Category Archives: content


NIDA Teaching Session

Updated: 05/9/09

Cultural Antropology

An antropological introduction to YouTube

mwesch you tube channel

Copyright and Neworking

Creative Commons Australia

Free technologies

WordPress resources:

Slideshow plugins

shadowbox JS

Free wordpress themes

Some Photo-blogging themes

Standards compliance

Domain registrars

Hosting companies

Coders, Templates, HTML from PSD

Social Media, what does it mean to you?

A Social Media Consultant, a PR consultant, two agency specialists and a client walk into a bar…..

Sounds like an 50’s style joke doesn’t it?

At Social Media Club Sydney two a few weeks ago (I know, I am soooo slack! I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now) the talk was “Do you need an agency to run effective social media campaigns?” and the point that interested me the most was that everyone had a definition for what Social media was but they varied wildly, sometimes based on what that person wanted from it instead of what SM was about intrinsically.

I later asked around the audience, and also got a wild array of possible definitions, some from Social Media users and others from “experts”, many of whom could remember who’s definition on the panel they liked or aligned themselves with but, ultimately, couldn’t remember the actual definition.

I remember the response from a student, uninterested in marketing or advertising, defining Twitter as a “marketing channel”, which really shocked me, although I wasn’t surprised in hindsight, considering the celebrities using it to keep them in the public eye and “sell” themselves.

Thankfully a few cool heads, both on the panel as well as in the audience, continued to press for the simpler and more engaging descriptions, which did not focus on sales, marketing or advertising but the more intrinsic communication, connection, engagement and sharing descriptions I prefer to lean towards.

I guess this is where I put my stake in the sand and tell you my definition. Fair enough! I think Social Media is something that is detached from platform, API, protocol and application, as well as detached from marketing message or advertising reach, although it can perform with those very easily. At heart, SM is a public conversation, generally around a topic, recorded. Ultimately it is about people, conversing and interacting.

Feel free to challenge me on this, and you can do so at the next SMCSYD, How Do You Measure Social Media Engagement, on July 20.

A taste of something better

After my rant last week about restaurant sites that don’t take users into account, just like London busses, three good ones come along at once! I didn’t want to leave you thinking I was all whinge and no praise so decided to write about them here.

We were looking for a good Indian food or African food delivery in the neighbourhood and did the searching in my usual way; online.

The first happy discovery was the African Feeling restaurant,which surprised me because, for such a modest and unassuming place, it felt like a very well thought out and professional site. Not perfect, but well ahead of the more expensive and hip competition, I must say. It has room for improvement, but is a very good effort and answers the visitors questions.

Location, menu examples and prices and atmosphere images were easy to find, even if not optimally formatted (menu was a JPEG, not in searchable and SEO friendly text). Nice touches were the great portraits of staff, food, dining room and examples of how a dinner party might look. You can even book a table through the site and get an email confirmation.

My favourite though was the honesty and confidence of linking directly to published food reviews, from notable publications like the SMH, as well as including user reviews.

Nice touch!

But they didn’t deliver, we felt lazy that night, so shelved it for a dinner plan later in the month.

The next one had a name I didn’t like but understood the reasoning for. I was led to Posh Spice through the positive reviews but stayed because of the menu and ordering system which, quite clearly, had been thought about and tested by the providers, Menu Log.

The delivery prices were the same as the restaurant prices, not more than, which is what some third party delivery services charge. The entire process thought about retaining my trust, from the AJAX shopping cart system, through to the email and SMS confirmations and 15% first order discount.

Interestingly, it created confidence in both the restaurant as well as the delivery ordering experience,. difficult to do in one hit.

What pleased me was the recognition of how to speak to people in an online environment, and how to cater to letting them discover their needs. Posh Spice, with their partner MenuLog,. clearly want to help you make your decision eaily.

Oh, and yes, the food was most excellent, (I reccommend the fish with coconut and the “osso-bucco” style lamb shank!) delivered with a smile.

Style over substance

Let’s cut to the chase!

Who is advising restaurants, bars and clubs that what their visitors want is a Flash(tm) animated brochure?

When I look up a bar, restaurant or club / music venue, I’m usually after a few basic slices of information, like where it is located, what the food is like or what’s on tonight or this weekend. Of course there is a lot more you’d want to know about  a venue, but these are what I would think are core pieces of information many people would be wanting from a venue’s website. Unfortunately many venues have been advised by their “web people” to publish a set of slick, glossy pictures of the venue, in a Flash slideshow/animation sequence, utilising Flash navigation, and not a great deal more.

Can anyone explain to me why these bars, restaurants and clubs don’t bother looking at what visitors want from websites and help these same prospective clients find it on their websites? Is it really in a venue’s interest to hide the location map somewhere unexpected or provide their menu as a downloadable PDF? And music venues and dance clubs: Thanks for the pictures of the pretty people who cone to your place, specially the hot babes! but since I came to your site to find out more about a night out at your venue from a flyer someone handed me, can you provide more information besides re-presenting the flyer I already have a copy of? Or did you think the babes were enough? hmm, I thought so.

Can you not tell me about the artists who will be playing, DJing there, any reviews of past gigs, what the drinks cost, whether you also have snacks, what time the club closes, when it’s not available due to a “private party” and any other thing that would make me interested in coming to your venue, instead of what YOU want to tell me?

Have you a Facebook group? A mySpace page? A twitter stream? If so, can you tie them together so I can find the others through any one of them?

If not, can you spare a couple hours a week to connect with your people out there? There’s plenty of excelent on-line tools and APIs to help you do this.

Oh, and if you want to be found through popular searches, just make sure there is something serachable and index-able on your site.

… just sayin!