Blog : Social Media



We gauged public opinion on the recent revelation that Instagram now allows users to see when their friends were last active. Find out what our followers thought of this new feature.

Instagram stayed rather quiet over the weekend, as they gently rolled out a new update which focuses on increased visibility of users. With new social media platforms popping up fast – you would wonder how much more can be added to increase visibility even further?

Well Instagram has found a way – presenting the ‘Last Active’ feature.

Instagram now allows your friends and followers to track when you last used Instagram. When sending stories or direct messages, you’ll notice that beside their username, in grey writing you can now see when they were last active – the times are very precise, ranging from “active now”, “active 32 minutes ago” to “active yesterday”.

This won’t be a ground-breaking update for you if you use Facebook messenger or Whatsapp, as you should be used to that by now. However, this adds Instagram to the list of places where other people can monitor your activity heavily.

If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling Instagram as a de-stressor throughout the day, but don’t quite have the brain power to respond to your messages, we have good news. You can deactivate this feature easily to ensure that others (like your boss) can’t track your usage and send those nagging “Get back to work” or “I know you’re online…?” messages.

Step 1: Open your settings via the three little dots in the top right-hand corner

Step 2: Scroll down to “Show Activity Status”

Step 3: Click on the toggle to ensure that you have freedom to scroll, without feeling obligated to respond to messages immediately.

Voila! – you’re now free to live a semi-private life through Instagram again – sharing only what you choose to share, which likely doesn’t include your low-key addiction to scrolling.


How do you feel about Instagram’s new updates?

Instagram Poll

We asked our Instagram followers if they were aware of this new update, and 50% of our followers had no idea that Instagram was sharing their activity with others. Of those who had already heard about the update, 100%* of them had found out via friends/websites or blogs – no one found out through Instagram’s own news or social media pages.

This introduces the argument that new features like this one should be heavily advertised

to ensure users are aware of changes. It also poses the idea that new features like this one should automatically be inactive when updated, and Instagram should prompt us to turn it on if we wish.

We asked our followers if they would have chosen to share their visibility had they had the

choice; 69% of people voted asking for more space, disagreeing with this new feature. Researching further the 39% of followers who didn’t mind sharing their visibility, we found that this correlated with a higher follower count, as well as those accounts using Instagram as a business or blogger.

With more updates to come in 2018, we found this insight very interesting. Instagram seems to be verging towards more of a marketing platform – allowing for marketers, brands and businesses to seamlessly merge onto users feeds without much evidence. This is good news for businesses, but could increase the scepticism for casual users who enjoy Instagram as an escape from the marketing stance that Facebook displays.

Stay tuned for future Instagram advances and find out what they could mean for you and your business.

*This figure was correct as of 3pm 23/01/2018



It may be premature to say the press release is dead but the idea that you can write it, mass distribute through your email…and expect results is no longer a given.

This year in Northern Ireland, not only have we witnessed the continued decline of circulation figures for our leading print publications; but more and more local newspapers have closed or merged, there has been a buy-out of our local television station, and a host of seasoned journalists laid-off. This has been accompanied by an unprecedented rise in contributors and online news platforms – with the PR world grappling to stay ahead of this new era of content driven media.

In this 24/7 media cycle, we find ourselves needing good content—and that can come in the form of something produced internally, so long as it’s targeted to the publication’s readers and is valuable enough for them to want to publish and share. If you have engaged social networks and can prove you are influential in your own right, media outlets will continue to want to work with you, if only for the sole reason that you’ve increased their page views and maybe even their audience base.

The Evolution of Digital

In the past, online coverage was often seen as the poor relation to print and broadcast media, but today it is paramount. Digital coverage allows us to reach audiences quickly and allows us to measure and track the effectiveness of an article against our clients’ website viewing figures, which is vital in helping to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the articles that we place.

Social media has allowed ‘word of mouth’ to move at a very rapid pace and, now more than ever, digitally savvy consumers are debunking traditional advertising methods and seeking the opinions of friends, industry experts and celebrities. PR managers must respond faster than ever to keep up with the increased demand for 24/7 news and social media output, and we now have many new platforms from which to communicate, including blogs, video and mobile platforms as well as a vast number of quality online magazines.

It’s the hit viral video that links to engaging Facebook and Twitter accounts with interesting articles, blogs, competitions and company endeavours that really make an impact.  The ability to easily use these sites to find a product, peruse user reviews and recommendations, or voice customer service concerns, is what fulfils the needs of the ever more demanding customer.

Creating a TV commercial that drives excitement over a new mobile app, and the mobile app that leads a customer to the nearest store location to make a purchase, is what is now considered PR ‘gold’.

The entire puzzle is a complicated one that demands calculated integration, and PR will most certainly continue to change and evolve as traditional media roles become outdated. Companies that have the most initiative to invest in integrated communications effectively will ultimately be the ones to reap the benefits and survive in the long term. PR professionals are experts in developing content but they now need to translate this across traditional as well as new online platforms.

I was once asked if PR was dead and digital is the new and only way to connect with target audiences. No. PR does exactly what it says on the tin (build relationships with the public) and will continue to do so. But one thing is clear PR managers are becoming content managers and marketing departments rely heavily on our ability to connect them with their target audiences.

For this reason, we have seen a lesser reliance on the traditional media release and the emergence of new roles being advertised in the sector for ‘Content Producers’, ‘Digital PR Executives’ and ‘Head of Content Development’ etc. However, at our first CIPR NI #CommsPRDigital conference in Belfast, Former Press Secretary to the Queen, Dickie Arbiter reminded us that nothing beats face to face communication. There is still a need to move away from the computer and talk direct to journalists and influencers, and build vital relationships.

With that all said, one thing that will remain a challenge in 2017, is the ability to bring clients up to speed with this new way of communicating. Clients always want to see their face in the paper…and when they get a call from their mum saying ‘oh I saw you in the local paper’ then they think we have achieved a result. This issue of educating clients to believe in the power of new forms of communication is a challenge we as PR professionals will encounter increasingly over time. Explaining to them that a tweet, a blog post by a thought leader or a content-driven campaign on an online media site is just as significant and is equal in value to what they have done in the past, means we still may have a job to do.

by Samantha Livingstone, NI Regional Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Download the full report here and read what other practitioners, from across the UK have to say: 



Kennedy Centre
Pictured with Adam Lockheart is Santa, Angela Lamont from Enchanted Events and John Jones, Centre Manager for Kennedy Centre

West Belfast’s Kennedy Centre – often dubbed ‘Curley’s’ – is leading the way forward on accessibility and inclusivity this Christmas with extended support for children with additional needs when visiting the centre’s magical Christmas dome to meet-and-greet Father Christmas.

Teaming up with Enchanted Events, Kennedy Centre is offering relaxed Santa sessions this holiday season for children with additional needs. Relaxed Santa sessions cater for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), physical disabilities and other additional needs by opening the centre from 9am to 1pm every Sunday until Christmas so that any potential anxiety or mobility issues caused by large crowds of Christmas shoppers is alleviated. Centre retailers also remain closed and no noise or music is emitted from PA systems.

Recent reports show a 67% increase in the incidence rate of school age children diagnosed with ASD rising from 4,570 to 6,046 between 2011/12 and 2014/15 (Department of Health and Social Care, 2015) further cementing the need for such services in public venues.

Commenting this year’s relaxed Santa sessions, John Jones, Centre Manager, said:

“Kennedy Centre has always been a cornerstone of the community here in West Belfast. We are a community-based shopping centre and with that comes the responsibility to ensure we take into consideration the additional needs and support members of the community within the catchment area require.

“We’re delighted to have the Enchanted Events team return to Kennedy Centre again this Christmas to support us as we continue to deliver our services to all members of the local community.”

Now widely adopted in Northern Ireland, Kennedy Centre is largely credited for introducing the concept to fast-paced shopping centres in 2015.

“Visiting Santa should be a magical and memorable experience; one without mobility issues or anxiety. However, not all children are afforded this luxury. Similar relaxed Santa sessions are now a regular feature in the Christmas events calendars of shopping centres throughout Northern Ireland, who open their doors at midday on Sundays. But, Kennedy Centre is leading the way forward by extending these sessions from 9am until centre opening hours of 1pm,” explained Angela Lamont, owner of Enchanted Events.

Should a child become anxious, frightened or if access issues arise during their visit, Santa will greet them at a more convenient point around the Christmas installation for photographs.

Kennedy Centre relaxed Santa sessions take place every Sunday (9am – 1pm) until December 18th.

For more information, contact Kennedy Centre on 028 9030 0734 or visit