Social Networking Blog

Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Music and Twitter

This is an odd one. The Streets, a band in the UK for anyone who doesn’t know, are going to start uploading music and making it available to fans free through their Twitter feed.

10/10 for innovative use of social media, and the same for pleasing the fans. I’ll be interested to see how they can continue to earn a living whilst giving their songs away for nothing, though.

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April 15, 2009 Posted by | social media trends, Unexpected things happen | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Commissioning through social networks

Time for some fun stuff after a few days off (he says, blogging from the iPhone, do tell me whether you can read this!). I’ve been asked to commission and edit a supplement that will go out with one of the Nationals,
and in the first instance I’m going to see how many of the writers I can contact through social networks rather than traditional means.

I have no doubt I’ll give up quickly – I’m being paid for this after all so I want to
do it properly – but it should be fun to see just how far I can push it.

I’ll keep you informed.

April 9, 2009 Posted by | Unexpected things happen | , , , | Leave a comment

Social networking ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’

Digitage Web 2.0
Image by ocean.flynn via Flickr

Someone asked what I thought was an odd question when I started this blog a month or so ago. “So, you’re going to become a social networking guru then,” they said.

Once I’d picked myself up off the floor I asked them why they thought so. “Well, the domain name, the book coming out…” I could see how it was looking. But I’m not. In fact I hate people who describe themselves as ‘gurus’ or ‘experts’ in such new areas – I don’t actually believe they exist yet, we don’t know how social networking will evolve over time because it hasn’t had enough just yet. I was delighted. therefore, to be shown this piece on people styling themselves as such describing them as idiots.

It did make me think a bit about my objectives for the blog. First, this blog exists as a statement: I’ve been commissioned to write a book on social networking and I’d look ridiculous if I didn’t walk the walk and other such cliches. It’s a good repository of links I might come across that will help me, and if I can share some of the insights I gain with other people along the way, fair enough. When I found the domain name was available I couldn’t resist it, which is pure vanity, but if I have a book in the area coming out it might yet be useful for marketing.

And I do a bit of speaking in the area, it’s true – I enjoy that part of my work (actually I enjoy most of my work except the filing and record keeping, but nothing’s perfect). And if the blog brings a bit more of that work through, great. Sharing your research is a new way of working for me, but I’m finding it highly pleasurable.

None of which makes me anything like a guru. A guru knows stuff. A guru offers guidance, vision and direction. When the book comes out it’s going to be a lot more about practicality than the vision thing, and accommodating social networking into a business plan. Simple brass tacky stuff is what I want to offer, nothing high-flown. And there are so many people who claim they’re some sort of social networking know-it-all! Frankly even if I did know everything about social networking I wouldn’t call myself a guru, it would put me in the same league as so many chancers!

I was talking to a colleague – who I met through social media of course – about this only today. She thought of a new term I could use. I don’t have to be a guru, I don’t have to claim to be an expert somehow, I just have to use this new term and it’ll work fine. I think I’m going to do it. As of right now.

That’s it, then. I am the social networking antiguru. End of!

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April 3, 2009 Posted by | Unexpected things happen | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silly Friday stuff

I’m indebted to various people on Twitter – @prgeek was the one that alerted me initially – for showing this website in which the people responsible for blurring out faces on Google Maps have got a little carried away.

Have a good weekend.

March 20, 2009 Posted by | Unexpected things happen | Leave a comment

Some hints on Twitter search

Some nice hints on using Twitter as a search engine here. I have to admit I’m not wholly convinced, though; Google finds Twitter’s tweets as well as other web pages, so surely if you want a comprehensive search result you’d go there instead?

March 19, 2009 Posted by | Unexpected things happen | , , | Leave a comment

Tweeting to unemployment

No comment from me – just read the link!

March 18, 2009 Posted by | Unexpected things happen | Leave a comment

Social networking – does it work for business?

Just seen an interesting Tweet from someone saying that barely a day goes by when they don’t get a message from someone saying Twitter is a waste of time and it won’t pick up any business for them. Having been commissiooned to write a book on social networking for business clearly I have a vested interest in disagreeing.

But I do disagree. In terms of social networking alone rather than just Twitter, have a look at the user forum at Christopher Ward Watches. OK, it’s just a forum – but the staff interact and the really clever bit is that once a year they ask the customers what they’d really like to see in a new watch, and then they make a limited edition based on it. That’s increased sales, it’s customer engagement, it’s a whole lot of stuff.

There’s also this nifty example from Ford in America. They’re offering free use of a car for six months to whoever does the best job of social media-ing it. And they’re offering 100 of these. This is non-trivial stuff, and someone with a spreadsheet at Ford’s HQ has worked out that it’s a good idea.

In terms of Twitter I can only offer anecdotal experience so far – but would have to say that the network was instrumental in finding the publisher for my book. that I’ve had about four media training sessions come in that I wouldn’t otherwise have had and that one or two speaking engagements have cropped up through Twitter contacts. I’m self-employed so we’re not talking millions, but I’m approaching five figures worth of business I would otherwise not have seen which I’ve had exclusively because of Twitter.

It’s almost something I don’t want to publicise too much. Immediately it goes completely mainstream the value in being one of the first to benefit from it will diminish, and there’ll be loads of other trainers and journalists pitching for the same work – it’ll be an open market just like email has become. It’ll become more difficult to compete, albeit in a fairer market. And yes, there will be more irrelevant noise and celebrities, which isn’t a business-productive use of the medium, but then who said it had to be? It’s like a phone, it’s like the Web, it’s different things to different people and if you want it to do jusu your stuff then that’s kind of tough. You need to learn to look for the bits that appeal to you.

For a while yet, there is business to be gained from Twitter and its ilk. Personally I wish the naysayers – and there are a fair few – would do a bit of research before criticising.

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Unexpected things happen | 5 Comments

Social networks and email: it’s not like for like

I’ve just been reading a BBC News story about how social networks are replacing emails. It’s here for anyone who wants a look.

It contends, basically, that social networks are taking over from email as the way of keeping in touch. My instinct is they’re doing no such thing – but isn’t it interesting how people always feel that something new has to be replacing something else? Think back a while, to before just about anyone reading this was born. Radio, everyone swore, would wipe out theatre and newspapers. It didn’t – it found its niche. Television was going to destroy radio – it didn’t. It certainly supplanted it as the most popular mass medium but both now have their appropriate niches.

We fast forward to the present day and we have reports that ebooks will replace books (in terms of business books I’d say why not, I’d be happy for my books to come out electronically – but in terms of sitting back and enjoying something I’d rather hold a proper book any time) and of course social networks replacing email.

Well, I hope not. I love social networks as a one-to-many way of keeping in touch. But I don’t see the one-to-one conversation doing anything other than getting in other people’s way on Twitter, and it’s cumbersome on Facebook. What we are about to see, I believe, is an evolution of email use by all means, but not a wipeout. People will start to think about whether something would go better on email or on a social network and eventually they’ll get it right instinctively, just as we now consider whether something should be mailed or phoned to someone without giving it a lot of conscious thought.

I’m happy to be proven wrong of course – but does anyone seriously think a closed network like Facebook or a 140 character limited string is going to wipe out mails for good?

March 15, 2009 Posted by | Unexpected things happen | Leave a comment

How Much Is A Suggested Slot On Twitter Worth? Jason Calacanis Offers $250,000.

How Much Is A Suggested Slot On Twitter Worth? Jason Calacanis Offers $250,000.

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March 12, 2009 Posted by | Social media financing, Unexpected things happen | 1 Comment

Comic Relief is back

It would of course be wrong at this time of year to put up a social networking blog that didn’t take the considerable efforts of the Comic Relief brigade into account. This is the most social media-oriented year the charity has had. You can buy a book of humour put together through the new media at Twittertitters, you can go to the Comic Relief site and you can visit the Facebook page. You can even give your picture a digital red nose.

It’s also active on Bebo and elsewhere. Have fun with it and try to help raise loads of money – it’ll go where it’s desperately needed, 40 per cent in the UK and 60 per cent in Africa.

March 12, 2009 Posted by | Unexpected things happen | Leave a comment