Key Advice Blog

Archive for October 2009

According to Econsultancy‘s blogger Ben Lamonthe, Facebook, and possibly Twitter, could be the online news publishers of the future. And, we all know with new media, the future always arrives faster than we expect. So what next?

In his blog, Why Facebook could be the next big news publisher, Ben refers to the fact they are a private company making millions from advertising online in a recession, in stark contrast to mainstream media, as the reason he believes the cream will rise to the top.

And, they have the ‘next generation’ of clients – youth – already buying in – something mainstream media have not achieved: and, in some cases, not been concerned with.

Tomorrow I am attending the Digital Editors Network meeting at UCLAN, where the topic is  Pay Walls and Partnerships. Key speakers include Nick Turner, CN groups head of digital content development (twitter.com/nickincumbria); Sarah Hartley, digital editor, The Guardian ; and a panel featuring leaders from Microsoft, Wall Street Journal, Schibsted, World Association of Newspapers.

As the print and new media worlds collide, let’s hope a shining star emerges, for the benefit of news producers and readers alike!

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I am hoping the days of people saying ‘Oh, I am too old for all this new media stuff’ are on their way out. This may be how some people feel – but the stats report they are very active when it comes to the web – and especially social media.

iStrategy reported earlier this year that Facebook had experienced a 500% growth in the over 50s in the first six months of 2009.  And now the  Twitter story about 104 year old Ivy Bean tweeting from her home is in the news – Guardian –  again. Whether you believe it or not, the ‘older generation’ is buying into, using and enjoying social media for personal and professional reasons.

Friends Reunitied’s new owners are planning an over 50 dating site. Why not?

And from the horse’s mouth, The Pluses of being 50 plus Blog highlights what this group is doing online – and why we ignore them to our detriment.

The silver surfers have moved beyond Saga – to a new generation of web platforms. Let’s get on the bandwagon! They are a force to be reckoned with.

Have organisations not been listening? Social media is a powerful tool. Messages are short and sharp. Tweets are light and travel well. The reports of millions of users are not numbers to take lightly. This week’s gag on The Guardian – prohibiting them from reporting on a company called Trafigura, reports of toxic waste dumping, and the company’s law firm  Carter-Ruck had Twitters turning up the volume. If you hadn’t heard about them before today, all it took was a couple of little #tags in Twitter to make them global and viral.

So the public made public what the policy makers tried to keep private. And, so the Tweeting could be heard above the whispers.  And, the Tweeters told two (thousand?) friends, and they told… Well, you get my message. So where does that leave the Tweeters and the Tweeted abouts?

Econsultancy gives a very good perspective in their ‘Social Media turns toxic avenger for The Guradian (#trafigura)’ article. So now that we know what we were not supposed to, what do those we know about it?

Any company could be on the receiving end of ‘exposure’ on any social media site – from a small business to a global enterprise. It is the new world of PR –  Social Media Relations (SMR). You might want to check out Znetlady’s blog on social media relations top five principles. Or, Econsultancy’s insights on handling ‘feedback’.

I am not sure Ryanair’s online rebuttal to BBC’s Panorama pandemonium is the best way. Bbut it’s head on: 1.1 million free flights – 100,000 for each of their 11 rebuttal points made on their website –  link from @Samshepherd on Twitter.

There are always two sides to every story – well, there used to be.  Now with social media sites – it’s more like a multi-dimensional, 3D view of life. And, aren’t we lucky to live in the age of Twitter where we can see through the news!

Many people don’t take the self-employed route because they don’t want to be ‘alone’. After years of working in an office environment, they can’t visualise themselves working from home – alone. But with all the technology out there – you are never really home alone.

I first started freelancing in 1986. There was no email. There were no social media sites. There was no Skype. And, women working on their own was quite a new phenomenon (driven by the downsizing of the 80’s). I was a lucky one – always dreaming of working on my ‘own’. But not everyone feels that way. Now that I have re-launched my ‘solo’ career in 2009  I can’t believe how easy it is to stay ‘connected’.

I use most of the social networking tools to share, communicate and stay in touch with my – many new – real and virtual colleagues. Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. Ning. Blogs. My guest blog – Finding Your Way in the Social Media Jungle – on Kevin Tea’s great Web2andmore.net blog created an instant online community with comments coming in from around the globe. Some with excellent links to add value to my post. But, I don’t do it all virtually.

In the 1990’s in Canada I was invited to join an eclectic group of women entrepreneurs – The Breakfast Club. We met for breakfast once a month, talked, buoyed each other on, and laughed. Despite moving away – we still all meet up whenever I go back. It really worked for me, so I started a club here – BLT we call ourselves. The great advantage is socialising with peers – and feeling part of team – that you create! So take the first step and make your own real life social networking group.

There are lots of local ‘shared interest’ groups to join – many sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce  who organise everything from training, to lunch meetings, to speed networking events. I have picked two – a creative one and a business one to keep me plugged in. It is easy to become a meeting junkie; so pick them carefully. But remember you need to spend time each week marketing, not just doing, or suddenly you could face the ‘where’s the work’ wall.

I like to start and end my week with ‘management’ days – bookkeeping, research, blogging, planning, follow-up, meetings, marketing. But, I make sure that each week also involves time at clients’ offices, networking meetings, and just getting out of the house!

Other ways to be seen and heard – if your are comfortable – is to do workshops and presentations at events. They can both be great places to ‘learn’, get ideas and meet prospective colleagues and clients.

So, there is no need to be, feel or work at home alone! Unless, that is what you really want to do.


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