67 posts categorized "Weblogs"

September 09, 2010

Carpet bombing the Social Web - aaarrrgh.

The downward spiral of hollow rhetoric.

It would appear that whilst we have this wonderful thing called social media and its misinterpreted age, the web and its aggregation, and narcicsm and ego that are just being discovered - carpet bombing seems to be all the rage!


 I was on a "social network" the other day, checking out a few posts when I came across a "guru/expert" dictating how to use the social web. His main point of teaching was the method in how to get as much out there as possible.  In other words, to become the "go to" person in their field of expertise.

Now on one hand I would say that, in theory, this is not such a bad idea. After all "traditional" marketing dictates that "carpet bombing" a central idea, notion, or service "should" keep the purveyor in the potential user’s mind - but that's in the world of traditional marketing and the web is far from traditional.

In fact, in respect of the web, it dictates an entirely different and radical approach in order to achieve any kind of traction.

What about content and the notion that respect for the reader should be of primary concern? It’s certainly no longer about how much you can cram in their minds.

Traditional marketing channels treated the "consumer" in a very patronising and dis-respectful manner. It is based on assumption and brainwashing, knowing full well that the consumer cannot do anything about it and has very little choice.

However, the web allows us, the consumer, to act in a different manner. We have control, not the purveyor of the stream/s.

We, the consumer/s, want relevant content and not to be "tricked" into thinking that automated or carpet bombing content will help us or even brain washing us into thinking that the purveyor of such content is the "go to" person.

Users on the social web are becoming a very discerning breed. We have learned that we have control over what we see, pay attention to and use. We want rich and relevant content - in fact I would go so far as to suggest that we demand rich and relevant content.

Carpet bombing me with unadulterated and unauthentic rubbish is not only annoying but fundamentally wrong. The web is a resource of rich content, or should be, and "gurus" that have just discovered "automation" should really take some time out and realise the nature of what they are doing - not only to the consumer but to the web and their own reputation.

Clearly there is a fine line between getting the balance right and getting it wrong, and an emphasis on "content farming" is a sure fire way of starting down the road of getting it wrong.

The social web has grown up and is demanding higher standards of content.  

Carpet booming in military terms does not work either!

August 10, 2010

Why do the English call it by what it does but the Americans call it by what it is?

We're talking about a phone.

In the U.K. we call the object that you carry with you everywhere, couldn't live without a "mobile phone" and yet in America they call it a "Cell".

On one hand it' referred to by what it does and on the other it's referred to by what it is! At this point we could go into a diatribe of the difference between the countries but that's not my intention. On the contrary my point is "ipad-ivity". I'll get to that in a minute.


Arguably in 1822 Charles Babbage invented what today is regarded as a computer. Back then he called it a "difference engine" but its primary function was to calculate and take out "human error".

Since then Allan Turin and Tommy Flowers built "Colossus" (during WW2) and the rest is history via IBM, Microsoft, Apple etc - but to a point.

One thing is for sure, and this applies to all the "devices" above, the action of using such a device means this - you have to go and sit in front of it. As a rule, most of these devices are chained to a wall (so to speak) and to use one you have to stop what you are doing and go to it. It does not come to you.

You could argue that a laptop changes this, but in reality it is still a cumbersome device that on one hand is portable but on the other is really just a smaller version of the same computer that sits on your desk.

I'm not sure I have seen many people mountain-biking whilst carrying a laptop!

A Personal Computer, by it's very nature and title, is exactly that - a device that computes your personal data. It's yours - it's a hard drive (amongst other things) that holds your data. So in that respect it's still (by design and function) the same as Babbage's, and because it was a hard drive it didn't really need to change design and function (albeit it has got smarter and faster).


However, today we have the web and this has changed the way that we interact with "the machine".

Humans love to communicate. That's what makes us different, and since that advent of web 2.0 this "desire" has designed the way we consume and use technology.

Now we have "devices" that are merely "portals" to the web and that is why,I would argue, that the iPhone was the most important device to be invented this century. Not because it's from Apple but because of what it is and does.

No longer are we chained to a computer that sits in the corner or have to carry large bags around with us. We now have the freedom to "communicate" and "organise" our lives in a manner that is "free".


It's a natural progression really. 20 years ago we stopped being chained to the wall when we wanted to make a phone call - the phone came with us.

Now we have the iPad or Android tablet (it does not matter which).   This means that not only can we communicate via voice or screen but we can read books and magazines, we can watch TV, listen to music and still do the "mundane" tasks that kept us "chained to a desk" whilst we used a traditional computer.

Suddenly we don't need to "go to" the TV, Phone, Computer, Newspaper stand, Magazine stand, Music store, Bank, Shop's, etc.  Instead they all come with us - and I can take them all with me whilst on my mountainbike.

This is a fundamental shift in the way we consume. It is changing the method of society and making it smarter.

This is iPadivity. 

Whether we call it a Cell or a Mobile is now irrelevant - what it truly is, is Mobile by function and that will transgress countries.

Star Trek was ahead of its time: we have a communicator!  


July 28, 2010

Can anything "pre-meditated" truly be called social?

Or is it an oxymoron?

Social media - the art of sharing. This is nothing new, arguably social media has been with us for tens of thousands of years. The media might have changed but the reason stands.

The difference today, primarily, is the web.

My point is this:  Social media from an individual is, by default, sharing and, therefore, justifiably comes under the correct heading "social media". It is done with intent to share and make someone else's life richer in knowledge. The individual who "receives" this information will do with it what they want.

They may be influenced in a purchase, or in thought, etc but point of fact,  they have had their lives enriched by content.

But the action remains the same, sharing without intent other than.


 However, can this be the same if you are a business/ Question: If it's pre-meditated can it be called social media?

I don't think so. I think companies can use the social web (and there is nothing wrong with this) but if there is pre-meditated intent behind it then it can't be called social media as what they're doing is not sharing unconditionally.  They ultimately have a commercial agenda.  Again, nothing wrong in that.

If this reason is to get business, gain mindshare, gather PR, gather live R&D then, by default, what they are doing is "piping the social web" - not engaging in social media.

Now if we can separate the two methods then we have two methods. Moreover, these two methods dictate a completely different process that we must bring to bear, whether that might be as an individual or as a company that has intent.

This would make life easier as we can "pigeon-hole" method.

To conclude: Social media is an action that is the sole domain of an individual for the practise of "unconditional" sharing - there are no rules here as it's 1. social and 2. personal.

Piping the social web is an action that a company participates in with the ultimate intent to pipe consumers to a "call to action" - there are rules here for successful action. 1. relevant volume (otherwise no one will find you - in which case why bother?) 2. A full understanding of the companies entire web strategy from top to bottom (starting a "pipe" on the social web means there can be no "blockage" due to a part of the companies web that has been overlooked.)

Social media is a convenient term.  It has achieved what it needed. Now we must "break down" the nuances of the action.

For companies to interact on the social web without this "break down" and understanding,  they may cause themselves and their brand more harm in the long term.


July 27, 2010

Marketers beware - 74% of consumers are being influenced by the social web.

This is not really new information, but it does consolidate the method of the web.

The firm Gartner have just released figures that suggest one fifth of the population are influencing over 74% of consumers!

These "influencers" only succeed due to a particular method.  Why?  Because they don't use the web as a channel.

They have nothing to gain from "influencing" and, therefore, apply a different method other that one who does. This, in turn, dictates method and that method can only be relevant delivery of information coupled with delivery that is social in nature i.e sharing.


This does not mean that those with "product/service" cannot utilise the web, only that they must utilise it in a different method than has been used traditionally.  This would appear to be "alien" to a lot of companies as it goes against "business" method.

But "business method" only works when you can "map" intent to purchase.  This is easy off-line as consumers can be easily "mapped" by looking at a "high street" - i.e those that are walking up a high street are more than likely there with the intent to buy (otherwise why would they be there?).

But there is no High Street on the web other that shopping portals such as Amazon (which is more semantic than social).

Until that point of purchase consumers are being influenced by those that have a passion for a particular product and report on it, which in turn influences the 74% that are in question.

This is not wholly new information.  Word of mouth has always been the preferred method of recommendation as it involves trusting the person who has made the endorsement. However, the web delivers constant relevance, therefore, dictating it to be more important than traditional methods/channels.  As such, a business approach has to be less about selling and more about adopting a sharing attitude and creating customer experiences that will, in turn, influence buying decisions indirectly.

Question: Are you one of the 1/5 of the population that are considered influential enough to get through to the 74% of consumers that want to know about your product?

If not, then your web method needs adjusting.  The social web can be mapped and can be influenced, and is not the whole domain of social media.


July 01, 2010

We've reached saturation point - content is not king.

Bearing in mind that we're only just inside the "mainstream" section of the bell curve (when it comes to Social media).

Question: Is content King?

A certain amount of content is needed, and good content to, but, based on the fact that  content does not stay original for long the argument that "content is king" will not sustain a good "followship" comes into question. The omnipresent nature of the web dictates choice, and with that it may not sustain people "coming back for more".

So we're aware that SM is not going away and we know that social intent can be mapped, we're also aware that it's only going to get "busier" as and when new tech is released - arguably led by iPhone and iPad.

Ubiquity is getting lost!


Question: Bearing all this in mind how do we retain a "fellowship" (given that the user does not need to stay on our site/s)? How do we get "stickiness"?

I would argue that the answer is already here and has been for a while, just not on the web in it's entirety. 

User experience, however, may work.


If we look at Madonna. She is now not signed to a record label but to a promoter.

Her business model has changed. Instead of trying to fight a battle in an arena that is ubiquitous by nature, she has  taken control of her content by delivering a better consumer experience. Concerts.

So she has good content, her stuff is everywhere, BUT she controls the experience.

This can be achieved on the web by any company.

Mapping social intent, delivering good content BUT overall delivering a great user experience will retain a "fellowship". 

The web is delivering fantastic app's that make the web fun, not only fun but relevant and it will become overwhelming for the consumer - therefore, user experience will be key.

What do you think?

May 21, 2010

The omnipresent nature of the web and its pace dictates listening is as important as talking.

Photo courtesy of dharmasphere

Arguably more so.

How rude it would be to walk into a party of people and just broadcast and talk about yourself all the time?   I'm not sure there are many people on the planet that would accept that scenario!  You will certainly not make any friends at that party, and people will leave thinking you a real bore.

Question: Is this how we should act on the web?

I don't think so. I know people will, and the nature of the web is that it will go on, but the "who can shout the loudest" form of "marketing/conversation" will be in the minority - don't you think?  It will not gain traction nor inspire advocacy – one of the major benefits of leveraging a networked economy.

The nature of the web would appear to be heading towards the term "social" and I have no doubts that this term will be re-invented countless times in the near future, but don't you think that the fundamental usage of the web dictates that it is social in the truest form?

Therefore, why would you "follow", "friend" or "subscribe" to anything that a): is a robot and b): never listens to you or engages with you?

If we track forward 5 years with the web (I have only vague vision thereof) but one thing is for sure our ability to "choose" who we "follow", "friend" or "subscribe" will be - well choosey.  We already realize that we have a choice as to what messages we are exposed to and the deluge of information on the social web is only going to make us more picky about who we subscribe to.  As consumers, our attention has to be earned by valuable content, not “bought”.  Broadcasting does not work on the social web.  It does not translate. 

The nature of the web and it's method of communication/s means that whatever we put on the web stays there in perpetuity, therefore, we have ubiquity. Meaning that all this information can be grouped, and you as a potential "follower" have the ability to choose who you want to follow based on a measurement of what someone or something puts out.

Now at that point we all have a choice do we follow a "data flow/life-stream" from someone who only shouts about themselves or their products? Or do we follow the "data flow/life-stream" from someone who makes you aware they have a product but who mostly shares an insight into his/hers industry, engages in conversation, links you to good content/people etc?

Who would you follow?

I don't think it's that far-fetched to think that the former will achieve less traction that the latter.

Is the social web a folly?

Photo courtesy of jinglebell

I don't think so.

I would argue that it is a basic human instinct to group, follow, be social, converse, share, chat, learn, and help.   The fact is that the web and its facilities allow us to aggregate and organise all that information.   On that basis, "ducks to water" would appear to be an apt phrase!

And given that most technologies are being designed to facilitate that desire and don't appear to be stopping, I would humbly conclude that it's not folly.


Given that the web appears to be here to stay and that we are enjoying it (being able to find, sort, follow, help, share, and change), it's now not folly.  I would argue that it is telling us how to use it. i.e. listen as well as talk.


May 18, 2010

Blogging: What's it all about then?

It is my humble opinion that blogging is the cornerstone of a nutritious social web diet.  It is the backbone of everything you do and that you are on-line.   My reason for saying this is such:  Only 14% of people trust advertising whereas 78% of people trust community, peer, or friend review.  These reviews and recommendations are coming from, among other places, the humble blog.

Question:  Are you being found, talked about, and shared into other people's networks?  Because that is where the real magic of the social web happens!

Below is my guide to best practice.

1. How to guides.

photo courtesy of jempp.com

Think about the web and how we use it (consumers). We put a search term in Google and "bang" up come thousands of results!  Which ones do we rely on though? How do we disseminate between all the results?  Which ones do we trust?  What would you do as a consumer?

Bear this in mind as a supplier of the information. How are you going to get consumers to trust you?

You will get found, that is for  sure, but with all the thousands of unique posts out there - Question: Are you producing the goods?

Answer: Give yourself the maximum opportunity by cultivating your posts to include - great visuals, reliable content, simple steps, working examples, downloadable content. Moreover, become the "go to" person within your industry and you'll get more reaction on your blog.

2. Problems.

Photo courtesy of Zazzle.com 

Lots of people write about problems, we're all good at that. But a structured approach to solving the problem without causing another one could be in the minority and as such becomes valuable.

Can you see problems within your industry? If so what solutions can you bring to bear? Remember the subject does not have to be related as long as it's relative.

3. Feedback.

Photo courtesy of reach.gov 

Ask for it - no really, ask for it.

Get as much feedback as you can, engage in debate. You'll find that people will engage  when they have a different angle on the same subject and that's good!   This gives you the ability to "stretch yourself" and engage in an intellectual debate.

4. Give stuff away.

Photo courtesy of boingpoumtchak.com 

Why not? It does not mean that you have to give all away, just the stuff that helps the consumer, stuff that makes their day better. Doing this gets them to talk about you and your blog, they will direct more people to your blog and some of them will engage with you.

The web is there to help people organise themselves and if you are part of this help, it will work wonders for you.

5. Review/s.

Photo courtesy of zwcadclub.com

Tell people about what you read, what phone your prefer, let them know about your experience with consumer goods that you have consumed - good and bad. Remember people are looking for this information and they will find you.

The social web is about people, it's about conversation - let people engage with you.

6. Latest stories.

Photo courtesy of boorama.files.wordpress.com 

Have an opinion.

You have to be fast with this, keeping up to date with world opinion will get you found and fast. Remember that there are "Real Time" feeds that can catapult you into the limelight of "groundswell" - meaning the ability to create content that swarms of people will aggregate for you.

7. Lessons from life.

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Photo courtesy of grief.com

Stuff happens that will all can learn from, and an excercise in humility can go along way.

Life lessons appeal to all. With respect we all can be accused of voyeurism, it guides us through what is happening in our own lives.

Sharing these experiences can go along way, you will make more "friends" and allies. In turn these people will help you aggregate your blog.

8. Comparables.

Photo courtesy of csmanagement.files.wordpress.com 

With the multitude of content out there, improvement and change is always easy to see and report on. Within your industry change is inevitable and favorable - Question: Can you see it?

If so then write about it as some other people will miss it, and they need to know.  This helps you be perceived as a "thought leader".

9. Share.

Photo courtesy of guardian.co.uk 

Share what other people do.

Your blog can be stimulated by sharing other views, events, writing etc - never plagerise -  just report.

Example: If you attend many events, then why not write about them? Sometimes this does not take the form of "writing" i.e a blog post. It could be in the form of pictures or video.

10. Use the platforms.

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Photo courtesy of communitywealth.com 

Blogging. Let's understand it.

It's means getting you "stuff" onto the web.  This does not mean that it has to take the form of words, it can also mean picture and/or video as well as audio.

There are many different sites and methods of using theses sites most of them are free and remember not all consumers consume from the same bowl!

We all need to accept the info in different formats.


Blogging should not be a chore, it also should not solely take the format of words. The real treasure in blogging and the real value that blogging can bring is to look at it from the point of view of the consumer. By understanding this it will give you  direction as a producer.

One thing we can guarantee is that people are looking for "stuff" on the web. We know there are over 62 billion searches per month on Google alone that 10 years ago did not exist! Having a computer in your pocket (aka iPhone/Android) will only add to these searches.

Becoming an industry leader within your field means being relevant and being found - and you can't be found without being published. This does not mean published in the traditional format of a book (although this will help) but published in the realms of find-ability on the web.

The web is changing all we do and are as a society.  It is changing the fundamental structure of society.   Trust is the key and the currency of the social web so you can only get trust by engaging with the web - Share yourself with people, let people see who you really are, let them know your opinion, let them know why and how, let them get under your skin - above all, let them trust you.

May 11, 2010

Coming to a town near you! Social Media Speaker Tour - Summer 2010

As we are all aware, we are living in an "attention" economy. We cannot pay for eyeballs or attention, we have to earn it.

The great thing about social media is that is allows us to express ourselves in many different and creative ways.

Vanessa and I have looked to our rock n' roll background for inspiration of how to present our U.K. speaker tour dates.

I hope this inspires you to think creatively how you can express yourself on-line, create a powerful on-line brand, and stand out from the crowd.

Summertourheader banner icontact

Guildford Grow Business Exhibition - 12th May

Now in its third year, this has been a hugely successful business exhibition for business owners in and around Surrey. We are delighted to have been asked to speak there on our favourite subject of social media.

Our presentation: "Leveraging the power of the social web for business exposure"

Where: Guildford Spectrum, Guildford, Surrey

When: Wednesday 12th May
On-stage: 10a.m until 11a.m (exhibition opens from 9.30am)

here for more information: 

Croydon Females in Business - 20th May

Now in its second year, this is a special event for women to benefit from attending dynamic workshops on creating a profitable presence on the web. You will also enjoy networking over a delicious buffet. Plus attend the exhibition to meet potential suppliers. Penny Power is also a keynote speaker at this event.

Our presentation: "Why a portfolio of web content is as valuable as a portfolio of property".

Where: Jury's Inn, Croydon

When: Thursday 20th May
On-stage: 1.30 pm to 2.30pm (exhibition opens from 9.30am)

here for more information:

Surrey Social Media Tribes - 27th May

At our
Surrey Social Media Tribes networking meeting on 27th May in Guildford, we will be explaining more about Twitter and showing you how to build a targeted following.

Using strategies I have developed for ourselves, we will reveal how to "mine" other people's followings, how to search on Twitter, and how gain traction on Twitter quickly. Bring your laptop and have some hands-on practice with us to guide you. Great networking and education for just £10.00 entry fee means this is a worthy investment of your time.

Our presentation: "How to double your twitter following with targeted connections".

Where: Holiday Inn, Egerton Road, Guildford

When: 27th May 2010
What time: 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

here to book your seat.
Places are limited, so please BOOK NOW to secure your seat.

Social Media training day at the races at Brighton Racecourse - 28th May

Join us for a day of learning, networking and playing at Brighton Racecourse. There's a half day of social media training, followed by lunch and watching the racing!

Our presentation: "Introduction to how to optimise the social web"

Where: Brighton Racecourse

When: 28th May 2010
What time: 9.00 a.m to 5.30 p.m

here for further details and to book your place.

Milton Keynes "How to implement a social media strategy for your business" - training day - 5th June

With our last three training days having sold out, we've booked another one to meet the demand! Does what it says on the tin. The U.K.'s premier introductory social media training course, delivered in bite-sized and easy to digest chunks with strategies to put into action straight away.

Where: DeVere Harben House, Newport Pagnall, Milton Keynes

When: 5th June 2010
What time: 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

here for further details and to book your place.

Yorkshire Property Tribe inaugural networking meeting - 16th June

Vanessa and Nick head 'Oppp North' to speak at the inaugural Yorkshire Property Tribe networking event, founded by Property Tribe member Rob Hubbard.

Our presentation: "How to leverage the power of the social web in your property business"

Where: The Bridge Inn Hotel, Altofts Lane, Whitwood, Castleford, WF10 5PZ

When: 16th June 2010
What time: 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

here for further details and to book your place.

Leicester Social Media Mum - Social Media optimisation coffee morning - 22nd June

Back due to popular demand! Vanessa and Nick join the Social Media Mum, Zoe Newcombe, for a two hour presentation and coffee morning on how to optimise the social web. Specially devised for mum-preneurs and small business owners, this presentation discusses how to create massive business exposure using free web tools.

Our presentation: "Optimising the social web for business exposure"

Where: David Lloyd, Carlton Park, Narborough, Leicester, LE19

When: 22nd June 2010
What time: 11.30 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.

Please click
here for full details and to register.

We hope to meet you in person somewhere down the speaker trail!

April 19, 2010

Who owns Community?

This blog, about building community, has been inspired by two scenarios:
  1. Today I received an email inviting me to an event where I would learn how to earn £millions by creating great marketing copy to get people to “subscribe” to things.  A case study used was a new property forum, where people were marketed to via a free webinar where the up-sell was to a new membership forum.
  2. Rupert Murdoch apparently asked Mark Zuckerberg (founder of FaceBook) how to build a great community like FB, and Mark Zuckerberg replied “You can’t”.

You see, what I have learned from founding the Property Tribes forum, is that you cannot build a community.  Why?  Because it’s already there - you can't build anything that was not yours in the first place.

Photo courtesy of officailpsds.com

What you can do, however, is provide a platform and facilitate people using the site to have an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  You can help them feel connected, you can help them feel valued, you can help them learn, you can help them feel that they “belong”, you can provide a space where they feel comfortable and among friends.  Then let them run with it.  Let them make the community what they want it to be, not what you want it to be.

What you can do is enable a community to organise itself.
Getting people to pay to join a site will not build a sustainable community - you will have tumbleweed blowing through it in no time at all. However, they may want to pay to have a method to organise themselves.
A membership/subscription site means that no one can look at the site without paying to join - barriers to entry will not help build community.  In fact, I believe they will stifle it.
A subscription/membership site also excludes a lot of people.  I think it is fundamental to build a platform for others to play in. Not just your users, but for people who want to reach your users.  Open, random, and supportive encourages community.  Closed, selective, and controlling will suffocate it.
I do not believe that anyone can “own” a community.  I don't think you ever could, but today in the land of the web you most definitely can't.
As Property Tribes has grown, we have taken a step back from it.  Yes, we set the tone, stimulated the initial discussions to help get the ball rolling, and drop in every now and then to support and encourage our members and let them know we value their contributions, but that is where it stops.

Now I'm more focussed on giving them what they want.
In his recent blog, “The tribe of normal”, Seth Godin shared this insight:

“People don't coalesce into active and committed tribes around the status quo.
The only vibrant tribes in our communities are the ones closer the edges, or those trying to make change. The center is large, but it's not connected.

Heretical thoughts, delivered in a way that capture the attention of the minority--that's the path that works”.

What Vanessa and I have tried to do is make Property Tribes stand for ethical and transparent business practices and treating property investment as a business, not a “get rich quick” scheme.  This is definitely a minority view, but it has gradually gained traction and now it has become one of the busiest property forums in the U.K

If a site has a huge amount of new members joining, but they do not feel like they “care” about the site, or “own” it, or do not engage with it, then all it has become is a database of people who have no loyalty to the site.  It’s just another profile on another forum.  It’s akin to replying to a party invite but not turning up to the party.

A forum designed to aggregate audiences to that you can sell to them is also destined to fail.  “The end result of spam (email spam, blog spam, Twitter spam, comment spam, phone spam, politician spam) is that it eats away at your brand. If you don't have a brand, you might make some short term cash but it gets tiresome creating annoyance everywhere you go. If you do have a brand, you don't notice the brand erosion... until it's too late”. ~ Seth Godin

What will work, however, is a community where people are supported in being more successful in what they are doing.  If they become more successful as a result of their contributions to the community, then the founders of the community will become more successful as a by-product of that.  Allowing people to leverage the network for their own visibility and credibility is key to their success and our success!

One of the by-products of the success of the Property Tribes community is that I have been able to watch and learn from the community, therefore, now I can see what they want.

There is the short-term way and the sustainable way to build community.  One erodes your brand, the other empowers it.

We formed the Property Tribes forum as a resource for the community, not ourselves.  We recognised that none of us is as smart as all of us.  We recognise that we are nothing without the people who “fuel” the forum hourly with their contributions and content.  Without the community, it’s just another one of a thousand sites with no activity on it.

Conclusion:  You cannot buy community and you cannot sell community.  If you are creating all the content yourself, and asking people to subscribe to that content, then that is a completely different business model and will not create community.  It’s also very hard work and time-consuming.

There is community there, it's always been there and you will never own it.

What you can create is a great venue for people to congregate and get to know each other.  Then leave the rest up to them.  User generated content is the secret to a successful community.  How you monetise that is another matter.  Community comes first.  Without it, you have nothing more than an expensive echo-chamber for your own opinions - this is self evident from the lack of "action" on certain forums.

Google is successful because it allowed us to organise our searches. LinkedIn is good because it allowed us to organise our business contacts and shuffle CV's. Facebook is good because it allows us to organise our friends. Twitter works because it allows us to organise our conversations. Amazon organises our purchasing, YouTube our Video and Flickr our pictures.

Question: How are you helping people organise themselves - or are you?

My top tips for building community:
  1. Engage.
  2. Contribute.
  3. Pay attention.
  4. Let the community know they are valued.
  5. Connect people to each other.
  6. It's about them, not you.
  7. Share.
  8. Don’t try and compete with your members.
  9. Be social.
  10. Be a friend.  Care.
  11. Don’t police or “moderate” the forum unless absolutely necessary.  The community will do that in their own way.
  12. Facilitate trust within the community.
  13. Understand that a community cannot be all things to all people.
  14. Celebrate the heroes in the community.
  15. Try and lead by example.
  16. Show respect.
  17. Believe in,  and encourage,  the wisdom of crowds.
  18. Enjoy it.
  19. Never stop trying to make it a better place for a community to organise itself - what ever your niche

What tips might you have?

Regards N  


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.


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