5 awesome things about the new Twitter profile design

1. It shows the date you joined 

This will probably cause a flurry of one-upmanship when it first comes in. But it’s a great badge of honour for those of us who’ve been on the site for a while, and it gives something to measure the number of tweets against (30k tweets in a year = not good. 30k tweets in 7 years = fine).

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2. You can FINALLY filter out replies

Big, famous accounts have had this for a while:

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But the new profile lets everyone filter out replies:

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And it also has a nice, big button for seeing just photos and videos:

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These display in an enlarged, tiled layout that makes them easy to browse.

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3. Better tweets are bigger

When someone’s deciding whether to follow you, you want them to see your best stuff. Which is why it’s handy that tweets with higher engagement appear bigger on your feed:

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You can also pin a tweet to the top of your feed, so it appears above more recent posts. Again, big accounts have had this for a while, but it’s new to the rest of us:

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So if you’ve just written a blog post or you want more views on that awesome selfie you took last week, get pinning.

4. It’s easier to adjust the header image

It drives me nuts that you can’t zoom or scale a Facebook cover photo. Header images have become standard across Twitter, G+ and Facebook because they look good, but it’s still a very awkward size and shape to fill. Especially in the age of mobile photos.

Twitter’s new, bigger header image comes with options for repositioning and scaling:

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Image: ChipChick

Which goes some way to helping to fill such an awkwardly sized space. Expect Samsung to bring out a camera specifically for header images before long!

5. It’s annoyed everyone

I do enjoy how much moaning happens when anything changes on social media sites. Hey, people, this is the internet. It’s transient as hell. And you didn’t like the last design either, remember?

A random selection of Grumpy Cats (didn’t find a single positive comment):

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Love it or hate it, the design is rolling out now. You can see it in action on Weezer’s profile, or read the announcement here.

What do you think of New-New Twitter? I’m pretty happy with the extra features (especially ‘no replies’), but then I’m not a Grumpy Cat.

About these ads

Two excellent new examples of sideways thinking

1. Taco Bell ‘I’m Ronald McDonald’

Brief: Stick it to McDonald’s.
Solution: Hire a bunch of real-life blokes called Ronald McDonald and get them to endorse our new product.

Brilliant.

(It’s not the first time this has been done – for instance, there was a Samsung campaign that got people called David Bailey to take photos with Samsung cameras. But this feels cleverer – I for one was tremendously disappointed to receive a ‘David Bailey print’ in the post that was a blurry photo of nothing by a nobody).

2. Wu-Tang Clan release one copy of their new album

Brief: How can we make loads of people want to buy our new album?
Solution: Only make one copy.

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Apparently, the Clan’s latest release ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ will be encased in a handcrafted silver-and-nickel box. Before it goes on sale, the multi-million dollar album will also go on tour through museums, galleries, and other art events.” (PSFK)

Hell, even I want to hear it now, and I wouldn’t call myself a Wu-Tang fan (though I do like fancy-pants silver boxes).

It’s not a new idea that restricted supply often means increased demand, and advertisers have used this before too (eg. when Burger King pretend-discontinued the Whopper), but I can’t even imagine how hard it was to convince high-level music marketing folks that making the album all-but-unavailable is the best way to sell it. Of course, it’s already making huge waves for Wu-Tang and I’d be very surprised if album sales weren’t significantly higher as a result.

Some excellent brain food there on both counts. Any more examples? Put ‘em in the comments.

I think LG is trolling us with the G Flex ad

If you like:

- English actors badly delivering Americanised dialogue (“Open it already!” “Bro” “Like a BAWSS”)

- Seeing a man awkwardly snog his own hand

- Hand-beards that look like pubic hair

- The film ‘How to Get Ahead in Advertising’ (the one where Richard E. Grant has a sarcastic talking pimple)

Then you must love this ad for LG’s G Flex phone.

Otherwise, please feel free to join me in a chorus of “What. The. BUGGERY?!”

Edit: this has been pulled from LG’s official channel so I’ve replaced the video above. The internet never forgets.

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10 honest tips for people doing work experience

Based on my own experience on both sides of the fence. Not necessarily the case everywhere, and so on.

1. There won’t always be stuff for you to do

Often, a work experience person turns up on day 1 expecting to be treated like a new employee – inductions, introductions, structured work days with lots to do and time to review it with staff. This is rarely the case. We usually haven’t taken you on because we need something done, it’s because you asked us if you could come in and we agreed. This means we haven’t necessarily got work lined up for you, so you need to hustle a bit.

This means actively looking for opportunities where you can help, and volunteering. Go up to people and introduce yourself, don’t wait for someone to do it for you – then ask if you can help with anything.

2. Some of it’s going to be drudge work

I feel daft writing this because I feel like it’s incredibly obvious, but I’ve also seen plenty of work experience people getting irritated or just plain failing to volunteer for things that aren’t very glamorous. The obvious cliché is making rounds of tea, but seriously, people actually want you to do this and almost no one on work experience ever does. Again, don’t wait for someone to ask you – get on it. Multiple times a day.

You might also have to do things like going to the shops to fetch something or putting things in envelopes. It’s boring. It’s not fun. But you asked to be here – so be willing to help.

3. Some of the things you’ll be asked to do won’t make any sense at all

I remember this so well. I was working under this incredibly impressive, successful lady and she’d ask me to do something in one sentence and I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what task she wanted me to actually perform. But I’d nod and smile and then go away and panic.

Don’t do this. The person you’re working with has probably been doing their job for a long time, surrounded by people who do similar jobs. They have an established way of speaking, with phrases and jargon and understandings that they’ve completely forgotten aren’t commonplace. This means things that seem totally obvious and transparent to them – like “run this out” – are actually baffling to a newbie. So ask clarifying questions – find out exactly what they mean. You might feel daft, but you’ll feel worse three hours later when they ask if you’ve done it and you’re no closer to knowing what the task even was.

“Run this out” turned out to mean “print this for me”, by the way.

4. If you don’t know how to do something, say so

I recently asked an intern to do a design-related task for me, and he graciously agreed. I’d somehow got it into my head that he was a trainee graphic designer, whereas he actually wasn’t at all, and was out of his depth. Sometimes people will ask you to do stuff because for one reason or another, they think you know how. If you don’t, that’s OK – don’t muddle through, just tell us.

5. Sometimes you’ll be doing nothing

This is related to point 1. If you’ve hustled all you can hustle and there’s genuinely nothing for you to do, it’s actually fine for you to sit and read the internet. No one’s thinking “what a terrible work experience person” – we’re concentrating on our jobs.

6. Don’t add staff on social networks

I did this myself. I might actually still have one or two of the people I met on work experience seven years ago on my Facebook. It felt completely fine at the time – “I’ve known these people for three whole weeks! It’s overdue, if anything!” – but they’ll find it premature and possibly creepy. Of course, it’s fine to follow them on Twitter – that’s different – but don’t add them on Facebook unless they add you, and LinkedIn should probably wait until after you’ve finished your placement.

7. There probably isn’t a job

This one sucks, I know. We’ve all been told that if we work unbelievably hard at our work experience placements, management will find a way to hire us. It’s usually not true. Again, nine times out of ten, we’ve asked you in because you wanted us to and we’re happy to help – not because we’re looking for someone at your level/in your role. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try – far from it! But it’s worth knowing that the majority of the placements you do will be most valuable for their CV collateral, and not for actual paid work.

8. Get some CV advice

One of the hardest things to do when you’re new to the world of work is write your CV in a way that isn’t terrible. I had this problem and I reckon most other people do too. I asked one of the people I was working with if I could see his CV, as an example – not everyone will agree to this because it’s a bit confidential and they might not have one to hand, but it’s worth asking. Real-world examples of actual CVs in your industry are worth a thousand times more than generic internet articles about CV-writing (although, here’s one I wrote).

Don’t be offended if they don’t say yes. Just ask them if they’d be happy to look over yours and give you some feedback.

9. Ask for testimonials

A week or so after you leave the agency, send a nice email to the person you got on with best and ask if they’d mind writing you one paragraph of praise to put on your CV/LinkedIn/website. Give them some examples of what to write, or they might just put it aside – eg. “Would you mind writing a quick paragraph saying I did OK? Just something about how I met my deadlines, was friendly and professional, and showed promise in graphic design?”. This increases your chance of actually getting a response.

If they don’t respond, it’s OK to chase it nicely once (about a week later again) – if you still don’t get anything, leave it.

10. Write good begging emails

The begging email is a necessary part of getting work experience placements, and no one minds getting them. But some of the ones I’ve been getting lately are surprisingly poor. No subject line, no information about what department/job role they’re interested in, when they could come in, what they can offer, no CV or portfolio link – jeez, give me something to go on! The younger generations are often accused of having an entitlement complex, and I don’t think it’s true, but if you email a company saying you want work experience and don’t say one single thing about how you’ll be useful to them while you’re there – well, it’s not looking good for you. Having an extra person in the office is a bit of an inconvenience, so it’d be nice if you let us know it’ll be worthwhile.

A friendly tone and a little joke will also go a really, really long way to helping the person you’re emailing say ‘yes’. Sound like someone they want to have around the office, who’ll pitch in, help out, and not get under their feet.

So, see you Monday?

Why Facebook’s ‘Trending’ section is like that one really annoying friend

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“So I saw Titanic at the weekend”
“Oh yeah? Is it good? I’m going tomorrow”
“Yeah, it’s not bad, I mean I knew Jack was going to die from the start, obviously…”
“FLARGH why would you tell me that?!”

(Apologies to anyone who was unaware of Jack’s demise, but come on).

Facebook now has a ‘Trending’ section. I’ve had it for a while but all the big sites just announced it, so I think it must have just finished rolling out to everyone.

It’s a useful section in that it makes you aware of big news stories and exciting developments in the world.

It’s a terrible section in that it instantly spoils major plotlines in popular shows.

It’s done this to me twice now. First, when Brian died in Family Guy, and now:

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See, I don’t watch Coronation Street, but Facebook doesn’t know that. For all Facebook knows, I’m a huge Corrie fan who recorded the big episode and hasn’t watched it yet. This story appeared within an hour of the episode ending – is that the statute of limitations on spoilers now?

I don’t believe the internet should be spoiler-free. In fact, someone once berated me for giving away the twist in a film from 1973 (Soylent Green - which has one of the best-known twists of all time) on Twitter. But I think it’s only fair that we get a few hours of breathing space – I’d never post “Well, Hayley’s popped her clogs” the same night the episode aired. I might subtly refer to how emotional the episode was, or how brilliantly-acted, but I’d never just give it away. If you’re wondering why I’m OK with revealing Hayley’s demise in this post, by the way, it’s because A) it’s been a day now and B) Facebook’s told everyone anyway.

You could argue that I’m very likely to see the same spoiler in a tweet or a friend’s Facebook status. Completely true. But in that case, it’s a person choosing to spoil it for me – being a dick, in other words – as opposed to a corporation. There was outcry when the Metro newspaper posted details of a Game of Thrones episode two days after it aired – now we don’t even get two hours?

I don’t disagree with the Trending section itself – I think it’s a good and useful thing, and I’ve discovered several stories through it. But Facebook, you’re not my spoiler-happy ‘friend’ from high school who thinks it’s hilarious to ruin it for everyone else. You’re a social network. Do you think you could at least manage a spoiler warning? A ‘click-through-at-your-peril’? Or, dare I suggest, a subtle summary that hints at the big reveal without beaning me in the face with it?

I thought Facebook might have something to say about this, so I clicked ‘Learn more’ on the Trending panel. Here’s what it told me:

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Oh Facebook. You are SO hard to love.

I made an Owner’s Guide to help my cat get adopted

Due to some sad and rubbish circumstances out of my control, I have to give my little cat Hat to Cats Protection to be re-homed.

I love this cat to bits and want to help him find a new home. So I handmade a little Owner’s Guide:

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Good luck, Hat – the grumpiest-looking happy cat I’ve ever known.

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The 12 sponsorship opportunities of Christmas

  1. Swap red for orange and call him Fanta Claus
  2. Festive jingle: “We Three Kings of Oreo Are”
  3. Spread a rumour that Santa’s real name was Kris Pringle
  4. New year’s eve on a budget: Aldi Lang Syne
  5. Got holes in your socks? Try Stockingfilla
  6. Silent Nike
  7. Need to find carol lyrics? Microsoft Bing Crosby
  8. For kissable hair, Mistletoni & Guy (or for tasty hair, Pannettone & Guy)
  9. Away in Pret A Manger
  10. It Came Upon the Midnight Clearasil
  11. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, COMET, Curry’s, Donner, Blitzen
  12. Ding Dong Merrily on Heinz

Share yours in the comments or on Twitter, using the hashtag #BrandedChristmas.

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