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12 posts from March 2010

March 30, 2010

Why understanding the Semantic web is far more important than Social Media.

It is my humble opinion that you can't have a social media expert. Social media is a personal action, done by an individual.  It is essentially "the act of sharing". It's thousands of years old and nothing new. So the only expert there can be is YOU, as it's you that's sharing.  It's a bit like breathing, a little hard to out-source. Yes, you could strap on a tank and do scuba (social media agency), but only for short periods.  At some point you need to own it.

Using a platform such as facebook or twitter for the purposes of sharing on the semantic web (see footnotes) - that's an altogether another scenario,  and yes, you can have "practitioners" in these fields and in the short term they might have their place. (NOTE: I said practitioners, not experts.  The web is ever evolving so you can never be at the top of the tree as the top keeps moving.  They may be experienced practitioners but that's who they are).

But the question is not one of "social media" as the answer.  The question is social media on the web as an answer and why - i.e. why are you doing it and why are you doing it on the web?


If we look at it this way we can only surmise that there must be a reason.  I assume this reason is to get found - in which case what you want to do has gone beyond social media.  What you are doing is getting involved in the semantic web which, at the moment, is being led by what we can call the "searching" - see below for footnotes on Semantics.

Social media is an action, not the "sum of". Social media is what a user does by sharing, i.e an "upload" of information, thought, media, social interaction, debate (words, video, audio, pictures) etc but the fact is it's an "up-load".

How about this: there is another action that the web provides to us that is not social media - it's called listening. You might want to call it "social media monitoring" but what that translates to is a listening action to everyone else's social media action.

Why are you spending so much time on the web? Why are you "being social" on the web - is there a reason? If the answer is yes, then I would suggest that based on the above, your understanding of the "social web" needs to be pointed at "the semantic web" not at "social media" as a total action.

The web is an incredible place.   It's now taking the world away from the "industrial age" and into "the information age".

What are you going to do with the information? What are you going to do with the "noise"? You've gone beyond "how to use twitter" or you will shortly - what are you going to do now?

Just over a year ago I started raving about software products that listen to the "noise". Last summer I stared "playing" with some of the systems. This year I stared introducing them to "blue chips" - the result was/were outstanding.

Now I am advising companies how to listen - in return they get:

•    PR (both negative and positive. The former they can use to great effect, the latter the can use to solve problems).

•    Live R&D (the customer is telling them what to sell).

•    Find influencers that can drive "User Generated Media Impressions" (i.e. get the web generating imprints on the web for you).

•    It can tell you where you need to put your effort in during the year, what sites, when, by who, what age, what sex, what country, what town.

•    It can tell you what language, what SEO words you should be using.

•    It will tell you why your product web impression is not working in one country but it is working in another.

It will tell you a lot. And this software has been born out of the ever evolving web. So you can see now why the word "Semantics" comes into it.

Social media, on the web, has been "banded about" as the "cure all" for many years now, whereas its use has evolved somewhat - and I would argue that these new developments are the ones that need attention and debate. 

No one can be an expert on something so new that meaning is being questioned - and I have little respect for "I don't share your view" as an answer.

Learn about social media monitoring here.

If you want to know more about Social Media Monitoring you might want to consider coming along to our next event at Surrey Social Media Tribes on the 15th April - click here - I'll be going through what the system can do and how to best use it. Moreover, it may help you better understand why you are using the systems and which ones are best suited to your business - no one size fits all.

Footnotes: Semantics[1] is the study of meaning, usually in language. The word "semantics" itself denotes a range of ideas, from the popular to the highly technical. It is often used in ordinary language to denote a problem of understanding that comes down to word selection or connotation.

Regards N  


March 23, 2010

Cognitive bias and chronological snobbery have a lot to answer for on the web.

I've worked it out.

Cognitive bias and chronological snobbery have a lot to answer for on the web.


Or is it just plain old fear? Fear that there is change, fear that there isn't change, or fear that you just don't know.

Fear is a powerful thing. It's also a marketer's dream. Fear will have you booking on courses.  Fear will have you investing your "hard earned $$$$" in "get rich quick" schemes.  Fear will also allow yourself to believe in "experts" and "secrets".

Fear loves the crowd as the crowd feeds fear.  Your eyes see people "jumping on the bandwagon" and this creates fear, fear that you are missing out. You are told "book quickly, places going fast" and you reach for your credit card.  Fear is very blinding.

But now we have a solution.

This solution is so powerful that fear fears it, marketeers fear it, experts fear it, get rich quick schemes fear it - they fear it a great deal. This solution is so powerful that it has certain people in most communities quaking in their boots.  And with good reason.

This solution has politicians shaking and corporates too. It is making a mockery of "spin". It laughs in the face of "control". It mocks the "shiny suited salesmen" that are pictured sitting on Ferraris and Bentleys.


This solution is the solution to fear.

This solution allows you to go on courses. It also allows you to make investment decisions with peace.  It allows you to make decisions that are based on products and services that deliver tangible results in practice, not just in theory. It allows you to grow in thought process, it allows you to help and reach out, it allows you to be better.

And the solution is ....


The web can not only find "the solution",  it can also help you do your due diligence. Has the person you are putting your trust with been through the pain of learning, or do they just have a cognitive bias? Or are they just a chronological snob that dares to stare down at you because they might think of themselves as "advanced".?  The web will tell you.

The social web is an asset.  It's not revolution:  merely evolution and for you it could be priceless.

But it must be used to "dig" not just "find".


A cognitive bias is the human tendency to draw incorrect conclusions in certain circumstances based on cognitive factors rather than evidence.

Chronological snobbery, a term coined by friends C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield, is a logical argument (and usually when thus termed, considered an outright fallacy) describing the erroneous argument that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior when compared to that of the present.

P.S Last call for the Surrey Social Media Tribes monthly gathering tonight, Topic: LinkedIn



March 22, 2010

LinkedIn - @markperl talks to us about LinkedIn


Mark Perl talks to us about LinkedIn and why we should, if necessary, be part of the community.

More information on this can be found at http://socialmediatribes.co.uk - or you can book on to the event here.


March 17, 2010

The Internet of things

March 16, 2010

LOL, apparently I'm the answer.

Please let it load - it's worth it. N

March 10, 2010

Nightclub ...

I grew up in a small town in Surrey.

On the main road into town, there was a night club set back from the road, with a large car park in front of it.

No matter what time of night or day of the week that I drove past the club, the car park was almost always virtually empty. I wondered how the club could stay in business and, sure enough, it came to the point where it was decided to close the club down.

I had a birthday coming up, so I decided to hire the club for my celebrations.

On the night of my birthday party, the car park was full with all my friends cars.

Something interesting happened.

I kept getting called to the door by the bouncers to verify whether someone was a guest of mine or not!

As the party was in full swing, the majority of the late-comers weren't my friends, but they all said the same thing:

"We saw that there was a party going on here, the car park was full, so we wanted to see if we could get in".

I'd like to use this story to present a different view for on-line "noise".

I believe that, without noise, there is no party going on! Therefore, in my book, noise is good.

"The abundance upon which the network economy is built is one of opportunity". ~ Kevin Kelly

If someone stops by your forum and sees that there is very little action on it (very little up-dating of posts), they will move on.

If someone stops by your blog and sees that no-one comments on it, then they will move along.

If someone checks out your twitter account and sees that you very rarely tweet and you have few followers, they will possibly think twice about following you. You are not very engaged in the party.

... and if you yourself don't drive past the carpark, you will never know where the party is.

You see, in the on-line world, success breeds success.

People like to herd, they like to go to the hottest place in town, the place where all the noise is. That is no different to the off-line world.

To quote the American thought leader, Kevin Kelly:

"The first thing the network economy reforms is our identity.

The vital distinction between the self (us) and the nonself (them)—once exemplified by the fierce loyalty of the organization man in the industrial era—becomes less meaningful in a network economy. The only "inside" now is whether you are on the network or off.

Individual allegiance moves away from firms and toward networks and network platforms.

Social communications are still in their infancy. Isn't that an incredible opportunity for you to start your own party?

Or are you going to be one of the "late-comers" who turns up when the party is in full swing?

The secret is to understand how to get the first 40 cars into your carpark - metaphorically speaking. smile

Hint: Feed the web first.

Hint: Is it easy to find the way to your nightclub?

Hint: Is your nightclub free to enter and, as the host, are you accessible and easy to connect with? Are you in the conversation?

Hint: Don't cull the people trying to get through the door.

Once you have got the first few cars (advocates) into your car park, your on-line party will gain momentum and take care of itself.

Understand: this has nothing to do with social media. Too many people get too hung up that social media is the answer. It's not. Social media is opening the bar in the nightclub, but you have to have a nightclub in the first place, and you have to "pipe" the traffic to your club. What we are talking about here is much bigger than social media. We are talking about piping the 31 billion searches on google every month and directing them to where you want them to go.

If you want to get your party together, then you need to stop focussing on social media, and start focussing on how to "pipe" the social web. There's no point building a fantastic nightclub in the middle of the Gobi desert. The web is people, not technology.

Find your own space, and create your own party ... and don't forget to invite me!

Thank you for stopping by my party. If you would like to leverage the many years that I have particpated in building on-line community for your business, then please consider my "How to implement a social media strategy for your business" training day. I have a few places left on my training day which is happening this Friday in Guildford. Click >>> here for details.

Every ecademist who books on will also receive a bonus - one hour of complimentary Twitter mentoring with my Twitter-holic wife, Vanessa! She will show you her strategies for building a targetted Twitter following and leveraging the power of Twitter in a social manner to create visibility and credibility. Business will be a by-product of that.

On the 24th March, I am also running the inaugural Surrey Social Media Tribes event, for those of you looking to get the best out of LinkedIn. Full details >>> here.

I have another party going on on my Property Tribes forum. Everyone with an interest in property is very welcome over there.


March 09, 2010

The reason why I am leaving Twitter ....

I just deleted my Twitter account. It had over 25,000 followers. Here's why...

About a year ago, I really loved Twitter. It was a lot of fun and it was great for communicating with people and for getting into all sorts of discussions. But as Twitter has grown, it's become full of NOISE. Even, though, my follower count has risen, the response to my tweets has been on a steady decline. The reason is simple...

There's just more and more noise on Twitter.

People are following so many people that single tweets are easily missed in someone's timeline.

* I've confirmed this decline with many other Twitter users. And it's only going to get worse.

Now I know there are many people that are going to DISAGREE with me on this. And that's okay.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But let me explain further why I made this decision...

Certainly I could have just kept the account and only checked it every few days or so. Heck, I could have had one of my employees manage it for me. But I didn't want to do that. And I came to recognize that no matter how little I may have used Twitter, it would still be robbing my focus. I'd still always wonder if someone had "@" messaged me to ask me something or if something else needed my attention. And THAT is what would have kept me constantly checking it multiple times a day like I had been.

For me, I feel like my time is much better spent not using Twitter. It's my opinion, and again just my opinion, that Twitter has become an overhyped FAD. I think it's only going to become more and more of a time-waster for people, and it's going to become harder and harder to keep up with all the noise on it. Like I said, many will be sure to disagree with me.

There are many that believe "All things Social Media" are the greatest things since slice bread.

For me, however, I think time and energy is much better spent on fundamental areas of marketing -- like communicating with your list (which I plan on doing more of) and creating great content for your audience. Who knows, maybe one day I'll return to Twitter. But for now, it's goodbye.

Frankly, it's only been a few minutes since I deleted my account and I already feel this sense of RELIEF. Just knowing that it will no longer rob my focus throughout the day makes me feel good in knowing I'll better focus on things I want to get done with my time. I once had great hopes for Twitter. I even stated I thought Twitter would be more valuable than Facebook. But now I really believe the opposite is true... ".


Okay, I'll come clean! smile These are not my words. They are the words of American marketeer, John Reese.

I thought they would prompt an interesting discussion! smile

Here is my response:

What this guy has said is the same as going into London and saying "isn't it noisy!". Yes, it is!

But it is where all the action is happening, where all the movers and shakers hang out, where deals are done, where people are connecting, where people are talking about you, your product or service. On that basis, I would want to be there.

Twitter is no different. There is a lot of noise. If someone sends you a spammy tweet, then simply unfollow them. Simples! You have a choice of the messages that you are exposed to. (Isn't that one of the beauties of social communications?)

For larger numbers, use a twitter client to manage your following - I recommend Seesmic.

If you went to a party, you wouldn't expect to hear every single conversation at that party. Twitter is no different. You dip in and out.

Another analogy: if the streets of London get too noisy, you walk into a club where other people are interested in the same topic as you.

Twitter allows you the same virtual action. If you want to listen to specific conversations or topics, there are various methods of searching on them and monitoring them. You can niche the conversations down to those that are most relevant to you, again, filtering the noise.

However, and most significantly, Twitter is real-time, which is becoming an increasingly important focus of social communications. It is the way communications are going, so we need to learn and understand how to adapt to this constant input. Twitter is coaching us for the future.

Increasingly, the most up-to-date information is going to be the most relevant to the community. Contributing to Twitter puts you high up in the relevancy stakes, especially now google is indexing real-time searches.

As for me, I continue to get massive value from being on Twitter. I make new connections, learn new stuff, get inspired on a daily basis.

I go there to be social and I am learning to filter the "noise".

I personally think Twitter is far from being a fad. It will evolve. New tools and apps will appear all the time to help people leverage it. It's where the party is.

Personally, I want to be there.

Look out for the guy with the funny haircut and the loud tie.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. If leveraging the power of social communications and media is of interest to you, and you want to get started in the most efficient manner possible, but you are unsure of how to move forwards, then please consider how to implement a social media strategy for your business. I have a few places left on my training day which is happening this Friday in Guildford. Click >>> here for details.

Every ecademist who books on will also receive a bonus - one hour of complimentary Twitter mentoring with my Twitter-holic wife, Vanessa! She will show you her strategies for building a targetted Twitter following and leveraging the power of Twitter in a social manner to create visibility and credibility. Business will be a by-product of that.

Thank you to Ian Hunter on my Property Tribes forum for inspiring this post and drawing my attention to John Reese's email.


March 08, 2010

Social Media Misconceptions 6: Revolution not evolution ...

This is the sixth in my series of blogs dealing with Social Media Misconceptions.

Today's is titled: Revolution not evolution.

Is social media revolution not evolution then?


Why should it be?

If we break down the term "social media", it is the act of sharing in a social manner. As stated in a previous blog, we can trace this back 14,000 years to when early man shared advice on how to bring down wild game by painting on a cave wall.

A group or tribe of people discussing this was called a social network.

Question: what happened?

What happened to this action that has been known about for so many thousands of years and been an innate part of our evolution, that it is now so misunderstood in the contemporary world we live in?

Where did it go wrong?

I mean, for thousands of years we have happily shared ideas, helping, teaching, nurturing, and supporting each other - yet it would appear that, in the not too distant past, we have lost the ability to share freely.

As many of you probably know, part of my daily routine is strategically placing companies on the social web. However, it is increasingly becoming obvious, that, prior to getting them to the level to where I can get them deployed on-line, and getting them to "pipe" the torrent of search patterns on the web, I have to go through an explanation of what being "social" on the web means!

Increasingly, my answer is simply this: just use your common sense.

We do it every single day. I am doing it right now. You are going to do it dozens of times today. You will share information without even realising it. You will share the football results from the weekend, you will share your thoughts on the new book that you just finished, you will share a new restaurant that you went to, you will share a joke you heard in the pub. You will share your opinion on the car that you drive with someone who is considering buying the same model. You will put your arms around someone and take time to listen to them when they need a shoulder to cry on. You will show somebody your photographs, you will lend someone a DVD, you will cut a clipping out of a magazine because you know your friend will be interested in it. You will give someone a lift to the train station, you will recommend a good plumber, you will introduce one friend to another, you will see a lonely person at a party and invite them into your conversation/group. You will introduce a work colleague to your golf club. You will tell everyone about the film you went to see.

All of this makes you feel good, because you are thinking of others, you are making things happen for others, and making someone else feel noticed and special. It is natural to want to share something, or someone, that we ourselves got value from.

In that action, you are making your friend feel noticed, you are making your work colleague feel noticed, you are making your prospect feel noticed, you are making your client feel noticed. You are making your future client who you have never yet met feel noticed. You are sharing yourself and people will share you and your information with others! It shows you care. We know this to be true.

But, it seems that when it comes to the web, you ask the question "why?". Or you say, "I don't have time" ... or "Yet another thing to cram into my already hectic day" ... or "it's not real or tangible business".

And the $64 billion dollar question ... "What is the ROI on social media?".

Yet, for thousands of years, no one has ever asked what the ROI on sharing is! They have just got on with it.

Those proclaiming social media as a fad have no problem in sharing that opinion around off-line, and, ironically, often on-line!

Having said all this, I think I am wrong. I think I have made a grave error. I am sure that I don't know what I am talking about at all. Or do I?!

Is social media really a revolution? Is it that hard to work out how to incorporate it into business/life in general? Or is it simply evolution and you are doing it already unconsciously, but not in an efficient manner using contemporary methods, which, at the moment, is via the web?

You have a choice: say it once with your vocal chords to one person or a million times to a million people with your fingertips (via your keyboard). Either way it is the same effort.

This should be seen as a revelation, not a revolution!

In my infinite ignorance I would say that 150 years ago the Industrial Revolution was born. And in this industrial revolution, corporations were born. Birth, school, work, death. From between the ages of 5 and 20-is we went to school and we were taught how we were going to be when we left school and entered the corporations. From the age of 20-ish to 65-ish we exchanged time for money. So for the best part of 60 years, we have had it ingrained into our psyche that we have to exchange something for money and this has gone on for several hundreds of years. I would argue that society had a hiccough. It lost its ability to care. I believe that the individual wants to care, but society as a whole, has lost this. I think this is why, in the work that I do, I increasingly have to explain what to do what is, in fact, the obvious. And what is in fact natural to us.

So why, when it comes to the web, is it so difficult for us to transfer ourselves from off-line to on-line sharing?

It would appear that society as a whole tends to kick against revolution. In certain eyes, the web is seen as a revolution, and naturally change is something that is feared by most.

Whereas in reality, the web is actually evolution. A natural progression. A continuation of what has gone on before.

Note: I believe what I said above is true, however, I do equally understand that the web world that we live in is in its infancy. In reality, it has only been in the mainstream for the last decade. (I know it is older, but I am talking about the "mainstream"). The web moves in dog years, so what is on paper 10 years old today, is, in reality, 70 years old. So it is hardly surprising that it can appear to be daunting. But with a modecrum of guidance and a little bit of strategy and a good sharp dose of common sense, the web can be your friend.

Thank you for reading my blog. If the web is of interest to you, you want to get started in the most efficient manner possible, but you unsure of how to move forwards, then you might like to consider how to implement a social media strategy for your business. I have a few places left on my training day which is happening this Friday in Guildford. Click >>> here for details.

You can read my previous Social Media Misconceptions blogs >>> here.


March 06, 2010

A day at The RHS Wisley.

DSC_0162, originally uploaded by badgerproductions.


I've just spent the day at The RHS Wisley near Guildford (Surrey UK).

We were there with a digi beta crew getting some shots for their on-line videos.

By the afternoon, apart from being damn cold, the light was stunning.

It's well worth a trip to the gardens, and if you're really "green fingered" then you might consider becoming a member.

As the UK's leading gardening charity, the RHS receives no government support. The support of their members is vital to fulfilling their charitable work to encourage and promote horticulture. This ranges from providing advice and inspiration, through education and research into plants and environmental issues affecting gardeners.

I particularly like the RHS's initiatives to introduce young children to the joys and benefits of gardening and growing fruit and veg.

You can follow them on Twitter @the_rhs or facebook.

Whatever your age, time spent at the RHS gardens makes for a great day out and I think it's excellent value for money.

If you click on the link/s above it will take you to my Flickr page where you can see some more pics from the day.


March 05, 2010

Surrey Social Media Tribes - a video

Welcome ...

You can read more here.