Archive | February, 2013

Be aware of what you tell the world // the boomerang effect #SNHUMK555

February 23, 2013


How many people have I already heard saying (of course my mom was one of them but isn’t it a mom’s job to worry and protect their beloved from any harm?): Be careful with social media, do not provide too much private information, pay attention to the people you want to be connected with etc. I agree it is of importance to think about what and how much information one wants to spread throughout the Internet. As a private person I believe one has to be aware that everyone can find anything and one never knows what people do with other people’s information…but on the other hand, for instance, I am amazed with my blog about the people who have decided to receive my posts whenever published – thank you dear followers for taking note of mykatjesworld stories. I am really glad that you enjoy it. I wish a career as professional blogger or social media manager would become true one day! –

However, as a business one has to think twice before taking the social media path. While most businesses enjoy great experience with their social media presence for some – if not managed properly – social media activity can harm a businesses reputation. In Spiegel Online, a German magazine, I recently found an article about social media manager. As studies have shown (Pew) the US and also UK are much more advanced in utilizing social media as a marketing channel but the Germans still “try to figure out whether they can trust” this “new” movement. In the US it is more the other way around: one is kind of an outsider / old-fashioned if one doesn’t take the social media route.

But back to the German article: Btw, I usually don’t like people taking everything the negative way but I must say for a social media manager job description I found some true comments. “Shitstorm” manager they call it. The term has become popular in the German-speaking world since 2010 to describe a chorus of outrage on the Internet, especially by posting and writing in social media.

Well, it is known that social media networks like Facebook or Twitter provide a great platform for customer feedback, positively but also negatively. Zappos and L.L.Bean are great examples of businesses taking care of social media, they have a 100% response time within 24hrs. Isn’t it great? Also their ratio of positive vs. negative feedback shows how well the companies interact with their customers. Of course they have well-thought trough communication guidelines, worst-case scenario policies in place to avoid negative motions.

The Germans are more biased towards social media. It has gotten much better and businesses these days see the advantages of having a social media presence but due to negative examples the social media manager job is not promoted with “flowers”.

Maybe the example of Henkel’s dishwashing detergent Pril is one to be mentioned:

Pril selection - rag guy

The company asked the Internet community for a new design, which should have been to the taste of the customers. Some participants took the word for it and designed, among other things, the grilled chicken version with the label “Tastes good for chicken”. In polls the whimsical creation were far forward but the company took other designs which they thought were more in line with the company’s brand fit . The participants felt “taken for a ride” and posted their anger on the company’s social media tools. This shows that at that time Henkel did not have a worst-case scenario action plan is place. Otherwise they could have intervened much earlier. In order not to lose face and trust in customers 111 bottles with the “Rage Guy” were produced and raffled on Facebook.

Pril rag guy vs. chicken

It is obvious that the social media channel also provides risks and challenges to a company and its brand image. As long as a company has a proper set up, that includes dedicated and well trained social media teams together with a general communication guideline and long-term marketing strategy in place the social media path is beneficial for the company itself but also for the customers getting more emotionally connected to the products they buy.


Bakir, D. (February 8, 2013). Die Shirtstorm-Manager. Spiegel Online. Retrieved from

Happy Customer (May 30,2012). Most Customer Service Tweets Go Unanswered Within 24 Hours. Retrieved from

Keller, A.K. (September 5, 2012). Wie Marketingstrategien im Shitstorm enden und was zu tun ist. Absatzwirtschaft. Retrieved from;77939;0

Maloney, A. (September 17, 2012). When Social Media Turns into Risky Business. Retrieved from

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What’s up with Whatsapp | #SNHUMK555

February 16, 2013

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Living abroad, far away from family and friends, means to stay in contact via email, text messages, video calls and any other option available in today’s technology developed world. Overall one wants to avoid huge bills and therefore one seeks to find cost effective options.

I remember the day when my company introduced BlackBerry – be available wherever you are and do not stop working, seems to be the approach of companies. Well, what most colleagues liked about it was the messenger function; a dialogue among people without sending ordinary SMS and paying a fortune. BlackBerry may not be on the top of the technological development today but to me it was the introduction to instant messaging.

About two years ago a friend asked me: “do you use Whatsapp?” I was like: “what’s this? Another service I have to pay for?”…”no, no, it’s for free (ok, you have to pay little money to download the app) – we can text, send pictures and videos without paying as long as you have internet connection”. Wow, I thought; I need this app.

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Since then I became a heavy user of Whatsapp. iMessage, another instant messenger service launched by Apple in 2011, entered the market of free text messaging much later – in the US it may be more utilized than in my home country Germany. But what I found quite interesting is the fact that a friend of mine, who’s very advanced in utilizing social media and mobile applications just asked me beginning of this year whether I use Whatsapp. It’s interesting how and at what time people come across new mobile applications.

Whatsapp has become a top-selling iPhone, Android and BlackBerry app in several markets, without money spent on promotion or advertising. Since its launch in July 2009, WhatsApp has slowly grown by word-of-mouth and the same simple viral mechanism that fuelled Skype: both sender and receiver must own the app. Unlike Skype or Yahoo the founder’s approach was always based on SMS. They wanted a user switching from SMS to Whatsapp messaging within seconds.

Both Apple’s iMessage and Whatsapp are running triple-digit growth rates. By comparison, in 2012, iMessage service was transmitting more than 2 billion messages while Whatsapp has hit 11 billion outbound (7 billion inbound) messages a day. In August 2012 Whatsapp reported “only” 6 billion messages a day. An increase by 50% within half a year it is a quite impressive number, don’t you think?

I am very satisfied about the development of social media mobile applications as I am able to stay in contact with everyone I am connected to without spending a fortune. One only has to coordinate the various social media apps one has on the phone; mom on skype, neighbors via iMessage, friends abroad via Whatsapp. I could wish for only one communication channel but doesn’t one like to enjoy variety?

Don’t let the stream of communication be interrupted!


Arthur, C. (December 4, 2012). WhatsApp: the new text messaging. Guardian. Retrieved from

Kuittinen, G. (January 14, 2013). Carriers’ messaging nightmare gets worse as Apple’s iMessage growth pulls even with WhatsApp. BGR. Retrieved from

Bradshaw, T. (November 14, 2012). WhatsApp users get the message. Financial Times. Retrieved from

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Jedes Jahr aufs Neue | Once every year

February 14, 2013


…verdient die Blumen und Merchandise Industrie ordentlich Geld. Aber alle Verliebten und Liebenden nutzen den Tag um sich offiziell “Ich liebe Dich” zu sagen. (@Mutti: kuck, hier gibt’s auch die roten Nelken…Ich dachte, die hat zu einem anderen Anlass…hehe)

…and the flower and merchandise industry can surely register a surplus in their financial pockets. But this is the day where the beloved and lovers say “officially” I love you.

Happy Valentines day!!!

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In den Alpen gibt’s auch Schnee | There’s also snow in the Alps

February 11, 2013


Dank Sturm “Nemo” erinnert man sich doch gern wieder an die Orte wo es viel Schnee gab. Seit nunmehr sechs Jahren treffen sich “Euro-trash”, das war die Kreation des Holländers, ein Norweger/Schwede, eine Belgierin, ein Luxemburger, eine Deutsche sowie ein Amerikaner zum Skifahren in den französischen Alpen. Auch wenn die langen Wochenenden immer wieder zu kurz sind, sind die Tage von Intensität geprägt was Spass und Miteinander angeht. Es ist eine schönes Ritual und ich hoffe, dass es noch lange Beständigkeit haben wird. Die Natur, der Schnee, die Pisten, das Bier sowie hausgemachtes Wildschwein Ragout mit Tiramisu – was will man mehr. Danke liebe Freunde und bis bald.


Thanks to storm “Nemo” one starts to remember the place one has been where there was a lot of snow. During the last six years a group of six people, an American, a Dutch and  “Euro-trash”, which was the creation of the Dutchman, a Norwegian / Swedish, a Belgian, a Luxembourg, a German have met annually for a ski weekend in the french Alps. Even if the long weekends are always too short, the days are marked by intensity in terms of fun and togetherness. It is a nice ritual, and I hope it will make it to continue this for a long time. The nature, the snow, the slopes, the beer and homemade wild boar stew with tiramisu – what more does one need/want. Thank you dear friends and see you soon.

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Nor’easter Nemo and social media | #SNHUMK555

February 8, 2013


IMG_3210I am amazed! I am amazed by two things: first – the weather in New England and its forecasted Nor’easter (storm Nemo – the name reminds more on the little striped fish in the movie than a weather impact) and second – the power of media, especially social media to provide information to the consumer.

Having no TV I rely on internet, especially the local WMUR website (btw, this has nothing to do with any political orientation!) and The Weather Channel, also known as TWC and my favorite website wunderground. With the winter storm ahead of us, when looking outside, it already feels like being part of it all; both provide constant updates about the weather situation on their websites. WMUR, TWC but also wunderground are heavily engaged in social media – Facebook and Twitter. In order not only to stick to the computer all three, of course (what else to say), have apps available, which can be downloaded on various devices. Whether on a netbook, tablet or smartphone all three provide the same information (also in terms of content and layout) as on their common website.

My review:

WMUR is very good in updating consumers in the area about closings, general alerts and how the granite state (NH) is prepared for the big storm. On Twitter they have a constant stream of information and one can barely miss a local important matter. For parents it must be a great tool to observe whether schools are closed but also a great platform for parents to share content. I sometimes think: how did I grew up and how did my parents manage? It is so convenient these days maybe not for those who have to feed streams constantly.

TWC and wunderground are both great in observing weather. Current conditions, forecast, radar or video’s – whatever one is interested in one can find on their website, on Facebook or Twitter. Even when you hit the road, like I did this morning, I checked in again and again on Facebook but also on their mobile applications to know what to expect. Do not expect the unexpected, I would say. Therefore I wasn’t surprised that the snowfall was still less, the roads not snow covered and: my Mini Dealership closed today – they just made a post yesterday evening to inform people that due to the weather conditions they will be closed. In the old days one would have faced a closed door and would have been upset that one drove 45min to expect a locked door. Another question to raise: Does the overload of information inhibit people to deal with challenging situations? I mean, at the time when social media and all apps did not exist people managed to get through the storm and they adapted their behavior to weather conditions. Following news on Facebook / Twitter / TV and any other channel is quite overwhelming. On one side it is great to have all information available, to be updated constantly, raise awareness but in a way it also makes me scared what all could happen. Surely, it is definitely of importance to keep people updated about this Nor’easter storm and the danger the storm creates.

Btw, while writing this post in about 10 minutes almost 70 new tweet showed up to inform me about the weather conditions. In case one is alone at home, one doesn’t feel lonely as thousands of people share their experience during this storm.

In order to keep a good level of judgment one sometimes should not focus to much on social media as one may lose one’s own opinion and becomes an addict of the constant stream of people’s opinion. The approach of: let’s cross that bridge when we get there…may be more in line with the New Hampshire’s “live free or die” but during this weather event it is great to rely on social media available on various devices to stream updates about the movements of this winter storm.

Once the storm has passed by, I am looking forward to seeing great “winter wonderland” pictures, hearing about people’s experience how they made it through the storm.

Therefore: stay safe and warm!


Mini Bedford (2013). Retrieved on February 8, 2013 from

WMUR (2013). Retrieved on February 8, 2013 from

Wunderground (2013). Retrieved on February 8, 2013 from

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