How to stop procrastinating and start blogging

Repost from The Social Penguin Blog

I’ve been meaning to write about procrastination but I keep putting it off! (Ba doom doom tish.)

This blog post has probably taken 2 months to write (and another month to publish..) Ok that’s a lie, this first paragraph took a few minutes to write the rest of it has kinda been stop start ever since. Procrastination is the thief of time so the saying goes and for all intensive purposes a blog killer. There is always a reason not to write, always something better to do, (since writing this paragraph I have wandered off to check Twitter, Facebook and Reddit a couple of times) and before you know it it’s been well over a month since you posted anything and your subscribers are deserting you.

This post isn’t by any means a sermon, I know full well how often real life gets in the way of best intentions, and I’m as guilty as everyone else at putting things off. (*cough last blog post was in April cough cough*) These tips below are just a bit of help to keep you posting content, even though you’d rather be doing something else.

procrastination

Continue reading ‘How to stop procrastinating and start blogging’

Social Media – Sometimes it pays to say nothing

Repost from The Social Penguin Blog.

You’re an idiot and your product never works, I’m so never buying here again

You suck…

Ah social media, a happy place where everyone loves each other and no one is ever nasty or mean. Your brand is adored by all and the only things people have to say about you are sweet and nice. Of course the reality is that you are just as likely to be subjected to sarcastic, rude and down right abusive comments in social media as you are anywhere else. The big difference in social media is the speed (light speed it seems at times) at which things can turn ugly if you don’t have some guidelines in place to help.

Having clear terms of engagement is something that’s often skipped over when considering social media policies. (If you have them at all that is.) Most times it’s left to your own judgement when deciding who you should and shouldn’t respond to and if you haven’t invested any kind of training in to the staff who manage your social media you may end up like these cautionary tales.

The easiest way to stop this kind of mistake from happening is to provide your staff with guidance that clearly outlines, in a step by step process, exactly what action you should take for different possible types of comments you are likely to encounter.

Thankfully someone has already done that for you.

Airforce Principals

US Airforce Web Posting Assessment

Back in 2009 Capt. David Faggard, Chief of Emerging Technology at the Air Force Public Affairs Agency made this flowchart available, outlining how members of the the US Airforce should respond to any comments online discovered about the Airforce. There have been many attempts to change (or shamelessly rip off) this chart since 2009 but in essence it remains unchanged because it works well. As much you want to it tells you not to respond to that sarky comment, be a grown up and ignore it.

As smart and witty as your response may be, you just aren’t going to change this person’s opinion and are likely to make things worse by trying. It can be frustrating walking away in some situations, especially if like me your knee jerk reaction is to respond with exquisite dry sarcasm, but it really is for the best. If you refuse to engage then these people can’t get deeper under your skin. The chart helps you identify these potentially toxic situations so you can avoid them like the plague and although it’s meant for blogs it works just as well with other social media channels too.

The one problem I have with the chart is that it advocates “monitor only” or ‘report to your boss’ for some of the worst kinds of posts. I’m talking about the about the kind of posts that are frankly unacceptable anywhere, the ones that threaten, harass and intimidate. Sometimes people forget there is a human being at the end of the a faceless social media account and a simple polite message can be enough to get them to stop. (Though just remember how easy it is to take screenshots of private messages) If not, all the major social media channels have ways of reporting abusive behavior. You shouldn’t be subject to abuse in your workplace, even through social media which is why you need to take action if it becomes a recurring problem.

If only we could convince everyone to be nice and polite online, then no one would have to worry about responding to negative posts. Do you think if I baked some cake for the guys over at 4Chan they’d give the trolling a rest?

Foursquare is the secret to weight loss

I’m no gym rat and frankly if I could get away with it I’d probably not bother going (being signed up to run a few races this year makes this unlikely) so any kind of motivation to go and work out is a bonus for me.

I decided I would try and become the foursquare mayor of my local gym (Drumbrae) by unseating its current mayor (and fellow EdCM attendee) Lorraine_P as my desire to be a foursquare mayor vastly outstrips my desire to workout. I’ve been checking in at every visit since February but frustratingly I always seem to be 1 day away from being mayor.

Gym Rat Badge

Foursquare Gym Rat

They keep me hanging on at that one day point so I’ll visit more and you know what? It bloody works! (Just one more day Kelly! You can workout again tomorrow, just one more day! Gaah!) I usually go to the gym 3 times a week but recently I’ve been going, 4 sometimes even 5 times a week to try and snatch that mayorship. I would never go to the gym that often if it wasn’t for Foursquare.

So thanks Foursquare, I’m still not mayor but hey at least I’ve lost a load of weight.

I have so much to say that I cant say anything

Bit of a weird title but it’s kinda true

I’ve just been looking through the sheer amount of unfinished blog posts I still have as draft on here. It’s shocking really. Once again other projects have demanded more of my time and my poor blog is lying neglected. Busy busy with work and somehow I was convinced that I needed to run my first 10k this year. (I’m such a sucker sometimes.)

Some forgotten blog post examples from the past:

  • Blessed are the Meek
  • Music in video games: does it make or break the experience?
  • My adventures making Turkish Delight
  • Can you wear a ballgown to a Twestival?

I doubt half of these will make the light of day now which is a pity but a lot of the humor in them has been lost as time has gone on. Perhaps if I forgo sleep for a week I can finish one of them?

Social Media & The Evolution of Cats

Repost from the Social Penguin Blog

Cats have really had the internet meme down for quite some time now. When Icanhazcheezburger (or Lolcats) came along in 2007 everyone realized just how much mileage could be made from funny pictures of cats. Many emails and memes shared later (Google Basement Cat for a start) Cravendale have taken that one step further and are trying to start their own internet cat meme, only these guys are going for the viral video campaign (ala Old Spice) instead of cats with captions.

Captions on Cats

Captions on Cats

Cravendale are playing on the very most primal fear of everyone who has ever owned a cat…they’ve given cats opposable thumbs! (God help us) Bertrum Thumbcat is the avatar of these videos, much like Aleksandr Orlov of Compare the Meercat fame, and we can learn more about his devious schemes for world domination through his Twitter and Facebook pages.

In a similar strain to Old Spice Cravendale have started creating a serious of new videos to answer the questions of followers on Twitter and Facebook who have asked questions such as “Can a Thumbcat Blend?“, “Can a Thumbcat review an excellent book?” and “Can a Thumbcat play in goal for England?” (Nice of them to give us poor humans some potential weaknesses to exploit before they try to take over the world.)

What gives this campaign the potential to grow some legs is that Cravendale are encouraging everyone to get involved and send in their own pictures and videos of the their very own thumbcats, potentially prompting the same kind of public reaction that Lolcats had. This campaign isn’t just social either, as Cravendale are also encouraging this campaign through traditional print media too.

It’s hard to say what kind of impact cats with thumbs will have (other than making cat owners lose sleep at night.) It has share value, being funny and it works well with people outside of social media as you feel inclined to pass this on to the “cat people” you know. (Best for them to be forewarned isn’t it?) However Old Spice had two things going for it, it was first and it was an American campaign meaning it was discussed a lot more by the industry and it had a much larger audience. This is the first big campaign that feels like it has been influenced by the things the guys at Wieden and Kennedy did for Old Spice last year. Thumbcats hasn’t really reached that critical mass yet which is why it will be interesting watch and see what has had more of an impact on the campaign, the social media aspects or the traditional media.

Above all things we need to keep a more vigilant eye on our cats, they have plans and they know we’re on to them now. *looks over shoulder warily*

Social Media Metrics – Setting the standard

Repost from a guest article I wrote for The Social Penguin Blog
. Check out the orginal story for any comments. Kelly

It feels like forever that I’ve been banging on about how important it is to measure your social media activity. In actual fact it’s only been a year but in that space of time knowledge and acceptance of social media metrics has risen astronomically. Many have even predicted that 2011 will be the year of the social media metric.

Around the summer in 2010 two separate social media measurement standards were launched; The Barcelona Principles from AMEC/IPR for PR professionals and the Social Media Measurement Framework from the IAB Social Media Council for Advertising and Marketing professionals. Both were created by representatives of their prospective industries and have set out to become the accepted standards for social media measurement.

Industry standards

The Barcelona Principles were the result of a 2 day European Summit on Measurement in Barcelona (naturally). The 7 Principles act as a statement of good practice in social media measurement for the global PR community, it sets a standard and lets individuals decide how they can best meet the principles.

The Barcelona Principles

The Barcelona Principles

The IAB Social Media Measurement Framework sets out a process for organisations or individuals to follow to collect effective social media metrics. Using the IAB acronym the framework looks at Intent; setting objectives to define KPI’s, Defining the KPI’s for your activity; the 4 A’s (Awareness, Appreciation, Action and Advocacy) and Benchmarking your results against industry averages.

The IAB Framework

The IAB Framework

Today IAB have released a new digital guide to accompany their framework making it more accessible and easy for organisations to implement. Essential it’s a How To guide for social media metrics even offering suggesting appropriate metrics for different types of campaigns. (Page 15 if you’re interested.)

What does this mean for us?

If you are already doing social media measurement the chances are that this is old news to you but for small businesses, where the CEO and Marketing Officer are often the same person, it’s hard to know where to start. Making these kinds of guides and principles common knowledge makes social media analytics accessible to more than the geeks like me and is a step closer to them becoming accepted industry practice. The ones most commonly used are the ones that stick around.

If everyone was to begin operating to these standards;

  • Measurement would become more common place (and people will stop looking at me like I have two heads)
  • The data collected will become more accurate and relevant
  • Perceived value in social media will rise as activity can be linked to the bottom line.

Demystfying social media analytics just got a big boost, now no more accusations of chicken bones and voodoo please.

Read the IAB Social Media Measurement Guide and Barcelona Principles in full.

An Invitation

Thanks to Facebook most of you know that it was my birthday today. I wont be celebrating much this evening as I’m saving that for Saturday 26th when I’ll be having some drinks in Edinburgh with friends.

If you’d would like to join me for a few drinkies (or would just be interested in seeing me with a drink in me after so many events attended with my car) drop me a DM on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll pass on the details.

I hope to see you there, it promises to be a good night. (If you think I’m crazy sober imagine adding alcohol in to that equation.)


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