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All posts by Sarah Britten

Sarah Britten
Sarah Britten is the strategic planning director at Y&R Johannesburg. Her relationship status is hidden.
  • Throwing shade on the timeline: 4 golden rules of personal brand strategy

    It’s a jungle out there, and there’s nowhere to hide. You’re going to have good days and bad days, and when everyone from your office frenemies to cabinet members is a tweet away, the chances of being drawn into brand-damaging conflict are high. Here are some of the golden rules I like to apply to my own life as well as client strategies. I sometimes break them, 1. Own your dirt The dustbin of history is overflowing with the careers of people who lied and got found out. If there’s dirt on you, or something that can be perceived as...

  • Seinfeld with a cast of millions: what #TheDress tells us about internet culture today

    Twitter is a giant episode of Seinfeld with a cast of millions. That was my first reaction to the conversation around #TheDress when I checked my timeline on Friday morning. With the whole of the US entranced by the #llamadrama the previous night, it was a golden 24 hours in social media – one that read like plot lines in a sitcom that dominated the 1990s with its comedy “about nothing”. Last week, half of the online world argued about the colour of a dress worn by the bride’s mother to a wedding in a remote corner of Scotland....

  • 10 tips for keeping your relationship below the social media radar

    Social media has made absolutely every aspect of our lives visible, and that includes our relationships. Facebook has been complicating relationships ever since “it’s complicated” was introduced as an option, and now it’s introduced an anniversary feature where disgustingly happy couples can celebrate their mutual besottedness. There’s even a trend where social media clauses are being introduced into prenups. But what if you don’t want to go public? There are many reasons to not share every aspect of your life with strangers. No longer being single might mean messing with your narrative, and being public property when you’re both...

  • 5 essential ingredients for a getting a social video to go viral

    “Viral is not a strategy, it’s a lottery,’ says Geoffrey Hantson. If you’ve ever had a client ask you to “make it go viral” then you will want advice from this man. Speaking at the recent Loeries International Seminar of Creativity in Cape Town, Hantson is the brains behind the hugely successful TNT “Push to add drama” campaign as well as outstanding work for Smirnoff. The executive creative director of Duval Guillaume Modem in Belgium, he was out to judge the Loeries entries as well as share inspiration — and sound advice — with over 800 delegates packed into...

  • 9 ways to use Twitter as a creative tool

    “Combinatorial creativity” is an idea that has taken off in recent years. Brainpicker’s Maria Popova is probably the best-known exponent of this concept, which holds that creativity happens “when existing pieces of knowledge, ideas, memories and inspiration coalesce into incredible new formations”. And what’s good for combining existing pieces of knowledge, ideas, memories and inspiration? Twitter. I know this, because Twitter is the single most useful creative tool I have right now. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve cracked ideas for paintings, concepts for campaigns and the subject of my talk at the upcoming TEDxJohannesburg in August. The other day, I...

  • 5 signs that you should be blocking someone on Twitter

    To block or not to block: that is one of the most difficult questions any of us face when we’re out there in the social media trenches. I always regarded blocking as an admission of defeat. Heck, I rarely even unfollow people, and on a public platform where you take the good with the bad, blocking should be a last resort. Having rotten tomatoes lobbed your way is one of the occupational hazards of raising your head above the parapet. I follow 4126 people on Twitter, many of whom irritate me or with whose views I disagree, but I...

  • How Nando’s became a victim of its own tactical advertising success

    Nobody does tactical advertising better than Nando’s. Over the years, the fast food chicken franchise established a reputation for putting out sharp, witty and timely online ads in response to current events. Before the days of Facebook and Twitter, it relied on print; now its ads are distributed via social media, rapidly going viral. It works incredibly well for it, so much so that it’s almost become a form of “prevertising”. The moment there’s a big news event, people think: where’s the Nando’s ad? It’s colonised our minds to a point where in a sense, we advertise for it...

  • 5 things about LinkedIn that will drive you completely mad

    So were you one of the roughly 10-million people who got a mail from LinkedIn congratulating you on having one of the top 5% most viewed profiles? Did it make you feel special? Or, as in the case of Diane Truman, editor-in-chief of Zillow, did you find it creepy? I was thoroughly irritated by that mail. It felt very spammy, a blatant attempt to appeal to narcissism, and not entirely credible. If I’m one of the top 5% most viewed profiles, and I’ve never generated any work as a result of my presence on LinkedIn, then what does that...

  • 10 things the comments section has taught me about the web

    Of all the challenges faced by those who put content online, the comments facility must be the most vexing one. (There’s even a Twitter account, @AvoidComments, which reminds followers not to read the comments, ever. Sample tweet: Whenever you see a smiling child, remember: she’s never read a comment in her life, and she’s doing just fine.) Many websites have experimented with reining in the bad behaviour that predominates in a facility that offers a toxic combination of visibility and anonymity. Imposing standards all too often means sacrificing interaction, however. Recently, TechCrunch announced that it’s bringing its comments facility back;...

  • From Towning to Izikhothane: 7 SA Twitter terms that need to go global

    I love Twitter for many reasons — in many ways, I’m in a relationship with it. But one of the things I value the most is the insight it has given me into the lives of my fellow human beings. I get to eavesdrop on conversations I’d never normally have the opportunity to hear, and because they’re between people who know each other, they’re more natural — even if they are visible to others, who watch with their express permission (which, when you think of it, is just a little bit weird). In my line of work, I’d typically...

  • Digital allogrooming: why do we tweet so much about sport?

    Sport is one of the great divides on Twitter. Fans descend into atavistic tribalism or pontificate about strategy and tactics while non-fans head for the digital hills – anything to shut out the noise. Twitter is chaos for an hour or two, and then the final whistle blows and life goes on. A few weeks ago, I found myself having an actual real life face-to-face conversation with a fellow denizen of Twitter. Naturally, we were scrolling through our timelines at the time. “Why do people tweet about sport?” she said. “It’s not as if anybody cares about what they...

  • The terrifying invisibility of Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza

    In all of the things I’ve read about Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, one thing has astonished me more than any other. Not the fact that he used an assault rifle on six year olds, horrifying as that is, or that he played violent video games – par for the course – or even the revelation that the guns belonged to his survivalist mother, not him. No, what astonished me most was this: he didn’t have a Facebook page – let alone a Twitter account, or a YouTube channel, or any of the channels through which we broadcast our lives...

  • 9 signs you’re in a relationship with Twitter

    A little more than a year ago, I permanently swore off relationships. I was recovering from being dumped, again, and I’d had enough of the pain. I was going to focus on finding fulfillment through work instead. That part of my life, I declared this year, is over. Only it isn’t, because it turns out I’m still in a relationship, whether I like to admit it or not. It’ll be four years next March. There have been good times and bad times, but we’re still here and we’re still going strong. Here are nine reasons I know I’m in...

  • 6 things you really need to know about taking Twitter on the road with you

    On Sunday, I took Twitter on a road trip with me. I announced that I was driving to the top of a mountain, drove to the top of a mountain in Marakele National Park near Thabazimbi and down again, and finally got safely home — with Twitter kept updated all the way. Today, I have decided, I will drive to the top of a mountain. — Sarah Britten (@Anatinus) December 2, 2012 I did it partly because I love sharing what I do and driving alone can get, well, lonely. I also wanted to do something interesting in my...

  • 7 ways to stop tech from being a pain in the neck

    Most of us suffer from it — and most of us don’t take it seriously. Yet back pain costs a fortune in terms of lost productivity, and a lot of the time, it’s our own fault. I’ve suffered from back, neck and shoulder pain for over twenty years now, and I’m only too aware of how my tech-related habits are a major contributor. My chiropractor loves me; my bank balance not so much. The costs really are significant. Back pain sets the UK back around GBP5-billion (US$2.27-billion) a year. Even in an emerging market economy like South Africa it costs...