retailmenot, and @FabulousSavings.

    When it comes to foursquare, all you have to do is look up the specials near your location, check in, and reap the rewards! You will find anything from a discount off your purchase to freebies!

    By using these social media sites you can save time and money (which we all know is the goal throughout the holiday season!). With the help of social media there is no need to get involved with the masses of people doing their last minute holiday shopping, you can get everything done right from home ( you are more than likely going to be on these sites throughout the day anyway, right? )

    When it is time to open gifts you can sit back and relax while everyone receives exactly what they wanted! Santa may have elves, but you have social media ☺

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Monday, December 12, 2011 6 Comments

    Klout, schmout

    In the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of negative backlash directed at Klout, based on an algorithm change that caused a lot of people’s scores to plummet. As for me, I’ve been a skeptic since I got my first Klout score. Now, I’m no Ashton Kutcher (gratefully) but I’ve been on Twitter for nearly 4 years and consider myself something of a Twitterholic. Imagine my surprise when I got my Klout score -– a meager 30- – and learned that I’m considered “influential” about…real estate?

    Real estate? A happy renter that’s never even been to an open-house, I can’t imagine in what universe I’d be considered knowledgeable on the subject, let alone influential. (Editorial side note – a recent check of my Klout score now has me influential about PR, family and Massachusetts…perhaps thanks to those recent algorithm changes? More info in this article from Adweek: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/klout-faces-foes-136721)

    As our collective consciousness has evolved past the “my follower/friend count defines my SM self worth” stage of evolution (see posts from Ginny Pitcher and Chris Brogan for more on that), I think we all look for some metrics that will define our status as “rock star.” (I’ve always been a fan of HubSpot’s continuously evolving Twitter Grader –- perhaps because it gives me an A+?) Tools like Klout can either be validation, or useful for those starting out to figure out if they’re “doing it right.” I’m not so sure that Klout is an effective tool for either of those situations.

    A recent post by Hollis Tibbetts on SocialMediaToday has a nice little case study on “gaming” Klout that I think is a pretty clear illustration of what (IMO) is wrong with the service: http://socialmediatoday.com/softwarehollis/385964/exposed-klout-scores-still-garbage-after-all-these-days.

    Maybe my 30 isn’t so bad? Some interesting insights in this piece: “Why I deleted my Klout profile,” (check out the insights under #6), http://socialmediatoday.com/pammoore/389381/why-i-deleted-my-klout-profile

    With the advent of +Ks, I think there’s a chance that Klout’s “influencer” metrics may be improved by some user-generated control. While the site is still technically in beta, I’ll look to see continued improvement that makes what they’re measuring more meaningful. I wonder if by the time they get there, though, anyone will consider it so.

    What’s your Klout score? Are you a fan of the service?

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  • Facebook

    Alexis Eliopoulos | Thursday, September 29, 2011 1 Comment

    From PR tools to celebrity obsessions: here are my top 5 accounts to follow!

    As of today, my following count on Twitter is exactly 437 people.  Some people have said to me, “you enjoy hitting the ‘follow’ button a little too much”. However, I like following different people, brands, celebrities, and news outlets.  It allows me to get different information from all ends of the spectrum. At times, Twitter can get overwhelming, especially when you leave it open for five minutes and there are over 85 new Tweets! Since our culture is impacted by information overload, I wanted to break down my top five accounts to follow. Check it out:

    @boston – For fellow Bostonians, this is a must. @boston has constant updates about news, traffic, and weather. For me, it is especially helpful for morning and evening commutes – I’m updated at all times!

    @mediapost – MediaPost covers a wide variety of topics such as daily, media, online, and marketing news.  The best part of following MediaPost is the constant news updates and the different blogs.

    @nycprgirls – They have become my PR bible! These 20-something PR girls in NYC hit every point whether it is PR, fashion, even TV show reviews. They were my go-to guide during post-grad interviews and had some helpful tips while prepping for interviews.

    @thoughtcatalog – There is a “follow must” for every age: Thought Catalog nails every real life situation. For example, “Lies Felicity Told Me About College,” 10 Life lessons Learned From Playing Minesweeper,” or my personal favorite,  “Things I Want To Say To The People on The Subway.” If you’re looking for a mid-afternoon giggle, please follow them! Major props to my fellow colleague, @missjrf for pointing them out!

    @kimkardashian – It’s okay, you can judge me but I don’t care. I have a Kardashian obsession. Let’s face it, she branded herself pretty well, even if it did come after a sex tape. She just hit 10 million followers, which puts her in fifth place on Twitter.

    Who are some of your favorite accounts to follow?

     

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Thursday, September 1, 2011 4 Comments

    Facebook announcing music streaming through facebook.com at F8

    Madonna said it best – music makes the people come together.

    I’m something of an early adopter of “online music”. Sean Fanning went to my High School (sure, he was a freshman when I graduated and is now a millionaire…sigh…) and my addiction to LimeWire crashed my family’s computer at least a dozen times. I was the type that updated the song on my MySpace profile with great frequency, even. All told, the rise of music streaming marks one of the most significant impacts the internet has had on my life.

    A few years ago, Pandora was my jam. For the uninitiated, Pandora lets you create “stations” based on a specific artist/song. It will then serve up “similar” songs based on that selection. What a fantastic tool for discovering new music! (I owe my awareness of/love for the Black Keys to Pandora). It applied intelligence to these selections by enabling you to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” the songs it played. I managed that ish like Joe Jackson – I was on it, and if any of my stations served up something I didn’t like, those songs were dealt with in the harshest way possible (that’s right, thumbs down to YOU Pussycat Dolls!) The problem is, when I gave a thumbs up to an artist, say, I don’t know, Justin Timberlake, those songs began to permeate my other channels. When you’re in the mood for Slipknot, JT mixing in just does not work.

    Craving more control, I jumped on the GrooveShark bandwagon. Now, let me say this plainly – Grooveshark has changed my life. You have access to the music collections of the estimated 35,000,000 users!! I’ve yet to search for a song/artist and not get something back – even my beloved Josh Homme’s Dessert Sessions are on there, and you should hear the Chieftans/Dropkick/assorted bagpipe/12 versions of “toura loura” mix I made for Saint Patrick’s Day.  You choose your songs, add them to a list, and that list lives forever.  The only problem – no mobile app?! (Give that a big ol’ #WTF. Come on, Grooveshark.) Of course, this left me stranded at a party a few weekends ago that needed DJ RedHeadMeag’s touch.

    Enter Spotify. Like the rest of the Twitterverse, I used Klout to gain access to this much buzzed about service. But I got there and….meh. Where was the selection? That’s a bandwagon with a personal best high bounce rate – 2 tries, and I was out.  Did I walk away too quickly? (comments and thoughts are welcome!)

    Now, I’m reading that Facebook is going to announce at F8 later this month that they’re partnering with Spotify (and others) to stream music through FB.com. Check out the Mashable story: http://mashable.com/2011/08/31/facebook-music-platform/

    Adding reco’s based on what my friends like? Hmmm. I’m friends with a pretty musically diverse group of individuals – I’m not sure that this is really going to do it for me.  Also – I like free.

    Are you excited about this launch? What is your favorite music service?

     

     

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  • Facebook

    Jenna Finn | Tuesday, August 30, 2011 3 Comments

    And she’s off…

    I am not the kind of person that sits back and waits for opportunities to come to her. I go out and get them… full force. When I started my first job out of college (a mere three months ago), I was ready to kick ass. I had experience from past internships and knowledge from previous classes. I was willing to do whatever I needed to do and I was not about to wait around. Since I’m “proactive by nature”, I’m sharing my list of tools that a proactive PR girl cannot live without:

    The Five Things an Entry Level PR Girl Cannot Live Without

    1.  Cision- The Bible of media contacts. Whenever I need to stalk someone to find their email address or create a list of all the BLANK beat reporters in the BLANK area, Cision is my go-to. It cuts my research time down significantly and has my favorite, handy export feature.
    2. HARO/ProfNet- Who’s writing what. I love looking at all the different stories that people are writing and being able to connect clients with hits. Although some stories are weird (why does someone need figurine dragons for a giveaway?), there are always some great fits, which make our job so much easier.
    3. Twitter- I am MissJRF and I am a Twitter-holic. I monitor Twitter for story ideas, relevant news, and to see what is going on in the world. Twitter lets me know what the people I am interested in are doing. Not only is it a source of entertainment but also, research has shown that Twitter is now becoming a front-runner in the quickest dissemination of news.
    4. Google Alerts- What is being written. Alerts are a great way to see what is being written about a topic that you are interested in. Set up these babies, sit back, and wait for alerts to come in. It is a much easier way to “search” for the news you are looking for.
    5. Wi-Fi- Always connected. In today’s super high-tech, connected world, a place without Wi-Fi is a PR girl’s worst nightmare. Any place where I cannot get online to check my emails or research a story might also be known as hell. And I can’t check Twitter… just kill me now.

    What else do you think is a PR must have?

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