Tweeting during a keynote – does it really help you to learn?

At many large conferences whilst speakers are presenting their material, members of the audience will share quotes, take live pictures and generally report exactly what is happening to a wider audience. This works as it allows those not able to make the event to still gain value and keep up to speed.

The issue that’s a little more murky is not so much the reporting, but talking around the content whilst it is still actually being delivered.

If you are listening to a presentation, do you think you are able to absorb everything the speaker is trying to express if you are talking about something they covered a few minutes before?

The old school scenario of a speaker delivering as much value as possible during their time-slot, whilst the audience sit and wait for their opportunity to have a conversation around it afterwards is changing. Technology has a lot to do with that.

Taking part in conversations requires thought and attention – during a keynote, should 100% of this be given to the stage?

Some may say:

  • It is the speaker’s responsibility to hold your attention
  • You can learn as much from the conversations as from the keynote
  • Taking part in conversations helps the whole learning process

I am no angel – I have sat in an audience, taken part in the dedicated online conversation, looked up and realised I had missed a key point. It annoyed the hell out of me. How about you?

Are you able to learn from a speaker by listening and talking at the same time?
Does tweeting during a keynote really help you to learn?
Do you think the model is changing for the better or the worse?

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My #Likeminds learning points

Yesterday, I attended a conference that looked at the role of creativity and curation in a world influenced by the ever-changing media environment. Likeminds aimed to provide a learning experience, so that partipants could gain maximum value from the two day event and walk away better equiped to make practical decisions.

I’ve very quickly jotted down some things that I learnt. Some may be useful, some may seem random, but here they are anyway:

  • Spamming the Likeminds hashtag is a silly idea.
  • The gap in awareness, understanding and use of relevant tools needed to curate online content is absolutely massive amongst businesses and internet users.
  • Joanne Jacobs gave businesses social media advice with exactly what they needed to hear – bluntness (is this a word?), relevance and honesty.
  • There is more money in the music industry than many lead us to believe.
  • Apparently, I look like Chris Carey. Three people said hello to me, thinking I was Chris.
  • Staring in to someone’s eyes is uncomfortable for most people. Not all.
  • Immediately after this exercise, one group attempted to stay ‘present’ with Karen Brooks, whilst the other returned to their technology.
  • The #21days challenge was mentioned in the Likeminds Magazine and as part of various conversations.
  • The Big Society could bring some exciting entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Andrew Dubber looks for answers, rather than just posing questions.
  • Many of us dislike having ‘real conversations’ whilst consuming live media, but still participate in ‘silent online conversations’ at the same time anyway.
  • Sometimes you don’t know that you know something, or even have an opinion on something, until you start talking about it in the first place. People-to-people sessions encouraged these moments.
  • The people-to-people model of the previous Likeminds event was retained well, with learning built on top.
  • Whether you agree or disagree with Robin Wight’s content, the man has clearly mastered his craft.
  • The future is social. Well, it should be.

Those are just my quick thoughts about what I’ve learnt. A few could possibly be expanded, discussed and turned into individual posts themselves. Likeminds always seems to tackle some pretty hefty issues, but after all the post-event thinking and talking that there is bound to be…

Do you think many partipants will make decisions based on what they have learnt?
Did you share some of the same learning points as me?
Do you disagree with any of the points I have made?

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Should Facebook friends be made aware of your wall privacy settings?

Yesterday I made the following status update that was available for ‘everyone’.

As you can see, friends made comments on this status. Their views were then available for the world to see.

This is the key question that is crossing my mind; should I be telling my friends that they are making public comments?

There are a whole host of related issues such as:

  • Facebook’s responsibility to make privacy issues clearer
  • The public’s understanding of what truly is private in the realms of cyberspace
  • The differences in usage and deemed ‘correct practice’ between friends and social circles
  • The ‘control’ a Facebook user can hold due to misunderstanding between users, or differences in Facebook knowledge

Another example would be if I were to make my friends’ wall posts visible to everyone. Wall posts can be changed from private to public like the flick of a switch. The same questions apply, so it would be great to hear your views on the following:

Do you think it’s the responsibility of a user to make their friends aware that comments will be public?
Do you think there are any other related issues not mentioned above?
Which 80’s rock/pop star should I dress up as?

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Commenting on blogs and those who make time

10 months ago I decided that through blogging I would share some views and opinions on social media and marketing. I made a plea: “Without you, there is no blog. Please get as involved as you like and leave comments”. This is my time to say thank you to those that did!

Taking the time to leave comments on other people’s blogs and take part in conversations is a big thing. Everyone has work commitments, home commitments and a barrage of content being thrown in their direction. Any blogger should be extremely grateful when someone spends THIER time leaving a comment.

To try and give something back, I’ve provided a list of those who have left comments and the areas they have shown an interest in. Why don’t you find some areas you’re interested in and get chatting to them? They have shown that they will make the time to talk.

Plus, meeting new people, exchanging views and learning from each another is what makes social media so fun, don’t you think?

Have a look below:

Social media addiction
Ann Holman
Jed Langdon
Dale Moore

Copywriting and corporate blogging
Maria Gandara
Andrew Knowles
Patrick Smith
Kimo Linkama
Sam Deeks
Sue Windley
Alastair Banks
Dale Moore
Jason Stanley

The Likeminds Conference
Joanne Jacobs
Ann Holman
Trey Pennington
Jonathan Alder
Colin Winstanley
Scott Gould

Sales techniques, assumptions and ethics
Sara Lancaster
Sue Windley
Dale Moore
Jed Langdon

Plymouth Twestival charity event
Jed Langdon

Sharing product experiences
Nicola Walder
Alastair Banks
Jason Stanley
Ann Holman
Jed Langdon

The role of negativity
Jed Langdon
Ash Mashhadi

Making your customers feel special
Ann Holman
Stan Phelps
Ash Mashhadi
Jed Langdon

Trusting a business
Marc Accetta
Ann Holman

Motivation and wanting change
Jed Langdon
Shannon Boudjema
Lorena Heletea
Paul Klaszus
Alastair Banks

Online privacy and researching clients
Ash Mashhadi

Annoying television adverts
Martin Haworth
Jed Langdon

Claire Bryden
Alastair Banks
Ash Mashhadi
Sue Windley
Jason Stanley

Sharing work online – students and ex-students
Lauren Gray
Jason Stanley
Claire Bryden

Social media service providers (Devon, Cornwall and Somerset)
Alastair Banks
Scott Gould
Claire Marshall

Guest Interview with Chris Hall of Cow Bell
Carol Verity

The 21 Days Challenge – achieving change by changing habits
Brock Patterson
Megan Crump
Jon Anderson
Cindy Osburn
Katy Creates
Annabel Hebb
Chris Maslen
Julian Summerhayes
Rachael Dolton
Ann Holman
Lee White
Rob Glover
Ian Creek
Dale Moore

Shannon Boudjema
Jed Langdon
Shayna Joynes
Jason Stanley
Chris Penberthy
Miriam S
Alastair Banks
Olivia Landolt
Alison Hernandez
Claire Marshall
Joi Murugavell

Christopher Manning
Heather Smalldon

Ash Mashadi
Jonathan Alder
Jack Russell
Sue Windley

Scott Gould

By connecting with those in the lists above, there could be plenty of opportunities just around the corner. Here’s hoping…

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Students and ex-students: Why not share your work online?

If you’ve produced a piece of work that you’re proud of and you think is still valuable, then why are you not sharing it online with others? Some of the benefits include:

  • Displaying expertise
  • Improving credability
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Engaging with people who share similar interests
  • Developing thoughts and discussions with others

Here are some of the free websites you can use (yes, there are many more)

  • For reports and essays, you can share using Scribd
  • For presentations and seminars, you can share using SlideShare
  • For images and photos, you can share using Flickr
  • For videos and short films, you can share using YouTube
  • For music and tracks, you can share using Spotify

After this, it’s up to you to decide how much effort you put into allowing other people to discover it. There are tons of marketing methods to consider. The first step is getting it online though.

If your college or university prohibits you from doing this or if there are other confidentiality rules in place, then best not to take my advice. If not though, then why are you not taking advantage of the benefits?

Do you share your past or current work online?
What other benefits do you think there are?

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Shopping behaviour, motivations and typologies

It recently occurred to me that there are a few pieces of work I’ve completed in the past which might be of use to others. Why should I keep these hidden away when I could be sharing them online?!

If you are interested in shopping behaviour, motivations and typologies, here is a literature review I carried out in 2008.

Shopping Behaviour, Motivations and Typologies – Literature Review

If you found this useful, or if you’re interested in any of the areas covered in the review, please leave a comment below. Shopping behaviour is a fascinating subject to talk about.

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A guest interview with Chris Hall

Chris

I’ll admit it. My main Twitter feed can be hard to keep up with, but in a good way. It’s full of interesting people sharing great content and having good conversations, but even so, standing out amongst all that noise is difficult. Chris Hall seems to be a constant presence though, discussing all things social media, constantly sharing good links and making an effort to connect  to people.

Chris, owner of the social media agency Cow Bell, has kindly agreed to answer a few quick questions. If you’re interested in social media, marketing, communications or just being sociable, read on:

How on earth do you manage to find and share so much content?

It’s a matter of experience and knowing where to look. I have over 20 years background across PR and on & offline marketing. A lot of what I share is based around the contacts and knowledge I’ve built up across that time. It’s important for new people to the social media sphere to look at the content others are sending out and ensure they’re use similar information resources. I still add new information providers every week. RSS and email deliver it all to me.

You always seem to be talking with people online. Does this leave less time to do the day job?

To be fair this has been a matter of trial and error. Many of us have realised that we’ve spent far too much time talking across the social networks. I’ve managed to find a happy balance between ensuring that the paid for work is delivered and keep in touch across the streams.

Along with many I check in early to Twitter & Facebook. I then handle any emails I need to deal with. Complete one or two tasks from my ‘to do list’ and dip back into a little social networking. This pattern is consistent across the day. I guess instead of walking to the water cooler or chatting with colleagues I’m on Twitter etc.

Remember much of my business is based around working with clients across the networks so it’s actually part of my paid for day too. New clients also come from relationships I form within Twitter especially. This is why my tweets revolve around getting people to think about what they want from social media and how they use it.

Your company aims to help clients “develop an environment where you are at the very centre of where your current & prospective customers live – on & offline”. For what type of businesses is this extremely difficult?

It’s fair to say that it’s extremely dificult and at the same time perfect for the same type of businesses, that’s generally business to business organisations with a real niche market. It’s difficult because the size of the audience can be tiny, but given time and the ability to listen, find, engage and know that audience then conversion and relationships are formed.

It’s really about how much time a company is prepared to put into it. It’s easy to find relationships for Coca Cola, as most people know it and drink it; much harder for John Brown Hand Dryers (an example, not real) in Bristol.

What advantages do small businesses hold over large businesses in the online communications arena?

The speed they can move at!

Decisions about what , where, how, why etc are much quicker for the SME’s, as are approval of change or reaction to the need for a new direction. I compare it to boats. The speed boat can choose a new destination and turn quickly, the oil tanker will be much slower.

Do you think a lack of understanding about online etiquette and best practice can cause newcomers to social media to find it difficult to make connections?

It’s the responsibility of those already there to make newcomers welcome. Newcomers are often intimidated & ‘attacked’ by some of the established faces. We’ve all made mistakes, and we’ll continue to do so. It’s an important point, but there are no social media gods or a ruling body. How can there be when its a medium that’s so new & in its early stages. We’re all early adopters at the moment.

The actual usage of twitter is minimal across the country. Facebook has high numbers but as a business tool it’s in its infancy.

Which companies have you seen online that have been successful with a 100% “push marketing” strategy?

Most businesses are now online but the successful ones, who get direct results, include Burger King with its Facebook campaign; King of Shaves has used the online environment brilliantly and with it had an excellent uptake on product.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to use social media as a tool for personal branding?

Everyone using social media is their own personal brand. You are I are examples. We’re being ourselves with our status updates, Linked In comments and tweets but we’re portraying an image of ourselves to our friends and business associates both new & old.

Our digital footprints are being updated by the hour even if we’re not in social networks Google knows more about you than most imagine so my advice is my yourself and as you are in real life which includes happy, sad, fun, serious, knowledgeable, inquisitive but also careful, sensible and be wary of anything that may cause a problem.

Online technologies and popular platforms seem to be developing at a rapid rate, to suit the preferences of the user. Is there still a danger though that it is going to be hard to keep up with these developments, and the ways they can be best used for business?

Yes, that’s very possible. The truth though is the same thing has been happening for a hundred years. When the television was invented it began with one channel, growing to 3 for a long period of time but now we have access to over 300 channels and we consume information at a vast rate. We wouldn’t of imagined we’d be able to keep up with TV the way we do but it’s quickly part of our daily lives.

Social media is the same. Generation Y will take social media into business with ease and also take it to places we can’t even imagine. It’s up to us to keep up.

Do you think being able to communicate effectively online will be a key skill in the future, taught in educational establishments?

Absolutely –  in almost all cases.

Which UK “social media events” should readers of this blog consider attending if they want to build real connections and gain a deeper understanding of developments in the industry?

1. media140. A social media community helping organisations understand the potential of social technologies. It’s an organisation that is always looking to pioneer to make change for industry, audiences, brands and the bottom line. It does this through events, workshops, training, seminars and strategy guidance

2. Likeminds . For face to face contact with some of the UK’s leading social media professionals and commentators then this is the place. No egos just a collection of like-minded people who will share, collaborate and engage with each other. Highly recommended.

Which one piece of advice would you give to users of social media who wish to gain benefits from their time spent online?

Listen first, find your audience (personal or business), engage in conversation and never forget the reason you came in [set some goals]. Measurement of all this is crucial too.

Thanks very much Chris.

If you have a view on what Chris has said, or if you want to answer some of the questions yourself, please leave a comment below.

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A guest interview with Aren Grimshaw

Aren presenting

Something different this time and a first for my blog: a guest interview.

Over the past year, I’ve worked with Aren Grimshaw on a number of projects. These include Twestival, Social Media Cafes and the Social Media for your Business events, aimed at local SMEs. Aren consults businesses on the use of social media, is a public speaker and also organises events. It’s safe to say that he is a busy chap and has many fingers in many pies!

I consider Aren to be one of the most knowledgeable people I have come across when it comes to understanding social media and how businesses can implement it smoothly, so a big thank you to him for taking the time out to answer these 10 short questions:

Do you actually like the term social media?

The term itself poses no problem to me, it’s all the hype and furore that is built up around it, that often bothers me. I think what is happening in the wider social context, heavily affected by what we term ‘social media’, is far more interesting and has a deeper impact on businesses.

Many hold the view that there is a seismic shift in the way organisations are having to re-think their communications. Do you share this view about the size of the shift?

Absolutely, we are seeing an ever more cynical and wiser consumer, open-access to huge databases of information over the web and the ability to add our own voice to the mass – how can that be seen as anything more than a seismic shift? Companies who continue to push outdated models of ‘broadcast, broadcast, broadcast’ onto consumers need to face up to the fact that many consumers just aren’t paying attention to their messages anymore.

What would you consider to be the biggest misconception amongst SME owners who are thinking about using social media?

That it’s all about Facebook, Twitter… well in fact any technical platform. They are just tools that can be used to help build relationships with consumers. In the same way a sales person can pick up a telephone and make a sale, or upset a customer, these tools are no different. We all need to take time to learn what works and keep adjusting our approach to match what achieves results. Unfortunately, a lot of the advice out there is focused too heavily on teaching people how to use the tools leaving the wider context and communications aspect out of it.

Will geo-tagging really be useful for businesses that operate in a rural environment?

Who knows, it’s still too early to tell. Is it fun? Yes. Is there a model for businesses to get something out of it too? Yes. Will consumers adopt geo-tagging in a big way? It remains to be seen. As long as the applications and devices are simple to use, and most importantly the consumer receives some reward (mentally or financially) for their participation I expect so.

Other than those you have worked with, what companies have recently impressed you with their social media activity?

Have you come across Fetish on Facebook? They have really impressed me with the content they share each day. When you find a Page that updates you with content that you just have to share with your friends, you’re on to a winner. (In my opinion anyway).

With so much content being created and shared online, what key things can companies do to try and stand out?

Don’t try standing out, that’s what everyone else is trying to do. Try giving your customer what they need instead; a better service with the information they want, when they want it. Don’t tell them how good you are – prove it in everything you do.

If you could give one piece of advice to a Twitter newbie, what would it be?

Don’t try too hard. Listen first. Make friends. Be good to others. (That’s four I know!)

Facebook now has 500 million users. What is the biggest factor to their success?

It’s always difficult to tell what makes one site so successful over another. Very often I think it’s to do with so many factors, such as timing, trends in the market, the technology available etc.

However, if I had to say, I think it’s the range of uses and the value it brings to all ages and walks of life that underpins its success. A grandparent seeking to keep in touch with their grandson on the other side of the world, a small business communicating with their customers, or a teenager sharing pictures with their friends – each draws a different value from the same site, amazing really.

What are the best examples you have seen over the past year of online collaboration delivering real results?

I’m biased, but it has to be Twestival. It’s such a great example of people collaborating worldwide to deliver real results. Better style, the results can be felt around the world, and often by the people who need it the most.

Generation Y are supposed to IT-literate and at ease with changes to modern technology. Is there really a lack of understanding amongst Generation Y when it comes to online privacy?

Tragically, I concur with Eric Schmidt on this one, we face a generation of people who may need to change their names to hide their past. It is so easy to post a status update or image; however, we might think far more carefully if we were told exactly who would see them during the course of our life. My personal philosophy – don’t share anything on social networks that you wouldn’t be happy to shout out in the middle of a busy street.

Thanks Aren for taking the time to do this.

If you have any views on what Aren has said, or if you want to answer some of the questions yourself, please leave a comment below.

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Annoying television adverts. Do they influence your behaviour towards a brand?

We all come across them. Television adverts that annoy the hell out of us. You see the opening shot or hear the theme tune start and you are instantly reaching for the remote before you have to put yourself through the pain all over again. The first three that come to mind when it comes to annoying televisions adverts are:

I have come across a few people who have said they will refuse to visit these company’s websites or engage with them because they have found their adverts so annoying. Even if the company provides a solution to their problem, they will not go there. Seems a bit extreme but it is happening.

The argument from the marketing department may be that their brand awareness has increased because their adverts are so memorable, and that the additional sales generated from this increased awareness outweighs the lost sales in lost customers.

The argument from the customer’s point of view is that their experience and feeling towards the brand is so negative and annoying that they do not wish to engage at all. This will not only have an impact on short term sales but also long term.

The bottom line sales figure will answer the short term question, but in the long term gaining  a large number of brand advocates (if that’s what these companies really want) may be put at risk with this style of advertising.

So, over to you:

Which television adverts really annoy you?

Have they affected your behaviour towards the brand?

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You’ve got a friend in me

Caution: If you’re intending on watching Toy Story 3 and don’t want to hear how the films ends, it is probably best not to read on!

The ending is brilliant. Andy, now all grown up, has to decide what he wants to do with the toys that had brought him joy and happiness as a child. What does he decide to do? He passes these toys onto another child and allows someone else to experience what he once did. The product truly lives on.

Creating an experience that sticks with the consumer is gold for the marketing man. Creating an experience that can continue to be shared and passed on is even better – it’s immeasurable.

Are there any products that have given you a fantastic experience, which you were then able to pass onto somebody else?

I would love to hear about them.

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