Gift or bribery?

Gift or bribe?

I’ve been reading the bloggerblackmail furore with interest over the past 24 hours.

The uproar within the blogging community is simply the latest in a centuries-long struggle over whether gifts constitute a generous act of benevolence, or simply an unsubtle bribe.

Nothing new here
My dad used to tell me a story about what he liked to call ‘political correctness gone mad’, relating to his experiences dealing with external contractors in his career working in London councils.
Continue reading “Gift or bribery?”

Is there any point live-tweeting an event any more?

thisisnotaninsight_tumblr_comAs Social Media Week kicked off on Monday in London, amid all the online noise the This Is Not An Insight tumblr stood out like a shining beacon of common sense.

While keen tweeters dispensed ‘aphorisms’ left, right and centre, This Is Not An Insight cut them down to size mercilessly, neatly highlighting why live-tweeting from an event is nowhere near as useful and necessary as we all thought.

Utterly moronic

Over the past few years, providing a steady stream of tweets from an event you’re attending has become de rigueur. We’ve all done it – you rock up to a venue, cue up the provided Wifi password and hashtag, and then listen carefully for words of wisdom to broadcast to your Twitter stream.

Unfortunately, unless you’re actually good and practised at this, what you tweet can very easily sound utterly moronic.

Now amplify the nonsensical noise by about 3000 – as has happened at Social Media Week – and all you get is a steady stream of ‘blah-blah-blah’, making it nigh impossible to pick out anything of any note or consequence.

You can, of course, mute an event as Adam Tinworth has done, but that doesn’t really get to the nub of the problem.

To my post’s original question, I would say ‘yes’, there’s always merit in live-tweeting an event, if you can guarantee you can actually do it well and it’s not so huge that what you say (whether as an individual or a brand) doesn’t get drowned out.

There are, of course, certain rules to ensure that what you tweet isn’t dismissed as needless crap – rules I shall try to list now (additional suggestions welcome).

Rule 1: Stop before you tweet

Many people are in such a hurry to broadcast something a speaker has just said that they don’t even think about what it means, and if it’s actually even insightful.

Write your tweet and then look at it carefully before you hit post to see if it makes any sense to your colleague in the office 2 miles away. Keep the phrase ‘no shit, Sherlock’ at the forefront of your mind.

Rule 2: Attribution

If a speaker says something you think is worthy of broadcast, quote them and use their name. In isolation a random sentence makes no sense if you don’t know what the event is or who’s speaking.

Better still – use their Twitter handle, so if they really are talking in gold nuggets, others can follow them.

Rule 3: Provide context

This is a follow-up to rule 2 – adding short commentary to a quote makes it far more valuable and more likely to be RTd, than just tweeting what has already been said.

Rule 4: Remember that Twitter is a conversation

Most people have forgotten what Twitter’s tagline is (Join the conversation), but never is it more apt than when it comes to live-tweeting.

To put that into context, the tagline is not ‘Talk to yourself’. Try to tweet things that might encourage people to interact with you or want to share.

Rule 5: Statistics work better than quotes

What sounds good in the moment – as has been pointed out earlier – doesn’t usually make for a good tweet. However, numbers/facts are normally more concrete and much more shareable.

Use your common sense, though: Someone tweeted this on Monday: ‘33% of brands have created a content publishing hub, to deliver consumers rich content’. To which the rejoinder has to be – ‘Is that any good or not?’

Rule 6: If in doubt, don’t bother

What this entire post is trying to say is that, usually, you’re better off using your tablet/smartphone to take valuable notes that you can share with your team in the office later, rather than tweeting banalities.

What have I missed? Let me know, please. This might even become a dispensable guide…

Should you retire from blogging?

Tom Harris, MPForget the Wills and Kate story, today’s big news in the world of web was Tom Harris’ announcement that he was retiring from blogging.

For those of you who don’t know Tom Harris, he is a Labour MP who has become extremely well-known in the digital world for his blog And Another Thing.

This blog was ranked in the top 10 UK political blogs last year and was the most influential of those written by actual politicians.

However, Harris has now publicly admitted that the stress that has accompanied his blog is forcing him to hang up his proverbial digital pen.

Blogging is having a negative effect on my personal, family and political life for reasons too many and complicated to recount.

Fair play to him for admitting to this, but the real question here is, should you actually retire from blogging or can you not just cut back?

We all know that many blogs go untended and often remain dormant for a long time, if not eternally. I know I’ve started a number of offshoot blogs over the years that have withered.

As long-term bloggers, it takes time, love and energy to keep a blog going continuously, especially if you’re not in it for the money (as few of us are), so if that has become an issue for Tom Harris, then fair enough.

He also indicates that the online vitriol that comes with any successful blog has given him cause to think twice about continuung, which is also fair comment – very few people can completely ignore nasty responses to something they’ve put time and effort into creating.

But completely retire from blogging? That seems possibly a step too far. If you get that much out of blogging, then there’s always the opportunity to scale back the frequency of posting or simply take what you do elsewhere.

I would question that, if you truly enjoy blogging, you can resist the lure of WordPress, no matter how much you claim otherwise. It’s like an itch you can’t scratch, especially if you’re high-profile enough to receive lots of feedback (both good and bad).

Harris himself admits that he’s ‘become a blogger who is also an MP rather than a politician who blogs’, so my question would be, why can’t you simply reverse the two?

Ultimately, only Harris himself knows how beneficial a life without blogging will be – it will be interesting to see if he revives his postings after a self-imposed sabbatical.