Thursday, 31 March 2011

A world of information in 140 characters

A world of Information in 140 characters can only mean one thing - TWITTER!!  I joined a company back in 2009 and was responsible for their social media strategy, or so I thought.

"Lets use twitter" says I,
"Lets not" says them
"Its a way of developing a following and interacting with our customers" says I
"Its a load of rubbish" says them.

In the end, I won a hollow victory but they would not tweet effectively.  To be of use, twitter, like a blog needs to be used regularly and be relevant.

Twitter needs to get over the stigma of personal tweets, "Just got up, feeling crabby", "Just eaten an egg!" even from celebrities, its hard to justify anyone wanting to be interested in this stuff.

However, many companies are building there business on twitter and their relationship with customers.  Part of the reason is that twitter is more than 140 characters.  The 140 characters can be used as an appetizer to something bigger more useful, that has an infinite number of characters.  The attachment facility of twitter creates the communication power that twitter is.

Companies use twitter to direct their customers to their websites, deliver special offers, communicate customer service records, build communities.

A community driven website that appeals to me is "Make it and Mend it" which is the brain child of four women – Clare Flynn, Clare O’Brien, Hilary Bruffell and Anne Caborn. The aim is to grow a community keen to share ideas and inspiration and which empowers everyone to re-use more and throw away less.  This coven of commercially astute women have used the full gamut of social media channels including twitter @makeitandmendit, to build their community.  In this throwaway community that contradicts its self with concerns about the environment and conservation, MIAMI hits the mark for many housewives and quite a few of their husbands too.

However, focusing on the twitter aspect of MAMI, this has been used strategically and effectively to build up   the audience and at the same time has been beneficial to other businesses that support the ethos of reuseability and recycling such as Lucy Robert who makes some weird and wonderful home craft items.

Twitter has built up businesses greater than MAMI and is a useful communication tool that can be as powerful as to build a multi million pound business or as useless as telling every one about your breakfast.

Know more about the power of the tweet, now go and open up your own account at and follow me @kappacino, MAMI @makeitandmendit, search what interests you and follow twitterers who interest you. Visit and become a member.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Top Tips or 30 day Blogging challenge!! day 2

Being part of the Nikki Pilkington 30 day blogging challenge sets its own challenges, over and above achieving a daily post that is not just gibberish to fulfill an obligation. Its great that we have broad topics to write on each day and today is "Top Tips", but what if we are not going to be around a pc or lap top during the day to despatch something?  There is a common misconception that those people that do not have a laptop in tow have dumped it for a Ipad.  For me the only Ipad that I have is worn by pirates.

That said many of us are in possession of a smart phone, yes you know one of those things with over sensitive key pads and battery lives that challenge the mortality of an adult mayfly.  So if while you are away from the pc or laptop and you are on the 30 day challenge or you blog and are likely to be inspired to write, as some authors often are, and you have a smart phone. My first tip is as follows:-

1. Set up your potable electronic communications tool to be able to send a posting directly to your blog.

This leads directly to tip two, read your draft before you post.  Or if you have little fat fingers like me, your blog may be full of typos or even worse silly embarrassing errors, maybe not as bad as some that appear on Damn You Auto Correct but you never know.

2. Check you have written what you wanted to write before you send it to your blog.

Tip 3 is an obvious one if you are a suck up like me.  I met Nikki a few months ago and had a a nice cosy lunch with her, along with 30 - 40 others.  Any way, sitting next to her, her knowledge of the cyber world interested me. I followed her on twitter and recently paid more attention to her posts following a "Power" altercation she was having.  Then I saw the 30 day challenge.  I do have a less serious blog than this is intended to be, but have struggled to get the right feel and tone to start this one off.  So Nikki has given me a get this going.  My third tip is follow Nikki and her website.

3. Follow @NikkiPilkington and monitor Nikki Pilkington.

My fourth tip is for people that just want to put their thoughts out there for themselves and are looking for the satisfaction of their own writing not promoting a business or cause or themselves.  Don't worry about the numbers of people that are coming to your blog.  If it interests you then there will be others that are interested too, you are unique, but you are not.  write what you want to write, not what you think others want to hear.

4. Write what you want to write not what you think others want to hear.  There will always be others that want to hear what you want to say.

If you are writing for yourself, just remember that whatever you put on your blog goes out into the cybersphere, so if you don't want it read by others, don't blog it.

5. Only Blog what you are happy others reading or at least be aware of the consequences. Abby Lee never expected to be exposed as Zoe Margolis and her parents to hear about her sexual desires and fantasies, but she was and they did.

The first five tips are my tips and come from me, the remaining are generic, so you may wish to end your reading here, but before you do, given my serious blogging innocence, Why not leave me a comment and let me know how |I am doing so far?

So you have decided to read on thanks.

Point six is about frequency.  One a day for thirty days maybe a bit over the top for normal life but not for a challenge, but if you leave it too long between posts then people won't return and you know you have something to share so share it.  some people do suggest a daily blog and they may be right for some but for others weekly or fortnightly maybe appropriate, as any marketeer will tell you, do what is appropriate for your audience or resource.

6. Blog frequently, without over kill.

Point Seven add a level of originality to your post, there is no point reading your blog if it is a rehash of something else inn the public domain.  People will read your blog because it is interesting, it won't be interesting if what you have said is already in the public domain.

7. Have something to say, don't just repeat from elsewhere.

Point eight is about having something that you want people to hear.  if you are in the category of bloggers that blog for them selves and do not care if they have even one visitor thats fine, but most of us want to be heard and want our writing to be read, so make sure that you communicate your blog through different channels.  Use buttons on your site to communicate, make it easy for your reader to find yuo encouragce readers to set up feeds and follows.

8. Communicate your blog.

And that is day two of Nikkis 30 day blog challenge, i hope you have enjoyed the read and I have communicated some wisdom. Please leave a comment and why not follow me to see how things progress.

Tomorrow I am away from the pc and the lap top, so lets see how smart phones work for bloggers.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Free to march or Free to riot

This weekend has seen another protest against the draconian cuts that we are all facing from the coalition government.  Once again despite the best intentions of the authorities the march failed to peter out, but again exploded into a running battle between the extremist wing of the protesters and the police.

During the second protest I watched transfixed to Sky and BBC 24 hour news, watching events unfold, buildings attacked, pop star children swinging on memorials and police snatch squads marauding and grabbing.  This weekend, I flicked occasionally.  Can it be so quickly with so many events around the world being brought to my living room (and sometimes bed) that I am very quickly anaesthetised to repeated events?  Has the Libyan war and the Japan natural disaster taken over from our very own troubles?  It is difficult to know.

What I do know is that the message that the march was trying to communicate is in danger of failing to be heard. A peaceful and some say joyous march seemed to be effective to deliver the message to the people of the country and the media had a story, but "the hangers on", those that are looking to change our society, have different ideas.  The cuts are not an issue for them, the cuts are a "god send" they provide the cover and the vehicle with which to communicate their message "ANARCHY IN THE UK".  The unfairness and divisiveness of the policies  of the ConDems are subjugated to the coverage of kettles and anger and hate and madness on our streets at night.

What is the answer?  I don't know!  Do we ban marches?  Take away our democratic rights to protest?  To be honest this is slowly being done anyway, as there are more and more restrictions on our right to protest.  Do we increase Police powers, which may only go to fuel further the aggression of the crowd - the police are no innocents in this?

I don't know the answer, I do know that there is an injustice being done in this country, where the poor are being attacked and the rich are being nurtured and the message is being muted.

I don't know the answer, but I do know that the message needs to be heard !!!!