Archive for Claire

Why am I seeing this? – the science behind Facebook advertising


I recently took part in a Wolf Run. I’m glad I can tick it off the list but I won’t be rushing to do another one, it’s the only run I’ve ever finished wanting a blanket and a cup of tea.

As with lots of things that I get involved in I liked the Wolf Run Facebook page, mentioned the event in posts before and after the run and was tagged in photos from the day, covered from head to toe in mud.

Trainers covered in mud

Since then, I’ve noticed something very interesting. For the last month these are the ads that have been appearing in my Facebook timeline.

Facebook adverts for runs


Pretty much exclusively. I haven’t really seen adverts for anything other than running events, especially of the outdoor, muddy variety, and physical challenges. A click on the ‘v’ symbol and selecting the ‘Why am I seeing this option? ‘ tells me why.

i don't want to see this

ad preferences


Facebook thinks I am interested in running and physical fitness, which is a fair assumption based on my recent activity. But it does highlight a flaw in a computer generated algorithm – there is no account of the ‘never again’ feeling I have about another Wolf Run or similar.

Facebook is keen to tailor updates and ads to your personal preferences so if you are seeing ads in your Timeline that you don’t like, make sure you have a look at why you are seeing the ad and change the topics you are interested in if they aren’t accurate. You can’t remove ads from your Facebook timeline altogether but you can make sure they are for stuff you might be interested in.

On the other side of things, as an advertiser, this ability to target is brilliant. You can advertise to people based on their age, gender, location, interests and habits. Plenty of people who did the Wolf Run loved it and will be signing up for the next one and other similar events so I’m sure some of the ads I’ve seen will have been very successful. The cost of those adverts will also have been far less than in a printed publication.

Interestingly one of the few non-running adverts I’ve seen recently was for Land Rover and that was because I like Volvo, so companies large and small are using Facebook adverts to target potential customers.

So, next time you’re on Facebook have a look at the ads in your feed and why you’re seeing them, it might give you ideas for how you could use Facebook advertising and how to tailor them.

A dog’s dinner of a crisis response

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Crufts is in the news for all the wrong reasons at the moment and there are now over 108 000 signatures on a petition to strip Rebecca Cross of her Best in Show win.








The Twitter sentiment score from Topsy is just 14% positive from over 3000 tweets a day on the topic of Crufts.

Topsy 14






Compared to the sentiment over the last 30 days of 70% positive it’s clear their reputation is taking a hit.

Topsy 70






So, how are they handling it on Twitter? To be honest it’s a dog’s dinner. These are all the tweets they’ve sent from @KCLovesDogs since the end of the competition.

Screenshot 2015-03-11 14.26.22

Screenshot 2015-03-11 14.26.46









Surely one tweet with a link to the full statement on their website would have been more effective and much easier for other people to share.


The Mother’s Day tweet that precedes them is yet another example of the dangers of scheduling tweets and not thinking to delete them if circumstances change.














Since then silence! An advanced Twitter search for tweets sent to @KCLovesDogs shows lots and lots of people asking them questions (some polite, some not worthy of a response), criticising them, and wondering what is going on.

In the absence of information from the Kennel Club, people have started creating and sharing their own material, their own stories about what happened, and they are spreading all over social media, without proper explanations or rebuttals. There is nothing for dog lovers to counter stories with, even if they wanted to show their support for Crufts.

Own content












The good ingredients of a crisis response include: regular updates, taking control of the situation and clearly demonstrating that you have, monitoring closely what is being said, myth busting, responding to reasonable questions, allowing your supporters to help you, and continuing those efforts for as long as it takes for the crisis to end and for your reputation to be either protected or rebuilt.

Perhaps there really isn’t anything else the Kennel Club can say, maybe things are as bad as others are making out, but I’m sure there are some updates, some responses, some engagement that could be made before their sentiment score drops into single figures.

Literally as I did a final check to see if there had been any further Twitter activity I spotted these, again presumably automated tweets, to web articles about how to support the Kennel Club and access their grants!


Tweets since














No Best in Show win for @KCLovesDogs! Definitely must do better.


How safe are your photos on social media sites?

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The story in the Daily Mirror recently sounded very scary. People accessing photos of children from social media sites and printing them on mugs. However they were able to do that because of the way the photos had been put on the internet (the point the company behind the story were trying to make).  The photos were downloaded from Flickr, an online photo album site; they were not taken from Facebook.

Social media is widely used and can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family around the world. With those possibilities does come some risk but careful use of privacy settings and understanding how they work makes a huge difference to who sees your updates and photos, and greatly reduces the potential for anyone to misuse them.


When anyone uploads a photo to Flickr there are a choice of options to set out what other people can do with that photo.

Flickr license options

Flickr license options

The default setting is ‘all rights reserved’, which means other people can not use your photo in anyway.  You have to actively choose an alternative setting to enable people to download and use your photo.

If you do use Flickr you can also choose who can see the photo: only you, friends, family, or everyone.  The photos that were part of the story that appeared in the Daily Mirror came from Flickr. The people who had uploaded them had also changed their settings to allow others to use them.



When you put photos on Facebook you can control who sees them. Each time you write a new post or share photos you can choose the audience it goes to by using the little arrow at the end of the box that says ‘Friends’.

Facebook post options

Facebook post options

Facebook has a vast array of privacy settings, they do change from time to time so it is always good practice to go through and check your settings.  If you go to you can look through them all and update any you need to. You can change who can see posts you’ve made in the past as well.

More advice and guidance

The NSPCC are running a campaign at the moment called Share Aware.  They have produced useful guides to lots of social media and game sites and advise on privacy settings and controls.


7 things you didn’t know about me

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There was a thing on Facebook a while back – ‘7 things you didn’t know about me’, I found out some really interesting things about my friends and enjoyed reading their posts. So here are mine to share with you.

1. My degree is in American Studies which doesn’t really qualify me for anything much! But it enabled me to have the best year of my life, spent in the US, studying at the University of Maryland, and I met my husband James there.

2. I’ve been on TV a few times, once on Blockbusters and on 10 episodes of Countdown, including on Christmas Day 2001! Despite this being 14 years ago, there is a clip of one of the shows on Youtube!

3. I always wanted to work in Local Government, as my Nan and Grandad were councillors in Sandwell. My Nan was Mayoress in 1977 when the Queen visited.
(I didn’t actually understand the difference between councillors and officers until after I got my first job at High Peak Borough Council!)

When I got my job working in Digital Communications at the Environment Agency I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to combine my love of social media with getting paid for it! That love was tested a little bit during one of the wettest years on record, and regular evening and weekend working. But it was a fantastic opportunity to show the power of social media and it’s impact and effectiveness in emergency situations.

4. I’ve run four half marathons and am doingSheffield Half Marathon a Wolf Run in April!

5. I speak some French and surprised myself with how much I remembered when my youngest son got chicken pox while we were on holiday there last summer!

6. Working for myself has been an amazing revelation, the freedom and flexibility are wonderful, I’m lucky to have some great clients. I have more money left over every month (earnings vs childcare) than if I was doing any other job, and I get to do the school run most days.

7. If Wow! Signal Communications were a book it would be dedicated to my late mum, the brightest, strongest, most loving person, who I’ve missed every day for the last two years. But I know somewhere she’s supporting me every step of the way.

me and mum

Who sees your tweets?

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It’s a funny one to get the hang of until someone shows you, but important to remember that if you put an @ at the start of any tweet you are limiting who sees that tweet.

To make it easy to understand we’ll use two accounts @clairet18 and @jamesturner1912 (which just happen to be me and my husband)!.

So this tweet, with Hi at the beginning, will show up in the timelines of everyone who follows me. James will also get a notification to say that I have mentioned him.


If I tweet it with the @ at the beginning James will still get a notification but the tweet will only appear in the timelines of people who follow both of our accounts.  

The tweets are also visible to anyone on Twitter whether they follow us or not, if people go and look for them.  The first one would show up if people look at all my tweets.


To see the second one, they need to look at my tweets and replies.

tweets and replies

So if you are naming another account in your tweet but you do want all of your followers to see something make sure there is a . or something else at the very beginning of your tweet.

Some tweets not appearing to all of your followers can be really useful. For example if you don’t want to bombard people who follow you with conversations you just want to have between one or two people, or you are a company using Twitter for customer service. It means followers of the @londonmidland account will see their updates and information,

but not every tweet they send in response to customer questions, comments and complaints.

If you’re keen to know what the overlap between two accounts is, you can use followerwonk. James and I have an overlap of 46 followers!


Also remember if you do want to keep your conversation completely private, use Direct Messages – here’s mine explaining to James, that I was about to use his account to create the examples above.  Only he and I had access to that conversation, until I screen capped it, nothing is ever truly private on social media! Happy tweeting!