Caught in a web of social media

Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

Missing the point about social media

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Firstly, thanks to everyone who posted this morning when I tweeted for recommendations for an electrician/gas person.

To those of you who tweeted links to directory services that show ‘recommended’ tradesmen, you miss the point. The flaw in such directories is that the ‘recommendations’ come from people I do not know or trust. Actually, if I’m being honest, I tend to assume that recommendations on such sites are at least 50% from ‘mates’ to improve the chances of their friends.

The joy of social media is that I can ask for recommendations and then judge them by the people giving me the information. A ‘recommendation directory’ has little more value to me than a phone directory (actually, the phone directory is useful to me because Google, my rabbit, likes ripping them apart).

So, next time someone asks for a recommendation, give a real one. Don’t try to promote your directory sites – that’s just not what social media is about.

It’s a trust thing.

Written by James

October 17th, 2011 at 10:15 am

Social Media, talks, training, Russia, Mongolia, Exeter and places in between

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It is too long since I was last here. In fact, so engulfed have I been doing things all over the place that I’ve only had time to move servers on this blog.

Mongolian Flag

Mongolian Flag by Nick Farnhill

Social Media around the country and beyond

I seem to have been doing things everywhere – at one point, it felt as if I was living on trains to or from London or around the south east. If I can have one slightly unconventional highlight, it will be seeing the Mongolian flag at the University of Hertfordshire where I was doing a talk on libraries using social media at CILIP’s annual conference, Umbrella. The flag was up because the University has a walkway above which is a flag for each different nationality student they have studying there at any particular time. How nice is that?

Anyway, Mongolia’s a stunning place with wonderful people – you should visit it. Seriously!

My only regret when going to Mongolia was that I was not able to spend more time in Russia during my stopover in Moscow. As it was, the stopover was only a few hours. I would have liked to have been there for days not hours!

Which links nicely to an interview that I did with Vitaly Alexandrov, a Russian journalist, when I was in London doing another talk. It is a long time since I have done an interview like Vitaly’s – which is a worry! Vitaly put me at ease far too easily and we talked for hours about social media and culture – the interview should be out soon – I hope I didn’t say anything too controversial!

Exeter’s where it’s at… and Birmingham

But I’m now back in Topsham ploughing through a mountain of things, working out plans for world domination, putting together proposals, working on websites, working on training courses, running social media campaigns, doing PR and more.

Then I’m speaking at LikeMinds in Exeter on 19-21 October and CILIP’s Marketing Excellence event in Birmingham on 11 November. Oh and there’s a course on Social Media for South West businesses to fit in on 4 November too.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. What about you?

Written by James

September 27th, 2011 at 11:43 am

Techtastic 2011? Please let it get better than Pushnote!

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Hasn’t it been an exciting few weeks in the land of tech?  First Quora hits a PR perfect storm despite being nothing more than a dreadfully self important Twitter wiki without the message length constraint (everybody wants to be first with something big because they missed Twitter – folks, Quora isn’t it!!) and now Twitter Lord, Stephen Fry, launches Pushnote (a start-up he has invested in).

Pushnote is the latest in the deluge of disappointment which is engulfing the web.  Pishnote is described as an extra ‘layer’ on the web where you can leave comments.  And other Pishnote users can comment on your comments.  Imagine the possibilities! *yawn*

I could literally go on Twitter, bring up Pishnote and comment on someone’s Tweet and then someone could comment on my comment to the Tweet and then… oh, wait a minute, I could just do that on Twitter!  Ok, how about on Facebook, someone could leave a comment and I could leave a Pishnote comment… no, that doesn’t work, I could just do that on Facebook. How about a blog? Nope – you can do that either directly or with a dozen other tools.

One idea that has been touted about is to use it to comment on news stories – notwithstanding that news pages are often dynamic and, in any case, many have their own comment apps already.

Other ‘great’ things about Pishnote are that the Twitter integration is flakey and the comments do not thread or add themselves in any sort of logical order (unless you have a sufficiently bad case of OCD that you think that comments should be arranged in alphabetical order by the first letter of the commenter’s name – rather than say, in the order they are posted!).

Pishnote is bad. Let’s make no mistake about it.  Stephen Fry has put some money in it and he was due to launch it today (although that hasn’t happened by the looks of it) – so it is is getting a great reaction from people who are trying to ingratiate themselves with the lovely cuddly polymath.  But a few hundred people wittering about how clever Stephen Fry not only does him no favours, it also does not guarantee the success of something that is quite this awful.

Possibly on some level it was a good idea.  Let’s give it that.  But the reality is that it is awful – bad UI, bad browser integration, bad comment organisation, just bad.

…actually, it’s a bad idea too.

Google Buzz looks like the mutt’s nuts next to this.

Written by James

January 13th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I don’t want an iPad but it’s not going to fail

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This morning, I was pointed to an interesting article by John Battelle by the BBC’s equally interesting Rory Cellan-Jones.

The central premise of the article is that the iPad is doomed to failure for the same reason that AOL was doomed to failure – the walled garden approach makes the product weaker than its ‘full fat’ alternative. With the iPad, it’s main weaknesses are, according to Battelle, the lack of inbuilt development environment and the browser.

Interestingly (to me, at any rate), one of the reasons that I do not want an iPad is the lack of inbuilt development environment. Sure, I have a Mac and a PC and I could use one of them to code before uploading but I’d rather tinker with it directly. As for the browser, it would be great to be able to use something else but Safari is beyond competent and, in my opinion, Flash is very much yesterday’s technology. There is no argument that there is a lot of Flash out there on the web right now but there are also a lot of analogue CRT TVs out there now – the technology is there to rid us of the processor-sapping scurge of Flash and the technology is there to rid us of those massive TVs too – and both will happen very soon.

I also think that the iPad has other deficiencies – lack of a camera and a mic being just two of them. I’d also like to see a bundled SD/other memory card reader/writer and myriad other things. Also, I’d be happier if Apple weren’t stiffing the UK on the price – but I could overcome that as I know enough people who spend a lot of time in the States. They are just some of the reasons why I do not want an iPad.

The thing is, though, that neither John Battelle nor I are the target market. Well, we are in a way – we are sentient human beings – but beyond that, we are, if I may be so bold, a bit geeky, a bit techie.

The average target is a person who wants to sit on his or her sofa, with the TV on in the background, browsing the web, playing a game or sending emails. They’re probably not even tweeting – although I wouldn’t be surprised if the Facebook app is getting a bit of a workout.

It needs to offer fast, accurate browsing. It needs to have good battery life. It needs to look coolio.

The average user doesn’t care whether he or she can download a PC program or a Mac program – because if their mind, they have neither a PC nor a Mac in their hands, it’s an iPad. Maybe they understand that better than we do.

As techies, we get excited about things that normal people don’t – predominantly because, if you were to take a step back, you’d realise they’re not that exciting. Sure, it’s great that Windows 2035 has 12,000 new features but (a) do I need any of them and (b) do they work? The small jumps in processor speed that some upgrades announce are greeted with pseudo-orgasmic glee by some techs while most humans can barely raise an educated ‘meh’.

So, will the iPad fail? Not a chance. It’s a fab piece of kit that works out of the box. It looks incredible and it does what is says on the tin. Users have got so used to using substandard Microsoft (and other) software and hardware that holding a piece of hardware that does what it is meant to, despite that being less than a ‘real’ computer would do, is a blessing. It has all the convenience of VHS with the enhanced quality of Betamax (I throw that one in for the older readers – younger readers, remember, Wikipedia is your friend!).

And for us geeks? Why will we get one? Simple! It is a closed environment. Sounds like a challenge to me…

Written by Socialholic

June 1st, 2010 at 10:22 am

Twitter Basics for Business

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Written by Socialholic

April 10th, 2010 at 9:10 pm