Law firm spurns social media & the internet


Australian mid-tier law firm, Sedwick, Lyner and Palige are bucking the trend when it comes to using social media and the internet for increased marketplace visibility, brand credibility, client acquisition and retention.

“We – myself and the other senior partners – think that social media, in fact this whole online thing, is just a waste of time.” says Barry Sedwick. “From what we can see social media is full of nothing but kids and cats, neither of which are our target demographic.

“We also plan to shutter our website and blog as they’ve become unwanted distractions. To be frank I never understood why we would blog our best stuff when our entire business model is premised on us knowing more than the client does and then selling advice to them in 6-minute increments.

“Our new multi-pronged off-line marketing and sales initiative is intended to future-proof Sedwick, Lyner and Palige for years to come. The centrepiece of the program is a series of Yellow Pages ads. Yes, they’re expensive and need to be renewed every 12 months, but it says to the community ‘we’re here and we’re cool’ – if I can use that expression. It’s definitely a credibility play for us.

“We also have an aggressive client acquisition strategy rolling out which will see us extend further into letterbox drops, a heightened presence on shopping centre notice-boards, and the ongoing placement of promotional flyers on car windscreens at local train stations. And we have a skywriting campaign planned for later in the year, weather permitting.

“I know a few of our junior partners and staff are not fully behind our move to off-line, but we’re living in a different world now and we need to adapt if we’re to stay relevant – as scary as that may be to the more conservative folk amongst us.”


Qantas: if you abuse us on social media, we’ll abuse you back.


Qantas are about to take the gloves off when it comes to dealing with the dark underbelly of social media. Head of Corporate Communications, Jo Fitzgerald first flagged the Qantas change of stance at the recent Business Leaders Conference in Sydney.

“Quite frankly we’ve had a gut-full of the idiots and losers who hang out on social media and pick on us for their amusement, said Fitzgerald. “And we’re also over the social media whiners who complain about EVERY LITTLE THING we do as if it were the end of the world. We think it’s time they got a life.

“At Qantas we’re proud of our service and people, and we’re not going to stand by and take a kicking from someone who is incapable of communicating with us respectfully. I’m not of course talking about the hundreds of genuine comments and complaints we pick up through social media each day – we love this on-the-fly feedback and being a part of these conversations. No, it’s the serial sprayers we’re targeting. Here are the main tenants of our new initiative:

  1. If you abuse us on social media, we’re going to proportionally abuse you back. Then you’ll see what it feels like to be on the receiving end of an #epicfail.
  1. If you make a pseudo-complaint on social media in the hope of getting an upgrade or special service, the opposite will likely happen. You’ll probably end up sitting next to that crying baby all the way to London, or your luggage might just get ‘lost’ for a day or two.
  1. If you use foul, abusive, racist or sexist language or emoticons we will publicly shame you on a dedicated Facebook page we’ve set up.
  1. If you troll us we will feed you until you can take it no more. We have enlisted the services of one of the nastiest ex-trolls to ever roam the internet, US based Mark ‘Stinky Boy’ Rider. Our people are being trained by Rider in the art of baiting and how to press people’s hot buttons without ever relenting.”

Asked whether such an approach could damage the Qantas brand Fitzgerald replied, “No, we’re anticipating support from the wider social media community. It’s about fostering mutual respect – most people get that. This is our house, our rules and it’s where we call home.”

A Telstra representative at the conference expressed a deep interest in Fitzgerald’s presentation. “We’ll be watching closely. We share a camaraderie with Qantas on this one.”



stock image model: my life is hell


John Marshall is a landscape gardener – not that most people would ever guess that. His life was transformed several years ago after posing for a stock-image on the advice of a friend. He has now become ‘the smiling businessman’ on thousands of website homepages around the world.

“Sure, I’ve got one of those friendly-warm, wouldn’t-do-you-wrong business faces, and I got paid my $150, but it was the biggest mistake of my life.” says Marshall. “I can’t go anywhere in public these days without being accosted by people who badger me for arcane professional advice, or in some cases tell me that my business owes them money.

“I’ve been keeping track – at last count I’m splashed across 18,654 website homepages. I’m a lawyer, accountant, stockbroker, banker, tax advisor, financial planner, consultant, business school guest lecturer, bond trader, board member, philanthropist and angel investor… it’s ridiculous!

“Stock images are so cheaply available these days, but few ever consider the impact it has on us, the models. I’ve been reduced to a walking cliché – it’s hell. I’m thinking of moving to a country with low website penetration, Sierra Leone for example. I just need a chance to rebuild my life.

“And I’m not the only one who’s suffering. I met a guy a few weeks back who once posed as a suited-up businessman who had just found the answer to a problem while sitting on a rock facing out to a stormy sea. Now he gets hounded by people in the street looking for quick inspirational business advice.

“I’ve tried communicating with iStockphoto about getting my image removed but I’ve never received a response. I’d happily give them back their $150 if that’s what they want.

“Anyone launching a new website should stop and think before using these cheap stock images. I’ve become the representation of the cheesy business type and I’ll have to live with that, but website owners can easily avoid falling into the same trap.”

charity helps abused and neglected business websites


Restored Site is a charity that was set up by Australian internet entrepreneur, Susan Mully, in 2010. Its principal aim is to “Raise awareness of the growing number of lost, abused and neglected business websites in our community.”

“The wake-up call for me came in early 2009” says Mully. “Surfing the web one afternoon I landed on a business website which had been so badly abused it reduced me to tears. It was suffering from severe content malnutrition and limping heavily due to several badly broken navigation links. Most of its pages were infested with spelling mistakes, and somebody had cruelly inserted a stock-image of a smiling businessman onto the homepage. It broke my heart. Since then Restored Site have helped save thousands of local business websites from what would have been a painful downward spiral for them.

“We’re confronted daily with business websites that have been deprived of fresh content over extended periods. If a website CMS [Content Management System] is not used regularly it shrivels to the point that it closes down completely – that’s usually the start of the end. I remember the case of an accountancy website which hadn’t seen any fresh content for over 4 years, simply because the marketing coordinator had misplaced the CMS login! It never occurred to them to seek professional help to get their password reset.

“Some of the blame for the increase of website neglect must go to social media. Business owners are being cajoled and seduced into giving away their best content to whatever latest social media craze, leaving little or nothing for their own websites to live off. People need to stop and think how propping up a faceless social media brand might be coming at the expense of their own online brand presence.

“We’re not here to judge, we want to make people aware that they even have a problem. We try to kick-start that conversation but many business-owners don’t even have a telephone number anywhere on their website for us to call. Then we’re forced to submit a contact form – and of course there’s rarely any response.

“Before any business-owner launches a website they should carefully consider the cost, care and commitment involved in looking after it for the rest of its life. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. At Restored Site we believe business websites should be responsive, confident and have lots of personality. Like any of us, they just need a little love and attention occasionally – it would make all the difference in the world to them.”


‘cafe’ startup makes a splash


Tom Gallagher, a Melbourne based entrepreneur is turning heads with the launch of his nascent startup called a ‘cafe’. The business idea is deceptively simple. Users, or as Gallagher refers to them, ‘customers’ would physically visit the cafe and transact for items such as coffee, muffins and chicken wraps. But like many new and disruptive business models today it’s not immediately obvious how a profit will be sustainably generated. Still, Gallagher has recently closed a $17 million Series A round from investors eager to get in early.

“We initially floated the model on an episode of Shark Tank, but nobody really got it. I think we were just too early” reflects Gallagher. “You see, not only is this a new business framework, but we’ll have first mover advantage in a super-sticky transactional market space. Once we’ve achieved buyer-side liquidity we’ll obviously look to quickly scale the idea.

“The CI [customer interface] will be sleek and minimalist: a few tables and chairs, a food display cabinet, background music and a counter on which a payment gateway will be placed. Rapid market penetration will be achieved with an innovative red and blue LED window display which says OPEN.”

Gallagher admits that their revenue model still needs fine-tuning. “We launched with a sliding pricing scale based on how much food and beverage each customer consumed before leaving, but now we’re leaning towards a multi-tiered subscription model. We’re only burning through about $25K a day so we’ve got plenty of runway left to get this right.

“Our employees are of course our greatest asset – they can see the upside potential of our vision. Everybody is more than happy to be paid completely in stock options. In a tight hospitality market it’s the only way to attract and retain the brightest talent. And people just love working for us. Often times employees stick around until 10pm when we close up, and it’s not at all uncommon to see them in here on weekends.

“We’re nimble players, you have to be – otherwise you’re toast. We’ll pivot the business wildly if the market decides we’d be better off becoming a tap-dance school or a car wash or something else like that. I think our investors respect our management team enough to know that eventually we’ll find the market sweet-spot for them.”

LinkedIn math problems a suspected Russian plot


A shadowy plot has been uncovered to slow down the effectiveness of the world’s largest professional social network, LinkedIn. State sponsored provocateurs are suspected of seeding hundreds of math problems onto LinkedIn newsfeeds in an attempt to lower the productivity of the people trying to solve them, most of whom are Westerners.

“This is vintage social-cyber warfare being perpetrated by the Russians – their fingerprints are all over it.” said one US senior security advisor who asked to remain anonymous. Russian President Vladimir Putin has brushed aside the controversy, saying “Russia would never do such a thing – we are a peaceful nation. I like LinkedIn and seeing people’s work anniversary updates, and I’m very proud of my own profile which I look at regularly.”

According to prominent psychologist Dr. Christopher Hedges who specialises in social media induced neuroses, “The math problems are just the latest in an ongoing wave of psychological attacks on the LinkedIn community. A number of observers suspected that the network was being deliberately contaminated as early as 2008 when the first inspirational quotes starting gumming up people’s newsfeeds. We also know from the findings of several studies that inspirational quotes have a depressing effect on a population by reminding people how horrible their own workplace or boss really is.

“But the math problem attacks are more sophisticated. These tests are designed to appear challenging but they are in fact easily solvable. For instance, the average 12 year-old could work out that the answer to 1x1x1x(1+1+0)-(1x1x0) = 2. Ninety percent of people do not get this wrong and correctly solving it hardly makes you a ‘genius’. But many LI members can’t resist providing an answer giving them an inflated sense of intellectual accomplishment. It can also be a desperate cry for peer recognition, approval or acceptance. This is how math problems propagate through the network at the speed they do.

LinkedIn spokesman Chip Fryberg had this say to the media, “We’ve been cooperating with the NSA [National Security Agency] for some time. We knew math problems were being posted via dummy accounts but were powerless to stop people engaging with them. The strength of our network is somewhat ironically also a weakness. At one point we asked Sir Richard Branson to post more regularly – people just love his musings and we thought it might draw the community’s attention away from the problems and they would die out… but even he wasn’t enough.

“All we can do is ask our LinkedIn members to remain vigilant – if you see a suspicious math problem, please just walk away – we can beat this scourge but we must do it together.”


man discovers factual error on the web


Terry Jenkins, a property developer from Cairns recently found evidence of a factual error on the web. “I almost missed it.” said Terry “I was reading a piece about Peru which made reference to Trujillo as their capital city. I was puzzled and then a bit shocked. I mean, I was on the world wide web – how could anything which wasn’t completely true make it on there in the first place? But no, a quick call to the Peruvian embassy in Sydney confirmed the error as real – the capital of Peru is actually Lima.

“What a revelation –  I was almost bowled over! Then I got to thinking: if I had found one error on the web could there be other falsehoods which have been published online? And if this were the case and it became widely known, then surely the web would lose its credibility as a reliable source of information…. and people would just stop using it.

“If the web is to retain its mantle as the universal repository of truth, then whoever’s running the show needs to safeguard its integrity. I spotted one slip-up, but there could be others. At the risk of sounding cynical I’m wondering if I can continue to believe everything I see on the web. What next, I’ll discover that online local business reviews and Grumpy Cat aren’t real either?


Opera Australia starts streaming live audience tweets


Conservative sections of the operatic community are outraged at Opera Australia’s trial of integrating live audience tweets into its performances. Opera-goers viewed the social media initiative for the first time during a recent performance of La Boheme, where some 1200 audience tweets were streamed next to the surtitles. Most of the tweets were observations related to the storyline as it unfolded. One tweet from @operagal54 during Act 4 was retweeted 237 times:

Great seats @OperaAustralia, but Mimi is about to die!! Why, oh why? 🙁 #ausopboh

The audience were encouraged to follow and use the official performance hashtag, #AusOpBoh which was permanently displayed in neon, centre stage.

Claudia Travers, Opera Australia’s Artistic Director hailed the first night of the trial a resounding success. “I wish Puccini were alive to see this, he would have loved it! Twitter is such a visceral medium – people can share their feelings and reactions with one another in real-time.

“We’ve already received requests to get a live Instagram stream happening too… I really think we’re about to take the operatic experience to a whole new level.” said Travers.

child asks parents to agree to social media policy


Ian and Judy Matthews who live in Brisbane, Australia are amongst a growing number of parents who are being asked by their children to agree to a binding social media policy.

“Enough is enough” said 12 year-old Timmy Matthews. “If parents have to be on social media at all they should at least know how to act half-way cool about it. I mean, it’s embarrassing to see some of the things grown-ups are doing online – my parents especially. I know social media wasn’t even a thing when they were kids, but that’s still no excuse. I figured that if I put a plain-english policy together it might get them thinking about some of the issues. And there were many…”

– Excessive use of emoticons – I saw one of Mum’s posts where she had included the smiley face sunglasses guy 14 times. And I’ve banned the use of animated emoticons completely – they’re seriously wrong

– Using non-sensical hashtags like #and or #the

– Following all of my friends on Instagram and then liking every single one of their posts (this was getting super-awkward for me at school)

– Following back spam followers on Instagram – when I questioned Mum about this she replied that “they all seemed like such nice girls”

– Geo-tagging posts as ‘here’ (honestly, I don’t know what Dad was thinking)

– Misusing slang, e.g. “OMG, that’s so BFF”

“I know other kids at school are going through this difficult period with their own folks. Most of the time parents are not even aware there’s a problem – that’s the first hurdle to get over, and then of course they need plenty of ongoing guidance and support. Ideally we’d get them all  to a point where social media policies are no longer needed – they’ll just know the right thing to do.”


Australia to build world’s largest pneumatic tube network


Following on from Australia Post’s recent announcement that it would set up an off-line social network, Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) has unveiled its own plans to build the world’s largest network of pneumatic tubes. The below-ground rollout would happen in parallel with the laying of fibre which has already commenced. Once completed the National Pneumatic Network (NPN) would reach 98.5% of all Australian homes and workplaces. Capsules containing documents, money, small machinery parts, articles of clothing and even hot food would be sucked along a series of tubes, routed through pneumatic ‘super-nodes’, and eventually pop out at the intended recipient’s home or workplace.

“This just makes sense” said Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “If we want to future-proof Australia we can’t put all of our eggs into the digital basket. Fast broadband is fine but let’s face it, most of the stuff that gets downloaded and sent around the internet is complete tommyrot in the form of cat memes, selfies, music videos and a lot of pirated episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’. Our future is analogue, not digital – even blind Freddy can see that.”

NPN chief engineer Alan Masters described the network, internally dubbed ‘YourTube’, as “…one of the great engineering initiatives of modern times. We estimate it will take 12-15 years to lay 2.6 million kilometres of tube. When the network is fully operational it will be capable of simultaneously moving 120,000 capsules a minute. We estimate the final cost to be no more than $80 billion in net present value. Some have suggested that we could save money by just building the network to the node and not to each house, but we don’t see the point. We’re shooting for a world-class pneumatic network and that’s what we’ll get – our grandchildren and their children will thank us for this.”


Aus Post to launch off-line social media service

social post

Australian postal service provider, Australia Post are preparing to launch an off-line social media network called Social Post. In what is considered to be a world first, Australia Post is attempting to tap into the burgeoning interest surrounding social networking and content sharing – but in a purely analogue format.

Social Post will allow users of the free service to physically send updates to each other via their ‘feedbox’  (home or work mailbox). Once received, an update from a connection can be liked, commented on or shared. Photos and other documents can optionally be attached using a supplied paperclip. Australia Post will then collect the update in its satchel and deliver it, in turn, to all of the people the post was intended to be shared with. Any update could potentially travel through hundreds of different people gathering an accumulation of likes, comments and attachments along the way.

“We’re initially targeting people living in Australia who don’t have internet access or are just struggling with how social media works.” said Australia Post’s Head of Special Initiatives, Jim Mandrake. “Older people in particular often feel they’re missing out on what’s happening amongst their own family, friends and peers. Nobody should be forced to endure the hardship of social network marginalisation – it can be a dark and lonely place.

“Australia Post is a trusted brand, and we know how to quickly move stuff around – what we’re doing here is introducing a social layer to our underlying logistics infrastructure. And in doing so I think we can really make a big difference – we’ll become the community glue, so to speak.”

Mandrake also offered a glimpse into possible future directions for the service, “As the network expands we’ll use some sort of algorithm to help us deliver the right updates to the right people at the right time – after all, we don’t want to cram people’s feedboxes with low-quality satchel content. We may even introduce a premium paid service for same-day updates or for extended reach beyond their connections. We also have plans to expand internationally… there’s absolutely no reason why Australia Post couldn’t one day be the off-line equivalent of Facebook or Twitter. The postal service is definitely entering a new period of street-smart cool.”


North Korean leader embraces pinterest


Inside sources have revealed that North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un has enthusiastically embraced Pinterest, the popular image-sharing social media platform.

“What started as a casual pastime for Kim Jong-un – pinning images of military hardware and swimsuit models – has apparently become an integral part of his decision-making process.” wrote Seoul University Professor Seo Jung-Won in a recent New York Times article.

“Kim Jong-un’s involvement with Pinterest can be traced back to late 2013 when he opened up a public account under the pseudonym ‘NKGuy244’. That account has since been closed, but for several days we were able to observe his pinning activity. His first governance related boards were comprised of the profile pictures of the entire North Korean Politburo, his Generals and all of his extended family. He would shift profile pins around the boards, quite erratically on some days. For example, a 5-Star General might be moved off the ‘Okay’ board and onto the ‘Looked At Me In A Funny Way’ board. In one unexpected moment we watched Jang Song-thaek’s profile pin (his Uncle) move from the ‘Family & Friends’ board across to the ‘X’ board. It was only after Jang Song-thaek’s execution in late January this year that we understood the full import of that repin.

“From what we can tell Jong-un has since opened up a new private account and has extended his Pinterest-based planning activities. According to our sources he now has additional boards for ‘Ballistic Weapons I Want’ (377 pins), ‘Nuclear Program Parts Still to Buy’ (2 pins), ‘Nations on Our Side’ (3 pins), ‘Capitalist Stooge Nations’ (187 pins), ‘Countries to Annihilate’ (187 pins), ‘Approved Haircut Styles’ (5 pins) and ‘Fun Ideas for Military Parades (1436 pins)’.

When Pinterest was approached for comment on the NYT article, spokesperson Alice Pearl responded: “North Korea’s adoption of Pinterest as a tool to coordinate its military and political apparatus comes as no surprise to us – this platform has always been an easy, fun way to organise information visually into categories which make sense to each user. And it’s free.”



Facebook to offer line of credit to brand-page owners


Facebook, the world’s largest social network, has unveiled a low interest lending facility called Facebook Universal (FU). The new service is aimed at small to medium sized organisations who require a fast line of credit to fund their sponsored posts. The practice of paying to increase the reach of individual posts, known as ‘boosting’ is now widely considered to be the only way that page owners can effectively reach their fans anymore.

Time Magazine was the first to break the story in an interview with Facebook’s Head of Revenue Streams, Franky Holsworth. In the interview Holsworth candidly admitted what many social media managers have feared for some while: “In the coming days brand-page owners will see the complete and total suppression of their organic [unpaid] page posts onto anyone’s personal newsfeed. Of course no business will ever be forced to pay a dime to have a page, but those who don’t make the investment will fall into what Mark jokingly calls the ‘obscurity vortex’. But we’re determined not to let a lack of an allocated budget for boosted posts to be an obstacle for any organisation wanting to build an engaged fan base – we’ll just lend you the money at a great interest rate. It’s as simple as that.

“Full page monetisation really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. We’ve been gradually throttling organic reach for some time now. And all along we’ve clearly stated our intention to do this within our Terms of Service – the same ones everybody agreed to when they first opened their account. Of course anyone is free to transition their community across to another social network if they don’t like how Facebook is running  – I hear there are some interesting networks popping up in China and Russia that might be worth checking out.”

When asked about the risk Facebook would be taking on by suppling unsecured credit to total strangers from around the world, Holsworth’s response was obtuse: “Let me frame it this way: we know a heck of a lot about you, your family, where you live, even the names of your pets – I don’t think it would be in anyone’s interest to fall behind on a loan repayment. That’s not a threat, just a fact… we’re on your side after all.”


US military adopts the #sos hashtag


The US military have become the first armed forces to officially adopt the #sos hashtag for use by mariners and aviators in severe distress situations. The rise of social media and the prevalence of hashtags have contributed to the demise of the familiar SOS call-sign of dots, dashes and dots.

“We’ve been using the SOS Morse code as a procedural signal since 1908” said US Major General Richard Mayford, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff.  “But times have changed, and we must change with them. We believe that military personnel and civilians will increase their chances of being located and rescued if they make use of the #sos hashtag.

“The fact is, we now have a critical mass of eyeballs constantly scanning social media. Surely somebody will eventually see a #sos hashtag on one of their newsfeeds and report it to authorities. This is crowd-sourcing at its finest… when you have a billion people glued to Facebook around the clock they may as well be doing something useful. If hashtags can help get social media posts found by the right audiences, we’re confident we can get our vessels and people found too.”


man attacked by own social media ‘zombie’ accounts


A Charleston, Kentucky resident is lucky to escape with his life after he was attacked outside his house by old social media accounts he had set up for his architectural business. “It scared the hell out of me.” said 46 year-old Kevin Johnston.

“I was cornered on my front doorstep last Friday evening by my own social media accounts. They were alive but certainly not living… pure zombie. Worst of all I recognised my business branding on each of them, but it was now distorted and hideous. They were begging me for images, videos, links, status updates – even low quality animal memes and inspirational quotes, that’s how desperate they were.

“It must have been so long since I had posted anything that I had reduced them to this state. I can remember thinking, well Kev, you’re a damned fool and you’ve brought this on yourself – you should have closed them down if you weren’t going to use social media properly. I mean, even before the attack they must have been compromising the crap out of my brand.

“I distracted them with a short ‘what have you got planned for this weekend?’ status update (luckily it was Friday) and ran inside. Then I set about deleting them all… I could hear the wails of despair as each was driven back into the digital hell from whence it came. Facebook was particularly difficult to kill – it popped up several times even after I had closed the account.”

“Social media seems like loads of fun when you start opening up accounts, but if you don’t feed them regularly they can go zombie. I’ve seen it up close and it’s not pretty.”


Samsung introduces instagram filters to tv viewing


Samsung announced today that its entire range of HD TV’s will integrate Instagram filters as an optional part of the viewing experience. The new feature enables owners to overlay any of the 19 image filters that are available on the the popular Instagram app to any program. “It’s kind of cool” said Samsung’s head of product development, Yasuo Tanaka at the official launch held in San Francisco (the hometown of Instagram). “Imagine watching your favourite sports game with the Lo-Fi filter on – the grass will look green in a way you’ve never experienced it. Movie buffs might make use of the Earlybird or Toaster filters – we’ve found that overlaying yellows, oranges and browns lend an old-style moodiness.” In one demonstration, invited guests and the media were shown a 10-minute snippet of the original 1954 Godzilla movie using the Kelvin filter – the effect was electrifying.

Samsung engineers are also working to incorporate the respective filter frames and live hashtags into the TV viewing area. “These additional features are technically challenging but we’re confident they’ll soon be standard features.” said Tanaka. “We’ll see a greater range of consumer products integrating aspects of social media… anything which only performs the function it was designed for will be perceived as so yesterday.”


Who Wants Likes!? Channel 9’s New Social Media Game Show


The Channel 9 network in Australia has unveiled a new 1-hour weekly game show called Who Wants Likes!? The show is modelled on the popular Japanese variety program Gaki no Tsukai where contestants are humiliated and inflicted with pain as part of a series of endurance challenges. Who Wants Likes!? contestants are all small businesses-owners who are competing for Facebook ‘likes’ on their brand pages in a bid to boost their social media presence. Each contestant must last through timed milestones to win increasing numbers of Facebook fans. The winning contestant for each challenge wins an extra 5000 fans and is given $10,000 in Facebook credits to pay for boosted posts.

The show has already come under attack from groups who have labelled the challenges as “denigrating” and “disturbing.” One endurance challenge involves contestants being stripped to their underwear, tied to the floor and smeared with honey from head to foot. 100 bull-ants are then placed onto the body of each person while the host taunts contestants with criticisms about how poor their understanding of social media for business really is. Crazy enough to be dangerous?  It could be. Spare a thought for a contestant in a similar game show challenge in Japan in 1994 who was hospitalised for a week after receiving repeated electric eel bites to his nose and ears.

Channel 9 is not shying away from the controversy and has backed its head of programming, Charles Musgrave. “The new format, Who Wants Likes!? is intended as a bit of fun.” according to a statement released by the network over the weekend. “Yes, we’re tapping into the obsession of business-owners to be ‘liked’ by all and sundry on Facebook, but it’s up to each of [the contestants] as to how far they’re prepared to go. Social media is a painful thing for most business-owners anyway – we’re hardly introducing anything new here.”




trolling takes a tumble


French police in conjunction with Interpol and the CIA have captured 17 troll-like creatures who were living and operating out of a remote hill region close to Amiens in the Southwest of France. According to a recent statement issued by the Ministère Français des Communications the trolls are considered to be directly responsible for most of the hurtful and malicious posts which have been published onto people’s blogs and other social media over the last several years.

Inspector General Pierre Allard, the French commander of Operation Underbridge spoke briefly to reporters as he arrived back in Paris, “As of yesterday people can enjoy their time online without the menace of being trolled. Online publishers – personal and professional – will see an immediate drop in the number of barbs, baits, taunts, rants and biting criticisms that make up most of the comments on their blogs, Facebook pages and YouTube videos. Online has just became a mellower place.”

“But this is not the end of our investigation – we suspect the trolls were being provided with outside support. These creatures have veracious appetites, yet we saw no evidence of locally sustainable farming… somebody must have been feeding them.”


dog orders own food and toys online


In a world-first an animal has successfully conducted an eCommerce transaction. ‘Mitzi’, a 3-year old pug from Sacramento, California placed an online order for dog food, assorted dog toys, a fluffy blanket and a Selena Gomez poster from When the same-day order was delivered Mitzi’s owner Morris Zakowski first thought there had been a mistake. ”I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon”, said Zakowski, “but I couldn’t remember ordering these things, and besides, I don’t even like Selena Gomez. But sometimes I leave my Mac on when I go to work – I guess on this day Mitzi just worked it out for herself… she’s always been adept at using a trackpad.”

In recognition of the milestone, Amazon gifted Mitzi with a lifetime Prime Membership. “This comes as no surprise to us”, said Cindy Sherman, Amazon Senior Vice President of Sales. ”Our service is designed to be extremely easy to use. Internal trials have shown that primates, dogs, pigs and dolphins are all capable of navigating our checkout process. Amazon is happy to accept orders from animals provided they have a delivery address and a valid credit card on file.”

Nigerian general comes good with the money


A family in Melbourne, Australia is $5 million richer after assisting a Nigerian General to move funds out of the country. Darren Smith, father of 2, and his wife Susie were emailed by Retired Gen. Edmond Abdullahi in March last year. “We received an email out of the blue from Edmond” recalls Darren. “I don’t usually read email that lands in my spam folder, but thankfully I did on this day.  ‘Dear Friend’ Edmond’s email started, who then went on to explain that a $10,000,000 inheritance was due to him from a recently deceased uncle with substantial property interests. To get access to the funds however would require a foreign, joint-access bank account for the transfer. If we could assist he would evenly split the full inheritance with us.

“Well, we didn’t even know where Nigeria was back then – I remember asking one of the kids to look it up online (it’s part of Africa). After a few days of discussion Susie and I decided that it was too good an opportunity to pass up. We seeded the deposit account with the $50,000 Edmond had requested as a ‘sign of good faith’ – luckily we had the children’s education fund to draw from. We wired Edmond with the bank and deposit receipt details, and within a couple of weeks $10 million arrived from Nigeria. Edmond flew out to Australia soon after, stayed with us for a weekend and we split the money as agreed. He was a really nice guy – the kids were sad to see him go. And that’s the last we’ve heard of him.

“Some people think we were crazy to do business with a total stranger, but Susie and I have always been trusting types – it’s how we roll as a family.”