Tag Archives: social media

Why I backed App.net

Given the choice I’d prefer to pay for a product than be the product.

I want ownership of my own data, my own mutterings, musing, incoherent rants and drivvle.

My own words and creations should be available to me in the format I want them in, not subject to someone else’s corporate branding guidelines and platform stifling despotism.

Being in a walled garden feels anathema to the world wide web that was envisaged by TBL and that I fell in love with so many years ago.

So many people whinge about being delivered ads on Facebook, in their Gmail, or promoted tweets on Twitter. Yet often (not always!) those same people don’t seem to get that they are the product.

App.net lays the foundation (important: Alpha does not equal App.net) for that relationship to fundamentally change, in their favour.

Michael Fabricant’s tweets: policy or playground?

Many of my Twitter followers have today seen my passionate side as I exchanged tweets with Michael Fabricant over his use of the social networking site. He’s a little unfortunate in that he’s the only one of Lichfield’s four candidates to be active on Twitter. Labour candidate Steve Hyden is but hasn’t tweeted since February. That gives Mike a boost when it comes to engagement with constituents, which is great, but I have a bee in my bonnett.

Like many voters, I think, I’m fed up of the playground politics that we often see. By that I mean politicians just attacking each other. Providing nothing meaningful in terms of solutions to the problems faced by the country or individuals, or focusing on policy. I believe the primary reason why Nick Clegg performed so well in the first leader’s debate is because he focused far more on re-iterating Liberal policy while Cameron and Brown attacked each other.

The polls were clear; as voters we are tired of playground politics. We don’t want you to be saying “don’t vote for the opposition, they’ll do A, B and C” – we want to hear “vote for us because we’ll do X, Y and Z.” In fact, I kind of don’t mind if candidates attack each other so long as they attack policy and then follow it up by telling us what their own policy is on the same issue.

It’s not hard, we just want to know what candidates stand for and what we can expect from them if they become our MP.

So with those basic principles in mind I decided to do a (very unscientific) sentiment analysis of Fabricant’s tweets since he ceased being an MP and became a candidate.

Of 47 tweets since 12th April I found that while 13 (28%) were positive a slightly higher number, 15 (32%) were negative. The rest (19 – 40%) were neutral.

I’ve copied them all into a spreadsheet which you can all see and scrutinise to your hearts content, and I encourage you to do so.

There was no rigid rule set about what is and isn’t positive or negative and in some cases I’ve even asked for clarification from you as to whether I got it right as well as explaining in some cases why I chose the sentiment I did. I’d appreciate your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.

What it showed me personally was that, overall, Mike’s tweets ain’t that bad. Some of the negative tweets could have easily become positives if followed up with “…but Conservatives would do X” to show the difference in the main parties and hence the choice we have.

I should also point out that as an MP, Fabricant had some very good moments. Especially (and dear to my heart) the tweeting he did during the passing of the Digital Economy Bill.

So, what do you think?

Update: Michael said to me on Twitter, “Oh get real! Detailed policy in 140 chars? Go to www.conservatives.com for detailed policy.” so it makes sense I give an example of what I would like (not detailed policy!) This tweet attacking Nick Clegg could have been followed up with something like, “Conservative gov’t would introduce Privilege Act to stop that happening. See manifesto p66 http://bit.ly/aR9PfA [pdf]” – that’s 117 characters that says “vote for me and I’ll do something about such abuses.”

LinkedIn Now Major Factor in Online Reputation

I’ve not been much of a fan of LinkedIn. It’s too closed off and there just aren’t enough ways to interact. I prefer networking through the likes of Twitter or Facebook.

One example is how easy it is to create a presence for your company or brand. Previously, LinkedIn only gave you the ability to create your personal profile. Facebook, on the other, with fan pages, makes it easy to both establish a brand presence and encourage people to interact.

The closed nature of LinkedIn alienated it from the rest of the social media space, in a way, because it didn’t allow much integration. On the other hand, services like Twitter, Facebook and FriendFeed have APIs and actively encourage integration with other services.

LinkedIn seemed to be saying “Nope, if you want to tell people what you’re doing, do it here.”

Now all that may be changing.

Three weeks ago, they launched their Applications platform. It’s not completely open, which is a shame, with applications having to go through LinkedIn approval, but it’s a start. I’ll be looking forward to the Twitter application (listen up LinkedIn staff!)

This week comes an bigger step and one that interests me even more: company profiles. I’ve created mine.

It does worry me how easy it is to create (or claim) a company profile, though. Which also means that it’s important that any company make sure they’re LinkedIn profile is looked after by someone in their organisation.

Even more so now that the profiles are public, as announced earlier today. Anybody searching for your company name may well come across your LinkedIn profile

With the very social, democratised internet we are experiencing, reputation management is a big concern. LinkedIn just added themselves to the list of sites to be on by default.

How Chris Brogan Got Me a Link Without Knowing It

Mark Cahill is someone I’ve always known of and respected, so I was delighted to find (albeit a bit late) that he’s mentioned (and linked to) me in one of his posts.

I wanted to share it with you because it goes to show just how much more valuable Social Media is than SEO.

In the comments, Ari Herzog (another person I have plenty of time for) says, “If Google died tomorrow, you and I would continue blogging as if nothing changed.” Ari says that we shouldn’t be thinking about Google, and I agree. I don’t even think anyone should be doing SEO any more (that’s another – very long – conversation, though)!

In the post, Mark acknowledges Ari’s and my view that we shouldn’t focus too much of our attention on search engines. In his comment back to Ari, Mark agrees but offers the view that Google knows which links are relevant. In a more e-commerce setting, search engines would also be much more important.

It’s a very worthwhile comment, we can’t just ignore search engines completely. I, for one, still look at my stats – my visitors, subscribers and in part, rankings – because that tells me whether what I am doing is working. What search engines should not be used as is a indicator of performance (or KPI).

If I show up in Google Blog Search for a topic I’ve blogged about, great! But that doesn’t mean I’m successful in my goals. That doesn’t necessarily mean that my work is having an impact.

Mark’s post has been the KPI in this case. The very fact that Mark has mentioned me and linked to me has shown that my methods are working. I’m aiming to become part of the community that I follow, listen to and respect, and Mark is part of that community.

That community also includes people like Chris Brogan and it’s Chris who’s inadvertently led to my mention on Mark’s blog. I had commented on Mark’s post about blog readership after Chris mentioned the post himself. Subsequently, Mark felt the need to mention my comments when talking about link relevance.

Purely by engaging with Mark and contributing to the relevant discussion, I have gained a very valuable mention and a great link. We’ve also got the beginnings of a dialogue. One that I expect will continue to blossom and benefit both of us, not just in terms of links but also with knowledge.

Sure I could go to an SEO or link builder and say “get me 100 links by this time next week” but I’d take this one link from Mr Cahill over that any day!

And that, ladies and germs is the power of social media (and Chris Brogan)!

The Evolution of Orange Juice… Oh and the Internet

It’s funny what can get your brain working. This morning, for me, it was this:

It’s all about the cap.

Remember when all orange juice cartons were smaller, fatter and you had to cut the corner off? And every time you opened a new one you just knew half the carton would end up on the worktop.

Then we had the little white lid added, with that bit of foil stuff. Though, the juice would still catapult itself out the carton and land everywhere but in the glass.

Now we get the tall slender cartons, like the one above. They poor much easier but opening them is still a hassle. You unscrew, then there’s a weird little plastic hoop that you have to rip out. That’s fine, so long as you’re a body builder. And even then, guess what happens to the juice? That’s right, allergic to glassware.

So now we’ve reached the reason I’m an internet consultant blogging about orange juice. Almost. The carton pictured is special. As you unscrew, the cap removes the inner ‘cap’ so that you can poor as soon as you’ve unscrewed.

Finally! We have an orange juice carton that’s a sinch to open AND doesn’t throw your orange juice all over the hob.

The point? It’s like the internet. Orange juice cartons have EVOLVED. Look at them now compared to a few years ago. Look at the internet now compared to a few years ago!

Plenty of people talk about the ‘growth’ of the internet but I believe it’s evolving. We’re communicating in new and interesting ways, building on existing relationships and creating new ones. We’re building communities and collaborating like never before.

The internet is constantly evolving, solving problems, improving on existing ideas and advancing us all. It might be hard to keep up with, but it’s damn good fun trying!