I bet this is not what you thought I’d be posting about Social Networks, here, namely as it is not about digital Social Networks but physical and tangible ones. These people actually touch each other.
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.
Bought a guitar on eBay last week, out of some sort of desire to be a bit more analogue, and realised I had no good way to know if it was in tune. So back to eBay for a tuner from the US.
Now who’s an eejit!
Completely forgot I have an iPhone and that there’s an app for just about everything (there’s three fart apps FFS!!). So my new dilemma is do I just use the tuner coming in the post eventually from the US, or repost it on eBay and buy the app?
My loyalties to analogue are in conflict with my loyalties to my lovely new iPhone.
Guess who’s going to win!
Commuter pic of the day to follow.
BTW: played guitar for 40 minutes last night in an attempt to strengthen my fingertips. Can I just say the left side of the keyboard is my enemy this morning? fingertips over on the left of QWERTY is ouchy!
Yep, finally got my iPhone. So on the interest of usability I thought I’d try to blog on the train into work. Yes, the N96 is great and the blackberry does email like no other, but I have to say that the iPhone has them beat on usability even with the tiny letters on the keypad. Why?
Because you don’t need to RFM (Read the Frikkin’ Manual) to get things done. Not only does it put things where you expect them to be, it helps you understand the way it works while you use it without reverting to a manual.
So I only have 18 minutes for my blog so best be quick about it!
Usability is all about not forcing me to do all the work to figure out your device, your device should work hard to make me understand it without a manual. Like all our favourite tools do.
So to finish it off here is a pic from my view every morning as I step off the train.
(posted from my iPhone) 🙂
WordCamp Australia day2
After a great day at Word Camp Australia, my personal highlight of day two was definitely Harley Alexander of Baffle! inc who gave a fun and entertaining presentation on a simple but complex (yes, I just wrote that!) concept, WP_Query versus Query_posts.
The great thing for me was that he is 15, has been using WordPress since he was 12, and has several tutorials and tips on his blog and a forthcoming book, How to Be a Rockstar WordPress Designer.
His significant height belied his modest age, and his comfort and confidence with talking about coding issues made his presentation very charming. I liked that he was teaching his teachers about WordPress as well as that his teachers were confident enough to let him do so.
Once again, a committed, interested and passionate disseminator who will definitely go far if he manages to not let the attention get to his head. I look forward to reading more of his stuff as well as his book, when WP2.7 actually ships so he can complete the screen grabs.
The second great thing today was the formalising of the WordCamp Association Australia and its’ committee which I hope to support once I get this little matter of gainful employments sorted. (offers and introductions, both contract and permanent, welcome!) I have a 2 week gig till Christmas so looking to line up some work for the new year.
Saying that, it was definitely not just these few people who impressed me, it was everyone, with their own individual passions driving their creative and business ideas, who floated my boat. Thanks everyone; rom the presenters to the Twitter backchannel chatter, loved it!.
Shattered, neighbours’ late night kitchen renovations kept me up all night, going home probably. Thanks everyone! Now to go home and shave this effing ‘tache off so I can kiss my missus proper-like!
WordCamp Australia, Day 1
Only about 75 people here, in a small hangar like cavern, quite appropriately called the big red box in canal street, Sydney. (Sorry, gotta complete my wordpress upgrade before I add the images!)
On the bus home, hired macbook on my lap (don’t get me started on how my MacBookPro died after a simple Safari update on Wednesday!!), reflecting on a good day at #wordcampau.
Instead of some florid exponation of how cool it feels to be here (v!) and the quality of the people attending (high!) I thought I’d riff on Matt Mullenwag whom I never met before but got a good feeling from the second I met him.
If there is anyone I would like to run my business (or organisation) or run a business I depend on, it’d be him. Calm, humble in the face of talented critics, open-minded to everything that is mentioned, charming to both the thoughtful and ignorant in equal measure, I beleive Matt is a example of a good leader (in the Seth Godin definition) of a tribe. His real passion in both wordpress.org and wordpress.com, and in the desires and aims of the people who use the tools he and his company Automattic create and drive for us is tangible.
Contrast that with the arrogant, obnoxious, controlling nature of people like Steve Ballmer and it becomes very clear who inspires and influences grass roots passion and who is intent on control and manipulation.
Good to see and truly inspiring of confidfence in the WordPress future.
On a side note, special thanks to Adam Makda at Next Byte / Rushcutters Bay who got me an excellent mac to hire at a decent price for a week while their techies at Broadway branch repair my sick Mac Book Pro. Advice on how to restore from Time Machine and even an offer of his personal mobile number in case I needed tech support during he weekend. Another truly helpful, committed and passionate person who cares about what they do.
Contact me if you want to know how easy it is to restore a disk from Time Machine in record time with a minimum of fuss.
On to day two at Word Camp Australia!
Sydney is one of those cities that carries its own perfume, one you get a whiff of from open bus windows, moments stuck in traffic jams, or just walking down the street. It is the unmistakeable scent of gum trees, the eucalypt sweet-citrus that is as much a part of the city as the Harbour Bridge or the Opera House.
I thought about this as I got my coffee with @neilphillips the morning of barCamp Sydney 4, hosted at the Roundhouse, University of New South Wales, my partner’s alma mater, and wondered how I got to this place, something I regularly do since migrating here only a few weeks ago.
I already noted, I’m sure, how friendly and open I find this city, and it was very evident at BarCamp, where even passionate and aggressive debate was accompanied by true camaraderie and mutual respect. This was my first barCamp, 160 people concentrated in a strangely cat-litter scented music/meeting venue, and I am definitely going to the next one, and definitely presenting something having gotten over my initial shyness and wariness.
For those not in the know, barCamp is a unique type of dedicated conference focussing on web applications, open source platforms and next generation web environments, roughly speaking. I was attracted to it as it is a real User Generated Content (UGC) environment, where you show up and add your topic of interest, what you want to lead a discussion or presentation on, to a schedule board first thing in the morning, or even hijack a rebuttal space later in the day, as happened in the Roll your own / Don’t roll your own CMS debate I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s open to whomever adds their name to the wiki roll call, fantastically dynamic, and thoroughly free to boot! There is some sponsorship but corporate presentations are not permitted and, it is a participatory, not spectator environment.
I enjoyed the entire day, but had to mention some highlights. (great pictures by JJ Halans available on flickr) There are hashtags feeds at #bcs4 and #barcampsydney for those interested in the copious chatter.
The speed networking was very helpful to this new soul trying to meet like-minded people in my industry, everyone friendly and open and engaged. Then the “Why it make sense to create your own CMS” session from Tom Voirol (as well as the impassioned rebuttal from Plone and Drupal experts) and Mick Liubinskas from Pollenizer talking about focus was gratifying to hear. Journo Katherine Small’s talk on how to get media attention (hope she distributes her presentation online!) and Scott Drummond’s discussion, “WTF is a Community Manager” were well presented, inspiring and enlightening. The passions around Dave Field’s presentation on “HCI failure” showed real insight and cross-platform passion.
And that was all before lunch! (hope to post a picture here once I debug my image upload issues with WordPress). in the meantime check out these two pictures of me: http://www.flickr.com/photos/halans/3030931432/in/set-72157609079396406/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/halans/3031460988/in/set-72157609079396406/ from JJ Halans. Yes, it is a truly frightful Movember I’m sporting. Also found a pic on ZDNet’s bootstrappr site if you’re interested.
The afternoon session contained a great talk about the OLPC project from Pia Waugh and what is in the damned thing, both hardware and software, as well as availability and upcoming deployments in Australia. Calling it a collaboration and education tool is about right. There was show-stopping mind-hacking session, A.K.A hypnotism, from Melinda Hall @headwellred that, among other things, showed us that it doesn’t have to be digital to be both fascinating and powerful. Nic Hodges led an interesting talk about idea generation and as the late afternoon fast approached, we wound up with an open discussion on how to battle the government’s desire to implement an unworkable, expensive, ill-considered blanket content filter across all Australian ISPs. It sounds like there is now a URL: banthisurl.com and some real activity around it. It was discussed that talking about #nocleanfeed wasn’t helping and we need to speak to non-techie people about it, not the “preaching to the converted” we now have.
So now it’s back to networking and job-hunting, looking for dynamic companies who might be interested in, in conversations about strategy, User centred design, end-to-end iterative project planning and management, future-focussed website creation and good places to have coffee. Hope to see some of you at WordCamp Sydney at the end of the month and please try to remember I am fundraising for Movember, raising awareness about men’s health issues like Prostate cancer and Depression, so your generous donation will be very appreciated and help justify me having to grow this ludicrous ‘tash.
Now off for a cycle round Sydney Park to clear my head and recirculate the blood round these laptop bearing knees.