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How to grow instagram for your start-up

How to grow instagram for your start-up

 

Frequently termed ‘The King of Social’, Instagram started as a simple picture sharing app, used mainly between close friends and some carefully-selected family, to display the ‘best’ snapshots of your life. It was a refreshing alternative to the swathes of imagery that confronted you on Facebook, each one only slightly different to the last. It’s single-picture format enforced a kind of self-control not seen elsewhere. Of course, this wouldn’t last forever. Years later we have video, galleries and stories, and Instagram has expanded far beyond your own social circle. It has, however, kept its highly-polished aesthetic and fetish for ‘authenticity’.

Photo by @argonautphoto (Aaron Huey). Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly, #NavajoNation. Headed to #BearsEarsNationalMonument in Utah on assignment for the magazine. More photos from the region here and at @argonautphoto all this week!

A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

Now the app is one of the biggest Social Media sites in the world, with over 700 million users, 400 million of which are active daily! It’s impressive to say the least and the potential audience reach on this platform is ever growing. It took only four months to gain the last 100 million followers, whereas the previous took six months.

So, what makes it such a great platform? It’s seen as considerably cooler than Facebook, more interesting than Twitter, and more useful than Snapchat. Instagram has become incredibly sophisticated in storytelling, and doing so in an artistic manner. The ability to fluently and diversely communicate a brand or individual’s story has become indispensable. Authenticity is key to modern marketing, and Instagram is the platform that allows this ‘intimate’ insight into a brand. And what better brand to apply it to than a Start Up? A company that is rooted in individuality, ingenuity and passion. One that is already trying to tell its own story, and express its personality, unlike many conglomerates that churn out an all-encompassing ‘brand’ worldwide.

Engage your audience

So, we know Instagram has the audience and the tools to effectively tell your story, but what techniques can you employ to make Instagram work for you? As a Start Up, it’s important not only to put out great content, but to actively engage with your following, and users who you feel would be interested in your brand. This engagement, or ‘community managing’, is what will help you grow your channel, awareness, and ultimately your brand. It may seem like a lot of work, but just taking the time to reply to comments and reach out to users and brands can make all the difference.

Hashtag it

Building this community can be done several ways, but the most immediate is through hashtags. By putting up to 30 relevant hashtags underneath your post you can make yourself visible to the potentially millions of daily users who are engaging with account and brands like yours. Engaging with other users in these hashtags is the next step to generating conversation; and this is worth remembering. Social Media is not a one-way street, you need ask questions, respond authentically, get people interested and keep them talking with you and about you.

If you are local business, such as a restaurant, boutique or event, then you can utilise these hashtags to target a specific audience. Likewise, you may also use geo-tagging to involve the local community in a location-targeted campaign. These techniques allow you to build a community both offline and online.

Collaborate and listen

Many brands have taken to cross-posting and collaborations to bolster their online presence. This is a mutually beneficial process that sees both brands raise awareness, and is particularly applicable in a Start Up environment, where both have a chance to establish themselves in an industry. It’s not just other brands that you might consider this tactic with; featuring your customers is an increasingly valuable tool in promoting your brands merit. Not only will this provide potential customers with authentic, positive feedback for your brand, but it also rewards fans for being fans. In doing this, you encourage them to continue to share their interactions with your brand on Social Media. It’s a win win, they get to interact with the brands they love in an authentic way, and you get exposure and great content for your own channels. Just make sure you always credit them!

 

For me?! @chapabouttown is ready to chow down on some Turkey and Duck Dinner! 🍗 #FuelledByCanagan

A post shared by Canagan (@canaganpetfood) on

Do what works for you

There’s a plethora of techniques to employ on this ever-expanding channel. To do it perfectly, you would be using a variation of careful curated daily posts and stories to provide the most artistic storytelling experience you can. You could run competitions, and cross-post and promote other brands. You could shout about your brand down every relevant avenue, and target it perfectly with paid posts and influencer marketing. This is a lot to take on, especially as a Start Up. It can seem overwhelming, but it is also wholly unnecessary to try to do all of them at once, and to sustain them. Our advice would be to cherry pick what works for your brand, and remember that creativity and authenticity are at the heart of successful Social Media marketing.

Get Creative

If you want to champion your brand on Instagram effectively, the main thing to consider in this whirlwind of possibilities, is creativity. Instagram is a platform that welcomes creativity more than any other. This is the point of difference needed to stop users endlessly scrolling through their feeds and focus on your post. This is the first point of engagement with a consumer, and one of the hardest things to engineer. You want to disrupt and simultaneously engage; having a creative edge here is key.

‪How to grow an avocado tree:‬ ‪1. Find an avocado stone‬ ‪2. Wash it‬ ‪3. Add some cocktail sticks‬ ‪4. Half submerge it in water‬ ‪5. Wait‬

A post shared by innocent (@innocent) on

Of course, this is perhaps easier said than done. But with a proper strategy, and some practise, you should quickly find yourself building your brands presence and identity online. Building and maintaining this presence is of huge value to brands and businesses, after all 32% of all internet users are on Instagram. That’s a big slice of the pie to be missing out on!

What a month at The PHA Group

By Ellen Maddin, The PHA Group Intern

It’s the final day of August and it’s my final day at PHA-Media. Some say, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ and my month here definitely has.

I remember the 2-minute wait in reception on my first day felt like an eternity. The nerves were mounting and upon reflection; the 2 double shot cappuccinos I’d had that morning were probably not a good idea.

However, the welcome given to me by the Entrepreneurs and Business Team (Abbi, Emily, Celia, Alice, Prisca, Jasmin, James and Stuart) instantly made me feel better. I cannot express how thankful I am to them; their positive energy is infectious, their work ethic is inspiring and their supportive nature radiates across the pods. Two words to sum them up are: Girl Power! Not forgetting, of course, James and Stuart who immediately made me feel part of the team!

Now to the important points…

What I have learnt…(a vast amount):

  • I now have a real understanding of how a PR company works
  • I have learned how to use Gorkana – vital when creating media lists
  • You must be on the ball; constantly keeping an eye on news outlets for coverage opportunities
  • Brainstorming ideas is essential especially when deciding on a new pitch angle – two brains are always better than one!
  • Being confident is a fundamental part of PR – mine has grown while being here!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions (everyone is happy to answer them) – it gives a meaning to the work you are doing and it makes it much more interesting!
  • It has been exciting to see how all the different parts link together to form an overall strategy!

My Highlights

There have been too many highlights to write about them all so here are my top 3:

  1. I loved the mini project I was involved in because I could demonstrate my creative skills. It also gave me an insight into the broad range of work PHA do for their clients. Seeing the finished product was a great way to end my time.
  2. The research tasks I have completed have all been fascinating and have shown me the wide variety of clients PHA-Media have. Every day has been different!
  3. Knowing that I enjoy writing, Emily (from E&B) set me some blog posts to write for some of The PHA Group’s clients. Understanding when to use a different tone and language style has been incredibly useful!

This internship exceeded my expectations and taught me some invaluable lessons. Notably, to succeed in PR you need to be determined and enthusiastic. A month ago, I was feeling anxious about graduating in a year’s time knowing I’d be entering the ‘real world’. Now I feel like a future career in PR could hopefully be on the cards and that is all testament to what I have experienced at PHA. Thank you everyone!

P.S. influenced by the mini project I was set, my parting gift to the E&B Team is a survival kit

What a month at The PHA Group

By Ellen Maddin, The PHA Group Intern

It’s the final day of August and it’s my final day at PHA-Media. Some say, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ and my month here definitely has.

I remember the 2-minute wait in reception on my first day felt like an eternity. The nerves were mounting and upon reflection; the 2 double shot cappuccinos I’d had that morning were probably not a good idea.

However, the welcome given to me by the Entrepreneurs and Business Team (Abbi, Emily, Celia, Alice, Prisca, Jasmin, James and Stuart) instantly made me feel better. I cannot express how thankful I am to them; their positive energy is infectious, their work ethic is inspiring and their supportive nature radiates across the pods. Two words to sum them up are: Girl Power! Not forgetting of course James and Stuart who immediately made me feel part of the team!

Now to the important points…

What I have learnt…(a vast amount):

  • I now have a real understanding of how a PR company works
  • I have learnt how to use Gorkana – vital when creating media lists
  • You must be on the ball; constantly keeping an eye on news outlets for coverage opportunities
  • Brainstorming ideas is essential especially when deciding on a new pitch angle – two brains are always better than one!
  • Being confident is a fundamental part of PR – mine has grown while being here!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions (everyone is happy to answer them) – it gives a meaning to the work you are doing and it makes it much more interesting!
  • It has been exciting to see how all the different parts link together to form an overall strategy!

My Highlights

There have been too many highlights to write about them all so here are my top 3:

  1. I loved the mini project I was involved in because I could demonstrate my creative skills. It also gave me an insight into the broad range of work PHA do for their clients. Seeing the finished product was a great way to end my time.
  2. The research tasks I have completed have all been fascinating and have shown me the wide variety of clients PHA-Media have. Everyday has been different!
  3. Knowing that I enjoy writing, Emily (from E&B) set me some blog posts to write for some of The PHA Group’s clients. Understanding when to use a different tone and language style has been incredibly useful!

This internship exceeded my expectations and taught me some invaluable lessons. Notably, to succeed in PR you need to be determined and enthusiastic. A month ago, I was feeling anxious about graduating in a year’s time knowing I’d be entering the ‘real world’. Now I feel like a future career in PR could hopefully be on the cards and that is all testament to what I have experienced at PHA. Thank you everyone!

P.S. influenced by the mini project I was set, my parting gift to the E&B Team is a survival kit

Instagram vs Snapchat: The Stories Debate

Another day, another social media update! On Tuesday, Instagram rolled out a new feature called Instagram Stories.

This feature allows users to upload photos and videos that will disappear automatically after 24 hours. ‘Stories’ sits at the top of your newsfeed, and you can bring your content to life with text and drawing tools. Sound familiar? Yes! That’s because it’s just like Snapchat.

Essentially, Instagram have copied the whole concept of Snapchat Stories. Once a place where you could only see the ‘highlights’, Instagram are ready to take on their fellow tech giant; swallowing their pride with this huge ephemeral curveball. In an interview with TechCrunch, Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom even said that Snapchat “deserve all the credit”.

But what does this mean for the future of Instagram and Snapchat? Reaction has been mixed online.

In favour of Instagram ?

“Good artists copy; great artists steal”, say Next Web who have revived the words of Picasso. Some say that Instagram has taken a concept built by Snapchat but “out-innovated” them with their own spin on the familiar feature. When you think about it, this feature is actually a perfect fit for Instagram. Ultimately, Instagram has made the feature more accessible and easier to use for a wider group of people and higher numbers of users; people who sometimes struggle with the current Snapchat model. In their official blog, Instagram said that now their users “don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed”. The new feature will be rolled out globally to both Android and iOS users over the next few weeks.

Instagram Stories offers something more – i.e. beautiful imagery and highlights; along with a raw, unedited look into daily lives. This is a move that could really bring Instagram to the forefront, to make sure it stays on top. The best of both worlds! Watch out, Snapchat.

Instagram Stories

In favour of Snapchat ?

We spoke recently about how Snapchat really is the app for innovation, and it still is. Snapchat pioneered the ‘Stories’ feature which has taken over the social media world, not to mention Snapchat ‘Memories’, ‘Geofilters’ and ‘Lenses’. Snapchat have been original with their product, a product which has contributed to the decline in “original sharing” via Facebook. Copying Snapchat is an extreme move by Instagram, one which is telling of the problems the app is facing. People have always liked Snapchat because of the freedom associated with it, it is a place where you don’t have to feel judged for posting like you might do on Instagram or Facebook. The new ephemeral feature on Instagram has basically confirmed that this type of sharing is the way forward. Snapchat have innovated before, and there is no doubt that they will do it again.

With a dedicated and loyal fan base, it is hard to see how Snapchat will suffer as a result of this move. Not to mention the fact that Instagram have annoyed many people with their recent algorithm change – ‘Stories’ has just added salt to the wound. With sentiment erring slightly on the negative side, could Instagram become the Bebo of our time?

As always in the world of tech and social media, we can never tell what’s around the corner. Who will reign supreme? Time will tell. In the meantime, the digital team at The PHA Group are looking forward to the next update from Snapchat…

 

 

Are languages old business?

By Ruby Muir

‘Why bother when everyone speaks English?’, ‘There are other things that are more worth my time’ are just a few of the many comments heard about learning languages in playgrounds, universities and workplaces today. Throughout the country our priorities have shifted, increasing the void between apparently employable, practical and worthwhile skills and the study of foreign languages. With the removal of compulsory language study for 14-16 year olds in 2004, the number of students studying languages to a high level has plummeted drastically. This has resulted in a deficit of graduates equipped to transfer their language skills to the continually expanding global markets.

But what effect does this actually have on our businesses and global profile? There is some argument that a mastery of English is all you need when working and trading on a global level. Countless European countries raise their children to be bilingual with English and those that don’t are quickly implementing widespread bilingual school programmes to catch up. China, India and countless others, all operate with such a high level of English language that communicating haphazardly in other native tongues could be unnecessary.

But where does this leave us in reality? Practically this absence of language skills costs our economy £48 billion a year. Parts of this results from expenses to businesses who have to employ translators to carry out foreign exchanges where the level of English isn’t sufficiently high. For smaller business where this is unaffordable this means a loss of business. For a prospective linguist, this void creates huge advantage making them a valuable asset, able to communicate directly without an intermediary thereby improving their commercial opportunities. Even without a broad grasp of a foreign language, the ability to greet and exchange niceties in someone’s native tongue should not be underestimated. The care and effort of this gesture can very much enhance the tone and outcome of prospective negotiations and build beneficial relationships for the future.

languages, dictionary

Image courtesy of The Greatist on Flickr

Moreover, an understanding of a foreign language is accompanied by a cultural appreciation that can be useful when adapting campaigns and brands to foreign markets. Understanding the comedy and other reference points of a target nation can help personalise and enhance global marketing campaigns. It also allows adaption to cultural norms during exchange and negotiation. In this way, knowledge of foreign languages can change perspectives, remove perceived barriers and enable confident expansion in new markets.

However, with the looming execution of Brexit, the prospects of educating the future workforce in foreign languages are uncertain. Within days of the Leave victory, Danuta Hübner, the head of the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee, announced that English will lose its official status as an EU language after the separation. With this change, it could be that for the UK to continue with some European trade, language skills will need to become a key priority. It could be we will need to focus on educating our children in Mandarin, Arabic and Hindi to secure reliable trade from beyond Europe. It could be that an independent Britain and the US will be enough to retain the Anglo dominance in global markets. Currently, no one knows.

Nonetheless, the EU contributions to language education, such as the funding of its study abroad programme Erasmus and living grants for students, are sure to be cut and are unlikely to be replaced through government funding. This could inhibit the study of languages for many prospective students, to whom living abroad for the compulsory year would be an unaffordable luxury. Depending on movement and immigration changes, the resource of native teachers and language assistants could be depleted, reducing the authenticity of cultural and linguistic learning. Again, no one knows.

All that is clear is that the shape of post-Brexit Britain will for the foreseeable future remain uncertain. However, we know for sure that language skills are a fantastically valuable asset to have within our businesses and workforces. It is clear that as a country, we need to adjust our attitude that learning languages is other people’s responsibility. We need to fight for our youth to engage culturally and linguistically to keep up with their counterparts in China, Europe and the rest of the world. Most importantly, we need to stop telling ourselves that the skills we gained from that bit of French we learnt in school or ‘the get by in’ classes at the local community centre aren’t adequate, useful or able to make a difference in international engagements.

Double, Double Toil & Trouble; Private Valuations & Fintech Bubble

Every couple of months an article or two regarding the ‘fintech bubble’ floats onto the pages of online and print media.

“Are we in a bubble? Will it burst?” fret the writers of such articles. “Are valuations based on real worth or mere chatter? Could fintech be the next Dot-Com?”

Reading these, it can seem a little like the sector is just waiting for a disaster to happen. Like all the hype is a brave face belying a fragile body.

However, questions like these should come as little surprise. Despite a sizzling market, it’s smart to stay a little wary and acknowledge that just because entrepreneurs and investors are excited doesn’t mean everything is smooth sailing. After all, startups fail. That’s a thing that happens. And with the massive explosion of new businesses, it’s indubitable many – if not most – will fail.

Does this mean there’s a bubble?

Let’s have a look.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 23.55.56

2015 was a big year for the tech sector. Huge even. According to the capital’s promotional company London & Partners, a record $3.65bn (£2.5bn) was invested in private UK tech companies in 2015, equating to around a 70% rise in funding for startups compared to 2014. Around a quarter of this funding went to the financial services sector. This escorted a coming of age for fintech as it entered mainstream consciousness through new mobile payment options, the rise of companies like Transferwise, and some headline grabbing statistics as unicorn after unicorn raised their highly valued horns.

But Q4 also saw the beginning of something of a slow down in tech investment. After hitting dot-com funding levels in Q3, things began cooling off.

According to research from CB Insights, venture capital funding fell by 30% during the second half of 2015, with far fewer ‘mega-rounds’ of investment in Q4 in particular.

To make the situation sound even more dubious, the unicorns are beginning to look a lot like horses dowsed in glitter – at least if the latest tech IPOs are anything to go by. Square (and Match) received a decidedly chilly welcome as their shares sold for under the projected offering range, suggesting retail investors are more sceptical than expected when it comes to private tech valuations.

Cue: mild concern followed by sensational headlines about bubbles and what happens when one bursts.

However, take a step back and a deep breath and it’s fairly clear beyond the fluff pieces and general buzz of big ideas there’s some actual substance. There’s a different kind of cycle happening in financial technology compared to just ‘bubble and burst’.

For one, whilst the ‘coming-of-age’ may have been the growth cycle of the last two years, fintech has been around for a lot longer than that. As Bruce Wallace pointed out in Finextra:

What’s different now? The new fintech technology startups are now mostly selling their solutions directly to consumers and businesses instead of selling to the traditional FI channel. The increased efficiencies are changing customer expectations and shaping the future of financial services.

This shift is important. It’s a maturation of an established industry. Indicative of the changing mentality within the larger financial sector.

Furthermore, it conveys why disruptors have had such success in the last two years and why now there might be a cooling as money begins to flow into ‘enablers’ instead. Fintech has largely revealed the potential – or indeed the necessity – of its products. Payments companies and alternative lenders like Zopa, Funding Circle, and WorldRemit comprise the majority of the 35 unicorns in the sector. And part of the reason for this is because the landscape they are entering has remained stagnant for so long that a real need exists to innovate. By innovating they’re taking part of the market share away from the incumbents. By innovating they’re reforming.

As Chris Skinner said, “That’s why there’s no Fintech bubble bursting.  Just a re-architecting of finance through technology that, until it finishes, will see us moving through waves of innovation and change.”

This is why banks are ‘getting serious’ about fintech as well. Why they are pouring in their own money to digitise, to gamify, to tap into all the things that disruptors have emphasised and monetised in the last few years.

Of course, acknowledging a change in mentality doesn’t alter the fact that there has been a drop in deals.

But to play devil’s advocate, according to research by Erin Griffith’s for Fortune there’s also a distinction to be made between late-stage investors and early-stage investors regarding the slowdown reported by CB Insights.

According to the late-stage investors, there is a new element of caution. ‘Market dynamics are setting the bar much higher’ than before. They don’t want to keep funding businesses reliant on private money without turning a profit. On the other hand, early-stage investors are pretty much continuing the same as ever.

Why the disparity?

In part it’s because the prices are simply too high to tempt many professional VCs. They’re willing to wait to see the weaker business models shaken out by failures and takeovers. However, it also seems to relate to investors simply not wanting to feel the burn of another popped tech bubble and acute awareness of the swathe of ‘down-rounds’ where fintech companies have IPOed. Essentially, early stage investors have been paying too high prices and need to adjust expectation, which can be done with future investments. Everyone is thus left thinking maybe they should be wary, maybe they should keep on the side of realism instead of being succored in by mythical beasts, maybe they should stick to the usual methods of valuing a company like cash flow and profit.

At the end of the day it’s not being negative to accept that many of our startups will die. And it’s not foolish to consider that just maybe there is “too much money chasing too few assets” as Damien Lane, partner at Episode 1, told The Times. It’s simply pragmatic. And what’s falling in London’s favour is that VCs have largely maintained their pragmatism in the face of a booming sector. Especially when compared to New York and Silicon Valley.

There is no doubt that 2016 will be a pivotal year for fintech. As recent and upcoming exits play out we’ll really begin to see which business are worthy of the hype and which are not. But as yet the bubble is as close to unreal as many billion-dollar valuations.

 

The fall of the paywall – enjoy it while you can

By Callum Mollison

News was born free. Its roots can be traced back to the “Daily Acts”, decreed by Julius Caesar, that were placed on public message boards in Ancient Rome. They contained news on everything from political happenings to prominent marriages.

Last month, Britain’s biggest-selling tabloid newspaper, the Sun, followed in this tradition by disarming its paywall. It may safely be inferred that this was largely for monetary reasons. Alas, the Sun has not suddenly emerged as a revenant of the enlightenment, fighting for the right of the public to free information.

The fact is that the Sun has failed to garner the same number of views as its rivals, the Mail Online and the Mirror, behind its paywall. The advent of social media has diversified methods of news distribution, so whilst paywalls have gone up, barriers to journalism have fallen – the information behind a paywall can be placed on Facebook by anyone with an opinion. However, those newspapers without a wall can benefit from the social media users option to share, which generates subsequent click-through views.

The Sun recently took down their paywall.

The Sun recently took down their paywall.

 

However, free news will not last. The emergence of the digital age may have given news-lovers a brief, charge-free moment in the sunshine, but the sun is already setting. To understand this you must look to history. The appearance of the first modern newspaper was accompanied by a charge when the Venetians decided to charge one gazette for news-sheets in 1556. The newspaper meant that news was no longer a state-funded right but an independent and profitable venture. As long as there is money to be made, news will never be free.

One survey has shown that nearly three-quarters of newspapers are now charging for online content and print-media is dying. The Sun’s publisher, News UK (owned by Rupert Murdoch), is, in fact, keeping the subscription model for its Times and Sunday Times publications. This model is also proving successful for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and the Economist.

As soon as other news sources learn how to grow their audiences, take advantage of social media and make more from advertising they will erect paywalls. Other business models are simply inadequate when people are willing to pay.

The future of the news is paved with paywalls. Why am I so sure of this? Look around you on public transport. Do you see young people carrying newspapers? Rarely. The real picture you see is dozens of people glued to their phones and this trend will certainly worsen as accessible WiFi spreads. The modern man doesn’t want to carry a newspaper; he wants quick, easy, weightless information. In fact, a 2013 study in the Guardian showed that 20% of 25-34 year-olds have already paid for online news. 

There will be no more Julius Caesar’s. There will only be newspapers catching up with technology.

Five tips for PR interns

I’ve learned a lot in my short stay at The PHA Group about the world of PR and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

So, if you are thinking about a PR internship, here are five quick pointers:

  1. Be curious about the bigger picture: One of the things that makes PR so interesting is its complexity. More is constantly going on than meets the eye. Always deliver on a brief but be sure to ask about the bigger picture and where it fits in with the strategic goals of the clients and the agency. Knowing this will also motivate you to do the ‘mundane’ tasks and, take my word for it, doing them fast and well will get you far enough.
  1. Don’t think “sell-in”, think “pitch in”: When I was first told to sell-in a story, I didn’t really feel up to the task. I thought I had to master some kind of sales skills and that put me off.  Turns out I had the term down wrong; to “sell-in” is to chat with a journalist and convince them that your content will enhance their piece or publication. So rather than a sales call, you should think about it as a persuasive dialogue. Also, be sure to discretely eavesdrop when an account manager or someone more senior is pitching and study them (without staring creepily though…)
  1. Less is more: If you’re moving straight from academia, you probably use words like ‘ameliorate’ where ‘improve’ works just fine. Of course you do – essays are more about expanding than condensing. To make the leap to PR, you’ll need to make your content short and snappy. Put it this way, you’ll have a journalist’s attention for less than 20 words or 15 seconds (if that). Make them count!
  1. Make friends: This may sound obvious. You want to have a good time and all that. Who wouldn’t right? That’s all well and good but what friends have to offer other than fun is guidance and crucially, backing. If you like the company and you think you’re well-suited for a role, make sure you take time to build relationships with the whole team and you’ll hopefully have more than just yourself making a case for you.
  1. Ask and take risks: Ask questions, and make sure you’re getting enough feedback to improve on your writing, time-management skills and pitching-in. But be grateful and understanding when people take the time to walk you through a task and show you’ve mastered it the next time around. It is useful to volunteer for a task that is more challenging than your previous one – this shows you’re growing and listening. Internships are short and if the learning curve isn’t steep and a bit scary, you’re not doing it right.

Dimitris Dimitriadis

 

Image: Thomas Edwards, flickr.com

The Greek financial crisis – Twitter's take

For the past few weeks the news agenda has been dominated by the Greek crisis and what seemed to have become the never-ending discussions by political leaders to end the stalemate. However, at the same time that the political negotiations and debates were taking place, the online world of social media was also heating up.

Social media and Twitter, in particular, are now the key channels where people express views, debate, criticise and argue, but what is even more interesting is how users use humour and creativity to address hot topics on these platforms. Major political topics and personalities are targeted through a different lens, pointing out elements that are often exaggerated and have become almost stereotypical. The aim? To give a new spin to the grim reality and in many ways to challenge ‘authority’ and emphasise its ‘weak’ points.

Interactivity and engagement are among the key perks of social media and coupled with humour and political satire, they make a powerful mixture. Hashtags like #ilovetsipras and #merkelmeme gained in popularity with users tagging caricatures and other content, while hashjacking like in the cases of #greferendum and #agreekment also inspired users to post their own version of political analysis in a humorous way.

Social media has been awash with satire throughout the crisis.

Social media has been awash with satire throughout the crisis.

Is humour people’s way of dealing with a highly stressful and uncertain situation? Politics and humour have always been different sides of the same coin. Political cartoons made their presence in the UK in newspapers as early as in the 1700s. The internet, however, has enabled the creative potential of humour to unleash and at the same time it has also made it easier for satirists to bypass censorship and stay anonymous.

What was even more interesting was that the parallel online satirical trend that followed the EU talks had no geographical limit with users across the world participating and engaging with one another and exchanging jokes, cartoons and memes. Humour creates a global communication channel and social media have made it possible for this content to enjoy a global reach they never would have had otherwise.

Coverage of the issue has been mixed to say the least.

Coverage of the issue has been mixed to say the least.

What the recent example of the EU talks on the Greek crisis show is that humour is a fantastic way to create virtual community bonds among users that would potentially have never interacted otherwise. It is also a great shock absorber helping people to make sense of reality and look at things in a more positive way. It is clear that the social media frenzy over the Greek crisis will continue in the weeks and months to come.

After all political satire was a Greek invention.

The Greek financial crisis – Twitter’s take

For the past few weeks the news agenda has been dominated by the Greek crisis and what seemed to have become the never-ending discussions by political leaders to end the stalemate. However, at the same time that the political negotiations and debates were taking place, the online world of social media was also heating up.

Social media and Twitter, in particular, are now the key channels where people express views, debate, criticise and argue, but what is even more interesting is how users use humour and creativity to address hot topics on these platforms. Major political topics and personalities are targeted through a different lens, pointing out elements that are often exaggerated and have become almost stereotypical. The aim? To give a new spin to the grim reality and in many ways to challenge ‘authority’ and emphasise its ‘weak’ points.

Interactivity and engagement are among the key perks of social media and coupled with humour and political satire, they make a powerful mixture. Hashtags like #ilovetsipras and #merkelmeme gained in popularity with users tagging caricatures and other content, while hashjacking like in the cases of #greferendum and #agreekment also inspired users to post their own version of political analysis in a humorous way.

Social media has been awash with satire throughout the crisis.

Social media has been awash with satire throughout the crisis.

Is humour people’s way of dealing with a highly stressful and uncertain situation? Politics and humour have always been different sides of the same coin. Political cartoons made their presence in the UK in newspapers as early as in the 1700s. The internet, however, has enabled the creative potential of humour to unleash and at the same time it has also made it easier for satirists to bypass censorship and stay anonymous.

What was even more interesting was that the parallel online satirical trend that followed the EU talks had no geographical limit with users across the world participating and engaging with one another and exchanging jokes, cartoons and memes. Humour creates a global communication channel and social media have made it possible for this content to enjoy a global reach they never would have had otherwise.

Coverage of the issue has been mixed to say the least.

Coverage of the issue has been mixed to say the least.

What the recent example of the EU talks on the Greek crisis shows is that humour is a fantastic way to create virtual community bonds among users that would potentially have never interacted otherwise. It is also a great shock absorber helping people to make sense of reality and look at things in a more positive way. It is clear that the social media frenzy over the Greek crisis will continue in the weeks and months to come.

After all political satire was a Greek invention.