Tag Archives: social networking

Help me name my new book about blogging!

Can you help me please? I need help naming my new book!

I’ve been working on a new book about blogging for a while now and I expect to finish it off next week – the main draft at least. The focus is on content marketing and how more CEOs than ever are blogging and appreciating that blogs and social media are a very important way of reaching out to their customers *and* the people who influence their customers.

I need to think of a title for the book so does anyone have any ideas? I was thinking of ideas like ‘Your boss – the blogger’ but I need something catchy and creative… all comments appreciated and if I do actually borrow an idea then I’ll make sure you get a credit in the book!

You can comment here on the blog or if you follow this link to my Facebook then feel free to comment there – thanks in advance!

4867847109_ca922b7a75_z

Farewell Tom: The End of an Era in Ealing

In May 2009 I had noticed that quite a few of my virtual Twitter friends seemed to be living or working quite close to me in Ealing, west London. This was not as strange as it might seem, there were a lot of media people in the area with the BBC and Sky close by plus quite a few advertising and PR firms in the area.

But I still found it intriguing so I tweeted a message suggesting that any other Twitter users from the area come and join me in the Rose and Crown pub on a Friday evening. And so on Friday May 29th 2009, the Ealing Tweeting – better known as #ealingtu – was born.

If you Google “Ealing Tweetup” now, it gets mentioned around 8,000 times. That’s because it grew into a regular gathering of people in west London with an interest in social media up to the point that when I left the UK, the last tweetup I managed to attend had about 250 people attending, a couple of live bands playing and free drinks from the bar!

Ealing Tweetup - July 8 2010

On that first occasion in May 2009, there was no sponsorship or free drinks or live music. However, there was around a dozen people who randomly came together to have a chat with some strangers just because of a tweet. And the nice thing was that they were not all from the media or PR or advertising businesses.

There were local politicians, teachers, journalists, photographers, actors, charity workers, and business consultants. It was a real mix of professions and everyone was drawn together because of where they lived and the use of Twitter.

The event was never formal or organised. Sometimes people complained that they wanted it to be more structured, with name badges and a list of attendees, but I never really saw it that way. Even when I convinced some companies to shell out so we could have free drinks, what they got for their money was very much up to them.

If you had a pub full of bloggers then what would you do? I think the very last thing would be a hard sell on your products or asking people to tweet in return for a pint. The companies who supported the event could see the value in it and the event has persisted.

I left and moved to Brazil, but Hayden Sutherland took over as organiser, and when Hayden moved to Glasgow, Michael Greer took over and he continues to organise regular tweetups.

I have managed to attend a couple of tweetups since I left London, but it’s clearly not easy being a very long flight away – they need to coincide with one of my business trips back to London. And so unfortunately I am going to miss the next one on February 26th.

This one will be special because Tom Tucker – the boss at the Rose and Crown – supported the idea from the start and he helped it to grow and now he is leaving the Rose. He promoted the events when many customers would ask what on earth a tweetup is all about and he had the good fortune to see it grow and become one of the biggest social media gatherings in London – right there in his pub.

Tom is off to a new challenge in Brighton, but the next tweetup is going to be themed as his leaving party so if you are in London I urge you, go along and see what it’s all about. It is possible to have a social media gathering that is not dominated by people talking about sentiment analysis and how their client reacted to a negative tweet. This is normal people who use social media getting together to have a chat about how it works in their life.

You can sign up for the next Ealing Tweetup here. As always, it is free – just bring some good conversation.

Tweetup

Help! My boss just asked me to start using Twitter at work!

What do you say to the boss?

This is becoming more and more common. In the early days of social networks, most companies banned them at work. They were seen as a frivolous waste of time, but now many companies are actively asking their employees to use personal social networks to promote the company.

But what if you are not already using Twitter and this is all new… check out this short primer I wrote earlier today as a very basic guide to what you should do next.

Common Sense in Egypt

In ‘Common Sense’ his (anonymously published) pamphlet on the creation of government and society, Thomas Paine described how a ramshackle group of people might form a government:

“Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the branches of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters. It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of Regulations, and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. In this first parliament every man, by natural right will have a seat.”

Paine published this in 1776, in the midst of the American revolution. It aimed to remind the American people of the kind of government they should be creating – representative and democratic – with every voice heard. An organisation that remembers it is representative of the people, and not that the people are subjagated by it.

Governments today are often not like this. Politicians are power-hungry and fly around the world in private jets, enjoy limousines to ferry them from one meeting to the next, and far from representing the people of their country, they often become an untouchable elite answerable only to themselves.

Not every politician is like this. It still pleases me to see political representatives in ‘normal’ situations, such as on the bus or underground. I met (until recently shadow chancellor) Alan Johnson on the tube once and he explained to me that it is the best way to get around London. This is the kind of pragmatic ‘normal’ behaviour that keeps elected officials closer to the people they are supposed to represent.

But away from England and America, there are far more despotic regimes where leaders suck wealth from their people and enjoy a life most can only dream of. Often the people on the streets don’t even get a real chance to elect or choose those leaders, and if they do get an election, it’s rigged anyway.

Revolution has been the historic answer, sweeping away a corrupt regime and introducing a fairer society. However revolution is hard to control and even harder to create – it doesn’t just happen because people are fed up.

But look at what is now happening in north Africa. The people of Tunisia rose up and removed their corrupt government. It’s overstating the power of the Internet to suggest that this was a social media revolution, but the fact is that 1 in 5 Tunisians is on Facebook – and this was a major contributory factor in spreading the news of the initial suicide that sparked the protests.

The Tunisian leaders failed to block the Internet in time. Egypt has seen protests all week now and the protestors have used the Internet (#j25) to promote the idea of a mass protest by the entire nation today after prayers. The police chiefs have already warned the government that if the protesting crowds swell to anything greater than 70,000 people then the police will be overwhelmed and can offer the government no protection.

Naturally, the government has banned access to the Internet.

Whatever happens today in Egypt, revolution or not, it will be reported on and spread throughout the world. A light will spark in the mind of every person dissatisfied with the way their leaders fail to represent the people – especially those leaders who sit in power for decades, only to hand the riches of office to their own children. Since when could a government leader believe that they own the right to hand power to their child? It’s surprising just how many leaders still behave this way.

Not for much longer.

Julian Assange may have been vilified by the USA for his Wikileaks website, but what he showed the world is that any government – even one that proclaims to be democratic – needs to answer to the people who elected them.

And the Internet is now handing power, and freedom, back to the people.
Big Ben in front of the sun

My wedding, on the BBC…

BBC Technology Editor, Rory Cellan-Jones, is launching his new series on Radio 4 today. Titled ‘The Secret History of Social Networking’ it is a three-part documentary exploring the origins of social networking, going back to the 1970s.

The programme starts with my wedding to Angelica, and there is a trailer film on the BBC website today promoting the radio show and featuring several minutes of film from our wedding day!

Click here to watch the film

BBC Radio 4: The Secret History of Social Networking

BBC Technology editor, Rory Cellan-Jones, is launching a new radio series on BBC radio 4 on January 26th titled ‘The Secret History of Social Networking.’ It’s a view on how far social networks have come, where they came from, and where they might head to in future.

What is particularly interesting for me is that my wedding in Ealing on December 3rd last year features right at the start of the series, as an example of just how far things have come… I used Facebook to invite guests to the wedding and communicate the agenda for the day.
Angelica-and-Mark-wedding_DSC4104

Facebook was useful because almost all my family and friends are on there. It’s true, there are some Facebook refuseniks and I had to update them by text message, and some partners of friends are not always on my friend list, but on the whole I managed to update everyone using a Facebook event.
Facebook wedding invitation

It was an amazing day and I’m fortunate enough to have arranged a repeat of the day out in São Paulo soon. The BBC radio crew filmed a large section of my wedding in London for use in website trailers for the radio programme, so I’m going to edit together footage from their video and arrange my Brazilian wedding inside an old city centre cinema. We can watch some of the London footage and repeat the ceremony in front of a cinema audience before getting an old London Routemaster bus to transport us across the city to a restaurant for a bit of a post-second-wedding-party…

I’m looking forward to hearing Rory’s programme, though we had consumed a fair amount of Champagne by the time he started recording questions so if any of it sounds slurred then please forgive me – he should have recorded the speech parts early in the morning!
Mark and Angelica-5017

Book review: Facebook Marketing for Dummies

The `for dummies’ franchise has covered just about every topic under the sun, including information technology, so it’s no surprise to see a new title focused on how companies can get the best out of Facebook.

Facebook has grown into the dominant global social network over the past few years with over 400m active users, so I read this book with some trepidation about which level of user it would aim to inform. As an experienced Facebook user with experience of online promotions and campaigns, I was interested in seeing what it could offer.

However, the first 52 pages of the book are consumed with a step-by-step guide to Facebook, without any focus on the specifics of using online marketing tools. Then the book focuses the next one hundred or so pages on creating pages, groups, and events.

Only in the latter third of the book does it begin to explore the use of applications and viral marketing, which is a shame, because there is an important tale to tell for companies who really want to reach out to consumers online.

Facebook is a constantly evolving environment so the book should have steered clear of screen shots and detailed guidance on menu options – who can say whether those menus will look the same next week, let alone in a couple of years? This book will have dated by summer 2010.

A book is not the natural medium for guidance on how to use a social network. The authors should have abstracted away from the nuts and bolts of Facebook and focused more on the challenges of marketing using any social network. This may not have given the book a typical `for dummies’ approach, but it would make it more useful for marketing professionals.

The book assumes the reader is still considering whether to sign up and use a social network. Educated marketing professionals are not browsing bookstores looking for guides that will give them a reason to get online. They are already online, already using Facebook, and already familiar with all the tools described in at least the first 200 pages of this book. This is 2010 – not 2006. Over 100m mobile devices connect to Facebook every single day…

File this one under doorstop.