Can Twitter Land You in Trouble With the Law?

The answers to that is YES – Twitter can land you in trouble with the law. As evidenced by several court cases, lots of press coverage and a recent BBC News Magazine article by Brian Wheeler Twitter users: A guide to the law, tweeting without thinking could land you with a criminal record or having to pay substantial damages.

According to research for law firm Wiggin, 46% of 18 to 24 year olds are unaware they can be sued for defamation if they tweet an unsubstantiated rumour about someone.

So, before you send that tweet, bear in mind the following…

Libel

In November, Conservative peer Lord McAlpine announced his intention to seek libel damages from Twitter users over incorrect and defamatory insinuations linking him to child sex abuse. The Conservative peer had already received a substantial damages settlement from the BBC over a Newsnight report falsely suggesting he was a paedophile. Newsnight did not name him in its report, but it prompted a guessing game on Twitter which resulted in the peer being falsely accused of sex offences.

The law concerning Twitter is clear – if you make a defamatory allegation about someone you can be sued for libel. It is the same as publishing a false and damaging report in a newspaper.

Technology law expert Luke Scanlon, of Pinsent Masons says that people assumed they could say anything they liked about public figures because the public figure could not sue everybody. However, Lord McAlpine dropped threatened legal action against Twitter users with fewer than 500 followers and instructed his lawyers to concentrate their efforts on seeking £50,000 in damages from Sally Bercow, in what is expected to be the first High Court Twitter libel trial.

A tweet is potentially libellous in England and Wales if it damages someone’s reputation “in the estimation of right thinking members of society”. It can do this by exposing them to “hatred, ridicule or contempt”. It is a civil offence, so you won’t be jailed but you could end up with a large damages bill. The rules also apply to re-tweets.

Threats

Paul Chambers was living in Doncaster, when he joked on Twitter that he would blow up nearby Robin Hood Airport when it closed after heavy snow – potentially disrupting his travel plans.

He tweeted: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”

In May 2010 he was found guilty under the 2003 Communications Act but the conviction was quashed on appeal by the High Court, amid a high profile campaign to defend free speech on Twitter.

It can come down to the judgement of police and prosecutors. Aggravating factors, such as racism and prejudice against religion, disability and sexual orientation will lead to increased sentences.

New CPS guidelines state  “As a general rule, threats which are not credible should not be prosecuted, unless they form part of a campaign of harassment specifically targeting an individual within the meaning of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.”

Offensive Comments/Trolling

Sean Duffy from Reading was jailed for 18 weeks in September 2011 for making “grossly offensive” comments under the Malicious Communications Act 1988. Duffy admitted posting images on Facebook and YouTube mocking the deaths of four children, including 15-year-old Natasha MacBryde who committed suicide.

Trolling is a phenomenon that has swept across websites in recent years. Online forums, Facebook pages and newspaper comment forms are bombarded with insults, provocations or threats.  Trolling is a broad term, taking in everything from a cheeky provocation to violent threats. It is usually carried out by young adult males for amusement, boredom and revenge, says Prof Mark Griffiths, of the International Gaming Research Unit. Supporters argue it’s about humour, mischief and freedom of speech. But for many, the ferocity and personal nature of the abuse verges on hate speech.

The right to be rude about someone in print is protected in English law. “Vulgar abuse” is not considered defamatory. Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights also protects free speech. Duffy was prosecuted under a piece of legislation originally designed to combat hate mail and nuisance phone calls.

The decision to arrest and charge someone for making abusive comments is a subjective one to some extent. It depends on the police or prosecutor’s interpretation of the law.

Injunctions and Super-injunctions

There have been several high profile examples of injunctions and super-injunctions. Individuals can take out injunctions to prevent publication of potentially damaging material. A super-injunction prevents the media from reporting even the existence of an injunction.

They were first used to protect the safety of notorious criminals when they were released from jail. But in recent years they have been taken out by celebrities to stop the tabloid press exposing their private life.

Judges have to be convinced a newspaper is ready to publish highly intimate information and that the applicant, however famous, has a right to privacy. Critics argue they have a devastating impact on free speech.

Media organisations or social media users potentially face prosecution for contempt of court if they report the identity of a person who has obtained a super-injunction.

Since the controversy over Ryan Giggs (where 75,000 people named him on Twitter as a footballer at centre of an injunction row) and other well-known figures taking out super-injunctions, many have now been lifted. The government has also instructed judges to “time-limit” new ones. But a number of privacy orders are still thought to be in force.

Apart from the areas above that could land you in hot water, Tweeting in relation to the following, to name a few, could also get you into trouble: breaking a court order, contempt of court, reporting sex offences, encouraging riots, menacing communications and abusive messages.

So, think before you tweet!

How To Be a Great Networker

Effective networking is important to both business and social occasions, especially when it comes to hosting events, groups and clubs. As well as projecting yourself as professional and knowledgeable, it can also be vital to raising awareness and acquiring important contacts.

Here are some of our top tips for becoming a great networker and getting the most out of your events.

Get to Know People

Good networkers know that initially, networking is not about ‘selling’. Trying to convince somebody to join your club or group within minutes of meeting them is likely to put them off because you won’t have showed an interest in them and what they do. If you get to know people first, a natural relationship will develop and sure enough, opportunities will follow.

Effective networkingBe Enthusiastic

The best networkers attract people towards them without having to make much of an effort because they are the sort of people that others enjoy spending time with. Always coming across as upbeat, positive and enthusiastic means that people are much more likely to warm to you, remember you in the future and importantly, even recommend you to others. If you are excited about your club or group then other people naturally will be and as a result they will be far more likely to join.

Be Brave

People often form perceptions of others based on their position, authority and experience. It can be easy to feel intimidated by those who are incredibly successful or high up in a company but it’s important not to fall into the trap of seeing the title rather than the person. Great networkers tend to see a person for who they are and are brave enough to approach them in the first place, which can make all the difference.  No matter who it is, if there is someone in particular you want to invite to join your club or group, don’t be afraid to ask because you just never know who might be interested.

Show Commitment

When someone recommends you, gives you a referral or chooses to invest in you in some way, they want to know that you are committed for the foreseeable future. For example, if you attend a networking event and encourage people to join your sports group but then never update it or plan any events, people will very quickly lose interest and are unlikely to invest their time in you again.

Know Your Audience

In order for your networking efforts to be successful, it’s vital that you talk to the right people. Every time you sign up to attend an event ask yourself if it’s a good fit, if people you are looking to attract are going to be there and whether or not you think you will get quality ‘leads’ from it. For example, if you are looking for people to join your fitness group, a business networking event is unlikely to be the time or place to find the audience you are looking for.

Never Stop Networking

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be at a pre-planned networking event to meet the people you are looking to attract. Regardless of whether you are at a meeting, the pub or a coffee shop, it’s always worth being prepared because people often find that the best opportunities come from the individuals and places they least expect.

Do you have any valuable tips for successful networking? Why not share your tips and advice with us below.

How to Promote Your Event, Club, Group or Community

Whether you’re organising an event, creating a community or putting together a club or group, once you’ve signed up to Eventility, there are lots of different ways to promote it. Below is a quick guide to some of the methods you can use to raise awareness, create excitement and encourage people to join your group.

Social Media

With billions of people using social media sites all over the world, they provide brilliant platforms for promoting and sharing your group or event. Here at Eventility, we’ve made it really simple to share on social media sites and you can even post updates directly to Facebook and Twitter from your Promote tab.

Your Website

Your own website is a great way to let people know about your activities and if someone has made the effort to visit your site in the first place, then chances are that they are more likely to be interested in joining any groups you have created. Adding an Eventility Events Plugin enables members and any visitors to your website to see a live feed of your up-to-date events. Use the Events Plugin builder in the Promote tab of your listing to easily create the features you want to show on your website. When you’ve finished, hit Get the Code, copy the code and just paste it into your website HTML. It’s that easy!

Emails

Email marketing has become an incredibly popular and effective way of reaching out to people. Since the introduction of smart phones, users now have the ability to check their inbox regardless of where they are or what time it is. Sending out emails is a great way to thank people for joining your group, keeping them updated with events and encouraging them to alert and invite others. Simply import your email list from Webmail or an Excel file and within minutes you can send out your notification to all your contacts directly from the Eventility site with a few clicks. You can see when emails are sent, opened and if any have bounced. With new member lists you can now separate your members into different lists e.g. beginners, intermediate, advanced, and email and SMS them separately with different messages.

SMS

A study by Nokia found that the average person checks their mobile phone 150 times per day. Sending out SMS messages to your group members is a sure fire way to promote your event and ensure that your community is kept up-to-date with all your latest news. Setting up auto-reminders means that Eventility will send out your SMS reminders at the time you have specified so it’s one less thing you have to worry about.

With everything you could possibly need to organise and promote your event or group in one easy to manage place, Eventility really couldn’t make it easier. If you need any help, why not use our support site which includes FAQs, access to our forums or email support@eventility.co.uk.

So, if you organise any event, club, group or community and aren’t using Eventility yet, why not give it a try, it’ll help make your give a little bit easier.

Eventility – Group Organisation and Promotion Made Easy.

The Power of Online Communities for Local Businesses Infographic

Social networks have long been seen as a ‘leveller’, enabling local businesses to compete with big brands for a decent share of customer attention. In many respects local businesses are better placed to take advantage of social media than big brands. They find it easier to create meaningful relationships with their customers – they might even be on first name terms – and, since the majority of their customers’ social media connections will also live locally, are well placed to benefit from recommendations.

As well using social networks to engage with existing customers online, businesses are also attracting new ones. The fact that there are over 1 billion smart-phone users and that 40% of mobile searches are for local businesses gives an indication of the importance of having a strong web presence and making your business easy to find.

Yet lots of small businesses are still not tapping into their online communities.

To help fix this situation – we’ve produced this handy infographic which highlights the importance of online communities and how local businesses can make the most of them.

One of the key things the infographic highlights is the sheer number of small businesses that are already using social networks and gaining new customers as a result. Almost three quarters of small businesses use Facebook and over half are using LinkedIn and Twitter. Added to that, research by Manta suggests that 78% of small businesses are gaining a significant proportion of new customers through social media.

Generation Y in particular are using social networks to inform purchase decisions, with 61% turning to social media to decide where to go when going out. Online reviews also play a significant role in this, with 52% saying that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.

Promotions offer a great way to reward existing customers and to attract new ones, with 73% of consumers saying they search for discounts and promotions online. They are also a great way of increasing footfall, with research showing that 59% of consumers have gone into a store or business premises as a result of finding an offer or coupon online.

Of course, social media can’t stand on its own: email marketing is another hugely valuable tool for local businesses. There are roughly 3 billion email users in the world and 19% of all time spent online is devoted to reading and responding to emails. As a marketing tool it is clearly has value – 77% of small businesses have reported email marketing increases their revenues and as a result, 85% plan to increase their use of email in 2013.

It’s also important to consider the role that SMS marketing can play. It’s estimated that 8,000,000,000,000 text messages were sent last year (yes, try saying that number!) and 90% of them were read within 3 minutes. With such a high open rate, it’s a great way to advertise promotions to your community or to send reminders – so long as you’ve got their permission to text them.

Of course, all of this takes time and that’s why we created Eventility. If you haven’t tried us out yet – Eventility brings all of this into one easy-to-use online platform, offering an effective way to manage and promote your business.

You can manage your contacts, organise and advertise events, run targeted promotions, manage your social media engagement, collect customer reviews, add your location to online maps, deliver SMS marketing and send emails with in-built tracking – all using one powerful tool – plus we can power your website too.

www.eventility.com/tour#place

Online Customer Communities

Embed Video, Audio, Images and Rich Media in Your Eventility ‘Feed’ (Message Board)

We’ve done it again! The latest release of Eventility integrates the fantastic embed.ly  into your club, group or community ‘feed’ (message board). This means we can turn almost any link you share into embedded images, videos and rich previews. Check out some screenshots below and see just how powerful your message board could become.

Video

Embed full videos simply by posting a link. Let your members watch content from over 50 providers including: YouTube, Brightcove, Vimeo, Hulu…

Youtube

Audio

Post a track you’ve uploaded to Soundcloud, share a Spotify playlist, or add audio comments from Audioboo…

Soundcloud

Images

A picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t just tell your members what you are talking about – show them. Supported image providers include: Flickr, Instagram, Twitter Pics…

flikr

Rich Media

Want to visualize a story or presentation or share a link to an online document? We’ve got you covered. Media providers include: Graphicly, Storify, SlideShare, Scribd, Dropbox, Crocodoc…

scribd

Here is the full list of supported content providers which is pretty awesome – Happy Embedding!

If you’re already signed-up to Eventility, login to get embedding. If you’ve not discovered us yet, sign-up for a really easy way to organise and promote any club, group, community, event, place, venue or business.

New Eventility Scan App Checks-in Tickets and Vouchers in Seconds

Eventility is pleased to announce our latest mobile app, Eventility Scan. Developed specially for organisers to simplify the process of validating event tickets at the door and vouchers at point of sale – It only takes seconds to check-in with Eventility Scan.

FeatureGraphic2

Eventility ScanThe Eventility Scan App lets you scan the barcode on Eventility tickets and vouchers. It confirms validity, records the check-in against your account and prevents the same ticket/voucher being used twice. The app supports multiple devices and managers so you can have more than one person working the doors.

Simply press the check-in button and Eventility Scanuse your device camera to validate tickets and vouchers. The Android app automatically installs a barcode scanner if needed. Scan the QR code and within a second we’ll validate whether it’s genuine and hasn’t been used before. You can then analyse all your check-in stats online.

The Eventility Scan app is available free on Google play to help make organising and promoting any event or offer really easy.

Android App

Coming Soon

Steamrollers! The First Six Months of a Group Organisation and Promotion Startup by Robin Brattel, Eventility Founder

Fowler Steam RollerI often get asked what it’s like launching a startup and I tend use this analogy – imagine you have a really big steam roller in front of you, it’s out of fuel and you know you’ve got to move it under your own power – that’s really daunting and is just what it’s like. Whether you are on your own working in your bedroom, or with others in Starbucks, if you’re serious about trying to build a business it’s analogically like a steam roller or even bigger.

Once you’ve had your startup idea, and most probably done work convincing yourself there’s merit in the idea, the next thing you’ve got to do is convince other people that your idea is worth hunkering down for.  It’s hard to move that steamroller on your own but a team of people have a much greater chance of success.

Moving that steamroller, as with starting a business, doesn’t have to be an unhappy or stressful process.  You should enjoy the challenges of working out how to move it.  Some will say use levers, others may suggest fuel, will the engine start, where will you get the fuel money from…

You probably get a sense of the scale of the job now. When I set out years ago I knew that what I was trying to do was a big challenge but I had no idea how tough it would be, and frankly it wouldn’t have made any difference.  While I don’t call myself an entrepreneur I am definitely entrepreneurial, I had and still have the passion and the drive to do what I do.

During a startup there are moments of sheer despair ranging from anyone casting doubts on your idea, an unknown competitor surfaces, a friend says you’re barking, an investor says no and so on. There are also moments of giddy elation when someone uses the system/product you’ve built, which then turn into  phenomenal moments of euphoria when someone actually pays money for it!

Ride the waves of emotion and stay focused, it may be raining but the steamroller is still in front of you and you need to move it.  In fact the rain might help! The ground is slippery so maybe it’ll move a bit easier. You need to try and use every ounce of positive and negative emotion to make sure you’re focused on the end game.

So, you build a team, maybe you get some fuel money, you get things moving. Does it mean you’ll make it? Maybe, maybe not, the fuel could run out, the team may lose energy or focus or be distracted by another’s quest, or more people may join in and the thing gets some speed up.

Suddenly you get the momentum you’ve craved, the steamroller is moving and you’re making a road.  What’s that? No one’s on the road? Do they even know you’ve built a road? No? Well get on and tell them, you should have started to tell them before it was ready… Oh you did and it wasn’t ready, OK.

Momentum is a great thing, vital obviously.  Before you had it, if you took time out, the steam roller wasn’t moving so it didn’t matter. But now it’s moving it’ll just pull you along, and that carries with it a whole new set of issues to deal with.

The first six months of running a startup are tough, at times bleak and miserable, lonely, hard work, and will stretch you beyond belief.  At the same time, they’re probably the best moments you’ll ever experience in your working life.

Robin Brattel is Founder and CEO of Eventility.com, the easy-to-use website to help organise and promote events, clubs, groups, communities, places and businesses.

Eventility – Group Organisation and Promotion Made Easy.

It is built by organisers for organisers, to remove the pain and hassle of managing and promoting any activity, however large or small. With powerful organisation and promotion tools, everything you need to organise and manage is in one place, perfect for building online communities – free for groups and offering significant value for money for businesses.