You’ve probably seen the TV advert, if you haven’t do it now. It’s good isn’t it? Well I like it anyway. But the nuances of the televised advert really don’t concern me. The campaign of which it is/was a part of now however is a glorious example of how to run a social media campaign. The advert on Youtube has 31,628,808 views, the Facebook page has 1,383,942 and the Twitter page has 124,664 followers. Impressive numbers, but what do they mean?

Well at its most basic level, the Youtube numbers show an astonishing amount of people with exposure to the brand name. That alone is pretty good thing.

So Facebook, a lot of people ‘like’ the brand, possibly the most ambiguous and difficult of online media to rationalize. But consider this; over a million people bothered to either search for the brand on a site unassociated with it, now that is something.

And Twitter? Well hundreds of thousands of ‘Tweeters’ feel that the brand will be able to add something to their day-to-day lives by updating them with news, information and thoughts.

There we have it. Three platforms that in different ways engage its audience. Of course there are those who argue how effective these platforms and how they influence audiences. But we can all agree that those numbers are pretty impressive right?

So how did they do it? Old Spice took a solid, funny ad-campaign and took it to the next level by allowing people to interact with it via social media platforms. This intern increased exposure by increasing the potential interest of the audience. Put simply, a good advert could make a target public remember a brand for a minute. By allowing them to have a conversation with the advert, they increase the attention span of the audience and thus potential for brand recall. Good huh? And if that wasn’t enough the possibility for people posting links on social media pages increase word-of-mouth spread of the message. Old Spice’s campaign is a great example of how to create and manage an online campaign.

2011 will be a year remembered across the globe as the year a revolution took place across North Africa and the Middle East. People took to the streets demanding democracy be granted them and to vanquish the dictators that denied it. But how did this all come about? On January the first did all oppressed people of the World have a simultaneous epiphany? Of course not. But a lot of them did check their Facebook pages…

This year a historic uprising of the Egyptian public took place, all thanks to the communicative powers of social media. Never before had an entire population been able to coordinate with such ease and speed a nation-wide demonstration of frustration, until they all signed up for Facebook accounts. That’s right; possibly the most significant political and social event of the century thus far can be attributed to a website. Don’t believe me, then check out how seriously the then Egyptian rulers took it. My point is that without social media this could not have taken place. But this years events are not the only things that would not exist without so called ‘digital activism’. As this blog has discussed before online communication has the potency and potential to cause all sorts of problems, particularly from a PR stand point.

Yes, the Internet provides ample opportunity for brands to promote themselves, but it also puts a huge magnifying glass over all there issues as well. From a practitioners point view the power of the web frightens me. The ability of those using it to spread negative information no matter whether it is accurate or not, is massive.

The events in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are perfect examples of the rabble-rousing abilities it possesses and although they are not brands, you can see what may happen to even the toughest of dictators, let alone the potential for trouble for businesses.

So if you’ve been reading any other blog entries, or have in fact met me in real life, then your going to be in a very good position to make an educated guess on to my answer to the question posed in the title. Of course, in true viewfromthedarkside fashion – I can whole-heartedly tell you yes, of course we can trust Twitter. Can we trust those who tweet? Now we’re talking.

Searching the Internet for worthwhile thoughts and information, I came across this very interesting blog entry on sponsored tweeting and consequently this gem of a website. The latter is a very interesting website that can calculate for you the supposed ‘worth’ of a celebrity endorsement on Twitter.

The idea that a celebrity out right telling you that they ‘endorse’ a product, is to my mind an absurd suggestion that people in general are idiots. Actually its not so absurd as I imagine many people are idiots and could well have their buying behavior influenced by a non-entity who appears only in gossip magazines for various unimportant reasons. Yes I do feel better for getting that off my chest, thank you.

I guess you can see where I’m going with this. By paying for a celebrity endorsement on Twitter, despite the tweet being marked as being paid for one does have to question the morality of influencing people through a medium that is designed to share people’s thoughts. But actually what do I care? If it works it works. That’s the business I’m in and I have no problem with using the tools at my disposal.