Category: Thoughts

Naturally the past 2 weeks has seen posts, articles, videos, 5 hour TV programmes and radio shows detailing the ‘Best of 2009’  and looking ahead to the possible highlights of 2010.

While I am undoubtedly biased, the majority of posts, particularly from those writing with a technology background, have noted the significance of social media.  Certainly social media has had an impact in terms of business practice, digital communication etc., however I can’t help but feel that it has been vitally important on a more basic level.

Watching the news over the festive season it was impossible to ignore events in Iran – despite the fact that all conventional journalistic methods had been blocked by the Iranian leadership.  Thanks to Twitter (amongst other vehicles) the people of Iran could publicise themselves, and as such I, sat in snowy Lincolnshire, was given visual access to events I would have previously been unable to see.

Of course there have always been ways in which information has been sent from events that were not ‘allowed’ to be seen – however it can certainly be argued that the mass popularity and availability of social media tools have given more people, of various technical abilities, the chance to show the world their news.

I spend a LOT of time explaining social media, and my role in it to people, and I feel that now I have a valuable example of its importance.  It’s not really about whether Ashton Kutcher can get get 1 million followers before Ted Turner et al, it’s not about breaking your life into 140 character pieces and its not about putting the pictures from your last birthday party online, although all of these examples are great in terms of entertainment. Instead its about the people of Iran sharing their lives with us, seeing the miracle of the US Airways plane landing safely in the Hudson practically live and witnessing my generation standing up for their opinions at the G20 protests – amongst many other examples.

For me, it’s about making the digital world available to the majority – for them to engage, educate and share their world with others.

1-to-1, face-to-face, mano-a-mano, tete-a-tete…business is always about conversation.  It may be that the arena in which these conversations changes as time passes, however the key element of communication remains.

I really see the benefit of attending events where I can meet colleagues, competitors, experts and potential clients in a convivial atmosphere where conversation can be open and fruitful.

However I would also accept that for the majority of people the standard format for events and conferences are not conducive to creating connections as they rely on people being sufficiently motivated to initiate conversation.

Luckily this issue is being accounted for in the set-up of events – not least in the fairly new ‘unconference’ format.  I was fortunate to participate in the recent Recruitment Unconference held in London and can not recommend this form of conference enough. (A follow up is planned for February).

An unconference presents subjects as tracks that are led by selected leaders..and to be honest this is as structured as it gets!  Each track is given a space, an estimated timeframe and a leader who is there to inspire and, in some cases, referee. As these are smaller groups, and participants have the freedom to move between tracks, questions and subsequent discussions are constant and on a more personal level.

Certainly from those people I spoke to the feedback regarding this format indicated great support for the model, as most attendees had come away with information that was not ‘one-size-fits-all’ but instead reflected answers to some of the questions they had arrived with.

However, it is not just about changing formats entirely – it seems to me that consultants are becoming aware that they need to provide a variety of options that suit businesses if they are to truly reach people.

Certaintly part of this is pricing – some events this year have been priced out of contention for many businesses not least in the climate in which we have found ourselves in 2009.  Added to this, it has been difficult for businesses to justify having members of their team out of the office, especially as the conventional events cannot guarantee sufficient return on this investment. As I look at those events already scheduled for 2010, I see some acknowledgement of these problems (even if it is a little late).

Consultants, such as those at EngageFirst, are creating a variety of formats for their events in January 2010 from casual networking events, one-to-one consultancy/company-focused workshops and larger scale presentations.  They have acknowledged the need to provide businesses with a more personalised, cost-efficient method to educate staff and provide opportunities for like-minded businesses to converse.

What are your experiences of conferences etc?  Have they been useful to your business??  Are they just talking-shops with no real effect?? Should businesses even consider them at this time of cutbacks and consolidation?

Comment below – am interested to hear your thoughts:)

While I am very aware of the benefits that Social Media brings to a marketing strategy – I think that looking into 2010, brands will have to see Social Media as a tool across the whole of their business.

In this regard, I was so pleased to see a national brand such as Telstra embrace the benefits, and acknowledge the limitations of social media in the workplace.

Companies could do a lot worse than take on the concepts that Telstra are advocating – while policies must be put in place regarding the safeguarding of brand reputation and information dissemination, seeing staff that are social media savvy as ambassadors for your company is vital, in my humble opinion.

I would love to hear opinions re the Telstra videos (the intro is below), the concept, and whether there are any elements you feel they are missing.  I am a fan – I even like that they have made the videos in a comic-book style, but without being patronising or cheesy – but am ready to be proved wrong, and happy to discuss:)

1) Top 10 Lists are published :)

That being said I really like this one – it balances informative data evidence with the fact that these lists are always subjective and personally/sector driven…

Must say though, there are no entries that I disagree with outright – would be interested to see what others feel.

Are there any stories you feel have been missed??

Top 10 Social Media Stories of 2009

A gift from Seth Godin

Also definitely worth checking out the resource list at the end of the presentation I uploaded by @ShannonBoudjema  that provides a ‘goal’ reading list for Christmas and 2010:)

Merry Christmas to all!

Many thanks to Shannon Boudjema (@ShannonBoudjema) for this great presentation that entertained and informed all attendees of Social Media Monday last night.

I was so impressed with the content I had to share it – unfortunately the passion of the Speaker doesn’t translate into HTML but trust me, Shannon is certainly a committed supporter of Social Media :) I am officially a fanatic!

I’ve talked to bloggers, both personally and professionally and they nearly always say that the first post is the hardest…I was sceptical as quite frankly, many of these people were NEVER lost for words…but you know what, they were right!

I think it’s like when you go into that exam that you are actually prepared for – it’s almost as if you have so much information that you can’t get it down on the page…I love to communicate: I tweet, I use Facebook, I comment on blogs, I email, I Skype and I IM…it seems I just have too much to say:)

So this blog is my ultimate communication device – a place to cover the things that interest/irritate/entertain me – hopefully without boring/offending/misrepresenting people.  It will cover my passions, an eclectic mix from the sublime to the ridiculous including social media, social recruiting, digital marketing, entertainment news, music, sports and quite frankly anything else that catches my eye.

I am a fan of debate and discussion so get involved:) I will do my best to provide fodder:)