Category Archives: twitter

Technology for marketing & advertising – the event.

As a student, attending one of these events may seem a little daft, but with the promise of sessions discussing topics such as content strategy,  SEO, website design and usability, and the use of analytics and social media metrics how could I afford to miss it?

These topics all have a bearing on my degree subjects and any future career choices based upon that degree, the fact they were coming from the marketing perspective as opposed to a technical one shouldn’t really matter..

Should it?

..But first a word about the event itself, the chosen venue was easy to find as Earls court is directly opposite an underground station – definitely a bonus over a few other events I’ve been to in London, but the wifi was sadly flaky at best and as mentioned by another a blogger in the blur group the event app (should you have been able to locate and download it) was made pretty useless by this fact.

Seating areas were few and far between and the chairs used in the sessions were not designed with short folk like me in mind – It gets very tiring very quickly trying to balance a notepad or laptop on your lap when your feet are swinging 2 inches off the floor! Not exactly a fantastic scenario for someone who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome when combined with all the travelling and walking attending such an event necessitates.

Session 1

The first session in my ‘not to be missed’ schedule was given by Neil Burton representing Web Spiders the company responsible for creating the seemingly elusive web app for the event.  I have to say he presented his material incredibly well – that may sound patronising but having tried my hand at presenting I know it’s no piece of cake.

He knew his audience and distilled usability principles into bite size demonstrable chunks without naming folk like Schneiderman and Nielsen to get the point across. The one page shopping cart he demonstrated was truly a thing of beauty and had me itching to find out if it was built in flash or used jquery (as you’ll see if you click the link; it’s flash.)

I will admit much of what he covered was old news to me but I admired his delivery. However he also covered something I should have been more aware of but coming from a tech rather than marketing or design background had not really looked into in this way before: multivariable testing along with a useful statistic and source for my soon to be written final report:

22% of companies spending at least £50000pa on seo (source; econsultancy search engine marketing benchmark report 2010)

(So that alone made the trip into London worth it for me)

session 2

The second session I attended was “SEO the latest keys to success; John Heffernan, MediaCo (UK) Ltd.” as I tweeted at the time; some of the information he gave had me arguing with him in my notes so that I wouldn’t vocalise my dissent and disrupt the session.

I’m not an SEO expert – or even practitioner (yet) but having attended more than a few mediaCamps and social media gatherings I know a little more than the average joe – and I like to think that the information I cull from my twitter stream along with the books I read help to add to that knowledge daily.

The claims made about this session were that the audience would:

  1. Gain a clear understanding of what Social Media is in practical business terms.
  2. Gain a clear understanding of Social Media fundamentals and how to get them right

It is these points on which I’d quite strongly disagree.
He had slides with a lot of different social media sites on them, he didn’t mention the need to see which ones fit best with your customer profile but you’d hopefully expect the audience to figure that out for themselves, he did however make the very valid point that in a marketing sense:

Social media is about syndicating content back to you – direct quote.

What he didn’t say ONCE to all these impressionable eager to learn people is that social media as a marketing tool is NOT a broadcast medium. It is about building relationships and hopefully fostering a sense of ownership amongst your audience in order to derive feelings of loyalty and positivity towards your brand.

Yes, he mentioned making link backs natural (and JC Penny was spoken about) and he eventually mentioned that a successful use of social media needed time devoted to monitoring the channels (with HSBC and a prominent house builder given as an example of #fail)

..but the most basic and fundamental thing about social media is that it is SOCIAL, and not once did that observation raise it’s hand.

Despite learning several things of interest during the session that one lack left a taste of disappointment as it felt like I’d seen an intelligent guy almost get it right.

Arrogant of me? Perhaps, but learning is subjective and that was my take away from Johns session.

If you’ve managed to get this far; congratulations! You’ll be pleased to learn I have only one more session to discuss:

Session 3

This was one I’d actually been incredibly excited about after reading the session page on the TFM&A website; Catherine Toole; Kingmakers: why 2011 is the year of the content strategist.

..Perhaps I’d been too excited because the 30minutes of waffle and example upon example boiled down to 2 points:

  1. Reduce effort – make everything as quick and seamless as possible for the user
  2. Use text and images effectively – have professionally written copy so great ideas from the top don’t fall at the bottom rung.

Now to be fair, the lass started on the back foot due to several technical issues (microphone not working, new mic battery died, laptop power started going 5 minutes into the presentation..) so maybe she is normally more of a Neil Burton type of presenter, but my attention began drifting after the 4th slide of examples and her offer to carry on into the lunch break for questions held no appeal for me whatsoever.

That being said, again I received a source that made the trip into London worthwhile; upon her recommendation I’ve read a couple of articles from the Harvard Business Review and can see how this one at least will be a useful citation in my forthcoming report.

Conclusion

After these three sessions I couldn’t summon any enthusiasm for the others I’d jotted into my schedule; my back was killing me from trying to balance on the slightly too high chairs and my disappointment at not learning as much as I’d hoped in those sessions was tempered slightly by the knowledge I know more on those subjects than I previously thought.
I wish I’d taken the time to track down the web spiders stand but as I had company it was hard to fit in the things we both wished to do – I’m especially gutted I gave into tiredness when I did as it meant I missed out on meeting up with @farhan who was also in attendance and tweeted the fact while my train was heading homewards, but all told it was a good day.

..and having a small child exclaiming in delight over the red ball and flower pen I obtained for her from the confex side just made it all that more worthwhile *grin*

A little less than Zen

I try to be a good person, truly I do but maybe I’m going against human nature and that’s why I have to work so hard at it.

What?! It’s the nature of humans to be nasty? Well.. The latest flurry of online nastiness could prove me right. The fact that I have contributed also leaves me feeling a little shamed – hence this blog post and not the one I’d intended to write.

Yesterday I followed a retweet from.. um.. I think it may have been @sizemore, though it could also have been @copyblogger or @documentally as any of those three guys give out interesting and thought provoking links on a regular basis. This retweeted link sent me to a blog post entitled Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (or the privatization of the English Language) and it turned out to be a mini rant about a cease and desist order regarding a phrase used by the author on a previous blog post.

This phrase is apparently copyrighted by the author of a book and her lawyers (yup, lawyers not solicitors so it has to be an American thing right? Right.) have demanded that the blog change or at least acknowledge the books author. The writer has refused, adamantly.

To the delight and positive support of what appears to be a goodly portion of the blogosphere.

Unfortunately, naming said book author in the post has resulted in a legion of these supporters finding her Amazon page to attack and otherwise drag down her ratings. I have not done so, I have not sent a message of hate to the writer nor have I even visited her personal site. So why do I feel shame?

I feel shame because I read the post and was shocked that he had named the author in question, but did I comment on his poor judgement? No. Instead I responded thusly:

I came here via a twitter RT so whether she likes it or not there is much negative publicity regarding her work ‘doing the rounds’ following this incident.

Having actually read through all the previous comments (interesting conversation)

I have to plug for what Bill Schmeck Says:

“If you REALLY want to screw with the lawyers, tell them you’re going to send a copy of their letter and an explanation to the USPTO and ask to have the trademark withdrawn. If a mark is inappropriately granted, the USPTO can void it if someone challenges it.”

I’m guessing you won’t be that bothered but such an idea really tickles the vindictive child in me..

Perhaps it’s not so bad a comment in comparison to some, but did I air the thoughts in my head about “have you asked for a response from Mrs J?” “Was it really a good idea to link so clearly to Mrs J?” did I contribute to the ‘interesting conversation’ in a positive way?

No. I didn’t.
Which makes me a bad person in my own eyes. Others have been bigger than I and called the writer on these points, others have been far worse than I and spewed hate filled bile about Mrs J for the actions of her lawyers.

But this blog here, the place you currently rest your eyes.. This is my space where I can be as honest as I allow myself to be where you can see it. In real life I try to stick to the idea of “if you haven’t anything nice to say then say nothing” (note I said ‘try’ I don’t always succeed but if I catch myself being snide or malicious I do attempt to make up for it somehow) surely I am not the only person on the internet to look back at something they’d written and wish they could take it back and make it into something more worthy of the person they want to be?

I can’t help but wonder if that same thought is running through the mind of Leo over at Zen Habits right now.

#Twitter (again)

I was asked today to come back to the college in June (after exams etc) to give a presentation on twitter and other social media applications, this has made me go back to thinking about what is so great about twitter – why do I and others enthuse about it so much?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o[/youtube]

I loved it back when it was just a webpage but now it’s because it has developed adaptability due to the amount of third party applications built around it – now it works differently depending on what you use to access it.
Using the normal web portal at twitter.com allows a basic view of peoples tweets (once you’ve added a few folks to follow that is) installing Tweetdeck allows you to view search results as well as a timeline made up of folks you follow and friend groups and replies etc so, for example; if you’re interested in media, any tweet mentioning media or #media will show in that search time line (all time lines have their own column so you can easily differentiate between groups)

It’s not just a place to announce that you’re heading to bed or about to have a cup of tea – or even as the video states ‘to let the people you care about know the little things you do in life’ (though that is a part of its charm) Twitter helps you to gather information/ interesting links/ peoples opinions on a subject, you can start/ join in conversations by replying with @username before the comment and make friends – look at the success of the recent twestival, online social media doesn’t have to stay online with twitter.

As far as social media goes it’s the best site around in my honest opinion.

MediaCamp London #2

In July I went along to an event organised by some folks I’ve come to know through using various online social media. As a direct result of that I have been offered work (paid) and participation in several interesting sounding projects (paid and unpaid) which, sadly, I’ve been unable to take up because of this gorgeous little creature

Isabella - supergirl!

So not only do I have the reassurance of knowing there is work out there for me when our little girl is of an age to allow me to take it, I’ve also made the acquaintance of many interesting and knowledgeable people – several of whom have since helped me to understand things I’ve struggled with in my studies.

I would not have received that help or those opportunities without my participation on the social networking scene. Through use of twitter I learn about up and coming events, new toys on the market, what the people I choose to follow are currently up to and how they feel about life in general. I can ask a question and have several answers within seconds (depending upon who is online at the time) and can start a conversation that spans several levels as other people I’m not connected to take the responses of those I am and run with it.

The reason for this post is that there is another of these events coming up and it seems only fair to let everyone know about it so that they too can not only learn a few things but also make some great contacts in the process.

The event is called media camp london and it would seem that even the guardian has taken an interest this time around:

MediaCamps – filling the skills gap

I know that at present the sessions seem quite thin on the ground, but last year things were being added right up to and including the start times – not only that but the meet up, chill out and chat rooms proved to be equally useful (if not more so) at providing insight and discussion on topics not covered by any of the more structured presentations.

Come along – Stef and I shall see you there!

Tutorom is the place to learn online.

For video or flash tutorials Tutorom really is the place to be. I found this while catching up on my feeds over at Cybernirvana it’s proof positive of why I keep Zia at the top of my info list *grin*

The concept is simple:

Learn. Teach. Collaborate. Online Elearning the tutorom way.

Access thousands of lessons or use our tools to create and control access to your own courses, collaborate with colleagues and much more.

But the content they already have on there is stunning. the database is well laid out so searching for a tutorial is simple (which reminds me, I also need to look for a databasing tutorial) I’ve found some incredibly simple to follow flash mathematics tutorials that should stand me in good stead, I’ve been worried about my crappy grasp of maths for a while.
The beauty of it is though, alongside the more academic type of tutorial you also have videos on everything from belly dancing, jewelery making and improving your golf swing to changing a spark plug in your car and applying eyeliner.

I’ve been unable to do many of the things I love online lately, moving house and starting college has taken a lot more out of me than I’d bargained for, I’m missing my twitter friends and participating in the odd podcast, as you can see from the date I last posted, blogging has taken a hit too and I haven’t had a good sing in months (though I have been keeping an eye out on all the new releases at singsnap so once I have mic and webcam set up again I’ll have quite a list to get me going)

Thank goodness for facebook is all I can say, without that I’d have been off the radar for good – twitter is practically useless at college since the filtering system won’t allow me to open any tinyurl type links and I can’t follow any links from my feed reader either which can make catching up on my feeds a rather frustrating experience, but now I’ve discovered tutorom I can use that time more constructively (assuming the college system allows me to, I’ll have to check tomorrow on that front)

Well, that’s your wee byte from me today – if you know of any other sites like this then do let me know, it’s always handy to have a tutorial resource when you’re learning about something, different people teach in different ways so while I may not understand one thing on here, elsewhere may provide an easier way to understand it.

Who do you follow and why do you do it?

I’ve spent most of the evening writing and re-writing a question on twitter over at the socialset blog and this post is kind of an addendum to it..

At first I only followed the person who had told me about Twitter (wagnerdepower) and I’d look at the public time line only occasionally; quite frankly it bored me – until Twittervision came on the scene.
That made it more interesting, I’m still not sure why, but without that perspective I’d have given Twitter up as a waste of time after the first week and would never have realised what a rich and wonderful thing it truly is.

While watching the public time line I found I was ‘favouriting’ Sizemores every other comment and so took the next step of actually following him, he was then the second person I followed on Twitter and the first person I have ever knowingly ‘virtually stalked’
(sounds bad but it’s the best phrase to describe how digital eavesdropping on perfect strangers can lead to googling and information collection – I would hasten to add that this was perfectly harmless and the poor boy can sleep in peace knowing I will never come calling in the dead of night – also that any bunny rabbits he may happen to possess will have no fear of the pot from me..)

I ‘met’ Nik aka Loudmouthman in a similar way. He was joking about internet applications and open source software with dungeekin, in order to follow the conversation I added them both, Nik was the first person I followed who not only acknowledged the fact, he invited me into the conversation (though to be fair it was under the mistaken assumption that I was somehow already connected to dungeekin..)
These days I mainly follow people who started following me first. When I get an email telling me about them I stop by their page and see if I can figure out why I caught their interest – some I follow back, others may instead find a new subscriber to their blog feed..
If the people I follow are talking to others on a subject I have an interest in, I’ll add the second person so I can follow the whole conversation. I do not actively seek out people to follow, nor will I blindly follow others purely because they have decided to follow me, advertisers especially get short shrift and will in fact be blocked by me completely – as will anyone from the porn industry (I don’t fancy having my avatar showing on their wall of ‘stuff’)

But I love twitter. It has literally opened up a whole new world for me. I have ‘met’ some intelligent and interesting people that may otherwise have passed me by – it’s almost like discovering the internet all over again! It’s a chat room/ message board/ forum/ blog all in one, it’s more immediate than any profile site and it truly brings the world into your front room as it’s happening. ..And not just your front room either, enable text notifications on your mobile and you can keep up with things no matter where you are – signal dependent of course 😉

What more could you ask for from a social networking tool? Yes, it could do with a little tweaking to make it ideal for me. I personally would like the ability to file anything I mark as a ‘favourite’ into different folders – if that happened I’d no longer need delicious since I usually tweet interesting finds or articles, all I’d have to do is ‘fave’ ’em into the folder of choice and away I go.. But those kind of suggestions are another post *grin* I need to wrap this up and head for bed.

If you haven’t already tried twitter then Master K didn’t pimp it hard enough the first time around *chuckle* I’d hope I do better, just be warned; It’s addictive.

Twitterati

I really need my mind to kick into fully functioning mode so I can update wordpress, add all the little widgets I’ve had my eye on – and more importantly.. Get my twitterbox up and running.
I can’t believe I’m admitting this but I think I’m hooked on twitter.
It’s just random people spouting random crap about whatever they happen to be thinking as they sit at the keyboard – or not, and yet I keep going back for more. I have zero interest in what joe bloggs ate for lunch, or even on the dilemma of susie neutrals wardrobe choices.. But I can’t turn the damned thing off!

You can twitter from your phone for the cost of a normal text (well, in the uk that’s the cost anyhow) I know – I’ve set mine up to do just that, and last night it was a lifesaver I can assure you. Sat in some of the crappiest pubs on offer in Swinton (and trust me, there’s more than a few) that little text function proved to be a wonder. No need to bother my friends who were undoubtedly out living it up themselves (or sleeping, it was kinda late) I could just vent online, from my phone.

I love it.

You know what I love even more? By following the links posted by other twitters who have managed to catch my eye, I can procrastinate even more than normal.

Who needs blogexplosion when you can twitter eh?!

Cheers K, I loves ya buddy *grin*