Socmedia update: Hashtag pages and Rebel Mouse

With the 140-character world increasingly of interest to businesses it has never been more important to understand what’s possible with so few words. For any busy professional that can be hard though, which is where we come in.
As PR specialists it’s our job to understand the latest and greatest changes in Twitter (along with every other social network for that matter), and one recent development is certainly worth knowing about. Introducing hashtag pages- an addition that may, or may not, be rather significant, commercially speaking.
Arriving with a fanfare, or rather Twitter’s first ever TV ad campaign (something of a talking point in itself), this new service has only been used for one event, namely the US NASCAR motor racing meet at Pocono. By taking updates from users trackside, in addition to other professionals working in the sport, visitors to twitter.com/#nascar were offered an insider’s insight into what was happening behind the scenes.

Obviously there’s a lot of potential here, and from a branding point of view it makes sense. After all, it’s providing another platform with which to promote a company, though there are some limitations. This will only be used for events, meaning firms need to have a date to push. Secondly, at the moment this is on an invite basis, so major corporations need only apply. And, finally, there’s no ‘editorial control’ over what appears on the page; posts are gathered via Twitter’s own algorithms, so the classic risk of a campaign getting out of control and turning against the marketeers remains.

This format does have an up side though, at least so far as the public is concerned. A key bone of contention amongst social media users is the overwhelming commercialisation of such platforms, with many people put off by sponsored content. As such, by ensuring there’s no bias in the messages appearing, the average web browser will be more likely to start using this functionality to keep abreast with whatever pursuit interests them. At least that’s what the brains behind the concept will be hoping, anyway.
In contrast to that update Rebel Mouse is not a Twitter issue, or more accurately it’s not specific to Twitter. Conceived and created by former Huffington Post CTO Paul Berry, it’s a new social network that looks to act as a front page for your professional and social life. Groans aside, we understand the last thing anyone really needs is another place to muse and meet online, but there’s some logic to the speculative launch that may well see this become a success.

Visually the platform is reminiscent of a digital newspaper, and this idea is central to understanding how it can be used. By sourcing posts from Facebook and Twitter (soon to be followed by Instagram and Tumblr), this new hopeful offers account holders a web space that constantly updates itself. What’s more, this is accompanied by the option to post unique, blog style work straight onto Rebel Mouse, meaning what we’re offered is, in effect, a hybrid of WordPress, and the world’s two most widely used networks.

Social media management applications such as HootSuite, which allow you to monitor and post to several accounts at once, have certainly grown in popularity since their first inception because of the labour saving aspect. In terms of Berry’s new baby the same benefits are evident, with this answering the question ‘how do freelance creatives and small to medium businesses establish and maintain an engaging, regularly refreshed web presence without having to dedicate hours of blogging to the cause?’ A rather enticing prospect, we’d certainly say if you fit into either of those categories this is one strong addition to the options worth considering.