My first podcast interview

Back in November I was interviewed by Anna Farmery of the Podcast Sisters following a presentation I did at BarCamp Leeds on Whisky, Web2.0 and the C0-Creation Company.
I had forgotten all about it until I came across a note from Kevin at FuelMyBlog that the interview was now on the web as a podcast - you can listen to it here.


Some food for thought

Some food for thought:

  • More than 12 million American adults currently maintain a blog.
  • More than 16 million European adults maintain a blog.
  • More than 147 million Americans use the Internet.
  • More than 150 million Europeans use the Internet.
  • More than 57 million Americans read blogs.
  • More than 60 million Europeans read blogs.
  • 1.7 million American adults list making money as one of the reasons they blog.
  • 89% of companies surveyed say they think blogs will be more important in the next five years.
  • 12% of internet users say they have created blogs .
  • Technorati is currently tracking over 70 million blogs
  • More than 120 thousand blogs are created every day.
  • There are over 1.4 million new blog posts every day.
  • 22 of the 100 most popular websites in the world are blogs.
  • 120,000 new blogs are created every day.
  • 37% of blog readers began reading blogs in 2005 or 2006.
  • 51% of blog readers shop online.
  • Blog readers average 23 hours online each week.

Meanwhile, the top ten most popular online activities across Europe are:
  • Search - 87% (note search is bigger than email, not second)
  • Email - 81%
  • Communicating via social networking sites - 42%
  • Instant messaging - 37%
  • Music downloads - 31%
  • Listening to radio - 31%
  • Watching TV, film or video clips - 30%
  • Rating and reviews - 27%
  • Sharing thoughts on forums - 26%
  • Downloading a film, TV or video clip - 20%


Resolutions for the New Year

Resolutions for the New Year. Well I don’t really do resolutions as my liver will testify but there are more things I need to concentrate in 2008. These fall into two camps – professional and personal.
So here they are:

Concentrate on the bottom line. GREEN is a great agency doing some fantastic things for clients but like most creative agencies we don’t pay enough attention to profit. That will change this year and we will be counting the pennies and measuring ROI.
Encourage colleagues to take leadership. Too often I take on too much in spite of the fact that I am surrounded by talented people who would do a better job than me.
Engage with clients more. If everything is going well we take no calls. When there is a crisis we are in the thick of it sorting things out. I need to talk more to clients during the down time.
Do More Social Media Gigs. Pat on the back to me but I do know what I am talking about and can be very entertaining – certainly that’s the feedback I get. So this year I plan to do one speaking gig a month. Social Media & Web2.0 anyone?
Think strategically. I think 2008 is going to be a period of turmoil and unless you have a plan of action any business is going to sink deeper than whale shit.

Shut up and listen.
I’ve learned that when I take the time to shut up I learn a lot more from other people.
Spend more time with my wife. Need I say any more!
Spend more time on the river. I’m not a passionate man but I am passionate about rowing. That’s why I plan to go sculling the day after Boxing Day.
Travel more. So many places and so little time.
Do some journalism. I’ve always been uncomfortable working in PR and writing as a journalist at the same time. But it is one of the few talents I possess so I might indulge in some freelance work.

Happy Christmas Everyone and here’s to an interesting New Year. Cheers!


Blogs are ten years old

The blog is now ten years old! Not this one you understand but the weblog itself as an online journal, with the first one created on December 17, 1997 by Jorn Barger through his Robot Wisdom web page.
A decade on and Technorati reports it is tracking more than 70 million web logs – which is one of the reasons why we started Fuelmyblog, the social network for bloggers. While many people maintained regular journals or diaries before the word was coined, 1997 marked the point when they started to become a particular online pursuit.
In 1999 the phenomenon took off as easy to use tools – like Wordpress and Blogger - started to appear which made it much easier to write and maintain these sorts of websites. Also in 1999 the word “blog” was coined as a shortened form of the original term.
Nowadays, blogs almost look old hat. Especially with the rise and rise of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. However, as a means for individuals to talk to the world they remain a very potent tool. Not least in the world of public relations, our main job, and we are increasingly seeing clients adopt the blog as an adjunct to their corporate websites.
But will they ever become part of the mainstream communications mix for organizations? I am not sure.



What is a blog?

One of the most common questions I am asked is: what is a blog? I do presentations on it and have lectured on issues of social media but have not yet been able to come up with a succinct definition and demonstration. So I am indebted to Common Craft for this neat video.

I will also put up some further videos on social media when I get the time.


Facebook goes offline

The new and old worlds will always collide. And so it has come to pass - Facebook has its own dedicated magazine.
Dennis Publishing has launched a "bookazine" according to The Guardian. It is a magazine/book hybrid - about the networking website.
The Guardian says the 148-page publication, produced without the cooperation of the social networking website, includes articles "Famous on Facebook" and "Create a real life Facebook event".
Bruce Sandell, the managing director of Dennis' lifestyle division, said: "The Facebook Bookazine started quite simply. Like many media companies we have a huge amount of Facebook fans at Dennis - we thought we could channel that enthusiasm with our expert knowledge of 'how to' bookazines to make a really compelling product that taps into a massive consumer interest at exactly the right time.
"The bookazine will be bought by Facebook experts and novices alike, as it covers everything from a step by step guide to getting started through to smart security tips."
Note to self: What is a Facebook expert?
Dennis has printed 20,000 copies of the Facebook bookazine, fewer than a normal magazine, but the bookazine costs £5.99 and has a longer shelf life than magazines, staying on shelves for up to six months. Dennis will monitor sales before deciding if it will produce a sequel.
Well should they produce a sequel?


The Blog Council or Magesterium?

Came across this via Twitter - The Blog Council, is a professional community of top global brands dedicated to promoting best practices in corporate blogging.
I came acrross this today (and some of this content is direct from their press release). Founding members include the leading companies from a diverse range of business sectors: AccuQuote, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, and Wells Fargo.
The blurb says: "The Blog Council exists as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs."
What's this? "Vendor-free environment" (what's that mean?). "And share tactics" (What's that? A means of getting what you want through sneaky tactics?). "Offer advice based on past experience (Read for that: The last time we fucked up - we did this and it seemed to work!) ...And develop standards-based best practices (ie How we plan to paddle our way out of a shit creak!)
Blog Council CEO Andy Sernovitz says: "Major corporations use blogs differently while abiding by the same rules and etiquette. Individual and small-business bloggers don't face the same issues. For example, we still need to deliver a responsible and effective corporate message, but we need to do it in the complicated environment of the blogosphere. We have to speak for a corporation, but never sound 'corporate.' And we have to learn to do it live, and in real-time."
All very good. Then the Blog Council (sounds a bit strange to me, a bit like the Magisterium)
representing "thought leaders" (WTF?) from corporate departments, the Blog Council's advocacy role functions as a collective voice in support of responsible, ethics-based corporate blogs (more marketing bullshit?). Other issues the Council will address include:

  • How do global brands manage blogs in more than one language?
  • What do you do when 2000 employees have personal blogs?
  • What is the role of the corporate brand in a media landscape increasingly geared toward consumer-generated media?
  • What is the correct way to engage and respond to bloggers who write about your company?
I do not know (says me) it is too early to say. Throw me a bone here!

"Every major corporation is struggling with the question of how to use blogs and engage the blogosphere the right way," said Sean O'Driscoll, General Manager, Community Support Services for Microsoft.

Microsoft? What have you guys been doing for the last three years? What doesn't Vista work - haven't you seen the comments? There are hundreds of them.
"The Blog Council brings together precisely the people who need to explore these issues together, in a productive and private networking environment," says O'Driscoll. "We can work together to develop model policies that set the standard for corporate blogging excellence."

Hold on a minute - read this again: "Precisely the people who need to explore these issues."

Says who? Who are these people precisely? Appointed by whom? This all about brand management - fair enough I have no problem with that. But at least state your case and business strategy. In PR terms you need to be transparent and The Blog Council is spin and Dell for one should be very, very careful.
By the way Simon Collister and Stephen Davies have been having conversation about this on Twitter all day. All I would say to the Blog Council is join in the conversation - doon't set the parameters for the debate - just pose the question.