Things I’ve Learned About Social Media Today

farage09The day after the UK general election it was announced that Nigel Farage lost his bid to become an MP. He had already promised to quit as UKIP leader if he was unsuccessful but he is the sort of tenacious chap that wouldn’t want to hand over his power so seeing an opportunity for humour I put together this quick PhotoShop image and posted it onto my @wcskeptic twitter account with the text:
Candidate steps forward for UKIP leadership #ukip #farage #notfarage

It gained a few retweets and favourites but not many so later that same day I reposted it but this time I added a link to another twitter account who I hoped that would retweet it. My @wcskeptic account has just short of one hundred followers. @SLATUKIP, too whom I tweeted, have over eleven thousand.

One other change I made was to add white space to the sides of the picture making it more square. This had the effect of showing more of the picture in the preview window on my twitter timeline. Compare the first and second images here.

farage06@SLATUKIP were kind enough to repost and over the next few hours I received 150+ retweets and just short of 100 favs. (Note the full stop in front of @SLATUKIP. That’s there so that other people would be able to see the post.)

Fast forward to the next morning. I was delighted to see in my twitter timeline that the wonderful Graham Linehan, (@glinner on twitter with 466k followers) writer of Father Ted and the IT Crowd had retweeted my picture! Upon closer inspection, though, something was strange.

Twitter user @PaulK1966 had saved my picture and tweeted it with his own text. Graham Linehan had then retweeted @Paulk1966’s tweet.

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I don’t know Paul Kelly but his profile reveals that he has around two thousand followers.

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From these followers he has manages to secure thousands of retweets and favs. The number has been growing all day

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As he has neglected to credit me in either the text or the image none of them link back to me. According to his timeline he has gained dozens of followers whilst my follower count has only gone up by four so far.

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At this point #1Son pointed out that the Facebook Group Political Bible had picked up Paul Kelly’s original tweet and he was heading fast towards 4000 likes, probably more by now

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By now I was starting to feel a little peeved. Especially as @PaulK1966 was retweeting praise of his original tweet at least implicitly implying that it was in some way his creation.

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So what have a I learned?

Well, some people are shameless, but I knew that already. Here’s the important lesson though. What Paul Kelly has done is spread my creative work far wider than I was able too. He has done a fantastic job and it would have been a great opportunity to raise my profile on both Twitter and Facebook. Where I have gone wrong is posting my work without built in attribution. I’m not talking about massive watermarks across images, it doesn’t need to be excessive, just enough so that someone who is looking can find it. Likewise, the words that I originally tweeted have been lost so in future they need to be part of the image. Here’s what I have come up with:

farage08An important lesson learned slightly too late.

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Update: I’ve exchanged tweets with Paul. As I hope I conveyed in the above post I really did take this incident as more of a learning experience than a major slight. Paul has apologised and was happy to accept his apology. I’m happy to accept that the incident was more oversight than anything. This blog post got a tweet from @glinner so I’ve had loads of traffic and new followers. Thanks! All’s well that ends well.

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