Putting a Goat on Apple Maps: The Power of Social Media


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airportThe Silicon Cloud office looks different this morning thanks to the power of social media. Our views across Sandyford used to provide a nice relaxing backdrop to the workday. Today though, we’re looking out of the windows for different reasons. Today we’re watching the skies for low flying planes, since Apple gave us a brand new airport just a kilometer from our front door.

The technology giant released their new iOS 6 operating system yesterday, with a number of exciting new features for iPhone users. The standout change for most people was the change from Google maps to Apple’s own maps app. That change was particularly important for us because the new app lists Airfield, a farm and garden estate just 5 minutes drive from our office, as an Airport. We never knew we had such prime real estate for international business.

From Minor Glitches to Crash Landings

Little technical errors like this one can be amusing, don’t be surprised if you’re subjected to more airport related gags throughout the day. Thejournal.ie, the Irish Times and the Independent have reported the news, and the gags, and it’s gotten plenty of attention on social media. But not everybody seems to see the funny side. The Irish Government has gotten involved.

Alan Shatter, TD for Dublin South (the constituency that gained the new airport), released a statement today outlining the potential dangers related to this mistake. The statement outlines the potential for disaster if a pilot unfamiliar with the area were forced to use the app to identify a safe place to land. It also suggests alternative symbols that could be used for Airfield, in place of an airplane, “a cow, a goat, a sheep, a flower or indeed any other type of plant as Airfield operates a nursery.” Mr. Shatter may well have his tongue planted in cheek here, but it is interesting that it’s come to a statement from the Minister for Justice. Even if he is just joining in on the joke.

The Headline Grabbing Power of Social Media

This story is actually a great demonstration of the power of social media. This is the kind of glitch that often occurs with new technology, it could easily have passed with little comment. But a tweet brought it to public attention. The tweet has extra significance for us, because it came from a former member of staff here at Silicon Cloud, Aleesha Tully. Although the response to that single tweet, a few news stories and a Ministerial statement, might have caught our eye anyway.

The swiftness of the response shows the reach and the power of social media. All it can take is a few words and a Hashtag to capture imagination and send a tweet all the way to the top. This story joins other news stories from around the world, like the UK teenager who was imprisoned for racist tweeting, that demonstrate the potential power of social media. Twitter in particular, has become a part of our pubic consciousness. So much so that news channels regularly use it to generate stories.

Once a tweet becomes a story, the cycle just continues. The tweet becomes a story because it was shared and then the story of the tweet gets shared too, usually on twitter. This cycle shows the real power of social media, once you’re in that sharing loop, your content can take on a life of it’s own. When Aleesha was tweeting about the error on maps, she was making an amusing observation. She ended up influencing public debate.

Social media marketers should always keep stories like this in mind. If you can craft funny, topical and shareable content, you too could generate a ministerial statement. Or create sky-watching panic in Dublin suburb. Or you might just generate some attention for your brand.

Download 10 Reasons to Monitor Social Media and get that competitive edge.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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