Wouldn’t it be wonderful if something as simple as a hashtag on Twitter re-framed and refocused the debate in the Middle East, talking peace to the leaders on both sides, and hastening an end to the conflict?
We would urge everyone to express their sentiments on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and anywhere else you can think of.
You just never know.
God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.
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We keep trying to tell people, you cannot do one thing in social media (or any other type of communications) and another thing in “real life”. It will come back to bite you. Big time. Just like NYPD, who got their “hashtag” hijacked, very embarrassingly.
Remember: the best “social media” your business or organisation can use is the oldest one of all. It’s called “Word of Mouth”. People who want to say nice things about you to their friends, family and colleagues, and do.
You don’t got that, you don’t got nuttin’. And if you got nuttin’, don’t broadcast the fact to the world.
Incidentally, social media messages are often left to the least senior member of a communications department while the marketing manager and other important people focus on the sexy stuff like TV commercials and big colourful press ads.
That would be a mistake.
To enjoy the full list of “F*** Ups” we have spotted, reported or re-reported, just put F*** Up in the search box on the top left of our page. Enjoy :-)
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Over here at the Wellthisiswhatithink dungeon, we are very appropriately becoming world famous for our Advertising F*** Ups series. As a result, we are frequently offered (and we are very grateful, for, too) other examples of human collective insanity.
Social media is a great leveller. Here’s a few real crackers from the (very) shallow end of the gene pool, which is clearly getting murkier and more fetid with each passing year.
The only real tragedy in these is that the names of the guilty parties are obscured. Name and shame, we say.
Any more for any more? Anyway, Wellthisiswhatithink is grateful for the holiday ideas. This year we are going to walk the Great Wall of Michigan, for sure.
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The age-old aphorism wasn’t originally meant to describe teenagers, but it could. This article from Yahoo neatly captures a problem the granddaddy of all social networks — Facebook — seems to have. Facebook has turned in impressive financial numbers lately, and its stock has soared by more than 80% so far this year, to around $48. But company execs alarmed some analysts recently by acknowledging that teenagers are falling out of like with the site that seemed like a phenomenon when teens first discovered it. (Maybe that’s why two key FB execs unloaded hundreds of millions of dollars of stock in the last couple of days? Ed.)
This is not the age group for a new technology company to piss off.
In a way, that’s a good problem to have. Many companies covet the cachet (and potential future customers) that come with a high proportion of teenage users. But old folks, no matter how uncool, tend to be the ones with money to spend today. For a while, Facebook had the best of both worlds: A robust teenage audience that kept the vibe young, plus enough oldsters to justify high ad rates and juice profits.
There’s now a lot of competition, however, and Facebook is apparently losing teenage users to trendier networks such as Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram (which Facebook owns), Tumblr (owned by Yahoo, which published this story), and lesser-known online hideouts.
To figure out why, I asked my two teenage kids (who in turn asked a few of their friends), plus a few test subjects recruited through Twitter. Here are the five biggest problems they have with Facebook:
Parents. Apparently they’re ruining everything on Facebook. “If you want to comment on something funny, and you see that somebody’s Mom already commented on it, you don’t want their mom to yell at you,” my 15-year-old son told me. Yeah, that’s a bummer, I consoled him. Many parents, of course, fear their kids will be stalked, bullied or somehow abused via Facebook, so looking over their kids’ digital shoulder is just another way of protecting them. I’m willing to go out on a limb, however, and bet that some parents simply think they’re cooler than they are, and would be crushed to know their teenage kids don’t consider them the best companions, even online.
It’s not just parents. My 17-year-old daughter told me about a friend with an aunt who routinely lurks around her niece’s Facebook account. “Every single photo that [my friend] is tagged in, she’ll write a paragraph about how beautiful [my friend] is. I’m just like, ‘okaaaaay….’” my daughter told me.
Too much pointless stuff. If you ‘re a forty- or fifty-something Facebook user and you’re wondering what all that clutter on the site is about, you’re not as out of touch as you think. “Facebook has 100 things on the newsfeed we just don’t care about,” one of my daughter’s high-school friends explained. Examples: ceaseless invites to play Farmville or other games you may not be interested in, or prompts to answer “questions about me.” Renaud, a 19-year-old Facebook user at McGill University in Montreal, finds that other networks, with far less clutter, are now better at what Facebook used to be good at. “I feel that instantaneous reactions (or what used to be Facebook status) are now more compelling on Twitter, pictures are more fun on Instagram, funny pictures and videos are more tailored for your interests on Tumblr or Vine, and messages on the wall of a friend have been replaced by Snapchat,” he wrote.
Too many ads. Teenagers, not surprisingly, are hip to corporate exploitation. “The biggest problem is the ads,” one of my son’s friends emailed. “Yes, they are needed to make money, but Facebook no longer seems like a social networking site first. It seems like a gold mine for companies to place ads and is straying from its actual purpose.” Particular gripes: Ads that pop up in notifications, and others that scroll down the page right along with the cursor when scanning the newsfeed, as if there’s no escaping them.
It’s vapid. “Everything on Facebook is to gain likes,” another of my daughter’s friends complained. “It’s like a popularity contest. It requires a lot to maintain, like having a good profile picture that will get a lot of likes.” My son said one of his biggest aggravations, after parents, is people — OK, girls — continually asking him to like their status as part of “truth is” requests, whatever those are. “It just fills up your timeline with really stupid stuff,” he said.
Fake friends. In case you’re wondering, adults aren’t the only ones who find it weird to be “friends” with people you’ve never met. A teenager at my son’s school said one of his biggest issues with Facebook is that “it’s normal to be friends with people you don’t know.” One of my daughter’s friends agreed: “I’m friends with people I don’t even know on Facebook, so my newsfeed to me is sometimes just pointless,” she said. “I explore the lives of strangers, and it is a complete waste of my time.” Maybe teenagers and their parents aren’t so different after all.
Meanwhile, we are not expecting anyone at the Wellthisiswhatithink ranch to be cured of their FB addiction anytime soon, but we are also quite convinced that it’s time for The Next Big Thing. Overdue, in fact. And when Facebook dies, as it will, we trust they realise it was because of their own idiocy – filling a social network with ads, push-posting endless amounts of what people don’t want to see, and worst of all, banning people for spamming when they weren’t – by computer, with no human appeal. Zero customer service. it is a matter of time.
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It’s real. It destroys lives. And you can help stop it.
Almost every week, it seems, we hear of another tragedy where a young person (it’s usually a young person, battling their twin demons of peer pressure and their self-expectations, not to mention their hormones) kill themselves because of the cruelty of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is especially pernicious and awful. It is often soul-destroyingly harsh – people say things they would never say to people face to face – and it often spreads seemingly inexorably, backing the young person who is being victimised into a corner, feeling that they will never be free of the curse.
Young people reporting cyberbullying sadly sometimes don’t find themselves taken seriously. “It’s just words on a phone, ignore it” is still sometimes the response of tragically unaware or unsympathetic parents and teachers, who fail to understand that in a world where electronic devices are ubiquitous, for some young people they are much more than just words on a phone, or laptop. They represent their entire peer community turning against them, and often overnight.
In reality, of course, cyberbullying is like any other form of public embarrassment. With luck it can be yesterday’s news as fast as tomorrow. Those with strong self-assertiveness or excellent support systems around them will survive. Most kids thankfully tough it out, leave school and move on. But some will never make it. And it’s those kids we need to protect with all our might.
The best protection for all kids is simply to make it increasingly socially unacceptable to bully, because bullying, like everything else, is subject, above all, to the pressures and fads of teenage opinion.
Even more than listening carefully and intervening when necessary, we need to arm teenagers with the weapons to argue that cyberbullying is never acceptable, because so much of their regulation of what is and is not OK to do or think is decided within their own peer group, far from the gaze of adults.
That’s why I urge you to help make this simple but brilliant video “go viral”. It’s the work of a young friend and work colleague, and I think it’s one of the best of its kind I have ever seen. It’s compellingly viewable, and beautifully simple. Just click and watch.
Directed by: Pat Langton Director of Photography: Matt Langton Actor: Meghan Langton Visual Effects: Matt Langton
Take one minute to watch it, and then one minute to share this blog with everyone you can think of, and on all social media you use. Use the hashtag #cyberbullyinghurts
You could save a life. Maybe more than one. Worth two minutes of your time, eh?
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Chines prostitutes – young, pretty, slim, and available by the million. And all potential victims of an unregulated and exploitative system.
As AFP report, authorities in Shanghai has suspended four judges over allegations that they patronised prostitutes, reports and officials said on Monday in the latest salacious Chinese scandal to result from online accusations.
An inquiry was opened after an anonymous blogger, identified by state media only as being surnamed “Ni”, posted footage online last week alleging that five officials hired prostitutes at a local resort in June.
The Shanghai Higher People’s Court said on Tencent Weibo, a Twitter-like social media service, that Chen Xueming, the chief judge of its No.1 Civil Tribunal, and three other officials had been suspended.
“The Shanghai Higher People’s Court is highly concerned about the incident and has launched an investigation into the case,” it said.
The court had previously said Zhao Minghua, deputy chief judge of the tribunal, was among those named on Ni’s blog.
In what might be the motivation for the story, Ni claimed Zhao intervened in a civil case in 2009 that caused him a huge financial loss, the state-run ‘Global Times’ newspaper reported on Monday. He spent a year following Zhao, it said, “and discovered that he frequently went to nightclubs, owned several properties and had extramarital affairs.”
Surveillance video posted by Ni purported to show five officials including Chen and Zhao entering a luxury room after a three-hour banquet at the resort, followed by several women who stood by the door. Subtitles said that Chen allocated the prostitutes to each man. Video showed officials walking out two hours later, some of them arm-in-arm with women.
The identity of the fifth person in the footage remains unknown.
Shanghai’s city disciplinary commission, which is taking part in the investigation, said on its Tencent Weibo account that all four of the accused were judges.
“The involvement of four judges in the ‘nightclub entertainment incident’ deprived the law of its dignity, put judiciary to shame and caused damage to justice,” it said.
It was investigating “to preserve the image of the party and the government and safeguard the stable political, economic and social development of Shanghai,” it said, and would disclose the results of the case to the public. The incident is the latest in a series of scandals over corruption and other disciplinary violations, including sexual impropriety, by Chinese officials to be revealed online by whistleblowers.
In our experience, this story highlights again the double standard in Chinese public life over sex and prostitution.
As anyone who has done business in China knows, an almost ritual part of “entertainment” for visiting dignitaries or businesspeople will, at some point, be the offer of sexual services to “round off” an evening’s socialising. Ask around: the stories are legend. See here for the Chinese police’s (and society’s) gradation of prostitution services into 7 main groups.
“Let’s end the evening at karaoke” doesn’t always mean what it sounds like … Been there, done that, didn’t buy the t-shirt: but many do.
In many visiting Western businessperson’s experience, the process obeys certain laws of discretion. Troupes of young women “spontaneously’ appear when all the men concerned are suitably lubricated (I doubt troupes of young men appear to entertain women in certain circumstances, but I would not know) and the girls proceed to flatter and fawn on the men present. If the girls summoned to the party don’t happen to please those being entertained a wave of the hand ensures another batch miraculously appear.
Those who are unconcerned by matters such as morality, fidelity or STDs very soon discover, if they didn’t know already, that the girls concerned have few boundaries.
This phenomenon is by no means limited to China, of course.
It is common throughout Asia, and to some degree or other, worldwide. Not for nothing is prostitution called the oldest profession, and it is a profession that appears alive and licking. Er, kicking.
Similarly, in Asia in particular, it is not at all uncommon for men to live it up after work with young ladies whose ability to please does not end at pouring them a drink and smiling benignly. Certain Asian cultures have a very different attitude to prostitution to those in the West, accepting it for centuries as a social norm, and in China it is also not uncommon for a man to have one or more “kept women” as well as their “official” wife, concubines in all but name. Where their lifestyle is paid for by the man, often including clothes, food, and accommodation, it is hard to see this as anything other than a more sophisticated version of the same transaction that these judges have tripped up over.
China has always had a confused and multi-layered approach to prostitution, which was historically very common in both the Imperial and Republic eras, and which since the Moaist takeover in 1948 has been the target of first an eradication effort, and then the gradual loosening of controls. According to research quoted by Wikipedia, prostitution is now an increasingly large part of the Chinese economy, employing perhaps 10 million people, with an annual level of consumption of possibly 1 trillion RMB.
Following a 2000 police campaign, Chinese economist Yang Fan estimated that the Chinese GDP slumped by 1%, as a result of decreased spending by newly unemployed female prostitutes.
What really worries Chinese authorities is that prostitution is often directly linked to low-level government corruption. Many local officials believe that encouraging prostitution in recreational business operations will bring economic benefits by developing the tourism and hospitality industries and generating a significant source of tax revenue. On occasion, police themselves have been implicated in the running of high grade hotels where prostitution activities occur, or accepting bribes and demanding sexual favours to ignore the existence of prostitution activities. Government corruption is also involved in a more indirect form — the widespread abuse of public funds to finance consumption of sex services. Pan Suiming, a professor at the Institute for Sexological Research (People’s University of China, Beijing) contends that China has a specific type of prostitution that entails a bargain between those who use their power and authority in government to obtain sex and those who use sex to obtain privileges.
Apart from incidences of violence directly associated with prostitution, an increasing number of women who sell sex have been physically assaulted, and even murdered, in the course of attempts to steal their money and property. There have also been a growing number of criminal acts, especially incidences of theft and fraud directed at men who buy sex, as well as bribery of public servants. Offenders often capitalise on the unwillingness of participants in the prostitution transaction to report such activities. Organised crime rings are increasingly trafficking women into and out of China for the sex trade, sometimes forcibly and after multiple acts of rape. Mainland China also has a growing number of “heroin hookers”, whose drug addictions are often connected to international and domestic crime rackets.
Sexually transmitted diseases also made a resurgence around the same time as prostitution, and have been directly linked to prostitution. There are fears that prostitution may become the main route of HIV transmission as it has in developing countries such as Thailand and India. Some regions have introduced a policy of 100% condom use, inspired by a similar measure in Thailand. (This article also interestingly discusses the cultural norms applying to prostitution in Thailand.) Other interventions have been introduced recently at some sites, including STI services, peer education and voluntary counselling and testing for HIV.
Wellthisiswhatithink has heard, as well as the matter being confirmed by some research studies, that casual prostitution is also common in the higher education sector. Put simply, female students, who are fewer in number than men due to the effects of the one child policy and resulting widespread alleged infanticide of female fetuses or children, and therefore in demand, frequently supplement their living allowances through prostitution with fellow students. A translator helping us on one business trip to China remarked that although she had not employed these tactics herself, the event was very common indeed. To us, the matter of fact way this information was divulged seemed to go directly to prevailing social norms as much as an insight into anything else.
It is also very obvious (especially in the eastern part of the country, simply by walking down the street in some cities) that a significant number of Russian prostitutes have entered China and work there seemingly unhindered.
Other countries also fuel the trade: North Korean women are increasingly falling victim to sex exploitation in China attempting to escape poverty and harsh conditions in their homeland. About 10,000 women (The Washington Post’s Carol Douglas, however, claimed that the number was as high as 100,000) are reported to have escaped from North Korea to China; according to human rights groups, many of them are forced into sexual slavery. Most of the clients of North Korean women are Chinese citizens of Korean descent, largely elderly bachelors.
According to a Ji Sun Jeong of A Woman’s Voice International, “60 to 70% of North Korean defectors to China are women, and 70 to 80% of whom are victims of human trafficking.” Violent abuse starts in apartments near the border, from where the women are then moved to cities further away to work as sex slaves. When Chinese authorities arrest these North Korean sex slaves, they repatriate them. North Korean authorities keep such repatriates in penal labour colonies (and/or execute them), execute any Chinese-fathered babies of theirs “to protect North Korean pure blood” and force abortions on all pregnant repatriates not executed.
This is much more than an academic argument about public morals.
All of which encourages us to argue that the time is long overdue for China to face up to this situation and start to decriminalise and normalise prostitution. Where countries have done this (such as in Australia) some important strides have be achieved. Women endure a much lower rate of violence, for one, and better sexual health – a boon for their clients. Similarly, women retain a higher proportion of their earnings than when working in the unregulated arena.
There will always be informal or unregulated prostitution in every society. But bringing it under some sort of sensible and safe legal control is now clearly established as a good thing – for the workers, and those who purchase their services.
And for the first time, one of the biggest businesses in the world can even be taxed.
Despite ushering in an anti-prostitution era, Mao was utterly inconsistent himself. “As Mao got older,” Mao’s personal physician Dr Li wrote, “he became an adherent of Taoist sexual practices which gave him an excuse to pursue sex not only for pleasure but to extend his life. He claimed he needed the waters of yin—or vaginal secretions—to supplement his own declining yang—or male essence, the source of his strength, power and longevity. Many of the women that Mao slept with were daughters of poor peasants who Li said believed that sleeping with the chairman was the greatest experience of their life. Mao was happiest and most satisfied when he had several young women simultaneously sharing his bed, and he encouraged his sexual partners to introduce him to others. He often told the young women to read the Taoist sex manual The Plain Girl’s Secret Way, in preparation for their trysts.” [Source: "The Private Life of Chairman Mao" by Dr. Li Zhisui, excerpts reprinted U.S. News and World Report, October 10, 1994]
Tackling the matter will mean China has to confront it’s inherently (and traditionally) male-oriented society, to accept that Chinese society is not always internally harmonious and well organised (which it sometimes seems reluctant to do), and to deal fundamentally with a widespread issue rather than scratching at the surface of it.
Chucking the book at a few naughty judges, or even less impressively, busting the young women involved, is mere window dressing.
In our opinion, regulating prostitution in China would be a bold step towards the true emancipation of women in this fast-growing and significant society.
In a broad sense, if women choose to work as prostitutes that should be a choice, rather than a necessity, and it should be a safe choice, and one without social stigma.
And there is evidence that the Chinese authorities are well aware of the threat to women of un-regulated prostitution.
In 2011 a Chinese “madam” was executed by lethal injection for running a prostitution ring.
It’s estimated that she was responsible for over 300 women were forced into prostitution between the years of 1994 and 2009.
Seven of the women died from unknown causes that some suspect had to do with the prostitution.
Other women went clinically insane.
One example includes a forced prostitute who, in 2003, jumped from the eighth floor of a brothel (disguised as a tea house) and was paralyzed as a result.
Even after her paralysis, the woman was kept locked up until police found her.
But even executing ring leaders will not solve the problem. Prostitution is like the hydra. Cut off one head, and seven more appear.
Change must happen. Nothing in current policy settings implies that the Chinese government knows what to do about the level of prostitution in the country, and the social ills it trails in its wake.
No, necessary change will not happen overnight. Yes, it has to happen.
The sooner China gets started, the sooner the problem will be controlled, to the benefit of all.
But what do you think? Your comments are very welcome, and please take our poll.
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Anyhow: much as we enjoy using the platform in general, in our view, some of the content on the massively popular site is morally questionable, and quite possibly illegal in multiple domains.
And we remain of the view that they need to review their general terms of service urgently.
Especially as entirely innocent posters frequently get banned because someone tags their post as Spam merely because they disagree with it – a phenomenally common cause of complaint, against which there is no appeal that we can discern.
(If you don’t believe us, hop onto Facebook now and see if you can find a link to customer service that doesn’t just direct you to a bland series of FAQs, or even, yet, a customer service email address or – gasp – phone number. If you make any progress, let us know …)
Banned Facebook content DOES include images of breastfeeding, apparently, as this Australian mother discovered to her cost.
In fact, Facebook is now so large that they seem to handle such matters automatically by computer rather than with human intervention, and in our experience there is no way to get such bans rescinded.
So much for free speech.
I have seen complaints of such bans from all sides of the political and social spectrum, from extreme left to extreme right and everything in between, and from non-political posters who simply add material that someone or something in Facebook apparently decides is offensive.
Many posters simply migrate to a different Facebook name in order to keep posting, (the same problem afflicts Twitter), and it’s clear the problem needs resolving urgently.
If someone comes up with a social network with real customer service Facebook and Twitter will go the way of MySpace and others, taking investors with them. Anyhow, here’s the story of one lump of pressure against Facebook that did win out – because it targeted their revenues, of course.
Facebook removes ads from controversial pages to avoid boycott
Social media pressure increases against, ironically, social media providers.
Some recent consumer pressure on FB advertisers has produced rapid and meaningful results.
What is becoming increasingly fascinating to me, having spent a lifetime in marketing, is how social media pressure can now bend corporations – even bend social media providers – to its will, and with some ease.
Clearly, the days of companies blithely acting in defiance of popular will are declining.
This from the Technology correspondent of the BBC:
Facebook has announced a major revamp of its advertising systems in an attempt to deal with concerns about offensive content.
There will now be new restrictions on where adverts appear on the site.
Marks and Spencer and BSkyB were among companies to suspend advertising after complaints that adverts had been placed on pages with offensive material.
The social network is now planning to remove any advertising from many of its pages.
Facebook’s move follows complaints about a Sky advert promoting an M&S voucher.
The advert was placed on a Facebook page called “cute and gay boys”. The page featured photographs of teenage boys.
In a blogpost on Friday, Facebook said: “We recognize we need to do more to prevent situations where ads are displayed alongside controversial Pages and Groups. So we are taking action.”
The company said that from Monday it will implement a new process to determine which pages or groups should feature adverts alongside the content.
There will be no adverts on pages that feature any violent, graphic or sexual content, even if such content is not in violation of the company’s rules.
According to one source, Facebook will create a “gold standard” of around 10,000 pages that are deemed suitable for adverts, and then inspect other pages to see if they can be added to the list. All adverts will be removed from other pages.
A spokesman said this would be a labour-intensive process but we take this” very seriously.”
BskyB said it looked forward to discussing the new measures and would keep the situation under review.
M&S had asked BSkyB to remove the advert, and it suspended some of its own advertising campaigns on Facebook.
BSkyB suspended all of its advertising on the social network, where it has been a major customer.
Both companies had said they were keen to use Facebook again, but needed to be sure that their advertising would not appear next to offensive content, or material that might reflect poorly on their brands.
Speaking before Facebook announced its policy change, a spokesman for BSkyB told the BBC: “We have asked Facebook to devise safeguards to ensure our content does not appear alongside inappropriate material in the future.
“We will review the situation in due course.”
Sources at Marks and Spencer said Facebook had been taking the issue very seriously at the highest level.
In an additional statement, an M&S spokeswoman said the company did not “tolerate any inappropriate use or positioning of its brand and has very clear policies that govern where and how our brand is used”.
She added: “We take any suggestion that these policies are not being adhered to very seriously and always investigate them thoroughly.”
Earlier this month, Facebook was forced to act against misogynist content on its site after protests from women’s groups led some advertisers to suspend campaigns.
I have long instinctively suspected that multi-tasking is a nonsense, and what happens in reality is that a multiplicity of tasks get done less well rather than any real time being saved. Watching people trying to juggle incoming text messages and emails on their phones while attending to what’s going on in a seminar or a meeting is just the most obvious example of the problem.
Now, there’s proof. The word is: turn other devices off and focus on the task at hand. Shut your door, don’t let people interrupt you, and stay off Facebook and Twitter, at least while you are concentrating on something else. (Research does show that access to social networking increases productivity overall in the workplace: it replaces the kind of social interaction that was more common in a less structured group environment and keeps us “grounded”. It provides a useful break. But it is a “BREAK”, people, not a “DURING”.)
So here’s the story. Mandatory reading for anyone who does, er, well, pretty much anything. But I hope you’re not reading it while you’re trying to nut something else out.
Zach Tahir. Wellthisiswhatithink is well aware of politicians chewing the carpet and, er, individuals chewing the pillow. This young lad takes bedroom munching to a whole new level.
A six-year-old boy with a rare condition that causes him to crave inedible objects, such as wall plaster, stones and paper, has been gifted a unique present – an ‘inedible’ bedroom.
UK boy Zach Tahir, who celebrates his sixth birthday today, suffers from the rare condition Pica, which left him helpless to stop himself from gnawing through his bedroom walls.
Mother Rachel Horn, 32, said his hunger for inedible objects became an even bigger concern when the youngster began to chew through plasterboard and window blinds in his Salford bedroom.
“There’s no limit to what he will try and eat,” she said.
“We don’t know what appeals to him about the objects around him but there’s nothing we can do to stop him trying to chew through anything and everything.”
But there is a solution. And it cost over AUD$50,000.
Zach’s brand new bedroom, thought to be the first for Pica sufferers, has been put together to include walls made with the same material as squash courts – a flat, shiny and strong surface that is impossible for him to bite into.
Furniture in the bedroom has been made with rounded edges and installed in such a way that it can’t be brought to the ground.
To curb his destruction of blinds, the family was forced to install bedroom blinds in between window panes to prevent access and uses magnetic, removable sticks to adjust them.
CCTV equipment has also been installed in the bedroom with video live streamed to Zach’s mother’s phone.
“When I hear him in the night, I just switch on the camera through my phone and can see what I’m doing,” she said.
“He doesn’t sleep much because he has a very active mind due to being autistic, so keeps me on my toes, especially at night.”
Ms Horn, who was forced to give up her job to look after her son, was billed over $53,500 for the renovations.
The local Salford Council pitched in with $38,686 as part of a disability allowance and the remainder was raised through charitable donations after some notable celebrities got behind the cause with a Twitter campaign.
(Yahoo, The Times, and others)
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When things do go wrong with an airline, it’s often difficult to get your problems resolved immediately.
Every airline makes mistakes — admittedly some more than others — and every traveller has been caught out by delays, lost luggage, faulty seats, a borked in-flight entertainment systems (Ed. so annoying on a full long haul flight) or other items on the seemingly very long list of Things That Can Go Wrong.
And when things do go wrong with an airline, it’s often difficult to get your problems resolved then and there.
Frontline staffers and cabin crew often lack the authority to sign off on fixing your problem – or they’re just completely swamped with hundreds of other customers in a similar boat to you.
So you’re left to complain to the airline.
But how do you maximise your chances of getting what you need? Here’s some hard-won advice on how to complain — and get results.
1. When something goes wrong
First off, document whatever’s happened. Seat not working or dirty? Outfit stained by a flight crew accident? Luggage problem? Downgraded to economy?
Use your smartphone to snap pictures or even a short video if you can, including the problem and ideally some kind of marker for the date and time. (A clock on the wall? Your watch? A newspaper? Your laptop clock?)
Note down who you first speak to about the problem, what was said, and what the airline said you should do next — and when.
2. Start with the end in mind
Figure out what you want: an apology? Monetary compensation or even a full refund? A credit voucher? Frequent flyer points? Compensation for a hotel stay or emergency necessities? Replacement for a bag or possession that the airline ruined? Something else?
But be realistic: ask around to see what you can reasonably expect the airline to do about it.
3. Keep track of things in one place
It’s important to keep track of your dealings with the airline, both for follow-up reasons (“I’ve spoken to five people since October 4th, and here are their names and what they said”) and to save yourself time finding the details for a second call.
So keep track of things in a Word document, or on an old fashioned piece of paper.
4. Use the phone
Start off with a phone call, which is the best use of your time: often, problems can be resolved with a call rather than needing to sit down and crank out a stiffly-worded email or letter.
As much as we’d often prefer to start off with an email, most airlines don’t do email well. There’s almost always an initial barrage of standard questions, and their online enquiry forms also have a frustrating habit of going astray.
Even if you do need to write in, a quick call can ensure you get to the right place and that the initial circumstances of your problem have been logged.
As for Twitter, most times we just wouldn’t bother. The standard Twitter response from too many airlines is usually “call our contact centre”. An exception might be if you’re overseas and don’t want to make a long-distance phone call, and are trying to get the airline to ring you.
5. Make notes before you dial
Before you dial, make a few quick notes to steer your end of the conversation.
The number you’re calling (for next time, or if you get disconnected)
The date and time you’re calling
The case number, if you have one (from a baggage problem, say)
Your flight particulars
Your frequent flyer number
Any insurance details you have
A few bullet points of what’s happened and what you want: this helps you to articulate your discussion with the agent on the phone
Above all else, remember to keep your cool. Don’t just vent your frustration on the poor sod who’ll answer your call. You won’t get what you want if you’re still angry about things.
6. Start writing when the phone starts ringing
While you’re navigating the airline’s interactive call menu, jot down:
The time when you started the call
How you reach a real live person (press 4, then 6, then 8, for example)
Who you talked to and in which department
Of course, it never hurts not to be an arsehole in the first place.
7. Don’t hang up without a “next action”
So you’ve made it through to a real live human and said your piece.
Before hanging up, seek agreement with the airline’s agent on what happens next. Note down:
What the next step is (for someone to call you back, or for you to put your concerns in writing)
When you should follow up if you haven’t heard back
How you’ll follow up: direct line? A person-specific address?
The time when you ended the call
8. Be sure to follow up
It’s all too easy for things to get lost — and it’s in the airline’s interests if they don’t get back to you with that promised update or a resolution.
So if you’re told this is a “check back in two weeks” situation, make a note in your calendar to remind you to follow up. Be persistent and polite and you’ll win out in the end.
All seems like really smart advice, doesn’t it? Funnily enough, I am flying off on business tomorrow – timely!
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Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister evidently tripped on the social network’s privacy settings, landing in the midst of a debate about “online etiquette.”
Just any old billionaire American’s family
Randi Zuckerberg, who launched a Silicon Valley themed online reality show after quitting her job handling Facebook public relations, kicked off the controversy after a family photo intended for friends went public.
The picture, copies of which were at Buzzfeed.com and elsewhere on the Internet, showed Mark Zuckerberg in a kitchen with family members dramatizing reactions to messages sent with a freshly launched “Poke” feature at Facebook.
Poke lets people send messages that self-destruct in what is seen by many as a spin on popular smartphone application Snapchat.
Is it just me, or is it really difficult to take someone called Randi seriously?
Some have joked that Poke is a boon for “sexting” risque pictures because senders can have them quickly erased.
Randi Zuckerberg posted a copy of the family photo to Facebook for the eyes of close friends only, but evidently it was also shared with friends of those tagged in the picture due to privacy settings at the social network.
That meant the fun photo popped up in the news feed of someone outside Randi Zuckerberg’s circle, who then shared it on popular messaging service Twitter.
From there, the photo went viral — much to Randi Zuckerberg’s chagrin.
“Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly,” Mark Zuckerberg’s elder sister said in a Christmas tweet. “It’s not just about privacy settings, it’s about human decency.”
The comment sparked heated debate at Twitter and other online forums, where a vocal contingent saw poetic justice in Zuckerbergs being exposed by the way the social network handles the privacy of users.
“How terrible that someone might take something that belongs to you and use it in ways that you had not anticipated, and for which you had not given explicit permission,” Dan Lyons said facetiously in a post at ReadWrite.com.
“What kind of world are we living in when just because you post something on a website, someone else can take just take that stuff and do things with it?” he asked rhetorically before finishing with “Oh, wait…”
In a Twitter message on Wednesday, Randi Zuckerberg said the topic of online etiquette elicits “passion, debate, anger & Twitter crazies” to the extent that it might be the subject of her next show.
What you need to know about Facebook image sharing, courtesy of Forbes.
The subscriber, Vox Media marketing director Callie Schweitzer, thought the photo was a public one when she spotted it in her newsfeed. In fact, she saw it because she was friends with a person tagged in the photo, one of the Zuckerberg sisters. She was able to see the photo because of a privacy setting that you may or may not realize exists.
When you post a photo, you have a range of options as to who gets to see it, from the generic ones — Public, Friends, Fill-In-Your-Schoo-Here, Fill-In-Your-Work-Here — to any lists you may have created — Creepers, Ex-Boyfriends, People I barely remember, Family, People I Secretly Hate, etc. You may choose “Friends,” as Randi Zuckerberg did, and think your photos can then only be seen by your friends – but you’d be wrong.
By default, your photos can also be seen by the friends of any people you’ve tagged in the photo. That’s why a person that Randi Zuckerberg didn’t know — but that her sister did know — ended up seeing and sharing her photo. To change that setting, you have to choose the “Custom” option in your photo sharing settings:
Then it will let you decide who you share the photo with. To prevent friends of your tagged friends from enjoying the photo you’ve uploaded, un-check that box.
It’s not super complicated, but it’s not exactly intuitive either. When Forbes recently talked to Facebook product manager Sam Lessin about Facebook’s latest “simplified” privacy controls, he told them that they try to design privacy controls in ways that make sense to the Facebook community. “When users are surprised, that is a bad thing,” he said.
Assuming you care, you have been warned. And this is the privacy setting I want FB to take care of – STOP SENDING ME BLOODY ANNOYING SPAM “SUGGESTED POSTS”!!! Thank you.
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A little while back, a big brouhaha broke in the States over a chicken fast food chain called Chick-fil-A.
The business, hitherto best known for its amusing billboard advertising, became the centre of a storm when key personnel spoke out against gay marriage, prompting calls for a boycott of the business.
Perhaps Chick-fil-A should have stuck to their knitting.
Their cause was taken up by right wing conservative commentator Mike Huckabee resulting in a highly successful protest in favour of the company’s position, when sales in one day went up 29%. However quite recently opinion polling revealed that some 13% of people were still considering or actively boycotting the business.
As recently as two days ago, the controversy continues to rumble. The long term effect on the brand is, as yet, unclear.
Now, a similar controversy has broken over another fast food company. And calls for a boycott are growing fast.
Pizza maker Papa John’s chief executive John Schnatter has criticized President Obama’s health-care law and said it will raise costs by 15 to 20 cents a pizza.
Some Twitter and Facebook users are now actively urging a boycott of the Kentucky-based pizza chain.
This is not what you want to see on your Facebook page when you check it over breakfast.
Nor this. See the ease with which the graphic encourages people to hit the Share button on Facebook? Be afraid. Be very afraid. You do not want this on a couple of million customer’s FB pages overnight.
But the Christian Science Monitor, for one, argues that such reactions may be overdone. They ask: was Mr. Schnatter making a political threat – or simply explaining the economics of the pizza business? Well, you be the judge.
In the middle of an Aug. 1 conference call with reporters and analysts to discuss the chain’s second-quarter results, Schnatter was asked about the impact of the new health-care law on Papa John’s. Here’s what he said, according to a recording of that call on the company’s website:
“Our best estimate is that the Obamacare [law] will cost about 11 to 14 cents per pizza – or 15 or 20 cents per order from a corporate basis. To put that in perspective, our average delivery charge is $1.75 to $2.50 – or about 10-fold our estimated cost of the Obamacare [law] to Papa John’s.
We’re not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry. But our business model and unit economics [are] about as ideal as you can get for a food company to absorb Obamacare. We have a high ticket average with extremely high frequency of order counts – millions of pizzas per year. To give you an example … let’s say fuel goes up, which it does from time to time, and we have to raise delivery charges. We don’t like raising delivery charges. But the price of fuel is out of our control, as is Obamacare.
So if Obamacare is, in fact, not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto the consumer in order to protect our shareholders’ best interest.”
CSM believe several points stand out: The 15 to 20 cents he’s talking about are costs, not prices. If he was making a political statement, would he really make the point that delivery charges, based at least in part on fuel costs, are 10 times the size of the hit from Obamacare? And he is promising to cut or “shallow out” the costs of healthcare before passing any price increase to the consumer.
Is that a threat? Really? I guess it depends on what “shallowing out” costs actually means.
Schnatter is certainly no fan of the president or the health-care law. Who knows? Perhaps he will cut health-care costs by laying off or shafting his employees. But, the CSM argues, he deserves to have his words quoted in context, before another battle of the culture war is fought over fast food.
Fair enough. What is certain is that the row over his words is likely to grow. Like a brushfire. And it highlights dramatically the care that business owners and managers must take when commenting, in whatever medium, on controversial political issues.
At Wellthisiswhatithink we believe that it would not be a good thing for business to be prevented from expressing its point of view through fear of igniting controversy – it is, when all’s said and done, a key segment of society and we need to know the perspectives it holds, and why it holds them, given that “business” is somewhat opaque to the non business community.
But look out: the swamp is full of alligators, and treading warily would seem to be in order.
What a smart thing it might be, for example, for Boards of Directors to deliberately seek out and include ex-officio Directors with different points of view to their own, who might be closer to the general public, and with a better than passing knowledge of the likely public effect of policy decisions. The same could be said of a Board’s approach to environmental issues, risk management issues, (hello, BP, we’re talking to you), personnel issues generally, and many more.
“What’s on for the weekend, Bill, taking the boat out?” “Hell no, Ted, I’m heading for the mosh pit at the Midwinter Rave. Just love that feeling of mud on my jeans and getting off my face.” Yeah, right.
When companies are basically run by a group of accountants, lawyers and entrepreneurs, they can get a very narrow view of the society in which they do business. And when those same people leave work for the day, they often – not always, but often – circulate in a social milieu that usually does very little to broaden their horizons. It’s called “living in the bubble”. When a storm breaks, they are generally shocked and scramble to play catch up, often ineffectively.
As an adviser to business, I have sometimes found the upper echelons of management to be staggering insular, tone deaf to the likely public impact of their activities or statements, and completely lacking understanding of how social media has fundamentally altered the rules of the game, and as a result – essentially – they are riding for a fall.
It will be interesting to watch how Papa John’s deal with the crisis. The cost of getting it wrong will be a hell of a lot more than 14 cents a pizza, that’s for sure.
Some more examples that we have covered of how NOT to embrace social media can be found here, concerning recent industrial disputation and management actions at Australia’s national airline: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-cb and here: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-cu. A very funny and cautionary tale.
Anyhow, as we all sit mesmerised with horror at the new power of social media, my final word to managers and Directors is very simple.
For more than 2,000 years, Christian society has been based on what is known as the Golden Rule. To wit: “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.”
Why not try applying that rule to your next major decision? Forget what you think is your responsibility to your shareholders, just momentarily, and imagine you are your customer. You will soon find, I assure you, that building shareholder value isn’t actually about pinching pennies here and there, it’s about providing world class products and services. World class.
Because in an internet world, world class is the new basic standard. Think about it.
The funniest (and pithiest) moment in last night’s US Presidential debate was Obama comprehensively making Romney look like a total idiot on the future of the US Navy.
This great article on Think Progress not only shows (in a very useful graphic) that Obama has actually done a great job of protecting the US Navy’s interests, but also replays the relevant segment of the debate for us all to enjoy again.
If you haven’t seen it, this moment may well be considered historic in the future – do yourself a favour and click on the link and watch.
Sprinter Kim Collins is on his way home after the St Kitts and Nevis Olympic Federation pulled their greatest athlete out of the London Games citing disciplinary reasons. The 36-year-old, who won the 100m world title in 2003, was notable only by his absence with his lane empty as the 100m heats got underway at the Olympic stadium on Saturday.
A furious Collins said he’d been withdrawn from the Games for visiting his wife at a hotel and would never again run for his country, a small Caribbean nation, complaining he had been shown a lack of respect.
I reckon he looks one way cool dude. Actually most of them do. I must say, I really admired their ties when they were in the opening ceremony – even tweeted about it. I want a St Kitts and Nevis tie! Want!
“I could be wrong but I don’t see why it should be such a problem,” Collins said. “I would have better luck if I went out with some chick and came back and there wouldn’t be a bit of a problem. I honestly don’t see what is the big deal. I’m a grown man with kids, about to have grandkids.”
The St. Kitts and Nevis team said it “regrettably announced” that Collins, who it described as a “national hero,” was leaving the Olympics. Obviously seeking to de-focus on the “he visited his wife, oo-er missus” side of the story, they commented:
“Mr. Collins departure is down to his repeated absences from training sessions and also for refusing to respond to repeated phone calls and emails by team manager and coaches,” it said in a statement. “Furthermore, Mr. Collins did not make an appearance for registration for his events at the Olympic Village (on Friday) as requested.”
Collins will not be hanging around in London for the 200m and sprint relay, having had the chance to race in the 100m wrenched away from him.
“I’m about to go and change my flight and go home,” Collins told a London radio station. “And see my kids who I haven’t seen for a while. For me it’s a done deal. I’ve been disrespected for too long for too many years.”
The opening ceremony flag-bearer for his country was apparently expected by his national federation not to leave the Olympic Village.
Whereas, if he had stayed, and presumably cheated on his wife, he would have been able to enjoy using as many of the 150,000 free condoms distributed to the athletes by British maker Durex as he liked – that’s 15 rubbers per athlete, so presuming they only use them with another person, that’s a lot of shagging going on, right there – not to mention the other miscellaneous makes of donated condoms floating around, (if you will forgive the mental image that rather unfortunate pun brings to mind), including the rather wonderful Boxing Kangaroo condoms donated for the Australian team, with the great slogan “For the gland downunder”.
So, random sex with some wired young athlete in the village so you can both get to sleep without Stillnox, no problem. Nipping to a nearby hotel for a bunk up with the missus. Scandalous, you’re out.
Anyhow, thanks to easy-on-the-eye Aussie BMX-er Caroline Buchanan, and her Twitter feed, we now know what the Aussie baby stoppers look like, or at least their dispenser.
Young Australians? Having sex in London? “Shurely shome mishtake?”, as Private Eye would have had it.
Roo Rubbers. Come on, admit you’re whistling a Men At Work song in your head right now.
Anyhow, Collins took to Twitter to vent steam over his sacking. In one tweet he remarked: ”Even men in prison get their wives to visit,” he tweeted. ”6 athletes and 9 officials. That ain’t enough to make some people happy. Omg.”
We hear ya, bro.
(Thanks to Yahoo and countless others)
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Lest we misunderestimate him, using the marvellous Bushism, Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney has meticulously spelled out his vision for a better America while on the campaign trail this year. But in his new mobile app? Not so much.
The “With Mitt” application for the iPhone allows users to express support for the recently anointed Republican flag bearer by personalising a photo with an overlaid Romney slogan. Trouble is, one of the slogans had a howler of a spelling mistake: “A Better Amercia.”
Members of the proofreading public recently made the discovery and it went viral on Twitter late on Tuesday in the US, with people mockingly tweeting photos showing the “Amercia” message.
“Some poor app designer is getting strapped in a cage on the top of a car and driven across country tonight. #amercia,” one user tweeted, in a reference to Romney’s hard-to-live-down decision years ago to strap the family dog in its carrier on the roof of the car during a vacation.
Early on Wednesday, the app, promoted by official campaign website mittromney.com, had yet to be corrected, and new downloads contained the spelling error.
“Mistakes happen,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on MSNBC.
“I don’t think any voter cares about a typo at the end of the day,” she said, adding that an update had been sent to Apple. Hours later, the company’s app store was offering an updated version with the embarrassing mistake corrected.
The “With Mitt” download page offered version 1.0.1 which it said makes “bug fixes” to the app, but the change of note was the removal of the offending phrase.
The GOP’s 2012 campaign has had its share of embarrassing spelling gaffes.
Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman’s presidential bid got off to a rocky start when his team handed out press passes at the inaugural campaign event for “John Huntsman”, unnecessarily inserting an H into his first name. But much more embarrassingly, in March, red-faced aides to former senator Rick Santorum were forced to resend a corrected public schedule to reporters after they inadvertently mailed out “Santorum’s Pubic Schedule”.
As someone who has worked in communications for more than 25 years, I simply cannot understand how such mistakes happen. On the other hand, I did once run a double page spread for a client with the 70 point headline Oustanding Value. Interestingly it was a week before anyone noticed. So perhaps those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Luckily, the internet didn’t really exist back then.
So from here on in, Democrats can presumably be relied upon to gleefully murmur behind their hands that the problem with Romney isn’t that he’s a Mormon, more that he’s a moron … well, spelling wise, at least.
Loads of people enjoyed my blog on the lunatic Qantas twitter campaign that caused the benighted Australian airline so much public embarrassment. Now, as further evidence of the reach of social media, a New Zealander tells me via a University alumni website in the UK, about this genuinely brilliantly written and laugh out loud funny piss take.
Bravo whoever did it. And once more, thumbs down to the idiots at Qantas who think it’s a smart idea to launch a social media campaign just after grounding their airline and leaving tens of thousands of people stranded all over the world, in the middle of a brutal industrial dispute, and when their standing in Australia is only a little higher than serial axe murderers.
My original story is here, for those wanting more background.
Can you imagine what the conversation was like between the Generation “X” marketing manager who didn’t realise what his Generation “Y” social media person was doing? They should both, of course, be sacked instantly, given an open ticket to anywhere in the world and told to get seriously lost. But don’t hold your breath. This is Qantas we’re talking about.
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The grounding of the entire Qantas fleet on October 29 left tens of thousands stranded worldwide, such as these confused customers at LAX.
Hilarious story from the blind ivory tower that is Qantas, currently deeply mired in consumer scepticism and industrial relations issues following their recent grounding by Qantas management and lockout of their staff.
Click below to see just how badly wrong a Twitter campaign can go when it is launched at the wrong time, dropped into the bubbling maelstrom created by pissed off consumers and even more pissed off workers.
Just one more reminder, if it was needed, that social media is not separate from a company’s overall advertising and media posture, it is integral to it.
Well This Is What I Think’s contribution to the, er, “debate” was: A bread roll that isn’t like rock? Anything edible at all? In-flight movies that work? Clean tray tables? Smiling hosties? #qantasluxury
We look forward to hearing yours.
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So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be. Anis Mojgani