So I am coming to the end of my first week as a wearer of a hat and what a week it has been. A close friend has already decided to join the millinery renaissance and has purchased his very own hat from Bates. Another friend is almost certainly going to follow suit after we met for a beer on the South Bank and he got to fondle my ‘Indi’, and I also got to take the hat to the Olympic Stadium. But to kick off this post I’d like to talk about nerves.
I’m a huge believer in Twitter’s ability to be a force for good in this world, but I have not previously been impressed by some of the means in which this mantra has been publicised. As I have spoke about before – Can hope be delivered in 140 characters? – I still remain unconvinced by the official voice of Twitter, @Hope140, and was not expecting much from Claire’s book.
I was lucky enough to receive an early digital copy of ‘Twitter for Good’ and upon first reading was seriously unimpressed. I once again felt that here was some celebrity charlatan who was making money by simply telling people what time it was. Everything within the book seemed to me to be stating the blindingly obvious or telling you how something should be done and then suggesting that it doesn’t always have to be that way. This was everything that I disliked about the social media industry.
Part of my unwritten agreement upon receipt of the digital copy of the book was to post a review and I was struggling with my positivity. I didn’t want to be someone who writes snide, negative reviews to hopefully score points off the author yet I didn’t want to welch on the deal.
I decided to re-read the book, just to be sure.
It was during this second reading that I realised where the problem truly lay… it was within me. I was judging this book by the usefulness it had for me, but I have been doing this social stuff for a long time. I’m certainly not going to suggest that I am an expert or ‘guru’ and I know that I have always suffered from this delusion that everyone I meet knows exactly the same things that I do.
For me, the book was everything that swirls around inside my head, but what Claire has expertly done is to put these random thoughts and feelings into print. She has structured what was previously unstructured and provided those who are just starting out on their Twitter journey with a massive head start.
I’m still not 100% in agreement with everything that is suggested in the book, no surprise there, but would definitely feel confident suggesting it to a colleague or friend who is looking for help on how to start making Twitter work for them.
To end this rambling review I’d like to give you what I consider to be THE best advice for how to use Twitter. It comes from a book that was written 75 years ago and to my mind remains the archetypal instruction manual on Twitter and social networking:
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
3. Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in terms of the other man’s interest.
6. Make people feel important, and do it sincerely.
It’s fair to say that I haven’t been entirely enamored with Google in the past. At one point I likened them to the relentless consumers of civilisations from Star Trek, The BORG, with their desire to reduce everything to an algorithm. But after just a few days with Google+ it’s time to put the record straight.
G+ seem to come out of nowhere and establish itself as the place to be, certainly the majority of my network turned up within days. From the overly complicated and bloated WAVE, to the messy and noisy BUZZ, Google have clearly been slapped round the face and reminded of what made them great… Simplicity.
That’s not to say that G+ is basic, far from it. But the experience of using it feels intuitive, like something designed by Apple, and without thought you feel free to post quick Twitter like updates, pictures and links to cool shit à la Tumblr or monster Blog like rants. With Picasa and YouTube, Google now OWN the web.
For me Facebook began to wither and die when the brands and marketers turned up. Games and apps muddied the social experience, and a visit to Facebook quickly became more about dodging the sell than catching up with friends. I know that this special breed of scum will turn up in G+ soon, but luckily Google don’t need the money so it can (hopefully) be on there terms. A few adwords here and there don’t bother me in the slightest and when brand pages do turn up, I sincerely hope they look like this.
When I first played with G+ I thought that Twitter was safe and Facebook was history, but now I’m not sure anyone is safe. Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr have all been mashed together to produce one true social network, and with the layer of make-up provided by themes removed it has literally become all about the content shared. Kudos must go to Twitter for creating this real-time, short conversational mentality and to the king of social networks, Facebook, for bringing us all together in the first place. But playtime’s over kids, it’s time to let the grown-ups take control.
And so I finish by saying please accept my apology Google, I’m sorry I doubted you and this one’s for you…
Firstly I’d like to say thank you to everyone (some of whom I met today) who retweeted, liked and commented on yesterdays post. I’d also like to extend a special hello to Shirley Ayres, CEO of Aspire Knowledge and Conference Organiser, who caught me before I left today to exchange a few words*
So, day 2. Another sweaty trip to Waterloo, although I’m pretty sure I only lost a pint this time, and pleasant walk along the South Bank. No navigation issues today, but I was disappointed to have missed the bacon butties due to my inability to catch the early train.
I made my way to the tea and coffee room for some pre-conference fuel and was immediately pounced upon by the lovely Tamasine from the National Trust, who, unfortunately for her, was to become my sounding board throughout the entire day. We discussed yesterday’s sessions and our thoughts on social media generally as we made our way to today’s Welcome Address.
Today I found myself taking the sweat express to London Waterloo for day 1 of the Third Sector Digital Communications & Social Media Convention 2011.
After a pleasant walk down the South Bank to Blackfriar’s Bridge and a little bit of chaotic navigation I found my way to the Mermaid Conference Centre for the start of this two day exploration of the dark arts of social networking for the non-profit.
First impressions were good, I very quickly bumped into Rob Dyson from Whizzkids and we discussed how the event seemed very professional and grown-up. Today’s chair was veteran journalist and broadcaster Jon Snow, whose opening remarks were most entertaining. He ran the mornings proceedings at a swift pace and kept the discussions moving, albeit with a hint of cynicism, but as a HUGE fan of Twitter he gets my forgiveness.
So Larry has decided that the future of Google is most definitely in social, however I fear once again that the technically obsessed corporation that is Google have completely missed the point by promoting an engineer to SVP of Social.
This relentless desire to attack ‘problems’ and solve them with absolute logistical precision may have been ideal in the search game, but this is social media where SERENDIPITY RULES! Google are not alone though, as many others seek to eliminate the so called ‘noise’ of social.
I don’t usually write film reviews as I’m a huge believer in “see it and make up your own mind”, but after watching Zack Snyder’s latest visual feast on the ear-shattering, eye-filling 26 metre wide screen at London’s IMAX I felt compelled to put finger to keyboard.
After watching the trailers for Sucker Punch I was, as I’m sure most of you were, pant-wettingly excited about seeing it. Gun-toting, lingerie wearing hotties shooting Dragons from the back of a WW2 Bomber? Steampunk Nazi’s? Giant Samurai Warriors with gatling guns? This was the guy that brought us the amazing 300 and the previously considered unfilmable Watchmen, what could possibly go wrong?
So Facebook will soon be rolling out their new layout for Pages as well and on the face of it, everything looks good.
Design is much cleaner and feels more intuitive, the top row of photographs definitely give it a more visual appeal and, finally, as a Page admin you can travel forth and engage amongst the profiles of others and comment as the voice of the brand. Although as Spiderman mused, “With great power comes great responsibility”.
I can’t blame the papers, with the ever increasing number of citizen journalists who can provide the news faster and with less bias, any story has to be jumped on quick to ensure that they are seen to be relevant. Both however were keen to point out that it was the strong preponderance of Silicon Valley’s finest among its users that has led to Quora’s sudden success.