Online Backlash to SOPA and Samuel Adams ‘Hops’ Into Social

Top Story: SOPA/PIPA and the Online Protest

Image via Google

By now, you’ve seen the infographic above and are aware of SOPA/PIPA and the rather voal calls to action from many prominent online companies.  Just in case, here’s a rundown on why many are outraged by the proposed legislation

  • What do they stand for? SOPA is the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and PIPA stands for (deep breath) Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act.
  • SOPA, in the House of Representatives, and PIPA, in the US Senate are both targeting foreign websites that infringe on copyrighted materials
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), one of the major opponents to the bills, argue that “The standard for immunity is incredibly low and the potential for abuse is off the charts.  Basically, sites can be cut off based on “reasonable belief of infringement” – so, event if the claims made against a site end up being false, the site suffers.
  • Supporters of the legislation, mainly in the entertainment industry, feel that the charges brought on by SOPA/PIPA opponents have been blown out of proportion, the definition of infringement is clearly defined, and that the legislation is crucial in protecting their digital assets.

What we found most compelling about the reaction to the two pieces of legislation were the “protests” and banding together of many of the major social and search platforms in the US.  We’ve featured some of the most prominent below (click on images to enlarge):




Under the Radar: Super Bowl XLVI Will Have a Social Media Command Center

If you’re a social media user, chances are you’re posting to your Twitter feed and updating your Facebook status every time you’re watching a football game. And come Sunday, February 5, millions of users will be talking about the Super Bowl via social media, about everything from the players to the score to the commercials to the parking. Parking? Well, yes. The city of Indianapolis is expecting 150,000 visitors for Super Bowl weekend and they’ll be using social media to assist visitors with everything from finding parking to discovering the best the city has to offer.

The city will be setting up a Super Bowl Social Media Command Center today and it will remain in place until after the big game on February 5. The digital marketing agency managing the command center will set up advanced search tools and analytics to determine what fans need help and then will jump in and offer assistance where needed.

We can’t wait to see how the Social Media Command Center will manage to help people during the Super Bowl weekend and if it will set precedence for events in the future. Will all large-scale events begin to follow in suit and work to assist visitors and patrons? While we can see this working really well, we can also see people taking advantage of the increased customer service and getting extra upset when they can’t be helped. You know, like when there isn’t any close-by parking and they do have to walk a mile to get to the stadium.


Tool of the Week: Facebook Launches Timeline App Integration Platform

When the Spotify’s Facebook integration first launched, people either loved it or hated it. Some users thought it was fabulous that they could see what all their friends were listening to. And others were not happy that their Facebook friends could get such an up-close-and-personal look at their taste in music (perhaps they were a bit embarrassed?). Well, as of last week, there’s even more activity for you to see across your Facebook timeline. Facebook is now using the “open graph” API to allow developers to create apps that share user activitis on Facebook. From Pinterest to RunKeeper to TicketMaster, there are now close to 80 apps that you and your friends can integrate with your Facebook timeline.

Is this a good thing? Well, it depends on how you use Facebook. If you don’t care what articles your friends are reading, how many miles they’re running, what artists they’re listening to, or what food photos they’re taking, then this app integration will likely just annoy you and clog your newsfeed. But if you do care, or want to share your every move on the Internet with your own Facebook friends, you’ll find yourself loving the app integration. Luckily, Facebook makes it pretty easy to keep the integration shut off and to decide who you actually want to share details with. So, unlike the Spotify integration, you won’t find yourself unknowingly sharing your Justin Bieber obsession with all of your Facebook friends. Phew.

Of course, this is only the start with Facebook’s app integration and it’s likely we’ll be seeing more and more apps join in on the Facebook fun in the future. Before long, we might never have to leave Which is exactly what they want.


Around The Hub: Samuel Adams Beer ‘Hops’ into Social

The Samuel Adams beer company has been the subject of social media scrutiny in the past because of its social media presence, or lack thereof. But that all changed in January, with the brewer launching a Twitter account, blog and crowd-sourced beer creation contest on Facebook.

Twitter: The account was officially launched on January 19th, and between then and the morning of January 23rd they had accumulated over 2500 followers and tweeted nearly 350 times. Almost every single one of their tweets is a response to someone who had engaged them. It looks like they were waiting to get their strategy in line before entering the space knowing they would be inundated and needed to be prepared for it. This was smart because if they had joined without a plan in action they may have ruined their chance at a strong account from the get-go. And as they said themselves…

Blog: Along with a Twitter account came a brand new Samuel Adams Blog. What is extremely interesting about this is the choice of content for the first ever blog post, that was written by founder Jim Koch. For the introductory post on the blog, Koch defended harsh words about Sam Calagione and his brewery Dogfish Head written in a Beer Advocate thread recently.

This demonstrates the tight-knit bond of the beer community, where they value their craft over rivalries with competing breweries. This also shows how fully invested in the social space the company now is, and that they are willing to push out original and possibly controversial topics.

Facebook: Samuel Adams has a decent size fan page (about 134,000 fans) with a fairly strong amount of engagement, but in the past had been lacking any really unique content. This changed when they partnered with Guy Kawasaki to create the ‘Crowd Craft Project’ – a beautifully designed and executed Facebook app that lets beer drinkers help create the next Sam Adams beer.

The app lets you choose different settings for types of yeast, hops, malt, body, clarity and color to create your ideal beer. The app lets each person submit one brew, with the top beer will be announced on February 5th and it being debuted in Austin and Boston in March.

What do you think of the SOPA/PIPA online backlash? Do you have your Facebook timeline yet? Will you be tweeting during Super Bowl XLVI? Tell us what you think of the Sam Adams social strategy? Follow the feedback with #451Labs hashtag and tweet us at @451heat.

Thank’s to @maxesilver, @susie, @halleyalice for contributing to this week’s #451Labs post!



How Much Time Do We Actually Spend on Social Media?

Last week I found an interesting article on Social Media Today, “How Much Time Should I Spend on Social Media,” posted by Rachel Strella. I posted it to the @451Heat Twitter feed and was surprised at the feedback it received. There were a lot of comments with a range of opinions – a couple of people said that they spend their whole day using social media while others said that they really couldn’t measure how much time they spend.

The conversation really got me thinking – for many people in our increasingly digital world, social media is part of the daily routine. There are so many tools and tricks of the trade to make the process of engaging in social media easier and faster.

Personally, I spend about three hours a day on social media. I have a routine where I seek content in the morning to schedule though Hootsuite, my favorite platform for streamlining Twitter, Facebook, and now Google+. The majority of my time is spent on gathering content. I have a process where I like to ask questions and engage our followers rather than just giving them a link to view. This allows me to build and maintain relationships with them.

Certain tools, like the Hootlet extension and the Evernote extension, help to make my time on social media more efficient by creating an ‘easy button’ that gathers the important information while giving me the option to add my own thoughts.

Social media can be fun – but it can also be distracting. I like to Google everything. If there is something I see that might not be the right fit for @451Heat and it’s something that I can post to my personal Twitter or Facebook, email to the whole office, or it’s something that a client can post to their social media feeds, I’ll share it because it’s more efficient to get it off my plate right then and there versus going back to try to find it later. While that may add more interruptions to my day, it’s important, because for those of us who spend our whole day on social media – it is key to be timely, relevant, and consistent.

Since social media is an integral part of my day, for both work and personal engagement, I found the data below to be an interesting find. The report, which was released yesterday by comScore, shows what percentage of time is spent on social media throughout the world. According to the report, we spend an average of 1 of every 5 minutes on social media.

There are certain tools that can help you work smarter, track your time spent, and monitor your engagement with your audience. The key to managing your time spent on social media is balance and quality. Balance between a streamlined process, quality content, and building and maintaining relationships. This could be all or just part of your day depending on what you do.

What is your favorite social media site and how much time do you really spend on that site? We would love your feedback!

LinkedIn Introduces New Features for Company Profiles

Back in April, as some of you may recall, LinkedIn began to allow users to follow companies listed on the social networking site. In the first phase of the  feature, company profiles were just a way to receive an information stream from the business, similar to Faceboook’s company pages. But now, LinkedIn is offering several new features to companies and the users who follow them.

Here are some highlights:

  • Users can now see how the company has grown over time on LinkedIn as well as profiles of employees at the company
  • Members can also see statistics about the employees’ job functions, educational degrees, years of experience and colleges/universities attended
  • Users can see their connections with the companies and employees, and how the connections changed over time
  • Company profile pages now have a Careers Tab, which gives users a way to quickly check out job listings at companies as well as learn about the hiring practices, and find out the details of other employees at a particular company. Users can also use the career tab to connect with a company’s recruiters directly.

I think these changes are helpful additions for LinkedIn users. They make it much easier to connect with other professionals and learn more about companies as well as find new career opportunities.

What do you think of the changes? Are they useful? Do you see any problems with the upgrades?

Oscars Use Social Media to Boost Ratings, Appeal to Gen Y Audience

In the past few years The Academy Awards began losing its status as the show of the year. In 2008, the show’s ratings dropped to an all-time low. In 2009, viewership increased by 13%, which is the third lowest-rated broadcast in Oscar’s televised history.

What are the reasons behind this drop in ratings? Well, one of the main reasons is the lack of social media use in past years. Until last year’s telecast, a lack of social media tie-ins thwarted the Academy from achieving higher ratings. The Academy wasn’t harnessing the power of Oscar pools on online channels, using social networking sites (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) to keep viewers engaged in real-time, streaming videos backstage at the awards ceremony, or utilizing mobile technology.

This year, the Academy used social media to boost ratings and connect with the Gen Y Audience. Here are some of the ways the Academy used social media to gain viewers and engage with the audience:

  • Streamed nominations live online at, and on the Academy’s Facebook page.
  • Revamped website by hosting video and exclusive content from nominees, as well as widgets for Oscar pools and predictions.
  • Oscars iPhone application launched in late February. Fans use the app to see how their Oscar predictions faired against others.
  • The Academy will release behind-the-scenes footage from the preparations and rehearsals leading up to the 2010 telecast. The videos will also be syndicated to online video sites and digital out-of-home networks.

Do you think these social media tactics helped boost ratings for the 2010 Academy Awards show? Next year, you can expect to see Facebook and Twitter integration for real-time engagement with viewers.  What are some other tactics you think would help in 2011?

Journalists and Social Media

As PR professionals, we’re constantly looking for ways to connect with reporters and to secure placement for our company and clients in the most relevant publications. It can be difficult (that’s why we have jobs), but the following study gives us some interesting results that could potentially help us do our jobs more efficiently.

Middleberg Communications and the Society for New Communications Research last month released a study titled, “Media in the Wired World.” The research team surveyed U.S. journalists regarding their social media use and the study found some interesting results:

  • Almost 70% of journalists are using social networking sites, which is a 28% increase since the 2008 study
  • 48% are using Twitter or other microblogging sites and tools, a 25% increase since 2008
  • 66% of the surveyed journalists are using blogs
  • 25% of those surveyed are using podcasts
  • 48% of journalists are using online video
  • Over 90% of journalists agree that new media and communications tools and technologies are enhancing journalism to some extent

According to the study, reporters are embracing social media and are active on various social networking sites. This is great for us because we can build relationships with reporters and connect with them in real-time. Here at 451, we use Twitter and LinkedIn to follow media contacts. Both tools are useful to see what reporters are writing about, and to watch for potential opportunities to pitch our company and/or our clients.

Do you connect with reporters and journalists through social networking sites? Have some success stories to share? Let us know!