The spirit of fun is alive in the White House, even as debt ceiling negotiations go down to the wire Twitter and the White House might seem like a dry combination, but even with the debt ceiling coming perilously close to crushing everyone beneath it, the leader of the free world – or at least the people in charge of the White House Twitter feed – found time to have a bit of fun on Wednesday.
How? By rickrolling one of the 2.3m Twitter users who follow its feed and was complaining that it wasn’t very interesting.
“Sorry to hear that. Fiscal policy is important, but can be dry sometimes. Here’s something more fun,” the White House tweeted. And then it provided a link … to Rick Astley singing Never Gonna Give You Up.
David Wiggs, a self-described “energy tech enthusiast and mediocre golfer” whose tweet – “This WH [White House] correspondence briefing isn’t nearly as entertaining as yesterday’s” – sparked the outbreak of fun from Pennsylvania Avenue, liked it: “Hilarious”, he tweeted, and “Love it!”
“Rickrolling” is a prank that began on the 4chan message board (originally called duckrolling, as the link would lead to a picture of a duck on wheels); the first use to link to the Astley video came under the guise of being a secret trailer for the then-unreleased Grand Theft Auto IV. It then spread from 4chan and took off with Twitter in 2008 as huge numbers of people joined the service: the necessity of using shortened links for the 140-character service meant you could obscure their destination – and so hold out a tantalising treat that instead turned out to be Rick Astley singing.
In 2010 it was briefly doused when the video was removed from YouTube– but the White House found time to dig up another.
Meanwhile the deadline for the debt ceiling inched closer on Wednesday night – leading to a dramatic intervention.
Google has revealed that it is working on a Google+ experience for businesses and is asking brands not to create Google+ profiles just yet.
In a post and accompanying YouTube video on Google+, Product Manager Christian Oestlien says that the Google+ team is working on creating a unique experience for businesses that includes deep analytics and the ability to connect to products like AdWords. “How users communicate with each other is different from how they communicate with brands,” Oestlien argues.
As a result, Google is asking businesses to put their Google+ ambitions on hold.
“The business experience we are creating should far exceed the consumer profile in terms of its usefulness to businesses,” Oestlien says in his post. “We just ask for your patience while we build it. In the meantime, we are discouraging businesses from using regular profiles to connect with Google+ users. Our policy team will actively work with profile owners to shut down non-user profiles.”
Several prominent brands have already joined Google+, including Ford, Breaking News and yes, Mashable, which is now one of the top ten most popular users on Google+.
While the new Google+ experience for businesses won’t be ready until “later this year,” the company intends to launch a “small experiment with a few marketing partners” to test the brand-oriented accounts over the next few months. It even has opened up a Google Spreadsheet where “non-user entities” can apply for the program. It’s unclear when Google will shut down non-user profiles or how the process will work.
We’re not surprised that Google is building an optimized Google+ experience for businesses, but we are surprised that Google wasn’t more prepared for the wave of brands that have been joining its social network. The same thing happened with Google Buzz and has happened on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and countless other social networks. Brands like to go where their customers are.