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#LondonRiots: Stop the Blame… Play the Game

In United Kingdom on August 9, 2011 by Amira E. Tagged: , , , , ,

Another crisis. More deaths. More fear. 2011 is the year for revolutions and riots around the globe. And more prominently, 2011 is the year social media became the scapegoat for revolutions and riots around the globe. First, Tunisia. Then, Egypt. Now, London?

via Foreignpolicy.com

Buildings burn on Tottenham High Road on August 6, 2011

I can’t deny (sorry, Malcom Gladwell) the significant role social media tools have played in organising people (for good or bad), but that’s exactly what they are – tools. They are not the reason why people revolt and riot. They are, however, revolutionising the way people live, communicate and mobilise.

The Numbers

  • Almost half of teenagers (47 per cent) and over a quarter of adults in the UK use smartphones (Ofcom Study – 2011)
  • 50% of the population (30 million people) use Facebook
  • 7.2% of the population uses Twitter and UK MPs spend 1,000 hours on Twitter per year.

So What?

More than ever before, people in the UK are connected to each other through their mobile phones and digitally through social networks. Today, as the riots and violence spread even further, there are two important ways the London authorities and media should leverage the very same tools they are blaming for fueling the riots… to save people from the riots and do good (i.e. fight social media with social media): 

1. LISTEN:

What does this mean? Listening in social media involves reading, monitoring and understanding the conversations taking place online. Online communication is quick and offers a human lens to every situation. Every tweeter is a citizen journalist in times like these. Listening also offers authorities and media the opportunity to understand what people need in times of crisis — whether it be emergency police support or advice on places to avoid.

How can we do this?

  • Set up accounts on Monitter or HootSuite – platforms that allow you to monitor tweets in real-time, up to three hashtags at a time.
  • Search for Facebook groups and pages about the riots and understand what the majority of people are talking about. Are they in favor of the riots or mobilising to clean up the streets?
  • Look for maps created by people online that intelligently gather important data about the crisis. A good example of this is this visual map created based on the #londonriots hashtag and UK postcodes. Another great data source is crowdsourced maps, like this special edition Google Map that was created and updated live by @jamescridland, mapping reports of looting, rioting, arrests and citizen rowdiness.

whatthetrend.com | Trending Topics on August 8, 2011

2. COMMUNICATE:

What does this mean? Every conversation is an opportunity to engage. Rather than act as higher level watchdogs and security agents on the crisis, social media allows for greater communication and engagement with the community. By using social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, and mobile platforms, like SMS and Blackberry Messenger (BBM), there is a much higher chance of impactful and immediate mobilisation of positive efforts. Especially in the case of the authorities, there is an opportunity to create rapport with the people and develop a united front to do good together, similar to the recent situation in Vancouver.

How can we do this?

  • Live Blogging: Create a one-stop-shop source of information for people who can be accessed on smart phones and update it in real time. Include photographs, locations affected and video to communicate and tell the story effectively. The Guardian, a major UK-based newspaper, is doing an amazing job of communicating with its readers through its live blog.

  • Blackberry Messenger (BBM) and SMS: This is by far the most significant amount of blame I have ever seen attributed to BBM. As an extremely secure and rapid way of communicating with groups, this is an amazing tool to use in times like this. The Guardian is the first news outlet, and brand even, I have ever seen using BBM to gather on-the-ground information, as well as to broadcast important messages. Also, the authorities should partner with UK’s telecom corporations to send real time SMS alerts to citizens, warning of dangerous areas.
  • Twitter and Facebook: This is the most straightforward way to communicate for the media and authorities, many of whom are already on these platforms. Join the conversations that are already happening. Respond to important questions. Offer advice on how to act and where to go in dangerous situations. Find the people who are seeking to do good in times of crisis and offer real support. Be the authority, and be reachable.
  • Crowdsourced Maps: If they haven’t been created already, develop a map like the one above that details the locations affected and places at risk. The ultimate aim is to protect the people and this is a remarkably easy way to do it.

In a Google search for “London Riots + Blame,” over 10 million hits were found. Blame is being placed on everything from Twitter to Blackberry, even on the popular Grand Theft Auto video game. Instead of wasting time on blame, let’s play the same game and use these amazing tools for the good of the community.

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Turkey Goes Cuckoo for NBA Basketball Players

In Turkey, USA on August 7, 2011 by J. Murphy Tagged: , , , ,


In his ads for the chocolate-flavored breakfast cereal Cocoa Puffs, Sonny the Cuckoo Bird performs outrageous stunts to keep his mind off the cereal but gets distracted by words that remind him of it, leading him to utter “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”.  As a kid, I used to love these commercials.  I knew my parents would never buy me a chocolate-flavored, sugar-coated breakfast cereal (and my teeth thank them), but the animated visual of  Sonny’s enthusiasm and excitement has stayed with me for most of my life.  After all, sometimes you just can’t contain it.

Fast forward to present day, the NBA locked out its players, the second pro league to do so in 2011, that is leaving many basketball players wondering how they are going to make a living this season.  Given that the length of labor stoppages in sports can be indefinite, many players search for loopholes to make up for the impending losses in revenue and fans that come with the strife.  One such loophole is that the NBA has said it will not prevent players from working abroad during the lockout.

So while some countries are “sounding the alarm bell” on the S&P downgrade of the United States’ credit rating,  Turkey has set its sights on capitalizing on the NBA stoppage to generate new revenue to put fiscal concerns at ease.  While there are currently 6 Turkish born players in the NBA, none have done for the Turkish Basketball League (TBL) what Yao Ming has done for basketball in China.  However, while the Süper Lig football association (aka soccer) may be the spectator sport of choice for most Turkish natives to date, basketball has slowly taken the country by storm.

How?

In an effort to connect Turkey’s sports fanbase to basketball, companies had to get creative.  With a reported 70 percent of the population under the age of 35, and the video-sharing website YouTube banned, any messaging had to be short and crisp to keep the attention of its target audience.

Below is a commerical that Turkish Airlines, sponsor of the Turkish Men’s Basketball team, aired during the 2010 FIBA World Championships (which coicidentally were held in Turkey):

The combination of witnessing the highest (top altitude of five thousand meters), fastest (fastest dunks were shot with the speed of 250 km) game of basketball ever played with members of the Turkish National Team – including current NBA star such as Hedo Turkoglu.

And the NBA isn’t shy about promoting its own interests in the country.  Nike, in work with the NBA and NBA All-Stars including Dirk Nowitzki, made a video showcasing 10 basketball courts that were donated around Turkey to ” celebrate the game of basketball and to provide young athletes an opportunity to develop their skills.”

Stephen Chernin/Associated Pres

Another tactic utilized by the TBL to bring fans to the games is spend big on the athletes that draw crowds and are active online.

Enter Allen Iverson.

Besiktas Cola Turka signed Iverson, the first overall pick of the 1996 draft out of Georgetown University spent 13 seasons in the NBA, played in 11 All-Star games (winning the MVP for two of those games) and was a four-time NBA scoring champion.  And that’s just the local press.  He also played on the U.S. Men’s National Team in the 2003 World Championships in San Juan and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.  So he has drawn crowds on the global scale as well.  And that’s not counting his ability to draw crowds off the court with his words.  Additionally, he has blogged about his time in Turkey and currently sits at 940,600 likes on Facebook and over 220,200 followers on Twitter. Talk about commanding an audience.  But he is just one layer of attention Turkey has been generating since they brought Iverson over.

Deron Williams, another NBA All-Star point guard from the New Jersey Nets signed with Besiktas last month and made his announcement via twitter:

And other NBA players have followed including Turk native Hedo Turkoglu, who lead the Turkish National Team to silver medals at the 2001 and 2010 World Championships, Zaza Pachulia and Sasha Vujacic, who won a NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.  Not exactly small fish.

But then again, some would say the big fish is still being baited – Kobe Bryant – a man who needs no introduction.  While the news media will continue to make a story out of a few known details, the potential signing of Kobe Bryant brings up an important question.

How do you get more players to follow suit?

Well, fine tune your league so that it feels like playing in the NBA.  The plays, the tempo, the match ups, the atmosphere – make it feel just like you are tuning into an NBA game – even if the talent isn’t worthy of such recognition.  The pick and roll?  Bloggers say that play design defined the the end of game 6 of the TBL playoffs and locked up the championship for Fenerbahçe Ülker.

Now it would be unrealistic to assume that with all this clamor being generated during a time of work stoppage to say that the TBL could be the new development league for foreign players.  Turkey has a history of turning out role players in the NBA.  They provide intangibles and a change of tempo that helps sustain a lead while the stars rest.  They also grab the key rebound, provide the key assist or come up with the lose ball or steal that could change the momentum of the game.  But they are not the stars.

Given the timing of the lockout, Turkey has the opportunity to make big on their investment of bringing NBA stars to play overseas.  Increased visibility, greater competition, more highlight plays, and most importantly for investors – more people in the stands.  Turkey is known as a shy social media country that is only now beginning to come out of its shell.  They have the tools (brand/ads) in place and they have the players who deliver on the court and love to actively document themselves off the court.  Can’t ask for a better plug.  If I was a Turkish basketball fan, I would be going cuckoo for NBA players right now.

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Turkey’s Changemakers vs. Fark Yaratanlar: Let’s Integrate, Engage & Collaborate.

In Turkey on August 7, 2011 by Amira E. Tagged: , , , , , ,

Turkey's Changemakers

THE BASICS

WHO: Some call it Turkey’s Changemakers. (Most) others call it Fark Yaratanlar.

WHAT: An initiative launched by Turkey’s Sabanci Foundation, Fark Yaratanlar is a weekly TV program aired on CNN Turk that shares the inspiring stories of 32 individual “changemakers” who promote and positively impact the country’s social and economic development. Over the course of two seasons, 800 applications have been submitted, 64 causes featured and almost 1 million viewers.

WHEN: The program launched Season 1 in October 2009. Season 2 just ended last month.

WHY: To increase visibility of individuals who make a significant impact on other people’s lives, raise awareness of social issues and inspire others to act for social change. Güler Sabancı, Chair of Sabancı Holding and third among the Financial Times “Top 50 Women in World Business” in 2010, said: “I think its extremely important to promote role models and good examples to mobilize more people to get involved.

SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

It’s usually quite easy to do an overall assessment of an organization’s social media/digital footprint, right? That’s what I thought, too. My best friend introduced this initiative to me as Turkey’s Changemakers. We hit it off instantly. Loved the concept. Loved the implementation. (Filiz Bekman, much respect.) Here’s what I found as I tried to understand where this program lived among Turkey’s 35 million Internet users:

Platform

Internet Penetration in Turkey (in terms of # of users)

Turkey’s Changemakers

Facebook

85.69%

397 Fans

Twitter

16.6%

57 Followers

The numbers don’t make sense, right? With Turkey’s Facebook population of 29,643,160, how could this amazing program only have 396 fans?

The quick answer: They don’t. They have 9,084 fans. Still not putting a dent in the 29 million, but a big difference nonetheless. How did the number jump? The program has two pages on Facebook and Twitter, one under the program’s English name (Turkey’s Changemakers) and one under the program’s original Turkish name (Fark Yaratanlar). Here’s a clearer picture:

Platform

Internet Penetration in Turkey (in terms of # of users)

Turkey’s Changemakers

Fark Yaratanlar

Facebook

85.69%

397 Fans

8,687 Fans

Twitter

16.6%

57 Followers

2,176 Followers

In addition to their Facebook and Twitter presence(s), Turkey’s Changemakers has a dedicated YouTube channel with 96 videos, 46 subscribers and over 100,000 views. The website — farkyaratanlar.org — is difficult to find if you know the program as Turkey’s Changemakers (especially since the links on both of its Facebook and Twitter pages don’t work).

WELL DONE

  • Fark Yaratanlar clearly has two “faces” for a good reason: to reach their domestic audience and the international English-speaking audience.
  • Wide reach through a variety of platforms and good integration between networks (i.e. linking to YouTube from Facebook, linking to Facebook from Twitter, etc.)
  • Great use of video storytelling to reach non-TV audience online

MOVING FORWARD

As the program enters its third season, I recommend that Fark Yaratanlar do three things to leverage their current momentum for future success:

1. INTEGRATE: Develop a brand with one face and name, even if it’s reaching out to two audiences. Add the English version of the name after the Turkish one for clarification (Fark Yaratanlar: Turkey’s Changemakers). Create an English version of the website (just like Sabanci Foundation). If there must be two Facebook and Twitter accounts, make sure they’re fully integrated and that it’s clear to users where to find the other version, as well as always linking back to the program’s official website. Contact Facebook and have them remove unauthorized pages and groups under the same name to ensure all supporters are supporting the official page.

2. ENGAGE: Have two-way conversations with online audiences — they are the lifeline of the initiative. Ask questions. Answer questions. Invite ideas and recommendations for new program developments. Enlist supporters to evangelize the program. Use Facebook and Google ads to spread more awareness and drive traffic back to the program’s sites. Develop a short-term campaign prior to the launch of the third season where every new Facebook “like” triggers a donation to one of the changemaker causes. Invite supporters to post their personal social impact stories on a dedicated “Sharing/Storytelling” tab on the revamped Facebook page.

3. COLLABORATE: The program currently is aired on CNN Turk, produced by Dipnot TV and hosted by TV personality Cüneyt Özdemir. By collaborating with these three entities on social media communications, Fark Yaratanlar can reach thousands more people. Özdemir alone has over 200,000 followers on Twitter and is on over 2,000 lists. (CNNTurk.com has almost 190,000 followers and Dipnot TV has almost 30,000.) That kind of exposure would be priceless for Fark Yaratanlar. The key is using the @mention so followers can then engage directly with the program. On top of that, the program can develop offline engagement opportunities with Sabinci University students and professors to garner even more interest and online participation.

Before you sign off, watch one of their weekly programs. This one is about “Child Brides,” a project to raise awareness about early marriages in Turkey

(Click on CC for English subtitles)

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Turkey: To Be or Not to Be in the EU

In Turkey on August 7, 2011 by vmcfarre Tagged: ,

Turkey’s entry into the European Union has been a topic of debate for years, and has spurred several online conversations. Turkey’s bid to join the EU is currently stalled, with only one of 35 negotiations completed on policy areas. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French P

resident Nicolas Sarkozy oppose Turkish membership, while last year, U.K. Prime Minister David

Cameron said to be the “strongest possible advocate” for Turkish accession. I took it upon

myself to see what conversations and groups were forming on Facebook and on the Internet, either for or against Turkey’s admission into the EU.

Turks Against Turkey Entering the EU

Over 18,000 people like sites against Turkey entering the EU. Some of the reasons and discussions are regarding Turkey’s capitol not being in Europe and because their economy is currently better than other European countries.

Turks for Turkey Entering the EU 

A group on Facebook titled I bet I can find 1,000,000 people who do want Turkey in the EU but they only reach 2000 followers.  This group includes several links noting the progress that Turkey is making on issues with Cyprus, their relationship with Armenia and notes their important role in European history.

According to a Ian Buruma is Professor of Democracy and Human Rights at Bard College, one highly educated Turk, working for an international organization, said: “We play football with them, sing songs with them on TV, do business with them, improved our human rights, and democratized our politics. We do everything they ask us to do, and still they don’t want us.”

Turkey is in a good position to guide other Muslim countries in a more liberal-democratic direction.

Now that the Turkish economy is thriving, there will be less reason for poor Turks to seek work in other countries, let alone “swamp” them. And if the EU’s hugely expanded membership were to stand in the way of a future federal state, this might not be such a bad thing. In any case, the addition of Turkey would hardly make the crucial difference.

Europeans Against Turkey Entering the EU

One group on Facebook called At least 400 million EU citizens don ‘t want Turkey in European Union!!! Has a list of reasons for why they should not enter, including illegally occupying Cyprus, denial of genocides against the Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and Assyrians. A large majority of European citizens (for example, more than 60 percent in France and Germany) believe that Turkey should not become part of the European Union. In addition to Facebook, given U.K. Prime Minister support for Turkey, there were several articles and discussions from London-based bloggers and newspapers.  The reasoning behind their disapproval for Turkey entering the EU has a lot to do with population growth, immigration and border security.  In comparison to Poland, which entered in 2004, Turkey’s population is officially 76 million people, and when entering the EU, any citizen of a EU country, has the right to live and work in any other EU state.

Speaking to some Belgium friends, the believe that the EU in its current state needs to first figure some of their problems out with the economy before thinking of letting anyone else in.

Europeans for Turkey Entering the EU

Largest labor force in Europe with 64% under 34 years old. This statistic could be a good one a couple of years ago, when countries such as Spain and Italy were looking and promoting people to have children giving their low number of birth rates. At this point, with the challenging economy and job crisis, more immigration means more competition for EU citizens and therefore this statistic is no longer a good one for Turkey’s cause to enter the EU.

What the Future Holds

Turkey is currently the fastest economy and is the best example of a blossoming country where Muslims and Christians can live together to create a unified, growing economy. There are always two sides to a story and in this case, this ongoing debate has several sides that at times are the same reasons with two different interpretations.

At this stage, while the Greek crisis is tearing at the seams of the euro zone, the Turkish economy is booming. I agree with some of the conversations, there are so many issues with the economy in so many of the European countries, I believe these problems need to be solved before allowing anyone else in.

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For Turkey’s National Drink – Less is More

In Turkey, USA on August 7, 2011 by jmpea Tagged:

Since the 1940’s, Raki has been recognized as Turkey’s national drink. The taste, the strength (it is 45% alcohol), and variety of different types of Raki (there are over 10 “flavors”) are all factors that make Turks proud of their drink. Raki continues to flood bars, restaurants and homes throughout Turkey and across the world because of its strong heritage to the country. But what about their online presence?

Based on sales and online presence, Yeni is the most popular of the Raki’s. Since Turkey’s population includes 70% of people under the age of 35, it is no surprise that they value Facebook and Twitter just as much as any other highly internet-populated country. In fact, because Turkey’s mobile penetration is larger than the internet penetration, many Turks access their social media from mobile phones. So Yeni Raki should follow suite by making sure that their online presence connects strongly with this demographic.

Yeni’s main site is strictly for the Turkish audience because that is the only language offered once you enter the site. While it has a very attractive layout, it is lacking vital information such as information about the drink, history of the product, and even contact information. I can understand how they might not feel the need to promote the product within Turkey, but there still needs to be basic content about the drink on the site. For example, one might even miss the social media buttons on the top right of the page because they are sketched in white on a light grey background making them difficult to stand out.

However, the Yeni Raki USA website is quite different. This site engages the audience through various tools such as videos, photo galleries and maps encouraging people to learn more about the product. The tabs at the top of the page make it really easy to find additional information about the beverage and navigate through the site by just one click.  There is no reason as to why Yeni Raki USA is more interactive and user friendly than Yeni Raki, especially when Raki is Turkey’s national drink. Yes, the USA site might be more detailed because it is a different audience (we tend to need more visuals than other countries) and the goal would be to educate consumers about the drink while selling the product. I get that. Yet, the same message should be implemented across the globe.

I recommend combining the sites into one. Offering an option for Turkish or English language as soon as a person enters the site with one URL and similar components makes things easier for one to navigate through.  Having videos and a tab for other products is beneficial for all viewers including those of Turkish decent.  The social media content could also be improved on both the USA and national end.  Since Facebook and Twitter are very popular in Turkey, those are perfect markets to push the product through. Here is another example of how Raki is over saturating the market with too many channels.  My guess is that the 500 people who like the Yeni Raki USA Facebook page would also be fond of liking the overall Yeni Raki page that has 10 times more likes (over 66,000). Creating one “fan page” but integrating the USA and Turkish messaging would be ideal. The same goes for Twitter. There is no reason as to why I have more Twitter followers than both Twitter pages combined.

I say condense the website and social media tools down to one each and concentrate on building the clear concise message for all audiences. Since Turks take pride in their products, that should reflect in the digital world as well. The support base for Raki is strong in Turkey so the online content should reflect accordingly.  Communicating with the Turkish audience through social media while also interacting with other audiences across the world should be a top priority.  After all, Raki is Turkey’s national drink.

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Strap Up Turkey: When Condom Use Depends on Social Media

In Turkey on August 7, 2011 by victorialh Tagged: , , ,

Historically, people have been scared into using condoms.  Health organizations, government officials and even private corporations paint grim pictures of what life could be like if sexually active people don’t use condoms 100% of the time.

Images of death, stories of large poverty stricken families may work sometimes but are scare tactics the right approach? Not according to DKT International, a Washington, DC based NGO, which has used social tactics since 1989 to encourage condom usage over the ‘withdrawal method’ as a leading way to promote family planning.

From Brazil, the number one importer of condoms yet amongst the fewest users, to Turkey where empowering couples to use protection has been a continuous struggle; DKT has executed campaigns using traditional and new mediums of communication.

Two years ago, they launched a campaign for Fiesta Condoms, whose slogan (“Fiesta believes that safe and fun sex is your right) highlighted their acceptance of sexual behavior. The brand use bright, colorful and fun themes to educate and motivate consumers.

Naturally, the campaign included a Facebook page since the social media site is the third most popular web portal in Turkey with nearly 16 million users. It encouraged interaction through polls on sexually related issues, sultry music videos and instructions on how to use condoms.

Fiesta Condom Facebook Welcome Page

Currently, the Facebook page has just over 9,000 fans – nothing significant for a country populated with nearly 75 million people and 45% of them are Internet users.

While the numbers aren’t significant, they also aren’t surprising. Many risky brands have succeeded in the social media space, but getting people to openly discuss their sexual behaviors and preferences is no small challenge. I actually don’t know which of the fun-loving or deathly images work better, but I do applaud DKT and Fiesta for attempting to brighten up the conversation. Sex, condom usage and the consequences surrounding it all are all taboo topics that will require extremely innovative solutions to making consumers feel comfortable about discussing sex in the most social of settings.

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Turkcell Takes To Twitter

In Turkey on August 7, 2011 by S.Albright Tagged: , ,

Today, it is no longer a question if companies use social media to promote their product/service/campaign, but rather how they are going to do it — and above all, if they can do it well. Earlier this spring, leading Turkish mobile communications company Turkcell looked to promote new smartphones bundled with a mobile Internet package. The company needed to hone in on where they could best reach their target market for the campaign to be a success. Turks are only third in the world for hours spent online each month, so Turkcell wanted to attract these heavy Internet users – who distinctly avoid online advertising – in a unique and engaging way. The verdict? A live, time-sensitive competition through Twitter.

What Turkcell Did


Turkcell created a campaign that combined the use of Twitter and live video streaming. As seen above, the video showcased the smartphones packed in festive gift boxes and covered in colorful post-its. Turkcell prompted its Twitter users to ‘unpack the box’ by tweeting what was written on the post-its by using the hashtag #turkcelltweet. Users unfold one post-it each time they tweet to uncover the gift underneath, but are unaware of the total number of post-its, prompting them to tweet more as an incentive to win.

The competition ran live for 3 hours a day for a total of 7 days. Along the way, users could also participate in games such as Pictionary, Trivia and word puzzles to win minutes and other mobile data perks. The final challenge of #turkcelltweet was for users to try to get a celebrity to re-tweet the message, which would ultimately win them a new smartphone.

Impressions

For a campaign that ran for only a week, the impressions Turkcell made were impressive:

A Social Media Success

Traditional forms of online advertising now have less reach than ever before (bye bye, banner ads) and Turkcell really took a leap forward in the future of social media advertising through this innovative campaign. You may be wondering (as I was): did the campaign ultimately translate into increased company sales? Turkcell had cut its 2011 sales target in April after a 21% fall in first-quarter net profit. Second quarter results, however, following the #turkcelltweet campaign fared differently. Turkcell’s subscriber base has grown substantially, and the company expects continued growth and momentum throughout the remainder of the year.

Overall, Turkcell’s Twitter campaign garnered increased awareness for the company as a whole. Turkcell accurately identified that their target audience is very actively engaged in social media, and their interactive approach engaged these Internet heavy users in simple yet creative new ways online. The final step in having to engage a celebrity re-tweet in the process was a smart tactic that enabled Turkcell to extend the campaign’s awarness even further. I vote this campaign a true social media success and can’t wait to see how other brands around the world will continue to use the power of Twitter in innovative ways.